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  1. #1
    Green lights for all Rapido's Avatar
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    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.

  2. #2
    Senior Member frymaster's Avatar
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    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'.

  3. #3
    Trans-Urban Velocommando ax0n's Avatar
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    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: Geeky and bikey
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  4. #4
    Fattest Thin Man Az B's Avatar
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    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

  5. #5
    livin' the nightmare syn0n's Avatar
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    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.

  6. #6
    Yabba-Dabba-Doo! AlmostTrick's Avatar
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    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.
    Have Bike, Will Travel

  7. #7
    All Bikes All The Time Sawtooth's Avatar
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    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.

  8. #8
    that bike nut BikingGrad80's Avatar
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    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

  9. #9
    Chubby super biker bdinger's Avatar
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    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 >

  10. #10
    On my TARDIScycle! KingTermite's Avatar
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    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 *******.

  11. #11
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    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.
    Riding my bike will still make it go faster.
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  12. #12
    Trans-Urban Velocommando ax0n's Avatar
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    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: Geeky and bikey
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  13. #13
    Isaias NoRacer's Avatar
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    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!
    2009 mileage = 14,738 miles; 2010 mileage = 15,234 miles; 2011 mileage = 17,344 miles; 2012 mileage = 11,414 miles; 2013 = 12,169

  14. #14
    Warning:Mild Peril Treespeed's Avatar
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    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.

  15. #15
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    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.

  16. #16
    Code Warrior mwrobe1's Avatar
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    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.



  17. #17
    Viking Warrior JoeyMac's Avatar
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    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.
    "Rullende Torden" (norwegian for "rolling thunder")

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  18. #18
    Two H's!!! TWO!!!!! chephy's Avatar
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    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.
    Stomping as lightly as I can...

  19. #19
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    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

  20. #20
    Senior Member bikedaddy's Avatar
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    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?

  21. #21
    Perma-clyde Alox's Avatar
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    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.
    Nowadays I've got me two good wheels - and I'll seek refuge in aluminum and steel;
    Takes me out there for just a little while, and the years fall away with every mile...
    -Steve Earle, "The Other Kind"

  22. #22
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    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).

  23. #23
    Senior Member Buglady's Avatar
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    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!

  24. #24
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    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.

  25. #25
    Thread Killer evblazer's Avatar
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    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.

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