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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 09-22-06, 07:50 AM   #1
hankNYC
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1 thin pube hair from getting doored this morning.

Riding to work in midtown this am, I came within .00005 seconds of a cab door being opened by a ****heel, wussy out-of-town businessdork so goo-goo eyed and stunned to actually be in NYC, he never looked. And yes I was checking roof lights (tip). Cabbie had it off.

After an overwhelming urge (suppressed) to throw a haymaker, and then a rush of happiness to be alive, I said to myself, let's get positive on this. So this thread:

All you longtime messengers and commuters, what are the 5 most important things you do to keep from getting killed, losing teeth, etc. in NYC traffic?

And everyone from everywhere else, go ahead and post your inevitable "you deserve what you get for living in NY" comments if you must. Just try to make them funny if you can.
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Old 09-22-06, 08:06 AM   #2
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- Watch out for the left cross (ie. if you see someone hail a cab, assume you're about to get drilled from behind/the side by a cabbie who's charging for the fare and oblivious to anyone else on the road)
- I never check for cab lights ... I just watch for people in the car and people trying to get a cab.
- Never pass on the right, especially at intersections.
- People trying to turn left across an intersection from you will look right at you and then turn. Anticipate that move and get read to cut around them.
- Go behind peds. People's instinct is either to freeze or go forward when in doubt. It's when they see you a long way off that they sometimes remember to get the **** off the road.

Edit: Toronto bonus tip: Don't EVER forget about the streetcar tracks. They'll put you on your face, otherwise.
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Old 09-22-06, 08:09 AM   #3
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You deserve to get where you are going without getting doored.
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Old 09-22-06, 08:18 AM   #4
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I think all DT traffic rippin' regardless of city.

Watch the front wheels for left/right movement, (you know turn signals aren't happenin')
Look in the windows of parked cars for heads.
Don't be afraid to take the lane once you get up to speed.
Threading the lane is your friend. (if you are in front you are winning )
A visable U-lock or mondo chain held up to the window will slow most cagers .

AND Peds make wonderful human shields.

Last edited by TRaffic Jammer; 09-22-06 at 08:41 AM.
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Old 09-22-06, 08:28 AM   #5
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I've started to use cars as mighty 2 tonne armour alot recently. Whenever I need to cross a busy intersection without lights or make a left across traffic I shadow a car to block cars from charging at me or around me.

I also know my commute route and its light timing and traffic patterns well, so I know when I can bomb a red, when I can take off early before a green, when I need to slow down and watch for death, watch for doors, avoid potholes and get ahead of cars through bottlenecks. If I wasn't taking these liberties I would be surrounded/getting passed by cars constantly. The way I ride now I'm ahead of the cars for the majority of the time. Its still dangerous as hell though! I usually give a full lane to parked taxis because I find I'm more likely to get cut off or crashed into by a cabbie pulling out crazily from a taxi stand than doored.

Taking the lane assertively and making hand signals to cars to slow down or pass are also more and more useful to me as I get better at using them. Oh yeah don't pass on the right.

I've never ridden in NYC, but from what I've seen in videos and tourist trips there, is you've got alot more traffic than us, but it travels quite a bit more slowly due to congestion, meaning you can ride where you like on the road. In Toronto if you're taking any lane other than the right lane you'll probably get run down by a car pretty quickly.
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Old 09-22-06, 08:37 AM   #6
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1. Take the lane
2. Take the lane
3. Take the lane
4. Stay outta the bike lane
5. Never ever assume anything

Shinaz has a good point, let the cars do the work for you, I tend to ride along side to make a left in a large busy intersection. Also, I never ride within 2-3 feet, got to keep the clearance.
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Old 09-22-06, 08:38 AM   #7
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This covers most of it: http://bicyclesafe.com/
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Old 09-22-06, 08:39 AM   #8
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Sweet lord, get this topic away from the top, I can't read "pube hair" anymore!

AHH! I bumped it again!!!!
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Old 09-22-06, 09:05 AM   #9
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Stay outta the door zone. Take the lane. Ride in between lanes. Look for heads, open windows, brake/reverse lights on parked cars. In heavy traffic, watch for doorings from cabs when passengers just decide they'll walk and get out in the middle of the street. Watch for peds trying to grab those same cabs in heavy traffic. They assume you'll stop (silly peds!). Peds are unpredictable. I disagree that they'll keep moving forward or freeze. They'll either move forward, freeze, move backwards or do some idiotic dance. Just pick a line, sit back, get low and get ready to mow.
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Old 09-22-06, 09:16 AM   #10
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Don't depend on signals and brake lights for much though, you can get screwed that way as I have on a few occasions (The lady signaling right and then turning left in front of me comes to mind)
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Old 09-22-06, 10:12 AM   #11
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Taking a lane and using cars as armour are the best. And ALWAYS have a bail line worked out, sometimes you just can't stop in time.
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Old 09-22-06, 10:22 AM   #12
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Make the peds do the dance of death for extra points.
They see you coming...they freeze not knowing which side you will carve them on.
Wiggle front wheel left and right to cause near fatal confusion in ped. Rejoice at making he/she dance in traffic.
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Old 09-22-06, 10:57 AM   #13
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Haha you really are a sadist TJ
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Old 09-22-06, 11:22 AM   #14
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My favorite game as a messenger in Montreal, the peds there are jaywalkin' masters. Only ever played with jaywalkers, anyone else and it's simply bad karma.
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Old 09-22-06, 11:26 AM   #15
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slow down 1-2 mph. seriously...it makes a huge difference. i rarely break 15 unless it's a long straightaway such as the west side path or some roads in brooklyn. below 15 is my saftey "sweet spot".
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Old 09-22-06, 12:00 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TRaffic Jammer

AND Peds make wonderful human shields.
this is very true.
pedestrians crossing the street can be a good indicator as to whether its safe to blow through.
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Old 09-22-06, 12:25 PM   #17
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It's when they start running you have to worry.
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Old 09-22-06, 12:43 PM   #18
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I dunno I think you guys have it rough but where I live people drive big pick ups and suvs in the middle of congested downtown and they try and door you or tell you to get out of their way so I do sort of understand but I probably wont ride in ny ever....

next time when you see the door start to open if it is close reach over the bars and close it
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Old 09-22-06, 12:45 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TRaffic Jammer
It's when they start running you have to worry.
Thats when you get your ass outta the saddle and use them drops.
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Old 09-22-06, 12:52 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timmhaan
slow down 1-2 mph. seriously...it makes a huge difference. i rarely break 15 unless it's a long straightaway such as the west side path or some roads in brooklyn. below 15 is my saftey "sweet spot".
Not an option.
Especially for the messies on here.
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Old 09-22-06, 01:00 PM   #21
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Slowing down is admitting defeat.
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Old 09-22-06, 01:24 PM   #22
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San Francisco Isn't as sketch as NY (NO place is). That said, here is what I do to keep my teeth in The City.

1. Blinking front light.
2. Look for people in parked cars.
3. Keeping a doors length away from parked cars.
4. Knocking on windows/ doors when needed.
5. Stopping @ stop signs and reds.
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Old 09-22-06, 01:57 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TRaffic Jammer
Make the peds do the dance of death for extra points.
They see you coming...they freeze not knowing which side you will carve them on.
Wiggle front wheel left and right to cause near fatal confusion in ped. Rejoice at making he/she dance in traffic.
Dude, you're a ******bag! I like it, a lot.

For Pittsburgh it's a little different when not around downtown or on major roads. When there's one lane of travel in each direction, no bike lane, and sidewalks close on either side, I'd rather pass slowly on the right than shoot down the middle. But then occasionally there's some jackhole in an SUV who takes up the entire lane...
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Old 09-22-06, 02:43 PM   #24
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I occasionally like riding on the yellow line in heavy downtown traffic, splitting the same direction and oncoming...just the safest place to be sometimes, no rights no lefts no doors. I haven't had a ped dance in years and years, it was totally a messenger game in Montreal where you could make eye contact with the ped. They would also jaywalk en mass across the intersection if no cars were there, so hitting the green at speed was more dangerous than running a red sometimes. So it was the chain of urban life, Simba.

Like sfcrossrider said.... knocking on the side panel when they drift over into your 6inch zone is always a good way of moving them over. Not pounding, just knocking with your knuckle as if on your bud's door.
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Old 09-22-06, 02:50 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LóFarkas
Not an option.
Especially for the messies on here.
fair enough...but consider how time consuming an accident is. and if it's severe enough you'll have to get a police report, go see the doctor, get your bike fixed, etc.
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