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  1. #1
    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    was i 'right' or was i 'unsafe'?

    ok, question here - if what i did was OK or unfriendly or unsafe or what...

    i was riding home from work yesterday in Munich during rush-hour. i was in the bike lane next to 2 car lanes where cars were going slow like 5kmh(3mph) because of traffic. it was in a curve for a big roundabout so a 200m long slow arcing curve with a slight downhill and i was going fast - like 35-40kmh(22-25mph) - anyway, the bike lane is pretty wide and usually the other cyclists ride to the right and i cruise by on the left - i usally sound my bell to let them know (pretty standard here). so i started into the curve and soon caught up to a guy on a moped who was riding right in the middle of the bike lane about 10-15kmh slower. i slowed a little, sounded my bell and then he didn't move right. so i sounded my bell again and then i went left (there was also space to his right between him and the curb but i almost never pass on the right - uh, that's 'bad'), so i was right on the bike lane line between the cars and the guy and then accelerated and pulled in front of him and sped back up. then i missed the next light b/c i had had to slow down and while waiting for the light the guy makes some comment about how unsafe i was cutting him off... i told him in German that i had sounded my bell twice and that he either had to ride to the right like the bikes do or not ride his motorbike in the bike lane(OK, i said this a little unfriendly like since he had a motorized vehicle in the bike lane)... he totally didn't understand and said he should call the police and i was a menace and blah blah blah (very strong German dialect which as an American i can't understand very well)... i just repeated what i had said and rode off and the other 5 or 6 bikers there just laughed...

    later i realized maybe he didn't hear the bell b/c of the motor on his bike, but then he shouldn't be in the bike lane anyway...

    what do you guys think? should i have 'instructed' him more, or just ignored him as i did? or was i 'in the wrong' and unsafe here??
    why drive when you can ride?
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  2. #2
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Sounds to me like one of those unpleasant experiences that happen to all of us from time to time. I guess I wouldn't worry about it much either way. The guy is a dope, has always been a dope, and will always be one, and there is not much you can do about it.

    At least, that is my take on the situation. You did nothing wrong, IMHO. Others may disagree.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  3. #3
    Devilmaycare Cycling Fool Allister's Avatar
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    I don't know about Germany, but in Australia what he was doing would have been illegal. I would have let him call the police.
    If we learn from our mistakes, I must be a goddamn genius.

  4. #4
    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    yeah, i'm not sure if it's illegal or not here... i occaisonally see signs on the bike paths saying 'no mopeds' but i'm not sure if that means
    1) only illegal when there's a sign
    2) it's always illegal and the signs are reminders

    i also think i surprised the guy since a 'non-motorized slow bicycle' passed him on his powerful machine... he never thought about moving right b/c no one on a slow bicycle would ever need to pass his fast motorbike... (yes, he was overweight and probably couldn't even ride 15kmh on a bicycle going downhill)
    why drive when you can ride?
    now a fully certified German MTB Guide! (DAV)

  5. #5
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    How well could he, as a Bavarian, understand your American- and presumably northern German-accented speech over the din of traffic and his motorbike? It is difficult enough to educate someone when there is no linguistic barrier. You do need to study Munich traffic regulations as soon as possible, for your own safety (and sanity).

    You were absolutely correct not to pass him on the outside. Passing on the right (left in the U.K., which the Brits delightfully call "undertaking," as opposed to "overtaking"), always dangerous, is illegal in most of Europe, and should be illegal in the U.S., as well.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  6. #6
    opinionated SOB cycletourist's Avatar
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    JohnE,

    undertaking IS illegal in the US (or at least here in Missouri). And police DELIGHT in writing tickets to any idiot who gets caught doing it.

  7. #7
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Originally posted by cycletourist
    JohnE,

    undertaking IS illegal in the US (or at least here in Missouri). And police DELIGHT in writing tickets to any idiot who gets caught doing it.
    Bravo! Every time I drive on Interstate 5, I see at least a few bozos using the outside lane to pass, often at 10-15mph over the posted speed limit. This is extremely dangerous for vehicles using the onramps or attempting to merge over to the offramps.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  8. #8
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Originally posted by nathank
    what do you guys think? should i have 'instructed' him more, or just ignored him as i did? or was i 'in the wrong' and unsafe here??
    I think you should have saved him the trouble and called the cops yourself. In fact, I'm amazed you even bothered trying to talk to the tosspot. I wouldn't have bothered myself. I don't think any of the other cyclists would have either if they were laughing about it.

    The guy may never learn his lesson, but I personally believe there should be a tax on stupidity. A nice little fine would have been just as good.
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Harry's Avatar
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    Here in Geneva we have these very nice cycle lanes and mopeds, which have a legal maximun speed of 40 kph are supposed to use them. Perhaps our German neighbours have the same rules.

    Some of the lanes are forbidden to horse riding but not all. We try to be tolerant.

    The German chap was probably frustrated after his day's work. Next time you have a similar situation try affenkopf. This could start a rerasonably energetic fight and a third party would probably call the polizei.


  10. #10
    Señor Member Tom_The_Bikeman's Avatar
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    Hoi Nathank,

    Welcome to Europe. Look on the bright side...<g> the motorized four+ wheelers are usually MUCH nicer than back State-side.

    Sounds to me like he was suffering from "UTS" syndrome (or actually "UZB" Syndrom as he was Bayerisch)

    I had the pleasure of sprinting with a driving student I passed on the way to work the other day. Just gotta be safe when passing, and be sure that you have the HP to accelerate when needed.

    ride safely,
    tt (Ostschweiz)

  11. #11
    The Flying Scot chewa's Avatar
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    Think you were in the right. Even if he hadn't heard your bell, he should have been using his mirrors, right?
    plus je vois les hommes, plus j'admire les chiens

    1985 Custom built 531c Audax/fast tourer.
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  12. #12
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Fatal Justice
    I think you should have saved him the trouble and called the cops yourself.

    ...I personally believe there should be a tax on stupidity.
    A tax on stupidity...BRILLIANT!

    This might remove the need for income tax.

    No worries

  13. #13
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Nathan,

    The language of the road crosses all language barriers.

    (Funny how many of those "dialects" we have here in the US. )
    Last edited by LittleBigMan; 04-28-02 at 09:21 PM.
    No worries

  14. #14
    Ich bin ein Lowlander! toolfreak's Avatar
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    Nathank,

    Your right, this guy should drive on the right side, not in the middle
    Here in The Netherlands moppeds are not allowed on cyclepaths in the city, outside they have to.

    This law is only an year old and the settup is to protect other traffic users against mopeds.

    I don`t know but i think with our neighbours mopeds have to drive at the cyclepaths

    Be aware that cyclist have a much better position here as in some U.S. states
    Mark







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  15. #15
    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    well, i'm still not 100% sure but i asked my girlfriend (native German) about the mopeds in bike lanes... apparently i misinterpreted the signs...

    the signs which i have seen say 'mofas frei' and i interpreted it as 'moped free' when i think it should be 'mopeds clear or exempt' meaning 'allowed'...

    but there was no 'mofas frei' sign so he was not supposed to be in the bike lane... but then if he does ride in the bike lane he has act like a bike and ride to the right
    why drive when you can ride?
    now a fully certified German MTB Guide! (DAV)

  16. #16
    serial mender
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    I wouldn't worry about it. I think this qualifies as one of those incidents where the guy couldn't stand being passed by a bike. So he let his aggressions out on you.

    You were right to pass on his left regardless. As you probably know, passing on the right is a significant traffic offense in Germany. (This law and obedience of it is the key to why the Autobahn can have no speed limit and still have a safer record than U.S. highways). I doubt the police would have sided with him.

    Also, good for you for asserting yourself. As you also surely know, German cultural codes are more direct than American ones. Germans expect you to say exactly what you honestly think--even if they disagree (in which case, they'll tell you). So, something that might sound "socially too strong" to your American ear, may well be just fine to a German.

    Cheers,
    Jamie

  17. #17
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    Bicycles are allowed to pass on the outside lane, only motor vehicles, animals, and animal-drawn vehicles are prohibited.

  18. #18
    Senior Member swekarl's Avatar
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    Originally posted by nathank
    while waiting for the light the guy makes some comment about how unsafe i was cutting him off...
    Grr, I experience this all the time – car drivers that try to make it a safety issue, when it’s really all about the embarrassment of being overtaken by a cyclist. Such a classic! Car drivers honk, but a mofa driver has to speak, which complicates it.

    Anyway, I don’t have a problem with mopedists (they have to use the bikepaths in Sweden), because they are easily outnumbered by the cyclists on the paths, meaning they’re not that confident.

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