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Advocacy & Safety Cyclists should expect and demand safe accommodation on every public road, just as do all other users. Discuss your bicycle advocacy and safety concerns here.

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Old 10-21-05, 05:46 PM   #1
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HH, dude, I love ya. This thread is for you. Perhaps it can even become a sticky. Let's discuss specific tips, tricks, tactics and strategies for riding on the road. Note I didn't include MUPs or sidewalks or bike lanes. I bet we can do this without mentioning VC once (err make that twice ), since on the road the only obvious and indeed, in many cases, legal choice is to observe the vehicular rules of the road. Think of this thread as a way to educate newbs and experienced riders alike, including parents who may wish to educate their kids about how to safely cycle on the public roadways. I have confidence in your (and a bunch of other folks) knowledge and experience to present this info in a fashion that everyone can understand, without adding terms and categorization of other riding methods that might confuse them, as well as to avoid the usual VC-anti-VC debates (ok 4 times) that tend to cloud some of the useful information you and others provide. Are ya game?

Ok I will start it off.

My mommy says that I should not ride my bike on the road (she does too). But I have to sometimes to get where I want to go. So when I do I just hug the curb or shoulder as close as possible. Is this ok?
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Old 10-21-05, 05:50 PM   #2
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Roody, man I love you too. You are perfectly welcome to be as anal as you want to be concerning the topic at hand. (LOL like you care what I think anyway...but I do know that you have a sense of humor and a lot of good info to share as well)
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Old 10-21-05, 05:53 PM   #3
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um...chipcom? are you talking to yourself?
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....and why am I in this handbasket?
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Old 10-21-05, 05:54 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by CycleMagic
um...chipcom? are you talking to yourself?
It's only wierd if I talk back to myself.
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"Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey
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Old 10-21-05, 06:10 PM   #5
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It's only wierd if I talk back to myself.
It's worse if you get into a fight with yourself, and lose.
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Old 10-21-05, 07:12 PM   #6
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It's worse if you get into a fight with yourself, and lose.
DOH!!!!
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Old 10-21-05, 09:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chipcom
My mommy says that I should not ride my bike on the road (she does too).
Assuming you have a road bike, ask your mommy why it's called that. (if you don't have a road bike, maybe your mommy doesn't know the difference)


Quote:
Originally Posted by chipcom
So when I do I just hug the curb or shoulder as close as possible. Is this ok?
Maybe, if you don't mind sometimes hitting your pedal on the curb and falling off your bike into the street. Personally, I hate it when that happens.
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Old 10-22-05, 06:17 AM   #8
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Tip: Beginners & intermediates, go to a parking lot, empty one, and really learn the limits of your bike's cornering and handling. I see a good number of people who have no idea how tight & fast one can turn.

Tip: Practice emergency stops.

I've seen wrecks where either of these skills would have avoided the problem. Being able to not be where the bad thing is about to happen is our first line of defense.
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Old 10-22-05, 09:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mandovoodoo
Tip: Beginners & intermediates, go to a parking lot, empty one, and really learn the limits of your bike's cornering and handling ... Tip: Practice emergency stops.
Good points. You know what else should be practiced? I was reading last month's issue of Bicycling magazine, and they had a really good article about Bike Cop School. I've picked up some of the techniques in that article, and they've really helped my riding.

Things like... riding as slow as you can with your brake on to reduce the center of gravity. Things like keeping your balance at sloooooow speeds.

I spend about an hour a week practicing slow riding, track stands, and making little donuts around the manhole covers in my street. All in the vein of learning to balance better on the bike.

Another tip? While you are practicing your slow riding, practice clipping and unclipping, too. Oh, and practice looking back over your shoulder while keeping the bike moving straight forward.

Tim.
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Old 10-22-05, 10:13 AM   #10
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Take your bike with you and stand in front of a mirror. Do you look like a car? No. Ride accordingly.
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Old 10-22-05, 10:32 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad M
Take your bike with you and stand in front of a mirror. Do you look like a car? No. Ride accordingly.
Take your bike with you and stand in front of a mirror. Do you look like a pedestrian? No. Ride accordingly.
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Old 10-22-05, 11:14 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chipcom
HH, dude, I love ya. This thread is for you. Perhaps it can even become a sticky. Let's discuss specific tips, tricks, tactics and strategies for riding on the road.
I have tried to distill the lessons I have learnt in 20 years of cycling as follows:

1) stay awake and cautious at all times- the same level of attention/caution as you use to drive your car is NOT sufficient

2) assume that they havenīt seen you until proven otherwise - that way you wonīt be disappointed very often

3) be visible with lights and reflective clothes but donīt assume the cagers will be able to see you even if you ride around with a flare attached to your head

4) you have a right to a place on the road and ride assertively but donīt get carried away with this- cagers have NEVER heard of VC and thinks bikes are toys

5) whenever you come to ANY intersection check around- I think you know why- if you donīt you soon will

6) be predictable- signal your intention clearly to any other road users but donīt rely on them cooperating

7) if you need to stop suddenly or think you might have to- then brace against the handlebars to stop yourself going over the bars

8) if you are not confident that the situation is under control then bail off to the side (pavement/sidewalk)
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Old 10-22-05, 11:52 AM   #13
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When approaching a redlight or stop sign don't be afraid to use the middle of the appropriate traffic lane for your intended direction of travel. Never use the right turn lane for anything other than right turns. Sometimes the BL, if present, will be to the right of the right turn lane. Ignore it under these circumstances. You're much more predictable and safer this way.

If it's a two lane road use the middle of your lane for any direction.

Use arm signals.

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Old 10-22-05, 12:10 PM   #14
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If you're new to trailer towing, take a tip from mandovoodoo and practice.

The heavier the load the more it will affect your bike's handling and braking. Especially in wet weather.
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Old 10-22-05, 12:14 PM   #15
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From my years as an all weather, year round commuter, I belive that the biggest risk factors for injury is falling down because of pilot error. Here are my tips to help prevent crashng all by yourself:

- slicks provide the best traction on pavement, if that is what you ride on, use slicks. Make sure that you keep them at the proper inflated level
- do not ride over manhole covers or sewer grates, no matter what the cagers think
- cracks in the pavement that run the same direction as you are travelling are very dangerous. Avoid and monitor carefully
- lines painted on pavement are very slippery when wet. Take this into account on rainy days
- if you are going to take a hit from a hole or object you haven't seen until too late, grip your bars and try to take as much weight off the front wheel as you can.
- try to be as "situationally aware" as possible. I try and moniter my surroundings with eyes, ears, and "esp". I don't wear headphones and focus on the road/cars/bike exclusive of anything else.
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Old 10-22-05, 01:17 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daily Commute
Take your bike with you and stand in front of a mirror. Do you look like a pedestrian? No. Ride accordingly.
That too..
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Old 10-22-05, 01:37 PM   #17
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Brad M,
In what way should cyclists ride differently in traffic than drivers of car drive?
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Old 10-22-05, 02:12 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Brad M,
In what way should cyclists ride differently in traffic than drivers of car drive?
Dont exoect drivers to see you or if they see you dont expect them to give a damn.

I assume every driver on the road is a total and complee ****** who doesnt know how to drie around other cars let alone how to drive around a cyclist on a bike. Start in center of lane and keep a eye out for cars or other motor vehicals. Watch them to see what they are going to do when they start to move left move right. This way you end up with alot more room between you and the car even if they intended to only move over far enough to pass you so they dont damage their car.

This can be done effectivly with out a mirror. I my self have no mirror. But obviously a mirror is a big help. Most of the times ive been buzzed the driver has done it purposfully.
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Old 10-22-05, 02:34 PM   #19
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[QUOTE=royalflash]
7) if you need to stop suddenly or think you might have to- then brace against the handlebars to stop yourself going over the barsQUOTE]

I wouldn't count on that. If you stop fast enough for what ever reason, then you WILL go over the bars.



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Old 10-22-05, 02:38 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iamtim
Things like... riding as slow as you can with your brake on to reduce the center of gravity.
How does THAT work??

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Old 10-22-05, 03:38 PM   #21
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It's funny, I do that sometimes but never thought about why it works. I *think* that it helps you keep your body very still, where actually pedalling -- even slowly -- makes you wiggle somewhat. It's the last step before a trackstand. I don't see how it could move your center of gravity.
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Old 10-22-05, 03:41 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Wilke
How does THAT work??
According to the article I read, because you are putting more force on the pedals (to push against the brakes) it lowers the center of gravity to down around the cranks from up around the seat.

Scientifically, it may all be hogwash. But I do know that I am able to stay balanced better at really slow speeds if I am pedalling against the brake than if I"m just coasting.

I think it's why trackstands work, too. You woudn't be able to balance if you weren't pushing on the pedal and preventing the bike from moving with the brake.

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Old 10-22-05, 04:30 PM   #23
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From my experience, managing traffic falls into two categories: one, avoiding getting hit, and two, avoiding confrontations. Many riders that I have known are actually in as much fear of cat two troubles as they are of cat one.

Here are my category one tips for riding in traffic:
1) follow traffic laws like any other vehicle
2) use common sense to negotiate special situations
3) signal what you are going to do
4) do not show timidity in traffic (no matter how you actually feel)
5) be well lighted at night

In some ways, I think that the Category two tips may be of more use. I have never had a really close call in my years of commuting with a car/bike collision, but there are regular acts of aggression to cope with. So, here are my Category two tips:
1) try not to flinch at horns, shouts, or close drive-bys. Showing weakness or fear will encourage further aggression
2) try not to take it too seriously. In many cases that I have encountered, it was a car of teens or rednecks trying to make their buddies laugh. They did not really have a thing against cyclists, I believe, and they usually just drive away. But such situations can get out of control, so...
3) treat cars and the people in them like a force of nature, or the weather. Ignore them in a regal manner, ie: You take the lane for whatever reason you needed to. A car beeps behind you, revs the engine, and you hear shouting. Slowly, disdainfully, turn your head, look at them, and slowly turn back again as if there was nothing worthy to see back there. Maintain a neutral, barely interested expression. Ignore anything else that happens. Then get out of the way ASAP.
4) active aggression should be reported to the police. If you have a cell phone, use it. If you don't get something out of your backpack or pocket that looks like a cell phone from a distance and pretend to call the cops. (I used a spare tube, all rolled up, once like that)
5) view losing your **** emotionally as a sign of weakness. You are stronger, more honorable, and centered than the cagers... like a samuri maybe. It's silly to get mad at the weather, sometimes the wind blows, sometimes it doesn't.
6) Lastly, always remember this - 3% or so of the adult population has an antisocial personality disorder and is capable of lethal violence if sufficiently aroused. That means if you interact with 200 cars on the way to work, there were around 6 that contained a driver who would kill you if they became sufficiently angered. No matter how big and tough you are, the smallest driver has control of a machine that can killl you instantly. And that isn't considering those that are armed! Even if you win a confrontation one day, you never know when they will be behind you again... after stewing about how you treated them last time for the past three days.
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Old 10-22-05, 04:54 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mars
From my experience, managing traffic falls into two categories: one, avoiding getting hit, and two, avoiding confrontations. Many riders that I have known are actually in as much fear of cat two troubles as they are of cat one.

Here are my category one tips for riding in traffic:
1) follow traffic laws like any other vehicle
2) use common sense to negotiate special situations
3) signal what you are going to do
4) do not show timidity in traffic (no matter how you actually feel)
5) be well lighted at night

In some ways, I think that the Category two tips may be of more use. I have never had a really close call in my years of commuting with a car/bike collision, but there are regular acts of aggression to cope with. So, here are my Category two tips:
1) try not to flinch at horns, shouts, or close drive-bys. Showing weakness or fear will encourage further aggression
2) try not to take it too seriously. In many cases that I have encountered, it was a car of teens or rednecks trying to make their buddies laugh. They did not really have a thing against cyclists, I believe, and they usually just drive away. But such situations can get out of control, so...
3) treat cars and the people in them like a force of nature, or the weather. Ignore them in a regal manner, ie: You take the lane for whatever reason you needed to. A car beeps behind you, revs the engine, and you hear shouting. Slowly, disdainfully, turn your head, look at them, and slowly turn back again as if there was nothing worthy to see back there. Maintain a neutral, barely interested expression. Ignore anything else that happens. Then get out of the way ASAP.
4) active aggression should be reported to the police. If you have a cell phone, use it. If you don't get something out of your backpack or pocket that looks like a cell phone from a distance and pretend to call the cops. (I used a spare tube, all rolled up, once like that)
5) view losing your **** emotionally as a sign of weakness. You are stronger, more honorable, and centered than the cagers... like a samuri maybe. It's silly to get mad at the weather, sometimes the wind blows, sometimes it doesn't.
6) Lastly, always remember this - 3% or so of the adult population has an antisocial personality disorder and is capable of lethal violence if sufficiently aroused. That means if you interact with 200 cars on the way to work, there were around 6 that contained a driver who would kill you if they became sufficiently angered. No matter how big and tough you are, the smallest driver has control of a machine that can killl you instantly. And that isn't considering those that are armed! Even if you win a confrontation one day, you never know when they will be behind you again... after stewing about how you treated them last time for the past three days.
Good stuff, I'd just like to add one thing that IMHO is rule #1 and applies to much more than cycling:

ALWAYS BE ALERT AND AWARE OF WHAT IS GOING ON AROUND YOU!
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Old 10-22-05, 06:16 PM   #25
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If you like to ride at 20 to 30MPH, you should practice BRAKING at those speeds. Almost nobody does, and it's not a good thing to have your first hard braking experience at 25MPH be an emergency stop.

Who here practices hard braking?
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