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Old 07-04-03, 07:10 AM   #1
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Do you ever feel guilty... (my rant for the day...)

Do you ever feel guilty while riding your bike in traffic - or anywhere where a car has to wait to get around you?

Yesterday I thought it would be a good day to bike to work. So instead of taking my road bike, I took the new (new to me, anyway) MTB that I recently purchased for cheap from a friend. It a much heavier bike, and with my son's kiddie seat on the back, I'm sure I was looking less than "Tour de France" ready. I was much slower on the road than usual...

I found myself feeling guilty as a result. Having to make other people who are trying to get to work or trying to get home wait on me.

On the flip side... some teenage kids threw something at me and hit my left arm. They sped off before I know what happened and could get the license plate number. Others when around me in a fit of anger on a curve, only to nearly miss a head on collision with an on-coming car. I got a little nervous too when a landscaping crew nearly side-swiped me with their trailer...

Ok... well... after typing that, I don't feel so guilty.... never mind!

Happy 4th! (for those of you in the USA!)
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Old 07-04-03, 07:22 AM   #2
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Yes I've felt guilty lots of times...but I'm still going to ride anyway
we the cyclist can't compete with a auto eh?I suppose we are in the way,It's to bad I have a legal right to the hwy. also?Riding a bicycle makes more sense for short distance then driving?I wish the people in North America could see the third world countries more often...look at all the cycling they do,the streets are filled with bicycles
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Old 07-04-03, 07:41 AM   #3
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not really. maybe once or twice when i was turning, but definitely not any more than i would in a car turning or doing something where people have to wait...

cars might have to slow down for a few seconds to wait to pass, but how can i feel guilty - b/c i am on my bike i take up less space and by riding my bike there is one less car on the road, so less traffic, so i'm actually reducing the biggest inconvenience to drivers: traffic

i just don't see how can one can feel guilty for reducing pollution and reducing traffic as well as noise and risk to others by riding a bike!
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Old 07-04-03, 08:19 AM   #4
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Given the driving prowess of the other motor drivers on the road, I don't feel guilty @ all. When I'm in my car, I'm always flanked by terrible drivers who are:

- inconsistent (who knows their next move - no signals)
- inattentive (can you say cell phone?)
- rude (cut me off, etc)

When on the bike, I am much more courteous and predictable than 75% of the drivers on the road. No, I don't feel bad in the least.
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Old 07-04-03, 08:23 AM   #5
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What Nathank said.

I've done a few stupid moves that were a bit less than safe and I feel guilty for those. I'm no saint. But I don't feel guilty at all because a handful of people lost a few seconds of their "precious" time.
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Old 07-04-03, 09:15 AM   #6
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Never.

How long can someone be held up by a bike?
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Old 07-04-03, 09:22 AM   #7
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Well, I feel bad about holding up traffic, though drivers here are pretty good about it. Fortunately, I usually only have one section where this is a real issue because there is pretty heavy traffic making it hard for cars to switch lanes to go around me. The stretch is also at least a mile long.

How bad I feel depends on how fast I can ride. If wind is bad and I'm worn out from other rides, I might barely make 14 mph - that bothers me a lot. Other times I've been lucky enough to go 21-22 mph which doesn't bother me much at all (speed limit is 35 but traffic usually slower because of lights).

I know when I'm in a car, I want to get to my destination as fast as I can legally do so - just as I do on a bike. So it bothers me when I get in heavy traffic where the cars actually slow me down in places as well.

Just an "A" type personality I guess. I don't get mad at the drivers in such cases (just frustrated) just as I hope they don't get mad at me, but I wish I never had to slow down traffic.

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Old 07-04-03, 09:25 AM   #8
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Originally posted by chewa
Never.

How long can someone be held up by a bike?
They get to sit 3 or 4 seconds longer at the next red light , thats all your life is worth to a lot of drivers , an extra pick of their nose
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Old 07-04-03, 09:41 AM   #9
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No, I do not feel guilty at all if I slowdown traffic, however I will accommodate motor vehicles to help move the pace of traffic along. The drivers in the city that I am living in now are good drivers and I have not had any bad experiences. Coincidently, there was a letter to the editor in today’s paper from a car driver who argued that one of our main arteries should be re-engineered to ensure the safety of cyclists!
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Old 07-04-03, 10:13 AM   #10
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How about feeling anxious?
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Old 07-04-03, 10:56 AM   #11
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Do truck drivers or bus drivers ever feel guilty? Do waste collection truck drivers or postmen ever feel guilty?
If you are riding on the road, its your road, your right of way, so enjoy it.
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Old 07-04-03, 11:19 AM   #12
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I don't feel guilty about others' poor judgment. I don't require that a motorist attempt to pass into the opposing lane around curves; it's their responsibility to use common sense. The fact that I'm on two wheels rather than four does not release them from the rules of the road.

I am a courteous rider. When I see a long break in the line of vehicles parked at the curb, I will drift to the right to allow traffic to pass, encouraging them with a wave. When I approach an unprotected left-hand turn and I see a lengthy line of vehicles waiting in the opposing lane across the intersection and I know I have quite a few coming up behind to take the left turn as well, I will use the crosswalk if I deem it necessary for traffic flow. This benefits me as well, as I don't relish standing in the middle of an intersection.

I will be accommodating whenever possible, but I will follow the rules of the road to the best of my ability. The other vehicles and pedestrians with whom I share it bear equal responsibility.

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Old 07-04-03, 12:13 PM   #13
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When I'm using one of my own bicycles, I don't normally feel like I have anything to feel guilty about. Many of us have been held up by slow motorists, haven't we?

If I'm test-riding a co-worker's bike in downtown traffic after a repair, sometimes I do feel slow and "in-the-way" due to a bad fit (bike too small and/or with a short cockpit). In those situations, I'm self-conscious about my relative lack of acceleration and reduced top speed.
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Old 07-04-03, 02:54 PM   #14
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I don't feel guilty and I see absolutely no reason why anyone else should feel guilty about cycling in traffic. Apart from the fact that on many of my commutes I'm actually faster than the cars due to the traffic volume, and it's them holding me up. The fact is that drivers who whinge about cyclists supposedly "holding them up" rarely actually time the length of time they lose. I think the longest time I ever held a driver up for was five seconds.

What I find strange is that a driver is prepared to sit behind a car (or in a traffic jam caused by cars) for upwards of two hours without caring, yet if a bike "holds them up" for two seconds it's a crime worse than murder. In any case, if those two seconds are so important to them, nobody's preventing them from leaving home two seconds earlier in the morning. Nobody's making them have 10 beers down at the pub after work - nobody's making them spend two seconds longer at lunch - hence the need to stay at work two seconds later.

If drivers have such a problem with the time factor, maybe they should concentrate on some of the major issues that contribute to this problem before whining about a minor one.
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Old 07-04-03, 02:59 PM   #15
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Originally posted by Chris L
I don't feel guilty and I see absolutely no reason why anyone else should feel guilty about cycling in traffic. Apart from the fact that on many of my commutes I'm actually faster than the cars due to the traffic volume, and it's them holding me up. The fact is that drivers who whinge about cyclists supposedly "holding them up" rarely actually time the length of time they lose. I think the longest time I ever held a driver up for was five seconds.

What I find strange is that a driver is prepared to sit behind a car (or in a traffic jam caused by cars) for upwards of two hours without caring, yet if a bike "holds them up" for two seconds it's a crime worse than murder. In any case, if those two seconds are so important to them, nobody's preventing them from leaving home two seconds earlier in the morning. Nobody's making them have 10 beers down at the pub after work - nobody's making them spend two seconds longer at lunch - hence the need to stay at work two seconds later.

If drivers have such a problem with the time factor, maybe they should concentrate on some of the major issues that contribute to this problem before whining about a minor one.
Nicely said! :thumbup: Yes indeed, these people are in such a hurry, but when they finally arrive at their destination, do they leap from their vehicle and SPRINT to the door of the building? Noooooo.... they circle the parking lot looking for the parking spot that will result in the least possible walking

It must be extremely gratifying to go merrily along at your own pace while the motorists stew in their vehicles
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Old 07-04-03, 05:31 PM   #16
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Mech and Chris said it the best. I also don't feel at all guilty. I am rarely in anyones way or holding the drivers up but on occasion they may have to take an extra 10 or 20 seconds to get around me. If their lives are so screwed up that 20 seconds is going to make a difference then they need to rexamine their priorities.

That being said I am not perfect on a bike or in a car and on the rare occasion I do something stupid in traffic I do feel guilty. However I think the world would be a little better place if the jerks yelling out the windows, throwing things, and intentionally trying to run us off the road felt a little guilty once in a while.
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Old 07-04-03, 05:41 PM   #17
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At first, I use to feel guilty.

Now, I try as much as possible to stick to roads with shoulders, or rural roads where cars can easily go around me. I'll even go so far as to ride through some side streets just to avoid a major road where I would be obstructing traffic big time. But for the most part, I don't feel bad at all for making a car or 2 take an extra 10 seconds to get to their destination.

But yesterday, some guy squatted down in some cheap Mazda yelled, "Get off the road." C'mon. I don't mind if you pull up next to me and talk to me. I'll probably disagree with you, but at least you're not dropping a few words then driving off. But he couldn't even show his face. What a pansy. I just can't respect that or take that individual seriously in any way, shape, or form. Grow up and get a set of OOs.
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Old 07-05-03, 01:33 AM   #18
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I have a theory that drivers get mad at cyclists not because of the loss of a few precious seconds but because they actually have to utilise driving skill/effort to perform a maneuver to pass the cyclist safely. Some of them may even be inwardly unsure of how to do this. This goes along with my theory that for the most part, as much as the general public proclaims to love the automobile, they really do not want to drive. On the contrary, they prefer to remove themselves as much as possible from the act of driving. Look at all the popular new car accessories. They are for anything but to enhance the driving experience, performance or safety. How does an in-car DVD theatre system aide in driving? Having to get around a cyclist is just one more irritation to them when they expect to be able to mindlessly push down on the accelerator and call it driving.
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Old 07-05-03, 02:17 AM   #19
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> I have a theory that drivers get mad at cyclists not because of the loss of a few precious seconds but because they actually have to utilise driving skill/effort to perform a maneuver to pass the cyclist safely. <

Perhaps. This brings something to mind I only discovered relatively recently after decades of driving (and my only accident was when I guy ran into me as I was at a stop sign so I'm a good driver).

I was talking to someone about driving various vehicles. I always preferred small ones. A large car made me uncomfortable and even more so for a van or truck. Meanwhile, where I worked as a teacher, they were talking about REQUIRING me to get a bus drivers license!

As I talked to a friend about this and how I didn't feel I could judge where the various ends were for such a large vehicle, he said, "I've never had a problem with my depth of field vision." And just like that, everything fell into place - not only with my driving concerns of larger vehicles, but also some other things. I've never had it tested, but I don't think my vision is as good as most people in this particular area. So, anyone with a similar problem is going to be far more leary about passing a bicyclist. In my case, I would think I need far more room than I actually do. That actually makes things safer for the biker since I'm giving that extra room, but it adds to my frustration.

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Old 07-05-03, 07:28 AM   #20
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I've never had it tested, but I don't think my vision is as good as most people in this particular area. So, anyone with a similar problem is going to be far more leary about passing a bicyclist. In my case, I would think I need far more room than I actually do.
That situation, as you said, would be the safer option. Sometimes, though, when someone has below average depth perceptual skills, they think they are further away than they really are, which causes fenderbenders, side swipe collisions, etc.

Depth perception tends to decline with age, so drivers with decades of driving experience may be driving with impaired perception and not realize it. You may notice that these folks follow you at a great distance for a long while, or swing wide around you when they pass; they are having trouble judging where they are in space.

This is a big problem for me in my job. I evaluate drivers and their fitness to drive. Often I get a client that has been a "good driver" for 50 years, no tickets or accidents, but have declining visual perceptual deficits that they are unaware of, which increases their risk of collision. When this is combined with other problems, it is time to consider alternative transportation. It is hard to convince them that they need to retire from driving when they are unaware of the deficits.

The next time you are at your optometrist/opthamologist office, ask for a depth perception screening. It is a simple test, looking at either hand held pictures, or looking into a machine, that will tell you of your depth perceptual skills.

If you are having trouble with depth perception, there are behaviors and "tricks" that you can learn for driving bigger vehicles to compensate for this. You can look up a Driver Rehabilitation Specialist (usually in Occupational Therapy in a hospital or outpatient therapy facility) or a driving school that works with the disabled population. They can give you some suggestions. Liz
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Old 07-05-03, 08:42 AM   #21
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I never feel guilty. Like Chris and others have said already, the amount of time I may or may not hold up traffic is insignificant in the grand scheme of things. As a cyclist I have a legal right to the road anyway. If certain motorists are too ignorant to be aware of that then too bad for them. And again like others on this board have already said, there are times when I move faster then traffic. So how can a motorist ***** because I hold up traffic when infact it is the sheer volume of cars on the road which hold them up.

I had two people on the same day yell at me, "You're NOT a car!!!". My reply of course was, "No SH*T!"

And remember, "Never in the Gutter!"
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Old 07-05-03, 01:42 PM   #22
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> Sometimes, though, when someone has below average depth perceptual skills, they think they are further away than they really are, which causes fenderbenders, side swipe collisions, etc. <

I don't know if I actually "thought" I was a given distance - I just wasn't sure so I'd be extra cautious. The scary part was when you would be in a situation where you don't have a lot of leeway. I know one thing I would do is use my left side mirror to see the lines on the road, knowing if they were in the right place, the other side of the car would have the space I wanted.

> It is hard to convince them that they need to retire from driving when they are unaware of the deficits. <

I don't drive now, normally, simply because I live in Hawaii on retirement pay mostly and, with the good bus system, I can save a lot of money. Now I mostly bike since it is faster than the bus more most of my trips. But my father (86), fairly recently figured out he needed to not drive. I think he still does a little, very locally (they don't live in a city), but not much.

> The next time you are at your optometrist/opthamologist office, ask for a depth perception screening. It is a simple test, looking at either hand held pictures, or looking into a machine, that will tell you of your depth perceptual skills. <

Hey, thanks. I'd really just curious as to how I rate.

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Old 07-05-03, 05:49 PM   #23
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Bob, using the mirrors is one of the techniques that helps compensate for uncertain depth perception...you've already made that adjustment, good for you!

Having just returned home from vacation in Hawaii, I understand how easy it is for you to get around on two wheels or by the Aloha bus. Especially if you live on the windward side of Oahu; those folks are very patient and considerate drivers, I was very impressed! Liz
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Old 07-05-03, 06:06 PM   #24
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Originally posted by CycleMagic
Bob, using the mirrors is one of the techniques that helps compensate for uncertain depth perception...you've already made that adjustment, good for you!

Having just returned home from vacation in Hawaii, I understand how easy it is for you to get around on two wheels or by the Aloha bus. Especially if you live on the windward side of Oahu; those folks are very patient and considerate drivers, I was very impressed! Liz
I've never been good with mirrors either, but in a few specific situations, I can make use. There are probably others I don't know about.

Be careful about visiting Hawaii. That's what I did back in 1997 and from then on I started making plans to move here. Took me about 4 years.

There are a lot of good things about biking here (I'm on the windward side near Pear Harbor). There are some good bike paths and lanes, though a few places are a problem.

Drivers are good too, but I still hate to obstruct traffic for more than a few seconds. As I get faster, that becomes less of a problem (though I've been in a rut lately).

One really nice thing is that dogs are not running loose. In my 18 months here, I've only seen two dogs loose. I'm not sure if they are real strict with the laws or if it is because we have a large Korean population and they may use a stray dog for a meal!

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Old 07-05-03, 07:18 PM   #25
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No kidding about how dangerous visiting Hawaii can be! I am already homesick. My 16 year old daughter is trying to find a way to go to college there after highschool. I'd go back in a heartbeat....

I think this thread was about feeling guilty....? gone a bit off topic, sorry!
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