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Old 10-03-13, 03:39 AM   #1
North Coast Joe
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Road Anxiety

I saw Retrogrouch's post moved over to A&S, where I read his thoughts.

Coincidently, an "incident" with a motorist really shook me up to the point that I've moved off even the 35 mph roads, and gone back to the 25 mph neighborhood route. Just not feeling safe, or self-assured enough to not flip off or, otherwise antagonize a motorist that just put me in jeopardy.

There is an "50+" component to my way of thinking. After a hair-raising, panic induced bail out over a curb and into a yard to avoid a collision, there was enough adrenaline to automatically raise the fickle finger of fate along with a few loud words beginning with "M".

After careful consideration, a sixty-one year old guy has no business getting "macho" no matter how physically fit he may be. I just don't care to be involved in a violent confrontation at my age (didn't before either, but fight/flight got the better of me at times in my youth).

Better to quietly reduce the possible encounters by taking the "roads less traveled", despite not being able to travel to nearby venues. I gotta get an occasional riding partner for those trips....a witness and maybe somebody to "Hold Me Back"!
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Old 10-03-13, 04:03 AM   #2
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Nothing worse than brig less than confident it traffic. Dangerous!
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Old 10-03-13, 07:13 AM   #3
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I try to not say anything, but there are definitely times where I've shouted something. Fortunately, none have turned into dangerous incidents--I always regret blurting out things afterwards as I realize the situation could easily turn nasty.
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Old 10-03-13, 07:14 AM   #4
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I can relate but am willing to continue to take my chances on the 45 mph and less roads......or 55 mph with a wide shoulder. It has been really hard but I've had to learn to discipline myself to expect at least 1 vehicle per ride to do something that really irritates me. It's hard to not lash out but I just don't think that would make things any better.......at least for me.
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Old 10-03-13, 07:49 AM   #5
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I'm not convinced the speed limits really matter and would rather ride on a faster road with good shoulders or a bike lane than a narrow road with a lower limit. I also plot routes to avoid bad spots even if it means a more circuitous journey.

There have been times when a motorist has done something stupid and I've responded with less than polite remarks. I know I shouldn't but sometimes the heat of the moment gets the better of me.
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Old 10-03-13, 07:50 AM   #6
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Accepting the risks...

I hope that this thread doesn't get moved to A&S.

I'm still sharing roads having very little shoulder with cars in the 45-50 mph range. I try to get off of them as soon as I can.

I hope that my wife doesn't become my widow because of my road riding...
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Old 10-03-13, 08:09 AM   #7
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Oh this definitely has a 50+ component.
My son and I ride together right now. I am 50, he is 23. We take totally different routes we one of us takes the lead.
I am always trying to find a route that gets us off the 45-50mph roads. When he takes the lead he will take us right down the 45-50 mph roads.

That said, we have had close encounters on practically every type of road we have ridden on and when they come close it makes my blood boil. Sometimes I would yell at them, sometimes not.
I have since gotten cameras to record my rides. The cameras have put an end to the chance of yelling because I am too busy calling out the license plate number.
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Old 10-03-13, 08:15 AM   #8
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I ride on narrow two lane twisty mountain roads with no bike lane or even shoulder and very poor sight lines. I have very few encounters with angry motorists, just the occasional guy who must ZOOM past in his pickup truck when the opportunity to pass presents itself. Those roads scare me less than when I'm on highway 1 with a wide bike lane as traffic flies past me at 60+ MPH....I worry more about the inattentive driver taking me out.

As for the anger, I can still go there, but most of the time this 60+er can dial it back, just shake my head and move on.
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Old 10-03-13, 08:37 AM   #9
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I ride down a sidepath which is 8' wide and vegetation is cleared 6' away from either edge. Still I see guys on their road bikes (and even one particular geezer on a recumbant) riding peacefully on the shoulder of this 55-65 mph four lane highway. I tried it one day and was extremely uncomfortable, not to mention being buffeted when the larger vehicles would scream by. No thanks, cycling is supposed to be a form of recreation for me.
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Old 10-03-13, 08:37 AM   #10
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I'm not convinced the speed limits really matter and would rather ride on a faster road with good shoulders or a bike lane than a narrow road with a lower limit. I also plot routes to avoid bad spots even if it means a more circuitous journey.

There have been times when a motorist has done something stupid and I've responded with less than polite remarks. I know I shouldn't but sometimes the heat of the moment gets the better of me.

After last night, I'm not sure speed limits matter as much as the individual drivers...although higher speed impacts will certainly lessen our chances for survival. Last night, riding my mountain bike through my neighborhood (Maitland/Orlando) I saw an older car driving on my side of the street for no apparent reason. First I think...maybe it is someone I know who is joking with me...I quickly realize I don't know anyone with an old Buick. It is a woman in her 80's who barely can see over the steering wheel...she never turns her head towards me...she never moves to her right (the proper side of the street)...and fortunately she didn't accelerate and maintained approximately 20 mph. I drove into a driveway when she was about 3-4 car lengths from me, and she continued on as if I didn't exist. I didn't have time to do or say anything, and it would have done no good. My take away is that I am the only one who I can rely upon to look out after me, and that biking, like life, has inherent risks that we can reduce and manage, but never eliminate.
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Old 10-03-13, 10:08 AM   #11
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One thing that helps my road anxiety is a good rearview mirror.
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Old 10-03-13, 10:35 AM   #12
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my goal is to make my ride as enjoyable as possible. stress free and fun.
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Old 10-03-13, 11:35 AM   #13
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I have found myself getting testy while cycling on several occasions this year. I view this as poor behavior and inability to deal with the world around me. This calls for a change.
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Old 10-03-13, 11:42 AM   #14
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..would rather ride on a faster road with good shoulders or a bike lane than a narrow road with a lower limit..
If only that were the choice to be made.

I unbelievably travel a pair of roads that are exactly the opposite.
Road 1 is narrow, no shoulder, no bike lane, and has a 45 MPH (ignored) speed suggestion.
Road 2 is wide, with a generous shoulder, dedicated bike lane, and the speed limit is 30 MPH.

It's as if the traffic geniuses mixed up the signage.

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Old 10-03-13, 01:06 PM   #15
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One of my favorite rides is down SR 446 in Monroe and Brown Counties in southern Indiana. Think of the scene of Dave Stoller riding up on the Italian cyclists and getting a pump in his spokes from "Breaking Away." This is a two lane highway that varies from having good broad shoulders to having none with a 45/55 MPH speed limit. However, it is very popular with cyclists who have to deal with cars/trucks towing boats to Lake Monroe, lumber trucks, semis, and trucks hauling limestone. I first rode this in my 20s when most of the road had been improved from a narrow winding rural road. I don't think I ever want to give up riding there.
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Old 10-03-13, 02:32 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by aubiecat View Post
One thing that helps my road anxiety is a good rearview mirror.
+100, even after being hit from behind last year. In fact I wear two rear view mirrors, left and right, and I have posted about the advantages

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I try to not say anything, but there are definitely times where I've shouted something. Fortunately, none have turned into dangerous incidents--I always regret blurting out things afterwards as I realize the situation could easily turn nasty.
When I'm peeved by a driver’s actions, instead of the middle finger and obscenties, I give my own special Bicyclist's Curse. I vigorously and repeatedly point my finger at the offender while shouting, “You, you, you…” with the intention that future harm befalls them. It’s more satisfying to me than the other gesture, with the hope of future metaphysical retribution.

I do also bestow Bicyclist's Blessings to drivers who show even a modicum of respect and compassion, with a friendly wave, a “Bless You,” and wishes for good things for them in the future. Even in car-crazy Boston, I perform numerously more blessings than curses. Probably about 2-3 blessings a day on a 14-mile commute vs about 1 curse every 3-4 weeks.

I feel empowered to perform these rituals, because my friend who introduced me to adult cycling once commented when a threatening rain turned sunny, “God smiles on His Bicyclists.” To anyone who reads this post, consider yourself authorized to bless and curse too.

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Old 10-03-13, 05:15 PM   #17
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+100, even after being hit from behind last year. In fact I wear two rear view mirrors, left and right, and I have posted about the advantages


When I'm peeved by a driver’s actions, instead of the middle finger and obscenties, I give my own special Bicyclist's Curse. I vigorously and repeatedly point my finger at the offender while shouting, “You, you, you…” with the intention that future harm befalls them. It’s more satisfying to me than the other gesture, with the hope of future metaphysical retribution.

I do also bestow Bicyclist's Blessings to drivers who show even a modicum of respect and compassion, with a friendly wave, a “Bless You,” and wishes for good things for them in the future. Even in car-crazy Boston, I perform numerously more blessings than curses. Probably about 2-3 blessings a day on a 14-mile commute vs about 1 curse every 3-4 weeks.

I feel empowered to perform these rituals, because my friend who introduced me to adult cycling once commented when a threatening rain turned sunny, “God smiles on His Bicyclists.” To anyone who reads this post, consider yourself authorized to bless and curse too.

You really have two options, if you feel like doing something, take a photograph of the cars rear tag, file a report with the local constabulary, even if they don't do anything, you will feel better. I find it better to be thankful that my guardian angel showed up for work, and then forget about it.... As for super busy high speed streets, I prefer to find other places to ride.
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Old 10-03-13, 05:34 PM   #18
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Am 80 years old, still ride 100+miles a week and covered over 300,000 miles since the early 1970s on bike(s).
Have ridden major roads, side roads and on Interstate highways (where allowed) without getting killed in 30+ states.
No road anxiety here , , ,
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Old 10-03-13, 06:07 PM   #19
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One thing that helps my road anxiety is a good rearview mirror.
+=1. I feel much more comfortable, but I don't think I am much safer

I have arranged my 33 mi commute now so that all but a few miles are on trails. Being buzzed by a school bus within 1 foot was my last straw.
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Old 10-03-13, 06:09 PM   #20
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I have found myself getting testy while cycling on several occasions this year. I view this as poor behavior and inability to deal with the world around me. This calls for a change.
I hear you, same here. That is why I have moved to almost all off-road. I feel lucky that I can do that. I think I might give it up otherwise.
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Old 10-03-13, 06:55 PM   #21
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+=1. I feel much more comfortable, but I don't think I am much safer

I have arranged my 33 mi commute now so that all but a few miles are on trails. Being buzzed by a school bus within 1 foot was my last straw.
I think a mirror allows you to decide whether or not, to use your bailout zone....
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Old 10-03-13, 06:59 PM   #22
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When I'm deciding where to ride for enjoyment/training (same thing, really), I consider the time, direction, road and traffic volume. There are roads that are horrific at 7:30 AM but are divine at 10:00 or 4:00 AM. That same road might be great northbound at noon but be unbearable southbound if the traffic has a directionality to it. Weekend before last I rode a 116 mile ride and seven cars passed me. Many cyclists in my area rode a third that distance and had ten times as many cars whiz by.

Of course, one doesn't always have the option of choosing times/direction and such. When you've got to be at work at a certain place at a certain time, you've got to play the cards you're dealt. Luckily, many of us do have the option of living in more convenient locations than we have chosen if we prioritized being able to ride with safety and joy.
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Old 10-03-13, 07:04 PM   #23
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+=1. I feel much more comfortable, but I don't think I am much safer

I have arranged my 33 mi commute now so that all but a few miles are on trails. Being buzzed by a school bus within 1 foot was my last straw.
When I was getting buzzed by school buses, I got on a first name basis with the bus driver supervisors at the local school district. I was so angry after the fourth or fifth call that I'm certain they were fearful that I would show up and do something less than civilized if they didn't get their drivers to straighten up and fly right. (For the record, I wouldn't resort to such a thing, but a few articles in the local daily and weekly newspapers were about to find their way into print.)
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Old 10-03-13, 07:07 PM   #24
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The advantages of living in a smaller city in the mid west provides me with the opportunity to ride on well paved roads that are lightly traveled. In fact, I have 30, 40 and 50 mile box that I ride and can usually count on less than one car per mile.

On the other hand,

The disadvantages of living in a smaller city in the mid west is that I miss out on some of the stunning scenery that some of you photograph.
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Old 10-03-13, 07:27 PM   #25
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I think a mirror allows you to decide whether or not, to use your bailout zone....
I believe that sooner or later, it will be too late to bail out.
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