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Old 04-05-08, 12:28 AM   #1
Cadfael
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Good Road Manners?

Am I being to picky here?

I was perusing a book I have on loan from the library '1,000 All-Time Top Tips for Cyclist', by Ben Hewitt. In one section, 'Tips for Skill Builders' it gave a few tips for dealing with motorist, and it struck me that it is all a bit one sided... it is up to the cyclist to keep out the drivers way. I fully agree, you should be responsible, but these just appear to place the responsibility on the cyclist... even to the point of grinning and bearing the actions of some motorist that could potentially kill you... but here they are

Ways to Keep Drivers Friendly

1. Keep left. If there's a wide, clean, safe cycle path, use it. One thing that always irritates motorists is a cyclist riding in the road when a good cycle path is present.

2. When riding with a friend, ride side by side only when it won't cause traffic to back up or pass dangerously.

3. Don't force vehicles to overtake you repeatedly. At a traffic light, stay behind the last car instead of going ahead of drivers who may have just had difficulty overtaking you safely. Next time, they might not be so careful.

4. Ride predictably. Maintain a straight line. Use hand signals when turning or changing lanes.

5. Stay off busy roads. Drivers will be uptight enough without your being in their way. Find an alternative route out of the main traffic flow if possible.

6. Don't provoke a reaction. Don't circle in front of stopped cars or lean on one while waiting for a light.

7. Be gracious. Motion a driver to make his turn in front of you if you'll be slow getting under way. Who knows? That driver might look a bit more kindly on the next cyclist down the road.

8. Obey all traffic laws. Don't run lights or stop signs, or zip through road works. When cyclists disregard the rules of the road, drivers have a right to be annoyed. To get respect, you must show respect.

Yes.. agree, some of the point are no brainers... you STOP at red lights and stop signs. But as to earning respect, that work both ways to me.

Last edited by Cadfael; 04-05-08 at 01:10 AM.
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Old 04-05-08, 01:05 AM   #2
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6. Don't provoke a reaction. Don't circle in front of stopped cars or lean on one while waiting for a light.
Who does that?! Yeah, I can see how that would annoy motorists.
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Old 04-05-08, 01:08 AM   #3
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4. Ride predictably. Maintain a straight line. Use hand signals when turning or changing lanes.

Couldn't agree more. Matter of fact, being predictable is not a bad idea in a car.

6. Don't provoke a reaction. Don't circle in front of stopped cars or lean on one while waiting for a light.

I wouldn't think this even needs to be said.

7. Be gracious. Motion a driver to make his turn in front of you if you'll be slow getting under way. Who knows? That driver might look a bit more kindly on the next cyclist down the road.

I question this one. I wait my turn at a 4 way stop sign, but when it's my turn, it's mine. Period.

8. Obey all traffic laws. Don't run lights or stop signs, or zip through road works. When cyclists disregard the rules of the road, drivers have a right to be annoyed. To get respect, you must show respect.

Good advice. Not to suggest I never run a stop sign, but good advice, anyway.

By and large, when I'm in traffic, I try to act like a vehicle, with all the privilages and responsibilities that go with it.
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Old 04-05-08, 03:43 AM   #4
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I don't just out of hand disagree with any of this.

1. Keep left. If there's a wide, clean, safe cycle path, use it. One thing that always irritates motorists is a cyclist riding in the road when a good cycle path is present.

I do this when I deem it is safe for me to shift to my right onto a paved shoulder to extend the courtesy of ease of passing to motorists approaching from the rear. The key here is wide, clean, safe. If it's not, then don't make the lateral shift in road position. I don't ride on the shoulder by default, partly to prevent on coming motorists from passing each other as they are passing me.

2. When riding with a friend, ride side by side only when it won't cause traffic to back up or pass dangerously.

This makes sense, and is another way of saying what FL state law says about riding two abreast.
316.2065 Bicycle regulations.--
(6) Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway may not ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles. Persons riding two abreast may not impede traffic when traveling at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing and shall ride within a single lane.

3. Don't force vehicles to overtake you repeatedly. At a traffic light, stay behind the last car instead of going ahead of drivers who may have just had difficulty overtaking you safely. Next time, they might not be so careful.

I do this. For instance in a bike lane approaching an intersection controlled by a light I will, cautiously, use the bike lane to pass if I know the BL continues on the other side of the intersection. If the BL ends at the intersection I take the lane and wait my turn in line.

4. Ride predictably. Maintain a straight line. Use hand signals when turning or changing lanes.

Absolutely excellent advice.

5. Stay off busy roads. Drivers will be uptight enough without your being in their way. Find an alternative route out of the main traffic flow if possible.

I think the key here is "if possible". I think what the author means is, "if viable". If I had a choice of a busy route or an alternative of about the same distance I would use the alternative route. Why deal with traffic when you don't have too?

6. Don't provoke a reaction. Don't circle in front of stopped cars or lean on one while waiting for a light.

Who on earth does this? That's just idiotic.

7. Be gracious. Motion a driver to make his turn in front of you if you'll be slow getting under way. Who knows? That driver might look a bit more kindly on the next cyclist down the road.

Wait your turn, but take your turn. Just as if you were operating any other kind of vehicle. Don't run red lights or stop signs.

8. Obey all traffic laws. Don't run lights or stop signs, or zip through road works. When cyclists disregard the rules of the road, drivers have a right to be annoyed. To get respect, you must show respect.

Agreed. Respect is a two-way street. To get it you have to show it. To show it use signals, obey traffic control devices, ride in a predictable manner and don't make motorists try to guess what you are going to do.

These points won't stop Moron Cager from trying to prove he's/she's a jerk, but they will help things go more smoothly with the vast majority of motorists. To just blast around lawlessly with no regard for other road users is to be the mirror image of Moron Cager.

Last edited by CommuterRun; 04-05-08 at 06:49 AM.
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Old 04-05-08, 05:49 AM   #5
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if I ever caught ANYONE leaning on my Charger, they'd be scraping that person's body up from under my drag slicks.. that being said, most of those make perfect sense.. I'd look for the least traffic-congested route anyway just so I don't have to deal with cars.. not to make life easier for THEM.

The reason the author makes it look like it's all on the cyclist is because the book is written for the rider, not the drivers. The only thing you have control over is yourself and your bike. You can't control someone else in a car, so he points out what YOU can and should do, and leaves the rest up to the motorists. They have responsibilities too, but they don't always adhere to those, of course.

It's just defensive riding 101.
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Old 04-05-08, 06:58 AM   #6
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The only car I've leaned on pulled up beside me stopped at a light. He wanted the lane I was in, but since I was there he felt it necessary to try to squeeze me out even though we both had to stop, placing him partially in both same direction lanes. He deserved the nice sweaty hand print on top of his quarter panel after I wiped my forehead with my palm.

When the light changed I crossed the intersection ahead of him, then he passed me, completely in the other lane.

But if the driver isn't acting like a butt-head I don't lean their car.
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Old 04-05-08, 10:15 AM   #7
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I actually this the OP's post is good advice for cyclists. Who's going to win - 3500 pounds of steel operated by an inattentive/arrogant/frantic/stressed driver or 160 pounds of biker on a 20 pound bike? I guess if you really must, you can yell and flip them off, but even then, courtesy and strategic good manners will get you a lot more in the long run.
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Old 04-05-08, 01:34 PM   #8
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Personally I think more stress should be placed on cyclists to look for opportunities to be considerate to motorists when there is safe opportunity to do so. If we cause an occasional 5-10 second delay to motorists we should be willing to endure the same length of delay of our travels from time to time, just to keep the karma in balance if you would.

With that being said one should never extended a courtesy to a motorist that might jeopardize ones safety.
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Old 04-05-08, 01:45 PM   #9
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The author is a driver and clearly sees bikes as recreational toys that shouldn't get in the way of "real" vehicles.
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Old 04-05-08, 02:17 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Cadfael View Post
Am I being to picky here?
I don't think so.

Quote:
Ways to Keep Drivers Friendly
Shouldn't the goal be "Ways to Maximize Your Safety". Is the objection your safety or pleasing the cagers?

Quote:
1.Keep left.
If this means "go in the direction of traffic", I agree. But I think the author is also saying "ride close to the curb". Not always the best policy for safety.

Quote:
If there's a wide, clean, safe cycle path, use it.
If there really is a cycle path that's wide, clean, safe, free of obstacles, going in your direction et cetera, not a whole lot of cyclists would opt to ride in the road anyway. If they are out in the road, that means there must be something bad about the path that makes the cyclist prefer the road despite having to deal with traffic. And the cyclist, of course, has the right to choose the road in such a case.

Quote:
One thing that always irritates motorists is a cyclist riding in the road when a good cycle path is present.
Yes. And of course it's the driver who arbitrarily decides what constitutes a "good" path.

Quote:
2. When riding with a friend, ride side by side only when it won't cause traffic to back up or pass dangerously.
Fine, I guess. Most places riding side-by-side is illegal, but I think that restriction should be lifted. In situations when you need to take the lane anyway, why can't two cyclists take the lane?

Quote:
3. Don't force vehicles to overtake you repeatedly. At a traffic light, stay behind the last car instead of going ahead of drivers who may have just had difficulty overtaking you safely.
Generally makes sense, although if overtaking you is easy (e.g. you're in a wide lane), there is no reason not to roll past long lanes of cars.

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Next time, they might not be so careful.
Nothing works better than a little fear-mongering.

Quote:
4. Ride predictably. Maintain a straight line. Use hand signals when turning or changing lanes.
+1.

Quote:
5. Stay off busy roads. Drivers will be uptight enough without your being in their way.
This is exactly the "bike is a toy" and "bikes get in the way" mentality that disgusts me so much.

Quote:
Find an alternative route out of the main traffic flow if possible.
If "possible", eh? Well, you know it's always possible. If you don't mind tripling your distance and stopping every 100 feet for a stop sign.

Quote:
6. Don't provoke a reaction. Don't circle in front of stopped cars or lean on one while waiting for a light.
This is a pretty obvious one. Also confirms my suspicion as to what kind of cyclist the author is and at whom his advice is directed. From my experience, people who tend to ride in little circles at lights are full-kit weekend riders who can't be bothered to clip out.

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7. Be gracious. Motion a driver to make his turn in front of you if you'll be slow getting under way.
What does this even mean exactly? What kind of turn is it - left, right? I don't picture the situation. If you are slow (or stopped at a light) drivers don't need you to motion for them to make a turn - they just make it.

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Who knows? That driver might look a bit more kindly on the next cyclist down the road.
Yep. Remember, your ultimate objection at all times is to please the drivers. If you are a good boy, your superiors in cages will look more kindly upon you. They might even consider making a great concessions and waste three or sometimes even ten seconds of their important lives just to avoid running you over! You must feel forever grateful!

Quote:
8. Obey all traffic laws. Don't run lights or stop signs, or zip through road works.
What's meant by "zip through road works"? If there is enough space for you to safely go around road construction while cars must be stuck in line - what's the problem and how does it violate the law?

Quote:
When cyclists disregard the rules of the road, drivers have a right to be annoyed.
Why don't drivers clean up their act first before "getting annoyed"? Especially getting annoyed when cyclists are not breaking any laws.

All of this sounds suspiciously similar to "If you wear short skirts, you are asking for it, and you can't really blame men for raping you even if you technically did nothing wrong." I hope I don't need to explain what's wrong with this.
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Old 04-05-08, 04:11 PM   #11
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Well I just started riding again my self, and also live in a new town. Some of the incidents in my short rides here have me almost scared to drive on any paved road here.

I have a nice paved bike trail behind my house that goes at least 8 miles, to get to it you have to take the residential roads out. For residential roads these are terribly busy and extremely narrow, I'm not very comfortable having cars fly by me leaving me only mm's (if that) of room.

So with that list saying find a less congested way, well there isn't one unless I want to rack my bike on the back of my car and drive it somewhere Which I will do at some point when I find some decent unpaved trails here.

I think motorists should show a bit more caution and courtesy to cyclists, the 3 seconds it takes to "safely" pass a slower moving vehicle isn't going to make a drivers time any longer.

Last edited by trek830; 04-05-08 at 04:19 PM.
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Old 04-05-08, 05:14 PM   #12
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While I don't disagree with the OP that the rules are quaint, misguided and wrong this is exactly the sort of crap we need to get out of beginner cyclists'and non-cyclists' heads.
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Old 04-05-08, 06:06 PM   #13
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I agree with everything there, including the overall premise. I think beginning cyclists need to read and pay attention to those rules, and experienced cyclists need to review them.

Now, having said that ... although I agree with #1, I also know that there are no such thing as good bicycle paths so it should never irritate a driver that a cyclist is on the road because there will never be "a wide, clean, safe cycle path" to ride on.

And I wonder about #7 ... waving motorists on could put the motorist into a bad position. For example, if we waved a motorist on, but failed to see an oncoming vehicle, or a pedestrian or something, we could be causing more problems than we are solving.
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Old 04-08-08, 09:40 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Cadfael View Post
1. Keep left. If there's a wide, clean, safe cycle path, use it. One thing that always irritates motorists is a cyclist riding in the road when a good cycle path is present.
Has anyone ever seen a good clean cycle path? In hundreds of thousands of kilometres in three countries, I can only ever recall one, and even that only provided access to a very limited portion of the city in which it was located.

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2. When riding with a friend, ride side by side only when it won't cause traffic to back up or pass dangerously.
That sounds reasonable to me.

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3. Don't force vehicles to overtake you repeatedly. At a traffic light, stay behind the last car instead of going ahead of drivers who may have just had difficulty overtaking you safely. Next time, they might not be so careful.
Does that apply both ways? Five days a week I commute on roads on which I'm faster than the cars. Good luck getting any of them to wait behind you at a set of lights (unless you position yourself right in the middle of the lane). I'll do what I always do and assess each intersection as I see it. If you can accelerate faster than the cars (and I generally can), it's much safer to be at the front than caught in the chaos of the intersection immediately after light changes. If drivers really have so much "difficulty" in overtaking cyclists, perhaps we should always push to the front and ensure we clear the intersection to make it easier on them.

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Originally Posted by Cadfael View Post
4. Ride predictably. Maintain a straight line. Use hand signals when turning or changing lanes.
That sounds reasonable to me, although I've largely abandoned hand signals on the grounds that most drivers aren't smart enough to understand them. I rely on lane positioning these days.

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Originally Posted by Cadfael View Post
5. Stay off busy roads. Drivers will be uptight enough without your being in their way. Find an alternative route out of the main traffic flow if possible.
Why? It's a well-known fact that the speed of traffic on any given road is inversely proportional to the amount of traffic it carries. Often on the busiest roads, I'm faster than the traffic. It's not uncommon for me to pass thousands of cars on the way to work in the morning. Additionally, what do you do when there isn't an alternative road, but you still need to get to work on time?

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6. Don't provoke a reaction. Don't circle in front of stopped cars or lean on one while waiting for a light.
Where does this "Provoke a reaction" thing come from? It's a well-known fact that over 95% of decisions people make have already been made in their own mind before they're presented with the facts. If you don't believe me, watch some advertisements and note how very few of them actually present any facts, but rely more on trying to engage a person's long held prejudices or emotions. This sounds like more "blame the victim" crap to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cadfael View Post
7. Be gracious. Motion a driver to make his turn in front of you if you'll be slow getting under way. Who knows? That driver might look a bit more kindly on the next cyclist down the road.

I'm yet to be in a situation where a driver accelerating away from a set of lights has actually been faster than I have. This is a red herring.


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Originally Posted by Cadfael View Post
8. Obey all traffic laws. Don't run lights or stop signs, or zip through road works. When cyclists disregard the rules of the road, drivers have a right to be annoyed. To get respect, you must show respect.

Does that mean I have a right to be annoyed when drivers do the same thing? I saw someone driving down a "bike path" earlier this week, do I have the "right" to verbally abuse or physically assault them in response? It's always interesting to watch people change their answer to that question when the roles are reversed. While I believe cyclists should stop at red lights and stop signs, and do so myself, I'm not about to start accepting second-rate behaviour from motorists because of what some imaginary cyclist allegedly did earlier that day.
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Old 04-08-08, 10:19 PM   #15
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1. Keep left. If there's a wide, clean, safe cycle path, use it. One thing that always irritates motorists is a cyclist riding in the road when a good cycle path is present.
There are *some* bike lanes in the city where I live. In a certain area, there's a bit of downhill with a slight curve in the road. There are also bike lanes, however, the bike lanes are full of sand and grit and I wasn't comfortable riding on it, so I'd edge out into the "car" lane. However, to the motorist who wouldn't notice these sort of details, the lanes look perfectly fine and unobstructed. So, no, I will use my judgement regarding what lane I'll be using.

Quote:
5. Stay off busy roads. Drivers will be uptight enough without your being in their way. Find an alternative route out of the main traffic flow if possible.
I normally go through side streets on my commute to work. However, if I wanted to shave about 5 minutes from my time, I take the more travelled streets. On my way to the mall for groceries, I have to cross a highway (QEW). I have no choice but to use the main streets, it's the only way to get through them. You'd think they'd have included bike lanes in the infrastructure improvements. In any case drivers either slow down or learn to pass. I consider it "traffic calming"

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Old 04-08-08, 11:24 PM   #16
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if I ever caught ANYONE leaning on my Charger, they'd be scraping that person's body up from under my drag slicks..
I hope you don't mean that 4 door POS.
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Old 04-09-08, 05:34 AM   #17
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Am I being to picky here?
No you are not, there is lots of garbage here.
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Am I being to picky here?
3. Don't force vehicles to overtake you repeatedly. At a traffic light, stay behind the last car instead of going ahead of drivers who may have just had difficulty overtaking you safely. Next time, they might not be so careful.
1. I don't FORCE anybody to overtake me repeatedly. They drive their car, not me.
2. It is not my fault that cars are poor performers in traffic.
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Old 04-09-08, 05:37 AM   #18
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7. Be gracious. Motion a driver to make his turn in front of you if you'll be slow getting under way. Who knows? That driver might look a bit more kindly on the next cyclist down the road.
.
More likely, the next cyclist who actually goes when it is time to go, will get run over, because the car expects all bikes now to give way to his car.
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Old 04-09-08, 05:41 AM   #19
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At a traffic light, stay behind the last car instead of going ahead of drivers who may have just had difficulty overtaking you safely. Next time, they might not be so careful.

.
Yes sit at the back of a line of cars needlessly, so that instead of a line of cars getting rear ended by another car, you'll get crushed.
Who is the first car to get rear ended in a rear end crash? The car ( or in this case you) at the back of the line.

Toss this book in the garbage. It was written more for cars than bikes.
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Old 04-09-08, 06:10 AM   #20
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I've done a lot of hiking in times past, and a good bit of that was on some single-track trails that were largely used by mountain bikers. I've noticed that on these trails, when they have rules posted, in some cases hikers always have the right-of-way, and in other cases, it's the bikes. But I figured out rather quickly that regardless of what the signs said, it was nearly always much easier for a hiker to step out of the way than for a bicyclist to get out of the way, and did so. I found the bicyclists were usually appreciative of that.

I think there's a similar thing that goes on with bikes and cars. You can demand your right-of-way, and expect traffic to wait while you do whatever you do. But that doesn't mean it's always the prudent thing to do.

I went on a longer ride the other day, a charity ride out through the country. It was sort of a gloomy-looking day. Much of the ride was on 2-lane farm-to-market roads. I kept my blinky on the whole ride, and stayed at the right most of the time. Motorists that passed me mostly would go on the far lane while passing; nobody ever got close to me with a car. I didn't see anyone else with a blinky going, and many of them were riding two-abreast. After the ride, one guy asked me, "Did you have any traffic problems?" Well, no I didn't. Evidently he did. And the same traffic passed us all for the most part. It may not be right, but you can create some of your own traffic problems. It's just like if you drive your car down a rural road at 25 mph. It may be legal, but that doesn't mean it's a good way to drive.

Tombstone inscription:
"Here lies the body of William Jay
Who died maintaining his right-of-way.
He was right, dead right, as he sped along.
But he's just as dead as if he'd been dead wrong."
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Old 04-09-08, 01:11 PM   #21
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thanks Cadfael...Im a commuter noob and this will definitely help me biking in city environment
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Old 04-09-08, 01:37 PM   #22
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9. If a driver should strike you, apologize profusely for getting in his way and hand him your ATM card, should you be unable to speak, wave a friendly hello and roll over so he/she can retrieve your wallet.

10. When a curb is present, ride between the curb and the seam with the asphalt to facilitate speedy passing of drivers. If no curb is present Steer off into the dirt when a motorist approaches from behind (although riding against traffic will make doing this much easier).

11. Should a motorist instruct you in the proper use of the road or what your lifestyle choices may be, agree with them and hit yourself on the head to show how crazy you are for being different from them.

and so on and so on....
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Old 04-09-08, 02:44 PM   #23
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1. I assume left because it's a UK book?
I would only keep to the edge of the road if a) there was already 1m of room to run off into and b) it's a 2-lane with shared turning center lane.
2. You can stagger line on most roads, which is what motorcyclists do (or, at least that's what was in the guide book).
3. Agreed playing leapfrog with cars is not my cup of tea. But this is situational. In the city I can totally pass cars and not worry about them catching up. Out of city I will totally get passed by cars and I won't see them again.
4. While I agree with riding predictably, some drivers still insist on passing you in the same lane on a 4-lane wide road even when you're going down dead center, swerving a bit would make them go around wider and give you room. Totally agree with signaling when possible.
5. Not an option in some places if you want to get up to 35~50km/h on your bike without having to stop constantly.
6. Who does that...
7. Wave them through? Some hand signals are misinterpreted and are the cause of accidents.
8. I already do this, but some just don't seem to get the message.
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Old 04-09-08, 03:40 PM   #24
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I hope you don't mean that 4 door POS.
www.glasswolf.net/charger/

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Old 04-09-08, 10:26 PM   #25
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To be honest, the whole chapter on Safety has both good and bad points.

I do have scans of the pages, but I don't want to post them on the public forum for copyright reasons, but if want to see them drop me a PM.
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