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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.

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Old 02-26-08, 05:36 PM   #1
Durward_Kirby
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I think I learned a lesson today.

I started commuting again to work. It is an 8 mile ride one-way. The first four miles are out of town on a busy two lane highway with good shoulders and turn lanes for the traffic. It then goes to four lanes with out any shoulder for a mile. Speed limit on the highway is 55 mph. I can then choose to follow a MUP for about 3 miles and finish the last mile on a two laned road with a turn lane and no shoulder with a speed limit of 45 mph or I can take another route of 1 mile MUP then suburb streets that end up where I work. The streets have bike lanes in them which also double for parking on the streets.

I was riding up a bike lane today on one of those streets and a pickup was parked in the bike lane with its blinker on and I could see the driver talking to the passenger. I went around them and got back into the bike lane and they came back around me and hit me as they made a right turn. I didn't get pulled under the truck and was not hurt. I was hitting the side of the truck yelling at them as they turned and the passenger saw me and started yelling at the driver to stop. I only bent my bar-end shifter and my brake lever. They weren't really bent, they were just turned on my handle bars. My stem was turned a little. I got off and straighten it all out and rode the remaining 7 miles home.

I have to admit I'm a little boogered. I had an RV go by me last week with all of the doors on the side of the rig along the bottom on the right side opened. They stuck out a good 18 inches. The old farts had left their stairs open too and they stuck out a little further. You cannot be too careful. I think if you are out and visible on the road lanes where you force people to get around you, you may actually be safer than in a bike lane or on the shoulder.

I'll try and keep my courage up and try again tomorrow.
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Old 02-26-08, 05:43 PM   #2
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...I think if you are out and visible on the road lanes where you force people to get around you, you may actually be safer than in a bike lane or on the shoulder...
Totally agree and I'm glad to hear you're ok. That RV sounds scary as hell.

These books helped me and I'd strongly recommend them to any commuter looking for advice on how to cycle with traffic.

http://www.cyclecraft.co.uk/

http://www.amazon.com/Effective-Cycl.../dp/0262560704
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Don't run red lights, wear a helmet, use hand signals, get some cycle lights(front and rear) and, FFS, don't run red lights!
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Old 02-26-08, 05:52 PM   #3
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The truck was bad, but the potential hit from the RV could be terrible. That is some scary stuff.

I got buzzed and nearly sucked into/behind a mid size RV (the kind with the cab of a regular van) the other day. Really close and if they had been like your encounter that might have been it.

I caught up to the RV a mile or so down the road in construction traffic and it's windshield and windows were so smudged and dirty that the sun on them made them really hard to see through. I'm not sure they ever saw me, they sure wouldn't make eye contact with me.

Glad you're OK. Did the truck's driver stop to check on you at least??
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Old 02-26-08, 05:53 PM   #4
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The truck was bad, but the potential hit from the RV could be terrible. That is some scary stuff.

I got buzzed and nearly sucked into/behind a mid size RV (the kind with the cab of a regular van) the other day. Really close and if they had been like your encounter that might have been it.

I caught up to the RV a mile or so down the road in construction traffic and it's windshield and windows were so smudged and dirty that the sun on them made them really hard to see through. I'm not sure they ever saw me, they sure wouldn't make eye contact with me.

Glad you're OK. Did the truck's driver stop to check on you at least??
Yes they stopped. The woman was hysterical and the guy was very apologetic. I managed to be polite and not swear at them.
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Old 02-26-08, 06:01 PM   #5
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You are a better person than I. Glad to hear you're okay.
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Old 02-26-08, 07:22 PM   #6
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At an intersection when you're going straight there are two places where danger is likely to come from: slightly behind you or right next to you to your left (right hook) or ahead of you near the centerline (left hook).

It's become a habit for me: when going straight through any intersection, no matter where in the lane, check who's to the left of me and where he's going. Glad to hear that you're okay and have the courage to keep going. Some people learn that lesson a much harder way.
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Old 02-26-08, 10:39 PM   #7
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Yes they stopped. The woman was hysterical and the guy was very apologetic. I managed to be polite and not swear at them.

Kudos to you. Sometimes going off at people will make things go from "sorry! poor cyclist" to "A hole in my way!".

I am glad you are ok!!! Hope that is your last bad encounter/hit.
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Old 02-27-08, 07:56 AM   #8
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Glad you are not hurt, and always watch out for RVs. They are people, in general, who are used to driving a corolla or such every day, and suddenly they are driving a huge, commercial truck sized vehicle. That's in addition to the mechanical failures that seem to be commonplace for RVs.
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Old 02-27-08, 07:59 AM   #9
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I've found that using blinkies during the day greatly increases my visibly to drivers. I've also noticed that drivers give me more room when passing.
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Old 02-27-08, 08:17 AM   #10
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I've found that using blinkies during the day greatly increases my visibly to drivers. I've also noticed that drivers give me more room when passing.
I have to agree. More and more I run my blinky during the day, and in consistent blink mode rather than constant. Particularly on grey, overcast days, I've noticed drivers becoming aware of me, and moving left, a good ways back when they can. Around here, a blinking red light on the right of the roadway is (mostly) understood to be a slow-moving or stopped vehicle. An example closest to a bike would be a motor vehicle in distress either moving along slowly in the right lane or shoulder, or a motor vehicle stopped along (or in) the roadway. It seems to get the desired response for a self-propelled cyclist awash in thousands of pounds of flying metal and plastic.

Glad the OP is OK, and I admire the restraint!
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Old 02-28-08, 02:06 AM   #11
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Always run the blinky during the day! I run mine all the time. I started doing it first because I figured that when I was in the shade of tree cover or an overpass that I would otherwise be less visible but now I'd rather run it all the time, shade or not. Why? Because it's aimed to flash in their eyes .
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