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  1. #1
    Hypocritical Cyclist scottbot84's Avatar
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    Rules of the Road/Commandments of Cycling- what are yours?

    Looking at the wide variety of bikes on my college campus, I see evidence of a lot of misinformation, or total lack of information, about how to properly ride and care for a bike. I'm sure this has been discussed in depth already. My Question is this- what are your "Rules of the Road" in regards to cycling, in other words if you had a child (or have one) or a friend just starting out, what bits of advice would you give to them to set them on the right path? Something that could fit on a poster , or that Charleton Heston couls carry in "The Ten Commandments".Here are a few of mine.

    1. Sidewalks are for pedestrians and children. Under most, if not all circumstances, you should be on the street with all the other vehicles.

    2. In most states you have most of the same rights and resposibilities on the road as every other vehicle, gas powered or otherwise.

    3. Only Fred Flinstone stops with his feet. If you need to, you need to fix your brakes

    4.Your chain is not a permanent part of your bicycle

    5. You're riding a bike, not lifting weights. Pick a gear thats comfortable, not one thats hard.

    6. Your bike should be like a good pair of jeans. It should fit comfortably and function well

    That should be something to get you started. Let me know what you think. BTW I'm new to the forums,been reading a lot but this is my first post.
    Avoid bombs, package searches, fear of public transport, or claustrophobia- ride a bike.
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  2. #2
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    This works for me very well:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehicular_cycling

  3. #3
    Commuter JohnBrooking's Avatar
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    I really like this part of that Wikipedia entry:

    Quote Originally Posted by Wikipedia
    In the end, VC is as much about attitude as anything else. Without the VC attitude, no matter the skills, one cannot ride in traffic vehicularly. One really must believe, deep down, that as a cyclist he is a vehicle driver -- that he has the same rights as other vehicle drivers and that it is safe and not discourteous to assert those rights -- before he can act as a vehicle driver. Acting as a vehicle driver is a critical prerequisite to being treated as one (if one does not act as a vehicle driver, he certainly won't be treated as one).

  4. #4
    Hypocritical Cyclist scottbot84's Avatar
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    Avoid bombs, package searches, fear of public transport, or claustrophobia- ride a bike.
    ~David Byrne
    My Cycling Log
    #4884

  5. #5
    Dominatrikes sbhikes's Avatar
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    Thou shalt not pass moving traffic on the right.
    ~Diane
    Recumbents: Lightning Thunderbolt, '06 Catrike Pocket. Upright: Trek Mountain Bike.
    8.5 mile commute. I like bike lanes.

  6. #6
    Commuter JohnBrooking's Avatar
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    I was thinking the other day that really it just comes down to two rules:
    1. When safe for cars to pass between intersections, stay to the right.
    2. At all other times, obey the same rules as driving a car.

  7. #7
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnBrooking
    I was thinking the other day that really it just comes down to two rules:
    1. When safe for cars to pass between intersections, stay to the right.
    2. At all other times, obey the same rules as driving a car.
    Generally agree, except I'd make a few slight adjustments:

    1. When between intersections, faster traffic is present and it is safe for them to pass, move to the right until they have passed, then move to the normal position for traffic where others expect to see and look for traffic.
    2. At all other times, obey the same rules as riding a motorcycle.

  8. #8
    Hypocritical Cyclist scottbot84's Avatar
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    i'm talking about maintenance and things like that too. I see a lot of rusty chains and brakes where you could shove your hand in between the brake and the rim .
    Avoid bombs, package searches, fear of public transport, or claustrophobia- ride a bike.
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  9. #9
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottbot84
    i'm talking about maintenance and things like that too. I see a lot of rusty chains and brakes where you could shove your hand in between the brake and the rim .
    If it's broken or needs tuning, take it to the shop and use one of your backup bikes.

  10. #10
    Hypocritical Cyclist scottbot84's Avatar
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    well yeah I would too but what about John Doe on his Wal-MArt roadmaster that was built to fail?
    Avoid bombs, package searches, fear of public transport, or claustrophobia- ride a bike.
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  11. #11
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottbot84
    well yeah I would too but what about John Doe on his Wal-MArt roadmaster that was built to fail?
    Actually, besides teaching the vehicular cycling stuff, the LAB Road 1 and 2 courses cover a lot of basic maintenance stuff.


    Road I

    Gives cyclists the confidence they need to ride safely and legally in traffic or on the trail. The course covers bicycle safety checks, fixing a flat, on-bike skills and crash avoidance techniques and includes a student manual. Recommended for adults and children above age fourteen, this fast-paced, nine-hour course prepares cyclists for a full understanding of vehicular cycling.


    Road II

    Preston Tyree demonstrates BikeEdFor more advanced students with an understanding of vehicular cycling principles, this twelve-hour course includes fitness and physiology, training for longer rides, advanced mechanics, paceline skills, advanced traffic negotiation, foul weather riding and night riding. Student manuals are included with each class.

  12. #12
    Senior Member rando's Avatar
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    1. assume everyone will do the worst possible thing in traffic and plan accordingly

    2. assume people do not see you.

    3. keep your tires pumped up.
    "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

  13. #13
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rando
    1. assume everyone will do the worst possible thing in traffic and plan accordingly

    2. assume people do not see you.

    3. keep your tires pumped up.
    3 is fine, obviously, but I have a big problem with 1 and 2.

    If you truly assumed those assertions were true, you would be so debilitated it would be impossible to ride in traffic. I prefer....

    1. Assume almost everyone will be safe and reasonable in traffic (because they will), but there will be occasional exceptions. Be prepared for them, and plan accordingly.

    2. Trust that you're seen, but verify (be vigilant).

  14. #14
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    I ride very simply.........
    1. Assume you have a target on your back.
    2. Dont impede anyone else's forward motion.

  15. #15
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    3 is fine, obviously, but I have a big problem with 1 and 2.

    If you truly assumed those assertions were true, you would be so debilitated it would be impossible to ride in traffic. I prefer....

    1. Assume almost everyone will be safe and reasonable in traffic (because they will), but there will be occasional exceptions. Be prepared for them, and plan accordingly.

    2. Trust that you're seen, but verify (be vigilant).
    I like your rules, but in reality it is that both your number 1 and number 2 still put you in a vulnerable position... having to verify what motorists are going to do. What really is the individual cyclist doing differently between your "trust but verify" and "trust no one." (forgetting that trust no one even includes those behind you... )

    I often ride in what I call "ghost mode..." where I assume anyone in front of me (primarily motorists at intersections) cannot or do not see me. (hence consistent with "verify..." less the "trust" part).

    So how does "trust" work?

  16. #16
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    3 is fine, obviously, but I have a big problem with 1 and 2.

    If you truly assumed those assertions were true, you would be so debilitated it would be impossible to ride in traffic. I prefer....

    1. Assume almost everyone will be safe and reasonable in traffic (because they will), but there will be occasional exceptions. Be prepared for them, and plan accordingly.

    2. Trust that you're seen, but verify (be vigilant).
    HH, I have to agree with Rando, Buddy! Your style is your choice, but what Rando is advocating is my style of riding and I ride very long distance. I don't find the mindset the least bit debilitating, and would much rather have an escape roue handy!
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  17. #17
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    I like your rules, but in reality it is that both your number 1 and number 2 still put you in a vulnerable position... having to verify what motorists are going to do.
    What makes it doable is that at any given moment, the number of drivers that are relevant to your safety (the ones you need to verify) and for the immediate future (0-5 seconds, say), are usually very limited. Plus, by planning ahead, you can limit/influence what that number will be in the near future based on what you do right now.

    What really is the individual cyclist doing differently between your "trust but verify" and "trust no one." (forgetting that trust no one even includes those behind you... )
    Well the relevant "doing" here is paying attention. What Mr. TrustNoOne is doing is trying to watch EVERYONE (because he can't trust anyone). What TrustButVerify is doing is looking for a possible exception among the few that I even have to worry about.

    I often ride in what I call "ghost mode..." where I assume anyone in front of me (primarily motorists at intersections) cannot or do not see me. (hence consistent with "verify..." less the "trust" part).

    So how does "trust" work?
    Well, the obvious example is when you need to merge left, signal, and someone slows down to let you in. You trust them and go.

  18. #18
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    What makes it doable is that at any given moment, the number of drivers that are relevant to your safety (the ones you need to verify) and for the immediate future (0-5 seconds, say), are usually very limited. Plus, by planning ahead, you can limit/influence what that number will be in the near future based on what you do right now.


    Well the relevant "doing" here is paying attention. What Mr. TrustNoOne is doing is trying to watch EVERYONE (because he can't trust anyone). What TrustButVerify is doing is looking for a possible exception among the few that I even have to worry about.


    Well, the obvious example is when you need to merge left, signal, and someone slows down to let you in. You trust them and go.

    OK... sounds like we actually have very similar operating principles... with you only looking for exceptions, where I assume that anyone in front of me can make an exceptional move at any time. That latter bit of course has quite a bit of weight to it.

    I do tend to trust those that make very blatent moves that are obvious... such as your left turn example. Where my trust breaks down is that I look beyond the first driver that slowed and I watch for unexpected moves from the motorist behind, and other motorists that may try to take advantage of that slowing motorist (and do not see me) for their own gain. In other words... the motorist behind... are they suddenly going to go around... the guy behind me... is he suddenly going to go. So I have a higher level of "paranoia" than you.

  19. #19
    BF's Level 12 Wizard SingingSabre's Avatar
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    HH, please don't pick apart how I ride. What I do works for me, not for you. So just STFU about my personal rules of riding. Don't invalidate what I think, don't pick it apart. What we are both doing is based on personal experience and ideas, not fact. Also, part of this is meant to be (slightly, at best) humerous.

    Why do I friggin have to load up such a huge disclaimer about a post?!

    My rules:
    1. They don't see you.
    2. If you think they see you, be prepared for them to prove you wrong.
    3. Go with your intuition.
    4. Remember when you didn't follow 3.
    5. They still don't see you, so know your escape routes.
    6. Keep the rubber side down.
    7. Take safe construction sites and MUP's when possible rather than traffic.
    8. Cycling isn't cycling if you're not having fun.
    9. Watch more than the vehicles in front and behind you. Be wary of possible chain reactions.
    10. You're a different class of vehicle, act like it.
    Shameless plug (my sites):
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bklyn
    Obviously, the guy's like a 12th level white wizard or something. His mere presence is a danger to mortals.

  20. #20
    genec genec's Avatar
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    I find your 8, 9, and 10 to be important.

    8 actually keeps me from commuting all the time... as it is more work than fun.

    9 is key to my "paranoia." Motorists that don't see you will react to other motorists actions in a way that could peril you.

    10 is where we get to shift modes... and frankly this violates VC at times, but it is part of what cycling is. So I might shift to sidewalk mode to then go off road to a dirt path that gets me out of traffic. I am after all a cyclist.

    I do want to clarify though... when on the streets... I act and hope to be treated as a driver of a vehicle.

  21. #21
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    OK... sounds like we actually have very similar operating principles... with you only looking for exceptions, where I assume that anyone in front of me can make an exceptional move at any time. That latter bit of course has quite a bit of weight to it.

    I do tend to trust those that make very blatent moves that are obvious... such as your left turn example. Where my trust breaks down is that I look beyond the first driver that slowed and I watch for unexpected moves from the motorist behind, and other motorists that may try to take advantage of that slowing motorist (and do not see me) for their own gain. In other words... the motorist behind... are they suddenly going to go around... the guy behind me... is he suddenly going to go. So I have a higher level of "paranoia" than you.
    Yes, you do have a higher level of paranoia. When I'm waiting for someone to let me into the right lane as the first step to merging left, I'm focussed on what's in front of me, and whether anyone is letting me in or not, looking back, looking forward, possibly signalling (as appropriate). That's plenty, thank you very much. Once they slow down to let me in, that's when I verify no one is slipping in to that space, but I don't think or worry about them prior to that moment. Once I have verified that I can move left safely (and this verify takes a fraction of a second, I move left). At no time do I concern myself with what's going on in the right lane behind the guy who is letting me in - I can't affort to divert my attention from where it needs to be. Once I've established myself in the right lane, then I repeat the process again, again only concerning myself with what is relevant to what I'm doing.

  22. #22
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SingingSabre
    Why do I friggin have to load up such a huge disclaimer about a post?!
    Perhaps because you don't want words that you're posting on a public forum to be publically reviewed and commented on?

    Which begs the question... why are you posting here?

  23. #23
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottbot84
    Looking at the wide variety of bikes on my college campus, I see evidence of a lot of misinformation, or total lack of information, about how to properly ride and care for a bike. I'm sure this has been discussed in depth already. My Question is this- what are your "Rules of the Road" in regards to cycling, in other words if you had a child (or have one) or a friend just starting out, what bits of advice would you give to them to set them on the right path? Something that could fit on a poster , or that Charleton Heston couls carry in "The Ten Commandments".Here are a few of mine.

    1. Sidewalks are for pedestrians and children. Under most, if not all circumstances, you should be on the street with all the other vehicles.

    2. In most states you have most of the same rights and resposibilities on the road as every other vehicle, gas powered or otherwise.

    3. Only Fred Flinstone stops with his feet. If you need to, you need to fix your brakes

    4.Your chain is not a permanent part of your bicycle

    5. You're riding a bike, not lifting weights. Pick a gear thats comfortable, not one thats hard.

    6. Your bike should be like a good pair of jeans. It should fit comfortably and function well

    That should be something to get you started. Let me know what you think. BTW I'm new to the forums,been reading a lot but this is my first post.
    Here are two more:

    7. Learn how to fix a flat -- Carry the tools and materials needed to fix a flat at all times, when riding.

    8. Keep your bicycle well maintained, it's easy to do and makes riding much nicer.

  24. #24
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    Yes, you do have a higher level of paranoia. When I'm waiting for someone to let me into the right lane as the first step to merging left, I'm focussed on what's in front of me, and whether anyone is letting me in or not, looking back, looking forward, possibly signalling (as appropriate). That's plenty, thank you very much. Once they slow down to let me in, that's when I verify no one is slipping in to that space, but I don't think or worry about them prior to that moment. Once I have verified that I can move left safely (and this verify takes a fraction of a second, I move left). At no time do I concern myself with what's going on in the right lane behind the guy who is letting me in - I can't affort to divert my attention from where it needs to be. Once I've established myself in the right lane, then I repeat the process again, again only concerning myself with what is relevant to what I'm doing.
    Yup, this is exactly where we differ.

    It is clear now. While I do accept the motorist letting me in and move as quickly as possible, I also continue to look around for those motorists that want to take advantage of my situation (assuming they do not see me) and decide to go around the motorist that has been gracious to me.

    I have seen too many motorists exploit moments that they really should not, and "just make it." The problem is their "just make it" does not factor in the cyclist they failed to see.

    So I end up delaying perhaps a split second more than you. And I only depend on the motorist right at my "fingertips" as being the one that I "control."

    I have seen this demonstrated... and others, such as noisebeam have also seen this. (he had a whole video showing how one motorist let him in, while two more quickly moved to fill the gap they saw... unaware of the cyclist).

    Well now we know how we view traffic differently.

  25. #25
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    Well now we know how we view traffic differently.
    Not so fast.

    I have seen this demonstrated... and others, such as noisebeam have also seen this. (he had a whole video showing how one motorist let him in, while two more quickly moved to fill the gap they saw... unaware of the cyclist).
    Uh, did you see where I wrote: "Once they slow down to let me in, that's when I verify no one is slipping in to that space, ..."

    What do you think I'm missing?

    Spending time/focus/attention/resources verifying no one is slipping in prior to the moment when I'm ready to make my move is a waste of time/focus/attention/resources since I will have to re-verify when I get to that moment anyway.
    Last edited by Helmet Head; 09-14-06 at 06:24 PM.

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