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  1. #1
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    Tadpole trike vs bikes on hwy - safety

    My wife and I are planning to go test out a couple of Terra Trikes in the next couple of weeks. She has expressed concern on the safety of a trike while riding along the highway shoulder. She's concerned that 1) the trike will be too low and thus not as visable to passing vehicles and 20 the width of a trike would, on narrow roads or those without a decent shoulder, put you closed to passing traffic. We ride mainly local secondary/county roads - some with a nice shoulder others without. Does she have a point or not?

  2. #2
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    Flag solves the visibility problem. Trikes aren't really that wide - ~34".

  3. #3
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    I don't really think that visibility from the front or the rear is an issue at all. I've driven routes where trikers were riding and saw them in plenty of time. It might be nice to have a flag to make you more visible from the side while in traffic.

    A trike may be a little wider than a bicycle but it's also more stable so you're not likely to weave side-to-side as much.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Fix a slow moving vehicle flag to the back of the rack you put on the trike. Use a hi-viz yellow helmet. Flags are not that visible from straight behind, so either get something that's not flat, or multiple streamers attached to the pole. A tadpole is only a 3" or so wider on each side than the rider's shoulders.
    Silver Eagle Pilot

  5. #5
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    I think I actually get a wider berth on my trike than I do my recumbent bike. I do have a flag stuck in each side of the seat on my TerraTrike. I look at it as double flags are just that much more noticeable.

    There seems to be a percentage of the public that think that trikes are handicap vehicles, and for that reason they give them a wider berth. But what the heck if that is what they think and stay further away from me thats ok too.

  6. #6
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
    I think I actually get a wider berth on my trike than I do my recumbent bike. I do have a flag stuck in each side of the seat on my TerraTrike. I look at it as double flags are just that much more noticeable.

    There seems to be a percentage of the public that think that trikes are handicap vehicles, and for that reason they give them a wider berth. But what the heck if that is what they think and stay further away from me thats ok too.
    Good ^^^

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  7. #7
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    A big +1 for Dinotte tail lights! Nothing better out there!
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  8. #8
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    +1 for getting a painfully-bright tail light like a Dinotte. On the subject of "low," I know plenty of people who were hit from behind on their DF bikes, and the driver claimed they didn't see the rider. It's not about height, it's about making the drivers see you. And speaking of which, being as far as possible to the side of the road makes you more invisible.

  9. #9
    Senior Member WPeabody's Avatar
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    People do not have a problem seeing me on highways. It is parking lots that are troublesome for low riders. I have to proceed with caution, because other than my flags, I am not terribly visible when they are in their SUVs and pickups. Also pulling up in the bike lane alongside cars at traffic lights can sometimes get you in their blind spot, but if you are behind them a little ways, or between vehicles to the side, you will be visible. And yes, the lights and bright colors (especially yellow pannier covers) and flags certainly help.
    What do you call a cyclist who sells potpourri on the road? A pedaling petal-peddler.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Tandem427's Avatar
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    The only concerns I have on my low-rider tadpole trike is riding through crowded parking lots. No problems at all out on the open road.

  11. #11
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    People seem to see me better on my trike because the profile of a trike so different from a bike. It makes the brain notice more easily than say, the 1,000,000th cyclist. I'm rock steady, so no weaving when climbing steep hills. And really, a trike isn't much wider than the space between a bike's handle-bars. The only difference is you can overlap a handlebar on the verge of a road easier than a wheel, but only if you know you're absolutely not going to need to swerve right that 2 inches into gravel or grass. If I have to put a wheel off the road edge, it's a miniscule inconvenience, not a likely nasty tumble.

  12. #12
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    The only thing I have reservations about riding a trike long distances on hiways is many these days have rumble strips at the shoulder. Many of the rumble strips are way too wide, and leave little room on the shoulder for a trike. That means a trike rider will be on the edge of the hiway most of the time, and will have to constantly be watching for traffic approaching from the rear. When he does see traffic comming he will have to ride onto the rumble strips and buzz the heck out of his trike.

  13. #13
    Dogs like me. Ajenkins's Avatar
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    I never really got that whole "need a flag" thing. Between me and my trike, I'm the size of a refrigerator. For the most part, people can see a refrigerator on the road. I'm also plenty high enough. I'm much taller than the lines painted on the road, and people see those just fine. If someone can't see a refrigerator or the lines on the road, I'm pretty sure a flag won't make any difference.

    I suspect this is one of those "culture of fear" myths. I've been riding my trike for years without a flag. Mostly I get the "I almost didn't see you!" comments. wtf does that mean, you "almost" didn't see me?

    Translated, what that comment means is that you saw something unusual on the road and could not immediately classify it, which is different from almost hitting you. When people almost hit you, they say "I almost hit you!" not "I almost didn't see you!"

    It saddens me that people are so afraid of doing the things they love to do.

  14. #14
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    ajenkins

    You are of course right. Unless some fool driver is texting or something, most drivers will swerve to miss a dead skunk, which is much smaller than a trike.

    My point about flags and other safety equiptment is mainly legal. If a driver hits a trike or a bike, or even a motorcycle, they always say---------------I didnt see him!!! which of course in most cases is a lie. But------when the case comes to court if you dont have a helmet or flag, the drivers lawyer trys to make the cyclist at least partly to blame for the accident. That of course is stupid, but the courts seem to buy into this. Many cases dont even get to criminal court because of this. Cyclist usually have to resort to civil court to get relief.

  15. #15
    Dogs like me. Ajenkins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
    ajenkins

    You are of course right. Unless some fool driver is texting or something, most drivers will swerve to miss a dead skunk, which is much smaller than a trike.

    My point about flags and other safety equiptment is mainly legal. If a driver hits a trike or a bike, or even a motorcycle, they always say---------------I didnt see him!!! which of course in most cases is a lie. But------when the case comes to court if you dont have a helmet or flag, the drivers lawyer trys to make the cyclist at least partly to blame for the accident. That of course is stupid, but the courts seem to buy into this. Many cases dont even get to criminal court because of this. Cyclist usually have to resort to civil court to get relief.
    I've heard that argument before, but I've never seen any actual case citations, so forgive me for being suspicious. Can you point me to some?

  16. #16
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Sylvia has gone up and down the west coast of the U.S., through Australia, Vietnam, Thailand, and mainland China on her recumbent trike. Read about her journeys on http://www.myrtletheturtle.me/ . Your wife may find them inspiring. I certainly do- I was chatting with her this weekend at our annual recumbent races/get-together.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    Ajenkins

    I cant give you a specific incident, but in the several bike forums that I am on, I have read several reports of this happening. It is all part of the "blame the cyclist" bent that courts seem to have. Some courts seem so bad that if like in 1900 they seem to think that you should have a runner in front and behind you waving a flag like they did for cars back then so as not to scare horses.

  18. #18
    Senior Member chandltp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
    The only thing I have reservations about riding a trike long distances on hiways is many these days have rumble strips at the shoulder. Many of the rumble strips are way too wide, and leave little room on the shoulder for a trike. That means a trike rider will be on the edge of the hiway most of the time, and will have to constantly be watching for traffic approaching from the rear. When he does see traffic comming he will have to ride onto the rumble strips and buzz the heck out of his trike.
    Does your state law prohibit you from riding in the lane? In Pennsylvania, if I was presented with that situation, I'd be riding in the lane, since the rumble strips are not a usable part of the roadway. It's the same as if there's no shoulder. I've rarely had issues with people squeezing past me (probably because I look so wide).

    I have a mirror in the event a driver fails doesn't seem to be moving over or slowing down, I can bail if I have to. I've never had to though.

    I think most of the time people give me a wider pass since they think I'm riding something they don't understand (or think it's a wheelchair).
    There are 10 types of people, those that understand binary and those that don't.

  19. #19
    Senior Member chandltp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tandem427 View Post
    The only concerns I have on my low-rider tadpole trike is riding through crowded parking lots. No problems at all out on the open road.
    That is my concern as well, and the primary reason I have a flag. When there are other cars around me, I simply can't be seen over the other cars.. the flag helps that somewhat. They know there's *something* there.
    There are 10 types of people, those that understand binary and those that don't.

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