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Old 02-09-09, 03:34 PM   #1
maddmaxx 
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Do you drive where you ride?

I did today, mid weekday with little traffic on the road. So I concentrated on trying to see what drivers would see if I were out there on my bike......

I pulled out from a stop sign at a location that I would have been approaching at nearly 40mph (within the speed limit) from the left. It was very difficult to see up the hill and I now know not to trust drivers to recognize a fast bicycle coming from there....

I drove along a stretch of 50mph 2 lane road that had guardrails every now and then as wetlands came up to the side of the road. It would not be possible to pass a cyclist there without crossing into oncoming traffic if any....but it still happens every time I ride there....

Today was a bright sunny day with the remains of snow on the ground and few trees (only pines) with leaves. The sort of day that generates stark bands of shadow across a very bright road. So, I'm looking into the shadows, trying to picture what a bicycle and rider would look like...................holy (*(*&^ there was a bike there, dark bike, black hoodie, dark jeans. I saw him/her with plenty of time...........but I no longer trust drivers to be looking so hard for bikes.......

It's not easy for a driver, even when aware of the possibility of bicycles. I plan on using what I learned today when I'm on my bike..........I have no faith in drivers abilities to protect my life.
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Old 02-09-09, 04:31 PM   #2
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Maybe head over to the Electronics, Lighting and Gadgets forum. I found this to be extremely interesting.

I am an advocate of riding with lights on at all times, and this blows me away. This is on my list: Dinotte with PBSF Test
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Old 02-09-09, 04:44 PM   #3
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Just as cycling will make you a much better driver, driving a car will make you a safer cyclist. Driving your normal cycling routes, which I do from time to time anyway, is a superb idea. Try it under adverse conditions, such as in a fog or into the setting sun. Good idea on "daytime running lights" for bikes.
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Old 02-09-09, 04:45 PM   #4
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I saw him/her with plenty of time...........but I no longer trust drivers to be looking so hard for bikes....... I have no faith in drivers abilities to protect my life.
You have learned. I never trust drivers, though that is not a very VC attitude to take.
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I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.
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Old 02-09-09, 04:49 PM   #5
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True Maxx,

It is scary. I almost hit a cyclist once, while I was driving. Yes, he was on the wrong side, but still . . . . I should have seen him. Luckily, I saw him at the last possible moment, so there was no contact. It was close though.

Most of the places where I do training rides (Orange County) they have excellent bike lanes. Close to home, very rarely are there bike lanes, so I ride as if I'm invisible. Other places (mountain roads) I know there are likely to be cyclists up there, so I always watch for them. Other drivers / motorcyclists are pretty good too. most of the time.

You're right though, it does pay to know the places where you are at a higher level of risk, just so you are super alert when cycling through those areas.

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Old 02-10-09, 01:16 AM   #6
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I am an advocate of riding with lights on at all times, and this blows me away. This is on my list: Dinotte with PBSF Test
+1 Dinotte tail lights.
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Old 02-10-09, 02:13 AM   #7
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I drive my routes from time to time. I take my wife with me so she knows where I go. I don't trust drivers at all. After all, 80% of drivers think they are above average. One only needs to go into a car park to see how many wombats need two spaces to park in to blow that perception. I've lost count of how many dunderclompen have nearly killed me because they're on the phone discussing their pizza and movie from the previous night or whatever.

Driving the route doesn't really give me a better perception of what a driver might see. It's also hard to see myself cowering behind my flimsy rear wheel everytime I hear a car coming.
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Old 02-10-09, 07:09 AM   #8
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You have learned. I never trust drivers, though that is not a very VC attitude to take.
In VC you have to be assertive. But that doesn't mean you can't keep an eye on the blighters in case they do something stupid!
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Old 02-10-09, 07:48 AM   #9
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What is VC?
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Old 02-10-09, 09:08 AM   #10
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What is VC?
"Vehicular Cycling" -- the notion (endlessly debated/discussed/ranted about over on the Advocacy page) that we cyclists should and must all 'ride as if we were just another "vehicle" on the roads' (sorry for the double modal, but proponents of VC do insist). On this view, or that of its more extreme exponents, such notions as dedicated bike lanes/bikeways/off-street paths/MUPs etc. are an insidious plot instituted by "cagers" and their supporters to get "us" out of "their" way; by using such pathways we cyclists are allowing ourselves to be "marginalized" etc. etc. etc. Theory is that by asserting our "right" to the road, asserting ourselves through taking the lane, etc. etc., we will force motorists to recognize and accept us, build respect, and thus all -- in the end -- be safer.

Seems like nonsense to me, but that's just my view. I subscribe to Hurst's "invisibility" theory, fwiw.
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Old 02-10-09, 10:11 AM   #11
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A "cager" is someone who cages themselves up in a vehicle to make them feel invincible.
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Old 02-10-09, 10:18 AM   #12
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When cycling I never trust drivers.

When driving I never trust cyclists.

And when flying down a hill on a bicycle with an intersection at the bottom, even if I have no stop sign and the cross street does, I never, never, never go through at full speed. I slow way down until I am sure a car is not going to come through.
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Old 02-10-09, 10:20 AM   #13
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"Vehicular Cycling" -- the notion (endlessly debated/discussed/ranted about over on the Advocacy page) that we cyclists should and must all 'ride as if we were just another "vehicle" on the roads' (sorry for the double modal, but proponents of VC do insist). On this view, or that of its more extreme exponents, such notions as dedicated bike lanes/bikeways/off-street paths/MUPs etc. are an insidious plot instituted by "cagers" and their supporters to get "us" out of "their" way; by using such pathways we cyclists are allowing ourselves to be "marginalized" etc. etc. etc. Theory is that by asserting our "right" to the road, asserting ourselves through taking the lane, etc. etc., we will force motorists to recognize and accept us, build respect, and thus all -- in the end -- be safer.

Seems like nonsense to me, but that's just my view. I subscribe to Hurst's "invisibility" theory, fwiw.
Of interest are dual headed programs that put cyclists into the cabs of large vehicles to get a feel for "blind spots" and vision problems, and put big rig drivers onto bikes to get a feel for just what that's like around traffic.

For sure, I'd like to think that I'm a safer driver around bikes because of my riding and that I am a better biker around cars because of my driving. I get nervous around words like "cager" because it implies an us vs them sort of mentality. As with all "discussions" there are elements from both sides that have some truth.

As a tag line though I'd like to add that when on a bike I sometimes fear for my life from drivers while on the other hand, while driving a car I sometimes fear for my life from drivers!
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Old 02-10-09, 03:45 PM   #14
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No pics as I did not realise I was going there but I had to visit one of my customers today. He is local to me but the route to him takes in one of the organised summer rides I do. Only a 40 miler but none of it is flat. Good for coasting but you are either going up or down all the time and it is backroads where you might come across the odd horse or 6 or the occasional tractor.

Now in the summer it is a good ride. Road surface is a bit pot holey but most of them are filled in. I have just found out why the ride is in the summer. Streams running across the road that are 6 inches deep. The edge of the road has no edge- just road to mud and the mud has been washed away leaving ditches 2 ft deep in places. And that mud has plenty of gravel in it that has left 6" of gravel on the corners.

As I say- If I am fit enough- this is a good ride in the summer. 40 miles with 35 of the miles on traffickless back roads and 3,500 ft of climbing. Only a couple of nasty steep sections- but they are nasty at 15 to 20% for about a mile each. But at this time of year-no way.
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Old 02-10-09, 04:35 PM   #15
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Since I almost always ride from home, I do find myself frequently driving on parts of my cycling routes. I've never had problems seeing slower moving traffic weather it is cyclists, walkers, runners, tractors, etc. - even considering my terrible eyesight. Seems to me the close calls I've had were mostly intentional.

I try to avoid riding toward the setting sun when possible. That's just plain dangerous.
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Old 02-10-09, 05:02 PM   #16
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Same as Louis. Ride from home & drive from home across similar routes. The bad biking sections are also bad driving sections. I would love to see the speed limit in one area reduced from 55 to 35. There's an off ramp from a major highway to a major county highway, frontage road w/ popular truck stop, and a road to a school all in a couple hundred yards. I have to go through this area for any rides to the west of me and it's a thrill every time!

+1 on the daytime lights. I started doing this recently with the Planet Bike flasher. I get lot's of motorists giving a quick toot when they're approaching and most folks are giving me pretty good clearance. I will say, though, that the light is not so visible in full sun.
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Old 02-10-09, 05:39 PM   #17
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True Maxx,

It is scary. I almost hit a cyclist once, while I was driving. Yes, he was on the wrong side, but still . . . . I should have seen him. Luckily, I saw him at the last possible moment, so there was no contact. It was close though.

Rick / OCRR
I have only had two time so far that I almost hit a cyclist and one was on my bike. Both times it was because the rider was on the wrong side of the street. In fact they were on the sidewalk on the wrong side of the street and they jumped a red light. In the car I was stopped as the second car and just before the light turned green for me the car in front made a right turn. As I got to the intersection the light turned green and I took my foot off of the brake. Just before I hit the gas a young man, maybe in his teens, blasted off of the sidewalk and right in front of me. My heart almost stopped.

The second time I was coming up to a traffic light and my street was empty. The cross street had a building blocking my view to the right but gave me a pretty clear view of the complete intersection. I was trying to time my pace so I would hit the light green and just as it turned green I started to get up to a spin when another teen blasted off or the sidewalk on the wrong side of the street and I had to dodge him rather than T-bone him. Sometimes I am amazed more cyclists aren't hit.
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Old 02-11-09, 09:08 PM   #18
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"When cycling I never trust drivers.

When driving I never trust cyclists."

+1

When I am driving I am constantly surprised at how hard it is to see cyclists. All made worse by those who ride at night without lights, in dark clothes, going the wrong way (down 1 way streets). Many times it is downright scary how close they are before I even see them. When I do, I give them PLENTY of space because their riding is so unpredicatable.

Hopefully all of this makes me a smarter cyclist...I wear bright clothes, ride where a motorist would expect me to be and subscribe to the "ride as if I am invisible" theory. And then pray like like hell that other motorists will be gracious enough to give me a little space too.
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