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  1. #1
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    I'm a year-round bicycle commuter. 8 miles round trip, about 90-percent on roadway shared with cars. By and large, the motorists are courteous and give me plenty of room to operate. For which I'm grateful.

    I feel that the biggest threat to bike commuters are "loose cannon" cyclists. And there are two types. One is the uppity "lycra weenie" cyclists who seem to thumb their noses at traffic laws... swerving through traffic, ignoring signals, and in general behaving as if they are a superior life form. The other is the incompetents - those who shouldn't be on a bike. They are the ones who ride against traffic, ride totally unpredictably, swerve back and forth between sidewalk and roadway, etc.

    Motorists see these antics and it gives cyclists in general a black eye. As a result, some motorists seem to resent sharing the pavement.

    I've contacted my local police department on several occasions, asking them to step up enforcement, but they, too, seem to regard the lowly bicycle as a toy, and not worthy of their attention unless an accident is involved. A couple of times, angry physical confrontations have broken out between enraged motorists and cyclists (likely cyclists from one of the groups mentioned earlier, but who's to say?)

    So... WHAT CAN BE DONE by responsible cyclists, to minimize the negative impact of the loose cannons?

  2. #2
    Carfree since '82. Grrr! JonR's Avatar
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    I commuted 10 mi. total daily for several years till Dec. 1997. (Now about to take up cycling again.) I found pedestrians to be the biggest danger, and the type of incompetent cyclist you describe, a close second. I puzzled during my commuting years the same as you, and I'm still at a loss to know how this problem can be solved, particularly since, as you point out, the police don't seem interested even in ILLEGAL cycling! (I might add that, in Kansas City, we have bicycle cops, and they violate the vehicular laws regularly, too, particularly by riding on sidewalks.)

  3. #3
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    Originally posted by bikeboy
    WHAT CAN BE DONE by responsible cyclists, to minimize the negative impact of the loose cannons?
    Good question! I learned one thing not to do, never hit a car! hehe, i had a "loose cannon" pull out infront of me, after watching me come his way for a good 10 sec! I had to slam on my brakes and go around this guys SUV, as i went behind him i hit my fist on his back window to let him know i was mad. He decided to try to run me off the road about 200 feet later as he cought up to me!

    I wish i had a cell phone, i would have called 911 and reported a drunk driver!

  4. #4
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    I feel that the biggest threat to bike commuters are "loose cannon" cyclists...

    I disagree. I don't believe that if a cyclist runs a light, that it justifies a lessened perception of motorists to treat all riders poorly. Before pointing the finger at others, lets see what we can each do to be better road ambassadors.

    One thing I've felt has been helpful is to make eye contact with drivers (albeit with sunglasses on) and (in addition to the usual hand traffic signals) using large hand movements to indicate clearly what I intend to do (pointing, gesturing, holding a hand up to say "STOP", etc). Sometimes I shout if the driver is doing something stupid.

    I drive a car too. There are times when I don't stop, such as when there is good visibility and no traffic. I'm guilty! And the same is true on the bike as well! If no one sees me, then who cares?

    I agree with the other statement, regarding the truly incompetent: those riding without a helmet, riding against traffic, playing dodge 'em at the intersections. I figure Darwin's laws will take care of them...just a matter of time.


  5. #5
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Loose cannon cyclists

    See 'em all the time myself, but I seriously don't think there is anything you can do about 'em. Best thing is to just follow the road rules yourself and hope there's lotsa people watching.

    regards,
    Chris

  6. #6
    aka Sir MaddyX MadCat's Avatar
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    In most cases cyclists who run lights are being lazy. I make a hobby or passing cyclists who run lights ahead of me. I wait til' it's green and sprint after the dumbass. I feel it's a better work out to stop at red lights and at least yield at stop signs. I've seen at least one cyclist bite it when running a light.
    In many cases I find bike lanes to be difficult when you need to get back into traffic to go somewhere that the bikelane doesn't take you, particularly when you need to make a left turn. Most bike lanes are a benefit even when shared with busses and cars making right turns in them.
    Police in Edmonton do enforce some laws. I've never gotten a ticket for anything but a friend of mine who is somewhat new to cycling got a ticket for riding on the sidewalk. He had it coming.
    Signaling on a bike is tricky. I won't signal if I need my hands on to shift or break unlike road safety booklets that tell you to signal through the whole turn. It's not easy to cut a hard turn at a decent speed with your hand waving in the air. My rule is to signal once for whoever is behind me or in front of me at an intersection. Or I'll signal before a turn but never during a turn.
    Our only real saving grave out there in the city is that traffic seems to be getting slower and slower and it gets busyer and busyer.

  7. #7
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    Loose cannons...Laughing!!!!

    You guys are way to hard on those types. You have needlessly overanalysed the situation. So they run stop signs. So...Not very smart, I consider it..."Assumed risk". So they are "aggressive", big deal, unless they are "really" posing a danger to others, Who cares??? Im not safe all the time and I dont wear a helmet. Yep, I am an incompetant/do as-i-will idiot. So, is it the stupidity or careless abandon that ticks you off?
    Andy

  8. #8
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Originally posted by bikeboy
    I'm a year-round bicycle commuter. 8 miles round trip, about 90-percent on roadway shared with cars. By and large, the motorists are courteous and give me plenty of room to operate. For which I'm grateful.

    I feel that the biggest threat to bike commuters are "loose cannon" cyclists. And there are two types. One [are the cyclists] who seem to thumb their noses at traffic laws... swerving through traffic, ignoring signals, and in general behaving as if they are a superior life form. The other is the incompetents - those who shouldn't be on a bike. They are the ones who ride against traffic, ride totally unpredictably, swerve back and forth between sidewalk and roadway, etc.

    Motorists see these antics and it gives cyclists in general a black eye. As a result, some motorists seem to resent sharing the pavement.
    What most cyclists who ignore trafffic law forget is that
    it's really not o.k. for them to break the law. They are banking on the hope that everyone else will follow the rules. If everyone exempted themselves from obeying the traffic laws, the roads wouldn't be safe for anyone.

    Cyclists who flaunt the rules cause motorists to expect the same from other cyclists. This creates a more dangerous cycling environment. Predicatable road behavior is what helps prevent accidents. I doubt any cyclist would dare cycle on a road upon which all vehicles followed a different set of rules. That would be suicide.

    There is no logical argument supporting the disrespect of traffic laws by cyclists, except in rare occasions, such as traffic lights which won't change, or other cases in which the cyclist literally has no other choice.

  9. #9
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Ba-Dg-Er


    I am pretty sure this has happened in Arizona.
    ... And here in Queensland.

    Chris
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
    "We invite everyone to question the entire culture we take for granted." - Manic Street Preachers.
    My blog.
    My bike tours. Japan tour page under construction.

  10. #10
    Senior Member jramsey's Avatar
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    I have to agree with bikeboy on the image issue.

    People need to know that they can expect certain behavior from cyclists. Most people in the U.S. are conditioned to believe the auto to be the end all be all of transportation. They are ignorant of the issues of bicycling, the benefits of maintaining bicycle use on public roadways, and even that bicycles are legitimate, and legal, vehicles on the roadways. Most people tend to think of cyclists as glorified pedestrians, much like you would consider a wheelchair occupant.

    Although, there are plenty of "weenies" in cars, I know what to expect from the majority of cars I see on the road - except in certain areas, such as Arizona, mentioned above.

    People on bikes on the wrong side of the street, on the sidewalks in business zones, weaving in and out of traffic, only reinforce people's negative predispositions toward cyclists. You see hundreds or thousands of cars on the road each day. If only one does something stupid, it stands out. If 20 do something stupid, it's annoying and bad, but, at least, you still might believe you know what to expect from the other hundreds and thousands.

    With bikes, most people might go weeks without encountering a cyclist. If that one cyclist behaves in an unsafe, and illegal manner, he or she is more likely to leave a lasting impression on a driver's perception of all cyclists.

    Jonathan
    Playing and singing the music of Ireland
    http://www.jonathanramsey.com

  11. #11
    Senior Member jramsey's Avatar
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    One other point...

    When drivers encounter a stupid motorist, they tend to fringe that driver. They look at the car, license tag, bumper stickers, to try to categorize that driver into a class to which they do not belong.

    Many people get cut off, they say things like:

    "Johnson County driver!"
    "Missouri driver!"
    "New Jersey driver!"
    "Liberal Democrat!"
    "Hippie!"
    "Technocrat!"
    "Mercedes drivers!"
    "Women drivers!"
    "Men!"

    For drivers who encounter bikes, it's easy. Just being on a bike marginalizes the cyclist to a class to which the motorist doesn't likely belong.

    Jonathan
    Playing and singing the music of Ireland
    http://www.jonathanramsey.com

  12. #12
    NOT a weight weenie Hunter's Avatar
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    Originally posted by afisher
    You guys are way to hard on those types. You have needlessly overanalysed the situation. So they run stop signs. So...Not very smart, I consider it..."Assumed risk". So they are "aggressive", big deal, unless they are "really" posing a danger to others, Who cares??? Im not safe all the time and I dont wear a helmet. Yep, I am an incompetant/do as-i-will idiot. So, is it the stupidity or careless abandon that ticks you off?

    Afisher,
    I believe that it is the needless categorization that cyclists get put into because of the carelessness of other's. I believe it may also have to do with the needless potential accident's that can occur with wreckless abandon cycling. I have seen alot of this in the cycling courier's. When I commuted to work I was doing 175 miles a week and never saw another cyclist. I did however obey basic traffic laws for my own safety because I had been hit before by someone who said, "I did not see you." Most people in cars do not know how to deal with a cyclist. It is a sad reality but it is real. Commuting to work or wherever should not be a race, and we as cyclist should take whatever precaution's we can in order to protect ourselves. We vs. cars in a impact is a lose lose situation.

  13. #13
    Carfree since '82. Grrr! JonR's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Hunter



    Most people in cars do not know how to deal with a cyclist. It is a sad reality but it is real. [...] We vs. cars in a impact is a lose lose situation.
    I always try to make eye contact with any driver who's stopped and could potentially enter my path. You can't always do it, but often you can tell when the driver has noticed your presence. It's better than nothing.

    I've heard the opinion that cyclists--and pedestrians as well--are basically invisible to most motorists. My experience tends to bear this out. Anything we can do to minimize this invisibility is bound to improve our chances of a safe trip.

  14. #14
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Originally posted by JonR
    I've heard the opinion that cyclists--and pedestrians as well--are basically invisible to most motorists. My experience tends to bear this out. Anything we can do to minimize this invisibility is bound to improve our chances of a safe trip.
    I've considered wearing a "Barney" suit while cycling.

  15. #15
    NOT a weight weenie Hunter's Avatar
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    I would higly reccomend not wearing the Barney suit outside of Atlanta, and I also reccomend not wearing the Barney suit and come to Tx.

  16. #16
    Donating member rslatkin's Avatar
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    I rode home from the train station (2.5 mi) wearing large orange butterfly wings from a nearby neighborhood festival. My fiance rode behind me so he could get a good look at passing drivers' reactions. Fun!

  17. #17
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Originally posted by rslatkin
    I rode home from the train station (2.5 mi) wearing large orange butterfly wings...
    This may be how we first got the idea for the airplane.

  18. #18
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    I think next summer I might just ride around nude.

    Chris
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
    "We invite everyone to question the entire culture we take for granted." - Manic Street Preachers.
    My blog.
    My bike tours. Japan tour page under construction.

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