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View Poll Results: Which best describes you as compared to other cyclists?
I am intimidated by traffic and I DO believe motorists want to avoid hitting me. 27 19.29%
I am intimidated by traffic and I do NOT believe motorists want to avoid hitting me. 6 4.29%
I am NOT intimidated by traffic and I DO believe motorists want to avoid hitting me. 86 61.43%
I am NOT intimidated by traffic and I do NOT believe motorists want to avoid hitting me. 21 15.00%
Voters: 140. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 02-17-05, 05:40 PM   #1
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Intimidated by traffic?

Intimidated by traffic?
Believe motorists want to avoid hitting you?
Is there a correlation? Finding out is what this poll is about.
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Old 02-17-05, 05:51 PM   #2
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They are trying to kill me. Of this I am certain.
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Old 02-17-05, 05:56 PM   #3
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Once, when I was on a long tour... (just outside of Texas, actually) the owner in a small out of the way grocery store and I were talking... she and I were discussing the folks that you meet on such a tour... and her comment was "all it takes is one a$$hole to ruin your adventure..."

I never met that person... the trip was great and I did a couple more to other places... and each one was a real blast, and epic in their own ways, and I did meet plenty of folks that went out of their way to lend a hand, offer directions, offered food and even a place to spend the night.

Well sadly, in day to day commuting, the same can also hold true. One can go about their normal daily ride and have a blast... until you have a couple run-ins with the wrong people. The real jerk-offs of the world. You can do everything right, yet...

It can really change your perspective.
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Old 02-17-05, 06:03 PM   #4
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Jerks, sure. But someone doesn't want to avoid hitting you?
I know it only takes one, but what are the odds you're ever going to encounter a homocidal manicac like that? 1 in 10 million?
It only takes one lucky lotto pick too, but do you adjust anything in your life as if that might happen?
The odds of you experiencing a nuclear attack, house fire, or a 9.0 earthquake are probably higher. Are you adjusting your life to prepare for these highly unlikely outcomes too?

And if you selected "I'm not intimidated by traffic" I find that hard to believe, based on how you write about traffic.
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Old 02-17-05, 06:24 PM   #5
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Ok, two people have voted for "I am NOT intimidated by traffic and I do NOT believe motorists want to avoid hitting me".

How can you NOT believe that motorists want to avoid hitting you, and yet NOT be intimidated by traffic?
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Old 02-17-05, 06:29 PM   #6
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I don't find traffic to be intimidating... most of the drivers around here are absolutely terrified of plowing me over, apparently as most of them tend to give me most of the lane when they pass. I find that completely unneccessary but even the ones that come within a couple of feet of me dont really phase me at all. Serge is right, the chances of you getting hit are pretty slim unless you're just doing something completely idiotic. Generally speaking, I make myself seen and act in a predictable manner and drivers give me the respect I deserve. There are a few cases of jerkoffs yelling "sidewalk!" at me, but they seem to do this at the same time they're giving me an extra wide berth. As I've seen it, people have no problem with verbal assault but when it comes down to the physical they tend to shy away. Fine by me.
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Old 02-17-05, 06:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Serge *******
Jerks, sure. But someone doesn't want to avoid hitting you?
I know it only takes one, but what are the odds you're ever going to encounter a homocidal manicac like that? 1 in 10 million?
It only takes one lucky lotto pick too, but do you adjust anything in your life as if that might happen?
The odds of you experiencing a nuclear attack, house fire, or a 9.0 earthquake are probably higher. Are you adjusting your life to prepare for these highly unlikely outcomes too?

And if you selected "I'm not intimidated by traffic" I find that hard to believe, based on how you write about traffic.
Serge, while we ride in the same town, we do not ride in the same areas. I have been well out of traffic, in a bike lane, not impeding anyones flow and had jerks throw stuff at my head... including full cans of beer, more than once. I have had things thrown at me on both Genesee and Friars road. I have been hit. I have had jerks rev engine and try to cut me off with their car when I was in a narrow right turn lane (no WOL, no BL) who must have felt that the next 2 seconds were critical to their lives. I have had 20 somethings open doors, yelling manically at me and try to hit me... while on the side in WOL** moving slowly up hills. BTW, I have fat tires and riding off road has saved my butt more than once.

You can focus on all the wonder of VC riding... and comment on how I "see rocks," but you get this treatment a few times, and it will make you "gun shy" too.

Folks that don't see you or make mistakes are one thing... folks that target you are another. Ride way south of La Jolla some time. I used to live in the downtown area.

If only I had won the lottery instead.

** definition: wide outside lanes of multilane roads that offer several feet of usable space that can be shared by both vehicles and bikes moving side by side. Never defined by a line. Usually defined by an outside lane width of 14-16 feet.

On the plus side, I have also been whistled at by pretty young ladies... have been asked to give directions, and been propositioned (when I was a Pedi-Cab driver)
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Old 02-17-05, 06:38 PM   #8
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Im afraid of intersections. Im the guy walking my bike in the cross walk.
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Old 02-17-05, 06:42 PM   #9
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I was with some friends one night and a guy did intentionally aim for us, swerved to the wrong side of the road and all. I'm sure this has happened to others. No doubt he didn't really really want to hit us. But I'm also sure he wouldn't have been horribly sad if he had.
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Old 02-17-05, 06:52 PM   #10
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I've had my fair share of car/bike interactions,including, yes, someone who wanted to hit me. In fact, he did, but I sort of earned it...and sort of didn't. It's a story I won't go into right now.

Anyhow, I think even most hostile drivers don't want to hit you. Even those who rev their engines and swerve at you don't actually want to hit you. They want to intimidate for sure, but it never occurs to them that the situation might get out of their control.

I do think that a person's impression of the safety and desireability of riding in traffic has a lot to do not just with how many negative interactions they have with drivers but also what kind of impression that leaves on them.

Me, for example, I usually have my headphones on and I'm rocking out as I make my way. Chastise me if you will. It's not illegal here and noted cyclist advocate John Allen actually has a nicely written essay shooting holes in the theory that a cyclist really needs unobstructed hearing that badly. Meanwhile it help me set a cadence, it choreographs traffic, it's amazing. I've never done acid or other psychadelic, but I can see how things might seem to fall into patterns.

Anyhow, 'phones or no, the most someone honking at me does is startle me. I know that person is annoyed by me but I usually don't let it bother me. I figure it's their problem and they need to figure out how to deal with it. Even if someone passes too close, I figure it was probably too close but maybe that just means that I need to establish a more assertive lane position because people are taking undue advantage of me.

It's rare that any negative interaction ruins my ride or leaves me with shaky knees and I think that's the difference.

I suspect that's a large part of Gene and Serge's difference in perspective. Gene is concerned about having those negative interactions and they bother him when they happen. Sergei is also concerned about having them--he doesn't want to--but if they do happen, they happen...whatever.
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Old 02-17-05, 06:53 PM   #11
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Serge,

First off, how is this any different from this post?" Do you ENJOY riding in fast/heavy traffic?" Enjoy, intimidated? Have you not spouted enough VC gospel today in the Bike Lane thread?

Second, talk about a slippery slope. Comparing drivers intentionally attempting to hit you to a high magnitude earthquake, or a winning lottery ticket are different from the odds of encountering aggressive drivers. You also picked some examples with wildly different odds, big earthquake in LA pretty good odds, house fire, not too terribly uncommon, lottery winner, very rare. Why take a poll, when you've already presumed the results (1 in 10 million).

Then in your reply to Gene you use the term Homicidal, where in the poll you say intend to hit. A driver does not have to be homicidal, they don't even really have to have intent, all they have to do is be unwilling to yield.

And since you are always asking, "When?", or "Give me an example?" Yesterday on Normandie Dr, I was in the right lane and signaled to move into the left lane to then proceed to the left-hand turn lane. I was travelling at 20 mph on a 35 mph road with almost no traffic. I signaled clearly and began moving over with at least 100 feet of distance of a white minivan that was overtaking me. I saw that he began speeding up so I held my position and continued signaling. He could have easily passed me in the left lane, slowed, or even honked. Instead he sped up, and even with diving for the shoulder, he brushed me with his mirror.

These aggressive encounters are few and far between, but they are hardly 1 in 10 million. I am a confident and unintimidated rider, but I think you underestimate the amount of rage and frustration building up among a small, but volatile group of drivers who need only the smallest of excuses to explode or lash out. Have you not heard of road rage, or freeway shootings? I thought you were from California?
Come ride with me in South Los Angeles sometimes or Beverly Hills, and then you can talk to me about the odds of encountering a homicidal motorist.

The amount of drivers who get in their car and say to themselves, "I'm going to run over a cyclist." is arguably incredibly small. But a driver who won't yield, or who feels it is their duty to show a cyclist their place is pretty much the same thing. When I'm dead on the side of the road does it really matter if the driver says, "I was aiming for him" or "Gosh officer, I didn't see him."

But just because there are drivers who intend to hit me, it doesn't follow that I have to be intimidated. It is a calculated risk. Just like when I drive my little non-airbag Jetta around all of the hulking SUV's driven by cell-phone distracted nannies in Westwood.

On another note, WTF is a WOL? Got it from above, thanks.
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Old 02-17-05, 07:06 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by treespeed
On another note, WTF is a WOL?
Wide Outside Lane. The outtermost lane in a multi lane road. Wide Outside Lanes of multilane roads that offer several feet of usable space that can be shared by both vehicles and bikes moving side by side. Never defined by a line. Usually defined by an outside lane width of 14-16 feet. Can be wider... Although too wide, and drivers start to use them as "another lane" in dense traffic, thus negating their use to a cyclist.
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Old 02-17-05, 07:12 PM   #13
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i'm not intimidated but i guess i ride in places where people aren't gunning for me. i don't think this type of single question poll will be that informative because it asks nothing of your typical riding environment, how much you ride, how long you been riding, age, sex, etc.
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Old 02-17-05, 07:15 PM   #14
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BTW the least "intimidating" traffic I ever rode in was on a tour down the Baja peninsula... The locals, for the most part, gave fully loaded cyclists the entire half of the road... they would drive either on the center line or all the way to the left.

The traffic was rarely "heavy" and often could be heard approaching from quite a long way off.

The Americans on the other hand (license plates) had this innate fear of crossing the center lines and would stay on the right on these somewhat narrow roads... The huge motor homes were really a pain... sometimes traveling in caravans of several at once. But again, you often could hear 'em long before they got to you, and then a quick look would tell you if you should get off the road.

Even the "dreaded Mexican Buses" gave cyclists a wide berth.

Only the cows and burros really stood their ground.
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Old 02-17-05, 07:19 PM   #15
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I've been intentionally hit by pickup.... in a bike lane no less. It didn't help my career or my marriage. It happens. Rednecks are kinda like earhquakes... you can't always avoid them.

I also believe that some bad driver is going to hit me sooner ot later. Bad drivers hit other cars and cars are bigger and easier to see than my bike. Some ditz eating a taco while talking on a cell phone is gonna wack me. It happens
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Old 02-17-05, 07:19 PM   #16
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Gene,

It may have been great cycling, but riding in one of those Mexican busses in Baja as they treated the center line as a suggestion, especially in the mountain passes was heartstopping. All I could think of were those headlines you always read, "Bus Plunge Kills gringo tourists."
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Old 02-17-05, 07:21 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genec
Wide Outside Lane. The outtermost lane in a multi lane road.
FYI: In some places, plain old "WOL" has resulted in the traffic folks striping a wide right-turn lane next to a narrow outside thru lane. The phrase "Wide Outside Thru Lane", or WOTL, is more precise and increases the odds that a WOL won't become a NOTL when a RTOL* appears while approaching an intersection.

*RTOL - Right Turn Only Lane
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Old 02-17-05, 07:27 PM   #18
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Treespeed, you crack me up. WTF is a WOL? Well, Gene finally figured it out, and provides an excellent definition a couple of posts back.


Quote:
But a driver who won't yield, or who feels it is their duty to show a cyclist their place is pretty much the same thing.
You mean like a cyclist who won't yield, or who feels it is his right to show a motorist their place is pretty much the same thing?

"I signaled clearly and began moving over with at least 100 feet of distance of a white minivan that was overtaking me. "

Uh, since you were moving that much slower than he was, that move violated the minivan driver's right-of-way.

What I have been taught is "1) Signal. 2) WAIT, until any overtaking driver yields the right-of-way to you, THEN... 3) begin to move over..."

But, yeah, to me there is a big difference between someone irritated by a cyclist's insistence to violate the right-of-way of another road user, and expressing that irritation with a probably unintentional brush of a mirror, and someone who doesn't want to avoid hitting the cyclist.

Finally, this poll is totally different from the other one. In this one I'm exploring the relationship of believing motorists don't want to hit the cyclist with traffic intimidation, which wasn't even addressed in the other poll or subsequent discussion.
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Old 02-17-05, 07:27 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Treespeed
Gene,

It may have been great cycling, but riding in one of those Mexican busses in Baja as they treated the center line as a suggestion, especially in the mountain passes was heartstopping. All I could think of were those headlines you always read, "Bus Plunge Kills gringo tourists."

Cabs in China also believe in the "suggestion mode." And don't ever tell them to hurry... Yikes!

I tried to take video of how the cabbies drove and it just did not do justice to the constant "needle threading" that goes on. All the traffic... people, bikes, and autos did this giant organic "dance" (a'la ants) that was just amazing... yet, I saw maybe two accidents in 20 days there.
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Old 02-17-05, 07:32 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by serge
Treespeed, you crack me up. WTF is a WOL? Well, Gene finally figured it out, and provides an excellent definition a couple of posts back.
Not a matter of "finally figuring it out..." have known about it... but you constantly ask me to define things over and over... Go back and see the Bike Lane thread for your latest request.

Just because that is how they are "defined" does not mean they are all the same... in fact "bwileyr" in post 17 outlines one reason that WOLs can become narrow lanes... I touched on another in post 12.

Such is reality.
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Old 02-17-05, 07:43 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwileyr
FYI: In some places, plain old "WOL" has resulted in the traffic folks striping a wide right-turn lane next to a narrow outside thru lane. The phrase "Wide Outside Thru Lane", or WOTL, is more precise and increases the odds that a WOL won't become a NOTL when a RTOL* appears while approaching an intersection.

*RTOL - Right Turn Only Lane
Thanks for clarifying that! I've wondered why some used the term WOTL instead of WOL. In case your explanation was too cryptic for some...

When traffic engineers create right turn only lanes they are working with a certain amount of space that will contain both the RTOL and the TL (Thru lane). Say they have 24 feet of roadway width for both lanes. Now, they can divide this width in roughly 3 ways:
  1. Make the two lanes of equal width (12' and 12' in our example)
  2. Make the TL wide (a WOTL) and the RTOL narrow (14' and 10')
  3. Make the TL narrow (a NOTL) and the RTOL wide (10' and 14')

Bruce's point is that cyclists should advocate for option 2. That way right turning cyclists can take the RTOL, which is okay since all vehicle drivers are slowing to make the turn, and thru cyclists can ride to the right side of the WOTL and travel without impeding motorists. This is basically what happens when they put a bike lane to the left of the RTOL - they're (unnecessarily creating a debris zone for cyclists to ride in, in my view) dividing Bruce's WOTL into a narrow lane and a bike lane, though usually at least 15 (10 + 5) is required to do that, plus the width for the RTOL.
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Old 02-17-05, 08:00 PM   #22
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I crack you up. Boy you are a condescending dick aren't you?

The minivan was well behind me (200 feet) and only accelerated when I was coming over. So now it's alright to brush a cyclist who is making a legal lane change? I should also note that we were approaching a red lighted intersection, so the minivan was accelerating to go wait at the red light. And no it wasn't unintentional, the driver was looking right at me as he steered his vehichle towards me. Also I had just been passed by traffic so there were cars in front of me, which were moving closer to 25 mph and slowing, instead of the 40 mph that the minivan passed me at. So no, I wasn't impeding this driver's right of way, unless he can drive through other cars? I was making a perfectly legal, signaled, predictable, and vehicular lane change.
The way you talk about other cyclists and preach your VC gospel I suspect that you spend way more time driving than cycling.

And speaking of cracking up, funny how you don't address the fact that you've already presumed the answer. Which is that homicidal drivers are 1 in 10 million. Why are you taking a poll if you already know the answer?

After years of messengering and commuting I can chronicle multiple occasions where drivers used their cars as weapons of intimidation and intentionaly struck me. I can show you the scars. By your logic all of these past incidents were of my own causing,
the logging truck pushing me off the shoulderless highway as I hugged the white stripe. I guess I was impeding his right of way even though there was no oncoming traffic. The taxi driver in Seattle who pulled alongside me and looked me in the eye as he drove me into the parking zone.
I guess it's all our fault for not following the VC gospel.
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Old 02-17-05, 08:03 PM   #23
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Does Serge believe that this poll will confirm his statement I read in another thread that he suspects people who advocate for separate facilities must be intimidated by traffic and/or believe that motorists want to hit them?

I am not intimidated by traffic and I don't believe motorists want to hit me. I think the opposite is true: That the majority of motorists are intimidated by cyclists and they fear we will swerve into their path.
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Old 02-17-05, 08:23 PM   #24
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Treespeed, I've obviously hit a nerve with you. Sorry. I also misinterpreted your 100 feet number as, well, 100 feet, not the 200 feet you meant it to be. I also didn't notice you said the van sped up. Sorry.

I do not already know the answer. Again, what I'm ultimately pursuing here is exploring whether there seems to be a correlation between "traffic intimidation" and "believing motorists don't want to hit (with their cars, Gene, not beer cans) cyclists".

Diane - I don't believe this poll will confirm anything. I'm just trying to find out what this poll will show.
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Old 02-17-05, 09:02 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Serge *******
Ok, two people have voted for "I am NOT intimidated by traffic and I do NOT believe motorists want to avoid hitting me".

How can you NOT believe that motorists want to avoid hitting you, and yet NOT be intimidated by traffic?
I voted that way, Serge. I believe that most people don't want to hit me, but that there are still plenty out there whose only worry is they would be caught and sent to jail, or it might make them late to work. I think my odds of being killed by one of these idiots is as good when I'm driving my Jeep, as when I'm riding my bicycle. Maybe those that voted this way are trying to see our glasses half full, not half empty.
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