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  1. #1
    18 dog baby
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    hey, hey, back off man, they say.

    Alright, maybe this is the whole cyclist paranoia creeping up. You know, they're all out to get me in their two ton bombs. But it seems that when I roll up to a stop light, whether turning left or right, the car behind me always stays back at least a full car length, maybe more. I haven't driven in a while, and have never been in that sort of mindset. What's the deal with the backing off? Are they affraid of me, or do they just feel really undomfortable with how fragile I appear?

  2. #2
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    It happens to me to quite alot. Not that it bothers me.

    Also there are folks who even if you are in a marked and separate bike lane, completely go into the opposite lane of travel to pass. So there is a full lane of space between you and them. Again, not a complaint, just extra cautious or extra respectful behavior I guess.

    At least these folks are aware and thoughtful.

    Al

  3. #3
    Cyclocrosser.
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    It's simple and understandable: If they get rear ended, you would not take the impact of them hitting you as easily as another car would. I do the same thing; I give bikes and motorcycles extra room in front of me incase I am involved in an accident, and the impact is severe enough to throw me forward.

  4. #4
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phiber
    It's simple and understandable: If they get rear ended, you would not take the impact of them hitting you as easily as another car would. I do the same thing; I give bikes and motorcycles extra room in front of me incase I am involved in an accident, and the impact is severe enough to throw me forward.
    This is a very good reason. But somehow I suspect that most (not all) folks who give such clearance are not doing it for this very good reason. I think its more of "Wow a bicycle, how dangerous, better be careful and give 'em lots of room"

    Al

  5. #5
    Senior Member Trek Rider's Avatar
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    It could be that they have lousy depth perception and really don't know where your bike and their vehicle ends. That would help to explain why so many drivers run into stationary objects, to say nothing of running into us.

  6. #6
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noisebeam
    This is a very good reason. But somehow I suspect that most (not all) folks who give such clearance are not doing it for this very good reason. I think its more of "Wow a bicycle, how dangerous, better be careful and give 'em lots of room"
    Who cares why? It's just traffic.

    Funnily enough, I've never noticed this happening at all. In fact, I have to position myself in the centre of the lane to prevent them from trying to squeeze past in the queue.
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
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  7. #7
    RetroGrouchWrench Rural Roadie's Avatar
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    I leave extra space because more that once the cyclist managed to fall over.
    That and I hate being tailgated, so to be selfrightous in this I must afford others the space I desire.
    I am far forward enough tho to keep dipsticks from cutting in ahead of me, can bet they arn't looking for a bicyclist in front of me.

  8. #8
    We drive on the left. Dutchy's Avatar
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    I find the complete opposite to what "2mtr" asks about. Down here cars will sit 6 inches off my rear tyre when I am at traffic lights. This leaves me with two options. 1: Keep a good distance to the car in front, assuming the guy behind is going to tailgate, then as the cars in front get ready to move I have enough room to roll forward and clip in. 2: At traffic lights move right into the intersection, almost past the pedestrian lines, to give a clip-in space between me and the cars behind. Which is illegal, but definitely safer. And at traffic lights, always sit in the middle of the lane, when the road narrows or there is not a bike lane.

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  9. #9
    Chairman of the Bored catatonic's Avatar
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    I find it's usually the driver is not familiar with the size of a biek as opposed to a car, therefore they stay back far enough to see your tires touching the ground.

    I've had to "guide" drivers who wanted to do right turns sometimes for things like this...they just didnt know if it was safe to go by me. I usualyl stop on the left side of hte rightmost lane when I stop at a multi-lane redlight for this reason, to give them more room to make that right turn. You would be surprised at all the smiles, thank yous and so on you get when you help a driver make that turn.

  10. #10
    Evil Genius capsicum's Avatar
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    This happens occationaly to me, even on my motorcycle, I think part of it is a lack of any real depth perception and or skill on the drivers part. With cars you can judge distance by the space between tail or head lamps, on a bike you must use other methods most people arn't spry enough to change there thoughts for an occational cycle.
    Most of the lights around here are on magnetic sensors, some will read my steel bicycle some won't even pick up a harley-davidson. The Autos that stop far back always manage to stop behind the sensor an the drivers do seem to have the sense to realize that is a sensor driven light, even when I'm signaling them to pull up like I'm on the deck of an aircraft carrier. (uh what, he wants me to pull up, what do I do, ahh brain meltdown)

    I appriciate the distance but 2-3 car lengths is just foolish. 3/4 of a length bumper to bumper is just fine for bikes, cars, trucks, whatever. Its also what they teach in drivers education and I think it might even be law around here, as it is supposed to reduce the accordian effect in a rear end crash,thus reduceing cars involved and associated paperwork.
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  11. #11
    Vello Kombi, baby Poguemahone's Avatar
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    The only time I notice it is when I'm riding a fixie and I trackstand at a light. This seems to freak the motorists out, and they stay far, far away. Although yesterday a cute young lady gave me a thumbs up when she saw me trackstand at a light. Made my day.
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  12. #12
    . . . rosebud . . . Diggy18's Avatar
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    Hey I've noticed this too. I thought it was like someone else said, "Wow, a bike. How dangerous, I'd better give them some room." Which is great for the guy on the bike!

    By the way, what is this 'trackstand' thing, and how do you do it? You got me curious with the 'cute young lady' thing!

  13. #13
    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by catatonic
    I find it's usually the driver is not familiar with the size of a biek as opposed to a car, therefore they stay back far enough to see your tires touching the ground.

    I've had to "guide" drivers who wanted to do right turns sometimes for things like this...they just didnt know if it was safe to go by me. I usualyl stop on the left side of hte rightmost lane when I stop at a multi-lane redlight for this reason, to give them more room to make that right turn. You would be surprised at all the smiles, thank yous and so on you get when you help a driver make that turn.
    Exactly what I do... !

  14. #14
    Senior Member
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    I have only noticed this when it is starting to snow.

  15. #15
    Ride the Road Daily Commute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noisebeam
    This is a very good reason. But somehow I suspect that most (not all) folks who give such clearance are not doing it for this very good reason. I think its more of "Wow a bicycle, how dangerous, better be careful and give 'em lots of room"

    Al
    I'll take "better be careful and give 'em lots of room" any day!

  16. #16
    Senior Member TimArchy's Avatar
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    Drivers are scared when they see bikes on the road. They don't know what to do. This explains both the people who stay a car length back and the ones who flip you off as they zip by. If they're rational people, they understand that they don't know exactly what to do in the situation so they give the biker more room than is really needed, just to provide a buffer. The others get scared, angry, and do irrational things like tailgating and passing in unsafe ways.
    at least, thats the way I see it.

    tim
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  17. #17
    occam's razor rwan's Avatar
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    you're damn right drivers are scared when they see bikes on the road. this is america: a nation of extraneous liability and frivilous lawsuit.

    they are sitting behind a moving 2000+ lb. vehicle with some guy in spandex sitting on some tubes rolls next to them. it's not hard to veer left or right, to lose control, or for a biker to lose balance and fall. a car veers into another car: possibility that everyone will be fine. but a car veering into a biker, and you're a dead man.



    drivers who stay back from riders or give plenty of space when passing are being respectful, responsible, and a credit to the cycling community as well as the community in general. Be considerate of BOTH worlds of vehicular travel.

  18. #18
    Suburban Cyclist OctoberBlue's Avatar
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    The only time it bothers me is when there's a sensor for the traffic light and they're not on it (and I'm first in line at the light). Normally, I'll move up as far as is safely possible and motion them forward. Usually, they 'get it'. It's hard to tell which sensors my bike will activate around here.
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  19. #19
    Vello Kombi, baby Poguemahone's Avatar
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    "By the way, what is this 'trackstand' thing, and how do you do it? You got me curious with the 'cute young lady' thing!"

    http://www.63xc.com/gregg/101_12.htm

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  20. #20
    Thinks-she-knows-it-all DragonMistress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poguemahone
    "By the way, what is this 'trackstand' thing, and how do you do it? You got me curious with the 'cute young lady' thing!"

    http://www.63xc.com/gregg/101_12.htm

    Handy at a light.

    ....I'm crappy at those...
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  21. #21
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DragonMistress
    ....I'm crappy at those...
    I used to be crappy at those too. However, I'm getting better. I even managed to "trackstand" a set of lights in Queensland not so long ago. This is significant, because traffic lights up here are much slower than in other parts of the country. It's all just a matter of practice.
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  22. #22
    Banned
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    Sorry to hear that cars are giving you too much space. I'm lucky it hasn't happened here. They are passing me closer every day and will rush past me within 1/2 block of a light that has just turned red. Come riding in DC where they don't treat you like some vulnerable human being. Must be humiliating to be treated like that!

  23. #23
    I bet
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    I used to go out of my way for cars and let them pass or turn right but now i tend to take my spot on the right side of the road and if someone behind me wants to turn right they can just wait patiently for the light to change and for me to move. I'm a vehicle just like a car and the car wouldn't try some crazy acrobatics.

    And you should not be in the left side of the right lane, by law ur supposed to be to the right unless it is unsafe to do so.

    Not bagging on you but better to be consistant, we are already viewed as odd, if we act like cars we are less likely to suprise people.

  24. #24
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kurremkarm
    And you should not be in the left side of the right lane, by law ur supposed to be to the right unless it is unsafe to do so.
    At a traffic light queue it is unsafe to be anywhere other than the centre of the lane.
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  25. #25
    . . . rosebud . . . Diggy18's Avatar
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    yeah, I agree. At stop lights and stop signs, I'm finding it much safer to get in the middle of the lane.

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