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Old 10-02-12, 01:45 PM   #1
Chitown_Mike
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Has your driving changed since you started cycling?

I cycled years ago but very rarely on the streets because Chicago wasn't as bike friendly as it is now. But since I have started cycling, and a lot more on the streets, I have been more aware of how I drive a car when I do. I try to be more courteous to people who use the MUP when it crosses the road, much to the dismay of drivers behind me, and I don't use my phone when the car is moving (I am sure that will get me flamed regardless....but I still love you angry A&S surfers! ).

Who else has noticed when they started on the streets on a bicycle, how their driving has changed?
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Old 10-02-12, 01:58 PM   #2
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Hard to say, I started cycling before I started driving.
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Old 10-02-12, 02:08 PM   #3
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Hard to say, I started cycling before I started driving.
Same here.
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Old 10-02-12, 02:11 PM   #4
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Same here. I also rode motorcycles long before I had a car so "looking out for cyclists" was always part of the equation.
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Old 10-02-12, 02:16 PM   #5
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Yes, my driving has changed, since I took up bike riding more seriously, so has the way I ride my bike... I give more room to bikers when I pass them on the road, and I also take up more of the road when I ride the bike now...
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Old 10-02-12, 02:53 PM   #6
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I have definitely become a safer driver. Check my right-side mirror when making turns, waiting behind cyclists if I need to, etc. I also driver much more slowly, as 65mph feels extremely fast after a week of "fast" being 30mph.
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Old 10-02-12, 03:15 PM   #7
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Same here. I also rode motorcycles long before I had a car so "looking out for cyclists" was always part of the equation.
Part of why I think road education in public schools should start on bikes and end up with cars... if everyone biked and was originally trained on bikes... well folks may just be a bit more cognizant of other road users.
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Old 10-02-12, 03:33 PM   #8
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Let's see. I definitely have a better sense of cars' "body language." As in, I have found that I'll sense a car is going to turn or change lanes before I see a blinker. I also think I have a better sense of relative speeds and can judge gaps in traffic better.

The other thing that's happened, and amuses/annoys my wife, is that sometimes I'll completely blank on how to get to a destination by the freeway.
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Old 10-02-12, 03:40 PM   #9
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Let's see. I definitely have a better sense of cars' "body language." As in, I have found that I'll sense a car is going to turn or change lanes before I see a blinker. I also think I have a better sense of relative speeds and can judge gaps in traffic better.

The other thing that's happened, and amuses/annoys my wife, is that sometimes I'll completely blank on how to get to a destination by the freeway.
haha yea...I sometimes give some pretty odd directions. It's occasionally happened that my girl will ask me, exasperated, "Is this the bike way to get there or something??"
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Old 10-02-12, 03:41 PM   #10
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Definitely has altered my driving habits with regard to cyclists since being 'back on the saddle.' I now strictly follow the 3-foot law. Before, I thought it was excessive, if not a bit silly, and failed to see the need. Boy, how my perspective has changed!
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Old 10-02-12, 04:50 PM   #11
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haha yea...I sometimes give some pretty odd directions. It's occasionally happened that my girl will ask me, exasperated, "Is this the bike way to get there or something??"
Yeah, I have that problem too. Sometimes I totally forget the freeways. On the flip side, this has saved me a couple of times, as I know alternate routes that most motorists have no idea about. Around a year ago I was in a sail race in Santa Barbra and the freeway going south after the race was just a parking lot. Well I had bike toured through the area about 15 years before, and sure enough, those roads were wide open and had changed very little. We zipped right past the freeway mess.
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Old 10-02-12, 04:50 PM   #12
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Yes , my driving as changed : I drive a lot less
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Old 10-02-12, 06:31 PM   #13
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I don't drive and have never driven, by choice.
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Old 10-02-12, 08:36 PM   #14
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Cycled long before I started driving but I know what you're getting at. Things I've noticed about my driving habits:

1) I drive a whole lot less. I now put about 11,000 kms a year on a car when it was about 20,000+ before.
2) I am a slower, more cautious driver than before. Around town I cruise at about the speed limit and only do about 10km/h over on highways though I still do traffic flow on expressways.
3) I am more conscious of cyclists than before. I sometimes have used my car to shield cyclists and allow them to make lane changes in front of me.

The big difference for me, I think, is using the bike to commute to work. On the odd occasion where I need to drive in I find myself going back to some of my nasty old driving habits.
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Old 10-02-12, 08:46 PM   #15
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My car driving improved after I got a truck licence.

Heavy vehicles need more room to start, stop, turn and are generally more difficult to drive unless you are really switched on and planning much further ahead.

Once you learn this the driving of an ordinary car is so much easier.
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Old 10-03-12, 07:24 AM   #16
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I recently drove a SAG wagon during a charity ride. My riding experience allowed me to see things my ride along radio operator didn't, like a rider working out a leg cramp or a tired rider pedaling in squares.
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Old 10-03-12, 07:30 AM   #17
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...or a tired rider pedaling in squares.
Whatz dat?
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Old 10-03-12, 09:23 AM   #18
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Same here. I also rode motorcycles long before I had a car so "looking out for cyclists" was always part of the equation.
Ditto. I know most people ride bikes when they are young, but most don't use them as transportation. I did. My bicycle was my only transportation (like a car, I was racking up ~10k miles/year) for the better part of 8 years. Then I rode my bicycle and a (very old, cheap, unreliable) motorcycle for about 4 years. I didn't own my first car until I was almost 30.
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Old 10-03-12, 10:19 AM   #19
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Whatz dat?
Roadie slang for the awkward pedaling motion a rider makes when he's run out of gas.
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Old 10-03-12, 10:29 AM   #20
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I just remembered one on the ride to work this morning: I've developed the habit of trying to see around corners using shadows or reflections in store windows. And I prefer to drive with the windows down at less than highway speed so I can hear the street. All those visual and auditory cues are out there but it took years of riding a bike to really appreciate them and then learn how to interpret them.
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Old 10-03-12, 11:13 AM   #21
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Here's a flip side... What has changed since you learned to drive?

For me the speed limits have gone up in many places... I first learned to drive in the early '70s and shortly thereafter the national speed limit went to 55. This was right after I had gone back to the bicycle for much of my local transportation... So I thought it was quite nice to have cars generally moving slower. There were long lines for gas soon after I learned to drive (my incentive to stay with the bike) and for a while I envisioned that we were going to have car free days, when no one could drive. Well that never happened.

Cell phones and SUVs came along... and to my experience, neither has been good for cycling. And the national speed limit has been repealed... so basically I have seen speed limits go up, and cell phones and SUVs have been added to the equation.
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Old 10-03-12, 12:31 PM   #22
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I've seen gas prices quadruple, average car size grow, and total traffic increase.

I've seen cell phones transform from a voice-only, static-filled, shoulder bag-sized device with per minute charges to a pocket-sized device with a faster internet connection than my house able to run games that my PC would have choked on 15 years ago.

I've seen a trend towards much less personal responsibility and more mindless consumerism.
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Old 10-03-12, 12:36 PM   #23
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The only driving change I've seen in my lifetime is when I became a chauffeur about 12 years ago. It taught me to drive smoother.

I've been complimented on my driving style quite a few times by clients, friends and family, and it's nice to hear.
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Old 10-05-12, 10:33 PM   #24
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I've seen cell phones transform from a voice-only, static-filled, shoulder bag-sized device with per minute charges.
Lol! I remember those bad boys. A blast from the past, for sure. Brought back some memories, strangely.
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Old 10-07-12, 10:23 PM   #25
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I was biking as a kid on the roads long before I ever got a drivers license. Then I went mainly four wheeled but still kept up on the two wheeled on the side but not as my primary form of transportation. Over the last few years I've been coming full circle especially in the summers.

The main thing I've noticed now when on four wheels is that I take routes that I would choose more for two wheels then for four. Using alleyways and such choosing routes that are the path of least resistance with the least potential points of conflict. Routes that only a two wheeler would see and plan out where as a four wheeler would never see them unless they were thinking like a two wheeler.
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