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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

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Old 08-24-13, 01:53 AM   #1
Nihilum
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Are We Target Practice or Something?

I've noticed that where I live, there are a lot of cars who seem to have the sole purpose of trying to dismount cyclists as they pass. Is this a problem in other areas as well?

It's crazy some of the things drivers do to get cyclists off the road...even if we're in a marked bike lane. Personally, I've had a couple cars try to clip me, and I've had multiple objects thrown at me from moving vehicles. Water bottles, cans, and trash are most common things I've seen thrown. All done while riding my bike and following all traffic laws pertaining to cycling.

I've even had one teenage kid try to clip me...miss...then pull over and get out of his car like he was going to start a fight. He changed his mind when I unclipped and stopped about 30 feet away and started unstrapping my road shoes. I'm not one of those guys who thinks he's bad, I was just pissed that he tried to hit me with his friggin car. Having spent time in the Marines, I tend to act before I think.

In an area that's population is only 250,000 it disturbs me how often this sort of stuff happens. I also don't understand what would drive a person to act so violently towards a random stranger. Is it mass road rage or something?
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Old 08-24-13, 04:37 AM   #2
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Sadly your city isn't the only with this problem. The city I came from in Australia has the same problem. My brother was on a bike lane and a car tail-gated him and then eventually hit him. I too had a similar thing happen to me but I jumped the gutter to avoid them. Seems the dickheads are exactly that.
BUT here in my new city in Japan, I have never had the experiance of an agressive driver.
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Old 08-24-13, 05:16 AM   #3
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Happened to me just yesterday.
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Old 08-24-13, 06:11 AM   #4
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Maybe a reason to ride with a gopro?
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Old 08-24-13, 06:55 AM   #5
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Many of the problems you describe don't depend on where you ride in the lane. The projectiles for example. Nevertheless, I will mention that I have been most successful in getting respect from drivers by riding about 60% to the left (USA) in the right hand lane. Not allowing cars to occupy the lane with me has always seemed to make the point that I have rights to the road as much as they do.
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Old 08-24-13, 07:29 AM   #6
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I ride occasionally in southern Maryland and it happens frequently. I complained to a native and they said I'm viewed as a clay pigeon.
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Old 08-24-13, 07:31 AM   #7
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Many of the problems you describe don't depend on where you ride in the lane. The projectiles for example. Nevertheless, I will mention that I have been most successful in getting respect from drivers by riding about 60% to the left (USA) in the right hand lane. Not allowing cars to occupy the lane with me has always seemed to make the point that I have rights to the road as much as they do.
You obviously don't live/ride in a metropolitan area. You would be killed doing that most places but not until a hundred drivers lay on their horn going around you.
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Old 08-24-13, 07:43 AM   #8
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Here there is a radio that has a "Honk a cyclist" campaign. Basically, they want drivers to pass as close as possible to cyclists and honk them. They even ask to call and do it live, or tell stories about when they did it.

It is really ridiculous to see people use their "power", to do such things...
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Old 08-24-13, 07:46 AM   #9
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You obviously don't live/ride in a metropolitan area. You would be killed doing that most places but not until a hundred drivers lay on their horn going around you.
Absolutely false Stan. I live and ride in the center of Houston. Of course I am not talking about riding on two lane roads during rush hour. I like to say, "Cycle in the gutter, die in the gutter." Ask around. My method is widely accepted as the safest way to ride. Making room for a car in your lane is as old fashioned and dangerous as salmoning.
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Old 08-24-13, 07:51 AM   #10
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In the eyes of most drivers in SE Michigan, riding a bicycle in the road means you're less than human. It's not uncommon for somebody driving in the opposite direction, 2+ lanes away, to lay on their horn and scream as they drive by.
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Old 08-24-13, 07:53 AM   #11
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You should all just move.
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Old 08-24-13, 08:25 AM   #12
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Seriously, move or organize a Critical Mass and start fighting back.
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Old 08-24-13, 08:29 AM   #13
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Seriously, move or organize a Critical Mass and start fighting back.
Or just try to be more careful and vigilant.
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Old 08-24-13, 08:30 AM   #14
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By the way, I saw a buddy almost get hit yesterday TWICE.
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Old 08-24-13, 08:33 AM   #15
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I live close to, and commute through part of, downtown Cincinnati. I used to commute through some rather "rough" neighborhoods as well. I have, however, been fortunate in having never had to deal with anything like what other posters are describing here around this city. I once had a water bottle thrown at me while riding along a two-lane road in south Oklahoma City, but that's about it. I count myself fortunate when I read about all these kinds of things happening. That craziness about the radio station that generalkdi mentioned is absolutely nuts! Their station director needs to start receiving some angry phone calls from every cyclist in that area!
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Old 08-24-13, 09:13 AM   #16
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michigan is full of car bound weirdos. we used to get the same treatment from aholes passing by when we were skateboarding. hey ffffffffffgt, skate or die. i suspect they find lycra clad cyclists equally troublesome.
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Old 08-24-13, 09:26 AM   #17
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We had some local kids shooting bicyclists with BB guns from a moving car. Police are working on it and its died down since the actions hit the media. People are d!cks.
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Old 08-24-13, 09:28 AM   #18
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The only thing a solo rider taking up 60% of the lane will get here, is an ambulance ride. I rarely ride alone. My brother got me into cycling, and we've made a thing of getting together three days a week (weather permitting) and riding. More often than not, the roads that we ride on have wide shoulders, and no bike lane. We tend to stay on the shoulder since it is wider than a bike lane would be anyway...this is where a water bottle was thrown at me for the first time.

As far as those idiots on the radio telling people to "honk a cyclist". People need to keep in mind that they dont like it when a big rig gets real close to them and uses their air horn.
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Old 08-24-13, 09:40 AM   #19
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I don't know the answer here, other than what some have already said: move to a more bike friendly locale. Not that there's anything easy or convenient about that... but I know I would if I felt it was unsafe for me or the child to ride the roads around here. But perhaps you're not being very diligent in picking your routes? You're not the only poster here from P-cola, and the others don't seem to get nearly the same rash of **** as you describe. Another poster above mentioned a Go-Pro... I bet if you and a handful of other P-cola cyclists were running them and turning in video evidence with tag numbers to the 5-Oh, word will get out and behavior will begin to change.
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Old 08-24-13, 10:14 AM   #20
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The only thing a solo rider taking up 60% of the lane will get here, is an ambulance ride. I rarely ride alone. My brother got me into cycling, and we've made a thing of getting together three days a week (weather permitting) and riding. More often than not, the roads that we ride on have wide shoulders, and no bike lane. We tend to stay on the shoulder since it is wider than a bike lane would be anyway...this is where a water bottle was thrown at me for the first time.

As far as those idiots on the radio telling people to "honk a cyclist". People need to keep in mind that they dont like it when a big rig gets real close to them and uses their air horn.
I know you think that's true and it is certainly intuitive, but on a 4-lane road it works everywhere I have tried it. It also works on 2-lane roads when traffic is light enough that cars behind you can pass, or if you pay attention to them coming up on you and move over to let them by. It wouldn't seem that moving over to let them by and just riding to the right would be any different, but it is. The act of making them take note of you then letting them by just seems to create a better relationship between the car and the bike. The car can't blindly just squeeze past without taking note of the bike. The whole process becomes conscious. As far as riding 2-lane roads when traffic is heavy and you will be alongside cars in a tight space for extended periods of time, I have to say that isn't very safe anywhere. There have to be better times and places to ride.

By the way Houston has just enacted a 3-foot clearance rule for motor vehicles passing bikes. First positive law for cyclists in these parts anyone can remember.
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Old 08-24-13, 10:34 AM   #21
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Where I live (Los Angeles) doesn't seem so bad when I start reading everyone else's stories. I ride every day to commute and longer training rides mixed in and for fun. I've had a few people buzz me because they were on their phone or texting and not paying attention. I had one guy in a pick up that intentionally road my ass like he was going to start something but then when I pulled over and got off my bike he took off. Other then that my daily riding is as comfortable as it can be considering there are over 4 million cars on the road in LA county and considering there are not as many dedicated bike lanes or paths as their should be. When I am in heavy traffic areas I always take the entire lane. I think we have enough awareness here that most people respect you and a lot of the people in riding around in their high end luxury cars are also riding around on their $10k bikes on the weekend so they understand
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Old 08-24-13, 10:35 AM   #22
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As far as those idiots on the radio telling people to "honk a cyclist". People need to keep in mind that they dont like it when a big rig gets real close to them and uses their air horn.
Id like to know the name of the radio station? They dont care but maybe their sponsors care that the station is promoting an unsafe potentially deadly practice in the name of "fun".
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Old 08-24-13, 11:19 AM   #23
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It's good to know that Im not the only one. As far as finding a more bike friendly locale...Im not moving...and that's pretty much what it would take.
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Old 08-24-13, 01:05 PM   #24
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Man, this is making me appreciate my AO!

Maybe it's a west coast thing.. many or most of the above "systemic" issues are elsewhere.

I ride in a rural area with no bike lanes and sometimes no shoulder worth mentioning. I keep my head on a swivel and when a car comes up from behind, try to squeeze over as much as I can to make things easier for cars passing, and safer for me. I think people appreciate that. It's a hilly area and the exception is when I'm ripping a downhill at 35+ mph; I'll take the lane then, because no way I'm risking getting over near the edge of the road, where pavement issues or rocks are more likely, and I'm also not much interested in being passed closely at those speeds.

I have a time or two each ride where (usually a big pickup) will pass me closer than I'd have preferred, but this is usually when I'm on a road with a wide shoulder, and they just hold their line rather than swerve to the left side of their lane to give me max clearance. It annoys me but those same guys, generally speaking, pass me quite safely* when there's not a shoulder.

*The exception to this is on blind corners or blind uphills, where I'm just shocked at how willing drivers are to leave their lane and cross the centerline. Ok, so they are giving me lots of room, which is nice and all, but the day their luck runs out it's going to be UGLY, and I could easily end up a part of the wreck.

This will sound woo-woo corny, but I do feel that people carry an "aura" with them of their attitude. I guess it's expressed via actions, and body language. I try to have empathy for the other guy as a rule of life, and that includes while riding. I don't think I exude arrogance or holier-than-thou on a bike; I think I instead exude an understanding that the two of us, driver and rider, can work together go solve our little problem. Seems to work- usually.

Psychologists have done studies showing how much people change when driving. I'm of the opinion that people tend to, what's the best word, "anthromorphisize" (sp?) with their vehicle's motion in the sense that once they've got up to a speed, slowing down seems like a huge effort. In reality, it's as simple as moving your right foot (3) inches and pressing a pedal with their toe, then moving it back the other way and pressing again. However, that seems to be very difficult for people. And I can relate! I've found myself choosing to steer around a problem in the road rather than slowing down, more so in my younger years, but even still I've noticed it. Once you get used to going 60 mph it's hypnotic or something and slowing down is a real effort.

For those of you living in areas with such overt aggression being thrown your way, you have my somewhat aghast sympathies! That's just awful.
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Old 08-24-13, 04:24 PM   #25
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"Think about what will happen to your family when you go to prison for killing me." That usually makes people react or stop acting like such a hard ass when I confront them.
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