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  1. #101
    Senior Member Hendricks97's Avatar
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    Heres a little twist to the conversation. Last October I was rear ended by a car that didnt see me, so I was hit at full speed (45 mph). The way my body hit his car, If I hadnt been taking the lane, my spine would have hit the support beams of the windshield (most likely killing me or at least paralyzing me), rather than right in the middle where the roof crumpled instead. This position saved my life as the impact shattered 1 vertebrae and fractured another. I had a bone fragment from the shattered one about to pierce my spinal cord resulting in 5 1/2 hours of emergency surgery. If the road isnt wide enough to give 3 feet of passing room without crossing the center line, I take the lane everytime no matter what.

  2. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by dougmc View Post
    If no law makes it illegal, it's legal.

    That said, this page from DPS says this --



    ... seems pretty straightforward. Lane splitting does *not* have you driving as nearly as practical in a single lane.
    Dougmc, thanks for providing the link. I last familiarized myself with motorcycle laws back in '09, so I anticipated it may have changed since then. I did a quick search of the Texas Translortation Code, and was unable to find anything related to lane splitting...since I was getting ready for bed, I didn't bother with a detailed search. Once I saw your DPS link, I remembered it was their site that has a quick summary of both motorcycle and bicycle related laws. Rather than the law having changed, only the DPS website has changed by including their interpretation of lane splitting as illegal.

    The DPS quote is clearly written to discourage lane splitting; they even indicate (admit) there is no specific law that addresses it...so as you said, "If no law makes it illegal, it's legal". DPS is wrong in saying "The main statute that makes "lane splitting" illegal is...shall drive as nearly practical entirely within a single lane". "Practical" is undefined, it's the police officer's discretion to determine what's practical when writing a ticket, and the judges discretion to decide what's practical in determing guilt.

    If it's a clear case of illegality, ask yourself why the law was written to include practical (open to interpretation). It's similar with bicycle laws..."a person operating a bicycle on a roadway who is moving slower than the other traffic on the roadway shall ride as near as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway, unless: ...(B) too narrow for a bicycle and a motor vehicle to safely travel side by side.".
    http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.u...htm/tn.551.htm

    Getting back to bicycles, the above law supports my taking the lane in "normal-sized" traffic lanes. Encouraging passing traffic to share my lane is rarely practicable, more so because of Texas' required 3 foot minimum passing allowance.
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  3. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by contango View Post
    I'm not a lawyer but I'd have thought "shall drive as nearly practical entirely within a single lane" requires drivers to keep a vehicle in one lane rather than straddling two lanes, i.e. not driving right down the middle taking up both lanes when there are two lanes going the same way. "As nearly practical" seems to provide an exception for things like overtaking manouevres where it's necessary to straddle both lanes while moving from one to the other.

    If you've got a wide lane and you're passing other vehicles that are in the same lane as you are, and your (narrow) vehicle remains entirely within one lane (even if it is the same lane as the other vehicle) then it would seem you're complying with the requirement to "drive entirely within a single lane".

    If you've got two lines of stationary traffic then riding along the white line down the middle could be argued to violate the "entirely within a single lane" but if you were to move from one side to the other you could easily argue that you were staying within one lane except when you changed lanes, and you only moved from the lane when that movement could be made safely.
    Excellent point! Now it's even more clear that DPS is trying to argue against lane splitting in spite of its lawfulness. Lane splitters do not "ride the dots", they are within a lane and as needed change lanes. While in a lane, they sometimes are sharing that lane with another vehicle as space allows...just as a motorist sometimes shares a lane with a bicycle.

    Your point also highlights that when a motorist straddles two lanes of traffic to pass a bicyclist, since they're not driving entirely within a single lane, it could be considered unlawful, or similar to DPS' claim, it is illegal. The law states "shall drive as nearly practical entirely within a single lane", so changing lanes entirely is more lawful than sharing a lane. Actually, when a motorist straddles two lanes to pass a bicyclist...that is lane splitting!
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  4. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hendricks97 View Post
    Heres a little twist to the conversation. Last October I was rear ended by a car that didnt see me, so I was hit at full speed (45 mph). The way my body hit his car, If I hadnt been taking the lane, my spine would have hit the support beams of the windshield (most likely killing me or at least paralyzing me), rather than right in the middle where the roof crumpled instead. This position saved my life as the impact shattered 1 vertebrae and fractured another. I had a bone fragment from the shattered one about to pierce my spinal cord resulting in 5 1/2 hours of emergency surgery. If the road isnt wide enough to give 3 feet of passing room without crossing the center line, I take the lane everytime no matter what.
    Sorry for your experience, thanks for sharing. I hadn't considered impact zones before, something to think about. I'm adamant about taking the lane (where appropriate), and when riding with friends who hug the curb, I tell them if I get hit, the driver can't say he didn't see me. Of course, as your scenario exemplifies, that's not really the case. Regardless, when taking the lane, I feel I'm better seen, and more likely to be treated as a slower moving vehicle. Wanting equal treatment is also why I don't filter ahead at stoplights. Not only does it annoy, and possibly infuriate, drivers that pass again, it's more dangerous because it adds to number of times I'm passed. I believe stopping in line with traffic encourages the witnessing vehicles behind me to pass with greater consideration. Playing leap frog with traffic is a game bicyclists don't win.
    Last edited by Bike Rat; 07-16-13 at 12:01 PM.
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  5. #105
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bike Rat View Post
    Excellent point! Now it's even more clear that DPS is trying to argue against lane splitting in spite of its lawfulness. Lane splitters do not "ride the dots", they are within a lane and as needed change lanes. While in a lane, they sometimes are sharing that lane with another vehicle as space allows...just as a motorist sometimes shares a lane with a bicycle.
    It would appear that as long as your vehicle is entirely within one lane there's no restriction on what else might also be in the lane. If it is illegal to pass something within the same lane then logically it must also be illegal for cyclists to ride two abreast in any circumstances.

    Your point also highlights that when a motorist straddles two lanes of traffic to pass a bicyclist, since they're not driving entirely within a single lane, it could be considered unlawful, or similar to DPS' claim, it is illegal. The law states "shall drive as nearly practical entirely within a single lane", so changing lanes entirely is more lawful than sharing a lane. Actually, when a motorist straddles two lanes to pass a bicyclist...that is lane splitting!
    That's where the "as nearly practical" clause comes into play - any manoeuvre that involves moving from one lane to another involves temporarily straddling two lanes and it's clearly absurd to make changing lanes illegal. My understanding of that clause would be that if you're changing lanes you straddle the line, if you're overtaking you straddle the line, but within a reasonable amount of time (whatever "reasonable" means) you either move entirely to the other lane or return entirely to your original lane.
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  6. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by contango View Post
    It would appear that as long as your vehicle is entirely within one lane there's no restriction on what else might also be in the lane.
    That's the really interesting part, DPS is trying to assert illegality with a law that doesn't pertain to the action. Lane splitting isn't even driving in two lanes like they infer, it's splitting (sharing) one lane with another user.

    Conclusion: Lane splitting is not illegal.

    Quote Originally Posted by contango View Post
    If it is illegal to pass something within the same lane then logically it must also be illegal for cyclists to ride two abreast in any circumstances.
    If we're getting that specific, then as long as the cyclists are riding two abreast it's not illegal since no passing is taking place. It would only become illegal when one cyclist overtakes the other.


    Quote Originally Posted by contango View Post
    That's where the "as nearly practical" clause comes into play - any manoeuvre that involves moving from one lane to another involves temporarily straddling two lanes and it's clearly absurd to make changing lanes illegal. My understanding of that clause would be that if you're changing lanes you straddle the line, if you're overtaking you straddle the line, but within a reasonable amount of time (whatever "reasonable" means) you either move entirely to the other lane or return entirely to your original lane.
    Oh the details you demand of me...yes, it's "absurd to make changing lanes illegal". Straddling is driving within two lanes at one time, as if often done when a cyclist is passed. Changing lanes is crossing over the lane divider from one lane to another.
    Last edited by Bike Rat; 07-16-13 at 04:31 PM.
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  7. #107
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bike Rat View Post
    That's the really interesting part, DPS is trying to assert illegality with a law that doesn't pertain to the action. Lane splitting isn't even driving in two lanes like they infer, it's splitting (sharing) one lane with another user.

    Conclusion: Lane splitting is not illegal.
    Hard to conclude anything else, unless there's another law that actually addresses it.

    If we're getting that specific, then as long as the cyclists are riding two abreast it's not illegal since no passing is taking place. It would only become illegal when one cyclist overtakes the other.
    Even if one passes the other both cyclists are operating their vehicles entirely within one lane so it still wouldn't be covered by the law.

    Oh the details you demand of me...yes, it's "absurd to make changing lanes illegal". Straddling is driving within two lanes at one time, as if often done when a cyclist is passed. Changing lanes is crossing over the lane divider from one lane to another.
    Yes, if a cyclist is passed it may well be that the overtaking car straddles both lanes for the duration of the pass and then pulls back, in which case they are still operating within one lane as far as is practical. It makes little sense to require they pull all the way into the other lane, they just need to give the cyclist enough room to pass safely and then return to the lane. In terms of how much time they spend in one lane and how much time they spend straddling both lanes it's hard to see it making any practical difference if they pulled across an entire lane and then pulled back into their original lane or just straddled both lanes for the duration of the pass and then returned to their normal position.
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  8. #108
    Senior Member dougmc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bike Rat View Post
    Conclusion: Lane splitting is not illegal.
    ... if you're saying that lane splitting is sharing a lane with another vehicle, than OK, though it could still be prohibited by other laws (I do not know.) Note that most of the time a car driver will drive in the middle of the lane, and there's not enough space on either side for a motorcycle to also be in the lane without "spilling" into an adjacent lane.

    If you're saying that lane splitting is riding on the line, then no, as that fairly clearly violates "shall drive as nearly as practical entirely within a single lane" bit, and police can and do ticket for it, and judges don't just throw such tickets out.

    Just the other day I saw a (uni)cyclist complain on Facebook that he had gotten a ticket while lane splitting on his unicycle here in Austin ...

    If it is illegal to pass something within the same lane then logically it must also be illegal for cyclists to ride two abreast in any circumstances.
    Perhaps, though cyclists riding two abreast is explicitly permitted in Texas law --

    551.103. OPERATION ON ROADWAY.
    ...
    (c) Persons operating bicycles on a roadway may ride two abreast. Persons riding two abreast on a laned roadway shall ride in a single lane. Persons riding two abreast may not impede the normal and reasonable flow of traffic on the roadway. Persons may not ride more than two abreast unless they are riding on a part of a roadway set aside for the exclusive operation of bicycles.

  9. #109
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dougmc View Post
    Perhaps, though cyclists riding two abreast is explicitly permitted in Texas law --

    551.103. OPERATION ON ROADWAY.
    ...
    (c) Persons operating bicycles on a roadway may ride two abreast. Persons riding two abreast on a laned roadway shall ride in a single lane. Persons riding two abreast may not impede the normal and reasonable flow of traffic on the roadway. Persons may not ride more than two abreast unless they are riding on a part of a roadway set aside for the exclusive operation of bicycles.
    If cyclists are allowed to ride two abreast within the same lane, presumably one cyclist is allowed to pass another while both are in the same lane? And if so, presumably if space permits a cyclist can pass any other vehicle while remaining in the same lane as it?

    If the law explicitly forbids riding more than two abreast presumably if two cyclists are riding two abreast a third cyclist is still allowed to overtake them?
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  10. #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
    I don't think it has to do with the racer image, as much as we would like that to be true. It has more to do with the bum image. When a person sees a bicyclist, on a transportation bicycle they assume the rider is a bum (whatever that word means in your mind); or, someone who has lost their right to drive. We don't like to say it; but, we all know this is what a lot of people think when they see a transportation cyclist.

    On the other hand, a recumbent is likely being ridden by choice, probably the choice of a kook; but, a choice all the same. Further, most bents look expensive, thus indicating that the rider may be a member of their own social class.
    That's similar to what I intended to imply in saying older men...respectable members of society. Aside from the likely common perception of 'bent riders, mine is also influenced by the sole 'bent rider I occassionally see..a kooky looking, white bearded, white guy in his 50's. Besides perception, I bet a lot of it has to do with the uniqueness factor of seeing a 'bent. It's interesting that seeing unique things can bring pleasure to people...it's always accompanied by pleasure when I tell my passengers, "hey, there's that recumbent guy", I don't even bother pointing out other types of riders.

    It's funny you should say bum, because I was recently thinking about how others perception of me when I'm cycling influences their behavior toward me. Like many forum members I presume, I have several bicycles, and I ride all over my city, good parts and bad. So depending on which bike ridden, area of town, clothing choice, and riding style...how am I classed along my own sometimes unfortunate stereotypes of other riders...the kid dealing drugs, the guy who can't afford a car, the guy who chooses to bike, the pleasure rider, racer wannabe, the crappy bike guy, hipster wannabe, etc., and how does it effect motorist behavior.

    PS: Oh, there is another recumbent rider, him I hate seeing, or maybe I should say I'm glad I eventually see him. He rides the multi-use greenway trail, since he's comparatively low to the ground and hidden by both brush and shade, I'm usually surprised by what is his seemingly sudden appearance. He also is a middle-aged white guy, but not kooky looking, lol.
    Last edited by Bike Rat; 07-16-13 at 05:58 PM.
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  11. #111
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
    I don't think it has to do with the racer image, as much as we would like that to be true. It has more to do with the bum image. When a person sees a bicyclist, on a transportation bicycle they assume the rider is a bum (whatever that word means in your mind); or, someone who has lost their right to drive. We don't like to say it; but, we all know this is what a lot of people think when they see a transportation cyclist.

    On the other hand, a recumbent is likely being ridden by choice, probably the choice of a kook; but, a choice all the same. Further, most bents look expensive, thus indicating that the rider may be a member of their own social class.
    Do you think this "bum" image holds true when someone is all dressed out Lance-wanna be? I ask because I have always thought I was treated differently when I rode my nice looking "racer bike" and a clean nice jersey (one of only two that I do own) vice when I go out looking all Fred... on my commuter with a T shirt and a vest.

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  12. #112
    Daily Rider Robert C's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Do you think this "bum" image holds true when someone is all dressed out Lance-wanna be?
    You know perfectly well that when you wear your "playing in the street" costume you will be perceived differently than you will when you are seen as the dregs of society. That isn't to say that you will be thought of well; after all, you are clearly out playing in the street (in the eyes of the auto driver) while they feel that they had "important things to do" and "places to be."

    Of course higher gas prices also increase anger against cyclists. We can claim that "we pay taxes too;" but, it does not reduce the belief that the transportation cyclist is gelling something for nothing. You have no idea how happy I was to see that the last Economics text I picked for my class did away with the use of a bicyclist as an example of a free rider. I suspect several generations that have gone to college have it in their heads that bicyclist is a free rider.
    As a nation we still continue to enjoy a literally unprecedented prosperity; and it is probable that only reckless speculation and disregard of legitimate business methods on the part of the business world can materially mar this prosperity. Theodore Roosevelt, Sixth Annual Message, December 3, 1906

  13. #113
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hendricks97 View Post
    Heres a little twist to the conversation. Last October I was rear ended by a car that didn't see me, so I was hit at full speed (45 mph). The way my body hit his car, If I hadn't been taking the lane, my spine would have hit the support beams of the windshield (most likely killing me or at least paralyzing me), rather than right in the middle where the roof crumpled instead. This position saved my life as the impact shattered 1 vertebrae and fractured another. I had a bone fragment from the shattered one about to pierce my spinal cord resulting in 5 1/2 hours of emergency surgery. If the road isn't wide enough to give 3 feet of passing room without crossing the center line, I take the lane every time no matter what.
    I had stayed out of this debate for some time. I am glad I found your post. Both your experience, and what you said here, further bolster what I have been saying for a long time about 'taking the lane'.
    Last edited by Chris516; 07-16-13 at 09:08 PM.

  14. #114
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
    You know perfectly well that when you wear your "playing in the street" costume you will be perceived differently than you will when you are seen as the dregs of society. That isn't to say that you will be thought of well; after all, you are clearly out playing in the street (in the eyes of the auto driver) while they feel that they had "important things to do" and "places to be."

    Of course higher gas prices also increase anger against cyclists. We can claim that "we pay taxes too;" but, it does not reduce the belief that the transportation cyclist is gelling something for nothing. You have no idea how happy I was to see that the last Economics text I picked for my class did away with the use of a bicyclist as an example of a free rider. I suspect several generations that have gone to college have it in their heads that bicyclist is a free rider.
    When taking the lane, I am not sure which is a worst image... "a bum" or someone "playing in the street."

  15. #115
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    Quote Originally Posted by dougmc View Post
    ... if you're saying that lane splitting is sharing a lane with another vehicle, than OK, though it could still be prohibited by other laws (I do not know.) Note that most of the time a car driver will drive in the middle of the lane, and there's not enough space on either side for a motorcycle to also be in the lane without "spilling" into an adjacent lane.
    Practically speaking, I agree, most roadways prevent motorcycles from lane splitting without spilling into an adjacent lane, largely due to varied vehicle widths and vehicle positioning within the primary lane.

    When motorcycling, the only time I ever split lanes was in crawling or stopped bumper-to-bumper traffic, and I did it at a very slow speed. I felt it impractical to sit in traffic when I had both the ability and avenue to progress forward. Many cars would scoot over to allow me greater passing room, and there was the occasional driver who would try to block me...surely out of jealousy of my forward movement. I felt that if they were able, most drivers would have split lanes in those situations as well. I think it also helped that I had the appearance of a responsible motorcyclist with a low-key (not loud) cruiser, rather than a "biker" or "crotch-rocket", and at my slow speed, I obviously wasn't being a jerk about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by dougmc View Post
    Just the other day I saw a (uni)cyclist complain on Facebook that he had gotten a ticket while lane splitting on his unicycle here in Austin ...
    Ha-ha! For some reason, imagining a unicycle splitting lanes is funny. Did he get the ticket for lane splitting, or for lane splitting while juggling!

    I lived in central Austin for a year. I remember seeing Austin cyclists ticketed for riding on the sidewalk downtown, riding against traffic on one-way streets. There's so many bicycle law breakers there, it's not something the police can overlook. In order to maintain their control APD clamps down on the most minor of offenses, and they don't tread lightly. I saw a cop responding to a minor incident on 6th, his van (drunk tank) was impeded by the crowd, so he exited his car, pushed a bicyclist in front of his car off his bike, picked up the bike and threw it out of his way, then challenged all onlookers to do something about it. Oh, to be a legally sanctioned silverback.

    Off-topic, but I also witnessed an APD cop assist a driver who was backing up to parallel park downtown. Once parked and out of the car, he ticketed the driver for parking too close to a fire hydrant. Jerkish indeed!

    A UT cop gave me a written(?) warning for running a stop sign...my commute took me through campus, I was pushing my largest gear up a hill on San Jancito(?) with a three-way stop sign midway, the cop and I arrived at the intersection at the same time, he clearly was waiting on me so I blew through the stop sign (as I always did there) while looking at him, and him watching me...probably thinking "he's not gonna stop". Anyway, he pulled me over, he was professional, I told him I obviously saw him, he was clearly waiting for me to pass, it seemed as though we had established an eye-contact/body-language understanding that I didn't need to stop since he could see I was pushing at the pedals hard (again, largest gear), blah-blah-blah. The entire time I was thinking, I wonder if he appreciates that I actually stopped when he flashed his lights, that I could have easily eluded him by cutting across campus (was on mtb). So like I said, just a warning.

    I'm a native San Antonian. Forr now, bicycle law enforcement here is still quite lax...unless you're riding like a total idiot. I've heard of fixie riders being ticketed for no brake, delivery riders for running lights and sidewalk usage (jumping onto sidewalk to get around traffic). Over the last 2.5 years we've gained a significant hipster and hipster-wannabe bike culture with large organized rides that sometimes flaunt traffic law-breaking...some of the organizers are trying to reverse the trend before it gets too out of hand. We have also gained considerably more recreational riders due to greenway trail development, and B-Cycle users.

    I actually set-up a bike specifically for riding on sidewalks...it's my urban assault bike, lol, but its real function is to just enjoy the simple pleasure of casually riding around and exploring like I did when I was a kid.

    Congratulations on getting bike share...we beat you, haha! I'm curious what the APD response will be to those using B-Cycle...ticket all users except tourists?
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  16. #116
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Do you think this "bum" image holds true when someone is all dressed out Lance-wanna be? I ask because I have always thought I was treated differently when I rode my nice looking "racer bike" and a clean nice jersey (one of only two that I do own) vice when I go out looking all Fred... on my commuter with a T shirt and a vest.

    See the two images below.
    Well instead of the bum judgement, the difference you should experience...according to studies...is that as a Fred you're considered a less experienced cyclist so are given a wider berth, and as Lance, motorists expect you to hold your lane, which results in being buzzed more.

    Personally, I'd rather appear a Fred for the safety bubble afforded. Besides, it's more fun as a sleeper, a LeMond in Fred clothing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
    Of course higher gas prices also increase anger against cyclists. We can claim that "we pay taxes too;" but, it does not reduce the belief that the transportation cyclist is gelling something for nothing. You have no idea how happy I was to see that the last Economics text I picked for my class did away with the use of a bicyclist as an example of a free rider. I suspect several generations that have gone to college have it in their heads that bicyclist is a free rider.
    Where's this forums "like" button?
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    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    When taking the lane, I am not sure which is a worst image... "a bum" or someone "playing in the street."
    I could care less which I am perceived as. I still have a right to be on the road.

  19. #119
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    Like I have said, we all like to complain; but, in general, the treatment, on the road in America, is excellent. Exceptions, of course there are. However, the trend is lawful courtisy.

    I know experienced cyclists that will not even ride in China The level of chaos and general disregard for both others and the law is stunning. I know people like to complain, after all, this firum is mostly about letting off steam; but, take a moment and reflect. In general America is a good place for riding. . . my biggest complaint is that everything is so far apart due to sprawl. But, if you factor in the money you didn't spend on petrol, it is easy to justify going to a store that is a bit closer. The real trouble for American cyclists is getting to work, I have no good answer to that one. I see some solutions here that work; but I doubt American employers would go for the idea.
    As a nation we still continue to enjoy a literally unprecedented prosperity; and it is probable that only reckless speculation and disregard of legitimate business methods on the part of the business world can materially mar this prosperity. Theodore Roosevelt, Sixth Annual Message, December 3, 1906

  20. #120
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
    Like I have said, we all like to complain; but, in general, the treatment, on the road in America, is excellent. Exceptions, of course there are. However, the trend is lawful courtisy.

    I know experienced cyclists that will not even ride in China The level of chaos and general disregard for both others and the law is stunning.
    Actually, I'm quite aware of how good I've got it compared to other "top ten" major cities. I rarely have a complaint against drivers in my city, and frequently denouce the exaggerated complaints of my fellow cyclists. The other day while riding single file on a two lane road with a friend, he kept complaining that passing cars were buzzing him. I didn't understand how that could be since I was riding immediately ahead of him, and slightly further from the curb and hadn't been buzzed at all. I find that many cyclists just have different expectations and perceptions of motorist treatment.

    As for Chinese disregard for others...any chance your talking about the prediliction for people pooping in public on the sidewalk since their's no public toilets and the poor are turned away from private establishments.
    Last edited by Bike Rat; 07-16-13 at 11:59 PM.
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