Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 23 of 23
  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    SW Idaho
    Posts
    644
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    When the Wrong Way was the Right Way...

    I was just reading through a thread in the Commuting Forum that discussed some of the dangerous (and deadly) behaviors some of our more cereberally-challenged cycling brethren (and sisteren) practice while out on the roads. Besides the tragically common error of riding without a helmet, probably the next most-popular transgression of common sense is riding in the wrong direction in relation to vehicle traffic.

    Although it's a stupid practice, I seem to recall being told as a kid (I'm 46 now) that this was the proper way to ride... Anyone else have that experience? And if you did, who told you? Was a Boy Scout thing (I believe I heard that once)?

    As a child I simply rode around the neighborhood or to school on my Schwinn Stingray (about 3/4 mile - all on residential streets). Never mixed it up with cars on major thoroughfares. Later, in college, I rode my Raleigh Competition GS 10-speed with a bunch of guys who knew what they were doing. I learned bike etiquette and how to ride in traffic THEN.

    Can we attribute some of this wrong-way behavior as the result of an old-school teaching of something that was once considered proper? Clue me in, because I really don't remember!

  2. #2
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    AZ
    My Bikes
    Cannondale SuperSix, Lemond Poprad. Retired: Jamis Sputnik, Centurion LeMans Fixed, Diamond Back ascent ex
    Posts
    13,974
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I was born in '70. grew up in the Northeast US and never once was exposed to any wrong way is the right way message.

    Al

  3. #3
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    5,808
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Yes this is how a lot of children are taught to ride, and in context it is reasonable. Kids who are barely going faster than a brisk walk, who don't really pay attention. They really are more like pedestrians on back roads without sidewalks.

  4. #4
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    www.ci.encinitas.ca.us
    My Bikes
    1959 Capo; 1980 Peugeot PKN-10; 1981 Bianchi; 1988 Schwinn KOM-10;
    Posts
    15,275
    Mentioned
    10 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Every now and then I read a misguided letter to the newspaper editor, but the scariest news item related to wrong-way cycling was the Montana legislator who tried, about 6 years ago, to mandate it for all bicyclists on rural roads.

    Several weeks ago Marilyn Vos Savant addressed the issue in one of her columns, noting that a contraflow cyclist will pass by (or be passed by) more cars per unit time or distance than one riding with traffic.

    My big objections to contraflow cycling are: 1) it reinforces the perception that bicyclists are essentially pedestrians, rather than part of traffic; 2) it can be very hazardous to those who ride in the proper direction; and 3) motorists, particularly those entering from a side street, are almost invariably looking away from a wrong-way cyclist. As a pedestrian, I have enough trouble getting their attention.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
    Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
    Bianchi: 1981 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
    Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069

  5. #5
    Fattest Thin Man Az B's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Directly above the center of the earth
    My Bikes
    Miyata 610, Vinco V, Rocky Mountain Element
    Posts
    2,649
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I was taught to ride against traffic as a kid, but when I got t-boned by a right turning car while riding against traffic at the age of 12 (naturally, I was somewhere I wasn't supposed to be, so I got in a tidal wave of trouble too) I did the math and realized that riding with traffic and following (more or less) the traffic laws and flow was far safer.

    It might have been the blow to my helmetless head, but it just came to me, epiphany-like.

    Az

  6. #6
    i like mud discosaurus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Mighty City by the Mighty Mississippi
    My Bikes
    Trek 7.2 FX WSD, beaters
    Posts
    392
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    For kids, it makes sense, as does riding on the sidewalk. That is how I learned to ride in the late 80s.

    When I started riding a full sized bike on the road I was taught to ride as traffic. That was in my teens, about the same time I was learning to drive a car.

  7. #7
    Yabba-Dabba-Doo! AlmostTrick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Bedrock, IL
    My Bikes
    1968 Schwinn Orange Krate, 5 speed stick shift
    Posts
    3,087
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I don't believe I was ever taught as a kid to ride against traffic by anyone. Although that's exactly what I was doing when I was hit by a car at 10 years old.
    Have Bike, Will Travel

  8. #8
    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Minneapolis
    Posts
    6,999
    Mentioned
    12 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I was taught to run/jog against traffic.
    If you're not riding with a psychedelic gecko on your shirt, you ARE having a substandard experience.

  9. #9
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    AZ
    My Bikes
    Cannondale SuperSix, Lemond Poprad. Retired: Jamis Sputnik, Centurion LeMans Fixed, Diamond Back ascent ex
    Posts
    13,974
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
    I was taught to run/jog against traffic.
    Me too. It was drilled into me as young kid: Ride with traffic, walk against traffic.

    Al

  10. #10
    Senior Member maddyfish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Ky. and FL.
    My Bikes
    KHS steel SS
    Posts
    3,945
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by dwr1961 View Post
    Besides the tragically common error of riding without a helmet, probably the next most-popular transgression of common sense is riding in the wrong direction in relation to vehicle traffic.
    Interesting that you lump these two things together. I have ridden for years with and without a helmet. Riding a bike properly is a very, very, safe activity, and does not require a helmet.

    Riding on the right side of the road is part of riding properly.
    Not too much to say here

  11. #11
    genec genec's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    san diego
    My Bikes
    custom built, sannino, beachbike, giant trance x2
    Posts
    23,053
    Mentioned
    8 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by noisebeam View Post
    I was born in '70. grew up in the Northeast US and never once was exposed to any wrong way is the right way message.

    Al
    I was born in the '50s... I remember something like the wrong way being touted only for walking.

    I do vaguely recall going to a "Bike Rodeo" and getting safety lessons, but I always rode on the right side.

  12. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    NE IL
    My Bikes
    Surly Long Haul Trucker, Giant Cypress DX
    Posts
    645
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I was born in the '40s and was taught to walk against traffic, but bicycle with traffic. That was on rural roads near Chicago. Helmets for bicycle riders were unheard of at that time.

  13. #13
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    40205 'ViLLeBiLLie
    My Bikes
    Sngl Spd's, 70's- 80's vintage, D-tube Folder
    Posts
    7,906
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by dwr1961 View Post
    Besides the tragically common error of riding without a helmet,
    Wrong for you perhaps, not others..........

    Quote Originally Posted by dwr1961 View Post
    probably the next most-popular transgression of common sense is riding in the wrong direction in relation to vehicle traffic.

    Although it's a stupid practice, I seem to recall being told as a kid (I'm 46 now) that this was the proper way to ride... Anyone else have that experience? And if you did, who told you? Was a Boy Scout thing (I believe I heard that once)?
    Im 48 and heard this theory more than a few times growing up, too......
    I remember it dying out in the late 70's, it seems.
    It still is a hit with joggers though, a lot of them do it for reasons they perceive
    as safety related and also facilitates selfish iPod-ery.
    Last edited by -=(8)=-; 01-11-08 at 04:53 PM.
    -ADVOCACY-☜ Radical VC = Car people on bikes. Just say "NO"

  14. #14
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    474
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Born in the 80s, always rode the sidewalk as a kid, learned the 'proper' way from the california driver's handbook when i was a teenager. Got a bike when I was 20, researched riding style from bikeforums, cal. driver's handbook, california vehicle code, bicyclesafe, and various google searches. thanks, internet!

    oh internet <3 <3

  15. #15
    Pedal pusher... alicestrong's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Los Angeles
    My Bikes
    I've got a bunch...
    Posts
    7,758
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Sidewalk as a kid, on the street when I got a full sized bike. Don't remember being taught anything less than ride with the flow of traffic (remember the old bicycle safety films?)...

  16. #16
    Keeping A Low Profile
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Atascadero, California
    My Bikes
    Specialized Hardrock Sport [1998], Dahon Speed P8 2007, 1994 Diamond Back Ascent and a couple of Schwinn Stingrays [one boys, one girls] from circa 1977.
    Posts
    160
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Began riding a bicycle in the late '40s, early 50's. Never received any instruction from the folks except, "watch out for cars!" Never gave a thought to traffic direction. Rode on the sidewalks whenever possible. This was in a small town.

    Once, when I was around 10 years old or so, remember blasting through a stop sign downtown with a cop coming the other way. His window was down, he slowed-up, stuck his arm out the window and 'waggled' his finger at me [much like B Clinton denying 'having sex with that woman' <g>]. Scared the crap out of me.

    I've got to admit that riding against the flow of traffic DOES have the advantage of being able to look into the eyes of the person about to plow into you.

    DON
    The older I get the less future there is to worry about!

  17. #17
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Wilmington, DE
    My Bikes
    2003 Specialized Hardrock, 2004 LOOK KG386i, 2005 Iron Horse Warrior Expert, 2009 Pedal Force CX1
    Posts
    8,851
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by -=Łem in Pa=- View Post
    It still is a hit with joggers though, a lot of them do it for reasons they perceive as safety related and also facilitates selfish iPod-ery.
    Are you saying that pedestrians would be better off not facing traffic? If so, why?

  18. #18
    Still Around
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    285
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by dwr1961 View Post
    I was just reading through a thread in the Commuting Forum that discussed some of the dangerous (and deadly) behaviors some of our more cereberally-challenged cycling brethren (and sisteren) practice while out on the roads. Besides the tragically common error of riding without a helmet, probably the next most-popular transgression of common sense is riding in the wrong direction in relation to vehicle traffic.
    Is there a full moon or something? If not, what else explains the proliferation of this type of ranting about the "transgressions" of "our more cereberally-challenged cycling brethren" both on this list and the commuting list from posters who think the own the definition of "common sense" about cycling? What exactly is the point?

  19. #19
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    3,199
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I was born in 1947. WHen I started riding my bike, I read that I was suppoded to do it on the right, so I did. I can't recall whether my parents had any opinion ion the matter. I do recall that it was exciting to go from walking on the left to riding on the right -- something of a rite of passage.

    Paul

  20. #20
    Violin guitar mandolin
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Friendsville, TN, USA
    My Bikes
    Wilier Thor, Fuji Professional, LeMond Wayzata
    Posts
    1,171
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I was taught to ride with traffic. Arrested for riding that way after being directed to ride against traffic. Lectured by my parents and everyone else. I don't recall which way I was being directed to ride at that point. Noticed that riding against traffic was certainly going to get me killed. Even at that time I was riding rather more briskly than most.

    At this point, I can't fathom how anyone could ever expect me to ride against traffic. Haven't they watched the TDF news segments?! We cyclists move along nicely.

    My most serious cycling accident was a head on with a wrong way unlit cyclist.

  21. #21
    Skybird JLauren's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Upstate SC, USA
    My Bikes
    2006 Trek 1500
    Posts
    229
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by -=Łem in Pa=- View Post
    It still is a hit with joggers though, a lot of them do it for reasons they perceive
    as safety related and also facilitates selfish iPod-ery.
    For someone on foot, going against traffic makes sense in that nothing on your side of the street is going to sneak up on you (including a correctly-traveling bicycle) and you can easily step out of the way if necessary.

    The problem with cycling against traffic is that there is very little that one can do to control where a pass takes place. Unless everyone stops, it's got to happen in a very narrow area due to the closure rates and limited options. In contrast, when cycling with traffic it's much easier because the faster vehicle can simply slow down until reaching a safe place to pass (not that they do, but they could).

    I find that I can also control where a pass happens by being observant of what's coming up behind me and speed up to get around the bend or slow down so they catch me on the straight-away. It'd be a lot more difficult to do that if I was riding against traffic (closure rate), and there'd be little option if oncoming traffic showed up and prevented a safe pass.
    You are what you eat... and I eat a lot of fruit and nuts.

  22. #22
    Back in the Saddle
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    My Bikes
    Carrera Podium, DB Sorrento
    Posts
    56
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
    I was taught to run/jog against traffic.
    Me too. Walk/jog/run against, cycle with. Also born in ’70. This was from grade school taught by a school district that had no buses. Everyone walked or rode bikes.

  23. #23
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    40205 'ViLLeBiLLie
    My Bikes
    Sngl Spd's, 70's- 80's vintage, D-tube Folder
    Posts
    7,906
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by joejack951 View Post
    Are you saying that pedestrians would be better off not facing traffic? If so, why?
    Im not opining either way, just an observation.

    I live in a destination location.....Lots of bikes and joggers.
    Joggers often run in the bike lanes the wrong way, too.
    This is very annoying and dangerous.
    Whether you like lanes or not, purposely going the wrong direction
    in areas clearly marked "Bicycles Only" is not behavior I approve of.
    -ADVOCACY-☜ Radical VC = Car people on bikes. Just say "NO"

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •