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  1. #1
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    Buzzed -- who cares?

    I was "buzzed" today. Driver passed me a bit too close, but I am wondering. . . What's all the fuss? It's not like a left turn in front of you or the right hook which are both truly dangerous. I know that the buzz decreases the margin of error. But we were both driving the same way down the road, sharing the lane, and I didn't have to change my riding at all. It seems to me that it is a issue with "comfort" or perhaps a matter of "trust." Does it really matter if they pass me with six feet or six inches to spare?

  2. #2
    Senior Member va_cyclist's Avatar
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    Yeah, because it's discourteous, dangerous, and scary too. Suppose you chose that moment to swerve around a small obstacle?

  3. #3
    married to the bike Halfstep's Avatar
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    We may not have the most popular opinion on this, cedo, but I agree. I commute to work on the primary collector for my half of the city and then switch to the state highway that runs through town until I get to the downtown area and my worksite. I don't expect people to slow down or move over. They don't have the room or the inclination. I keep to the white line, or over it if I can, and have yet to feel my life endangered by the passing cars, trucks or semis.

    Having said that, however, I have to say I have been commuting on these roads for almost six years, every day, year round. I know the drivers and they know me. We respect each other. This may be the case for many other commuters and may not be the case for many others. But, I think this is a big component of commuter safety. Consistency of route and respect in riding contribute more to my safety than my bright yellow jacket, reflective leg bands and orange flag flapping in the wind behind my head.

    Neither they nor I see their behavior as "buzzing." We're all just getting to work. In fact, I've seen drivers give a look, or gesture, to another newer driver that doesn't show me respect, even though the newer driver isn't any closer than anyone else. It's all in the attitude. Both mine and theirs.
    "If people insist on rowing or jogging or bicycling, can't we at least get them to deliver the mail?" -- Bill Hall, Lewiston, Idaho, Tribune

  4. #4
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    What aggravates me is most of the buzzers are just cowardly lil' pukes that are too scared to move closer to the center line for fear of oncoming traffic.

    You watch... most of the gutter drivers are wimmin and oldsters.

  5. #5
    hill hater nova's Avatar
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    Getting buzzed like that is dangerous that why we hate it.Like va_cyclist said it only takes you to need to swurve around a object on the road like a pot hole glass etc to get hit. Or if you dont see the glass or pot hole etc and hit it it could much more easly put you in to the path of the car.

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    Senior Member va_cyclist's Avatar
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    I sort of get what you guys are saying. In all my years of riding I've been passed by hundreds, maybe thousands of cars that came within 12", and I'm still here. I tend to ride a pretty straight line, and I think that gives some motorists the feeling that it's OK to cut things close. But given a choice between that and cars that give a little extra room, I'll take the extra room.

  7. #7
    34x25 FTW! oboeguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikepacker67
    What aggravates me is most of the buzzers are just cowardly lil' pukes that are too scared to move closer to the center line for fear of oncoming traffic.

    You watch... most of the gutter drivers are NJ drivers.
    Fixed.

    Seriously, the occasional idiot on the soutbound part of my morning commute is almost always a NJ driver who can't seem to accept that s/he is now driving on an urban street. <sigh>

    But on topic... the margin of error is in fact the problem, IMO. For practical purposes, I couldn't care less if the driver who passed me with 6' or 6" of clearance doesn't like me or bikes or thinks my legs are too hairy. However, eventually enough of the 6" drivers will cause an accident which likely wouldn't happen with the 6' drivers. In other words, I fail to see the point of the OP posting at all.
    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Order
    Quote Originally Posted by sknhgy
    I do not want to be associated with the kind of riders that come through my neck of the woods on weekends, dressed in superhero costumes
    Do they wear capes?
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    http://www.cycopaths.net/

  8. #8
    Bent_Rider
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    When I'm buzzed, I always try to tell myself that everything is A-OK, they didn't hit me after all.
    Or I flip them off

  9. #9
    Banned. galen_52657's Avatar
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    First, there are 2 types of buzzing - accidental and intentional. Buzzing someone - weather it be a car buzzing a cyclist or pedestrian or a cyclist buzzing a slower cyclist or pedestrian or even a motorcycle buzzing a cyclist or pedestrian (I have witnessed all) is just downright unsafe and unnecessary. The buzzer is counting on the buzzed not deviating from their current path. If the buzzed wobbles or changes line, then you have an accident.

    If the OP is not concerned with people taking unnecessary risks with his wellbeing, well that just dandy. By riding on the white line the OP is inviting motorists to stuff themselves into an insufficiently wide space and most likely receiving way more buzzings than he would if he switched his lane position about 2' left of the white line.

    I have been buzzed by accident, caught up to the buzzer and receive an apology. Folks that buzz me on purpose should hope I donít get their license plat number as I will call the cops, report them, make a complaint and follow through until the police contact them and/or issue a citation.

  10. #10
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Well, first off it is against the law in AZ to pass closer than 3ft.

    Of course getting passed closer than 3ft (and sometimes within inches) is quite common.

    Rarely do cars pass other cars so closely -especially when traveling at 40-50mph. So why is it acceptable (even if illegal) to pass cyclist closer than other cars.

    I've had on several occasions the rear view mirror actually bump me. I had my upper arm bump the rear bed of a flatbed truck. This is too close for comfort and I find it dangerous.

    Al

  11. #11
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Isn't saying it is OK like saying he shot at me and missed so it is OK?

    I've been riding for years, much of it with a club and know of very few accidents. But one of these few was a pickup passing close and catching the cyclist with a mirror. Too close is too close even if you get luck this time.

  12. #12
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    buzzing is very similar to the stupid joke your friend pulls when you're looking over the edge of a tall building and he\she comes up behind you and shakes you for a second to scare you. for a split second you get scared because you think you're going to die. then you have a laugh about it.

    it's the same way with getting buzzed. only it's not your friend doing it and it's not going to be humours afterward. it's disrespectful and when it happens to me it gives me free license to spray them with my water bottle if i can catch up to them at the next light.

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oboeguy
    [....] But on topic... the margin of error is in fact the problem, IMO. For practical purposes, I couldn't care less if the driver who passed me with 6' or 6" of clearance doesn't like me or bikes or thinks my legs are too hairy. However, eventually enough of the 6" drivers will cause an accident which likely wouldn't happen with the 6' drivers. In other words, I fail to see the point of the OP posting at all.

    I guess this is why so many of us shave our legs! A little extra clearance is good. Getting rid of the love handles helps too.

    6 inches, as the OP said, is way too close. But on a good road I feel comfortable with 2 feet, as long as I've given myself enough room on the right to swerve if I need to. I'd rather have more room on the right and less room on the left, than the other way around.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  14. #14
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by va_cyclist
    Yeah, because it's discourteous, dangerous, and scary too. Suppose you chose that moment to swerve around a small obstacle?
    I always swerve to the right, not to the left and into traffic.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  15. #15
    hill hater nova's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by timmhaan
    buzzing is very similar to the stupid joke your friend pulls when you're looking over the edge of a tall building and he\she comes up behind you and shakes you for a second to scare you. for a split second you get scared because you think you're going to die. then you have a laugh about it.

    it's the same way with getting buzzed. only it's not your friend doing it and it's not going to be humours afterward. it's disrespectful and when it happens to me it gives me free license to spray them with my water bottle if i can catch up to them at the next light.

    Ballon full of cyan pepper and a pellet *** would work better

  16. #16
    Senior Member John Wilke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cedo
    I was "buzzed" today. Driver passed me a bit too close, but I am wondering. . . What's all the fuss? .... Does it really matter if they pass me with six feet or six inches to spare?
    If you want to ride up and lean on me, give me some elbow ... that's fine. However I'm not going to do that with a 2,000lb + vehicle that can end my life in mere seconds.

    I take it you've never been _really_ hurt.

    John Wilke
    Milwaukee

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Wilke
    I take it you've never been _really_ hurt.
    Yes you are correct, I have been very fortunate. And if my memory serves me, you were recently hurt very badly, although not by someone buzzing you too closely. If I ever get hit by a car, particularly by a side-view mirror or a wide trailer, then I would undoubtedly change my viewpoint about buzzing. I am not advocating that buzzing is OK. At a minimum it's discourteous and annoying and often quite dangerous. But in my experience, there is a lot of trust that goes on between cars and bikes. They trust you not swerve into their path, you trust them not to run you over. Sometimes the system breaks down, as it obviously did in your case.

  18. #18
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    I think the speed differential and vehicle size are both critical here.

    If some guy in a tiny car is slowly crawling by me, he can be real close before I start hassling him, especially in urban areas where close traffic passing is expected.

    But if a tractor-trailer is coming with a closing speed of 30mph, then he better stay the hell away, the air blast alone is enough to set me flying.

    Generally I reserve the term "buzz" for a deliberate act of attempted intimidation.

  19. #19
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    The few times I've been buzzed is by local cab drivers. Real fat slobs that take up the whole front seat and also the road as well. Ones that roll through stop signs as though they are allowed to do it.

  20. #20
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    After decades of riding as close as reasonably possible to the right side regardless of lane width I became accustomed to close passing ("buzzing", if you will), and didn't think much of it. Luckily, I never had to suddenly swerve off of my line of travel to avoid a hazard at just the wrong moment.

    But now that I have learned to make subtle lateral adjustments in my lane position, along with judicious use of my rear-view mirror and the slow/stop left arm signal, to discourage buzzing, it happens much less often, and I'm more sensitive to it when it does. Perhaps not unlike how ex-smokers tend to be especially sensitive to cigarette smoke.

  21. #21
    CRIKEY!!!!!!! Cyclaholic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    After decades of riding as close as reasonably possible to the right side regardless of lane width I became accustomed to close passing ("buzzing", if you will), and didn't think much of it. Luckily, I never had to suddenly swerve off of my line of travel to avoid a hazard at just the wrong moment.

    But now that I have learned to make subtle lateral adjustments in my lane position, along with judicious use of my rear-view mirror and the slow/stop left arm signal, to discourage buzzing, it happens much less often, and I'm more sensitive to it when it does. Perhaps not unlike how ex-smokers tend to be especially sensitive to cigarette smoke.
    If I'm ever in San Diego, or if you're ever here in Sydney we should go for a ride together. I think it would be an interesting (educational) experience.

  22. #22
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    After decades of riding as close as reasonably possible to the right side regardless of lane width I became accustomed to close passing ("buzzing", if you will), and didn't think much of it. Luckily, I never had to suddenly swerve off of my line of travel to avoid a hazard at just the wrong moment.

    But now that I have learned to make subtle lateral adjustments in my lane position, along with judicious use of my rear-view mirror and the slow/stop left arm signal, to discourage buzzing, it happens much less often, and I'm more sensitive to it when it does. Perhaps not unlike how ex-smokers tend to be especially sensitive to cigarette smoke.
    A bit off topic, but that would be me. I know I'm too close to a cager when I can smell his cigarette and I want to gag! Sometimes this happens at stop lights, but also on side streets, especiall at night when it's calm.

    Back on topic-- Like you, but 2400 miles away, I almost never get buzzed. In narrow lanes, I invite cagers to go into the next lane to pass me. I do this mainly by riding in the center of the lane and looking at them (if possible) so they know that I know that they are there. If there's a lot of traffic I pretty much ignore them, since I know they can see me good and they really don't want to hit me.

    In wider lanes, I invite them to hold back a second or two until I find a safe way to make room for them to pass. Again I do this by riding to the left some, and often by holding them back with either a look or by holding my hand out. If there is no oncoming traffic, they will go into the next lane to pass me, just like they would for a slower car. Sometimes I even point at the reason I'm holding them up, which is usually either debris, bad pavement or a parked car to my right.

    Sometimes the timid cager does not want to pass me, usually on a narrow street. If I want them to pass me quick because I see an obstruction ahead, I will actually wave them past me with my left hand. They often wave to thank me as they ride by. I think a lot of cagers around here don't know how to handle cyclists, so they are relieved when I tell them what to do.

    Since the cager and I both want to avoid messy accidents and/or fistfights, we have little trouble coming to an accomodation. This probably takes a half second or less to arrange, and it almost always goes smoothly for both of us.

    Usually if I get buzzed it's my own damn fault because I fail to communicate clearly and/or I'm riding sloppy. Usually I end up yelling at them anyway, but that isn't very fair if me! A couple times I have been buzzed maliciously. One time was kind of funny. I was held up at a train crossing for more than 20 minutes. After the train passed, I rode ahead in the narrow lane. The car behind me couldn't pass because of all the traffic bottled up by the train. He started honking and yelling "Sidewalk!" I thought it was hilarious that a train held him up for 20 minutes and he got mad at me for holding him up 5 more seconds!


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  23. #23
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclaholic
    If I'm ever in San Diego, or if you're ever here in Sydney we should go for a ride together. I think it would be an interesting (educational) experience.
    Doubt I'll make it to Sidney any time soon, but Adelaide is on the list, hopefully within the next 5 years. But if you (or anyone else on this forum) makes it to SD, yeah, I'd love to go for a ride. Of course!

  24. #24
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody
    I do this mainly by riding in the center of the lane and looking at them (if possible) so they know that I know that they are there.
    I've alluded to this communication skill, but you've hit it on the head: the importance of letting motorists know that you know they are there. Looking at them is an obvious way to do it, but there are other ways too, including issueing the slow/stop signal with the left arm, making other types of communication gestures, like standing up, or increasing cadence, or even just a lateral "don't even think about it" assertive/territorial move within the lane.

    I'm adding this point to my notes - notes I'm collecting for my book! Thanks!


    In wider lanes, I invite them to hold back a second or two until I find a safe way to make room for them to pass. Again I do this by riding to the left some, and often by holding them back with either a look or by holding my hand out. If there is no oncoming traffic, they will go into the next lane to pass me, just like they would for a slower car. Sometimes I even point at the reason I'm holding them up, which is usually either debris, bad pavement or a parked car to my right.

    Sometimes the timid cager does not want to pass me, usually on a narrow street. If I want them to pass me quick because I see an obstruction ahead, I will actually wave them past me with my left hand. They often wave to thank me as they ride by. I think a lot of cagers around here don't know how to handle cyclists, so they are relieved when I tell them what to do.

    Since the cager and I both want to avoid messy accidents and/or fistfights, we have little trouble coming to an accomodation. This probably takes a half second or less to arrange, and it almost always goes smoothly for both of us.

    Usually if I get buzzed it's my own damn fault because I fail to communicate clearly and/or I'm riding sloppy. Usually I end up yelling at them anyway, but that isn't very fair if me! A couple times I have been buzzed maliciously. One time was kind of funny. I was held up at a train crossing for more than 20 minutes. After the train passed, I rode ahead in the narrow lane. The car behind me couldn't pass because of all the traffic bottled up by the train. He started honking and yelling "Sidewalk!" I thought it was hilarious that a train held him up for 20 minutes and he got mad at me for holding him up 5 more seconds!
    Damn. Maybe you should be the one writing the book. This is good stuff, Roody. Very good.

  25. #25
    lws
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    Yesterday, I got passed too closely by a kid in a car. Not a great big deal, I was avoiding the door zone, he was passing me with plenty of room, and then for some reason moved laterally towards me. I think maybe there was something happening on the other side of the road that he was avoiding. The passenger had his window down, and I involuntarily yelled "watch it." The driver said "sorry..."

    It was kind of funny, actually.

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