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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 10-26-11, 03:17 AM   #201
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Live in Copenhagen. Own one true racing cycle (from 1971), one cityfied racing bike (from 1969), a three-speed (from 1975) and two 1-speeds (from 1956 and 1940'ies). Distances covered vary from c. 8 to 25 km on weekdays, and from 0 to 120 on weekend days. I ride fast on the racers (as far as conditions will allow), and kinda slow on the 3- and 1-speeds. I'll mostly wear plain everyday clothes when riding.

I feel very privileged to live in a place with an infrastructure that favours safe bike riding, but I'm still a little jealous of the Dutch. No car. Don't need it.

Oh, no helmet, of course.
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Old 11-16-11, 02:09 PM   #202
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I mostly ride around town here, which is a pretty urban suburb just north of Newark, NJ. Most of the roads have 25 mph speed limits; a couple have 35. I mostly do utility runs nowadays, mostly within a 5 mile radius of home. The traffic stinks, and drivers are openly hostile to anyone on a bicycle. It's pretty much damned if you do and damned if you don't when it comes to taking the lane. I've missed being doored by inches a number of times, but come just as close to being sideswiped by cars going into the opposing traffic lane to pass me, honking and cursing the whole time. I try to find less traveled streets, which means a lot of meandering. What I've found recently is that the really main streets are better than the medium traffic streets as far as safety is concerned - nobody's moving very fast in the center of town, but they're trying to do 35 mph on some of the more through streets.

I also do some longer, recreational/exercise rides, but not as much right now, since my active bike (an early-90s Specialized HardRock, converted to a city/utility bike with fenders, rack, folding baskets, stem extender and trekking bars...) is heavy as a tank right now. I plan to add a lighter bike to the stable when Spring comes.

I used to ride road bikes, but haven't in about 10 years. I'd mostly ride in Western NJ when I did a lot of road riding. I plan to take one of the road bikes out of mothballs after the winter as well, and revisit some of my old rides.
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Old 12-14-11, 01:15 PM   #203
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I'm car free, so I use my MTB bike and public transit for just about everything.

Salem, OR is a pretty bike friendly city, so I have the option of sticking to bike lanes or back roads most of the time. There are a few busy spots where I'm a regular part of traffic that aren't so bike friendly and I ride in the middle of the right lane because I don't want to get run off the road when someone thinks they can squeeze between me and the car in the left lane. It also keeps me out of reach of sewer grates, potholes that always seem to be right next to the curb, blind right-hand turners, and the ever dreadful driver's side doors.

I tend to right through red lights if its safe and I don't stop at stop signs unless there are cars coming, other than that I follow most of the rules. You know, stay in your lane, obey the speed limit, blinkers...

Oh, and I'm a huge advocate for flashy things. Red lights, blinky lights, reflectors, refractors, flags, led wire, flare guns, anything so you're visible in the dark.
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Old 01-07-12, 02:41 PM   #204
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I am a recreational non-commuter cyclist who does 20-30 mile charity rides on my "urbanized" 2006 Jamis Ranger SX hardtail mountain bike, therefore I see no need to spend any more money than necessary since I do not race at all. Instead of knobbies due to my riding in the city mainly on pavement, I use Serfas Drifter 26 x 1.5 city tires on my "urbanized" hardtail mountain bike.

I do not use clipless pedals, I use VP Components alloy cage MTB pedals on my "urbanized" mountain bike with Wellgo resin MTB toe clips & KHS nylon straps. Instead of a SPD-compatible MTB/touring shoe, I use a pair of low-profile hiking shoes (which go inside and outside the toe clips easily) with a good insert.

Last edited by BJC; 06-19-14 at 12:11 AM.
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Old 01-31-12, 06:42 AM   #205
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I recently bought a Fuji Roubaix 3 with the excuse that I would use it to ride to work. My real intention is to eventually go on group rides on Sundays and the odd 180km ride once or twice a year. Until then I use it to ride to and from work.
My riding is done on busy Bangkok streets where I am competing for space with cars, motorcycles, bicycles, traffic cops, pedestrians and motorcycles that have been converted into mobile noodle shops.
I used to ride a motorcycle back in Australia so riding in heavy traffic doesn't worry me. It actually feels safer when I am able to go faster than the cars.
The only downside about riding in Bangkok is that the roads can sometimes be less than perfect.
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Old 01-31-12, 07:44 AM   #206
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I live and commute in a very congested and dangerous area of Tampa Bay. The Bay area has been identified as one of the most dangerous areas in the nation for bicycles and pedestrians.

I've been riding since I was a child in growing up in a small town. I have also been riding motorcycles on the roads since 1966. I have bicycle commuted in Japan and Italy.

That all being said: I try to use the Multi-use trails in the area when possible. Where they fade away I will use the shoulder and on occasion the sidewalks to avoid narrow, no shoulder, heavy traveled roads. I hate using the sidewalks but the abuse from cagers is not something I care to put up with to/from work.

I currently ride a cruiser for my commute and so cannot "sprint" or maintain higher speeds on the stretches without proper bike lanes or paths. When I rode a MTB or road bike I was much more comfortable "taking the lane" as I could run at higher speed.

I ride offensively defense!! I keep my head on a swivel, I try to make eye contact with the cagers. I smile and wave a lot! I love commuting on the bicycle but it's certainly not for everyone and being militant will not help things improve. There is a great effort being made county wide to build more and better trails and add bike lanes on the multi-lane feeder roads.
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Old 02-20-12, 07:36 PM   #207
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Here in Tampa, Florida, people don't know how to drive. Neighborhood streets don't always cut through and are often rough and paved with bricks. If they are paved, there are usually bricks under them. Very few of the busy roads that will get you where you're going fast have bike lanes. The bike lanes turn into and out of bus lanes, and I hate busses. The city has little concern and awareness that the bike commuting is growing. I find myself on my fixed gear, riding a hard ratio (47/14) and just trying to keep up with cars. Thats all you can really do when you're being passed by some rich girl on her cell phone or some thug with rims, blasting Waka Flocka. It is all very annoying to me. Close calls are inevitable but I try to stay on my toes and use good judgement. I try to utilize different types of skids to slow down. Lights are always changing, people don't use blinkers, and very few people have consideration for us. However, I love riding. I ride to work, to school, and my job is a bike messenger. Even after I get home from both work and school, I want to keep going. I usually rest and strap on my lights, then go for a night ride. Don't ride with fear, but be aware of the danger. Never get scared and freeze. Ride safe if you live in a crazy city like mine!
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Old 04-15-12, 11:06 AM   #208
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recreational non-commuter that does 25-35 miles at a time. I don't stop at stoplights and wait for them to turn green, nor come to a full complete stop at stop signs. I use common sense. I see joggers and bikers pull up to the lights and push the button and wait for the green and think it's silly. Non-motorized vehicles which don't require licenses to operate shouldn't be expected to follow traffic laws, waiting for stoplights with sensors that were designed for large vehicles.

If everyone went and did that it would clog things up worse, in my opinion. I don't travel on heavily congested roads ever though. On the rare occasion that I must, I do stop for the green light.
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Old 04-17-12, 08:38 PM   #209
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recreational and commuter. both dense urban and county routes.

almost zero bike culture here. drivers will actively mess with you and the cops will tell you they really don't care ( i know, i used to be one. ). most other cyclists are just folks with bikes, riding on the sidewalk and/or against traffic. recently it was two teens w/ custom cruisers riding two abreast against traffic. i hope they made it home safe.

no bike lanes and many areas without marked shoulders.

i ride:

1. to keep myself safe
2. to be as predictable as possible for motorists
3. then maybe obey traffic laws

if i don't have to stop, i don't. if there's a hole in traffic, i'm going through it.

i make liberal use of hi-viz, reflective and blinkies.
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Old 04-18-12, 08:04 AM   #210
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I ride in the road

I only use a bike path when going with family on the Coastal Trail in Anchorage and it's the only place where my wife had an accident because of an idiot on the trail. The only minor accidents I've ever had were on MUP so I avoid them at all times. I ride on the road, even in busy streets with no shoulder and a MUP next to the road. I ride on a highway shoulder quite frequently. If there are no cars coming from any direction I totally blow off stop signs. I ride in the winter down to +20 regularly and colder on occasion. I have a mtn bike, fat tire bike and road bike and prefer riding the road bike by a wide margin. Forrester's Effective Cycling (might have the title slightly wrong) is well worn and I ride with his advice in mind. That's how I ride.
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Old 04-27-12, 12:07 PM   #211
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What are everyone's thoughts about filtering past cars at a stop light?

I always get in line if I'm one of first 3 to the line but I don't feel comfortable at the end of a long line. I'm worried I'll be invisible to oncoming vehicles trying to make a quick left turn before the red light.

How does this relate to passing on the right?

Also, if traffic is slow would it technically be illegal to stay to the right (passing) per usual? We all do it.
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Old 04-27-12, 03:46 PM   #212
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i ride past the cars and stop with about half my front wheel in the crosswalk, make eye contact with the driver in front and take off when the light changes.

that's only if i have to stop at all, ie: no cross traffic.
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Old 04-28-12, 10:31 PM   #213
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I ride around 10,000km per year, get 3 bicycles in my house, oh, fold bike, mtb and road bike, love riding so much.

Is this place beatiful?
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Old 05-08-12, 01:48 PM   #214
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I'm primarily a recreational rider (about 50 mi/week). I'm in the northern Chicago suburbs. Close to where I live there are no bike lanes etc. so most of my riding is on secondary streets. To the south, the only way is on 4 lane arterials so there I ride about 2' from the fog line and take the lane when necessary. I follow more Franklin's approach to VC and haven't had problems. I won't filter unless I have sufficient room to manuever, nor will I run lights etc. IMO that just pisses people off.

I do take the kids to the local MUP for riding but we ride the bikes there. So then I'll follow them on the sidewalk on the 4 laner and we use the street otherwise. I ride a Lightning P-38 (bent) as do the three oldest of my kids (13,10, and 8) Ryan Vanguard, Rans Wave and Sunset lowracer respectively. The 6 yo is on my (very old-1950's) Schwinn Spitfire. The all have learned to follow a line and obey the traffic laws- "You're driving a vehicle, act accordingly".

Last edited by delcrossv; 05-08-12 at 01:51 PM.
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Old 05-13-12, 08:12 PM   #215
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I ride evenings on a 24 mile and early weekends on a regular 47 mile route primarily on rural state highways, some small non-incorporated rural areas. I do not ride at night and shift away from evenings to weekends when days get shorter. I know every bad place from white fog line w/no shoulder, close guard rails, to narrow bridges and one harrowing tunnel. Riding since the early 70's. Very defensive rider. On winding rural roads I ride tail gunner, always on the lookout for rear approaching cars as we enter winding blind corners. I've timed the crossings across bridges and through the tunnel to know my margins on cars approaching at 55-60 and number of seconds to reach danger points. I ride with front and rear blinking lights and exclusively wear safety lime green/yellow colors (riding, rain jackets, and vest). I prefer riding in groups.

The space cars give me is radically improved from the 70's. In that era the only vehicles that would give you an inch were long haul truckers. RV's were the worst. I've been run off the road, shot at, verbally harassed, had things thrown at me, all in the 70's, early 80's.

Now it appears, most people know a cyclist and identify with the hazards. I also live in a recreational type community and that helps. I'm always on the lookout for the strange situation. My women cycling friends will not pedal alone, and that single fact tells you how fortunate most men are. Group riding is probably the most safe situation assuming that the group does not descend into a mob and rush lights, blow stop signs together, lane split or just behave like ***ks.

I stopped riding a nice local path during summer because of pedestrians not behaving rules of road and unleashed dogs.
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Old 05-25-12, 01:33 PM   #216
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My commute is 13 miles of mostly-flat, straight paved road. about 1/2 the route has a shoulder, but 3/4 of that is full of gravel and debris, so I try to stay close and inside the white line. I wear visible colors and never ride before dawn or past dusk. I obey all traffic laws and ride defensively. Signal turns and be predictable to cars. No sidewalk riding, always wear a helmet. I do NOT weave or "funnel" through cars, because frankly, I don't much like playing sandwich with 2 ton cars, getting honked at, or getting in trouble with a cop.

In Idaho, cyclists can legally treat stop signs (not red lights) as "yield" signs so as to not slow traffic, so I do that quite a bit. I don't have to deal with major highways except for 3 quick crossings, and other than that I am either on an arterial, in a parking lot, or on bike pathway.

Most drivers pass safely in my area but some people are just idiots. As such, I am always on lookout for inattentive (zoned, bored, tired) drivers. One way I like to make sure they see and pass me safely is the take the lane when they're coming up behind me (with the speed limits on the route, they ARE going to pass) and then retreat to the white line only after I can tell they see me and start a safe pass (definition: all the way into the other lane, just as if they were passing another car). That way we have plenty of room.

I think the most dangerous drivers I've encountered before I adopted the above strategy were pickup trucks and SUVs. Just because of their sheer size and vision block, they are intimidating to cyclists - and motorists' behavior in these vehicles reflects that fact that all to often they don't take into account that they are driving a boat. Once, a pickup started to pass me with maybe 2 feet of room to spare (I was on the white line!) and he was driving way above the speed limit. I was intimidated and rode over into the steep gravel shoulder which caused me to lose traction and fall at about 15mph and deep cut my left knee. The driver had to have seen me crash but just kept going. Fortunately most people are not like that.

So the lesson, just like people have talked about in this thread, is the drive defensively, legally, always take the lane during passes and at intersections to keep from being run over, and ALWAYS keep you head up and eyes peeled!

Last edited by E.S.; 05-25-12 at 01:38 PM.
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Old 05-25-12, 02:48 PM   #217
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I ride mostly on the local trails or around the baylands, since I got my road bike up to seven thousand miles in thirteen months , it is going to take a break for a while , I have turned my attention to my hybrid mountain bike and use it for local airens and having fun joy riding with it.
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Old 07-30-12, 02:00 AM   #218
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Ride for training 2-3 times a week (road bike) roughly 150k,
Don't commute by bike to work (don't like preventing car commuters from getting to work on time)
Ride on roads mainly early hours (little traffic) or generally outside of high traffic hours.
Live in the suburbs of a large city,
Never ride on sidewalks, never run through red lights, don't like when cyclists do so.
obviously respect other bike riders when in a car (you'd be amazed how many cyclists don't do that)
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Old 08-12-12, 06:58 PM   #219
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I live in Utah, we got a full set of laws on how and where to ride, some conflict, we sposed to do what a car should mostly, except ride in the burrow pit. I need to upload pics of the new bike lanes in taylorsville,, hard to see the bike picture on the road for the garbage.
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Old 08-13-12, 02:31 AM   #220
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I use a full complement of lights at night (white light in front that I set to flash, rear red flasher that I put on a sort of rotating pattern, spoke lights for the side view), use a rearview mirror on my helmet, and am very conscientious about signalling turns.

However, I definitely treat stop signs and flashing red lights as "yield" signs even though I don't live in Idaho or a state that legally allows that (if I ever get stopped by the cops I plan to ask them if they really want me to slow down the traffic behind me, and point out that at my speed, I'm spending as much time near the intersection as a car that stops does). My friend (who recently did RAGBRAI with his son) that sometimes rides places with me is very anal about following every rule, and it's an unspoken awkward element of riding together that as I breeze through the intersection, he slams on his brakes and then has to hurry to catch up with me again (sometimes we are on a road that has stop signs at the end of every block, and I cringe at how much work that looks like, LOL).

I too have noticed that cars seem to be generally more careful about giving cyclists space than they used to, which is mostly a good thing. However, a lot of them seem to me to go a little too far the other way. I don't ride all that fast (I like to think of myself as part of the Slow Bike Movement) and it makes me grit my teeth when I'm moseying along, way over to the right, and a car just idles along behind me at 7 mph or whatever even though there is plenty of room to go around me. It's basically tailgating IMO. I also find, especially when my kids are with me, that we'll be waiting at a stop sign (when on a side street, at an intersection where we are waiting to cross a through street), and a car coming along the busy through street will stop, despite not having a stop sign or light, and motion for us to cross. I tend to be hesitant to do this, and then sometimes a line of cars starts forming behind the car that stopped, and everyone is getting impatient and irritated with everyone else, ugh.

Last edited by SlackerInc; 08-13-12 at 02:34 AM.
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Old 08-16-12, 08:56 PM   #221
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I ride on the road and gravel, dirt & muddy trails. I would do it all but cant.
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Old 08-27-12, 12:23 PM   #222
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Where I ride:
The dirty excuses of a road in Africa. Luckily, the city I'm in is fairly developed so we do have some paved roads (included the huge Nairobi Road), but those are filled with potholes and make straight runs all but impossible.

How I ride:

Nowhere near how I'll ride in America! The motorists (even the ones without licenses) know to keep an eye out for cyclists since that's the 2nd most common transportation method (compared to the public buses, motorcycles, canopied motorcycle-jeep hybrids, and the ever-rare private vehicle). We don't have traffic signals or stop-signs of any sort - it's more of a "judge your distance and go" sort of deal, and as long as the biker doesn't make any stupid judgment calls they are generally safe. All I can do is recreational biking at the moment, though I do enjoy the occasional "race" that happens between cyclists. Pure sprinting there.

Overtaking is a tricky subject. We don't have shoulders on our road, and we don't have official lanes either. Anytime a speeding bus is passing they give a honk about... 1.5 seconds before overtaking. Cyclists, luckily, all have duck-horns or jingling bells to signal they are overtaking (and use them well in advance). Most of my cycling is done during the quietest traffic hours of the day: noon - 4 pm.

Of course, then I go off to the side-roads that lead to the individual villages. Those have almost NO traffic, are nothing but rocks, and offer some pretty intense hills and maneuverability checks. The main worry there is speeding your way through cow herds without getting trampled... or bumping into the bulls. Those guys are nasty when they're mad.

I'm almost hesitant to return to American streets in May of next year - I hear the drivers there have little-to-no respect for cyclists and my antics of swerving between buses and crossing "lanes" to overtake cars and taxis will probably not be tolerated. I'll have to settle down
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Old 09-18-12, 11:02 AM   #223
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I ride an 82 Schwinn Continental that I have outfitted for as many uses as I can.
  • I use it to commute and wear a bright yellow backpack
  • I use it on long rides (50+ miles) and will use it on my first century (9/23)
  • I use it for short trips for grocery runs
  • I use it for short fun rides or just to get out

Where I live.....
Chicago. A bicyclists haven as well as hades.

You have everything form busy city streets, to quiet residential streets; MUPs and wooded Forest Preserve trails that see lots of traffic on weekends from runners, cyclists, families and blade-ers; lots of sidewalks that you can be ticketed for riding on; different areas of Chicago that are becoming more and more bike friendly with the advent of bike lanes that are closest to the curb and the parked cars closest to the traffic.

How I ride.......
I am blessed that my trip to work is about 1.5 miles on a busy street, .5 miles on very quiet residential streets, and 5 miles on wooded Forest Preserve paved trails. My riding style is that I am very courteous on the street because I understand the frustration many Chicago motorists have with the vast majority of hipster riders in the city, as well as on the trails. I always signal my intent well before I execute any maneuvers, always notify pedestrians that I am passing, always try to stay visible at all times, and well lit at night.

My weekends are my fun times, I generally try to get 50+ miles in a weekend and have an eventual goal of 100+ miles at least 2 weekends a month. Because of where I live in Chicago I am situated closely to a clear 30 miles of paved trails that are well maintained, plus branching off that many bike friend roads that can connect to other trails. Which makes 50 miles a cinch and would allow for me to expand and travel 100+ if I wanted to.

When I am on a road, I stay as far right as possible and if there is a shoulder I will use that as long as it is clear of debris. I always have a flashing rear facing red light going just to bring more notice to my presence on the road, and when I know there is heavy traffic I ride more upright. I am rather hard to miss in my estimation to begin with, so up on the bars means I am pushing 6 1/2' of height.
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Old 09-24-12, 09:16 AM   #224
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When I was in Chicago last summer, I was impressed by how many cyclists I saw on the streets (particularly around the "Gold Coast" neighbourhood). I had last been there several times in the mid-'00s, and I don't remember it being like that then. They were also cyclists who served as better role models to point out to my kids than, for the most part, the ones we see in our town: helmets, lights, riding the right direction, signalling for turns, etc. Kudos!
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Old 09-24-12, 03:02 PM   #225
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I live/bike in a suburb of Sacramento, CA. Outstanding bike infrastructure. Bing my daughters (7, 10) with me on the roads, and have not had any issues so far. We ride in the road...trying to teach them responsibility and respect for the cars on the road. Love it, and will contiue to do it.
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