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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 08-17-08, 07:26 PM   #1
NAES
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How many close calls per ride??

I live in a pretty busy part of town and have started commuting to school a couple times a day. The route I use is really busy and there aren't any alternative routes to get there that take the same or less time. It's only about 5 miles but I have to be extra on guard the entire time and still get cut off, pulled out in front of or swerve to save my ass about 3 times each way. I've been riding BMX bikes all my life and have never had this issue before. Being on a fixed gear I'm limited to pretty much staying on the sidewalk or in the street. It's a little tough trying to bunnyhop, manual or do anything else to get out of the way. Am I the only one getting boned like this or is this just the way it is for roadbikes?

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Old 08-17-08, 07:39 PM   #2
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Well some days are worse than others but in general it is possible to stay pretty safe. Correct me if I'm wrong but one thing you might want to try is to ride as predictably as possible. Being visible and predictable will go a long way towards keeping cars from doing stupid **** in your general direction; however, there are those annoying times when people pretty much almost kill you and they never even notice you are there. Though I'd still rather be riding than in the car almost any day of the week.
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Old 08-17-08, 07:41 PM   #3
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in tampa i was stopped at an intersection and i had a car, for no apparent reason, skid past me at about 50 miles an hour spinning around 3 times in the process and his car came literally 6 inches from me. i honestly thought i was going to die when i heard the screech and turned around to see a sideways car coming towards me. after going to his window he said he didn't see me and told me to get off the ****ing road. i then punched his car repeatedly until he took off through the red light. scariest situation of my life.
when i lived in boston i would have kind of slow motion encounters on the regular. nothing big, just cars pulling out and almost getting doored. when i road in tampa it was a different story, almost every day i would have some sort of near death experience riding to work. i was the same way, i rode bmx for years. but thats part of riding fixed is learning what to look for and looking as far ahead as you can for any possible situation, people putting on seat belts, brake lights coming on indicating they are about to pull out, drivers on their phones, some sort of pothole or debris that may force you into traffic or traffic into you, that kind of ****.
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Old 08-17-08, 07:52 PM   #4
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i'd say 0.25 close calls per ride. That means one in 4. Honestly
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Old 08-17-08, 08:22 PM   #5
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i'd say 0.25 close calls per ride. That means one in 4. Honestly
That sounds about right.
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Old 08-17-08, 08:25 PM   #6
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yes about right... had about one or two coming back tonight from a friend's apartment. just be careful and aware of what is around you.
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Old 08-17-08, 08:26 PM   #7
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I get about one close call per ride, but where I live in Colorado drivers could give a **** less about you.
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Old 08-17-08, 08:26 PM   #8
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Commuting to work in NYC initially, I was having a few close calls per ride. However, after a little bit of a learning curve, I often can go weeks without any close calls. I've heard it's best to ride as if you're invisible when possible, just assuming that all cars cannot even see you. For the most part, being able to accurately predict traffic patterns, lights, pedestrians, and intersections can eliminate most close calls.
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Old 08-18-08, 07:00 AM   #9
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Hey,

Commuting to work in Tokyo. I think one in 10-20 rides. Last weekend, I had two close call in one ride. ... It is unpredictable, probably why they are called accidents.

Those close calls were OK, the driver kinda tail-gated and bumped me without knowing. Freaky feeling. It feels like some one is feeling up my butt in a party. (Except it's much less pleasureable.)

T
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Old 08-18-08, 07:35 AM   #10
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Commuting to work in NYC initially, I was having a few close calls per ride. However, after a little bit of a learning curve, I often can go weeks without any close calls. I've heard it's best to ride as if you're invisible when possible, just assuming that all cars cannot even see you. For the most part, being able to accurately predict traffic patterns, lights, pedestrians, and intersections can eliminate most close calls.
I agree, I have very few close calls and I ride pretty quick and assertively. It's just a matter of anticipating and avoiding things before they turn into close calls. This morning I was riding with a group of 2 other cyclists and a car started slowing near an intersection. I left the bike lane and went around the car on the left, the two other cyclists almost went into the side of the car as he turned right without signalling.
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Old 08-18-08, 07:39 AM   #11
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riding slow, i rarely have close calls


that means staying at about 15mph, controlling speed down hills and not splitting cars in traffic.



Usually my close calls come when I'm bombing hills, sprinting all out and cutting in and out of stopped traffic
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Old 08-18-08, 07:44 AM   #12
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it has been very minimal for me lately, i am always looking ahead to moderate speed...the thing that still gets me is when people speed up past me to take a right turn, why don't people just wait a few moments and turn behind me...
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Old 08-18-08, 07:47 AM   #13
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I get about one close call per ride, but where I live in Colorado drivers could give a **** less about you.

Uhhh, if you think the drivers are rough on cyclists in the Centennial State...you might want to reconsider that relocation to the Empire State
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Old 08-18-08, 07:51 AM   #14
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I would say on average I have about 1-2 a day including the very short 1 mile commute to work plus all the other riding around.
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Old 08-18-08, 07:52 AM   #15
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Depends. Riding on the streets in off-peak hours, I'd say maybe one close call per 5 rides. Rush hour, probably one per 2 rides, usually when I'm riding between parked cars on my right and gridlock on my left, usually right at the end of a row of parked cars where the poor gridlocked *******s are trying to squeeze into the empty lane, which is not entirely empty, as I am occupying it.

Riding on MUPs on the weekend, proably two per ride. I'm not even kidding. Yesterday I had a jogger try to pull a left turn without looking just as I was passing her. Maybe 5 minutes later, as the MUP took me through the Ontario Place parking lot, I was turning right around a blind corner when I see in front of me a car parked in the center of the lane, which was a single right turning lane with curbs on both sides, with all four doors open and a family disembarking. Too late to stop, I tried to turn around, turned too hard, fell on my side.

The icing on the cake was when I got back up on my feet again and was about to ride off the wife said to me "there you go, take care now," and I was thinking, what the ****, I fell over because your dumb asses decided to unload here, so I said "real nice place to park your car," and rode off.
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Old 08-18-08, 08:23 AM   #16
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i ride in manhattan too, and like the other posters said, in the beginning i had 3-4 close calls per week. after about a year of riding, it's down to less than one week which is about 1 in 150 miles.
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Old 08-18-08, 08:51 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by elTwitcho View Post
I agree, I have very few close calls and I ride pretty quick and assertively. It's just a matter of anticipating and avoiding things before they turn into close calls. This morning I was riding with a group of 2 other cyclists and a car started slowing near an intersection. I left the bike lane and went around the car on the left, the two other cyclists almost went into the side of the car as he turned right without signalling.
Yeah I'd agree too - looking ahead and predicting traffic flows/moves helps a lot. Not riding like a dink and riding predictably helps a ton, too.

Make sure you're seen (I use a hi-vis vest in the winter, anything for them to see me) but ride as though you've not been seen.
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Old 08-18-08, 09:11 AM   #18
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Uhhh, if you think the drivers are rough on cyclists in the Centennial State...you might want to reconsider that relocation to the Empire State
I'm talking about two cars coming down a windy mountain two lane road. One is tail gating the other.
When they reach the passing stretch (which starts in a blind spot for some stupid reason), the driver tail gating cant see me, and I cant see him.
But they blindly swerve by the "slower" vehicle, into the on coming lane, and floor it (mind you both vehicles were already probably doing 60+ MPH).
Now, there is no bicycle lane, or really much of a shoulder, and the lanes aren't exceptionally wide. So I literally have to swerve off the road, to avoid being splater.
Last time this happened, it was a large Hummer behind a another large SUV, (a ford excursion?), and I'm sure the Hummer was doing 70+ MPH as they came flying towards me in my lane.

Just for reference, that's what I'm considering a "close call". Almost running into a car making a right turn on city streets of NY doesn't really bother me.
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Old 08-18-08, 09:18 AM   #19
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about one in four rides as stated above. for me it all depends on where i'm riding that day as some areas of this city have more idiotic drivers than others it seems. and learning the lights, traffic patters, etc on your usual route does a great deal of help.
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Old 08-18-08, 10:05 AM   #20
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Just for reference, that's what I'm considering a "close call". Almost running into a car making a right turn on city streets of NY doesn't really bother me.
almost getting doored and run over by a passing truck while riding in a bike lane on city streets of NY may be less fun than almost running into a car making a right turn.
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Old 08-18-08, 10:32 AM   #21
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the thing that still gets me is when people speed up past me to take a right turn, why don't people just wait a few moments and turn behind me...
I think a lot of drivers are just bad at judging the speed of cyclists, they see a cyclist and just assume "oh, bikes don't go fast, I can make the turn."

The same thing happens sometimes when approaching an intersection and oncoming is making a left turn, the driver sees you coming and just assumes that your not going fast, so they make the turn and before they know it you're coming through the intersection, then you have to either slow down and let them finish turning or swerve around them.
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Old 08-18-08, 11:35 AM   #22
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for me it depends on where I am. In Milwaukee, where I'm used to, I have never really had one, but I was biking in Minneapolis this weekend and had about 15-20 close calls and had to bail onto a sidewalk because in MPLS the bike lane is also the ambulance/police lane.
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Old 08-18-08, 11:49 AM   #23
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Depends on location really as its been mentioned. Sometimes riding in downtown traffic is safer than the suburbs simply cause people are used to looking around for bikes. In the burbs you have kids and animals and ridiculous people who think that they don't have to look around for bikes and that's where you get into trouble.
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Old 08-18-08, 11:57 AM   #24
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If you are having multiple close calls per ride, you actually ride frequently and you aren't getting hit all the time are they really close calls?
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Old 08-18-08, 12:04 PM   #25
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If you are having multiple close calls per ride, you actually ride frequently and you aren't getting hit all the time are they really close calls?
Whoa... mind blowing... *There is no close call*
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