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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 10-05-13, 12:37 AM   #1
psy
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scary new commute, don't know what to do

So I moved a little further away from my work into the next town over and the only way to get there without taking bart over the hill is to get on the highway for one exit...about a mile. That in itself is kinda sketchy , there's a fair amount of debris on the shoulder and this highway is full of idiot drivers. Anyway I've been braving that and doing ok..some days are better than others, but the worst part of the new commute seems to be in town before the freeway. For some reason drivers here keep buzzing me and this morning was the final straw .
Some jerk in a mustang pulls up beside me and starts reving his engine , then all thesudden pops the clutch and peels out and swerves ..his rear tire missed my front by like two feet or less. Then about a half block up he stops and waits for me...and peels out as I approached. ...pulls fowardabout a hundred feet and pulls into and blocks the bike lane. So now I'm thinking this is getting ugly..but then a group of cars came along and he pulled out and sped away before they got there.
I'm not sure what to do at this point.I've never felt the need to carry a weapon but now I know I HAVE to if I want to continue to commute. That along with the freeway issue is breaking my will.

I'm so ****ing bummed. People suck.

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Old 10-05-13, 04:52 AM   #2
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What's wrong with taking bart over the hill or simply riding over the hill? That's got to be better than almost getting killed on the highway.
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Old 10-05-13, 04:54 AM   #3
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Change your work hours. Fewer people in the early morning. The difference between 7:30 and 8:30 is pretty stark in terms of car traffic.
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Old 10-05-13, 05:11 AM   #4
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Got a phone with Bluetooth? Program the non-emergency number for the local PD. A situation like you describe, you'd have ample enough time to pass along location, make/model/color of car, and tag number. Might even consider a camera to avoid those "he said, she said" scenarios (I'm in the market for one myself).
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Old 10-05-13, 08:58 AM   #5
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what in the world is bart over the hill
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Old 10-05-13, 09:19 AM   #6
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Bart - bay area rapid transit.
I already leave the house at 5:15 am traffic is already flying on highway 4 at that time...later would prolly be better as traffic would slow.
My commute is 8 miles each way. If I take bart I lose like 5 of those miles. I like riding.
The helmet cam is a great idea and yes I have a phobe with bluetooth. I'm gonna set that up.
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Old 10-05-13, 09:21 AM   #7
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In my limited experience here's what has happened. The first few days I use a route, there are motorist who exhibit threatening behavior (none to your extreme).
After a few days, I realize I rarely see those vehicles anymore - OR the regulars adjust to seeing me on their route and things calm down.
IF, I encounter a particularly threatening vehicle routinely I either change the route or change the time I use it subtly - often 5- 10 minutes is enough to avoid the everyday encounter.

This same type of scenario happened when school started back in August. The first week or so, I was honked at, yelled at, etc.
After a few days, those vehicles weren't around anymore or they simply got used to my being there everyday and they chilled out.

I figure it'll happen all over again when the time changes in November.
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Old 10-05-13, 10:18 AM   #8
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Might even consider a camera to avoid those "he said, she said" scenarios (I'm in the market for one myself).
I would think that having a sign that said:

"Smile! Both you and your license plate are being recorded."

Might stop some of the idiots.
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Old 10-05-13, 10:38 AM   #9
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There's not much you can do, really. Any route has the possibility of jerk drivers, and one is all it takes to ruin your day, so just take the route that's best for you. You've gotta be at work or whatever when you need to be there, so changing hours is an unlikely resolution that may or may not, depending on the workplace, be worth exploring, and again, jerk drivers can be on any road at any time.

My advice is to chill out and keep riding. Messing with cyclists is just not that much fun, and I doubt the 'Stang' driver is out to get you, he's just a jerk who'll quickly bore if he doesn't get a response out of you. The best way to deal with any harrassing motorist is simply to pull over and stop riding until they're down the road and away from you. Ridiculous and inconvenient, sure, but for as infrequently as it's actually a good strategy to employ, you'll manage just fine.

Lastly, you can also consider your riding habits and the way they impact others. If you're taking the lane, for example, while it might be your right, it just may also be the wrong strategy for getting along on the road. Are you jumping between sidewalk and road, or jumping lights? Those kinds of things my engender resentment among drivers. Are your movements unpredictable or erratic? Do you signal lane changes and turns? Do you filter to the front at stops, pull up alongside or into the blind spot of a turning car, creating uncertainty about who's to do what first? Do you gesticulate angrily and indicate your disapproval of motorist behavior, inciting confrontation? How about an occasional wave of thanks or nod of appreciation. I treat motorists the same way I'd approach a baby with a gun, with fear and concern, but decisiveness and distraction tactics!

Make sure you've got lights and reflective gear, and don't let a few sour grapes ruin what you otherwise love to do.
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Old 10-05-13, 11:49 AM   #10
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That mustang driver was way out of line and is lucky he wasn't observed by law enforcement bullying a cyclist and driving erratically. The poor fellow must have some serious personal problems.

Use the opportunity to think about anything you can alter - your route, departure time, riding approach. If everything is as you want it to be, proceed. Sometimes you will encounter a jerk on the road (more often in some places than others). I have found that there are very few positive outcomes possible from letting it get to you emotionally. Stay cool and keep your wits about you so you can watch for other traffic and complete your commute. After the ride, do your thinking/analyzing.

In my town, over 99% of the drivers I encounter are regular folks just trying to get from A to B. Occasionally a Neanderthal will cross my path, and I try not to let it bother me as best I can. Good luck, I hope things settle in better for you on your new commute.
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Old 10-05-13, 06:27 PM   #11
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Thanks for the replies. My bike and gear are pretty much the perfect setup for my commute and I ride in the bike lane so no changes to make really.The suggestions a great, but what truly matters the most to me is the moral support and understanding. That's why I really posted I think. You guys can relate. Ill be back out there monday morning . The guy on the fargo bombing down highway 4 at 40+ mph, yep that's me.
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Old 10-05-13, 07:11 PM   #12
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I agree with 'FenderTL5' that the first few days of a new commute route seems to have the most harassment. Once the drivers see you a few times they realize you're just on your way to work like they are and quit the horn blowing and intimidating passes. (Or they realize that if you've seen them before you may already know their plate number.)

At least BART is an option now - hope they make the current 'bikes at all times' trial a permanent policy. I presume the freeway shoulder portion is through the old Naval Weapons Station area - I've ridden there a few times, but not at rush hour. Hope you have good, puncture resistant tires on the Fargo - freeway shoulders frequently have lots of sharp wire debris from deteriorating car and truck tires.
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Old 10-06-13, 01:51 AM   #13
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Yep that's the section. Lots of debris. Im rolling marathon mondials 28x2.0 and I don't think I could ge t a better tire for the task.sucks to have to do it but I'm litterally on the freeway for 1-1/2 minutes tops. Not too bad I guess.
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Old 10-07-13, 07:38 AM   #14
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Sorry. Wrong thread. I'd say it was the drugs but I didn't take any drugs.

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Old 10-07-13, 09:17 AM   #15
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You may want to consider a video camera if your safety is regularly and intentionally being jeopardized by car drivers.
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Old 10-07-13, 10:29 AM   #16
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1-1/2 minutes for a mile? You really are going 40mph! It must be all downhill. In that case, I wouldn't worry too much as your exposure is limited and traffic is not *that* much faster than you.
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Old 10-09-13, 07:30 PM   #17
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I had a similar incident that has me on the search for a camera to record my rides. I was riding on a two lane wide, one way bike boulevard, roads designated as lower traffic, bike prioritized, with sharrow markings when I heard an engine rev up behind me. The guy swerved into the left lane and then cut in front of me, missing my front tire by what seemed like mere inches. He then stopped short at the stoplight and waited for me so he could yell at me about not being far enough to the right. He was in full on psycho mode and not surprisingly he was also talking on a cell phone while driving. It scared the **** out of me and got me thinking, what if he did hit me?

My biggest concern with Go Pro, Garmin Virb and other such action cameras is whether or not they are capable of getting a good record of license plates given their wide angle lenses. Does anyone have any input on this?
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Old 10-09-13, 07:36 PM   #18
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I had a similar incident that has me on the search for a camera to record my rides. I was riding on a two lane wide, one way bike boulevard, roads designated as lower traffic, bike prioritized, with sharrow markings when I heard an engine rev up behind me. The guy swerved into the left lane and then cut in front of me, missing my front tire by what seemed like mere inches. He then stopped short at the stoplight and waited for me so he could yell at me about not being far enough to the right. He was in full on psycho mode and not surprisingly he was also talking on a cell phone while driving. It scared the **** out of me and got me thinking, what if he did hit me?

My biggest concern with Go Pro, Garmin Virb and other such action cameras is whether or not they are capable of getting a good record of license plates given their wide angle lenses. Does anyone have any input on this?
well there is the on kickstarter.com rideye unit... I'm sure you could get a still from the video and use sharpening software etc to get a plate even with a gopro if you had too.
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Old 10-09-13, 08:08 PM   #19
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Thanks for the rideye info, it looks like it may be exactly what I wanted.
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Old 10-10-13, 09:30 AM   #20
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Any route alternatives? Local bike clubs/ bike advocates are usually a good resource for bike routes.
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Old 10-10-13, 09:34 AM   #21
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you ride on the highway when you have public transport that could avoid it?

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Old 10-10-13, 10:18 AM   #22
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Can you link you approximate route?

In general, the Bay Area is one of the most bike friendly areas. That said, there are a few bad sections of freeway where it can get sketchy in cars. Those are just neighborhoods to avoid.

To answer above questions: bart is actually BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), its ~$2 each way for a short distance. Since it'd cut 5 mi off an 8 mi commute hardly worth biking at that point. Especially if the BART station is not adjacent to either the start or end point.
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Old 10-10-13, 10:26 AM   #23
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My biggest concern with Go Pro, Garmin Virb and other such action cameras is whether or not they are capable of getting a good record of license plates given their wide angle lenses. Does anyone have any input on this?
OK, neither of us was going very fast, but here's a screen shot:

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Old 10-10-13, 11:07 AM   #24
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I'm not sure what to do at this point.I've never felt the need to carry a weapon but now I know I HAVE to if I want to continue to commute. That along with the freeway issue is breaking my will.

I'm so ****ing bummed. People suck.
I don't see what difference a weapon would make. It's not like you'd be justified in shooting the drivers that piss you off. I have to deal with jerk cagers every day, just like most commuters. You just learn a little patience, and a whole lot of forgiveness, over time. And the people who really go out of their way to intimidate you? You write down their plate number and call the cops.
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Old 10-10-13, 12:31 PM   #25
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I don't see what difference a weapon would make. It's not like you'd be justified in shooting the drivers that piss you off. I have to deal with jerk cagers every day, just like most commuters. You just learn a little patience, and a whole lot of forgiveness, over time. And the people who really go out of their way to intimidate you? You write down their plate number and call the cops.
It would be for self defense. The guy pulled into the bike lane to block me.I just want to be prepared in case of an altercation. I e been comuting and touring for a couple years now and I'm used to jerk drivers....this was a little beyond that
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