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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 10-05-04, 09:18 AM   #1
plhnw
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Bikers are looked upon as pests...

My husband does not bike, but he runs. He faces traffic at all times (something bikers cannot do) and assumes every car coming his direction is going to hit him. This way, he never lets his guard down. I think there would be more bikes on the road if it were safer. It would be nice if people behind the wheel were less hostile, but for some reason bikers continue to be looked upon as pests.

Stay safe...
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Old 10-05-04, 10:44 AM   #2
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Yes, I do remind drivers that, while they see us an an occasioanl nuisance (and one that does not, actually cost them time), we see them as a constant hazzard, and would gladly trade POVs.

When a driver wants to get upset at me, I let him (almost always a him). So long as I don't feel threatened, that's his *****, not mine.
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Old 10-05-04, 11:00 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plhnw
My husband does not bike, but he runs. He faces traffic at all times (something bikers cannot do) and assumes every car coming his direction is going to hit him. This way, he never lets his guard down.
I've run off and on over the years and developed the same approach. It's saved my butt a few times. I have the same approach with riding. I always assume the driver doesn't see me and maintain as much as possible an escape plan. Again it's saved a few accidents. Interestingly, sometimes we're not seen or more commonly drivers don't realize how fast we're moving.
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Old 10-05-04, 11:55 AM   #4
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My only problems are

A. it's impossible to assume you're about to be hit by a vehicle you don't know is sneaking up on you
B. when the drivers start chasing you around the road and sidewalk, it's almost impossible to find a safe corner to hide in
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Old 10-05-04, 02:10 PM   #5
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That is vehicular assault when they chase you. Try a mirror to help you spot the sneaky ones. I think that one of the problems today is the everyone is running on overload, too much to do and too little time to do it. Anything that impedes or seems to impede their perceived progress sets them off. Cyclists are seen as an obstacle to their progress. This puts most drivers in a constant state of rage. Or they try to make their vehicle their office and so doing cannot concentrate on what is going on around them. Hence they don't see what is going on until it is too late. Just my two cents.

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Old 10-05-04, 02:34 PM   #6
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I do not ride on the roads for that very purpose. I found myself always thinking about this guy swerving that way or that guy doing this. It was to much of a distraction for me and I want to ride for the shear joy and solitude that I get. That could not happen on the road. I just load my bike in the truck and head off to the Rail Trails around here. No worries there at all.
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Old 10-05-04, 05:49 PM   #7
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I have given up my car commute entirely because of the stress of driving. People are too aggressive and drive way too fast. I have a slow pickup truck so I can't drive like a race car driver and that makes people mad. I just got totally sick of it.

I finally realized that the real problem is not the length of time for the car commute that is the problem. The real problem is the stress and aggravation. A longer commute that is less stressful makes a HUGE difference in the quality of my life.

How I did it: I bought a Vespa. Been smiling my way to work either on my Vespa or on my bike twice a week for two years now.
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Old 10-05-04, 09:22 PM   #8
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I disagree with the gist of this thread totally. Sure, there are plenty of abusive drivers out there, but let's look at this realistically. Firstly, most of them merely limit their abuse to verbal. It's rare that they throw things, and even when it happens (yes, I've been a target more than once), it's pretty easy for an reasonably skillful cyclist to deal with.

The other thing to remember is that if someone really wants to take you out, they'll just do it, and they'll do it whether or not you're on the road at all (I've experienced that one, too). Drivers around here have absolutely no qualms with leaving the road if it suits whatever agenda they have. If you're going to be that paranoid about every other person in existence, you might as well never leave the house at all.


Quote:
Originally Posted by wfin
do not ride on the roads for that very purpose. I found myself always thinking about this guy swerving that way or that guy doing this. It was to much of a distraction for me and I want to ride for the shear joy and solitude that I get. That could not happen on the road. I just load my bike in the truck and head off to the Rail Trails around here. No worries there at all.
This is exactly the type of response that typifies this fear of "what might happen if I dare ride on the road" without actually doing enough of it to get an idea of the probabilities. You see, in this life, there is nothing any of us can do to totally eliminate risk. Eating, sleeping, watching TV, riding on separate trails all carry elements of risk.

Contrary to popular belief, the risk of cycling on the road is relatively small. Where I live has, by reputation, the worst drivers in this entire country, yet in over 100,000km of riding on the roads through conditions including extreme heat (the scariest of them all), droughts, floods, lightning storms etc etc, I've never sustained an injury that prevented me from riding away after the event (and that includes five collisions with cars). A little bruised perhaps (and a little wiser), but never seriously injured. Imagine if I'd been in a car travelling at 80km/h on any of those five crashes!

The other thing is, virtually all of the crashes that I have had have been entirely preventable. Indeed, four of the five car collisions I mentioned happened within the first 20,000km of cycling on the roads around here. Conditions haven't really changed much (except that the traffic increases with our population growth), I've merely become wiser about it. I've discovered that if you ride assertively and act like a vehicle, your far more likely to be treated like one.

Sure, I get the honks and the abuse, but even car drivers get that around here -- and it's not that difficult to shrug off. One thing I have to deal with a lot less since I started acting assertively is people cutting me off or passing too close. It happens from time to time, but even when it does, I'm far better equipped to deal with it than I would be cowering on the path or in the gutter.

Gee, I did go on a little bit, didn't I?
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Old 10-05-04, 10:34 PM   #9
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I ride a great deal for the mental distraction of keeping track of who is where doing what in what vehicle, and what possible collision courses could...'impact' me. I look on it as more like a game...
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Old 10-06-04, 01:27 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbhikes
I have given up my car commute entirely because of the stress of driving. People are too aggressive and drive way too fast. I have a slow pickup truck so I can't drive like a race car driver and that makes people mad. I just got totally sick of it.

I finally realized that the real problem is not the length of time for the car commute that is the problem. The real problem is the stress and aggravation. A longer commute that is less stressful makes a HUGE difference in the quality of my life.

How I did it: I bought a Vespa. Been smiling my way to work either on my Vespa or on my bike twice a week for two years now.

My pickup truck is slow as well. 4 cylinder gets great mileage but very slow,especially with the air on.(which is 75% of the time here in FL). My Dad purchased a Moped type bike for his commuting after he got sick of cars and expenses. The very first trip he made in it he was in an accident and died from the injuries 4 days later. I just have a difficult time trying to relax in traffic.(on bike) I am very close to the site of where the old guy wiped out a whole line of cyclists with his Cadillac in St. Petersburg a little over a year ago. These are just some examples of things that I worry about when riding on the roads. Mileage on Trek-2100. Apprx road mileage from that - about 6 miles.
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Old 10-06-04, 04:58 AM   #11
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Thanks for the post ChrisL...

I am new to road cycling, under 60 days new, and I commute on the road, in traffic 15.5 miles a day at the least. Am I affraid of vehicles? Nope, not since I took some great advice here in the forums on how to ride in traffic. Being a vehicle, even though it's a bicycle, means I have just as much right to be there, in a lane, turning left at an intersection, merging into the center(forward) lane from the right lane, etc.
Am I cautious? Hell yes! Do drivers of other vehicles get pissed off at me? Honk? Rev engines, cut me off? Sure, but's it's just not that often that someone does that to make me hang up my Lemond, or only ride paths or MTB.

Cycling responsibly=happy fun time 4 me...and don't even get me started on cycling on the sidewalk or gutter or wrong direction...BTW which nearly caused an accident involving myself, an irresponsible cyclist(going the wrong direction) and an SUV. Now THAT'S dangerous!
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Old 10-06-04, 07:59 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by sbhikes
I have given up my car commute entirely because of the stress of driving. People are too aggressive and drive way too fast. I have a slow pickup truck so I can't drive like a race car driver and that makes people mad. I just got totally sick of it.
This is the same reason I started commutting by bicycle. The stress from driving 3 1/2 miles to work on 30 to 40 mph roads was killing me. It was not very far, but with people driving way above the speed limit, tailgating, changing lanes, stopping at the last second and generally driving like teenagers with a new license, the drive was horrible.
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Old 10-08-04, 12:03 PM   #13
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I used to work for an elementary school, and when I first hired on, I learned that an office staff's husband was recently killed by a hit-and-run driver. It was a woman, who later turned herself into the police after she realized she might have hit something or someone. DUH!!! She denied seeing him, and was never held accountable. It was very, very sad!

Now that so many drivers are cell phone users, I think we are all at higher risk. We needs some laws in place where you would be required to use speaker phones or head sets.

Thanks for our comments...
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Old 10-08-04, 01:28 PM   #14
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Some communities are dealing with the cell phone issue. Here in Ohio there are several towns where it is illegal to drive and use a cell phone at the same time.

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Old 10-08-04, 01:35 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DragonMistress
My only problems are

B. when the drivers start chasing you around the road and sidewalk, it's almost impossible to find a safe corner to hide in
I knew there was a reason for the gun...
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Old 10-08-04, 02:40 PM   #16
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I had a driver actually stop at a light and apologize to me today, thinking he had pulled out in front of me. It actually wasn't even close (even though I was going 35 mph at the time), but I appreciated the gesture. He must have thought it was closer than it was because I passed him on the right a few seconds after he turned onto the road.
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Old 10-08-04, 02:48 PM   #17
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I've only ridden my bike to work twice now (so far, I'm a newbie) and I have to say many people just don't get the fact that we're legally allowed on the road. At least 5 people honked at me in my 7.5 mile ride and a semi got so close that I ran off the road in the backwash! Am I going to give up? No. Will I be more careful? You bet. I've ridden a motorcycle for many years and the problems are similar, only on a bicycle all the cars are passing me!
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Old 10-08-04, 03:51 PM   #18
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I think it is safe for us to ride on the road. There is a difference between perceived danger and real danger. Educate yourself a little. http://bicyclesafe.com/
Tom

Last edited by JavaMan; 10-08-04 at 03:54 PM. Reason: mispelling
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Old 10-08-04, 03:58 PM   #19
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I nearly got ran off the road a week ago by a van full of movers. Four lane road with no shoulder in a 35 zone. I was off to the side to give people room and this jackass came as close as possible to me. Almost smacked me with his sideview mirror. I pounded on the side of his van. -_-
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