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Old 10-05-07, 10:07 AM   #1
Bklyn
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A Plague of Wrong-Way Cyclists!

I'm seeing wrong-way cyclists everywhere these days — and often going the wrong way in a bike lane!
Is this a by-product of a general increase in bikes on the streets? Do these people imagine that riding against traffic is safer?
Or is this just me being paranoid after a brutal crash I took when I plowed into two wrong-way cyclists a month ago?
How can we educate them? Every I see a wrong-way cyclist, I say, "Go with traffic." I don't know if it works.
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Old 10-05-07, 10:53 AM   #2
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Most people simply do not know their right way from their wrong way.

Once I got into an argument with a friend about this issue. He refused to believe that riding on the right is correct. I showed him a copy of the clause in our state's motor vehicle code in which it plainly states that bicycles should ride on the right. Incredibly, my friend still refused to believe. His belief in riding on the left was so deeply ingrained that he refused to change his mind even in the face of the clear and authoritative evidence of the law itself!

I doubt that it is productive to argue the point with random riders that you meet on the street.
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Old 10-05-07, 10:57 AM   #3
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Yup, I also try to give the friendly "it is safer to ride with traffic." I used to be much more grumpy about it on a particular road near where I work, but it actually has signage that states bikes can go both ways. Completely insane - the other side of the road is perfectly fine for riding.

I have had a couple of bikers appologize so it was apparent that they knew better. They are just being lazy and trying to avoid a left turn.
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Old 10-05-07, 11:03 AM   #4
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Not that one should make pets of peeves...it's unbecoming...

However, wrong way cyclists are one of my worst. I never have the time or inclination to stop my ride to explain it.

Most friends of mine who have even casually taken up cycling I've managed to break of the habit, so it's the little victories that add up, I suppose.
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Old 10-05-07, 11:10 AM   #5
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I utter 'this is a one way street' as politely as I can. Which is probably comes off as "THIS IS A ONE WAY STREET!"

It seems to me, since so few traffic laws are enforced in an urban center (outside of parking meter violations) everyone seems to think they have the right to do whatever, whenever they want. Bikers, peds, cars, cabs, delivery trucks. I don't know why some people are under this assumption, but clearly some pedestrians/bikers/drivers think they're fully bulletproof. Otherwise they wouldn't do the crazy things I see every day on the street.

When was the last time you saw someone getting a ticket for jaywalking, running a light, riding on the sidewalk, blocking the bikelane, or for anything?

I don't expect people to follow the letter of the law, 100% of the time. However laudable that might be, it's simply too much to expect. But I do expect fellow humans to operate in a manner that doesn't ENDANGER other people. I don't think that's too much to expect.
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Old 10-05-07, 11:23 AM   #6
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It seems like 50% of cyclists in Savannah do not know that you're supposed to ride a bicycle the same direction as cars... I've honestly never seen so many wrong way cyclists anywhere else.
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Old 10-05-07, 11:24 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bklyn View Post
I'm seeing wrong-way cyclists everywhere these days — and often going the wrong way in a bike lane!
Is this a by-product of a general increase in bikes on the streets? Do these people imagine that riding against traffic is safer?
Or is this just me being paranoid after a brutal crash I took when I plowed into two wrong-way cyclists a month ago?
How can we educate them? Every I see a wrong-way cyclist, I say, "Go with traffic." I don't know if it works.
I've seen them a lot around here too. I don't know what to do. I think the proper solution would be a tv/radio campaign to explain the proper laws, rules and etiquette, but who's gonna pay for that?
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Old 10-05-07, 11:25 AM   #8
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Ok, I've got you all beat the other night I saw a cyclist riding against traffic in the far left-hand lane of a three lane divided road. Bizzare!
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Old 10-05-07, 11:31 AM   #9
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Are you sure you're not going the wrong way?
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Old 10-05-07, 11:32 AM   #10
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Why do people ride the wrong way? I don't know, because I've never done it (that I can remember), but I think it's a combination of:
  1. Most people know that going against traffic is correct for pedestrians,
  2. Cycling is more widely viewed in this country as recreation rather than transportation, so people tend to not think of bike riding and car driving as remotely similar activies, and
  3. being rear-ended while riding a bicycle is the one of the most basic fears among the beginning and non-cycling community.
I made more detailed comments on this topic in a recent Safety & Advocacy thread, here.

What to do? Maybe you can persuade your local Public Works to put up some of these official signs from the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices:

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Old 10-05-07, 11:38 AM   #11
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I've taken to yelling "¡Por la derecha, pendejo!"

If they speak Spanish, they'll understand. If they don't I'm hoping they'll think "that guy must think I'm Mexican." Which I'm thinking would be a real insult to the typical dumbass white guy.
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Old 10-05-07, 11:47 AM   #12
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Ok, I've got you all beat the other night I saw a cyclist riding against traffic in the far left-hand lane of a three lane divided road. Bizzare!
Comm Ave past Boston University is 3 lanes each way, divided, with trolley tracks down the middle. I've seen people (all fairly obviously students) riding the wrong way on Comm Ave. Given the traffic volumes and the fact that there are always a lot of bikes going the right way, it's such a blatantly idiotic thing that not even students do it that often.
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Old 10-05-07, 11:54 AM   #13
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I occasionally get kids on bicycles riding near a high school going the wrong way in the bike lane. I yell at them that they should be on the other side and they say "I know." :-(

Last week, I had a real scary moment though. A guy on a scooter going the wrong way at ~25 mph in my bike lane. I couldn't take the lane due to traffic - so we squeaked by each other. Not fun at all.

Which way do you advise moving - toward the curb? or towards traffic? when someone is coming at you in the bike lane?
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Old 10-05-07, 11:55 AM   #14
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I always figured they wanted you to ride with traffic so you can't see the car and don't tense up before it hits you.
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Old 10-05-07, 12:22 PM   #15
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I like to yell: "Are you English?"

A couple of people have answered: "No." and to them I reply "Then your on the wrong side."

Most of those people get it and switch to the other side of the road.
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Old 10-05-07, 12:41 PM   #16
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Burlington (VT) has "wrong way" signs for cyclists.

The other day I saw a college-age kid riding his bicycle, the wrong way, on the sidewalk, with headphones.
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Old 10-05-07, 12:44 PM   #17
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I just say "wrong way". If everyone did they would get the point.
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Old 10-05-07, 12:49 PM   #18
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^^ good one!
I'm moving too fast to be so witty.

And the fact is . . . sometimes I am the wrong-way cyclist. Never more than half a block, I swear! Either at the beginning or the end or a ride. But . . . never at dusk.
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Old 10-05-07, 12:52 PM   #19
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I have said "right side" or "right side of the road" on a few occasions, but I'm not sure how much good it did. If I meet a wrong way cyclist while driving I will sometimes come to complete stop and hold up my hands in the universal "WTF??" gesture, but again I'm not sure how much good this does.
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Old 10-05-07, 01:26 PM   #20
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There isn't "wrong way" when riding on the sidewalk. In some cases it's only option.
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Old 10-05-07, 01:55 PM   #21
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There isn't "wrong way" when riding on the sidewalk. In some cases it's only option.
There is a stretch of my daily commute where I ride on the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street. I switched to this route after being almost ran over by cars several times on the street there (the street splits into two lanes with the bike lane going up the middle, it's hard to explain but the effect is drivers just don't look out for cyclists there). It is legal in Seattle to ride on the sidewalks if you don't go too fast and let people know where you are.
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Old 10-05-07, 03:04 PM   #22
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Which way do you advise moving - toward the curb? or towards traffic? when someone is coming at you in the bike lane?
Depends on if you want to do the safest thing or not. Personally, if the person approaching the wrong way is an adult, I hold my ground and make THEM go around (or off onto the soft shoulder)... I've turned around and seen more than one cross over and ride on the correct side of the street after that.

If it's a kid, I'll merge into the traffic lane and go around them... just like if it was a pedestrian. (some of my roads are marked with a bike lane, but have no sidewalk.... the lanes are 'for bicycle and pedestrian use only)
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Old 10-05-07, 03:16 PM   #23
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Which way do you advise moving - toward the curb? or towards traffic? when someone is coming at you in the bike lane?
I take the way that gives me the most maneuverability since I'll obviously need it dealing with these knuckleheads. Usually, this means I take the traffic side and pinch them in the curb. Even if I have enough space, I usually crowd them a bit to hopefully make them feel uncomfortable riding the wrong way.

Kids tend to stay on the sidewalk but I'd cut them some slack if I encountered any.

My method doesn't work so if anyone knows what to do, please tell. There are some people I encounter regularly going the wrong way. One guy always gives me a friendly wave, but he actually rides on the sidewalk so I'm not in jeopardy.
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Old 10-05-07, 03:21 PM   #24
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I occasionally get kids on bicycles riding near a high school going the wrong way in the bike lane. I yell at them that they should be on the other side and they say "I know." :-(
This is because kids don't worry about getting hurt, but they do care about getting into trouble. His parents weren't around, so what does he care if he's on the wrong side.
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Old 10-05-07, 04:02 PM   #25
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Guilty, I rode on the wrong side once or twice when I first started riding, but have stayed on the correct side for a few years now well......almost always
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