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Old 10-06-06, 12:17 PM   #1
LittleBigMan
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Consistency

I was wondering if anyone else besides me thinks "consistency," that is, riding a route regularly at about the same time of day, might contribute to motorists expecting you to be there. Even more, that they might get used to passing you every time through practice. Finally, that if you are courteous and friendly, they might return that gesture in the form of greater caution and safer passing distances as they get to know you.

Any thoughts?
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Old 10-06-06, 12:24 PM   #2
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I like to think so but there are so many hundreds per commute of driver I encounter that it is very rare to encounter the same ones.
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Old 10-06-06, 01:15 PM   #3
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Yeah, I'm almost always on my commuting route at the same time in the mornings and afternoons. It only took 3 years but some the local van pool drivers have started to recognize me and wave.
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Old 10-06-06, 01:16 PM   #4
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I think a bigger factor is you figure out the best way to handle each part of the ride. Riding a bike in traffic is a lot more demanding than driving. Do you ever hear drivers talk about lane position? No. In a car, just keep the yellow paint on the left, white paint on the right, and rubber side down and you'll do fine. Riding a bike is incredibly situational -- how wide is the lane, what's traffic like, what time of day is it, what's the weather? My office moved recently, and it took me about a month to figure out how to ride my new commute. Not the route, but how to ride -- where to ride on the road and how to handle turns.
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Old 10-06-06, 03:04 PM   #5
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I had the same postal mail truck honk me at the same place two days in a row so I say yes.

But I agree with DC. The more you ride the same route during the same time period, the better you get at doing it, which probably counts for more than what ever the motorists can do for you. Any improvements on the motorists part is most likely from us teaching them how to drive (or how NOT to drive) around us.
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Old 10-06-06, 03:20 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleBigMan
I was wondering if anyone else besides me thinks "consistency," that is, riding a route regularly at about the same time of day, might contribute to motorists expecting you to be there. Even more, that they might get used to passing you every time through practice. Finally, that if you are courteous and friendly, they might return that gesture in the form of greater caution and safer passing distances as they get to know you.

Any thoughts?
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When I do my regular commute at oddball hours, about half of which is on a 6 lane arterial with no bike lane that most cyclists avoid, drivers seem to react differently to me, but it's hard to describe exactly what that difference is.
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Old 10-07-06, 05:43 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleBigMan
I was wondering if anyone else besides me thinks "consistency," that is, riding a route regularly at about the same time of day, might contribute to motorists expecting you to be there. Even more, that they might get used to passing you every time through practice. Finally, that if you are courteous and friendly, they might return that gesture in the form of greater caution and safer passing distances as they get to know you.

Any thoughts?

I see this too, but when you live in a rural county of about 28,000 (this county has grown a great deal in the last five years) and you're one of a very few cyclists, and the only one that tows a trailer, it's not at all unusual to be seen by a friend, someone you know, or someone you have seen/been seen by before.

I had a dumptruck driver with a load on, blow the horn while approaching me from behind on a two-lane NOL the other day. I did not shift right from my lane position, but smiled and waved as he passed in the on-coming lane. About two miles later I hung a right enroute to my house and there he was. Delivering his load, just past the intersection on my route. We smiled and waved to each other as I rode by.

In this situation, it pays to make an effort to give all motor vehicles passing from either direction, a smile and acknowledging nod or wave. Most likely it's someone that has seen you before and will see you again. If I lived just a few miles further north, in Tallahassee, this would not be possible, nor practical.

On my old commute, before I retired, I rode the same route at about the same time most days and would see a lot of the same cars. This was on Okinawa, with a lot more cars and people and much more motor vehicle traffic on my commute.
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Old 10-07-06, 07:22 AM   #8
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Consistency - Maybe so... but the last couple of days the commute home has had more honks and agressive drivers. I do not know if it is because it is the end of week or just the full moon.
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Old 10-07-06, 11:02 AM   #9
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Yes, the people on my route have gotten to know me. They also know that if they don't give me the respect I deserve, they WILL regret it.

I got buzzed by a minivan once when I first started riding... passenger screams out the window at me (Couldn't really understand what he said, but there were a couple choice cuss words in there...) I chased them for two miles, with the driver basically going in circles, trying to get away from me because he didn't want me to find out where he lived.

Saw the same van a couple weeks later, passed with the absolute minimum passing distance that I would consider safe for that spot and speed, and he turns left about a half block up. So, I follow him... He pulls into a driveway, and I roll up to the end of the driveway and stop. He messes around in the van for a second, then gets out, looks up and sees me. All the blood drains from his face, and he stands there looking like he just saw a ghost.

I gave him a wave and rode off.

He's passed me on at least 4 other occasions along the same stretch of road, and he's always been courteous and given me plenty of room after that.

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Old 10-07-06, 11:19 AM   #10
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I just checked Traffic Stats for one of the roads I cycle commute on.
The 7am vehicles/hour rate is 3400
The 5pm vehicles/hour rate is 4200

Sure I encounter some of the same drivers, but I haven't yet noticed any of the same ones.

Someone else can play with the math if that is fun for you. Assume I eave home at the same time +/-5min. Assume 35% of volumes listed are traveling in same direction as me (I travel against rush hour volume) Assume 90% of those are regular commuters, assume they too leave home within same 10min window. I travel 30min during my commute, for simplification lets assume the volume is the same for the entire route (which is obvsiously isn't as that many cars are not coming to my house per hour ). So what is the probability of crossing paths durring my PM commute?

Al
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Old 10-07-06, 11:20 AM   #11
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I'm in a small town. When I first started commuting to work there was a lot more cars on one particular street than there seems to be now. There is a parallel street one block over, but many cars took "my" route as a short cut to avoid a couple of traffic lights. Not only do I not see that many cars any longer, but I've noticed some turn off and go to the next street in my mirror. "My" street has a limit of twenty-five mph, but the short cutters regular took it at 35 or 40. Even if I picked up the pace to 25, they would whip around me.

I don't know whether it is because they recognized me or because I complained to the police enough that they would position a car behind a barn when I road home in the afternoons and drivers got the message that they would have to slow down or take the other street.
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Old 10-07-06, 12:04 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noisebeam
I just checked Traffic Stats for one of the roads I cycle commute on.
The 7am vehicles/hour rate is 3400
The 5pm vehicles/hour rate is 4200

Sure I encounter some of the same drivers, but I haven't yet noticed any of the same ones.

Someone else can play with the math if that is fun for you. Assume I eave home at the same time +/-5min. Assume 35% of volumes listed are traveling in same direction as me (I travel against rush hour volume) Assume 90% of those are regular commuters, assume they too leave home within same 10min window. I travel 30min during my commute, for simplification lets assume the volume is the same for the entire route (which is obvsiously isn't as that many cars are not coming to my house per hour ). So what is the probability of crossing paths durring my PM commute?

Al
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Old 10-07-06, 12:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleBigMan
I was wondering if anyone else besides me thinks "consistency," that is, riding a route regularly at about the same time of day, might contribute to motorists expecting you to be there. Even more, that they might get used to passing you every time through practice. Finally, that if you are courteous and friendly, they might return that gesture in the form of greater caution and safer passing distances as they get to know you.

Any thoughts?
I would like to think so yes. But only if the same motorists drive the same roadways as you ride at the same time as you.

I am basing this on my commute home. There are so many random variables it is doubtful though. For example there may be a day where I take longer to get out of the office or I can leave earlier. The same may be true for motorists who are going home from work too & travel the same roadways as I do. Or if myself or a motorists leaves at the time that would cause us to see recognize one another either one of us may have to stop before the time & place where we'd see each other. I may have to stop to make an adjustment to my equipment or use the restroom, etc. The motorist may have to stop for gas.

In all honesty I do not pay enough attention to the types of vehicles to notice if they are the same ones day after day on my commute home. I notice the traffic, but not if it is the same vehicle or same driver for that matter.
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