Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > >

Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 10-08-07, 08:47 PM   #1
Rapido
Green lights for all
Thread Starter
 
Rapido's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Ohio, Germany, Florida, West Virginia, and then Georgia now
Bikes: Fuji Team SL 20 speed, Nishiki, Mercian 12 speed. Alan 10 speed, Frejus, Bauer, Morobecane, Schwinn, JC Higgins 3 spd, Columbia coaster brake,
Posts: 94
Cyclists make safer car drivers

Experienced urban bicycle commutors subconsciously transfer their traffic safety survival skills to their car driving skills and have less MV accidents than the non-cyclist population has, at least in theory. Think about the things you do when you drive a car that are skills forged from cycling in the city. Bikers must be more alert to properly time their directional movements in city traffic. Tell us your experiences where your bike skills transfered to your car skills and made you a safer driver.
Rapido is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-07, 08:51 PM   #2
frymaster
Senior Member
 
frymaster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: where the mild things roam
Bikes:
Posts: 1,092
au contraire! well, for me at least.

i don't drive a whole heck of a lot, but when i do get behind the wheel i have to constantly remind myself that things like slow-and-go at stop signs and even curb hopping are a no-no when i'm steering two tonnes of steel at 60km/h.

in fact, the first thing my gf says to me after i turn the key is 'remember: you're not riding your bike'.
frymaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-07, 08:58 PM   #3
ax0n
Trans-Urban Velocommando
 
ax0n's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Lenexa, KS
Bikes: 06 Trek 1200 - 98 DB Outlook - 99 DB Sorrento
Posts: 2,400
Speak for yourself. I am just as impatient, angry, and dangerous as the average motorist once I get behind the wheel. I give cyclists plenty of room, but I get really pissed at stupid drivers even more when I'm in my car. I also like to speed. Bicycling is just so much more enjoyable and relaxing than driving to me. It's part of why I ride as much as I do.
ax0n is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-07, 09:42 PM   #4
Az B
Fattest Thin Man
 
Az B's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Directly above the center of the earth
Bikes: Miyata 610, Vinco V, Rocky Mountain Element
Posts: 2,649
There are a few skills that transfer from years of riding bicycles and motorcycles... one is to look both ways before crossing an intersection. Another is to be much more aware of other vehicles behind and to each side.

But overall, I'm an impatient, aggresive driver. That's why I'd rather be on two wheels. It's a lot more relaxing.

Az
Az B is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-07, 10:25 PM   #5
syn0n
livin' the nightmare
 
syn0n's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: desert
Bikes: '81 Centurion SS coversion, other ****
Posts: 491
I actually think driving as much as I do has been what has made me such a defensive cyclist, not the other way around. I drive thousands of miles a month, so I'm able to read other motorists like a book and accurately predict what they're going to do. This has saved my ass several times while on the bike.

I'm a fairly aggressive driver, just as I'm a moderately aggressive cyclist. But I'm attentive when I do either, which has allowed me to put thousands of safe miles on the clocks of my car and bikes.
syn0n is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-07, 11:16 PM   #6
AlmostTrick
Yabba-Dabba-Doo!
 
AlmostTrick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Bedrock, IL
Bikes: 1968 Schwinn Orange Krate, 5 speed stick shift
Posts: 4,769
With 25 + years of accident and citation free driving I know the skills needed for both are much the same, so yes they are easily transferable. For me the car skills came first and helped me to be a safer cyclist.
AlmostTrick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-07, 09:41 AM   #7
Sawtooth
All Bikes All The Time
 
Sawtooth's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Boise, ID
Bikes: Giant TCR 0, Lemond Zurich, Giant NRS 1, Jamis Explorer Beater/Commuter, Peugeot converted single speed
Posts: 2,343
OK,to tell the truth, I can't drive worth crap. I literally transfer my dodgy bike manuevers to the car. I once actually caught myself just prior to trying to filter up the right in my 4-runner. My wife has put me on probation and she does most of the driving. Cycling has led me to believe that I should not have to wait in traffic, ever. I tend to drive with that same expectation.
Sawtooth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-07, 09:49 AM   #8
BikingGrad80
that bike nut
 
BikingGrad80's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Chicago north
Bikes: 2010 Motobecane Immortal Force 90' Trek 1400; 90' Trek 850; 06' Trek 520; 01 Iron Horse Victory
Posts: 883
I find I'm more alert and always look where I am going, and when I open my car door for sure, as a result of biking. I also treat cyclists well and give them tons of room when passing. I'd really feel just awfull if I ever harmed a cyclist even if I wasn't at fault.

Last edited by BikingGrad80; 10-09-07 at 09:50 AM. Reason: adding stuff
BikingGrad80 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-07, 09:53 AM   #9
bdinger
Chubby super biker
 
bdinger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Nebraska
Bikes:
Posts: 1,980
I still drive like an idiot, but I am generally more aware of my surroundings. At any given point I can tell you what color any car around me is (a tip someone gave me when I started biking on roadways, keeps you aware of your surroundings). But, alas, I'm still a idiot >
bdinger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-07, 09:53 AM   #10
KingTermite 
On my TARDIScycle!
 
KingTermite's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Eastside Seattlite Termite Mound
Bikes: Trek 520, Trek Navigator 300, Peugeot Versailles PE10DE
Posts: 3,924
I am very cognizant to look for cyclists...other than that, not much has changed I think.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by coffeecake View Post
- it's pretty well established that Hitler was an *******.
KingTermite is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-07, 09:57 AM   #11
Bikingtoteach
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Zionsville, IN
Bikes: Fugi Allegro (retired, cracked frame), Sears 3-Speed, Trek 720, Raliegh Technium E-bike
Posts: 103
Shoot, I was hoping to read through this and push for insurance companies to do some research and lower our rates. I myself do not know if my car driving has improved, but I am much more aware of the few bikers on the road.
Bikingtoteach is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-07, 09:57 AM   #12
ax0n
Trans-Urban Velocommando
 
ax0n's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Lenexa, KS
Bikes: 06 Trek 1200 - 98 DB Outlook - 99 DB Sorrento
Posts: 2,400
I can tell you that riding my bike makes my heart skip a beat as I say OH ****! and quickly steer my wife's Explorer away from storm drains with vertical slotting. I also occasionally find myself moving the steering wheel back and forth, doing a track stand at stop lights.
ax0n is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-07, 10:03 AM   #13
NoRacer
Isaias
 
NoRacer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Essex, MD
Bikes: Ridley X-Fire (carbon, white)
Posts: 5,178
Quote:
Originally Posted by ax0n View Post
Speak for yourself. I am just as impatient, angry, and dangerous as the average motorist once I get behind the wheel. I give cyclists plenty of room, but I get really pissed at stupid drivers even more when I'm in my car. I also like to speed. Bicycling is just so much more enjoyable and relaxing than driving to me. It's part of why I ride as much as I do.
+100000000000

I've applied my racing skills to following tractor-trailers--using the draft to save energy!
NoRacer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-07, 10:24 AM   #14
Treespeed
Warning:Mild Peril
 
Treespeed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Seattle Refugee in Los Angeles
Bikes: Cilo, Surly Pacer, Kona Fire Mountain w/Bob Trailer, Scattante
Posts: 3,171
Unless my wife or daughter are in the car I drive like an a-hole. Sure, I give cyclists a wide berth, but I am constantly looking ahead to the next gap and pushing myself to get ahead. It's terrible and pointless, but the people pacing each other and driving five under the speed limit drive me nuts. The only cure for me is if I leave super early and listen to NPR the whole way in. Otherwise I just have my wife drive.

I think part of why I cycle is because I know I'm too impatient in a car. If I'm riding I won't get stuck in traffic and I can just relax. The funny thing is when I'm driving my daughter I see drivers like myself and it upsets me. Definitely something to work on.
__________________
Non semper erit aestas.
Treespeed is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-07, 10:45 AM   #15
BarracksSi
Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped.
 
BarracksSi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Bikes: Some bikes. Hell, they're all the same, ain't they?
Posts: 13,858
Quote:
Originally Posted by syn0n View Post
I actually think driving as much as I do has been what has made me such a defensive cyclist, not the other way around. I drive thousands of miles a month, so I'm able to read other motorists like a book and accurately predict what they're going to do. This has saved my ass several times while on the bike.
I hope that's been the case for me, too. "Know thy enemy", and all that stuff.
BarracksSi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-07, 11:04 AM   #16
mwrobe1
Code Warrior
 
mwrobe1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: South suburbs of Chicago, Illinois
Bikes: Schwinn MTB/Raleigh Marathon
Posts: 620
Interesting thread. Some of the responses kind of shocked me...and others, well, I kinda figured as much.

As for me, yeah, I'm more of a defensive and patient driver now. Before I'm exiting the vehicle on a street...I look to make sure I'm not going to door a cyclist. Whenever I make any kind of turn, I always glance the opposite way I'm turning as well to make sure I don't clip someone on a bike. I expect to see at least one "wrong-way" cyclist during the week...it seems to piss me off in the car less than when on the bike. And any cyclists I have to pass get plenty of room.
__________________
Elwood: It's 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, 1/2 a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses.

Jake: Hit it.


mwrobe1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-07, 11:43 AM   #17
JoeyMac
Viking Warrior
 
JoeyMac's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Bristol, CT
Bikes: 60's SpaceLiner, 60's Ross Futura, 60's Sears spyder, 70's Zebrakenko, 98 Ross Chimera Hybrid, 90's Schwinn Frontier, and ThunderHorse, my trusty mountain steed, also my gf's 64 Schwinn ladies cruiser and her purple lowrider are at my disposal.
Posts: 224
The only times I have driven in the past year and half is when I occasionally drive my GF's car when we go out to dinner or something. Although I feel very claustrophobic caged up in her little VW, I have found that I drive slower, more cautiously, use my inertia more (don't floor it on greens, or slam on the brakes at reds). And now I give bicyclists waaaay too much room. In fact, I slowed down to allow a bicyclist the lane and kept behind him and didn't pass till it was safe, and I think he got a little nervous. He kept checking over his shoulder wondering what I was up to. I can imagine being on my bike and having a car slowly following behind me, it would freak me out a little. But that rarely happens when I ride, I just get the A-holes who try to hit me.
JoeyMac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-07, 11:58 AM   #18
chephy
Two H's!!! TWO!!!!!
 
chephy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Toronto, ON
Bikes:
Posts: 4,220
I started cycling on roads before I started driving, so yes, a lot of my driving skills transferred directly from biking experience. I am more aware of pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists than your average motorist, I bet. I treat every blind crest or turn as if there is a cyclist or jogger right past it, so I always make sure I can stop in the space I can see at any given time. I give cyclists plenty of room (though I encounter them so rarely, that I really don't get why drivers are so pissed off about cyclists... how often do you have to pass one if you don't venture downtown in your car? once a week? what's the big deal then?) I'm always prepared for a left hook at an intersection and never assume the way is clear even if I have the ROW.

There are also some bike habits that are not the best for driving, but get transfered to car driving anyway. Sometimes, for instance, I'll make a left turn into the curb lane rather than the inside lane... I generally tend to favor the curb lane while driving, even in situations when other lanes might be faster. And I always have to look at a map if I'm driving somewhere, since I have lots of biking routes in my head and no driving routes (I hardly ever drive)... and I can't drive the biking routes because of the shortcuts and MUPs.
chephy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-07, 12:09 PM   #19
noisebeam
Al
 
noisebeam's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: AZ
Bikes: Cannondale SuperSix, Lemond Poprad. Retired: Jamis Sputnik, Centurion LeMans Fixed, Diamond Back ascent ex
Posts: 14,109
I am an assertive and defensive driver. I follow all traffic laws to the letter and have not knowingly broken one in at least the past 6 years. I also avoid in vehicle distractions.

Driving this way I've found makes for a more enjoyable trip.

I started driving this way before I started cycling regularly. I just decided one day to do it on a whim. It was hard at first (I was previously an agressive driver who more often than not broke speed limits) but my sensory comfort zone and subconcious bad habits soon changed.

Al
noisebeam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-07, 12:35 PM   #20
bikedaddy
Senior Member
 
bikedaddy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Fort Collins, CO
Bikes: Trek 7100 Hybrid
Posts: 252
I feel like I am not in a hurry anymore when I am in my car. I do also notice other cyclists more. I give them plenty of space but I think I get more pissed when I see cyclists doing stupid things. Don't they know they are supposed to do exactly what I would do on my bike?
bikedaddy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-07, 03:36 PM   #21
Alox
Perma-clyde
 
Alox's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Vancouver, BC
Bikes: '05 Stumpy FSR 120, REK TEK Blitzkreig (Commuter)
Posts: 198
Cycling on public roads has taught me much about cornering, weight transfer, gear selection, choosing a 'line' and the limits of traction in ways that I could never (I WOULD never) dare to learn behind the wheel of a car. The bike provides direct feedback to my body that compliments what I get from my eyes and ears (balance-wise) that makes things clear to me at a visceral level. On the track, my moves are much smoother, and I'm better able to feel when I've missed my line in a turn, or over transitions.
Alox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-07, 07:29 PM   #22
BarracksSi
Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped.
 
BarracksSi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Bikes: Some bikes. Hell, they're all the same, ain't they?
Posts: 13,858
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alox View Post
Cycling on public roads has taught me much about cornering, weight transfer, gear selection, choosing a 'line' and the limits of traction in ways that I could never (I WOULD never) dare to learn behind the wheel of a car. The bike provides direct feedback to my body that compliments what I get from my eyes and ears (balance-wise) that makes things clear to me at a visceral level. On the track, my moves are much smoother, and I'm better able to feel when I've missed my line in a turn, or over transitions.
Actually, that first sentence sounds a lot like what I've learned while autocrossing. The difference, of course, is that I've learned the limits of traction, etc., in a closed, safe environment and not on public roads. The limits of my car (actually, the limits of many cars) are just too high to exploit safely when there are blind driveways, busy corners, and unknown pavement damage & debris.

By bike, of course, those things don't matter quite as much and don't have such dire consequences. It's certainly feasible, then, to push a bike's limits on public roads.

So, in addition to my earlier post, organized car racing has made me a safer, tamer driver on the street, making me more aware of my surroundings, more understanding about the need for zero distractions in the car, and more capable of handling severe maneuvers. Plus, it helps me "get my fix" of high-intensity driving, and I'm less tempted to try it on the street (plus I know how stupidly dangerous it can be).
BarracksSi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-07, 11:55 PM   #23
Buglady
Senior Member
 
Buglady's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Calgary
Bikes: 2013 MEC Col Ltd. road bike; 2012 MEC Silhouette hybrid; 2001 Specialized Allez (too small); 1984 Raleigh 5-speed city bike; 1985 Boyes-Rosser tourer; 1976 Raleigh Twenty folding bike; 1988 (?) Kuwahara "Blaze" mountain bike
Posts: 2,303
Honestly, I'm a better cyclist than driver. I am FAR too easily distracted in traffic and then prone to anxiety when I realize I've been distracted (this doesn't happen on the bike for some reason, even at comparable speeds...?). I just don't like how hard I have to concentrate when I drive. It's a bit better now that I'm on meds for ADHD - my concentration is definitely better - so that was part of it.

Plus I HATE trying to find a parking spot, and paying for parking is even worse!
Buglady is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-07, 06:47 AM   #24
DataJunkie
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Bikes:
Posts: 14,280
Cycling has turned me from a 20 mph over the speed limit impatient driver to one that aggravates everyone else due to my desire to slowly mosey along. I do not see the point in hurrying anymore. I can speed like a devil on the drive to work and save 5-10 minutes. Big deal. I would rather show up less stressed and alive without a ticket.
However, it has been a year or so since I drove to work. Still, this behavior does exist when I drive occasionally.
DataJunkie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-07, 07:03 AM   #25
evblazer
Thread Killer
 
evblazer's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Marfan Syndrome-Clyde-DFW, TX
Bikes: Fuji Touring Xtracycle, Merlin Road, Bacchetta Giro 26 (Sold), Challenge Hurricane, Cruzbike Sofrider
Posts: 1,845
I have become a horrible driving since taking on my long commute full time by bicycle. Especially horrible in any weather. I was driving my wifes prius which has hydroedge tires and slowed down to what I thought was a reasonable speed in the rain, it had been raining a while so it wasn't fresh rain slippery, and it didn't want to turn so I ended up going straight. I also catch myself almost blowing lights once I have been waiting there a few minutes and driving a heck of a lot slower then the speed limit if no one else is around.
Plus I get really really pissed off while driving around other motorists. I used to not care at all no matter what anyone did.
evblazer is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:44 AM.