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  1. #1
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    10 Reasons not to ride against traffic

    Winnowed from a thread on the Road bike forum:

    1. It's against the law

    2. Riding against traffic reduces the reaction time of cyclist & driver since you're approaching each other instead of going in the same direction.

    3. Potential impact is greater: Bike going 20 mph and car going 40 mph
    collision riding with traffic = 20 mph impact
    collision riding against traffic = 60 mph impact

    4. Coming over the crest of a hill, if riding against traffic you'll come head on to an oncoming car, whereas when riding with traffic, the upcoming car on your path of direction will see you going up the hill.

    5. Drivers making RIGHT turns will only look to their LEFT. Since they have to merge with that traffic and are not expecting vehicles to be coming head on from their right side

    6. Drivers pulling out and making left turns will only look to their left, thus pulling out in front of you.

    7. Riding on the right, a car can slow behind you and wait until it's safe to pass. Riding on the left, you're coming right at the cars, leaving them the choice of a head-on with oncoming traffic or a head-on with you.

    8. Primary tenets of safe riding are to be visible and predictable. Riding on the left puts you where drivers aren't looking for you, and you're demonstrating a complete ignorance of traffic laws; so you get a FAIL on both counts.

    9. It's probably much more likely you'll get doored driving against traffic as well. Most people are looking in their sideview mirror or behind them for a passing car before opening the door, since they aren't expecting anything coming from the front.

    10. The reason you ride with traffic is because when on a bicycle, you ARE traffic. you are subject to most all of the other laws that govern vehicles, so you must be in proper position to obey the laws AND be protected by them. Riding on the left, all traffic signs and lights for your direction are on the OTHER side of the road.

  2. #2
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    I'm pretty sure people who ride against traffic don't visit this forum anyway.

    Maybe if you put all that on a T-Shirt?

  3. #3
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    There is just one reason: it is bloody stupid. Illegal or not it is dumb and anyone who does it or suggests it is a danger to everyone else on the road, including cyclists going the right way as cars swerve around foolish wrong way riders.

  4. #4
    Banned Omni.Potent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daven1986 View Post
    There is just one reason: it is bloody stupid.
    Ditto.... except I would have used a more colorful metaphor in place of "bloody".

  5. #5
    . botto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xenologer View Post
    I'm pretty sure people who ride against traffic don't visit this forum anyway.

    Maybe if you put all that on a T-Shirt?

  6. #6
    Senior Member thdave's Avatar
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    ok list, but why put the most important reason seventh? This is it--be prepared to ride into a ditch on the left or witness your last moments on earth.

    7. Riding on the right, a car can slow behind you and wait until it's safe to pass. Riding on the left, you're coming right at the cars, leaving them the choice of a head-on with oncoming traffic or a head-on with you.
    Cleveland, OH
    Breezer fan

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by xenologer View Post
    I'm pretty sure people who ride against traffic don't visit this forum anyway.

    Maybe if you put all that on a T-Shirt?
    In Spanish.

  8. #8
    Pokemon Master Darth_Firebolt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leob1 View Post
    In Spanish.

    i'll take two.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by xenologer View Post
    I'm pretty sure people who ride against traffic don't visit this forum anyway.

    Maybe if you put all that on a T-Shirt?
    Yea, I forgot to mention, this stuff was posted in response to a guy who asked for ways to explain to someone how stupid it was.

  10. #10
    20+mph Commuter JoeyBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Camilo View Post
    1. It's against the law.
    This should be #10, not #1. Ever drive on an Interstate highway at EXACTLY the posted speed limit. Try it and you will quickly find out how many people care about the law.

    I agree that persons who bike against traffic as a rule are a hazard to everyone including themselves. I should stop typing now and go away. But no.

    There are some instances where brief, prudent, careful, and alert contraflow is safer than the legal alternative. I have a couple spots in my city where I go "outlaw" to avoid major cluster fornicrazy intersections. The last side street before the intersection will be a "do not enter" one-way simply because auto traffic would continually use that neighborhood street to beat the evil intersection. Especially when traffic becomes backed up all the way up to that street.

    So I turn there anyway, on high alert, ready to bail against the curb if even a rat has the right of way. One block later I turn off of that street and go with the flow. If you are cautious and know the perils of contraflow, there will be no problems. And the risks associated with the fornicrazy intersection has been avoided.

    Also, when I leave work, my choice is to ride contraflow for 2 quiet blocks in peace, or ride an 8 block idiot loop that runs me through three stop lights and past a dozen bars and clubs that are open 24-7.

    Most things in this world are some shade of grey (or gray).
    Last edited by JoeyBike; 05-05-09 at 11:44 AM.
    "For all we know his skills may be excellent, allowing him to ride like an idiot without actually being one." - FBinNY

  11. #11
    girl anachronism trashion's Avatar
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    1. It's stupid and you will get hit by a car.
    2. It's stupid and you will get hit by a car.
    3. It's stupid and you will get hit by a car.
    4. It's stupid and you will get hit by a car.
    5. It's stupid and you will get hit by a car.
    6. It's stupid and you will get hit by a car.
    7. It's stupid and you will get hit by a car.
    8. It's stupid and you will get hit by a car.
    9. It's stupid and you will get hit by a car.
    10. It's stupid and you will get hit by a car.

    I think that sums it up.
    Just sold the brand-new Specialized Allez...later for that thing!
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  12. #12
    20+mph Commuter JoeyBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trashion View Post
    1. It's stupid and you will get hit by a car.
    2. It's stupid and you will get hit by a car.
    3. It's stupid and you will get hit by a car.
    4. It's stupid and you will get hit by a car.
    5. It's stupid and you will get hit by a car.
    6. It's stupid and you will get hit by a car.
    7. It's stupid and you will get hit by a car.
    8. It's stupid and you will get hit by a car.
    9. It's stupid and you will get hit by a car.
    10. It's stupid and you will get hit by a car.
    11. Unless you are smart and aware.
    "For all we know his skills may be excellent, allowing him to ride like an idiot without actually being one." - FBinNY

  13. #13
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    The info about going against traffic has to be coming from somewhere. I mean I knew about it when I was young and that was 25 years ago. so who is teaching this?

  14. #14
    L T X B O M P F A N S R apricissimus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
    This should be #10, not #1. Ever drive on an Interstate highway at EXACTLY the posted speed limit. Try it and you will quickly find out how many people care about the law.
    Implicit in the word "limit" is the idea that you should go no faster than the posted speed, though you could go slower than it (within reason). Going slower than the speed "limit" on the highway however is a sure way to annoy other drivers.

    Of course speed limits are really understood to be guidelines of about how fast you should be going. I wonder if it was ever regarded as a true upper limit.

  15. #15
    20+mph Commuter JoeyBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steveknight View Post
    The info about going against traffic has to be coming from somewhere. I mean I knew about it when I was young and that was 25 years ago. so who is teaching this?
    It's self taught. I think it starts with the pedestrian rule of walking down streets/roads with no sidewalks - face traffic so you can see what is coming. Every hard core contraflow cyclist I have ever tried to educate, and there have been hundreds, all insist that they want to be able to see the car that kills them.
    "For all we know his skills may be excellent, allowing him to ride like an idiot without actually being one." - FBinNY

  16. #16
    20+mph Commuter JoeyBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by apricissimus View Post
    Of course speed limits are really understood to be guidelines of about how fast you should be going. I wonder if it was ever regarded as a true upper limit.
    I say no! In Louisiana, we have a new law (less than 5 years) that mandates slower traffic to the right lane on multi-lane roads and highways. If you are driving 70 - the posted limit - in the left lane, even though "limit" means the upper end of how fast you should be traveling, you will be ticketed if you are slowing down the law breakers! Go effing-figure that!

    Just one more reason why I get on my bike and do what I want.
    "For all we know his skills may be excellent, allowing him to ride like an idiot without actually being one." - FBinNY

  17. #17
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    reason #11

    Reason number 11 is that it makes all of the safe, law abiding, ligitimate cyclests look bad as well.

  18. #18
    20+mph Commuter JoeyBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magnum Man View Post
    Reason number 11 is that it makes all of the safe, law abiding, ligitimate cyclests look bad as well.
    Look bad to whom exactly? Motorists? Unless you are cycling on the sidewalk, you already look bad to motorists. If you conducted a poll in any major USA city asking non-cyclists where we belong, 999 out of 1000 will say on the sidewalk, if not all 1000 of them.

    Look bad. What a riot.
    "For all we know his skills may be excellent, allowing him to ride like an idiot without actually being one." - FBinNY

  19. #19
    Joyously Phred MnHillBilly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
    11. Unless you are smart and aware.
    Um, not quite.

    You can be as nimble and "doing it to avoid the cluster" as you wish - you're still putting YOUR safety at the whim of whoever's coming at you, people who may not even be approaching you at the time you decide to do it. Riding against traffic is never a good idea, no matter how seasoned you are or how "briefly" you intend to do it.

    Just like a person can buckle their seat belt, drive the limit, avoid crazy people swerving ahead of them - there are STILL people who get killed by the hundreds each year because the OTHER guy isn't smart and aware of how smart and aware YOU are. (i.e. drunks crossing lanes and car chases that go 100+ - the driver doing the right thing and being smart is still just as dead, for all their prudence).
    "Took a whole lotta tr-y-in' jest ta get up that hill"

  20. #20
    Señior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    What's the point in posting this here? I'd be surprised if anyone in this forum rode against traffic.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  21. #21
    Team Fat Boy SeattleShaun's Avatar
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    The info about going against traffic has to be coming from somewhere.

    When I was in 6th grade many years ago, a teacher taught "safe" riding clinics. He taught us to ride against traffic, on sidewalks, etc - that was pretty common at the time. This was in metro north Boston.

    I still encounter people posting to local blogs, newspapers, etc how their parents taught them to ride "properly" and railing bitterly against cyclists who are actually following the law and riding safely.

    Unfortunately, a lot of folks "know" that riding against traffic is safest based on what they learned when they were children. Of course, most of them haven't ridden a bike since they were kids - until it's time to teach bad habits to their kids...

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    What's the point in posting this here? I'd be surprised if anyone in this forum rode against traffic.
    It was posted in the spirit of "how to tell people how stupid it is to ride against traffic" if you're ever in the position of trying to convince someone it's true .... which I have. A friend of mine was riding against traffic (I saw him while driving) and when I was later talking to him about it, I was hard pressed for reasons because it's just so clear to me, I can't believe anyone would need explicit reasons. So I posted the list.

  23. #23
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    How about this for whowever needs convincing?

    I used to be a wrong way rider back when I was very young and stupid. I learned in less than 60 seconds it is a bad idea. I had a car comming head on, another approaching quickly in the other, plus a nice sized ditch on opposite side. I ended up doing a hail mary last minute ditch between the two cars. When my legs stopped shaking on the otherside of the road I finished my ride with traffic. I haven't stopped ridding that way since.

  24. #24
    Peripheral Visionary spock's Avatar
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    Reason #12....You don't see many cyclists taking the whole lane while going against traffic.

  25. #25
    Senior Member trackhub's Avatar
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    Didn't someone here once say "It's the fasted way to the cemetery?"

    I see people, typically suburban mom types and their broods, do this all the time. This is the time of year when they come out. And do watch for helmets on backwards, or pushed to the back of the head.
    I thought I was suffering from depression once. Turned out, I was simply surrounded by idiots.

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