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Thread: Tailgating

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    Member clevername's Avatar
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    Tailgating

    While I rode home today, a car followed me something like 10 feet behind me, while I was going about 18 mph. Speed limit was 20. I motioned to them to back off, but to no avail. It was for a few blocks, and then they turned, but it was pretty frightening. Any idea on what to do when this happens?

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    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    Just stay your course. Or if possible, let them pass. But really, if you want to ride VC, expect the cars to act like your are a car and they tailgate constantly. And just because you motion, why should they back off?
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    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clevername View Post
    While I rode home today, a car followed me something like 10 feet behind me, while I was going about 18 mph. Speed limit was 20. I motioned to them to back off, but to no avail. It was for a few blocks, and then they turned, but it was pretty frightening. Any idea on what to do when this happens?
    I have encountered that many times. It doesn't matter if I am going 25-30mph in a 30/40mph zone, or going 15-20 in 20mph zone. I get treated the same, motorists hate a cyclist being in front of them, even if the cyclist is not going slow.

    I was on a 20-30mph two-lane road a couple days ago, going 25mph for a short distance, that borders the town I live in. I could not only see the oncoming traffic. I could hear several cars gunning their engines, attempting to pass me on a blind curve, then a blind hill. I went from the middle of the lane, all the way out to the yellow line. Because they would have caused an accident with the oncoming traffic. All because they didn't want to be behind a cyclist that was obeying the traffic law.

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    You have a few choices, all of them bad (which isn't unusual when someone is behaving like a barbarian). You can pull over, which isn't something that I have ever done. You can ignore them and assume they won't run you over, which is likely true, but they are increasing the odds if something out of the ordinary should arise. This is what I normally do, with the caveat that I ramp up my attention level in search of that out of the ordinary occurrence that would cause this to end poorly as well as always knowing where my safe out is.

    Finally, you can do what I do when I'm driving a motor vehicle and get tailgated: you can slow down to the speed at which their following distance is no longer tailgating. I've never had a motorist not figure out what message I am sending when I do this, but I haven't done it on a bike yet.

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    Senior Member curbtender's Avatar
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    Guess you just grow thicker skin. Have you ever driven with someone who needs glasses? They tend to follow closer and not pass because their perception is off. Scary, but there are tons of people that drive and can't see a clock across the room.
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    Transportation Cyclist turbo1889's Avatar
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    It can be a means of deliberate intimidation - but often is not deliberate malice and is just stupid people doing stupid things and not treating automobiles as the dangerous machines they are and having good sense and driving with proper precaution according to the level of responsibility necessary for the safe operation of such dangerous machines around other innocent people. Get used to it, par for the course.

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    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by turbo1889 View Post
    It can be a means of deliberate intimidation - but often is not deliberate malice and is just stupid people doing stupid things and not treating automobiles as the dangerous machines they are and having good sense and driving with proper precaution according to the level of responsibility necessary for the safe operation of such dangerous machines around other innocent people. Get used to it, par for the course.
    Very accurate description!!

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    Seńior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    You can be pretty sure that he's paying close attention to you when he's doing that. Cars can generally stop faster than bicycles. If I'm going the speed limit, I just stay in the lane.
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    The professional way is to Slow Down.

    We have had drivers follow us for a long time.

    Talking to them they said they were protecting us.
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    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    The professional way is to Slow Down...
    What profession is that?

    In my unprofessional experience, people follow close behind because they don't feel it safe to pass, and stay there until they do, they turn off, or I turn off. Most often they're really pissing off the cars that are stuck behind them.

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    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Generally, tailgating is an act of intimidation, and very seldom is it due to someone's poor vision. Though I don't like being tailgated either, I've found that many motorists are willing to maintain a greater following distance than a passing distance.

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    Considering how much cagers tailgate each other unless there are other factors to consider such as honking, engine revving, yelling, screaming, throwing stuff, actual deliberate bumper bumping, laughing and pointing, gritting of the teeth with a face of road rage anger, sadistic facial expressions, or pulling onto the shoulder edge in order to tailgate me when I'm shoulder edge riding rather then riding in the main traffic lane (all of which at one time or another I have experienced) I just chalk it up to them doing the same stupid tailgating thing with me that they do to other cagers.

    I get enough harassment that is clearly deliberate that I have no need to count simple tailgating without any of the other symptoms as being a malicious act as well. Although I don't like being tailgated provided the other factors aren't present I actually in some ways consider it a good sign in a strange way as in they are treating me just like another car on the road which although I would like to be treated with more care and respect as a vulnerable user, just being treated like another car on the road I consider a passing grade. I'd rather have them tailgate me and wait to pass until safe to do so rather then passing when unsafe to do so with oncoming traffic forcing over oncoming traffic and trying to press into me while along side me.

    It's par for the course, as is some level of at least occasional harassment and assault. Not saying its right, or saying it's how it should be, saying it's how it is.

    When I'm the one driving the cage, especially if its a heavy 2+ ton hauling truck I get tailgated just as much because I drive within the speed limit and never faster then conditions allow for me to operate the vehicle with due and proper respect for the dangerous weapon it can be knowing that I'm at the helm of a bullet with wheels on it and treat it accordingly so as to be sure not to hurt others. The same level of care and respect as I treat a *** with. Drive like that and your going to have people tailgating you all the time so I'm very used to being tailgated regardless of what vehicle I'm operating on the public roads and I just consider it pretty much a given. Heck just driving a motor vehicle the speed limit even without the extra (required but 99.9999999% don't do) precautions like slowing down for road conditions and for blind curves and hill crests so that you are never going faster then your ability to see and brake for any unexpected condition ahead always maintaining full control of the vehicle and staying on top of things will get you tailgated almost continuously. How much more on a low speed vehicle such as a bicycle that is often well below the speed limit except when the speed limit is very low?
    Last edited by turbo1889; 01-11-14 at 10:09 AM.

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    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    You can be pretty sure that he's paying close attention to you when he's doing that. Cars can generally stop faster than bicycles. If I'm going the speed limit, I just stay in the lane.
    You are forgetting something, braking distance. Say I am going 30MPH on a 40MPH six-lane heavily traveled artery, during PM-Rush. If I am going 30MPH and so is the vehicle 10ft behind me, they will need at least 43ft. to stop. That is almost 4.5 times the distance before the vehicle will come to a complete stop. Yet, The motorist won't get cited, for following too closely.

    http://forensicdynamics.com/stopping...nce-calculator

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    Often cars will follow closely while waiting for a passing opportunity. They stay close because they feel that is the right place to be to make a quick pass when a gap opens the other way. Sometimes you can create the passing opportunity by slow and moving right, though some drivers won't take the hint.

    While many like to believe that drivers hate us and want to intimidate, often the opposite is true. Motorists are afraid of bicyclists, and don't know how to pass us safely and properly, so they'll follow until a monster passing opportunity arises.
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    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    When Im in a car, I dont automatically think "pass the cyclist" and have followed cyclists for blocks before at their speed.
    I dont know what motion the OP might have made to have a car 'back-off', but I think if I was intimidated by a car I would take the initiative and turn off myself rather than divert useful attention and energy into trying to make someone else do what I want them to do

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    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Many motorists that tailgate will use it as an intimidation factor, in trying to force another road user to capitulate out of the way, and if that doesn't work, an unsafe passing maneuver usually follows. I've ridden as a passenger with motorists who have this train of thought, and I haven't ridden with them since.

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    Quote Originally Posted by turbo1889 View Post
    Considering how much cagers tailgate each other unless there are other factors to consider such as honking, engine revving, yelling, screaming, throwing stuff, actual deliberate bumper bumping, laughing and pointing, gritting of the teeth with a face of road rage anger, sadistic facial expressions, or pulling onto the shoulder edge in order to tailgate me when I'm shoulder edge riding rather then riding in the main traffic lane (all of which at one time or another I have experienced) I just chalk it up to them doing the same stupid tailgating thing with me that they do to other cagers...
    According to the estimates given by the OP, this motorist was 0.4 seconds behind him. Normal following distances for motorists are 2-4 seconds, with tailgaters being in the 1-2 second range. This was a MUCH closer tailgating than most people experience when driving; this was an aggressive road-rage type maneuver, IMO.

    With reaction times for most folks being in the range of one second and with bikes not having brake lights, if anything happens here that causes the cyclist to apply the brakes s/he will run a substantial risk of being run over by this tailgating motorist before the motorist even finds her/his brake pedal. Comparing this to the way motorists treat each other is incorrect, both because of the extremely close nature of this tailgating event and because of the consequences if anything should go wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    ...
    Comparing this to the way motorists treat each other is incorrect, both because of the extremely close nature of this tailgating event and because of the consequences if anything should go wrong.
    Finally. Thank you.

    -mr. bill

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    Realistically, it's not the matched speed tailgaters that hit cyclists. While the situation is far less than ideal, this isn't the guy to worry about. H's already knows why your there, and ha matched your speed, while he decides what to do next. Of course, if you were to fall over suddenly he couldn't avoid you, but when's the last time you simply fell for no reason? Also, the driver behind a bicycle has good sight lines past the bike and can be adjusting to traffic ahead, which is different than when tailgating cars and trucks.

    So, it's no fun, and may make you nervous, but this driver isn't the one to fret over. It's the inattentive driver now 500 yards behind t who doesn't know how fast he's closing on you, if he sees you at all.

    In the scheme of things, the highest number of serious accidents occur at intersections, and possibly the next highest risk is from inattentive drivers who don't see (register on the brain) you when approaching from the rear.

    I like close following cars to artillery shells. The ones you hear whistling aren't to worry about, they;re passing overhead. You don't hear the ones coming right at you.
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    Really? Anyone who "tailgates" a cyclist is given a free pass? Because they tailgate, uh, everything?

    We don't have a "tail" to "gate".

    -mr. bill

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    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Tailgating can be one of the leading causes of collisions, and according to this link, at times it can be even higher than distracted driving


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7eUgwVV5WJE
    Last edited by dynodonn; 01-11-14 at 05:21 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post
    Really? Anyone who "tailgates" a cyclist is given a free pass? Because they tailgate, uh, everything?

    We don't have a "tail" to "gate".

    -mr. bill
    No I'm not saying that at all. However, with all the things we have to worry about, it makes sense to worry the most about the right ones. You don't have to like the guy following too close, but he's not your worst worry on the road.
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    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynodonn View Post
    Tailgating can be one of the leading causes of collisions, and according to this link, at times it can be even higher than distracted driving


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7eUgwVV5WJE
    This is a better link: https://www.youtube.com/results?sear...a+cyclist&sm=3

    Because the video you included, refers to tailgating in general. The YouTube link, I included, has a bunch of videos' about cyclists' being tailgated.

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    Member clevername's Avatar
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    In retrospect, my best move (which did not occur to me at the time) may have been to pass to the other lane; it was a one-way street. I could not pull over, as there were cars parked on both sides; I rode in the middle in the first place to avoid being doored. They were so close, too, that I feared the slightest braking would slow me too fast for them to react. Anyways, thank you all for your replies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by clevername View Post
    In retrospect, my best move (which did not occur to me at the time) may have been to pass to the other lane; it was a one-way street. .....
    I'm a bit confused. Are you now saying this was a 2 lane one way street?
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