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  1. #1
    Member chouettey's Avatar
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    Tips for a beginner!

    I am about to buy my first road bike and after reading quite a few stories about people being hit on their bikes, I was wondering if anyone had tips on how to avoid getting hit and not pissing of the drivers.

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    Learn the traffic laws and obey them, just as if you were driving a car. You'll still piss off a few of the stupider drivers, but they're not worth worrying about.

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    +1 to markf's comments.

    In reality, there IS no way to not piss off drivers. Most think they own the road cuz they pay taxes and registration fees, and cyclists "don't".

    Don't be aggessive with your claim of your right to the road, but be assertive. Ride like you know what you're doing (which you will once you learn the bike-specific laws in your city & state).

  4. #4
    Walmart bike rider gpsblake's Avatar
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    I'll add also make sure you can be seen by other drivers, especially at red lights. And be predictable. Don't sneak up on the right side at a traffic light, just wait with the rest of the traffic.

    You'll also find out the more you act like traffic, the less problem you will have with cars and trucks.

    And in the cases you do have someone in a car do something stupid, don't reward them by acting out or flipping the bird. Just ignore it.

    And have fun!!!!

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    Search for and read about "vehicular cycling". If you need to ride a bicycle on the road, nothing will keep you safe more than that.

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    Member chouettey's Avatar
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    I am a little confused on what I should do on little streets with cars parked next to the curb, and cars driving 35 mph. There isn't enough room for me to be 3 feet from the parked cars and the cars driving to pass me without crossing over the middle line.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chouettey View Post
    I am a little confused on what I should do on little streets with cars parked next to the curb, and cars driving 35 mph. There isn't enough room for me to be 3 feet from the parked cars and the cars driving to pass me without crossing over the middle line.
    If traffic isn't too heavy, let them cross the middle line. If traffic is too heavy for them to do this safely and easily, consider finding another street if you can.

  8. #8
    JRA
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    "It may even be that motoring is more healthful than not motoring; death rates were certainly higher in the pre-motoring age."- John Forester
    "Laws cannot be properly understood as if written in plain English..."- Forester defending obfuscation.
    "Motorist propaganda, continued for sixty years, is what has put cyclists on sidewalks." - Forester, sociologist in his own mind
    "'There are no rules of the road on MUPs.' -John Forester" - Helmet Head quoting 'The Great One'

  9. #9
    Senior Member maddyfish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chouettey View Post
    not pissing of the drivers.
    1st tip. You existing as a cyclist pisses off drivers. SO don't worry about that at all.
    Not too much to say here

  10. #10
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Whatever you do, never, ever ride your bike along a line of parked cars close enough to run into a door should one open suddenly (and they do ALL the time). Always assume a door will open, and don't rely on being able to see someone inside the car. This means you have to ride just far enough into the traffic lane to avoid this, because I guarantee you will not be able to stop in time. Cyclists are often killed or maimed by forgetting this rule of effective cycling. If car drivers have to move left to pass you, too bad. The most dangerous thing you can do when riding on roads is to hug the curb, gutter or parked cars. You have to keep left, but not so much that you become invisible. It's better that drivers see you and are forced to pass you more carefully.

    That being said, any real experienced cyclist will not push his or her luck. Use your own judgment, but if a road or street seems too dangerous, choose an alternate, less-travelled one.

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    Senior Member frymaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maddyfish View Post
    1st tip. You existing as a cyclist pisses off drivers. SO don't worry about that at all.
    +1

    if drivers express anger at you, it's not because of you, it's because that individual is annoyed with cyclists in general, the drudgery of his/her commute or, if you believe half the crap you read here, some critical mass event in toronto. how that last one works out i'm not sure, but the general gist is the same: it's not you in particular that's annoying the driver so there's nothing you in particular can do to fix it.
    "Let's try and keep the constructive answers in the commuting forum." --SheistyMike

  13. #13
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Longfemur View Post
    Whatever you do, never, ever ride your bike along a line of parked cars close enough to run into a door should one open suddenly (and they do ALL the time). Always assume a door will open, and don't rely on being able to see someone inside the car. This means you have to ride just far enough into the traffic lane to avoid this, because I guarantee you will not be able to stop in time.
    Moving out if you possibly can is a good idea, but there are some roads in some cities where it isn't feasible - it really could provoke the most risky overtaking or assault. It might also take so long to get a safe gap in traffic that you can pull out into that going onto the pavement and walking your bike would take less time. Call this Answer 1.

    Answer 2 - route around such roads.

    Answer 3 - pull your speed back to no more than 10-15 mph, know how to use your brakes properly (most cyclists don't and take 2-3 the stopping distance they should; see Sheldon's Brown's site for a how-to), watch for occupied cars. Make sure you wear highly visible clothes. The real danger from car doors is running into them rather than a side slam, and this is many times less likely for an observant rider with a 3-6m braking distance.

    Of all these solutions, 2 is best, 1 is good where it's feasible, and 3 is an absolute fallback. If you're going to ride big cities without so many diversions you would be better off walking then you have to know how to work 3. And I can say from experience that your guarantee is void - I have stopped in such circumstances.

  14. #14
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Don't ask ILTB... he says... "it's not rocket science."

    Should cities plan for elite trained bike riders or members of the general public?
    Last edited by genec; 06-12-08 at 09:42 AM.

  15. #15
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    think HIGH VIZ. run daytime visible LED blinkies, front and rear.

    stay in the moment, learn to anticipate traffic flow.

    be careful. be predictable.

  16. #16
    Senior Member hotbike's Avatar
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    I have to agree with mr. meanwhile.
    Restrain your speed to 10 or 15 MPH.

    When I was younger, I tried to make motorists happy by doing the speed limit.

    It doesn't work that way. If I went 47 MPH in a 30 MPH zone, it still wasn't fast enough. They'd accuse me of "holding up traffic'.

    The motorist has the idea in his head that his car is faster than a bicycle, and he doesn't know any exceptions.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/sets/72157639939606343/

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    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotbike View Post
    I have to agree with mr. meanwhile.
    Restrain your speed to 10 or 15 MPH.
    I wouldn't propose it as a general rule, but when your safety depends on the ability to stop quickly, Mr Speed Is Not Your Friend. Stopping distance goes with the SQUARE of velocity.

  18. #18
    JRA
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Don't ask ILTB... he says... "it's not rocket science."

    Should cities plan for elite trained bike riders or members of the general public?
    It's really not rocket science.

    For years I've been recommending Streets Smarts (and more recently Bike Sense, as well) to anyone who shows an interest. But I actually think those might be a little overly intimidating. I mean it might be a little more than a person absolutely needs to understand before venturing into traffic. My brother introduced me to traffic cycling with little more than the comment, "they don't want to hit you." Admittedly, he knew that my bike handling skills were adequate, and I'm not suggesting that a person should venture into traffic if they can't control their bike, but it's not rocket science.

    Really.

    Sometimes I think that, by dwelling on the nuances, we make it seem more complicated that it really is.

    When it comes to what a beginner absolutely must know, I think the Bike Sense website is right on target:

    • Maintain your bicycle in good working order
    • Be as visible as possible to others
    • Learn the skills needed to control your bike
    • Cycle in traffic safely and predictably
    • Know and obey the rules of the road


    Everything else is just details.

    I'm as free as a breeze
    And I ride where I please
    Saddle tramp, saddle tramp
    Last edited by JRA; 06-12-08 at 05:46 PM.
    "It may even be that motoring is more healthful than not motoring; death rates were certainly higher in the pre-motoring age."- John Forester
    "Laws cannot be properly understood as if written in plain English..."- Forester defending obfuscation.
    "Motorist propaganda, continued for sixty years, is what has put cyclists on sidewalks." - Forester, sociologist in his own mind
    "'There are no rules of the road on MUPs.' -John Forester" - Helmet Head quoting 'The Great One'

  19. #19
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JRA View Post
    It's really not rocket science.

    For years I've been recommending Streets Smarts (and more recently Bike Sense, as well) to anyone who shows an interest. But I actually think those might be a little overly intimidating. I mean it might be a little more than a person absolutely needs to understand before venturing into traffic. My brother introduced me to traffic cycling with little more than the comment, "they don't want to hit you." Admittedly, he knew that my bike handling skills where adequate, and I'm not suggesting that a person should venture into traffic if they can't control their bike, but it's not rocket science.

    Really.

    Sometimes I think that, by dwelling on the nuances, we make it seem more complicated that it really is.

    When it comes to what a beginner absolutely must know, I think the Bike Sense website is right on target:

    • Maintain your bicycle in good working order
    • Be as visible as possible to others
    • Learn the skills needed to control your bike
    • Cycle in traffic safely and predictably
    • Know and obey the rules of the road


    Everything else is just details.

    I'm as free as a breeze
    And I ride where I please
    Saddle tramp, saddle tramp
    I generally agree with you... But even the basics seem to get by a lot of people... otherwise we would not see threads here about wrong way riders, as the classic example...

    I think one bike manufacture actually includes Street Smarts with every new bike. That is a beautiful thing.

  20. #20
    Senior Member rando's Avatar
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    you don't necessarily have to take the route you drive to workk when you bike. check maps for quieter, less-travelled side streets or paths.
    "Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world". ~Grant Petersen

    Cyclists fare best when they recognize that there are times when acting vehicularly is not the best practice, and are flexible enough to do what is necessary as the situation warrants.--Me

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    1) Always make sure your brakes work, and you can repair them yourself, and you have the tools to do it with you.

    2) If you are ridding fast make sure you are in the middle of the street way from parked cars. To do this you have to look back wards often. When a car does come, pull over immediately let them pass. Basically when there are cars you proceed slow on the side, when the cars pass look back pull into the center and speed up. Again if there is a car right behind you pull over, you do not want a car right behind you.

    3) When ever you move left or right always look behind you. Practice that to make sure you do it without thinking.

    4) Try to wear bright colors to be visible. Carrying an extra large white shirt might help if you wear black allot.

    5) Be very cautious at intersections is my best advice. Assume if you are next to a moving car it will turn left (right in UK?) into you. Drivers often don't realize they have to turn until the very last second, and then hit you.

    6) If you are on an unfamilliar route, take things more cautiously, allot more time than usual to get from point A to B.

    You might also read posts about theft prevention. I have had 3 bikes stolen, and atleast 2 unsuccessful attempts.
    Last edited by geo8rge; 06-16-08 at 02:03 PM.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member owenh's Avatar
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    Dont give drivers the opportuntiy to be stupid
    If there is barely any room on the road with cars parked on the side
    take the lane
    Otherwise they will be stupid and "accidently" take you out

  23. #23
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    If you think about the things that cyclists do that piss you off when you're driving,... well, don't do those things.

  24. #24
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    Try to find a different route that allows you to ride in a comfortable position out in the street away from parked cars and which allows you to direct your attention where it is most needed, out front and to the sides.

    In my opinion, your most critical task while riding in a built-up environment is to anticipate being overlooked by crossing traffic. Be ready for it. Even though you're right in front of the driver's face, drivers will pull out in front of you or turn left into you -- not because they want to kill you or because they don't respect cyclists, but because people on bikes are easy to overlook. Hi-vis clothing, reflectors and conspicuous road position help mitigate this but there is no cure for this unfortunate reality. If you keep this in mind and ride accordingly you will be way ahead of the game.

    Robert

  25. #25
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobertHurst View Post
    In my opinion, your most critical task while riding in a built-up environment is to anticipate being overlooked by crossing traffic. Be ready for it. Even though you're right in front of the driver's face, drivers will pull out in front of you or turn left into you -- not because they want to kill you or because they don't respect cyclists, but because people on bikes are easy to overlook. Hi-vis clothing, reflectors and conspicuous road position help mitigate this...
    Plus headlights, even during the day. I'm even about to say that it's more important to have a headlight than a taillight (that is, if I could only have one light on my bike for some crazy reason, I'd rather it be in front).

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