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Thread: Is this VC?

  1. #1
    Dominatrikes sbhikes's Avatar
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    Is this VC?

    Is it an inevitable part of riding without cycling facilities to be yelled at, honked at or lectured to? Does this just come with the territory? Grin and bear it, the best you can hope for? How can it be stopped, or is this not something VC advocates are interested in?
    ~Diane
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    Cheesmonger Extraordinair natelutkjohn's Avatar
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    I don't consider myself VC but I do ride in the lane and act as a vehicle 98% of the time while maintaing a very respectable speed. I tend to get yelled at, honked at and lectured to about how I should be riding on the sidewalk usualy at least once a day. We have next to zero bike facilities here. I say it is ineveitable depending on where you live. Our roads are narrow and shoulderless. I however don't just grin and bear it when the cars are jerks, I particulary love it. It is extremely fulfilling to yell at or tell the motorist they are number one to me. Nothing like having a jerk yell at you, then yelling back and seeing him slam on the brakes and get out of the car to cuss at me some more - thus slowing him down even more
    How to stop them from doing this? Well, it ain't gonna be by done by teaching bicyclists more the rules, I say motorists need to be taught MORE manners. If teaching bicyclists the rules would change it, then they wouldn't be yelling at me all the time.

    Then again I haven't owned a car in 2 years by choice, so from a motorist viewpoint, I'm the wrong one to ask.

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    genec genec's Avatar
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    Guys (and gals) you are forgetting to put on the VC attitude, be the alpha dog and... oh gee, I forgot... you don't need to do that... just act like the driver of a vehicle and you will be treated like the driver of a vehicle.

    It's that simple.

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    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    Yeah Gene, I always get beer bottles and such thrown at me when I am in my pickup, so why should be it a surprise on the bike. You just gotta see the bottle, Gene. Be....be....BE the bottle!
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

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    Cheesmonger Extraordinair natelutkjohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    ...be the alpha dog...
    That's the ONLY way to ride if you ask me. Stare those drivers down and make them feel as if they mean absolutly less then nothing to you. They'll give you right of way then. But they may still honk and yell, lol

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    Senior Member rando's Avatar
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    yes, yes, yes, and no!

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    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom
    Yeah Gene, I always get beer bottles and such thrown at me when I am in my pickup, so why should be it a surprise on the bike. You just gotta see the bottle, Gene. Be....be....BE the bottle!
    Then like wow man, is my bike like the bottle opener?

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    Yabba-Dabba-Doo! AlmostTrick's Avatar
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    This is a valid concern/question. Cyclists should be able to ride legally without putting up with so much motorist crap. "Get off the road" "You're not a car" & "Bikes are supposed to get out of the way" comments and horns will only be reduced through motorist training. I agree that Alpha Dog style and confidence goes a long way in improving how I'm accepted, but it shouldn't/doesn't have to be this way. When I ride in an unfamiliar area I'm less confident and usually have more problems than I do on my regular routes.
    Have Bike, Will Travel

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    Senior Member sggoodri's Avatar
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    A major point of promoting the vehicular cycling paradigm is so that drivers accept cyclists on ordinary roadways. This is the motorist-education/society-education component of vehicular cycling advocacy.

    If the roadway is so narrow and busy that cyclists create an unusual amount of delay for motorists, then the roadway should be improved. An example of such and improvement is a wide outside through lane. However, the inadequacy of the road for convenient overtaking should never be considered an excuse for harassing cyclists.

    If the cyclist poses no inconvenience to the motorist, then the problem is clearly one of motorists considering cyclists to have an inferior right to the roadway; the only reasonable approaches here are education and enforcement to reinforce that all normal roads are legitimate bicycle facilities and that harassment by motorists will not be tolerated.

    What alternative to the above approaches is there? To convince the general public that cyclists do not belong on ordinary roads, because cycling on ordinary roads is an unreasonable inconvenience to motorists and an unreasonable danger to the cyclists? To ignore the use of busy roadways by cyclists by failing to provide adequte pavement width on the roadway, and assume that cyclists should stick to sidewalks/sidepaths, as pedestrians-on-wheels? This will only increase such harassment.

    It is my observation that the more often that cyclists operate on normal roads, including some cases where drivers must change lanes to pass them, the more motorists come to accept this without a fuss.

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    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sggoodri
    A major point of promoting the vehicular cycling paradigm is so that drivers accept cyclists on ordinary roadways. This is the motorist-education/society-education component of vehicular cycling advocacy.

    If the roadway is so narrow and busy that cyclists create an unusual amount of delay for motorists, then the roadway should be improved. An example of such and improvement is a wide outside through lane. However, the inadequacy of the road for convenient overtaking should never be considered an excuse for harassing cyclists.

    If the cyclist poses no inconvenience to the motorist, then the problem is clearly one of motorists considering cyclists to have an inferior right to the roadway; the only reasonable approaches here are education and enforcement to reinforce that all normal roads are legitimate bicycle facilities and that harassment by motorists will not be tolerated.

    What alternative to the above approaches is there? To convince the general public that cyclists do not belong on ordinary roads, because cycling on ordinary roads is an unreasonable inconvenience to motorists and an unreasonable danger to the cyclists? To ignore the use of busy roadways by cyclists by failing to provide adequte pavement width on the roadway, and assume that cyclists should stick to sidewalks/sidepaths, as pedestrians-on-wheels? This will only increase such harassment.

    It is my observation that the more often that cyclists operate on normal roads, including some cases where drivers must change lanes to pass them, the more motorists come to accept this without a fuss.
    The problem is that someone has to be "first..." While I ride around in the street demonstrating the proper VC method, there are 5 X more cyclists riding the same area on sidewalks.

    While taking a Road II class a couple years ago we were honked at and a motorist told me that we should be riding "like those other cyclists... " "Oh, which cyclists." "The ones on the sidewalk and at the curb... you folks should not be out in the street." My next reply: "And how exactly do you make left turns then..." His response: "Well you figure that out... "

    The problem is that no one tells the motorists to share the roads and that cyclists have the same rights to the road as they. (that 5 minute speech back in drivers' ed just did not sink in) Then the motorists see all these folks on bikes riding along on the sidewalk, and that suits them just fine. (and those cyclists have no motivation for doing it any other way... nor the inclination to seek another way) Then I come along riding 15MPH in the middle of the "motorists' 35MPH lane" and the responses are uh, "less than friendly."

    BTW we were also honked at in the Road I class (classic, actually) by an SUV driving motorist that thought we were not riding far enough right. We were a large group both times of about 10 cyclists... was this not "enough" cyclists for those motorists to "come to accept this without a fuss?"

    Until motorists have a clue... then the individual cyclist pretty much has to fight for their postion on the road. Hardly a positive environment. (BTW bike lanes don't help much in this fight, but they do indicate that cyclists at least shouldn't be "on the sidewalk.")

  11. #11
    Senior Member sggoodri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    The problem is that someone has to be "first..." While I ride around in the street demonstrating the proper VC method, there are 5 X more cyclists riding the same area on sidewalks.

    While taking a Road II class a couple years ago we were honked at and a motorist told me that we should be riding "like those other cyclists... " "Oh, which cyclists." "The ones on the sidewalk and at the curb... you folks should not be out in the street." My next reply: "And how exactly do you make left turns then..." His response: "Well you figure that out... "

    The problem is that no one tells the motorists to share the roads and that cyclists have the same rights to the road as they. (that 5 minute speech back in drivers' ed just did not sink in) Then the motorists see all these folks on bikes riding along on the sidewalk, and that suits them just fine. (and those cyclists have no motivation for doing it any other way... nor the inclination to seek another way) Then I come along riding 15MPH in the middle of the "motorists' 35MPH lane" and the responses are uh, "less than friendly."

    BTW we were also honked at in the Road I class (classic, actually) by an SUV driving motorist that thought we were not riding far enough right. We were a large group both times of about 10 cyclists... was this not "enough" cyclists for those motorists to "come to accept this without a fuss?"

    Until motorists have a clue... then the individual cyclist pretty much has to fight for their postion on the road. Hardly a positive environment. (BTW bike lanes don't help much in this fight, but they do indicate that cyclists at least shouldn't be "on the sidewalk.")
    This clearly indicates society's ignorance about vehicular cycling. Motorists must be educated that cyclists have the right to use the roadway, and punished when they harass cyclists operating properly. Better still, society in general should be familiar with proper roadway cycling, so they do not misconstrue proper cycling to be inappropriate, unlawful, or dangerous.

    How do we accomplish this? Cyclist advocates have limited power by themselves, even when we talk Clear Channel radio into airing thousands of PSAs about road sharing and distribute all the flyers in the world. This ultimately requires the cooperation of government. This is where vehicular cycling advocates target the majority of their energy, attempting to educate law enforcement at the state and local level why cyclists should be considered legitimate users of roadways, and what we believe must be done to improve the behavior of both motorists and cyclists.

    In the ten years that I've been cycling in Cary, I believe that motorist harassment has decreased, while both motor and on-roadway bicycle traffic have increased. I generally sense a greater level of cooperation by drivers. The only places where I have experienced increases in harassment are on wide-lane residential streets where bike lane striping was recently added, and the corresponding area filled with debris, requiring me to stay outside the marked lane. I think the motorists may be getting used to road cyclists staying outside the debris-filled bike lanes, though.

  12. #12
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    I've been honked/yelled at while riding on arterials with a NOL. The more intense reactions have been on this type of road.

    I've been honked and yelled at while riding on roads with WOL striped with a BL. The most frequently on this type of road, especially around intersections. The four times I've had things thrown at me have been when I was in a BL. I've twice had drivers swerve toward me when in a BL on intersectionless road. (both times a group ride)

    The least frequent negative interactions have been on roads with a WOL.

    I really can't say that any one type of road generate more unwanted behavior.

    Al

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    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sggoodri
    This clearly indicates society's ignorance about vehicular cycling. Motorists must be educated that cyclists have the right to use the roadway, and punished when they harass cyclists operating properly. Better still, society in general should be familiar with proper roadway cycling, so they do not misconstrue proper cycling to be inappropriate, unlawful, or dangerous.

    How do we accomplish this? Cyclist advocates have limited power by themselves, even when we talk Clear Channel radio into airing thousands of PSAs about road sharing and distribute all the flyers in the world. This ultimately requires the cooperation of government. This is where vehicular cycling advocates target the majority of their energy, attempting to educate law enforcement at the state and local level why cyclists should be considered legitimate users of roadways, and what we believe must be done to improve the behavior of both motorists and cyclists.

    In the ten years that I've been cycling in Cary, I believe that motorist harassment has decreased, while both motor and on-roadway bicycle traffic have increased. I generally sense a greater level of cooperation by drivers. The only places where I have experienced increases in harassment are on wide-lane residential streets where bike lane striping was recently added, and the corresponding area filled with debris, requiring me to stay outside the marked lane. I think the motorists may be getting used to road cyclists staying outside the debris-filled bike lanes, though.

    This pretty much hits the nail on the head. When all users of the roadway understand that all users have rights to the same road... then there is no point in the silly extra lines.

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    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    While there will probably always be room for improvement in cultural attitudes towards cyclists on the road, the best antidote I know of is for the cyclist to consistently behave in a vehicular manner. It's no panacea - you will still get yelled and honked at - but not nearly as often.

    Nate claims he "[does] ride in the lane and [acts] as a vehicle 98% of the time", but it's not clear what he means by that. He also says he gets yelled or honked at at least once a day. I don't hear Steve saying he gets harrassed that often, not even Gene. I sure don't. It could be a regional thing, in which case motorists there probably get honked at daily too. Or, it could be that Nate is doing something different from vehicular cyclists who, from all over the U.S., report getting honked or yelled at more on the order of once every few weeks, if not only once every few months.
    Last edited by Helmet Head; 05-07-07 at 11:55 AM.

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    genec genec's Avatar
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    I don't get harrassed all that much... I will admit... it has probably been 3 months or so since my last "get on the sidewalk." I typically cycle every other day. About 30% of my riding is on isolated bike paths.

    But then again, it is probably been 2 years or more since anyone honked a horn at me in my car. I drive about 5 days a week.

    In other words, I am far far more exposed to traffic while driving a car, and I experience far far less harassement... even though I drive "painfully slow." (by "some" standards... I drive at or below the speed limit).

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    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    If there were no bike lanes for the motorists to yell at you to get in, the motorists wouldn't yell at you anymore.

    Oh, wait, I guess they'll need to remove all the sidewalks first, too!

    Forget the motorists, it's just the cyclists that need more training.

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    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by randya
    If there were no bike lanes for the motorists to yell at you to get in, the motorists wouldn't yell at you anymore.

    Oh, wait, I guess they'll need to remove all the sidewalks first, too!

    Forget the motorists, it's just the cyclists that need more training.
    Jeeze, you were getting there... the solution is obvious... just remove the motorists.

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    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    Jeeze, you were getting there... the solution is obvious... just remove the motorists.
    B..b...b..but the American Dream Coalition thinks that's just crazy talk! And they hired renowned bicycling 'expert' AJ to say so!

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    Quote Originally Posted by sbhikes
    How can it be stopped, or is this not something VC advocates are interested in?

    I know-----I have a great idea. Lets find a day where we all get together---and we can e-mail and text message our friends----and meet somewhere in a major metro area around rush hour and all ride at the same time down a major arterial. By blocking traffic we can prove to the motorists that we have as much right to be there as they do and once they understand they will not yelling at us and harassing us.


    What do you guys think? Maybe if we try real hard we can get thousands of people and really show 'em.

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    Cheesmonger Extraordinair natelutkjohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    Nate claims he "[does] ride in the lane and [acts] as a vehicle 98% of the time", but it's not clear what he means by that. He also says he gets yelled or honked at at least once a day. I don't hear Steve saying he gets harrassed that often, not even Gene. I sure don't. It could be a regional thing,....
    That is what it is for many of us - this town is home to the largest Naval base in the world (they say) Norfolk, VA - We are JAM PACKED with cocky 18-19 year olds fresh off the boat in their new cars.

    Don't matter how proper you ride - some areas have jerks for the majority or drivers.

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    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by natelutkjohn
    That is what it is for many of us - this town is home to the largest Naval base in the world (they say) Norfolk, VA - We are JAM PACKED with cocky 18-19 year olds fresh off the boat in their new cars.

    Don't matter how proper you ride - some areas have jerks for the majority or drivers.
    When I ride near the Marine (Miramar and Pendleton) and Navy (Coronado) bases in San Diego I don't notice any significant difference in treatment. A lot more motorcycles though...

  22. #22
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    When I ride near the Marine (Miramar and Pendleton) and Navy (Coronado) bases in San Diego I don't notice any significant difference in treatment. A lot more motorcycles though...
    AH,but some of those cyclists are SEAL's! Might make a difference, HH!
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    pj7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    While there will probably always be room for improvement in cultural attitudes towards cyclists on the road, the best antidote I know of is for the cyclist to consistently behave in a vehicular manner. It's no panacea - you will still get yelled and honked at - but not nearly as often.

    Nate claims he "[does] ride in the lane and [acts] as a vehicle 98% of the time", but it's not clear what he means by that. He also says he gets yelled or honked at at least once a day. I don't hear Steve saying he gets harrassed that often, not even Gene. I sure don't. It could be a regional thing, in which case motorists there probably get honked at daily too. Or, it could be that Nate is doing something different from vehicular cyclists who, from all over the U.S., report getting honked or yelled at more on the order of once every few weeks, if not only once every few months.
    Of you, Gene, and Steve; two of you live in a place with a very large and very long standing bicycling community.
    Where I live, it's a car centric culture and mind set. Everyone and everything here (Detroit) depends on the American auto industry. For me, it is definately a location type thing.
    In fact, the last person who said something verbally to me that I could comprehend eluded to: me, on my bicycle, as being part of the problem that the American auto industry is failing.
    Granted that is just one person, but I'm sure there are others out there who would or have jumped on the same bandwagon.

    Sure, cyclists fare best when they act like and are treated like operators of a vehicle. But no matter how much I act like one, I rarely get treated like one. So I have to follow a different path for safety and convenience.
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  24. #24
    Dominatrikes sbhikes's Avatar
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    What if you are a risk-averse individual who doesn't feel it's worth the hassle? I mean you know you have a right to the road. You really want to ride your bike. But add all that motorist harassment and threats of actual violence on top of your already stressful work day and what is the point?
    ~Diane
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    8.5 mile commute. I like bike lanes.

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    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe
    AH,but some of those cyclists are SEAL's! Might make a difference, HH!
    Those pals of HH may be California Real Cyclists, but they are not Real Seals.

    These are Real Seals.
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