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Old 09-01-07, 08:16 PM   #1
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Do you get off the road for cars?

I think my situation is not typical. I ride narrow, hilly, rural roads. I am the only local citizen adult bike rider for miles around. Most everyone knows who I am.
If a car (or more likely, a pick-up truck) comes up behind me and no one is coming towards us on the other lane, I get over to the right but I stay on the road and I let them swerve around and pass me.
If someone comes up behind me and wants to pass and there is an oncoming vehicle in the opposite lane, I will swerve off the road and let the two vehicles pass without someone having to slow way down till they are clear to pass. In the rare occasion where there is no way I can swerve off the road I will get in the middle of my lane and force the car behind me to slow down until it is safe for him to pass.
I hear a lot of folks complaining about cyclists taking up the road when they don't have to. I've seen bikers riding on the hiway when there is a bike path right next to the road. I've heard of bikers riding in the middle of the traffic lane with headphones on, oblivious to cars trying to pass. Last weekend I saw 2 roadies passing through the area riding side-by-side and chatting away with a string of several cars behind them waiting for a chance to pass.
I figure If I pull over and keep people from having to slow way down or worse yet, crowd me off the road, I'm building up good will. I hear too much *****in about bikers and I've seen some selfish riding that makes me mad.
Anyone else make room for cars, or do you prefer to assert your right to the road and makes cars go around?
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Old 09-01-07, 08:20 PM   #2
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Whether I'm driving a car or riding a bicycle, I think it's only courteous to pull over for faster traffic when it's safe to do so.
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Old 09-01-07, 08:37 PM   #3
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I think Tom Stormcrow coined the term "adaptive Cycling". Thats what I do. I never could agree with all the arogant attitudes in the VC thread, and I liked his train of thought. Where I have to, I take the lane, but other wise I am as Courteous as I can be on the road. There are some streets here that I will not ride on at all. It is simply not worth my life or injury to try and prove a point. I have been hit by 3 cars over the course of my riding career....I really don't want there to be a 4th
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Old 09-01-07, 08:45 PM   #4
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While it's never happened to me, I suspect that getting hit by a car really, really hurts. Thus, I don't want it to happen to me. When I hear cars coming from behind, I get over as far as I safely can. I never assume that the car is going to see me or that they will comply with Florida law, which requires that they give 3 feet of clearance to any bike rider. Almost all cars pass safely, and those that don't get a shout and maybe a finger. But my safety is my concern first.
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Old 09-01-07, 08:47 PM   #5
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My after-work, solo, rides are on narrow roads with a few hills and curves. Generally I ride in the middle of my lane on the flat, straight portions and make a conspicuous move to the right when vehicular traffic is approaching from the rear. On the hills and curves, I hug the right side and stay on the road. If I can see that an approaching vehicle will make it impossible for a vehicle behind me to pass, I extend my hand out with my palm facing to the rear to indicate that it is not safe to pass. So far, the drivers have understood this signal. When it's clear ahead, I wave them around. This has worked as well. When I have a vehicle behind me on a hill or curve, I increase my speed to decrease the amount of time the vehicle has to wait on me. So far, so good.
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Old 09-01-07, 08:54 PM   #6
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I try to be as courteous toward car drivers as I expect them to be to me. I try to make it as easy as is safe and practical for them to get around me. It would be unusual for me to pull off the road to allow a single car to pass if a break in traffic would be coming soon to allow them to pass me. But I would pull over rather than have several cars line up behind me for a long time. I don't want to be too passive. That leads to problems. But I don't want to be stupid in asserting my rights.
I've been known to verbally assault riders who won't move to single file when cars are unable to pass them.
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Old 09-01-07, 10:12 PM   #7
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I prefer not to be dead right. Your thoughts on this near "head-on"?
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Old 09-02-07, 01:29 AM   #8
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A lot of my riding is done on narrow twisty roads and if I hear a car- Some are so quiet you don't hear them till they are on the back wheel- I will look to see if they can pass safely. If they can't I will pull into the nearest Farm Gateway and let them pass. Most are apreciative but there are always the odd ignorant drivers that are going past whether it is safe to do so-or not. They are the ones that get the Big green one over the side glass as they pass.
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Old 09-02-07, 05:38 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by sknhgy View Post
I've seen bikers riding on the hiway when there is a bike path right next to the road.
Don't write this over in the A&S forum - especially the VC sub-forum. They would have a stroke or something.

This is one of the reaons they hate bike paths, because the general public feels that if there is a bike path, they should get out of the road and get on that bike path, which is a direct violation of the vc's belief that they have just as much right to the road (or perhaps more) as cars.

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Last weekend I saw 2 roadies passing through the area riding side-by-side and chatting away with a string of several cars behind them waiting for a chance to pass.
In Colorado, legally you can't ride double if it isn't safe.

As for me, there is no way I want to get tangled up with a car, so I stay far away. Fortunately, we have lots and lots of great cement bike/MU paths/trails, so I don't allow it to become an issue. Research shows that you get killed or critically injured on the road, not the paths.

I believe we have had two bicyclists from BFN (that I know about) killed by cars, and several critically injured since I have been participating. And nationally, several of the well known "safe" riders have also been killed. Some of these I used to correspond with.

Basically, I'm chicken!
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Old 09-02-07, 05:41 AM   #10
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I will pull to the right as far as possible. Since the law says cars must yield us as much space as we need, I'd think twice before pulling off the road. Doing that very much you might as well give up cycling. It would be impossible.
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Old 09-02-07, 06:01 AM   #11
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In New York we have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicles. In addition we are to keep to the right as far as is practicable and can only ride side by side if no one needs to pass. The two roadies mentioned above would get a ticket here. Also, we are required to keep one ear free. It is illegal to ride with earbuds in both ears jamming to an I-pod.
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Old 09-02-07, 06:05 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
Don't write this over in the A&S forum - especially the VC sub-forum. They would have a stroke or something.

This is one of the reaons they hate bike paths, because the general public feels that if there is a bike path, they should get out of the road and get on that bike path, which is a direct violation of the vc's belief that they have just as much right to the road (or perhaps more) as cars.D
While I do not share the religious zeal of the true VC fanatics, I do strongly believe the basic concept that the more you act like a car on the road, the safer you are sharing the road with cars. I also have misgivings about bike paths as many are not safe or practical for someone riding to get somewhere as opposed to just out for a casual ride. I would not support a bike path project unless I had binding assurance that it would not result in a ban of bikes on the road.
I might have a different opinion of bike paths if I lived in a place like Colorado with a good system of bike paths. In my part of the world, there are very few paths and some of the ones that do exist are poorly designed and more dangerous than the roads.

I avoid some road sections that I consider unsafe, but I have never avoided riding on roads in general. If that happens to be where my life ends, so be it. Better that than from a heart attack at work.
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Old 09-02-07, 06:08 AM   #13
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I'm so glad we don't have bike paths. That would really screw things up!

We act like cars on the road mostly. Or trucks or motorcycles. Whatever. Just like vehicles should. Folks know what to expect. Only a little weirdness every now and then, rarely a problem and that's usually dogs.

We're totally adaptive on the road. We know all the roads. If there's a place to pass shortly, we keep moving. The speed limit is usually 35 mph and we're usually at 50% or greater of that, so no biggie. If we're on a climb and a handy pullin exists, we'll use if briefly. Not going to dismount for a passer, but I'll slow and tuck in somewhere, wave them around. If there's safe passing room and sight line, but someone doesn't know how to use it, they can poke along behind me all day as far as I'm concerned.

That approach works very well. If I were going 10 mph or less, I'd probably have a different feeling. I don't have a cyclometer, but I suspect when out alone I'm at about 20 on the flat. Stopping and starting up are major things that add up.

Bike paths. Road to the Smokys from Maryville through Townsend has one. It's deadly, as usual. Not sure whether most drivers realize that! No way to handle it at 20 mph.

Dogs are the problem. Wife Gianna is going to end up with more titanium in her head than on her bike because of a dog.
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Old 09-02-07, 06:26 AM   #14
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I'm so glad we don't have bike paths. That would really screw things up!

Bike paths. Road to the Smokys from Maryville through Townsend has one. It's deadly, as usual. Not sure whether most drivers realize that! No way to handle it at 20 mph.

Dogs are the problem. Wife Gianna is going to end up with more titanium in her head than on her bike because of a dog.
Once more, I need to restate that not all bike paths are the same. We have 600 miles of cement bike paths around here, our dogs are well controlled, and folks are very much "bike educated."

I appreciate that your bike paths are dangerous. Ours are not. In 10 years of riding the paths, we have had one fatal bike path accident - even though thousands upon thousands of folks ride them, but we have several bicycling deaths on the road each year.

A typical bike path around here -I typically go through this section at about 20 mph, and I can ride 30 miles on this with 4 road crossings, - all small residential streets:


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Old 09-02-07, 06:40 AM   #15
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I ride a lot on rural, narrow usually gravel/dirt roads; my spouse and I are also the only regular
"adult" cyclists in our area. the roads usually have three rideable sections about 2 ft wide, the middle (shared) track and one on each side corresponding to a pickup's tread width. when two vehicles meet, they each have to go out of one of these tracks to pass. try to ride in the outer track, when a vehicle needs to pass, they usually just blast by in the two remaining left tracks. when there is a simultaneous "car back" and "car up", we do pull over to the far edge- if the gravel is safe. usually the gravel is real bony and loose and the road so narrow that two vehicles passing together and a bike on the side, leaves almost no safety margin. i always try to remember the "Confusion" proverb- "big ship have
right of way" and try to share the road; this sharing seems to help make cagers and rednecks more
tolerate of a slow bike or horses.
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Old 09-02-07, 06:52 AM   #16
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Interesting discussion. I tend to take the position that I'll do whatever seems to be the safest thing at the time.

I once had an experience while in a car that radically changed my opinion about what to do or not do on the road. I was sitting at a traffic light waiting for it to turn green when I heard a loud truck horn blaring behind me. I looked in my rear view mirror to see a tractor-trailer bearing down on me with smoke coming off of the locked up tires (I assume from the brakes being jammed on) and the look of panic in the driver's eyes. It was either get rear ended by the truck and pushed into traffic, or drive through the red light into traffic. I picked the drive through the red light, and was able to do so successfully. The truck, however, continued, unable to stop, into traffic and was hit twice. The lesson I learned that day was that while the rules and laws are designed to help keep you safe, it would be foolish not to break them if following them was going to hurt you. Hence, I try to adopt the same attitude on the bike. I'll obey the rules and safety principles as long as it makes sense to do so.

One other thing to offer in the way of an opinion. It seems to me that if law enforcement people would do a better job of enforcing basic laws for motor vehicle traffic and cyclist, folks would take their responsibilities more seriously. I would love to see a driver get a ticket for not giving a rider three feet of clearance, and I'd love to see two cyclists get tickets for riding side by side. For the most part, where I live, cyclists are ignored by the police when they are running stop signs, creeping up along the right side of cars while at a traffic light, or even riding down one way streets the wrong way. It's too bad. It sends a message to everyone that bikes aren't legitimate or "real" vehicles to be taken seriously.
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Old 09-02-07, 07:01 AM   #17
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My house is less than a mile from the bike path that runs along the Mohawk river (The old Erie canal). I ride it quite a bit. It is dangerous because there are many runners and walkers that we share the path with. In many cases they wonder all over the path, usually a call up that you need to pass works but occassionally someone is jamming with thier MP3 player and no amount of yelling will help. The three crashes I have had all have occured on bike paths, either getting fatally jarred by a heave or accidentally dropping a tire off the path negotiating a barrier and then rolling the bike as I tried to get back on.

As far as getting off the road for a car - never. I will yield as much room as possible but if the shoulder is rotten I will ride about a foot to the left of the white line figureing that a frustrated driver will force me over anyway and I want some room to recover. I also pick my routes such that if they have no shoulder they are also not well traveled by cars and there are no blind turns, if they are busy they have a good shoulder. Some of the very busy roads I travel where the speed limit is 55 have a shoulder which is almost a full lane wide with good pavement - these I am in the middle of the shoulder. That way cars are not an issue.

If I am turnung left I will take an opportunity to get in the traffic lane and hold slightly to the left of the middle until I can make my turn. This is the only time I act like a car.

For the most part I have found drivers to be curtious. Sometimes you get the odd red neck who will honk and yell at you and then speed around you with little margin. I learned along time ago just to ignore these folks. I was riding with another biker who flipper such a guy off. After the car passed the driver slammed on the brakes and my friend ended up in his back seat through the rear window. My friend was charged with the accident - following too close and had to pay for the damage to the car. Luckily he was young and was not too badly hurt. This must have been 15 years ago.

When it comes to tangling with a car - we have definately brought a knife to a gun fight...
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Old 09-02-07, 07:05 AM   #18
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If there are bike lanes I stay in the bike lane, no bike lanes I stay to right unless I am making a right turn in which case I will take the lane to prevent being pinched by drivers. I also take the lane when going around traffic circles for the same reason. Making a left I stay to the right of the cars making a left. I filter up to the front when it is safe to do so, if not at a stop I will take the lane until I get through the light or stop sign.

The thing I hate most is when you have the lane and a driver will pass on your left and cut in front of you. They never do a good job of estimating your speed. Usually I speed up when I have the lane to prevent this from happening.
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Old 09-02-07, 07:08 AM   #19
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sknhgy - I pretty much do the same as you, generally keeping to the right and moving to the center if I don't think it is safe to share the lane. There are many roads where I do not venture, just too much traffic with no place to ride (often because of curbs).

I almost never get off the road, on the rural roads around here there is usually a 2" to 3" drop at the edge of the pavement. I do pull into a driveway, etc. where one is available, if I see a vehicle with a trailer, a large truck, or a line of cars behind.

It never ceases to amaze me the number of people that will pass on a blind hill or curve to avoid staying behind a bicycle the 20 to 30 seconds it would take to pass safely.
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Old 09-02-07, 07:10 AM   #20
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I follow the law, and hope that everyone else is going to do the same.

I stop and pull over for farmers on tractors as a courtesy, since they can't accelerate.
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Old 09-02-07, 07:48 AM   #21
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My rural roads have no lines on the pavement, have gravel/tall weeds on the sides, curves and hills. I'll pull over when I feel it's best. When a school bus is coming one way, and a semi the other, I'm stopped & pulled over. I can usually average 11 mph including hills, slowing down to let traffic pass. On the flats I can ride about 14-15 mph on the 25 mph speed limit roads.
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Old 09-02-07, 07:56 AM   #22
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I think my situation is not typical. I ride narrow, hilly, rural roads. I am the only local citizen adult bike rider for miles around. Most everyone knows who I am.
If a car (or more likely, a pick-up truck) comes up behind me and no one is coming towards us on the other lane, I get over to the right but I stay on the road and I let them swerve around and pass me.
If someone comes up behind me and wants to pass and there is an oncoming vehicle in the opposite lane, I will swerve off the road and let the two vehicles pass without someone having to slow way down till they are clear to pass. In the rare occasion where there is no way I can swerve off the road I will get in the middle of my lane and force the car behind me to slow down until it is safe for him to pass.
I hear a lot of folks complaining about cyclists taking up the road when they don't have to. I've seen bikers riding on the hiway when there is a bike path right next to the road. I've heard of bikers riding in the middle of the traffic lane with headphones on, oblivious to cars trying to pass. Last weekend I saw 2 roadies passing through the area riding side-by-side and chatting away with a string of several cars behind them waiting for a chance to pass.
I figure If I pull over and keep people from having to slow way down or worse yet, crowd me off the road, I'm building up good will. I hear too much *****in about bikers and I've seen some selfish riding that makes me mad.
Anyone else make room for cars, or do you prefer to assert your right to the road and makes cars go around?
If I had to pull off the road every time a car passed me and there was opposing traffic, I'd never get anywhere. OTOH, I try to avoid roads where people would have to wait any more than 5 or 10 seconds for a clearing. When the road is clear ahead, I will stay to the right. If visibility ahead is limited, but I can tell that it's clear due to me being higher than the car behind me, I will stay to the right AND signal that it's ok to pass. If I can see that it's not clear, I will move to the left, even when there are no cars behind me, to reduce the chances that someone will try to pass me when there's clearly no room. Even then, there are a few boneheads who force the issue. Over the last couple weeks, 3 vehicles have had to go to the shoulder to avoid such a bonehead. It's quite often the second of two cars passing me that causes the problem. The first person had just enough time to make it, but the second didn't...
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Old 09-02-07, 08:11 AM   #23
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Quote: Do you get off the road for cars?

No.
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Old 09-02-07, 11:33 AM   #24
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No-just ride to as far to the right of the road as I safely can. I also select the roads and time and day to ride that hopefully minimizes conflicts.
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Old 09-02-07, 11:39 AM   #25
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I do what jppe does. But if a car is on my tail I will pull over or stop to let it pass. As when I drive, I'm always paying attention to the proximity of cars around me and if one is approaching from behind I'll stay as far to the right as I safely can, and stop or get off the road if necessary, but that's rarely necessary. I won't play games with a multi-ton vehicle.
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