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  1. #1
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    Car/Bicycle Experiment Results

    The last two weeks, I have conducted three experiments with cars. My first experiment was going under the speed limit, 21 mph in a 35 mph zone, while approaching a street to the right. I circled the blocks on both my bicycle and car at the same speed. On the bicycle, 60% of the cars tore around me to make a right turn, right in front of me. In the car, 20% of the cars did the same thing.

    My second experiment was going the speed limit, which was 30 mph, in both the car and bicycle on a 2 lane road. On the bicycle, 72% of the people tore around me. In the car, 16% passed me. On the bicycle, I took up the entire lane.

    My third experiment was exceeding the speed limit. It was a 30 mph speed limit, and I was going 40 mph (it is down hill). On the bicycle, 48% passed me. In the car, 8% passed me.

    I conducted these experiments by continuously circling the blocks around and around until 25 episodes occurred of each of the three experiments.

    My conclusion:
    I think the 2nd and 3rd experiments are alarming! To me, they show how much cyclists are disliked my automobile drivers. The third experiments show that cars were mostly satisfied exceeding the speed limit, only if it was an automobile in front of them. If it was a bicycle, they disliked it being in front of them, even though they were exceeding the speed limit. You have to wonder why they have such an aversion toward us.

  2. #2
    ARRRR! hillyman's Avatar
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    I've got a feeling that when gasoline prices shoot skyhigh that cyclist won't seem like a bunch of 'death wishers'.

  3. #3
    Center of the Universe ngateguy's Avatar
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    I really think they get the most upset at us when we are going faster than the speed limit. On my old commute route when I lived in North Seattle the last stretch of my ride was a 1/2 mile long down hill spin and I was always at speed limit or slightly above it about 3 blocks into it. When I am riding the speed limit I always take the lane. Every morning someone would have to speed by me to pass and most times slow down to the speed limit when they got past me. Still do not understand it.
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  4. #4
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ngateguy
    When I am riding the speed limit I always take the lane. Every morning someone would have to speed by me to pass and most times slow down to the speed limit when they got past me. Still do not understand it.
    That happens with me too. I can easily hit 50MPH on the main descent off the plateau where I live. The speed limit is actually 35MPH. There are no shoulders so I of course take the lane. I'd have claimed it anyways. The road is two lanes on either side. Many cars do in fact change lanes to pass me only to pull in front of me and brake to below my speed.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
    "Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send." -- Jon Postel, RFC1122

  5. #5
    Don't Believe the Hype RiPHRaPH's Avatar
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    i have always maintained that the problem with inattentive car drivers is: they don't realize how fast we are actually going on our bikes.

    how small minded does one have to be to rev an engine to prove that their pedal foot can be pushed down with such force as to accelerate past a bike...

    and lastly: where is it written that on a two lane road, a car can't slow up a bit when a car passes from the other direction to avoid having two cars & a bike all on the same plane.
    I have enough words to get me into trouble, but not enough to get me out of trouble.

  6. #6
    My own worst nightmare
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    Right, I'm not sure it's necessarily active dislike, but just the presumption that if you're in a car, guy X in front of you is on a bike, you should probably be going about 1.5x his speed. It doesn't matter what your speedometer says, let alone the Speed Limit sign.

    This happens to me all the time. People give me plenty of room, and appear courteous, they just assume that I must be going really slow, when in fact, they're significantly exceeding the speed limit.

  7. #7
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    I for one don't understand why drivers want to pass cyclists so badly but then again I'm also a cyclist. I was out with my wife driving to see the annual tulip bloom earlier today and we wound up behind a group of four female cyclists. The section of road was a no-passing zone and also fairly narrow so it was not safe to pass them. My wife was driving and we maintained about four bike lengths distance behind until it was safe to pass. Maybe it's just me but I like watching cyclists ride. I of course was quite happy to sit back there to admire them and their bikes but of course was smart enough not to convey those very thoughts to my wife.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
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  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    this past week i was riding around my house and i pulled up to a stop sign along side a dude in his honda civic race rocket (you know the ones i mean). well we both pulled away from the stop sign at the same time but he had to prove to me that he was a tough guy so he sped ahead of me...only problem is that its a 40km/h zone which had a cop it in so he had to slow to 40 while i passed him at 50...the cops had seen the whole thing and on my way back they stopped me and had a good laugh about it. (i thought they were gonna give me a ticket for something haha)

  9. #9
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobotSonic
    the cops had seen the whole thing and on my way back they stopped me and had a good laugh about it. (i thought they were gonna give me a ticket for something haha)
    Right now they're probably have a grand time laughing over the replays from the dashboard camera of you pulling ahead of the riceburner with the coffee-can muffler that makes loud farting noises.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ngateguy
    I really think they get the most upset at us when we are going faster than the speed limit.
    Yes they do. To me it seems their ego is threatened because a cyclist can keep up with them and he/she doesn't have all of that engine power. It makes them look small because they are having to use a machine and we are not. At least that's what it seems like to me!

  11. #11
    road siklista dexmax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ngateguy
    I really think they get the most upset at us when we are going faster than the speed limit.
    Of course they do!!!

    A fat guy on a bicycle, going faster than my 200hp machine?? Of course he'll overtake.. this is funny bit its true..

    Its the same thing with us cyclist... what do you do, when a kid on a BMX passes you when your riding you in your jersey and everything on $2000 dollar bike? you would try to chase the kid and try overtake. And tell ourselves, he's just a kid on a BMX. he's no match!! (I have nothing against BMX bikes, I ride BMX and do tricks when I was younger)..

    I don't think its a hate thing.. its just normal people trying to show who's stronger, and who's not... ..
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  12. #12
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pletcgm
    You have to wonder why they have such an aversion toward us.
    One word: bigotry. I've conducted some experiments of my own in different parts of Australia with some interesting (but hardly surprising) results. I have compared the treatment I receive from drivers in different Australian states (NSW, Qld, Vic, Tas, SA), both in urban areas and rural areas. I have concluded that in the areas that have high instances of other forms of bigotry (the recent Lonely Planet guide to Queensland warns travellers of the high levels of racism in that state), tend to treat cyclists a lot worse than the more enlightened parts of the country.

    This would also explain why the same behaviour on the bike tends to draw a more negative reaction from drivers than the same behaviour on a bicycle.

    Quote Originally Posted by dexmax
    I don't think its a hate thing.. its just normal people trying to show who's stronger, and who's not...
    Why then, are they apparently not so keen to do this to a guy who's driving an "inferior" car to theirs?
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  13. #13
    My own worst nightmare
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    Quote Originally Posted by dexmax
    Its the same thing with us cyclist... what do you do, when a kid on a BMX passes you when your riding you in your jersey and everything on $2000 dollar bike? you would try to chase the kid and try overtake. And tell ourselves, he's just a kid on a BMX. he's no match!!
    I picked up a co-worker on my tandem as part of last year's Bike to Work Week. On the way in, as a guy whizzed past us, my stoker asked "What was that?" (She's blind, and this is her way of participating in BTWW). I replied, "Oh, some guy in spandex on a skinny little bike just passed us." Suddenly I feel this surge of power from the stoker crank. We almost caught up with him before he turned off.

  14. #14
    Very Senior Member MikeR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ngateguy
    I really think they get the most upset at us when we are going faster than the speed limit. On my old commute route when I lived in North Seattle the last stretch of my ride was a 1/2 mile long down hill spin and I was always at speed limit or slightly above it about 3 blocks into it. When I am riding the speed limit I always take the lane. Every morning someone would have to speed by me to pass and most times slow down to the speed limit when they got past me. Still do not understand it.
    I think that some drivers don't want a cyclist in front of them because they are afraid that the cyclist might be in danger if he/she falls in front of their car. They don't want to deal with the possibility of suddenly having someone on the ground in front of their car.

    I'm NOT defending this train of thought - just trying to explain a mindset.
    It's better to cycle through life than to drive by it.

  15. #15
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    Drivers get really PO'd when they are stuck in traffic & you're riding right past them in the bike lane, especially when you pass them 3 or 4 times and they are stuck, then when they finally get moving they have to rev their engine as they pass you. You can usually tell by looking at the driver that they've never ridden on a bike (or get any other form of exercise). What we're dealing with is just plain ignorance. Some will actually look you right in the face & then cut in front of you anyways. You know they saw you, but they don't care, they are going to go anyways. Then they are mad when you yell at them!

  16. #16
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    I think that some drivers don't want a cyclist in front of them because they are afraid that the cyclist might be in danger if he/she falls in front of their car. They don't want to deal with the possibility of suddenly having someone on the ground in front of their car.
    I agree somewhat.

    Although, I'm attentive and considerate to cyclists in front of me, I'm always a little relieved to pass them. I think having someone as "unprotected" as a cyclist in front of a driver, makes said driver anxious.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    Cyclists are either passing the tin coffins when they're stuck in gridlock, or 'impeding' them when traffic is flowing freely. And most tin coffin operators have the misimpression that they actually do 'own the road'....

  18. #18
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlwschultz
    Drivers get really PO'd when they are stuck in traffic & you're riding right past them in the bike lane, especially when you pass them 3 or 4 times and they are stuck
    I can tell you that this is absolutely true when I'm driving and stuck in traffic. Admittedly, I'm angry at myself because I'm not on my own bike.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeR
    I think that some drivers don't want a cyclist in front of them because they are afraid that the cyclist might be in danger if he/she falls in front of their car. They don't want to deal with the possibility of suddenly having someone on the ground in front of their car.

    I'm NOT defending this train of thought - just trying to explain a mindset.
    And you're right. I often think about that myself while riding. That was one thought that I had before I posted this.

  20. #20
    My own worst nightmare
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeR
    I think that some drivers don't want a cyclist in front of them because they are afraid that the cyclist might be in danger if he/she falls in front of their car. They don't want to deal with the possibility of suddenly having someone on the ground in front of their car.

    I'm NOT defending this train of thought - just trying to explain a mindset.
    Yup, that's probably what they're thinking, if even subconsciously. What I find remarkable about this thinking is that the converse apparently does not occur to the person thinking it. IOW, does someone passing you because s/he's worried about being behind you not think that you have as much reason to be worried about being behind her/him? I'm no more likely to fall in front of a car than a car is likely to do something dangerous in front of me. I know I'm in control of my vehicle. I can only trust and hope that someone in front of me is in control of hers/his.

  21. #21
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    I have been going downhill at about 50 mph(long, steep hill, which i earned because i climbed it first). The speed limit is 40 mph, i was in the right hand side of the right lane, almost riding on the white line. People were still passing me, and very rapidly. I can see two reasons: First, people do not want to be beaten by a bicycle. Secondly, I think that most people, as has been mentioned before, do not want to be responsible if the cyclist wipes out.

  22. #22
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trekkie820
    I have been going downhill at about 50 mph(long, steep hill, which i earned because i climbed it first). The speed limit is 40 mph, i was in the right hand side of the right lane, almost riding on the white line. People were still passing me, and very rapidly. I can see two reasons: First, people do not want to be beaten by a bicycle. Secondly, I think that most people, as has been mentioned before, do not want to be responsible if the cyclist wipes out.
    Wow... you're braver than I! When I'm descending at those speeds, I claim the middle of the lane. This prevents people from passing me in the same lane and gives me room to float around if I need to in the curves. If cars need to pass me, they'll have to do so by changing lanes.
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  23. #23
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    It was a nice straight decent about an 11-14% gradient over about .75 miles, otherwise I would have taken up one lane. I thought that my computer was BSing me, but it sure wasn't! I was mostly trying to avoid the gravel on the roadside.

  24. #24
    Senior Member JasBike's Avatar
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    I had a similar problem. Coming out of my highschool parking lot. I was going 20mph which is VERY reasonable for a parking lot. I pulled up to the stop sign that leads onto the street. A big Lexus SUV decides it can't wait for me to pull out so it nudges right up next to me. Roads clear. I take off next to the SUV and start to turn onto the little sidewalk leading to the trails. At this point I am not in the lane at all. The SUV takes it upon itself to REVVVV right next to me as I'm pulling off the road.


    Another occasion.. I was traveling... 30mph down my road, which is a 25mph zone. SUV comes up (I have bad luck with SUVs...) and starts getting on thier horn and tailgating me... which is INCREDIBLY dangerous to the rider... any little tripup and *BAM* under a 4 ton vehicle.

    Its frustraing to say the least.

  25. #25
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    Throw up the one finger salute in any such situation.

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