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Old 08-17-09, 07:56 PM   #1
will dehne
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Scary Moment

Lets see if I can paint a picture with words.
I am going up an incline into a RH blind curve. This is a Suburban through going road. No bike lane, no shoulder or sidewalk. Moderate traffic at 40 MPH or so. One lane each direction. Narrow pavement.
I am on the far right side of this street. There come two bikers on my side of the street against me and the traffic. Side by side and coming at me from the blind curve. Seems like father and son. No helmets and busy talking.
I look in my mirror to make an evasive maneuver. There comes a SUV from behind me and other cars from the opposite direction. Nothing I can do except the ditch.
I hold my course and the older biker squeezed between me and the SUV and the younger one went in the ditch on my right.
I expressed my shock and anger with some choice words, expletives deleted.
------------------
What do you guys think about this? I have seen this behavior in some low income districts but this was upper middle suburbia. What can be done about this?
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Old 08-17-09, 08:10 PM   #2
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Please don't stereotype. That just p***es me off! Stupid knows no socioeconomic limitations. Do you think because you're in upper middle class suburbia the people are better, smarter, cherish their children more. Geez! I'll pray for you.

Last edited by turtlewoman; 08-17-09 at 08:19 PM. Reason: wrong word
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Old 08-17-09, 08:17 PM   #3
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It's hard, long and imperfect, but, education is what can be done.

The OP might, for example, have just learned a bit complements of turtlewoman. Seeing people as their income or place of residence is a much more serious problem than wrong-way cycling.
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Old 08-17-09, 08:19 PM   #4
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In so many different situations, I find the slogan from Walt Kelly's Pogo"We have met the enemy...and he is US" pretty much covers 'em all. As humans, we have reached the moon and yet continually probe the depths of stupidity.

Good thing you could write about it!
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Old 08-17-09, 08:21 PM   #5
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Please don't stereotype. That just p***es me off! Study knows no socioeconomic limitations. Do you think because you're in upper middle class suburbia the people are better, smarter, cherish their children more. Geez! I'll pray for you.
I am just reporting that children in those socioeconomic areas bike often against the traffic. I have no idea why.
I am NOT suggesting that they are less smart or less cherished. I am suggesting that for some strange reason they are biking against the traffic, at night, no lights and dark color clothes.
If you want to make this into a nasty discussion, go at it. You are not helping anyone with that. Check how many kids get hit by cars.
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Old 08-17-09, 08:23 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by will dehne View Post
Lets see if I can paint a picture with words.
I am going up an incline into a RH blind curve. This is a Suburban through going road. No bike lane, no shoulder or sidewalk. Moderate traffic at 40 MPH or so. One lane each direction. Narrow pavement.
I am on the far right side of this street. There come two bikers on my side of the street against me and the traffic. Side by side and coming at me from the blind curve. Seems like father and son. No helmets and busy talking.
I look in my mirror to make an evasive maneuver. There comes a SUV from behind me and other cars from the opposite direction. Nothing I can do except the ditch.
I hold my course and the older biker squeezed between me and the SUV and the younger one went in the ditch on my right.
I expressed my shock and anger with some choice words, expletives deleted.
------------------
What do you guys think about this? I have seen this behavior in some low income districts but this was upper middle suburbia. What can be done about this?
I think you are fortunate that the younger one didn't hit you and possibly force you over in front of the SUV. Or, you could have bumped the older biker into a situation where he got hit by the SUV.

The right of way is not worth dying for, nor causing someone else to die.

When I see something like that (and I have) I just stop, get off the road, and give them a dumb look as they go by.
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Old 08-17-09, 08:27 PM   #7
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I am just reporting that children in those socioeconomic areas bike often against the traffic. I have no idea why.
I am NOT suggesting that they are less smart or less cherished. I am suggesting that for some strange reason they are biking against the traffic, at night, no lights and dark color clothes.
If you want to make this into a nasty discussion, go at it. You are not helping anyone with that. Check how many kids get hit by cars.
Isn't this comment a stereotype? Yes. Kind of irritating, no?
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Old 08-17-09, 08:35 PM   #8
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It's hard, long and imperfect, but, education is what can be done.

The OP might, for example, have just learned a bit complements of turtlewoman. Seeing people as their income or place of residence is a much more serious problem than wrong-way cycling.
I am sure that I should have worded this touchy subject differently.
What I was trying to say is that biking on the wrong side of the street can be dangerous. This town has typical socioeconomic distribution of an American town with 125,000 people. I drive through it all the time and have noticed that some kids (and older adults) bike against the traffic. I do not know if it is some kind of disobedience, expression of freedom or what. I just wish they would bike on the right side. It would be helpful if they had a light but that is now really asking too much.
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Old 08-17-09, 08:36 PM   #9
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I currently volunteer at a bike collective here which provides bikes at low or no cost to people who are willing to work on them. Many 8, 10, 12 year old kids have come in for bikes. I don't know their class designation but I would assume a lower income status because of where they are coming for a bike. They have without exception been courteous, pleasant, willing to learn and do the work of getting their chosen bike ready to ride. They wear helmets. I don't know if they have lights or wear dark clothes. But they do have a good understanding about bike rules. I know because I ask them. I want them to be safe and have fun. On the other hand, I have lived in upper socio-economic neighborhoods and have seen privileged kids participating in many of the unsafe practises that you mention. Have you ever known a rich a**hole? It's not the amount of money or education or privilege that you have that makes you a safer, more conscious, empathic, "good" person. It's alot about who you are inside and how your environment taught you to see the world. I don't want to get into a "nasty discussion" with you. I just know that you are dead wrong in your prejudice and I feel sorry for you. Your world must be hard to live in comfortably.
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Old 08-17-09, 08:52 PM   #10
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I currently volunteer at a bike collective here which provides bikes at low or no cost to people who are willing to work on them. Many 8, 10, 12 year old kids have come in for bikes. I don't know their class designation but I would assume a lower income status because of where they are coming for a bike. They have without exception been courteous, pleasant, willing to learn and do the work of getting their chosen bike ready to ride. They wear helmets. I don't know if they have lights or wear dark clothes. But they do have a good understanding about bike rules. I know because I ask them. I want them to be safe and have fun. On the other hand, I have lived in upper socio-economic neighborhoods and have seen privileged kids participating in many of the unsafe practises that you mention. Have you ever known a rich a**hole? It's not the amount of money or education or privilege that you have that makes you a safer, more conscious, empathic, "good" person. It's alot about who you are inside and how your environment taught you to see the world. I don't want to get into a "nasty discussion" with you. I just know that you are dead wrong in your prejudice and I feel sorry for you. Your world must be hard to live in comfortably.
What prejudice? The OP was judging the 2 cyclists riding on the wrong side of the street endangering him or her. Nothing was said of any body's socioeconomic status. You are angry. I feel sorry for you.
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Old 08-17-09, 08:54 PM   #11
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Rubic, reread the original post. You are misguided.
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Old 08-17-09, 08:56 PM   #12
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I think you are fortunate that the younger one didn't hit you and possibly force you over in front of the SUV. Or, you could have bumped the older biker into a situation where he got hit by the SUV.

The right of way is not worth dying for, nor causing someone else to die.

When I see something like that (and I have) I just stop, get off the road, and give them a dumb look as they go by.
I agree with your point and will do so if I can. The events came fast. Two guys coming at me from blind curve, Car fast from behind, no shoulder only the ditch.
In this case getting off the bike could have put me into the path of the oncoming biker and the car.
It was just too fast.
I could have gone in the ditch with my road bike. Not good. The other biker had some sort of mountain bike.
But thanks for your comment. Avoiding a confrontation is best in most cases. No disagreement there.
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Old 08-17-09, 08:57 PM   #13
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I suspect they considered themselves like unto pedestrians and therefore rode against traffic as they would if they had been walking. I would attribute their behavior to ignorance. The use of helmets is, thankfully, a personal choice. I choose to wear one because I crashed without having one on my beautiful head a few years back and wore a nice knot on my head and two black eyes for a while. OK, people. Lighten up. Go for a ride!
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Old 08-17-09, 09:14 PM   #14
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[QUOTE=turtlewoman;9506684]I currently volunteer at a bike collective here which provides bikes at low or no cost to people who are willing to work on them. Many 8, 10, 12 year old kids have come in for bikes. I don't know their class designation but I would assume a lower income status because of where they are coming for a bike................................................................................................ ........................ QUOTE]

Let me try again.
We have a son. He is 45 years old and living in Ohio. We are in Illinois. I bought him a fancy Road Bike to get him to stop smoking. It worked. He is off cigarettes for two years.
Anyway: As I started biking with him I noticed to my horror that he disregarded all rules of the road as he went on the bike. He has been driving cars since age 16.
For some reason he feels that he can express some sense of freedom if he is on the bike.
We had arguments about this and at least in my presence he now bikes VC.
----------------
Recently he biked without helmet and paid no attention to the road he was on. The sad result was a fracture on his leg joint which needed surgery and screws to hold things together.
I am hoping he learned a lesson which keeps him safer.
---------------------
I am not a political person. All I like to know how to get these people to follow some uniform rules so we all are safer.
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Old 08-17-09, 09:31 PM   #15
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This behavior is typical of "sidewalk" cyclists who thing riding against traffic is safer. I was there a few years ago, but learned several important lessons. Riding sidewalks on my hybrid at 8 to 12 mph is very different than riding a "road" bike.

Riding sidewalks is very dangerous, as I have learned by experience, regardless of whether you go 'with the flow' or against it. Against it happens to be MUCH MORE DANGEROUS!

Riding in the road, at least in the state of FLA. REQUIRES the cyclist to OBEY ALL road rules, plus a few special rules.

The behavior cited by the OP typifies the ignorant cyclist thinking they are safer riding against traffic because they think they fast enough to swerve out of the way of an errant car. They forget that the force of impact is the SQUARE of the impact speeds, not the simple addition, which is bad enough.
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Old 08-17-09, 09:45 PM   #16
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I believe Darwin studied this phenomena.
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Old 08-17-09, 09:47 PM   #17
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Please don't stereotype. That just p***es me off! Stupid knows no socioeconomic limitations. Do you think because you're in upper middle class suburbia the people are better, smarter, cherish their children more. Geez! I'll pray for you.
On an individual basis it is unwise to judge people based on nothing more than their income/education. But on an aggregate basis there is ample evidence that there really are significant differences in behavior based on socioeconomic status. High risk behavior like smoking is a good example. Exercising and active recreation participaton are another.
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Old 08-17-09, 09:52 PM   #18
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This behavior is typical of "sidewalk" cyclists who thing riding against traffic is safer. I was there a few years ago, but learned several important lessons. Riding sidewalks on my hybrid at 8 to 12 mph is very different than riding a "road" bike.

Riding sidewalks is very dangerous, as I have learned by experience, regardless of whether you go 'with the flow' or against it. Against it happens to be MUCH MORE DANGEROUS!

Riding in the road, at least in the state of FLA. REQUIRES the cyclist to OBEY ALL road rules, plus a few special rules.

The behavior cited by the OP typifies the ignorant cyclist thinking they are safer riding against traffic because they think they fast enough to swerve out of the way of an errant car. They forget that the force of impact is the SQUARE of the impact speeds, not the simple addition, which is bad enough.
All the points you make plus the unexpected.
Cars (and bikers like me) do not expect some loose biker coming at you from just any direction. As a car driver I have enough trouble looking for things in the way they are supposed to come. Live is miserable if we need to look up for airplanes landing, people walking the streets at random and biking at random.
I just like to know where this comes from. I mentioned in above post that my own son developed that goofy biking. He is or he thinks of him selves as a independent sort. OK, but you do not have to cause accidents to prove your independence.
BTW, that is why he started smoking. Go figure.
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Old 08-17-09, 10:08 PM   #19
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On an individual basis it is unwise to judge people based on nothing more than their income/education. But on an aggregate basis there is ample evidence that there really are significant differences in behavior based on socioeconomic status. High risk behavior like smoking is a good example. Exercising and active recreation participaton are another.
As we know this is a touchy subject.
I offer this for consideration: Children of some population groups are more likely to bike around the neighborhood then other groups. There is nothing discriminatory in that observation. Biking is good and healthy. Better then sitting all day on the TV or computer I think.
I bike regardless that the accepted form of social activity around here is golfing.
If we care about those kids, should we not report unsafe practices and try to get change?
I am just puzzled where this against traffic biking comes from? My own son was doing it and certainly not from my example. He is not low socioeconomic.
In his case it was a form of social rebellion. Stupid just like smoking and drugs.
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Old 08-18-09, 04:51 AM   #20
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Thank you, Mr. Dehne. I hear your point and it is well made. Your son and all bikers should obey the rules of the road. Personally, I feel wearing a helmet is in the best interest of the cyclist. I think, Mr. Dehne, believe it or not that we have reached an agreement. Thank you for hanging in there and being a gentleman the whole way.
Kate Wolfe
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Old 08-18-09, 10:08 AM   #21
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Thank you, Mr. Dehne. I hear your point and it is well made. Your son and all bikers should obey the rules of the road. Personally, I feel wearing a helmet is in the best interest of the cyclist. I think, Mr. Dehne, believe it or not that we have reached an agreement. Thank you for hanging in there and being a gentleman the whole way.
Kate Wolfe
And thank you for contributing to improve the life of kids who need it. God knows we need more of that. I am not involved in politics but financially support such efforts. My wife has been volunteering for over 25 years to assist children who need assistance.
My wife could have worked to increase our income but we choose not to.
Therefore I am on your side that these kids need help and protection.
I have a problem identifying a need without somehow sounding biased. Perhaps a language issue?
FYI, my wife is a Polish coal miners daughter. The father died at her age 11 from effects in the German coal mines. Her mother raised 5 daughters without income after WW2 for a number of years. I do not know how she did that.
My father was blue collar. My mother died at my age 2.
We started in the USA in 1963 with minus $400 which someone lend us to come over here.
Things were difficult for many years and we are no snobs.
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Old 08-18-09, 10:55 AM   #22
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okay,
Now that you two have made up let me add my .02. My daily ride this morning along a busy four lane highway that has a good shoulder. Two of us cruising along at rush hour 19-20mph when a guy is now approaching on his bike on our shoulder. Our only options are to ease out into the busy highway with 70mph traffic or hit the ditch. The oncoming cyclist (riding a mountain bike), obviously a Hispanic, stayed right on the edge of the pavement and one of us had to take the ditch.
Same total disregard for the rules of the road noted in the OP. This happens on this stretch of road at least once a week. Those that disregard the rules, I believe, have no idea what the rules are, and could care less. The individual this morning spoke no English. The only way to truly solve the problem is to eliminate those that disregard the rules.
Carry on.
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Old 08-18-09, 06:21 PM   #23
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okay,
Now that you two have made up let me add my .02. My daily ride this morning along a busy four lane highway that has a good shoulder. Two of us cruising along at rush hour 19-20mph when a guy is now approaching on his bike on our shoulder. Our only options are to ease out into the busy highway with 70mph traffic or hit the ditch. The oncoming cyclist (riding a mountain bike), obviously a Hispanic, stayed right on the edge of the pavement and one of us had to take the ditch.
Same total disregard for the rules of the road noted in the OP. This happens on this stretch of road at least once a week. Those that disregard the rules, I believe, have no idea what the rules are, and could care less. The individual this morning spoke no English. The only way to truly solve the problem is to eliminate those that disregard the rules.
Carry on.
I must say to forget the Hispanic aspect because the exact same thing happened to me with a withe guy coming from the local Rockford Valley College this week. I actually talked to him in a civilized way but have the distinct impression that he tuned me out. Why? I do not know. A mystery to me.
Here is one case where I clamor for the power of the law. Bicycles should integrate into the rules of the road just like cars and motorcycles. Someone said that Florida and some other States have such laws.
Are they enforced and generally accepted?
I fear that in our compassion for the non car owning population we sacrifice safety of the same group.
What is it someone said?: The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
There are way too many bike accidents.
This is just IMHO.
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Old 08-18-09, 06:35 PM   #24
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Please don't stereotype. That just p***es me off! Stupid knows no socioeconomic limitations. Do you think because you're in upper middle class suburbia the people are better, smarter, cherish their children more. Geez! I'll pray for you.
Yup
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Old 08-18-09, 06:36 PM   #25
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I always figured that people remembered being told to walk against traffic, and just never thought to ride any differently. It really surprises me how many people take up riding without bothering to learn anything about it, anyway. I even see riders who've moved up from their Walmart bikes to something nicer, but still ride the wrong way, with no helmet, wearing clothes that look like they would chafe after 5 miles.

I always announce "wrong way" when I meet one of these, but have no illusions that what I say will make any difference. People who don't want to learn anything, usually don't. But I feel compelled to tell them, anyway.
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