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  1. #1
    Banned. Turboem1's Avatar
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    Some safety questions on the road for a beginner.

    Hi guys. I am new to riding my bike on a daily occurance and have some safety questions. I tried to read a lot of threads and it seems most people prefer to ride in the road as opposed to the sidewalk but i wont get started on that as it seems to bring up a lot of controversy.

    Anyway when riding in the road do you ride in the lane or next to the lane?

    If next to the lane are you supposed to ride going with the flow of traffic or against it? I have heard you are supposed to ride against the flow of traffic on the side of the road so you can see the cars coming. It seems like when going with traffic you cant see behind you and if you move over slightly or try to avoid something you may get clipped by a car.

    Also it seems like if your not in the lane you will have to be constantly going around parked cars which could be very annoying.

    Also if it matters I dont have a fast road bike, i mostly ride casually. Any tips for the best place to ride would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  2. #2
    Dominatrikes sbhikes's Avatar
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    Oh boy you are in trouble now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Turboem1
    If next to the lane are you supposed to ride going with the flow of traffic or against it? I have heard you are supposed to ride against the flow of traffic on the side of the road so you can see the cars coming.
    You heard wrong. I would be interested though, in knowing exactly how you came by this wrong advice-- it's been the subject of speculation here before. The law requires you to ride with the flow of traffic, rather than against the flow of traffic. You're a vehicle, and subject to the vehicle code, just like any other vehicle on the road. It's also safer to ride with the flow of traffic.

    It seems like when going with traffic you cant see behind you and if you move over slightly or try to avoid something you may get clipped by a car.
    Well, you could say the same thing about driving a car. It's why cars have mirrors, and it's why drivers are required to look before they change lanes. You should also have a mirror (although it's not required), and you should also look before you "move over slightly." After all, you're a vehicle too.

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    pretend your a car, only obey the law.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    You want to ride with traffic. Everywhere I know of riding against traffic is not only unsafe but illegal.

    While there is some dispute on exctly where to ride I do not know of anyone who advocates moving in and out of parked cars.

    One hint rarely mentioned is try to find streets that do not go through 'all the way' It is amazing how much calmer the traffic is on a street that 'only' goes 5 or 6 miles.

    Ask at local bike shops abotu routes and also about local clubs. Most bike shops are happy to halp you find clubs to ride with since that means you ride more and at least waer things out if not eventually beginning to lust after a better bike. Most shops near me have a little place set aside with hand outs from clubs and/or local governemnt with cycling information.


    Back to with or against. If you go 10 mph and the cars go 30 then you are closing with the cars at 20 mph if you are going with the cars and 40 if riding against traffic. Riding the wrong way the closing speed is twice as fast.

    Read some of the sticky threads in this forum, there is lots of good information, but remember things do vary a lot from place to place.

    Oh final hint early (e.g. before 10 or 11 am) on the weekends is often a nice time to ride. Rush hour is often the worst.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by lima_bean
    pretend your a car, only obey the law.


    Best post of the year?



    Quote Originally Posted by Turboem1
    Also it seems like if your not in the lane you will have to be constantly going around parked cars which could be very annoying.
    Annoying, and dangerous. See Doored v. Nailed for a discussion about the dangers of swerving in and out of the lane.

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    Who's taking bets about how long before you-know-who starts in about you-know-what? I say within 15 minutes of this post.

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    ARRRGGHHHHH!!!! I lost that bet. Glad I didn't put any money on it.

    I still stand by my claim that you-know-who will weigh in about you-know-what.

  9. #9
    One speed: FAST ! fordfasterr's Avatar
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    It took me a few weeks to work my courage up to ride on the road 100% ... at first, I took the sidewalk the entire way... Then, little by little, I would jump into the road where traffic was light, stay in the lane, to the right-most side ... then eventually I used the road 100% of the time and guess what ? I got to work in 1/2 the time vs the sidewalk because I could ride un-interrupted by bus-benches, pedestrians, poles, and worst of all... INTERSECTIONS !!!!

    I suggest that you work your way up to it, little by little as you feel more comfortable, use it more and more.... you will be on your way to VC soon !
    Florida Velodrome Association.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member LCI_Brian's Avatar
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    I suggest reading this, starting with quieter streets first...

    http://www.bikexprt.com/streetsmarts/index.htm

  11. #11
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Order
    Who's taking bets about how long before you-know-who starts in about you-know-what? I say within 15 minutes of this post.
    Is this a Harry Potter board now?!

  12. #12
    JRA
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    Quote Originally Posted by LCI_Brian
    I suggest reading this, starting with quieter streets first...

    http://www.bikexprt.com/streetsmarts/index.htm
    I second the nomination for starting with Street Smarts by John S. Allen.

    Chapter 2 is "Where to Ride on the Road".

    Street Smarts is good practical advice and doesn't seem to be too controversial. It's a good place to start.
    "It may even be that motoring is more healthful than not motoring; death rates were certainly higher in the pre-motoring age."- John Forester
    "Laws cannot be properly understood as if written in plain English..."- Forester defending obfuscation.
    "Motorist propaganda, continued for sixty years, is what has put cyclists on sidewalks." - Forester, sociologist in his own mind
    "'There are no rules of the road on MUPs.' -John Forester" - Helmet Head quoting 'The Great One'

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    Lurker extraordinaire Golf XRay Tango's Avatar
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    http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/pub...lingskills.htm

    This document from Ontario's Ministry of Transportation is pretty reasonable, and carries the weight of being derived directly from out Highway Traffic Act.

    Your state or province might have something similar. The laws don't change much between jurisdictions, except for those that apply to sidewalks and bike paths. Ontario is the only place I know of that allows (but discourages) riding on the sidewalk but prohibits riding through crosswalks.

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    Senior Member rando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Order
    ARRRGGHHHHH!!!! I lost that bet. Glad I didn't put any money on it.

    I still stand by my claim that you-know-who will weigh in about you-know-what.
    he's too busy messing with me on another thread. give it time.
    "Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world". ~Grant Petersen

    Cyclists fare best when they recognize that there are times when acting vehicularly is not the best practice, and are flexible enough to do what is necessary as the situation warrants.--Me

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    Senior Member OH306's Avatar
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    Watch this mpg file. If you don't do anything they do you will be safe(r). Beyond insane, but fantastic riders!

    http://www.digave.com/videos/red-web.mpg

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    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith99
    Is this a Harry Potter board now?!
    He-who-must-not-be-named is....
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  17. #17
    Senior Member rando's Avatar
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    This is wierd, he's late! his spidey senses must be tingling, though.
    "Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world". ~Grant Petersen

    Cyclists fare best when they recognize that there are times when acting vehicularly is not the best practice, and are flexible enough to do what is necessary as the situation warrants.--Me

  18. #18
    Chairman of the Bored catatonic's Avatar
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    1)Anyway when riding in the road do you ride in the lane or next to the lane?

    In the lane. As you log more miles on the road, it will make sense.

    2)If next to the lane are you supposed to ride going with the flow of traffic or against it? I have heard you are supposed to ride against the flow of traffic on the side of the road so you can see the cars coming. It seems like when going with traffic you cant see behind you and if you move over slightly or try to avoid something you may get clipped by a car.

    NO...ride WITH traffic. Against traffic reduces time to react, and increases impact velocity in event of an incident. Seeing the car plow you is hardly a bonus.

    3)Also it seems like if you're not in the lane you will have to be constantly going around parked cars which could be very annoying.

    Exactly why you should be in the lane, that and when right turn only lanes, or similar occur. If you are in the lane already, you won't have to play frogger to get where you want to go.

    4)Also if it matters I dont have a fast road bike, i mostly ride casually. Any tips for the best place to ride would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

    A bike is as fast as the rider. I have seen old men on beach cruisers who were pushing speeds in the high teens. Ride in places where your speed is no less than a third of traffic speed if possible. Anything slower may end up being difficult to deal with, due to drivers getting annoyed.

    I ride on the right of the lane, pulling into the middle when making room for cars to go into a right turn only lane or the such. I only use the left side for turning/merging purposes, or making room for cars to make a right turn on red.
    Last edited by catatonic; 08-16-06 at 07:37 PM.
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  19. #19
    Dominatrikes sbhikes's Avatar
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    Lord Volderhead.
    ~Diane
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    8.5 mile commute. I like bike lanes.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by rando
    This is wierd, he's late! his spidey senses must be tingling, though.

  21. #21
    Senior Member rando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by catatonic
    1)Anyway when riding in the road do you ride in the lane or next to the lane?

    In the lane. As you log more miles on the road, it will make sense.

    2)If next to the lane are you supposed to ride going with the flow of traffic or against it? I have heard you are supposed to ride against the flow of traffic on the side of the road so you can see the cars coming. It seems like when going with traffic you cant see behind you and if you move over slightly or try to avoid something you may get clipped by a car.

    NO...ride WITH traffic. Against traffic reduces time to react, and increases impact velocity in event of an incident. Seeing the car plow you is hardly a bonus.

    3)Also it seems like if you're not in the lane you will have to be constantly going around parked cars which could be very annoying.

    Exactly why you should be in the lane, that and when right turn only lanes, or similar occur. If you are in the lane already, you won't have to play frogger to get where you want to go.

    4)Also if it matters I dont have a fast road bike, i mostly ride casually. Any tips for the best place to ride would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

    A bike is as fast as the rider. I have seen old men on beach cruisers who were pushing speeds in the high teens. Ride in places where your speed is no less than a third of traffic speed if possible. Anything slower may end up being difficult to deal with, due to drivers getting annoyed.

    I ride on the left of the lane, pulling into the middle when making room for cars to go into a right turn only lane or the such. I only use the left side for turning/merging purposes, or making room for cars to make a right turn on red.



    this is really, good.
    "Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world". ~Grant Petersen

    Cyclists fare best when they recognize that there are times when acting vehicularly is not the best practice, and are flexible enough to do what is necessary as the situation warrants.--Me

  22. #22
    Skybird JLauren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith99
    Back to with or against. If you go 10 mph and the cars go 30 then you are closing with the cars at 20 mph if you are going with the cars and 40 if riding against traffic. Riding the wrong way the closing speed is twice as fast.
    Also, of you're going nose-to-nose with other traffic, it's a lot harder to manage where the pass occurs. If you're going with the traffic, the traffic behind you has the option (although many don't seem to realize it) of slowing down and waiting until you both reach a place where it's safe to pass. If you're going against the traffic, you're going to come together and force a pass (or collision) at a point entirely determined by your relative speeds; coming to a complete stop would just fix that point where you stop, unless you vacate the road completely.

    [that makes sense to me; I'm not sure I explained it adequately.]
    You are what you eat... and I eat a lot of fruit and nuts.

  23. #23
    Senior Member rando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Order
    glad somebody else liked that, besides me!
    "Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world". ~Grant Petersen

    Cyclists fare best when they recognize that there are times when acting vehicularly is not the best practice, and are flexible enough to do what is necessary as the situation warrants.--Me

  24. #24
    Chairman of the Bored catatonic's Avatar
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    edited my post...I got scatterbrained and was slightly conflicting on how I do my lane positioning.
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  25. #25
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Why not to ride towards traffic:
    Cars coming out of driveways won't look for you.
    Cars turning left into the street in front of you won't expect you.
    Cars going the same direction as you and turning left across your path won't expect you.
    If a car is approaching you, your closing speed is the sum of both vehicles' speed.

    For pedestrians this is all moot, since they are not moving very fast and they can stop or step off the road if traffic threatens them.

    For cyclists riding with traffic, the likelihood of bein hit from behind is extremely low. Most accidents are due to cross traffic or turning traffic at intersections, and riding on the road with traffic is the safest way to enter an intersection.

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