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  1. #51
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Human Car
    FWIW I would use the same terminology about the studies that support VC (we are still waiting for a decent study from both ends of the debate.) If I have the time I will try and find the link of CDC (or was NIH) review of bike safety studies. Basically the report gave the pro-bike lane studies more credence then the pro-VC studies but they added that there is strong evidence that riding with traffic also increases safety.
    Well that magic "Cross study" that Forester mentions should give credence to the pro-VC way of doing things... but apparently Forester has the only copy.

  2. #52
    Non-Custom Member zeytoun's Avatar
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    Do you mean:

    a. Would you move left into between each and every vehicle in a pack of cars?

    or

    b. Would you move left in between packs of cars that are far enough apart that you safely move left, assert your position in the lane, then move right as they finally approach?

    If (a), no. That would be impossible and incredibly annoying for both the cyclist and the faster traffic. If (b) then yes.
    Got it. Thanks for the explanation.
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  3. #53
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by huge
    I'm neither agreeing nor disagreeing, but this statement invalidates any argument that can be made. We will all have different "gut feelings" about anything. Until someone can provide hard data (by which I mean, data not based on a feeling), the conversation will go in circles. No offense, but instincts don't count. Maybe your guesses are really wrong.
    Just to clarify my only guess work is number of cyclists Baltimore has vs. the number cyclists NYC has. The other items you highlighted are hard numbers. Or stated differently the only way Baltimore can justify being as safe as NYC for cycling is if we had three times the number of cyclists per 1000 population. And I cannot make that inference.
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  4. #54
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zeytoun
    OK got it.

    Would you do this repeatedly for a string of cars?
    If the gaps between the cars was sufficiently long... but then you'd hardly call that a "string" of cars.

  5. #55
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    How is riding in the middle of these roads an important point? Where motorists commonly drive in an 11 foot lane and where cyclists commonly ride (at least a foot or so from the edge) would have the motorist at least clipping the side of the cyclist as they drove past if the motorist did not adjust at all. If the motorist adjusted, they obviously saw the cyclist. If there was oncoming traffic and the motorist couldn't fit by (such as would be the case for either the cyclist in the middle of the lane or on the outside edge of the lane) they would need to stop and wait for a good time to pass. Do you agree?
    Helmet Head's "type D" scenario requires the rider to be in the middle of the lane. His argument is that you hardly ever hear of cyclists dying in "type D" incidents. My counterargument is that cyclists hardly ever ride in the middle of the lane, so the rarity of "type D" incidents does not neccesarily mean that riding in the middle of the lane is safer. An analogy would be "hardly any cyclists wearing green and red striped hats get run over".

    Now cyclists getting clipped often (if it were true which I'm not really sure but I don't think it's UNcommon) on these roads would not surprise me at all due to the fact that a far right position encourages motorists to try and pass even when it is not safe, such as around blind corners or over hills. When opposite direction traffic appears, they take the easy way out and avoid the head-on collision by side swiping the cyclist. This is one more reason to ride centerish.
    I think it depends on the exact conditions. If there's not much traffic then it's probably best to ride centerish. Unless it is an extremely winding road, especially of the type favored by motorsports enthusiasts. Then the cyclist has to take into account the possibility/probability of getting run over at the apex or exit of a turn. There is no perfect solution to that scenario, but I believe your likelihood of survival is greater if you are as far out of the way as possible. This is not a matter of visibility but a matter of physics: can the driver adjust his trajectory enough quickly enough to avoid running over you. And of course if traffic is steady, as in just a few seconds between each car, then you have no practical choice but to ride to the right. I guess my point is that experience has to be your guide, and there are no simple, one-size-fits-all approaches.
    Last edited by Six jours; 05-25-07 at 03:18 PM.

  6. #56
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    It comes down to this. Ride more left or centerish when and where you can without impeding the flow of traffic... as traffic approaches, move right, into a BL or along the side of the road.

    That really is the basis for the whole thing. HH may go into some long timing thing about how long it takes to do this or that... but really the basic idea is ride as far left as you can, but watch for and give way to faster same direction traffic, unless there is some strong reason to remain leftish.

    Default center, scoot right.
    And I really don't have any disagreement with this. The trouble is that, IMO, it's a relatively rare scenario in Southern California that you aren't dealing with "faster same-direction traffic". I, at least, would be constantly bobbing from the bike lane to traffic and back again. I don't see this makes me even slightly more safe, but can see several downsides.

    Again, this may well work in other areas, and I do believe it's a good idea on a small percentage of roads that I regularly ride, but as a one-size-fits-all solution that should be generally taught to the masses regardless of prevaling conditions in individual areas, I believe it lacks merit. There is simply no substitute for experience -- and experienced teachers.

  7. #57
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    Well that magic "Cross study" that Forester mentions should give credence to the pro-VC way of doing things... but apparently Forester has the only copy.
    There is something very compelling about conspiracy theories. And they make for lively discussions hey?
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  8. #58
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours
    And I really don't have any disagreement with this. The trouble is that, IMO, it's a relatively rare scenario in Southern California that you aren't dealing with "faster same-direction traffic". I, at least, would be constantly bobbing from the bike lane to traffic and back again. I don't see this makes me even slightly more safe, but can see several downsides.

    Again, this may well work in other areas, and I do believe it's a good idea on a small percentage of roads that I regularly ride, but as a one-size-fits-all solution that should be generally taught to the masses regardless of prevaling conditions in individual areas, I believe it lacks merit. There is simply no substitute for experience -- and experienced teachers.
    I tend to agree with you regarding the traffic situation... on busy boulevards during rush hour, it doesn't work. So you're on the side of the road during that kind of traffic... not much else you can do.

    But when there are longer gaps, as I find at times when I am riding around the nice new pavement of new being built up developments... being more leftish on the 50MPH boulevards allows me to be seen by the motorists waiting at a right turn on red situation at "the next corner" and allows me longer sight lines for seeing the next corner... plus I am out in the lane and visible to any approaching traffic... although I will move out of the way before they actually arrive.

    But yeah, in crunch traffic about all you can do is move as far left as you can... which is right about where the bike lane stripe is, usually... at least there you are more visible there then you would be, hugging the curb.

    Every now and then I do a lunch ride with some other engineers (actually my main riding partner is laid up right now with a knee injury... so I haven't done this for a couple months) and we typically ride side by side with me out in the lane... he likes to stay in the bike lane... I ride just to the left of the BL stripe and have not had any problems, even on a fairly busy 50MPH road. We are more visible due to the due to the side by side profile... so I consider this a good thing.

    I don't bob from side to side... so it has to be a good gap before I move left... usually the gap left by the traffic light somewhere is enough... except during rush hour when it all seems to turn into solid traffic.

    In some respects rush hour has some advantages though... motor traffic slows down... I know of one rather steep hill where I can always (even at hill climbing 8MPH) ride faster than the motor traffic moves.

  9. #59
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Six jours - I'm sorry for the confusion, but back in #35 I clarified what I meant by "Middle" with an edit:

    (EDIT: By "middle of the lane" I mean in the lane such that the driver has to notice and adjust for the cyclist in order to avoid hitting him).

    Where exactly the cyclist is doesn't much matter, as long as he is within lane space where the faster overtaking traffic in that lane has to adjust to pass him without hitting him, which means he has to be noticed. That's what I'm trying to capture with Type D.

  10. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours
    Helmet Head's "type D" scenario requires the rider to be in the middle of the lane. His argument is that you hardly ever hear of cyclists dying in "type D" incidents. My counterargument is that cyclists hardly ever ride in the middle of the lane, so the rarity of "type D" incidents does not neccesarily mean that riding in the middle of the lane is safer. An analogy would be "hardly any cyclists wearing green and red striped hats get run over".
    HH's type D: Cyclist is riding in the middle of the lane, and has been for a long time, and motorist from behind comes along and hits him from behind. (EDIT: By "middle of the lane" I mean in the lane such that the driver has to notice and adjust for the cyclist in order to avoid hitting him).

    I'm not sure when he added the "edit" but it was a necessary one, otherwise, he would have needed one more which would have been "Cyclist is riding in a narrow lane (not wide enough to share no matter how far left the motorist moves within the lane and no matter how far right the cyclist moves) but as far right as possible and gets hit from behind (not to be confusing with getting clipped by a motorist as they pass).

    In either case, cyclists getting hit from behind on these types of roads which cyclists use often seem to be exceptionally rare. If motorists are always noticing these cyclists, even though speeds on these roads can be as high as 55mph while the road goes up and down and twists, it's a pretty reasonable conclusion that a motorist would also see a cyclist in the middle of the lane even though there is space to the right.

    So given the rarity of the hit from behind in a narrow lane, what is the fear of riding in the center of a narrow lane? If there is little fear of doing this in a narrow lane, what's the fear of doing it anywhere else?

    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours
    I think it depends on the exact conditions. If there's not much traffic then it's probably best to ride centerish. Unless it is an extremely winding road, especially of the type favored by motorsports enthusiasts. Then the cyclist has to take into account the possibility/probability of getting run over at the apex or exit of a turn. There is no perfect solution to that scenario, but I believe your likelihood of survival is greater if you are as far out of the way as possible. This is not a matter of visibility but a matter of physics: can the driver adjust his trajectory enough quickly enough to avoid running over you. And of course if traffic is steady, as in just a few seconds between each car, then you have no practical choice but to ride to the right. I guess my point is that experience has to be your guide, and there are no simple, one-size-fits-all approaches.
    I believe that being in the center of the lane where the motorist is most likely to notice you as soon as possible and where the sightlines to you are the best in the case of a blind curve to the right is the best solution to your scenario. I know from driving as a teenager where the teenagers goes to drive like idiots and I don't have any issues with them slowing down in time for me. It would take a long, tight, blind curve and a very high speed differential for a motorist to not see a cyclist at all on the approach to a curve and then encounter them midturn. The motorist would also have to be at the limit of adhesion of their tires to not be able to slow down to the cyclist's speed (cyclists aren't standing still in the middle of the road, remember). I'm not saying it couldn't happen but a lot of things would need to go wrong for it to happen. Being off to the side in the lane would mean that the driver would still need to notice you though to avoid hitting you. His swerve (if it came to that) would need to be slightly less if you were off to the right but the better sightlines and thus earlier reaction time probably mean a lot more to a cyclist's survival than a few feet of swerve.

    If traffic is steady, why does the cyclist need to be off the right? Cyclists have every right to use the full lane when it's not shareable and are doing both themselves and possibly the motorists a disservice by staying to the right and encouraging unsafe passing. If you are impeding traffic for a significant period of time, the best thing to do is to pull off the road at a safe spot and let traffic by (this is per the vehicle code).

  11. #61
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours
    And I really don't have any disagreement with this. The trouble is that, IMO, it's a relatively rare scenario in Southern California that you aren't dealing with "faster same-direction traffic". I, at least, would be constantly bobbing from the bike lane to traffic and back again. I don't see this makes me even slightly more safe, but can see several downsides.
    So, I live in coastal San Diego (La Jolla). My commute is inland to the UTC area along Torrey Pines and La Jolla Village Drive. My weekend routes take me all over the county including up the coast to Pendleton, south and around via Coronado, inland through Rancho Santa Fe, and east as far as Julian. No matter where I ride when, I always find plenty of significantly long gaps to ride more conspicuously in a centerish position much of the time. My cycling philosophy is: avoid the margin except when necessary to use it. And "necessary to use it" means: fsdt is present and it is safe and reasonable to ride there. By the way, this is not necessarily "vehicular cycling", it's really a variant based on John Franklin's book, Cyclecraft. Vehicular Cycling allows for a wide range of midblock lane positions, and is consistent with what you said earlier about riding wherever you feel like it when fsdt is not present. Getting back to that, though... so what makes you "feel" like riding in one position or another when fsdt is not present? Most cyclists - and here's where I'm different - seem to tend towards "as far right as practicable unless there is a good reason to be further left" whether fsdt is present or not.

    Again, this may well work in other areas, and I do believe it's a good idea on a small percentage of roads that I regularly ride, but as a one-size-fits-all solution that should be generally taught to the masses regardless of prevaling conditions in individual areas, I believe it lacks merit. There is simply no substitute for experience -- and experienced teachers.
    Again, it works great everywhere I ride in San Diego County, without exception.

    By the way, a critical part of this technique is effective mirror usage. You have to be able to use it instinctively, without thinking, so that it takes fractions of a second and little to no conscious effort to glance back, whether to see if anyone is coming while riding centerish in a gap, or whether to monitor for when the next gap is coming, in order to be ready to look back and merge left back to the default centerish position as soon as the last car of the current platoon passes. This approach doesn't leave much opportunity for daydreaming, but I consider that a plus when cycling in traffic.

  12. #62
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head


    Again, it works great everywhere I ride in San Diego County, without exception.
    The key is the presence of FSDT... which as Six jours mentioned, is a fairly constant component in Southern California.

    You specifically mentioned weekends... where of course the presence of FSDT can vary widely as a function of time of day.

    Otherwise, when enough FSDT is present to slow that traffic to below the posted speed limit, then no doubt no gaps exist... and you will be right biased at that time. That "slowed traffic situation" is commonly called "rush hour" which anyone in SoCal can tell you is an condition monitored nearly hourly on broadcast news.

  13. #63
    Dominatrikes sbhikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours
    ...I, at least, would be constantly bobbing from the bike lane to traffic and back again. I don't see this makes me even slightly more safe, but can see several downsides.
    This we call the PowerWeave™ or the Peekaboo method. Naturally, it's a Head™ method, formed from the armchair logic exercises he is so fond of. Not formed of actual cycling experience.
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  14. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    The key is the presence of FSDT... which as Six jours mentioned, is a fairly constant component in Southern California.

    You specifically mentioned weekends... where of course the presence of FSDT can vary widely as a function of time of day.

    Otherwise, when enough FSDT is present to slow that traffic to below the posted speed limit, then no doubt no gaps exist... and you will be right biased at that time. That "slowed traffic situation" is commonly called "rush hour" which anyone in SoCal can tell you is an condition monitored nearly hourly on broadcast news.


    I try to avoid commuting at rush hour, but when you gotta be home by 5:30, there's not much you can do to avoid it. So I commute at rush hour too. The difference? The gaps are not quite as frequent or as long, but the fact that traffic is that much slower, I'm probably spending more time in my default centerish position.

    So when "enough FSDT is present to slow that traffic to below the posted speed limit", the FSDT disappears because it ceases to be faster. As traffic slows, the FSDT is transformed into merely SDT. An important traffic skill which I have not written much about is to watch for that transition, and position yourself accordingly. For example, at rush hour it's easy and natural to take the lane adjacent to the stopped/slow traffic waiting to get onto southbound I-5 when crossing over I-5 on westbound LJVD.

    That's the key for FSDT to be present, not only does SDT have to be present, but it has to be faster. If traffic is not present, or present but not faster, then FSDT is not present, and I am not right biased at that time.

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    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbhikes
    This we call the PowerWeave™ or the Peekaboo method. Naturally, it's a Head™ method, formed from the armchair logic exercises he is so fond of. Not formed of actual cycling experience.
    By "we" Diane means those who have no experience with it and are not sure how it works. Folks who do understand it and use it, and know it's not about "bobbing" or "weaving" or "peekaboo", include Genec, JoeJack, even JRA, as well as myself.
    Last edited by Helmet Head; 05-25-07 at 07:06 PM.

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    Six jours - I'm sorry for the confusion, but back in #35 I clarified what I meant by "Middle" with an edit:

    (EDIT: By "middle of the lane" I mean in the lane such that the driver has to notice and adjust for the cyclist in order to avoid hitting him).

    Where exactly the cyclist is doesn't much matter, as long as he is within lane space where the faster overtaking traffic in that lane has to adjust to pass him without hitting him, which means he has to be noticed. That's what I'm trying to capture with Type D.
    I don't understand how that really changes my point. IMO, we don't here much about "type D" because most folks don't ride far enough out in traffic that cars have to go around them. Unless it's on such a narrow road that there is no where that is out of the way, in which case the point becomes moot.

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    In either case, cyclists getting hit from behind on these types of roads which cyclists use often seem to be exceptionally rare. If motorists are always noticing these cyclists, even though speeds on these roads can be as high as 55mph while the road goes up and down and twists, it's a pretty reasonable conclusion that a motorist would also see a cyclist in the middle of the lane even though there is space to the right.
    You start the argument with "seem to be". Before we go any further I'd want to see the statistics. It seems to me that this sort of road is responsible for many cycling deaths, but my personal anecdote isn't worth any more than yours.

    So given the rarity of the hit from behind in a narrow lane, what is the fear of riding in the center of a narrow lane? If there is little fear of doing this in a narrow lane, what's the fear of doing it anywhere else?
    If such hits are indeed rare, then why change what works? I would worry about centering myself on certain mountain roads, again because of the motorsports enthusiasts who populate them. I want them to have as much chance as possible to avoid running me down, and centering myself in the lane minimizes that chance, IMO. As for the transference of the technique from narrow mountain roads to everywhere else, that hardly seems sensible to me, because the circumstances aren't at all the same. One might as well ask why 70 MPH doesn't work in an alley if it works on the autobahn. Technique needs to be adjusted based upon the environment, and neatly packaged black-and-white solutions don't work, IMO.

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    I believe that being in the center of the lane where the motorist is most likely to notice you as soon as possible and where the sightlines to you are the best in the case of a blind curve to the right is the best solution to your scenario. I know from driving as a teenager where the teenagers goes to drive like idiots and I don't have any issues with them slowing down in time for me. It would take a long, tight, blind curve and a very high speed differential for a motorist to not see a cyclist at all on the approach to a curve and then encounter them midturn. The motorist would also have to be at the limit of adhesion of their tires to not be able to slow down to the cyclist's speed (cyclists aren't standing still in the middle of the road, remember). I'm not saying it couldn't happen but a lot of things would need to go wrong for it to happen. Being off to the side in the lane would mean that the driver would still need to notice you though to avoid hitting you. His swerve (if it came to that) would need to be slightly less if you were off to the right but the better sightlines and thus earlier reaction time probably mean a lot more to a cyclist's survival than a few feet of swerve.
    As a sport motorcyclist I strongly disagree with this. Motorsports enthusiasts do have a tendency to travel at high speeds on many of these mountain roads, and approaching the limits of traction is part of the enjoyment. Perhaps it should not be, and perhaps many of these enthusiasts are closer to the limits than is safe, but that does not change the reality of the situation. On many, many occasions I have been "surprised" by the presence of cyclists and hikers at the apexes and exits of blind corners while on my motorcycle. That they were near the side of the road made the "surprise" a non event, but had they been in the middle instead of the side, it would have been "emergency maneuver" time.

    If traffic is steady, why does the cyclist need to be off the right? Cyclists have every right to use the full lane when it's not shareable and are doing both themselves and possibly the motorists a disservice by staying to the right and encouraging unsafe passing. If you are impeding traffic for a significant period of time, the best thing to do is to pull off the road at a safe spot and let traffic by (this is per the vehicle code).
    This, to me, falls into the "belligerent exercise of rights" category. If there really is no option but to hold up traffic, then you really ought to reconsider your choice of roads. Riding up the middle of a mountain road at 5 MPH with a long line of motorists behind you is incredibly rude, at the very least. Yeah, you have the legal right to be there, but we have a lot of legal rights we shouldn't exercise simply owing to manners and common sense.
    Last edited by Six jours; 05-25-07 at 09:22 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist
    do bicyclists need competency tests before riding bikes? is that what all this jacking around is all about? getting bicyclists to test competent?

    what a pipe dream. probably discriminatory. seems to be a desire to limit bicycling for the benefit of drivers....
    You do make foolish statements. The main purpose of the Cycling Proficiency Test is to make cycling better for cyclists. It serves to structure the instruction, and to measure its results, both for the benefit of the instructor and for the benefit of the cyclist, who then knows how good, or how bad, are his skills. The secondary purpose of the test, particularly the traffic-cycling portion, is to demonstrate to outside authorities that vehicular cycling is easy to teach and easy to learn, and can therefore be the practical basis for a national cycling policy of lawful and competent cycling.

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    Getting back to that, though... so what makes you "feel" like riding in one position or another when fsdt is not present? Most cyclists - and here's where I'm different - seem to tend towards "as far right as practicable unless there is a good reason to be further left" whether fsdt is present or not.
    Oh, any old thing. Road conditions, sometimes, but mostly just because I feel like it. Nice to have a road to yourself. It's fairly rare for a road to be that empty around here, though. Early Sunday morning in a residential area is the usual scenario.

    But most of the time I do ride in the bike lane, and the huge majority of roads in recently built south Orange County have wide, clean bike lanes. Which may be part of why this conversion isn't entirely sensible to me, because I can't really imagine intentionally vacating my 15 foot wide bike lane in favor of putting myself in front of traffic.

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    Again, it works great everywhere I ride in San Diego County, without exception.
    If there are no exceptions then I'm getting suspicious. Offhand, I can't think of any cycling technique that does not have exceptions. While I'm not thoroughly familiar with every detail of San Diego, I know for a fact that there are roads like PCH that are essentially freeways. You're not getting anywhere near the middle of a lane unless A) you're causing pileups or B) it's 2 A.M. on a Sunday morning. I also know of twisty mountain roads where centering yourself in a lane will eventually result in a nasty surprise for some bloke going fast in a sportscar or motorcycle.

    By the way, a critical part of this technique is effective mirror usage. You have to be able to use it instinctively, without thinking, so that it takes fractions of a second and little to no conscious effort to glance back, whether to see if anyone is coming while riding centerish in a gap, or whether to monitor for when the next gap is coming, in order to be ready to look back and merge left back to the default centerish position as soon as the last car of the current platoon passes. This approach doesn't leave much opportunity for daydreaming, but I consider that a plus when cycling in traffic.
    Well, I don't use a mirror, and I don't plan on it. For one thing, there's no place to mount one on my hairnet.

  22. #72
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    And I've been suspicious of helemt head's claims about southern california bicycling conditions for quite a while. seems he never encounters traffic like everyone else does.

    Head's most likely a weekender. riding in groups or with others can neuter the weekend drivers quite effectively. using a child on the end of a trail-a-bike also has that effect. I've heard as much at the bike shop from a lot of mothers and fathers that haul their kids around with them.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  23. #73
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    mossy john, pushing the pogrom of bike training. bleaugh.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  24. #74
    Striving for Fredness deputyjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Forester
    You do make foolish statements. The main purpose of the Cycling Proficiency Test is to make cycling better for cyclists. It serves to structure the instruction, and to measure its results, both for the benefit of the instructor and for the benefit of the cyclist, who then knows how good, or how bad, are his skills. The secondary purpose of the test, particularly the traffic-cycling portion, is to demonstrate to outside authorities that vehicular cycling is easy to teach and easy to learn, and can therefore be the practical basis for a national cycling policy of lawful and competent cycling.
    So the ultimate goal of your standardized testing is national bicycle licensing which would, at least indirectly, refuse those you deem incompetent the use of a bicycle?
    Monsignor: We must always fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil that we must fear the most, and that is the indifference of good men.
    Connor: I do believe the monsignor's finally got the point.
    Murphy: Aye.

    OttawaCountyDSA.com

  25. #75
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deputyjones
    So the ultimate goal of your standardized testing is national bicycle licensing which would, at least indirectly, refuse those you deem incompetent the use of a bicycle?


    What on earth caused you to leap to that ridiculous conclusion?

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