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  1. #1
    12mph+ commuter
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    Busy 4 lane in the middle of a shopping district

    The main drag through my town is a 4 lane road with a median in the middle. The speed limit is 35mph, but cars are normally going around 40mph. This means I can't really match or come relatively close to traffic speed. There are a few blocks where the righthand shoulder disappears, but most of it has a big wide shoulder that also acts as a right turn lane. Traffic normally gets caught by every light, so 10-20 cars pile up waiting at each stoplight during the day.

    I try to avoid this road as much as possible, but I sometimes need to use it.

    I feel safest in the right lane (not the shoulder), but I get honks and "get off the ****in' road!" quite a bit. Also, I see myself in as a hindrance to traffic in that situation (going 20-25mph at the most). So, I don't really like to ride in the lane except through a light or when the shoulder disappears. But, I feel pretty paranoid in the shoulder because there are at least 3-4 intersections for parking lots every block, and the shoulder acts like a right turn lane. I might not be holding up traffic, but it puts me at a greater risk for right hooks and drivers pulling out of parking lots in t-bone receptive positioning.

    Of course, there is also the sidewalk (generally pretty decent, but narrow/crumbly in a few places), but that will again put me in a less visible position and vulnerable at all those intersections. I asked a LBS guy once what he does on that street, and he told me that he'll take the sidewalk if there is one. But, I think most of those guys aren't really utility/commuting cyclists, so they don't have a need to use that road. So, I thought I might get some opinions from A&S for what you might do on a similar road. I've gotten pretty comfortable riding VC on most of the roads in my town, but this one just doesn't feel right.

  2. #2
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    well, first thing of VC riding is to immunize yourself against yelling and angry motorists. this is probably the most important facets to these types of riding conditions after an understanding of the basic rules of the road.

    take the lane when needed, smile and wave at the honkers. sometimes, in the face of honking motorists, I will stop in the street, and ask the motorist if they need any assistance, are they okay? do they need the whambulance?

    a slow moving vehicle triangle and some daytime visible LEDs front and rear can assist in better compliance by motorists of your rights to the road.



    i think you're already doing everything right, the motorists will continue to honk and get angry.


    this is one of the biggest detractors to the 'ride like a vehicle' style - motorists. why is most bicycling in america done by young, white men?

    because they are most able to take the abuse from motorists on the uneven playing field of america's autocentric wastelands we call public roads.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 10-27-08 at 09:25 AM.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  3. #3
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    I would avoid that big road whenever possible. If its the main drag through the middle of town, there's bound to be side roads that are more suitable for cycling.

    P.S. The main drag around here is seven lanes with no sidewalks.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Febs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    this is one of the biggest detractors to the 'ride like a vehicle' style - motorists. why is most bicycling in america done by young, white men?
    I'd like to see your support for this claim.

    because they are most able to take the abuse from motorists on the uneven playing field of america's autocentric wastelands we call public roads.


    So women, racial minorities and older people aren't capable of dealing with motorists? I think that you've finally gone completely off the deep end.

  5. #5
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    You need to ride with some real men.....

    Saturday's 81 mile ride.
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  6. #6
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    You need to ride with some real men.....

    Saturday's 81 mile ride.
    You and the Real Men rode on the wide paved shoulder of an 81 mile long bridge, or did the ride consist of multiple laps on the pictured bridge's shoulder? Either way, I am impressed.

  7. #7
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Recumbomatic View Post
    I would avoid that big road whenever possible. If its the main drag through the middle of town, there's bound to be side roads that are more suitable for cycling.

    P.S. The main drag around here is seven lanes with no sidewalks.
    Speak for yourself...in our town there are few if any parallel routes to the main ones. We have one that is 6 lanes packed into the space that used to be 5 lanes. There are NO alternate routes, all the neighborhoods off of this road are dead end lollypop type.

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  8. #8
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    febs, you're not aware most bicycling in america is done by males under 40? and mostly white?

    the age/sex distribution of participation rate of bicycling in america is pathetic compared to other countries like germany, denmark, the netherlands where cycling participation is much more evenly distributed across all age/sex classes. yes, many women and the elderly are discouraged from riding by america's autocentric wasteland.

    this is bike advocacy 101 stuff, febs. facts and data about american bicycling participation versus other countries.


    Febs, before you make ignorant claims, appraise yourself of the facts.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  9. #9
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    You and the Real Men rode on the wide paved shoulder of an 81 mile long bridge, or did the ride consist of multiple laps on the pictured bridge's shoulder? Either way, I am impressed.
    We did 5 bridges. Had 9 riders in the group.


    To exit the Big one we have to cross all the lanes.
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  10. #10
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    YOU HAD TO CROSS ALL THE LANES??? We're all very proud of your club riding skills, 10 wheels!!!


    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    You and the Real Men rode on the wide paved shoulder of an 81 mile long bridge, or did the ride consist of multiple laps on the pictured bridge's shoulder? Either way, I am impressed.

    REAL MEN can ride the shoulders of roads in a vehicular manner and not be afraid to boast about it, ILTB!


    and take the lane in groups of 10 and show the motorists bikes are traffic.

    less effective as a solo commuter in the mix of rush hour weekday traffic.... where more honks are directed bicyclists' way then weekend club riders.

    but that's funny nonetheless.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  11. #11
    Senior Member Febs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    this is bike advocacy 101 stuff, febs.
    Excellent. Then it should be easy for you to provide support.

    Febs, before you make ignorant claims, appraise yourself of the facts.
    Wow. The irony is staggering.

    Edit: I'm not going to respond to any of your weaseling or ad hominem bull**** in this thread. You made a claim. Cite your source.

    Edit 2: rather than responding here in the thread, Bekologist chose to send me an insulting personal message. Since the issue is at best tangential to the thread topic, I'm going to drop it so as not to let it drag the thread off-topic.
    Last edited by Febs; 10-28-08 at 07:30 AM.

  12. #12
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    REAL MEN can ride the shoulders of roads in a vehicular manner and not be afraid to boast about it, ILTB!


    and take the lane in groups of 10 and show the motorists bikes are traffic.

    less effective as a solo commuter in the mix.... where more honks are directed bicyclists' way then weekend club riders.

    but that's funny nonetheless.
    Yep, also funny the cars are moving at 70 mph.
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
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  13. #13
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Try honking at a dump truck...


    One rider with the big trucks...
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
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  14. #14
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    35 mph road does not seem like much to worry about. Don't worry about the people who honk. For each one who honks, there are probably 50 cars that don't. Plus most who honk are more concerned for your own safety since they dont understand the risks of sidewalk cycling. As others have said take the full lane so it clear to motorists that they can not squeeze by you. Get a mirror and some good taillights. If you are holding up more than 5 cars then pull over.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by veggie_lover View Post
    If you are holding up more than 5 cars then pull over.
    On a multilane road, there is no legal requirement to pullover in any state regardless of how many vehicles are being slowed behind the slow moving vehicle.

  16. #16
    Senior Member gcottay's Avatar
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    Scheherezade. I think you are already using some good sense in avoiding this road when possible and seeing the potential problems of an urban shoulder being used as a turn lane.

    Depending of traffic volume and your own inclinations, you may (or may not!) want to consider giving that wide shoulder a try. If you drop your speed down to 15 or 18 the right hookers are pretty easy to avoid.
    George
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  17. #17
    Devilmaycare Cycling Fool Allister's Avatar
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    Looks like a pretty dreary place to ride, 10 Wheels. You have my sympathy.
    If we learn from our mistakes, I must be a goddamn genius.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by gcottay View Post
    Scheherezade. I think you are already using some good sense in avoiding this road when possible and seeing the potential problems of an urban shoulder being used as a turn lane.

    Depending of traffic volume and your own inclinations, you may (or may not!) want to consider giving that wide shoulder a try. If you drop your speed down to 15 or 18 the right hookers are pretty easy to avoid.
    I don't see why so many here are encouraging the OP to avoid this road. He hasn't any real problems riding in the right lane. The only issue is that he apparently doesn't view himself as legitimate traffic, egged on by a few ignorant motorists. Taking to the shoulder/right turn lane seems like quite a foolish "solution" to thi problem.

    My advice to the OP is to continue doing what you are doing (riding in the right lane), don't worry about the people who are slightly inconvenienced by your presence, and put on a happy face to hopefully brighten the day of the miserable jerks honking at you. I've BTDT trying to avoid high speed right hooks and it's not fun and certainly not worth avoiding a few honks.

  19. #19
    Devilmaycare Cycling Fool Allister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scheherezade View Post
    The main drag through my town is a 4 lane road with a median in the middle.
    In the interests of informed discussion, please post a google map link.
    If we learn from our mistakes, I must be a goddamn genius.

  20. #20
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allister View Post
    Looks like a pretty dreary place to ride, 10 Wheels. You have my sympathy.
    The pics above were related to traffic.
    We have some better country roads to ride.





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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by joejack951 View Post
    On a multilane road, there is no legal requirement to pullover in any state regardless of how many vehicles are being slowed behind the slow moving vehicle.
    I learn something new everyday on BF

  22. #22
    12mph+ commuter
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    I normally ride with two superflashes in the back, (a headlight and flasher in the front), conspicuosy tape all over the bike, and a take-a-look on my visor.

    Not particularly adept at googlemaps, but hopefully this works.

    I think more than anything I just need to justify my own right to use this particular road. On most other multilane streets in town, there isn't a shoulder or a wide outer lane, so taking the lane is the only way to go. I don't need to use Division Street too much, but it could cut down some of my commutes by a couple miles when I have to go to neighboring towns for work. But, then again, riding out on country roads is much more enjoyable than highways anyway.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scheherezade View Post
    I think more than anything I just need to justify my own right to use this particular road.
    If you must, ride in the shoulder for a bit until you are overtaken by someone at high speed who then goes into emergency braking mode in order to right hook you. Possibly have it happen two days in a row. That's what did it for me. No more guilty feelings about taking up a lane with a 6 foot shoulder (but many intersections, driveways, and parking lots) to my right.

  24. #24
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    In your situation, I would ride in the right hand side (but not pushed too far over) of the right lane while keeping an eye on the traffic behind me.

    If the right lane turns into a turn only lane, I would cut into the edge of the next lane over as soon as I overtake a stopped car and there is nobody coming up fast behind me. If there are no stopped cars, I would wait until I get almost to the light and move over, or continue to take up the whole right lane until I am blocking someone else. If there is a lot of traffic behind me, I would let them pass and turn in front of me, and then wait for an empty spot or make sure I get eye contact with a driver that slows down to let me through before I go through the intersection or move into the next lane.

    I think the key is to have an awareness of where the cars are around you and what their intentions are. If you are ever riding side by side against a car, be prepared for that car to suddenly turn off into any driveway or parking lot entrance without a signal.

  25. #25
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Febs View Post
    Excellent. Then it should be easy for you to provide support.

    Wow. The irony is staggering.

    Edit: I'm not going to respond to any of your weaseling or ad hominem bull**** in this thread. You made a claim. Cite your source.

    Edit 2: rather than responding here in the thread, Bekologist chose to send me an insulting personal message. Since the issue is at best tangential to the thread topic, I'm going to drop it so as not to let it drag the thread off-topic.

    Hey, FEBS!

    since you are so angry about a PM (I also don't want to off topic this thread, but your thinly veiled animosity over an innocuous private message requires me to off topic this thread), here's the advice in the public forum.....

    google 'making bicycling irresistible' and appraise yourself of the world bicycling schism between american and more bicycling-invested countries.

    76 percent of bicyclists in america are males, and the age participation rate for older americans is extremely small compared to older rider participation in other, more heavily invested countries.

    there are virtual barriers in america for rider participation in this country, febs. Significantly some of the barriers are road and driver conditions as described in the OP. Once again , febs, this is bike advocacy 101. this is commonly held assessments of the state of bicycling participation in america.....common knowledge among those that choose to appraise themselves of bicycling statistics and conditions instead of spouting off insults about other peoples' knowledge base.

    take a read of the pucher paper 'making cycling irresistable', febs. ignorance of the facts does not an argument make, my friend, & ignorant is not an insult but a description.

    btw, who tossed the insults first, brute???? You told me I'd 'gone off the deep end'.... hmm, seems that febs initially dirtied the pool ...

    so, if we can go back on topic.

    to the OP.... ride where you feel safest, i recommend taking the lane, smile and wave, increase your visual footprint.

    I like the effect of a slow moving vehicle triangle on the back of my bikes for garnering less honks and better passing clearances from motorists.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 10-28-08 at 09:45 AM.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

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