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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 07-09-01, 06:48 PM   #1
LittleBigMan
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This is a hold up...

Building off another thread about a cyclist holding up traffic...

I had a man ask me (at the office) how many motorists I had held up that day.

He may have been kidding, but I am not. I commute by bike in lots of traffic on every kind of street. One thing I have never done: hold up traffic.

Traffic whizzes right by me. They simply don't have the patience to wait for me to accelerate to 35 mph (ha, ha, that's a joke, son.) I figure that with a minimum of 100 horses pulling them along, they shouldn't have a problem passing me. And they never do have a problem.

But I can tell you what holds up motorists: other motorists. It's as plain as the nose on their faces. They are guilty of holding each other up. It's times like these I love to pass them all! If that makes them angry, it's only because they can't do it themselves. Whenever they are able to find a shortcut around traffic, they glow with self-satisfaction over their accomplishment. I know, because I drive, too.

Just get everyone on a bike, and they will be smiling at each other and waving and talking instead of honking, yelling and cussing at each other.
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Old 07-09-01, 07:39 PM   #2
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You are quite right. There is never a line of traffic behind me. Motorist are their own worst enemies, what with road rage, traffic jams, collisions, etc. While flying the other day I had an interesting visual effect. As usual I was flying after a full day of work, dog tired, and also wearing an old pair of glasses while waiting for my replacements to come in. Just as the plane was descending to land I noticed a cemetary that seemed to go on forever. After a while I realized it was a cemetary next to a large parking lot and that it was quite hard to tell where the boundary was. Motorists beware!
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Old 07-09-01, 08:23 PM   #3
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There's not a trip I ever make, that I don't marvel at how motorists seemingly have to consult their instruction manuals to find out how to start up their cars again at a green light. Maybe that's why they're so apt to run the red ones: they know it's very, very difficult and slow to get started up again! Sometimes I'm able just to leave them all behind--for a few seconds, anyway.
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Old 07-09-01, 09:22 PM   #4
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I take great pleasure in the fact that I can keep up with the best of them. My commute is roughly 15 miles of one long, straight road into town. Obviously it gets busy in the mornings, so I have to keep on the cycle paths (in abundance), so speed is kept fairly low to avoid brain-dead pedestrians that stubble onto the paths.

However, after work its a different story. I normally blast down the empty bus lanes (they never catch up due to the amount of stopping they have to do). You should see the looks on the faces of some drivers as I pass alongside them doing 35+. They are like rabbits caught in headlights - they know they should be going somewhere faster but can't.

The best thing I find is when you beat them through lights. Don't get me wrong I don't go through red ones, but due to the amount of slower moving cars slowing each other down at junctions by wanting to turn this way or that, it is that glorious split-second when you can accelerate faster than they can. You can't beat it.
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Old 07-09-01, 09:52 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by Weasel

You should see the looks on the faces of some drivers as I pass alongside them doing 35+. They are like rabbits caught in headlights - they know they should be going somewhere faster but can't.
Weasel, this is a BICYCLE forum, not a motorcycle forum

Do you REALLY do 35+ miles per hour on a bicycle on the flats regularly on your commute? IF yes, I gotta know, how do you do it? Is it your bike or are you a trained racer?

Man, if I get to 25+ mph on the flats in the city on my commute, I think "sombody pinch me"! OF course, my commuter bike is a '70's vintage Peugeot PX-10, but still. What a difference.

I hit 40 mph a couple of times, but I was going downhill on a country road and had my eyes closed.
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Old 07-09-01, 10:27 PM   #6
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Mike, no problems whatsoever. My commuting bike is a no-name, lightweight aliminium frame with nothing more than 2 skinny wheels, handlebars and a chain. I don't need anything else.

Admittedly, I can only keep up this sort of speed for short bursts inbetween traffic lights, but it is great interval training where short bursts at a high heart rate are called for.

I do on very rare occasions find myself sliding in behind a truck and coasting in his slip stream. However, I don't follow too closely and I always make sure I have space to see in front of him, but it works. It depends on my mood. And I don't take risks that I can't pay for - its not worth being spoon fed for the rest of your life.

I don't advocate wreckless riding, in fact I am one of the most safest riders I know!
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Old 07-09-01, 11:22 PM   #7
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Zowie, 35+ miles per hour in traffic. That's more than 56+ kilometers per hour (it sounds better in kilometers). That is spooky. I would not even want to be a bug on your shoulder.

I notice you are from Berlin - Deutchland? I once got on the autobahn by accident when bicycling in Germany. All was quiet for a few minutes. Still, something seemed terribly wrong. Then, the traffic came bearing down on me.

OH MY GOD!!!! GOT IM HIMMEL!!

My legs were spinning like a fifty-dollar fan while drivers whizzed by me calling me nasty names that sound really insulting when said in German - whether you understand German or not.

That was the fastest I ever bicycled. Although I was too busy to look at my cyclocomputer, I estimate that my peak speed was about 127 miles per hour (204.4 kilometers per hour). Still, automobiles were passing me. Oh, those crazy German autobahn drivers.

Last edited by mike; 07-09-01 at 11:27 PM.
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Old 07-09-01, 11:33 PM   #8
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Ha ha. That is one definitely crazy thing I have not yet tried!!
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Old 07-09-01, 11:40 PM   #9
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WOW!! 127 MPH??!! Man that is really quite amazing. Did all that speed like rip off your clothes? Did you have one of those funny g-force faces? Did your wheels survive?
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Old 07-10-01, 12:32 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Hunter
WOW!! 127 MPH??!! Man that is really quite amazing. Did all that speed like rip off your clothes? Did you have one of those funny g-force faces? Did your wheels survive?
Well, it didn't rip off my clothes, but it made me pee in my pants.
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Old 07-10-01, 10:20 AM   #11
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I find that the only time I'm holding up traffic is when the car behind me is driven by an elderly person who has no idea of how to pass a cyclist. I've had these people follow me for blocks. When I see the traffic backing up, in my helmet mirror, I'll pull into a parking lot or driveway so this person can navigate past me.
Then, for the next few minutes, I'm wondering how this person got his/her license renewed, or asking myself why he/she is out on the road at this early hour anyway. The stores and malls aren't open yet.

I totally agree with everyone that the over-abundance of motorized vechicles is what holds up traffic. Of course I could never convince a non-cyclist of this.

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Old 07-10-01, 10:49 AM   #12
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My experience mirrors that of Pete and of RonH. The only time I hold up traffic is when a motorist behind me has no clue what to do with this strange helmeted alien being in front of him or her, and, yes, it usually does happen to be an older driver that is so hesitant to pass.

But there are millions of young drivers who should never have been licensed, either.

And weasel, the pedestrians form the number one hazard in my opinion: I practically get a cold sweat when I see a certain kind of pedestrian about to step out into the street ahead of me.

Number two hazard: "cyclists" riding against traffic, or alternating the sidewalk with the street ahead of me, providing potential for a crash at any moment with no warning.

Number three: about 40% of motorists.
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Old 07-10-01, 03:56 PM   #13
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Just the opposite of elderly drivers afraid to pass are the young drivers, usually 18 to 30 years old. They generally pass within inches (maybe centimeters) doing 40+ mph.

And then there are the people talking on their cell phones. They aren't even aware they are drivng a car. So how could they possibly know there is a cyclist in front of them?
This happened to me this morning only two blocks from home. A young woman was talking on her cell phone and missed me by inches. That was bad enough, but when she was two car lengths ahead of me she honked her horn. What was the purpose in that? A delayed reaction? The image of a cyclist in front of her finally registered and momentarily "interrupted" the call? :confused:


I haven't had the opportunity of encountering a wrong-way cyclist yet. That should be fun.

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Old 07-10-01, 04:23 PM   #14
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If one can be an a**hole, so can another. If someone ever asks me how many cars I held up, I'll play along and say something like: "Oh, about 134 today, but tomorrow I'll go for my record of 156!".

I generally don't hold up traffic either, but I often get "tailgated" around here. When that happens I ignore it and let them wait all day if they so desire. I couldn't care less about them. They are scum.

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Old 07-11-01, 03:08 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by RonH
Just the opposite of elderly drivers afraid to pass are the young drivers, usually 18 to 30 years old. They generally pass within inches (maybe centimeters) doing 40+ mph.
Ron
This has been a big problem for me lately. SO MANY automobile drivers pass me within inches going very fast - probably about 40 mph like RonH said.

Now, I am forced to take the middle of my lane just to keep cars from buzzing me like that. We know that taking the center of the lane is safer, but it is frightening on busy streets. You know that somewhere along the way there will be a drunk or a woman putting on make-up or someone on a cell phone who will not realize why the person in front of them just switched to the other lane and they will gun their engine to close the gap. This is my fear of getting rear-ended.
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Old 07-11-01, 04:24 PM   #16
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I saw this on the Critical mass website -

Bikes don't hold up traffic - Bikes are traffic.
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Old 08-13-01, 10:36 PM   #17
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I have occasionally held up traffic, for a short while. Not because I wanted to. But around here, a lot of the streets were first built before cars became the primary mode of transportation for most people. A lot of the streets, therefore, are too narrow for two cars going in opposite directions to pass each other if there are cars parked by the side of the road. If I am cycling down these narrow roads, I might very well block the car behind me, for a short while. In this instance, i try and get over into the parking lane to let the car behind me pass. The suburb where I actually live solves the problem of narrow streets by making all but a few main throughfares be one-way streets. But the suburb just to the north of us where I run most of my errands doesn't do this.

I too have had plenty of drivers buzz just inches from my elbow at 40mph or faster. I think part of the problem is that speed limits are so universally flaunted. I think people today have an attitude of "I deserve to go faster than everyone else. My time is more important than theirs."
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Old 08-13-01, 10:45 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by HillaryRose
I might very well block the car behind me, for a short while.
To that I say "so what?"

In any other facet of life, people have to wait their turn. Why should this be any different?



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Old 08-13-01, 11:44 PM   #19
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Holding up traffic?

Don't these people know that the days of the highwayman are over?
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