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Old 04-11-13, 01:24 PM   #26
Number400
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In my experience, motorists at night have no freaking clue what the hell they are seeing when coming up on a bunch of blinking lights. It's most likely that the motorist was trying to figure our what you were and fixated on you, slowed, figured it out and then carried on. If you were completely dark, they would not have seen you at all and probably would not have buzzed you.

If there was a standard lighting system on bikes, drivers could/would get used to them. Random lights of different styles and random placements (seat, helmet, body, etc...), make it hard to figure out distance and the speed you are traveling.

I live near Lancaster PA, where the Amish ride scooters at all hours of the night and in crazy fog and snowstorms. They wear a blinking vest that is crazy bright and now that I have seen that vest on a few guys, I know right away to steer clear and give them room.
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Old 04-11-13, 01:29 PM   #27
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Today got passed by two dump trucks and two cars close enough that I could touch them despite having plenty of room to pass safely. I was also at a red light waiting in the left hand lane of a two lane each way street to make a left and the car behind me almost caused an accident trying to get around me before the light could change. The light changed and his passenger rolled down the window going past after the turn yelling abuse at me. Then, approaching a red light I secured the right hand lane on a two lane each way road and was cut off by a car speeding around me from the second lane to squeeze in front of me at the light. Again close enough so that I could touch them and had to stop abruptly to avoid hitting them in the rear. All this on a twelve mile ride, half of which was on a mup.

This is pretty typical behaviour for the drivers in my area. I've developed a thick skin and learned to practice safe riding skills.
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Old 04-11-13, 02:38 PM   #28
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I think a lot of it is ignorance and not being able to judge a bike's speed.

My wife and I were riding to the gym the other morning, just as it was beginning to get light. We had out rear lights on, and were going about 20 mph at the start of a short hill (9%) with a sharp turn about halfway down. We usually take the lane because we can take the turn much faster than the cars can, and there is no room to pass. A small truck came up behind us just as we were starting to pick up speed and decided 25 mph was not fast enough for him. He swung around us as we were picking up speed, about 28 mph, and tried to pull in just as we approached the curve. He could not make the corner and went up over the curb and got it stopped on the sidewalk. Fortunately, there was no one on the side walk, his truck didn't look like it was damaged (but he will need a wheel alignment), and we were never in any real danger. I think he just didn't realize how fast we were already going when he decided to pull around us; and once he started he had to speed up considerably to clear us as he pulled in. We usually take that corner about 10 mph faster than most cars, and have had to brake if we got behind a car going down it.

Unfortunately, he probably blames us for his mistake.

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Old 04-11-13, 03:00 PM   #29
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Yes, people who do everything right can get hit at night. And yes, people who do everything right can get hit while riding during the day. And yes, people who do everything right can die when a sign at an airport falls on them.

So, clearly, we should never leave our houses (except, of course, you're better of riding a bicycle than just sitting on a couch all day).

I guess we're all just screwed.
Oh I ride alright and on the streets for 35 years but do not choose to ride at night. And whenever I advise anyone I talk into riding I tell them to keep their cadence high to get in shape, Carry water, tubes, pump, patches and tire spoons at least and tell them that I personally do not ride at night. It does cost me potential riding time but that's always my choice since I don't compete.
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Old 04-11-13, 04:38 PM   #30
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Is there a perception that there is some hostility felt toward cyclists by some drivers?

If so, is there any thought as to what the reason for the hostility is?

I drive much more than I bike, and I've never (wait...that's a big word...let me think about that for a minute...nope "never" is right...) had any reason to feel annoyed by any cyclist. I do recall wondering why the pace lines on a local parkway seem to hug the edge of the roadway when they have this wide (8' maybe?) paved shoulder to ride on, but realized eventually that there is probably more debris the farther you are from the road. My concern was more for their safety from the occasional distracted driver who will drift over onto the shoulder, than any inconvenience I felt from their position.
I have the luxury of being able to drive my duals through my commute path. It clears glass and debris out and also gives me a chance to see other issues that are poping up... They are teaching you well. Most roads have a wash area that ends up with all the crud that doesn't get sucked up or blown to the side.
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Old 04-11-13, 05:42 PM   #31
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Oh I ride alright and on the streets for 35 years but do not choose to ride at night. And whenever I advise anyone I talk into riding I tell them to keep their cadence high to get in shape, Carry water, tubes, pump, patches and tire spoons at least and tell them that I personally do not ride at night. It does cost me potential riding time but that's always my choice since I don't compete.
There are all sorts of good reasons to not ride at night. The two biggest are (1) poor night vision and (2) just not feeling comfortable doing it. I don't think I'd push anybody to ride at night who didn't want to.

That being said, I don't think with reasonable precautions, riding at night can be as safe or sometimes (because of lower traffic) even safer than during the day.
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Old 04-11-13, 06:14 PM   #32
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I'm not questioning anybody's word, but I'm always skeptical of stories like this. I've been riding since college in 1970 or '71, from 750 to 4000 miles a year, in big cities and rural areas in half a dozen states, and I've had two unfriendly encounters. One was a car full of high school kids who threw a plastic Coke bottle at me, and another was a 30-something guy who thought I was blocking him (I'd moved into the traffic lane to avoid glass, AFTER looking back to see if it was clear). Of course it's possible I've been lucky for 30,000 or so miles, but I just don't believe those "He tried to hit me" stories. Drivers can't ALL have lousy aim.
Well my experiences are almost as few as yours in a marginally shorter time frame but you sure tend to remember them....Like pulling over in a parking lot and waving the guy (and his girl passenger) to come on back and "talk" about it. then thinking wtf is my 40 something self doing out here like a punk teenager about to get another tooth or something worse busted?

No way I'd stop riding after 35 years though.

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Old 04-11-13, 06:43 PM   #33
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thats part of the territory,,there are so many crybabies on this list it is mind boggling. Probably you should take up tiddly winks instead of riding bikes.
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Old 04-11-13, 07:10 PM   #34
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thats part of the territory,,there are so many crybabies on this list it is mind boggling. Probably you should take up tiddly winks instead of riding bikes.
OK tough guy. Tell us your secret.
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Old 04-11-13, 09:36 PM   #35
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Commuted to work daily for over a dozen years here in Tucson.
Buzzed a few times, most likely unintentional/distracted drivers. Some perhaps fixated on my flashing brigh rear light thinking I was a barricade?!
Never got hit commuting to work in the dark, but did get hit in broad daylight about half dozen times with varous results.
However, each time the offending driver was ticket by police.
Am now 80 years young and still ride 100+ miles a week, on the road.
A vehicle coming within 1 foot is NOT close; 3 inches is getting close.
Be aware of your surroundings; follow the rules of the road. I don't count the 'close' ones!
Have pedaled 300,000+miles (right amount of zeroes) since early 1970s and am not about to quit now!
Pedal on!
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Old 04-12-13, 02:32 AM   #36
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With complete respect for zonatnadem, 12 inches is close if you hit a stone or crack in the road and you swerve or wobble a couple of inches. I bet a car wouldn't pass another car(if the driver had any sense) at anything more than a crawl when only 12 inches away from the other vehicle. I also hope they wouldn't pass a pedestrian that close--in the case where a pedestrian has no choice but to walk on the road.
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Old 04-12-13, 10:25 AM   #37
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His complaint; that cyclist should never impede the flow of traffic. He thought it was wrong for bicyclist to ride down the center of the street, in town, making him wait for them. He said they should ride on the sidewalk. And that roads where made for vehicle traffic, not bikes.
Interesting - thanks!

From having ridden in Portland and the Netherlands, I know that bicycles in both places have the right-of-way, and observed that drivers in both places were much more accommodating of bike traffic than in communities such as ours where if you're not in a car, you're automatically identified as some kind of "fringe" nutcase, not worthy of respect or accommodation. Of course, in Portland we were riding in the central city, and in Holland bicycles are probably equal to autos as the primary means of commuter transportation.

I don't know what part of Oregon you hail from, but is the right-of-way granted to bicyclists unique to Portland or is this a state law? It would seem that such legal standing pretty much counters the "bicycles belong on the sidewalks" thinking. Doesn't make you immune to getting run over by a GMC Yukon tho...
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Old 04-12-13, 02:34 PM   #38
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I don't know what part of Oregon you hail from, but is the right-of-way granted to bicyclists unique to Portland or is this a state law? It would seem that such legal standing pretty much counters the "bicycles belong on the sidewalks" thinking. Doesn't make you immune to getting run over by a GMC Yukon tho.
.

In my experience Oregon drivers are generally courteous and for the most part yield the right-of-way. I think it helps if you ride like your bike it is a car,e.g., stop at stop signs, hand signals, taking the lane when appropriate, etc.
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Old 04-12-13, 05:20 PM   #39
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Have spent 3 months riding n Eugene, OR several years ago. Seems to be a very bike-friendly area and no hassles from motorists.
Drivers rarely tried to hit me intentionally; one stands out in broad daylight with a local bus trying to squeeze me off the road and saw driver grinning in his sideview mirror.
A bit too close for comfort, but managed to stay on the road, and . . . reported the bus number, time and location to the bus company.
They tried to ignore it; I told them that was an 'attempted vehicular homicide' and I was ready file a police report; their tone changed.
Called the bus company back the next day and they said they did not know who the driver on that route was; suggested they easily can check their records and discipline him or I'd be in for a personal discussion.
Never got hassled on that bus route again.
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Old 04-12-13, 07:03 PM   #40
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Have spent 3 months riding n Eugene, OR several years ago. Seems to be a very bike-friendly area and no hassles from motorists.
Drivers rarely tried to hit me intentionally; one stands out in broad daylight with a local bus trying to squeeze me off the road and saw driver grinning in his sideview mirror.
A bit too close for comfort, but managed to stay on the road, and . . . reported the bus number, time and location to the bus company.
They tried to ignore it; I told them that was an 'attempted vehicular homicide' and I was ready file a police report; their tone changed.
Called the bus company back the next day and they said they did not know who the driver on that route was; suggested they easily can check their records and discipline him or I'd be in for a personal discussion.
Never got hassled on that bus route again.
Bravo, bravo.
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Old 04-12-13, 11:45 PM   #41
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Oregon has twice the death rate from alcohol as the national average. That is a relevant fact for night riding here. I do what I can to avoid riding during certain hours, but I do find myself doing quite a bit of night riding. One thing I do when I'm riding in what I consider to be particularly dangerous times at night is use a blue light or two on the rear. Yes, this is illegal. If a cop were to cite me, I would pay the ticket and consider it to be like paying protection money; money is easier to replace than body parts. And yes, I would put the blue lights right back on.

Blue lights are reserved for police use. Even though it is unlikely that most motorists know that, I think everyone has a tendency to associate blue lights on the road with cops. If they think I'm a cop, I suspect they are less likely to harass me. I have noticed that when our local police go out for training rides, they always wear clothing that clearly says "Police" on the back and the lead rider is often in uniform. When I asked them about this, they acknowledged that they find it is safer to ride when the motorists know they are cops.

As far as target fixation goes, Dinotte has a new rear light coming out that they say is too bright for night use. No one is going to target fix on an object that is too bright to look at.
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Old 04-13-13, 07:06 PM   #42
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I ride everyday rain/shine and a lot of it in the dark. I started with lights on my bike only. Had a couple of close calls (hit once - broad daylight - lady ran stop sign texting). I have tried several variations of lights on bike - flashing, solid... I ended up getting a helmet light (mine is a petzl) with lots of lumens and a real tight spread so I can turn my head and flash the light into any driver that is headed my way. I think it has worked well. I haven't many problems other than the usual morons that think it is fun to screw with a cyclist. Only thing I would add is it might be worth investing in an air-zound horn. If they are coming at me, I can shake my head with the helmet lit and honk the zound. Only if I have time. I have had to make the jump off the road to avoid the inevitable. Always prepared. Ride defensively, visibly, predictively and consistently.
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Old 04-15-13, 10:55 AM   #43
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I ride everyday rain/shine and a lot of it in the dark. I started with lights on my bike only. Had a couple of close calls (hit once - broad daylight - lady ran stop sign texting). I have tried several variations of lights on bike - flashing, solid... I ended up getting a helmet light (mine is a petzl) with lots of lumens and a real tight spread so I can turn my head and flash the light into any driver that is headed my way. I think it has worked well. I haven't many problems other than the usual morons that think it is fun to screw with a cyclist. Only thing I would add is it might be worth investing in an air-zound horn. If they are coming at me, I can shake my head with the helmet lit and honk the zound. Only if I have time. I have had to make the jump off the road to avoid the inevitable. Always prepared. Ride defensively, visibly, predictively and consistently.
Buster has it figured out, three are always going to be people in cars that hate bikes and pose a danger to us. Either you are understanding about what it is to ride the roads or you shouldnt be on the roads. To complain everytime you hit a chuck hole or somebody purposely used their cars to muscle you is silly. Happens almost every ride. If you cant take the heat, get a mountain bike and when you hit a tree,,you can complain about who planted the tree.
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Old 04-15-13, 02:26 PM   #44
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Buster has it figured out, three are always going to be people in cars that hate bikes and pose a danger to us. Either you are understanding about what it is to ride the roads or you shouldnt be on the roads. To complain everytime you hit a chuck hole or somebody purposely used their cars to muscle you is silly. Happens almost every ride. If you cant take the heat, get a mountain bike and when you hit a tree,,you can complain about who planted the tree.
You choose your chances. Personally I choose not to ride with helmet in places where they aren't required and have ridden on city streets for decades. And choose not to ride nights. I haven't had so many problems with bullying cars but d****d sure worry about drunks and people not seeing me.
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Old 04-15-13, 03:42 PM   #45
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I never ride at night. By far, most of the people who I've heard about being killed while riding were riding at night.
What time of night? The hours when people drink and drive are not good and I avoid those. However, I feel pretty safe riding very brightly lit at 6:00 AM on a weekday morning.
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Old 04-15-13, 06:18 PM   #46
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In this area, bars have last call at 2 AM. I feel fairly safe with lights and riding at 0500.
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Old 04-15-13, 06:23 PM   #47
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What time of night? The hours when people drink and drive are not good and I avoid those. However, I feel pretty safe riding very brightly lit at 6:00 AM on a weekday morning.
Well most of those stories come from bike shop guys that I used to ride with down in Texas when the drinking age was 18. As for the last 20 years, I've been living in somewhat close proximity to the local bar row here in Spokane and would encounter those going home in my direction when I get off work around midnight. Plus it gets foggy enought not to see cars until you're right up on them.

I suppose it depends on where you live, whether there's a bike lane or not and definitely what kind of lighting you have. I don't even see some of these guys that well myself when it's that dark. Their lights look like in need of new batteries and I don't notice them until I'm right up on them sometimes.
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Old 04-15-13, 06:39 PM   #48
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Buster has it figured out, three are always going to be people in cars that hate bikes and pose a danger to us. Either you are understanding about what it is to ride the roads or you shouldnt be on the roads. To complain everytime you hit a chuck hole or somebody purposely used their cars to muscle you is silly. Happens almost every ride. If you cant take the heat, get a mountain bike and when you hit a tree,,you can complain about who planted the tree.
See, that's the thing, it doesn't happen almost every ride. Actually have some pretty good rides during the day and night without any incidents. Otherwise, I would have quite this sport shortly after I started. Granted, I'm still relatively new, been riding since May of 2010.

As always, it helps to read about and learn from other peoples perspective and experience, much appreciated.
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Old 04-16-13, 02:02 PM   #49
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Way Way back when, I was in the army, a small group of us were always riding bikes around on the post. One of the guys got tired of the cars always buzzing him while riding. He started carrying a rubber mallet with him. The first few times that he smacked a car as it went past too close he said that the car drivers got out mad and the MPs were called. The MPs always gave the driver a ticket for driving too close and causing an accident. I'm sure their insurance companies loved them too. It didn't take long and every car on base gave us the full lane when they passed. I don't know if I would want to do that today, too many people out there with violent tendencies and no self control.

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Old 04-16-13, 02:47 PM   #50
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The MPs always gave the driver a ticket for driving too close and causing an accident. I'm sure their insurance companies loved them too. It didn't take long and every car on base gave us the full lane when they passed.
Heh, heh...puts me in mind of the old Gallagher routine about arming all motorists with a toy gun - the kind that shoot the little suction-cup-tipped "bullets", but equip the projectiles with little flags that say "Stupid!". If a cop sees more than three on any vehicle, they pull them over and write them a ticket!
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