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Old 05-24-10, 06:54 AM   #1
Lauraspark
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Letter To The Editor of our local paper, entitled "Two-Way Street"

This letter was published last week in our local paper. I don't know anything about the incident the letter refers to, but imagine there was some sort of bike related accident. I'm thinking about writing a response, but would like to get your reactions.

"To the Editor:

I am a five-year resident of Boiling Spring Lakes and live on one of the two major thoroughfares in our city--Fifty Lakes Drive and Boiling Spring Road. I know the person who was driving the vehicle that passed (Gretchen Moore's) bicycle on the road. He told me he blew his horn to let the cicyclist know he was passing, then was surprised at what transpired next.

I did not witness the incident and cannot comment on that.

My comment is that people come to our community from one of the larger cities and think that things should be the same as where they are from.

Most major thoroughfares in these places have paved shoulders or bike paths. We have two lanes and no shoulders, so riding on our roads should alert bicyclists that going half the speed limit will create back-ups and the possibility of someone getting road rage.

Bikers may have the same rights as motor vehicles, but they also need to have common courtesy as to not impede traffic."


What do y'all think?
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Old 05-24-10, 07:07 AM   #2
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Is he saying cars get backed up because they can't pass a bicyclist? I'm assuming there is a double yellow and some people think it means your car will explode if you touch the line...I dealt with one of those on Saturday. In my case the driver seemed to think it would be better to clip me with the mirror (missed me by just a couple of inches) on his pick up than to actually yield a small portion of the road and cross the double yellow for a breif second. I say if you can educate even one person it would help.
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Old 05-24-10, 07:17 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Lauraspark View Post
This letter was published last week in our local paper. I don't know anything about the incident the letter refers to, but imagine there was some sort of bike related accident. I'm thinking about writing a response, but would like to get your reactions...

What do y'all think?
I think you would get a ton of responses on the Advocacy and Safety Forum.

I personally try to accomodate cars as much as safely possible, but I also don't ride on busy two lane roads without a shoulder, and rarely back up more than two or three cars, for a short time, measured in seconds.

BTW to Metric Man of post #2. I cycled through Beamont, CA on my way to Boston from Laguna Beach.
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Old 05-24-10, 07:17 AM   #4
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Got mixed feelings about it. I'm dismayed how many of my cycling brethren pay so little heed to common courtesy.

We've become a "rights but not responsiblities" heavy culture. It's going to catch up with us in more ways than one.
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Old 05-24-10, 07:21 AM   #5
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BTW to Metric Man of post #2. I cycled through Beamont, CA on my way to Boston from Laguna Beach.
Sorry I missed you!
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Old 05-24-10, 07:24 AM   #6
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Got mixed feelings about it. I'm dismayed how many of my cycling brethren pay so little heed to common courtesy.

We've become a "rights but not responsiblities" heavy culture. It's going to catch up with us in more ways than one.
I agree...I see way too often a group riding 2,3 or even 4 abreast without regard for what's going on around them. And I will say it is ALWAYS a club doing it...at least in my area.
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Old 05-24-10, 07:29 AM   #7
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In regards to double yellow lines, I believe that CO passed a law in 2009 allowing drivers to cross the double yellow to pass and give the required 3 feet of clearance to bicyclists.
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Old 05-24-10, 07:39 AM   #8
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In regards to double yellow lines, I believe that CO passed a law in 2009 allowing drivers to cross the double yellow to pass and give the required 3 feet of clearance to bicyclists.
They obviously didn't make that information very public. I got in a serious "debate" with my brother in-law from Aurora about cyclists...he is of the "screw them" mentality and said he won't cross the double yellow for cyclists, it's illegal. Needless to say we aren't the best of buds. And to be honest, at 300+ lbs and already had two knee replacements at 55 years old, he seems a little bitter about me staying healthy while he basically falls apart.
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Old 05-24-10, 08:05 AM   #9
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And to be honest, at 300+ lbs and already had two knee replacements at 55 years old, he seems a little bitter about me staying healthy while he basically falls apart.
Ain't it the truth.
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Old 05-24-10, 08:14 AM   #10
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I hate it when I agree with TWL.

Demanding your rights while unnecessarily inconveniencing people is much less effective than a little common sense and cooperation.
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Old 05-24-10, 08:22 AM   #11
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They obviously didn't make that information very public. I got in a serious "debate" with my brother in-law from Aurora about cyclists...he is of the "screw them" mentality and said he won't cross the double yellow for cyclists, it's illegal. Needless to say we aren't the best of buds. And to be honest, at 300+ lbs and already had two knee replacements at 55 years old, he seems a little bitter about me staying healthy while he basically falls apart.
Here is a summary of the bill. It actually says "center line" in the summary. Not quite sure what "center line" encompasses.

http://bicyclecolo.org/articles/bicy...main-pg988.htm

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Old 05-24-10, 08:38 AM   #12
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I have mixed feelings about the wisdom of responding to such a letter. On one hand you might be able to educate folks about the proper way to share a road. On the other hand you may add fuel to a fire fanned by idiots, bigots, and fools. If you respond, I'd error on the side of pointing out all of the anti-cyclist arguments and gently re-educating folks. I say this because my instinctive response is to be less than kind and go on the verbal attack. If I've learned anything in my years on this earth it is that aggression almost always triggers more aggression. So, I guess the real question is, "Do you think you can offer anything constructive to the discussion?" Based on interactions with you on this forum, I'd venture the answer is 'yes'.
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Old 05-24-10, 10:00 AM   #13
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I think this begs the simple question - If the cyclist has the same rights then what does the author of the letter think the cyclist should do? They did not say, one can only assume that the cyclist should:
1) Vaporize
2) Levitate
3) Go the speed limit
4) Ditch

I am so lucky to live in a state where the rural roads for the most part have good shoulders and where most drivers are bicycle friendly.
Just as an example - this weekend when on a club ride, every 4 way stop we came to, if there was a car already stopped as we approached he waved his right to go first and allowed all the peleton through the intersection rather than make us stop. Likewise, on several occasions when we needed to make a left turn, the on-coming car slowed or stopped and allowed the peleton to cross traffic. This is not abnormal behavior here, and I have gotten so use to it I have to remind myself to verify with the drivers that they are indeed giving me right of way rather than assuming they will as they most always do.
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Old 05-24-10, 11:35 AM   #14
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Not certain If I am lucky over here or a hazard on the road.

So many people have got the health kick now that car drivers do seem to respect bike riders

Had a Car on a two way back road that was a bit twisty just sit behind me on a recent road ride. Even though I signalled to the driver to overtake me- He did not.The second car in line did though- and the 3rd- and as they passed me they waved an arm as Thankyou. In the end I got fed up with haveing the "Nervous" driver behind me and pulled into the side of the road and stopped. Then followed him for the next mile at 15mph. That was one nervous driver.
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Old 05-24-10, 12:36 PM   #15
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They obviously didn't make that information very public. I got in a serious "debate" with my brother in-law from Aurora about cyclists...he is of the "screw them" mentality and said he won't cross the double yellow for cyclists, it's illegal. Needless to say we aren't the best of buds. And to be honest, at 300+ lbs and already had two knee replacements at 55 years old, he seems a little bitter about me staying healthy while he basically falls apart.
Have to agree with MM, in Colorado Springs, most of the "trails", just END and don't connect to other trails so you "have" to ride on the road, even if your just "trying" to get back to another trail! From what I've seen, I'd say the "MAJORITY" of drivers here, don't have a "CLUE" about the "3 ft. to pass law" and many, just "Don't CARE", jmho. I've been shouted at "Hey, idiot, they've got "bike trails" for you to ride, stay out of the road, "many times"! I really try to "stay right", unless it's just dangerous to do so. Taking the "LANE" can be a VERY bad experiance, IF the brain dead cager (auto driver), feel's that "he/she" OWNS the road and YOU as a cyclist should "Ride the Sidewalk". I've had to bail on the sidewalk a time or two or be run down!!!
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Old 05-24-10, 12:39 PM   #16
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It would be nice to have some more details to the incident. I can't imagine BSLNC having major vehicular back ups except when the Baptist Church lets out.

If the horn blowing was like my experience Sunday where Bubba in his pick up gets right on my rear wheel (and I'm right next to the white line and there's no on-coming traffic) and leans on his horn to let me know I have some how inconvenienced his important mission by riding a bike on his road, well, your driver probably deserved the reaction he got.

If I'm on a lonely road where there is no traffic I will ride out in the middle of the lane. If I hear a warning honk well back I will gladly move to the right. A horn right on top of me always gets the rigid digit and shouted profanities. In my state the law is very clear. I have a right, not a privilege, to ride in the road up to two riders abreast. I'll take a POLITE warning but a blast and I will move to the left and dare them to run me over.

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Old 05-24-10, 12:54 PM   #17
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I never argue with a driver about my right of way. Let them have it, give them room, whatever.

I always remember that scene from the movie Top Gun......

."that was some of the best flying I've ever seen, right up to the point where you got killed"
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Old 05-24-10, 01:06 PM   #18
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Have to agree with MM, in Colorado Springs, most of the "trails", just END and don't connect to other trails so you "have" to ride on the road, even if your just "trying" to get back to another trail! From what I've seen, I'd say the "MAJORITY" of drivers here, don't have a "CLUE" about the "3 ft. to pass law" and many, just "Don't CARE", jmho. I've been shouted at "Hey, idiot, they've got "bike trails" for you to ride, stay out of the road, "many times"! I really try to "stay right", unless it's just dangerous to do so. Taking the "LANE" can be a VERY bad experiance, IF the brain dead cager (auto driver), feel's that "he/she" OWNS the road and YOU as a cyclist should "Ride the Sidewalk". I've had to bail on the sidewalk a time or two or be run down!!!
Interesting...he said that too.
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Old 05-24-10, 01:16 PM   #19
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A horn right on top of me always gets the rigid digit and shouted profanities. In my state the law is very clear. I have a right, not a privilege, to ride in the road up to two riders abreast. I'll take a POLITE warning but a blast and I will move to the left and dare them to run me over.
Bubba, hold muh beer and watch this.....
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Old 05-24-10, 02:01 PM   #20
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Here's a possible take you could use in your reply.

"A lot of drivers don't consider the possibility that the cyclists are simply being safe when they don't allow a driver to pass - could be debris in the road, could be a blind turn, could be oncoming traffic over the hill the driver hasn't seen. So if the cyclist knows you're there, give him/her the benefit of the doubt for a moment, rather than assuming that he/she's just being rude."

That might actually make a difference rather than just coming off as a reactionary rant.
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Old 05-24-10, 05:06 PM   #21
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It would be nice to have some more details to the incident. I can't imagine BSLNC having major vehicular back ups except when the Baptist Church lets out.
OMG! YOU'VE BEEN HERE!

Interestingly enough, our first traffic light was just installed last week. So, no--BSLNC is not what you'd call a busy metropolitan area. In fact, you shouldn't even live here if you're in any kind of hurry. The nearest grocery store is a 12 mile round trip.

But the two main roads the letter writer refers do get a tad busy from 5-6:30 PM most weeknights, and there are no shoulders on either road. There are also some places on both roads where it wouldn't be safe for a cyclist to ditch it.

I've sent emails to the local police chief and to a member of a local cycling club requesting more info. I've also found the phone number of the letter writer, I think. Hmmmm....
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Old 05-24-10, 05:15 PM   #22
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OMG! YOU'VE BEEN HERE!
No but I lived in Salisbury, NC (Smallsbury according to my wife) so it's probably not too alien a culture.
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Old 05-24-10, 05:18 PM   #23
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On one hand you might be able to educate folks about the proper way to share a road. On the other hand you may add fuel to a fire fanned by idiots, bigots, and fools. If you respond, I'd error on the side of pointing out all of the anti-cyclist arguments and gently re-educating folks.... If I've learned anything in my years on this earth it is that aggression almost always triggers more aggression.
Too true!

I've already decided not to respond until I get more information about this specific incident. I've become a consensus-seeking wuss after too many "open mouth, insert foot" incidents during my younger, more impulsive days.
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Old 05-24-10, 05:37 PM   #24
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No but I lived in Salisbury, NC (Smallsbury according to my wife) so it's probably not too alien a culture.
BSL is to Salisbury as Chickamauga is to Griffon. We are teeny-freakin-tiny.
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Old 05-25-10, 07:21 AM   #25
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BSL is to Salisbury as Chickamauga is to Griffon. We are teeny-freakin-tiny.
Sounds like the place my mother grew up, it was so smalll.....

HOW SMALL WAS IT....

The "Welcome to ... " and " Thank you for visiting ... " signs were on the same post.

Unfortunately, much of the attitude towards cycling, is from 75 years where the automotive industry marketed that the bicycle was a recreational toy. Trails work when your not going anywhere, but if you are using your bicycle as a utility vehicle, trails don't always cut it.
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