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Old 10-29-08, 07:25 PM   #1
ProsecutedBiker
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~The Persecuted Biker~

About a year ago, i decided to try biking places. I had one a decent bike like, 4 years before that and I was finally big enough to ride it (im 14, and i won the bike when i was 6) And so began a life of persecution.

This year, I decided to try to bike to and from school. My school is pretty far away, up 2 big hills. One is about a mile long and the other is VERY steep and maybe 3/4 mile long. For me they are pretty strenuous. Going up the hills makes me go very slow, and so I keep to the sides, often going into the dirt to give cars room to pass. I allow them to pass, i suck their carbon monoxide, you would think I could get something back from them.
On the way back from school, it is all downhill and so I can get going very fast. The speed limit is 25, and i easily go faster then that for most of the way. And yet Many times cars have honked at me to get out of their way, and i go to the side of the road. They speed past me and then slow down, making ME stuck behind THEM. What bull****. That has happened 3 or 4 times, one of which the driver actually flipped me off.
Another day I was biking home from school on a straight part so i was only going about 10 miles an hour. I saw a car coming behind me, so I pulled WAY onto the side to let him go past me. I was doing a good deed, because the law where I live states that I can bike in the middle of the road, and I dont have to go to the side, When the car passed, a guy slowed down, leaned his head out the window, said "Get out of the road you ****ing kid" and then drove off.
Yet another incedent was when I was biking to Value Villiage to get some clothes to wear for spirit day. I was biking along the side of the road, out of the cars way, when a driver yelled at me. So I went onto the sidewalk. Like 20 seconds later a pedestrian yelled at me for biking on the sidewalk.
One of my friends bikes a lot like me. One day he actually got sideswiped by a car. He went into a guardrail, sliced open his leg and had to get 17 stitches.
Once, I was passing by a line of cars in a traffic jam, and one lady OPENED HER DOOR to try and clothsline me. I swerved and fell getting bruised and scraped but saving her door that she shure as hell would have made me pay for.

The list goes on and on from the time when my dad got boxed in on purpose, to the time I got yelled at for biking in the night (My bike has front light, rear light, reflector on the back, 1 on each wheel and one on my rear rack.)


And the thing that really pisses me off is im 14, so i cant do anything about it. If I get out and tell them what i think they'll hit me or something.

Why can't i get a little respect?? I'm getting excercise, saving the environment, saving money and still getting to my destinations, whats wrong with that?


And the big thing is BY LAW I AM ALLOWED TO BIKE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD. and yet i don't because i know it would be a huge annoyance for drivers. They shoiuld be thanking me.


Has things like this ever happened to you guys?
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Old 10-29-08, 07:36 PM   #2
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...Why can't i get a little respect?? I'm getting excercise, saving the environment, saving money and still getting to my destinations, whats wrong with that?...
That's the million dollar question isn't it? You're wise beyond your years.
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Old 10-29-08, 07:38 PM   #3
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Thanks, thats the main reason i made this thread, was to hear what other bikers had to say. Im sure im not the only one going through stuff like this
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Old 10-29-08, 07:59 PM   #4
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All I can say is; you get used to it.

It's not always in your best interest to try to get out of passing car's way, though, and as you're learning, you get no gratitude for it.
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Old 10-29-08, 08:49 PM   #5
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When they pass give them a friendly wave - They might have just honked as a friendly greeting. Dont get too close to the edge as that wont give you any escape room if they try to pass too close. If you can see ahead that it is safe for them to pass, wave them on, but keep your line. If it isnt safe put you hand down with the palm facing back, then wave them on when it is clear. Give a thank you wave as they pass.
I find it easier to deal with following traffic when I use a glasses mounted mirror. If you dont wear glasses try a helmet mounted one.
After a while the cars on that road will learn they cant bully you, and they will then share the road. Until that happens, just remember that things will get better.
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Old 10-29-08, 08:56 PM   #6
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1. Start taking the lane, or at least 1/2 of it.

2. Buy a taillight and headlight, and use them 24/7.

3. Call the police with plates every single time you're harrassed.
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Old 10-29-08, 10:16 PM   #7
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Ride predictably take the lane for your safety. Look for an alternate route. Some roads are much more bike friendly. My route is two miles longer but much more bike friendly than the short way to work. There are some roads and streets in my town that I am uncomfortable riding on anytime day or night. There are some roads I won't ride on between 7:30 am and 8:00 am. But at 7:00 am to 7:30 am on the same route I rarely get passed by a car. I hope there are more friendly routes you can take. I hear alot of frustration in your thread. It is suppose to be fun. Do not let the jerks in cars keep you from enjoying your rides. Keep safe and the chin up it's not all bad you are doing more than your part to set a good example for all.
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Old 10-29-08, 10:38 PM   #8
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I do have lights for my bike, and i use them when i bike to school (6:20, so its still dark), maybe i'll try using them all the time

And I do still enjoy biking, nothing beats the feeling of going 30 mph down a hill on using no =)

And maybe i will try a different route, thanks for the idea
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Old 10-29-08, 10:49 PM   #9
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prosecuted biker, lots of good local advice on routes, etc at www.cascade.org


there will always be motorists that hate you regardless of how much we are actually allowed to be using the roads to bicycle on.

what part of town, what big hills? there's always (usually) another route.

the helmet mirror (eyeglasses mount even better) allow you to monitor the traffic overtaking. a lot of us ride in the lanes here in seattle proper, but if you're riding up the hills in Renton or Auburn for instance you will get more flack than up Stone Way for example.

bright lights 24-7, i recommend a 'slow moving triangle off the back of the bike and a planet bike superflash on every time you ride as well...

don't go into the dirt. if this is a significant road narrow lanes and no shoulders or a bike lane, you should either look for an alternate route as there will always be a motorist ready to honk at you or develop a thick skin to motorist abuse.....

if you want to keep riding in america I'd suggest you develop the thick skin anyway.

cheers, PM me if you want to talk bike safety at the seattle bike shop i work at. I'd be happy to help with routes, safety equipment, etc.
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Old 10-29-08, 11:04 PM   #10
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Alright, thanks for the advice, i'll definently look into a helmet mirror.

And I have thought up another route that is a bit longer, but has shoulders for most of the way, and even a bike lane for part of the way. I'll try it out tomorrow

And I live in the shoreline area, so it is pretty hilly
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Old 10-29-08, 11:46 PM   #11
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Just so ya know, there are a handful of motorists out there who respect cyclists. I was doing a highway ride the other day, and was coming up a big rolling hill. I notice a large diesel truck with a backhoe on a trailer approaching me from behind. This highway does have a wide enough shoulders to allow the truck to safely pass without using the left lane, but since the driver can't see over the hill for a good site line, she slows to my speed and remains a respectable distance behind until we crest the hill, where she can see ahead, and then executes a proper pass using the oncoming lane.

What a refreshing change of pace. Thank you Mrs. truck driver.
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Old 10-29-08, 11:52 PM   #12
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If only every driver was like that!
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Old 10-30-08, 12:05 AM   #13
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indeed - I've had my share of what you described as well.

Hey I just noticed your from Seattle - I was just there late this summer for a week. Couldn't find a proper affordable way to rent a couple of wheels to pedal around on though, so I had to spin in the exercise room at my hotel.

I like Seattle, one of my favorite cities I've visited.
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Old 10-30-08, 07:59 AM   #14
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I also live in the Seattle area, and like you I'm also fairly young (16). Actually, we have a lot in common, as I just started riding to school and getting big on bikes about 2-3 years ago. Anyway, while I do have the occasional motorist confrontation, I seem to have them less frequently than you. I always ride in the street, never the sidewalk, and I usually take the lane when I'm within five or ten mph of the speed limit, and usually stay in the right tire track when going slower. It could be that my positioning conveys a sense of confidence to motorists, whereas moving out of the way when a car come up to pass could convey a sense of not belonging on the road. It could just as easily be the fact that we cycle in different neighborhoods, my commute takes me through lake city, green lake, and Fremont, fairly bike friendly places with good infrastructure.
Whatever you do, don't stop riding.

Edit: Just noticed you said you're in the shoreline area, not exactly bike friendly in my (limited) experience.

Last edited by Nick C; 10-30-08 at 08:04 AM.
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Old 10-30-08, 08:13 AM   #15
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And the thing that really pisses me off is im 14, so i cant do anything about it. If I get out and tell them what i think they'll hit me or something.

Why can't i get a little respect?? I'm getting excercise, saving the environment, saving money and still getting to my destinations, whats wrong with that?


And the big thing is BY LAW I AM ALLOWED TO BIKE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD. and yet i don't because i know it would be a huge annoyance for drivers. They shoiuld be thanking me.


Has things like this ever happened to you guys?
Take the lane, why the hell don't you take advantage of that? I'd stay more to the right when I'm going uphill but I'll still be at or just right of the right tire track. On the way downhill, I'd be in the very center of the lane and if someone behind me honks just wave or ignore them. You have the law on your side...so why aren't you using it? By swerving to the right and off the road to let cars pass you, you are giving them the go ahead to bully you. You need to stand your ground...

And to hell annoying drivers, all they care about is getting to that red light before you do.
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Old 10-30-08, 08:37 AM   #16
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Thoughts and emotions have tremendous power. To the extent you hold yourself to be "The Persecuted Biker" you are setting yourself up for problems.

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Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
If you look closely you'll note that he is not "persecuted" but "prosecuted". So apparently whatever problems he set himself up for have already been adjudicated.

Last edited by gcottay; 11-01-08 at 05:56 PM. Reason: add the Six jours correction
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Old 10-30-08, 01:03 PM   #17
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My 16-year old son bikes to school most days, even though he has access to a car. It's flat here, so he doesn't have all the problems you do, but he gets his share of abuse from drivers. I second the things written by the others here. Do not let the drivers intimidate you. What oyu are doing is good in innumerable ways, and I strongly encourage you to keep it up. You'll find that the trip gets easier as you get stronger. Getting a good-quality bike also makes a huge difference. Biking early in the morning sharpens the mind for morning classes. Girls dig the quads. Keep persevering, and you will see the beneifts.
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Old 10-30-08, 01:39 PM   #18
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My 16-year old son bikes to school most days, even though he has access to a car. It's flat here, so he doesn't have all the problems you do, but he gets his share of abuse from drivers. I second the things written by the others here. Do not let the drivers intimidate you. What oyu are doing is good in innumerable ways, and I strongly encourage you to keep it up. You'll find that the trip gets easier as you get stronger. Getting a good-quality bike also makes a huge difference. Biking early in the morning sharpens the mind for morning classes. Girls dig the quads. Keep persevering, and you will see the beneifts.
and some dig the shaved legs as well.

But I'll say again, don't let drivers intimidate you, those who are running late are running late no matter if they are behind you for up to a minute so don't put yourself in danger by swerving to the far right to let them pass. Just like passing farm equipment, horse drawn carriages, slow moving elderly folk in their old's mobiles, and stopped cars they'll pass you eventually. Most would rather not deal with the legal issues of hitting you but I'm quite positive it goes through many of their minds.
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Old 10-30-08, 03:02 PM   #19
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Man, I feel for ya. When I started riding, I pretty much went through the same thing. A-holes to the left, jerks to the right,( Jimmy Buffet anyone?) but keep your cool. One thing some people tend to forget about is other people. Yeah, why are there other people ruining my life? Jerks! But just keep pedalin', most people just want to get where they're goin', and forget about you at the next stoplight. Unless, of course, you catch up to them. Then, the best recourse is to just smile.
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Old 10-30-08, 05:53 PM   #20
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Don't worry about getting flipped off, they do that to other drivers, too.
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Old 10-30-08, 09:08 PM   #21
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Really, take the lane. It is a PUBLIC road. You will not delay motorists any more than than other road users will on their trip, so stop feeling that you are in the way or being disruptive.

Remember, all road users have a moral and legal DUTY to pass slower vehicles with due care and in a safe manner. Do not compromise your safety by cowering in the gutter just to make it convenient for motorists.

If they honk at you, it means they see you! Yelling stupid things at you will also be common, but it says more about them than it does about you. (The great thing about our freedom of speech is that it makes it easier to spot the idiots!) Ignore them, or smile and wave. You can't control them, but you can control your attitude- don't let them ruin your ride! You are not being persecuted, you are providing a public service: You are causing idiots to self-identify themselves!

Always yell Yahoo! when you go down that hill.

Tailwinds!
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Old 10-30-08, 10:08 PM   #22
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Good for you riding to school. The high school I went to this would be absolutely impossible for anyone who even remotely cares about safety. There was one 2 lane road all the 1000 driving students would take in the mornings, and we all know how teenie boppers drive. I am no stranger to riding in really busy traffic not worried about it at all, but the density combined with the maturity of the drivers, the blatent road rage and numerous accidents a week kept me off the road.

I agree taht you should at least take the lane when you are doing the speed limit. If the speed limit is 25 I would take the whole lane and not move at all for passing cars if I was going over 20.
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Old 10-30-08, 10:16 PM   #23
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The mouse is really cute.
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Old 10-31-08, 05:38 AM   #24
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Next time that beetch opens her door to block you, run into it. Not fast, as you do not want to injure yourself or your bike. Hit it at a few miles an hour. It is unlikely to damage your bike. It will scuff up the inside of her door and with a little luck, it will bend the hinges.

Then just ride away.

The worst thing she can do is follow you home.

Then let her explain to your parents why she threw her door open in front of you.

Might wanna pass on that if you have a carbon fork.
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Old 11-01-08, 02:28 PM   #25
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Heh It would have been fun to see her face

but of course it could break something on my bike, and my instinct is to dodge
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