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Old 05-13-08, 09:25 AM   #1
ShadowGray
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Problems from drivers

So after a few weeks here, I've noticed that there's a lot of complaints about how drivers treat bicyclists on the road... yet I've never had it happen to be in the 2 weeks I've commuted so far. Maybe I haven't been riding long enough, but in Philly it seems most people are friendly enough about bikers or just speed away from you.

Is it in specific parts of the country that have these multitudes of *******s? Or is it the type of bike you're riding/what you're wearing that gets you that negative attention?

I'm just trying to figure out the distribution of anti-bicycle attitudes... personally from what I've seen from commuting so far is that 99% of the people here are either friendly or neutral towards bicycle.
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Old 05-13-08, 09:29 AM   #2
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ShadowGray, I think I speak for most of us here when I say that it's about the same for us--99% are either friendly, neutral, or cautious. Personally, that makes me wonder why the other 1% feel the need to be ***holes.

<Now for the joking answer>You're commuting in Philly. People are much more polite when they think/fear you might be armed.
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Old 05-13-08, 09:43 AM   #3
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So after a few weeks here, I've noticed that there's a lot of complaints about how drivers treat bicyclists on the road... yet I've never had it happen to be in the 2 weeks I've commuted so far. Maybe I haven't been riding long enough, but in Philly it seems most people are friendly enough about bikers or just speed away from you.

Is it in specific parts of the country that have these multitudes of *******s? Or is it the type of bike you're riding/what you're wearing that gets you that negative attention?

I'm just trying to figure out the distribution of anti-bicycle attitudes... personally from what I've seen from commuting so far is that 99% of the people here are either friendly or neutral towards bicycle.

Alot of what you read is just carping from people who want to replace "I own the road" drivers with "I own the road" cyclists. For example, I draw your attention to all the huff in the thread about the fellow who jammed on his brakes in front of a peloton which was 'two tractor trailer trucks in length.' As ridiculous as this driver's behavior was, the fact that so many cyclists piled up and collided into him (and one another) shows you they were riding too fast for conditions, . My bike can brake within two bicycle lengths.

I've toured (and occasionally commuted, though not in urban areas) in dozens of US States and foreign countries, and have never encountered anything resembling the degree of 'anti-cyclist' sentiment people swear by. My suspicion is that they ride with a chip on their shoulder and looking for trouble....in that case, not surprised at all that they find it.

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Old 05-13-08, 09:47 AM   #4
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I don't know... I just feel like the politics on this forum are a little bit... polarized.

At least I can get some good bike information though.
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Old 05-13-08, 10:02 AM   #5
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....

<Now for the joking answer>You're commuting in Philly. People are much more polite when they think/fear you might be armed.

I disagree. I live in FL, anybody and anyone can be armed. Drivers still act like *******s.
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Old 05-13-08, 10:04 AM   #6
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Roughstuff doesn't know what a peloton or paceline is. He is also blaming the victims.

A&S is a very negative forum where people like to whine. The reality of biking does not reflect anything in this forum.
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Old 05-13-08, 10:44 AM   #7
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Stopping a bike in two bike lengths? BS. Try that at 25-35 mph. That's not even possible outside of a paceline.
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Old 05-13-08, 10:47 AM   #8
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Roughstuff doesn't know what a peloton or paceline is. He is also blaming the victims.

A&S is a very negative forum where people like to whine. The reality of biking does not reflect anything in this forum.

Peleton, paceline, punchline, whatever ya want to call it. The fact that so many people piled into one another proves one point: they were riding too fast for conditions. To suggest the victims bear some of the blame is not the same as 'blaming the victims.'

The best recipe for cycling safety is a good shoulder on the road and a sense of courtesy on the part of the rider.

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Old 05-13-08, 10:48 AM   #9
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Alot of what you read is just carping from people who want to replace "I own the road" drivers with "I own the road" cyclists. For example, I draw your attention to all the huff in the thread about the fellow who jammed on his brakes in front of a peloton which was 'two tractor trailer trucks in length.' As ridiculous as this driver's behavior was, the fact that so many cyclists piled up and collided into him (and one another) shows you they were riding too fast for conditions, . My bike can brake within two bicycle lengths.

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Can you brake your bike within two bicycle lengths when you are riding at 35 miles per hour?
I'm pretty sure you can't. That's how fast those cyclists were going, and just for your information since you seem ill-informed, someone slamming on their brakes directly in front of you after they just swerved in front of you is not a "condition" that any vehicle operator can or should be expected to be able to stop for. This jack*** tried to cause an accident. what is remarkable to me is that anyone on a biking forum would stand up for him and find fault with the cyclists who did nothing wrong.

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Old 05-13-08, 11:07 AM   #10
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roughstuff -

You've been quite lucky and you're rather off base. A very small number of motorists will intentionally interfere with lawfully riding cyclists. They also interfere with and cause accidents for other motorists. Fortunately, this behavior is rare. I've seen a vehicle move onto the shoulder to pass a cyclist very close. That's certainly not any fault of the cyclist.

While some cyclists go out of their way to be "assertive" even folks riding rather sensibly face intermittent intentional trouble in many places. In the 20 years I've ridden in east Tenn I've suffered one attack (riding at moderate speed all the way to right - attacking vehicle cut in front, stopped with RF wheel off the road completely blocking me), several intentional very close passes, and numerous aggressive honks. But it's still rare. Does happen.

You two bike lengths stopping distance either makes you a very very slow cyclist or a moron. Many people, not just the few, regularly ride at 20 mph or above on the flats, never mind the hills.

Take an average group of cars on the interstate and throw a truck in front of them suddenly and intentionally stopping. They'll be a pileup. That's what happened here.

Get the chip off your shoulder and take a real look around. Just because things don't happen to you doesn't mean they don't happen.

But it's one of the reasons I don't ride in big groups.
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Old 05-13-08, 11:26 AM   #11
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They did a survey with laser rangefinders and found that folks with a helmet got much less side-clearance on city streets than folks without a helmet.

So I suspect the more hardcore-road-cyclist you look, the more troubles you get.

I also tend to think that it devolves down to the sort of drivers who are on the street. When you are riding to work, it's other commuters who are adults. When you have two guys in a car of the right age, the probability of trouble increases.
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Old 05-13-08, 11:26 AM   #12
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i cannot disagree with you more. that guy used a swoop and squat technique. The driver knew what he was going to do the cycelist didnt.

he used his car as a weapon with deadly force. when you are in the gourp you have your eyes on the wheel in frount of you. hence the accordain effect.


Riding at high speed in residentian cul de sac and the kid run out and chaces the ball. is one thing.. maintaining high speed on the open road is something else. unless you feel we should b`never excedd 15 mph / 30 kph.

A similar situation would be if i whre to throw a punch at you intending to pull at the last moment. but instead of flinkching or blocking you couther strike. using your logic you would be at fault for battery.

yep your right that olympic cycelist should have been training at 12 mph to ensure that if someone tried to kill him he would not go down.
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Old 05-13-08, 12:19 PM   #13
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roughstuff -


You two bike lengths stopping distance either makes you a very very slow cyclist or a moron.

Well, I could be both!

You make a couple good points. I have not been as lucky as ya think. There have been some close calls, and some of them, if not deliberate, at least gave the motorist a few momentary jollies. Alot of my luck of course, is not that at all...as I said, I am a cautious and courteous rider, which is a rare commodity these days in any roadway user. Never had any problem with that....a 2 wheeled bike is inherently more dangerous and risky than a four wheeled car, and thus anyone riding it should be intelligent enough to adjust his riding style to compensate for those risks.

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Old 05-13-08, 01:21 PM   #14
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Shadow Gray,

You'll notice lots of venting not only in A&S but other bike forums about bad driver interactions. I think there are several reasons for that.

#1- Bad driver interactions, though fairly infrequent, can actually be a little scary and/or frustrating and it's nice to have an audience that might understand how you feel when it does happen.

#2- People like to complain.

#3- This is "A&S"- a big part of our Safety is in dealing with cars and the people who drive them. A big part of Advocacy has to do with how we share the road with automobiles and the drivers.

#4- When I go to my local supermarket it has narrow lanes, very busy distracted "drivers" sometimes on cell phones, sometimes going the wrong way, they cut me off, leave their vehicle parked in the middle of the lane- and that's all in the aisles of the supermarket! To say, "I never have bad interactions with drivers." is a fine claim after riding for 2 weeks. I've been commuting by bike for nearly 40 years now and I've had my share of bad encounters- and so will you if you keep riding it's just a matter of probability. You may even get two in one day!- they seem to come in waves. If you drive do you never have interactions with bad drivers? How about when you're in a car?- no one has ever cut you off, run a stop sign, come to close?


Boston drivers are notoriously aggressive and surly. Even so really bad negative direct interactions are pretty rare but I see a lot of really bad driving every day.
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Old 05-13-08, 02:58 PM   #15
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I've toured (and occasionally commuted, though not in urban areas) in dozens of US States and foreign countries, and have never encountered anything resembling the degree of 'anti-cyclist' sentiment people swear by.
During all the tours I have done, I never ran into any problems.
One tour I did in Mexico really showed how nice folks can be...

However, regularly commuting in urban areas (the very areas you mention NOT commuting in) I have encountered everything from very aggressive motorists to bottle throwing motorists to motorists that chose to cross the double yellow just yards from blind intersections... you name it.

Frankly, I think a lot of it has to do with limited road space and a feeling of entitlement by motorists commuting their regular routes (and dealing with regular congestion) that tends to cause "friction."

BTW for years and years I would go on long training rides out in the country near the same city I commuted in, and I never had issues... So again, I feel 'anti-cyclist' sentiment largely comes from the pressures of densely packed urban settings. Now the real shock here is that cyclists are actually helping relieve the congestion in said environments... so we should be welcomed on the roads, vice threatened.
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Old 05-13-08, 04:01 PM   #16
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So after a few weeks here, I've noticed that there's a lot of complaints about how drivers treat bicyclists on the road... yet I've never had it happen to be in the 2 weeks I've commuted so far.
People like to get up on their high horses and get all preachy, venting their huge insecurities by *****ing about the fictional Evil Driver Conspiracy here. Nothing to see here, move along...
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Old 05-13-08, 05:34 PM   #17
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I think you're finding that the vast majority of drivers are well adjusted, competent people who are just trying to get where they are going...just like the vast majority of cyclists. Sure there's a few pinheads in both groups, and they seem to be more concentrated in some areas than in others.

As to the idiot that caused the paceline incident; there's a reason that following too close in a car is illegal in all 50 states. I imagine also in Sydney. This incident shows why those laws came to pass. Since the same law does not apply to bikes, anybody that decides to ride in a paceline makes a personal decision to take their chances. The idiot was responsible for the first one, two, maybe three cyclists that crashed. All after that at some point decided that following too closely was worth the risk.
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Old 05-13-08, 08:41 PM   #18
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A&S is a very negative forum where people like to whine. The reality of biking does not reflect anything in this forum.
I'm growing weary of the frequent coments about how bad A&S is, or meta-whining as I call it, when I don't think it's that way at all. Sure there's some pretty strong viewpoints at times, but mostly it ranges from A Little Too Serious to Jolly Good Fun.

Ultimately, if you find it so distasteful, why do you read it? I could never figure that out.

As for the question in the OP - give it time.

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Old 05-13-08, 08:54 PM   #19
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Boston drivers are notoriously aggressive and surly. Even so really bad negative direct interactions are pretty rare but I see a lot of really bad driving every day.
I lived carless in Boston for a couple of years out of my dozen in that most wonderful of cities. The thing about Boston drivers is that they are equal opportunity jerks. Four wheels or two, doesn't matter.
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Old 05-14-08, 05:43 AM   #20
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I have about 1 close call, or unhappy motorist incident a year.
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Old 05-14-08, 06:21 AM   #21
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People like to get up on their high horses and get all preachy, venting their huge insecurities by *****ing about the fictional Evil Driver Conspiracy here. Nothing to see here, move along...
I for one am just trying to keep from getting killed while I'm enjoying a bike ride. If being preachy and venting keeps me from getting run down by a motorist, I'm fine with that.

By the way in response to the original post, I have a close call on average almost every ride. I define a close call as someone who causes me to change my course to avoid hitting them or being hit, or someone who comes so close to me when passing that I could reach out and touch their vehicle. Sometimes I have rides with no close calls, most rides have at least one, long rides 60-100 miles usually have more than one. Also jusy fyi I ride between 150 and 250 miles a week.
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Old 05-14-08, 07:13 AM   #22
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I have had one or two incidents where a driver was genuinely trying to hurt me on a bike (and about the same number in a car). I don't count those as close calls, I count 'em as attempted murder. Each trip out involves 2-3 incidents where if I'm careless or not as alert as I should be *and* another driver does the same, there would be a crash. These are close calls, and they're no big deal. Often, all it takes to avoid a crash is for me to slow down. Doesn't matter if I'm in a car or on a bike, I *will* have close calls. On the road I can be confident that my skills and reactions will be good enough, but I can't expect that every other road user is as fast and as skilled.

Even if they are, they can still get distracted. Heck, *I* get distracted. Also confused and lost. I've learned I do better if I stop, get myself straightened out and only continue when I have a clear mind and a plan. It's not always possible for other road users to do that, so I make allowances.
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Old 05-14-08, 07:28 AM   #23
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Often, all it takes to avoid a crash is for me to slow down.
I too have found this, and yes we too are human. But regarding this issue of "slowing down," I have to chuckle as all too often I recall folks preaching riding in the streets for reasons of "speed," while fully ignoring the reality that even on the streets due to intersections, driveways and merging traffic, one may not be able to ride as fast as one may desire. Doing a fast sprint between lights may not always be possible, in fact during commute hours, is probably not a good idea.
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Old 05-14-08, 08:25 AM   #24
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In regards to the OP, it might seem like there is an anti-driver bias here because no one posts stories about the good drivers. Stories about drivers giving adequate passing distance and yeilding the right of way etc and so forth would be too plentiful and too boring to post.

As someone said 99% of the drivers are good, we just post the stories about the other 1%.
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Old 05-14-08, 09:30 AM   #25
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However, regularly commuting in urban areas (the very areas you mention NOT commuting in) I have encountered everything from very aggressive motorists to bottle throwing motorists to motorists that chose to cross the double yellow just yards from blind intersections... you name it.


Ex'cuse the cut and paste, your whole post was muy bueno!
It is definitely true that to some extent I 'define away the problem' by riding in rural areas with good shoulders. Not only are shoulders unavailable or unrealistic (now) in congested areas, they are often parking lanes and ya have a door problem. I have ridden in these areas more than ya think...but still not alot.

Drivng condiitions for EVERYONE in these areas is pretty pathetic. I hate cycling or driving along a line of parked cars, especially in a residential area...i have nightmares about kids running out between parked cars, which a buddy of mine did when I was only 8, and he got hit. Unfortunately, there is no evading the fact that when in a four wheel caged vehicle (yikes...did I just call 'em cagers!?!...you are better off than on two wheels.

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