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  1. #1
    Senior Member skeletor3000's Avatar
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    How do you handle moron-cyclists?

    Well, I just had my first experience on a bike that left me with that fresh-out-of-a-car-accident "where am I going and what am I doing, again?" feeling.

    There's a pretty good-sized hill leaving my campus on my route home, with a gate on one side to keep any traffic out that isn't a bike or a bus. As I'm coming down the hill, I see that quite a distance in front of me there are two girls on mountain bikes weaving around and riding slow enough that I don't know why they felt compelled to be in the road... like we're talking creeping along with their feet off the pedals and chit-chatting with each other.

    So as I approach, I yell out "coming down the hill on your left" and they drift over to the right side of the road. I assume they're out of my way, but then just as I'm about to pass them (as close to the gate on the left side of the lane as I can), one starts meandering out in front of me... so I yell "ON YOUR LEFT!!" which somehow makes her swerve hard left, right into my path.

    Since she's hardly moving, she puts her foot down and stays on her bike, and I fly over my handlebars in slow motion (I was able to brake quite a bit before I hit her, but my front tire hit her frame and sort of levered me up in the air). Luckily, I mostly caught myself on my forearms and all that happened to my bike was a busted bar end and some ripped bar tape.

    But then, she just says "Sorryyyyy!" and I say "Are you deaf?!" and she says "I heard you!! I tried to get out of your way, *******!!"

    Of course I was pretty pissed, so I told her I had no idea how "ON YOUR LEFT" meant to swerve left, and then her friend says "we should go" and they just walk off. I was dumbfounded. So now here I am, my leg hurts like hell and I don't know exactly why, and if I have to go to the doctor, I eat the bill because she just took off.

    Anyone have any experiences like this? I was kind of in shock, I think, or I might have been able to tell her she had to stay and let me get her info. Is that unreasonable of me? Is there a more clear alternative to telling the person you're passing where you're passing them? Part of me thinks she's just an idiot who thought I was telling her to go left.

    Gah... either way, thanks if you read this, because I feel like it's helping to get rid of the weird adrenaline/stunned feeling to type this out.

  2. #2
    genec genec's Avatar
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    You had the option to slow down... apparently you forgot to exercise that option... just like "some motorist," eh?

  3. #3
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    You were going too fast for the circumstances.
    My sister in-law is 65 years old. Does not have a clue what is left or right....
    I never have liked the "On Your Left"
    Better for me is "Passing, Hold Your Line"
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    "On Your"- they hear that something is being said, and they start to pay attention.
    "Left"- they hear this.........and think you want them to move left.


    I just yell "Passing" now.
    Silver Eagle Pilot

  5. #5
    Nobody mconlonx's Avatar
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    Maybe instead of yelling at them, you could have slowed as you approached and said something to let them know you were there and wanted to pass. Perhaps they have no idea what "ON YOUR LEFT!!!" means. Since you were approaching them at a greater speed, from behind, it's on you to maintain control enough to give yourself space and time to account for potentially boneheaded moves. I don't blame them for leaving a situation like that ASAP if you were yelling...

  6. #6
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dchiefransom View Post
    "On Your"- they hear that something is being said, and they start to pay attention.
    "Left"- they hear this.........and think you want them to move left.


    I just yell "Passing" now.
    +1, especially about "On your" not sounding like anything in particular. There are no consonant "s" and "t" sounds, so to someone who's not listening for it, it only comes across as a mumble.

    I tend to just slow down some and say, "You're good, you're good," hoping that they'll not panic and keep their line. They tend to say, "Thanks" in return, too. Or, if there's no good place to pass for a while (blind corners, etc), I hang back and tell them to not worry, I'm patient.

    Honestly, if I'm coming up on two girls wobbling around the path, I'd be scared enough about what they might do, so I'd slow down to their pace. If I would have to yell, I'm going too fast.

  7. #7
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dchiefransom View Post
    "On Your"- they hear that something is being said, and they start to pay attention.
    "Left"- they hear this.........and think you want them to move left.


    I just yell "Passing" now.
    Exactly.

    Any more than "Passing" is to much information, and takes a while to process too.

    Also, most cyclists expect an instant reaction, they don't say anything early enough to compensate for the closing speed of the bike and human reaction time.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  8. #8
    Senior Member skeletor3000's Avatar
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    Actually, I slowed quite a bit... like to the point that no one got hurt instead of me breaking my neck... but at the point they moved to the right I assumed they had heard me.

    I do like the "hold your lane" suggestion... but we're not talking 65 year old women here. These are college students, and this is a very bike-heavy campus... including a lot of people who bomb that hill a LOT faster than I was going on a daily basis. Most of the older cyclists I see on campus are actually really smart about how they ride. However, I think I'm going to start using the "passing" thing instead.

  9. #9
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    The OP said nothing about speed - he could have been going under 10 mph. That said, if he has V-brakes or Kool-Stop pads, a poorly-executed panic stop could have quite easily sent him over the bars at that speed.

    -Kurt

    P.S.: I've run into enough moron cyclists of this sort that could nail you at virtually any speed. When faced with these folks, I refuse to pass until they look back and see me - and even then, I won't pass unless they see me in the lane to the adjacent left, so it is brutally apparent that I'm passing on that side. In very extreme cases (Ipod'ers that don't respond to anything), I will hang behind them on their left, until the left-most rider makes a sudden swerve to the right, at which point, I execute an all-out sprint to pass - before they correct their maneuver.

  10. #10
    Senior Member shouldberiding's Avatar
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    Yuppers. When you see slow moving riders weaving about like that, slow waaaay down and get closer before signaling your intentions.

    It's easier for them to know to keep right if they can hear you distinctly speaking from their left.

  11. #11
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeletor3000 View Post
    I do like the "hold your lane" suggestion... but we're not talking 65 year old women here.
    Never underestimate the unpredictability of college kids..

  12. #12
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Oh yeah, how could I forget --

    Two girls (or two anybody) riding side by side, slowly, and kinda wobbling around = they're having a conversation and will not hear anything more than six feet away. Ever. EH-VUR.

    As I think about it more, this is a good case for a bell. It's a significantly different sound from a voice and is more likely to catch their attention.

  13. #13
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BarracksSi View Post
    As I think about it more, this is a good case for a bell. It's a significantly different sound from a voice and is more likely to catch their attention.
    That opens a different set of worms - they'll think you're making a pass at them (and not the kind the OP was talking about).

    -Kurt

  14. #14
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
    That opens a different set of worms - they'll think you're making a pass at them (and not the kind the OP was talking about).

    -Kurt
    Hmm... dunno how masculine a bell actually sounds...

    *ding ding* Heyyyyy

  15. #15
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    If you are riding on a campus, then you should be aware of the type of people that are around you. You have no reason to complain.
    Last edited by mackerel; 11-10-08 at 06:45 PM.

  16. #16
    Senior Member shouldberiding's Avatar
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    If you act all pervy and such, what with wolf whistles and lewd comments, they most definitely will notice you and do whatever they can to facilitate you passing them.

  17. #17
    Senior Member skeletor3000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
    The OP said nothing about speed - he could have been going under 10 mph. That said, if he has V-brakes or Kool-Stop pads, a poorly-executed panic stop could have quite easily sent him over the bars at that speed.

    -Kurt

    P.S.: I've run into enough moron cyclists of this sort that could nail you at virtually any speed. When faced with these folks, I refuse to pass until they look back and see me - and even then, I won't pass unless they see me in the lane to the adjacent left, so it is brutally apparent that I'm passing on that side. In very extreme cases (Ipod'ers that don't respond to anything), I will hang behind them on their left, until the left-most rider makes a sudden swerve to the right, at which point, I execute an all-out sprint to pass - before they correct their maneuver.
    Thank you for that first part. I was going pretty fast at first, but I wasn't trying to pull some crap like bombing past these two girls (ESPECIALLY since they were already riding erratically). I was actually not going all that fast at all when we collided. It all happened pretty suddenly, but I think somehow my wheel hitting her frame kind of helped me flip... it seemed like it just wedged under the front of her downtube and then I pivoted on it right over the top, with the bike still attached to my feet.

    As for the second, this is a lesson I've learned... so far I've had really good luck with "going by on your left" or something similar, but I suppose after today I've got to plan on that not working in the future.

  18. #18
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeletor3000 View Post
    Actually, I slowed quite a bit... like to the point that no one got hurt instead of me breaking my neck... but at the point they moved to the right I assumed they had heard me.

    I do like the "hold your lane" suggestion... but we're not talking 65 year old women here. These are college students, and this is a very bike-heavy campus... including a lot of people who bomb that hill a LOT faster than I was going on a daily basis. Most of the older cyclists I see on campus are actually really smart about how they ride. However, I think I'm going to start using the "passing" thing instead.
    You did what you could. I am not trying to burn you.
    In a car, would you have done the same thing?
    College women would be worst than my sister in-law.
    They would be in love.
    When I hear Left, I look left.
    When a rider or driver looks left they tend to move their vehicle where they are looking.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member skeletor3000's Avatar
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    I you are riding on a campus, then you should be aware of the type of people that are around you. You have no reason to complain.
    This is a main street through the campus with a LOT of buses around... and there are trails and side streets all over where I either walk or ride at a snail's pace for just that reason. I think you'd have to see the situation and the location in order to make that judgment.
    Last edited by skeletor3000; 11-10-08 at 06:42 PM. Reason: forgot the quote

  20. #20
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeletor3000 View Post
    This is a main street through the campus with a LOT of buses around... and there are trails and side streets all over where I either walk or ride at a snail's pace for just that reason. I think you'd have to see the situation and the location in order to make that judgment.
    Been there:
    Sunday's 85 mile ride.
    Yell On Your Left?



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  21. #21
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BarracksSi View Post
    Never underestimate the unpredictability of college kids..
    Never underestimate the unpredictability of humans.

  22. #22
    Senior Member skeletor3000's Avatar
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    I think this was my problem.... I got too comfortable expecting the usual "thanks!" and passing without incident.

  23. #23
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    Since I started using my "BELL" I have found I get much better response form pedestrians and casual cyclists. Seems as though they actually recognize the urgent need to look your way, and move over.

    They even say thank you as I pass, and I thank them for the courtesy.

    I use it all the time now, so much so, that it is now second nature.

    Put one on your bike and use it - you will probably be pleasantly surprised.

  24. #24
    uke
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    it's easy if you let it. uke's Avatar
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    Slow down more next time. Always leave yourself enough of a reaction time to get away.

    JesseDuncan:I just love how "cars will be forced to cross the double yellow lines on dangerous limited visibility roads".

    I don't want to have a head on but oh god, I HAVE to fling myself into oncoming traffic to pass, theres no alternative!!!

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeletor3000 View Post
    This is a main street through the campus with a LOT of buses around... and there are trails and side streets all over where I either walk or ride at a snail's pace for just that reason. I think you'd have to see the situation and the location in order to make that judgment.
    Fair enough

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