Touring - road manners?
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I"m sure there is a correct protocol for road manners for bikers and perhaps this should be posted on the safty group or road cycling...Maybe I shoud just go read the threads on that group. But anyways, I had to make a trip from Northest Al over into Northwest Ga today hauling a dresser. It was a gorgious day and I was wishing I was biking like the several groups I met and passed. Most groups were from 2 to 5 with a couple of solo bikers. I got behind one group of 3 on a narrow country road and they were riding 3 abreast. I can see they probably did not want cars passing them unless it was clear in the far lane. I had to wait for one car to get by in the oncomening lane befor I could go around. I was in no hurry so it was no big deal. However, when I ride with the guy I normally ride with we line up single file when we see a car coming up from behind. It seems like the courtious thing to do. Is this wrong? Should we stay abreast and make the car from behind have a clear lane before passing. I can imagine some folks would get angry following bikers and perhaps this (staying wide) could be more dangerous than lining up. Just courious and also want to be safe myself. Thoughts.
03-10-07, 06:14 PM
I ride with my kids ages 10 to 24. I am still alive after many miles on the road, hope to be for much longer. As I tell my kids we are basically playing on the road, its a dangerous place be alert, use a mirror and keep your ears open keep the mp3, ipods etc. for home. We tour and spend hours and hours on the road at lot of times its very quite no traffic and life is easy two abreast is fine safe and no concerns but when we hear a car its single file all the way. If it is safe we are to the right of the road if it is not I have been known to claim the whole lane, I try to make eye contact or a wave or somehow aknowledge their presence. More than once in my life I have gone off the road in a controlled manner to allow a car or cars to pass if it looks like it will be more than a few seconds before its safe to pass. On some roads the grade or curves make it unsafe to pass due to lack of shoulders etc. in which case claim the road but even then do it in single file. The goal is to have the cars behind you in front of you as fast a possible in a safe manner.
You do not win when you fight with cars, and our favorite is its better to pick gravel out of you body than your body out of the gravel.
03-10-07, 06:31 PM
I think this is an excellent forum to discuss road manners. I hate to see groups of riders that don't move over when a car is approaching. I'm no angel on the road myself as I prefer to ride against the flow of traffic on narrow busy roads. In my non scientific research, I have found that drivers tend to give you more room when you make eye contact with them and are coming towards them. I know it's agains the rules, but I'd like the opportunity to jump off my bike before the driver on the cell phone drifts over and clips me on the edge of the road.
I'm a big believer in maners, but job one is to obey the law for everyone's sake. Sure there can be particular occasions where one has to do something in the interest of immediate safety that may not be legal, but most of the time the rules of the road are the correct starting place. Three abreast, even two abreast is going to be illegal most places, consult you local rules. If it's illegal and it's putting your non-safety needs ahead of others, it isn't good maners either.
AH, I'm not lecturing you because there may be different local customs, but here, cycling in the wrong direction is illegal, I don't believe it's really safe. That perception is based on the idea that crowding cars out of the way is safe , which is usually only true when one doesn't need it. In other words one gets lots of space until the driver has to push over because of the large object crowding him from the cyclist's blind spot, now he will come over and through the cyclist who may be already feeling a little too protected. Also consider cars entering from the side, they aren't looking for Wrong Way Waldo since he's coming from the wrong side. Also, what happens when WWW meets cyclist's coming the right way. Also the idea one is likely to be hit form behind is kinda baby, I'm not convinced that's the real danger zone. Anyway, I've been to the areas of this site where they discuss this kind of thing and I know the views are endless.
03-12-07, 10:27 AM
Its kind of a common sense thing... I dislike being forced to ride single file but I like being safe more. Its nice to be able to talk to your riding companion, much like how people in cars sit 2 abreast and can talk with eachother during the journey. However, some motorists get really pissed off at things for no reason so its best to give them the benefit of the doubt and move over if there is not much room on the road. I don't advocate riding abreast all the time, but I feel perfectly justified to ride 2 abreast while taking a lane if there is more than one lane for cars and we are going at a decent speed, regardless of the written law.
also I hate riding the wrong way up one way streets and I get nervous when other cyclists ride the wrong way up one way streets because it can create bottle necks and increases the chances of a car swerving in to me trying to avoid them.
- Vary from place to place; look at the Commuting forum or do an internet search on "vehicular cycling" as a starting point
- eg. 2 abreast is legal here (Victoria), but is considered rude if a car wants to overtake
- OK to take the lane if there is no bike lane or unsafe for a car to overtake (and somehow even more OK if you are on a tandem!)
- OK to ride 2 abreast, but go single file if a car wants to overtake. Share the road.
- Let other riders know if you are joining or leaving a group. Take your turn at the front, even if it is only a minute before you have to call out "rotate!".
- Call out road hazards. Call out "passing" or "slowing" if you are.
- Indicate turns (esp. across the traffic) / stopping
- Get off the road if you are stopping or if you are walking the bike.
I've been to the areas of this site where they discuss this kind of thing and I know the views are endless.
... too right, mate ...
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