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  1. #1
    Dominatrikes sbhikes's Avatar
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    Why do Vehicular Cyclists not even want to try?

    Why is it that Vehicular Cyclists are opposed to motorist education?
    ~Diane
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    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbhikes
    Why is it that Vehicular Cyclists are opposed to motorist education?
    Well HH's response was that motorists already do a good enough job.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sbhikes
    Why is it that Vehicular Cyclists are opposed to motorist education?
    Your own question states quite clearly the degree to which you suffer from your ideology. Where have you seen that vehicular cyclists oppose motorist education? You surely have never seen that from me.

    What you have seen is the argument that since the traffic behavior of cyclists is so much inferior to the traffic behavior of motorists, and since cyclists ought to have the stronger motivation to improve, one will produce more benefit by concentrating on cyclist training than on motorist training as suggested by cyclists.

    Frankly, a great deal of the discussion on these lists is just another demonstration of the great need for better cyclist behavior.

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    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Why did you start a new thread on the topic when this one is fresh? OK, this one is not about the assumed opinions of VCists specifically, but the thoughts of everyone. You can find some of the reasons here, not only that but they have been stated many times previous.
    How much emphasis should be placed on educating motorists?

    This is what I wrote previously about education:

    Want to reduce all road user (including cyclists) fatalities? - train motorists in general safe driving practices - a non-cycling specific advocacy effort.
    Want to reduce cycling fatalities as a cycling advocate? - train cyclists."

    Al
    Last edited by noisebeam; 06-28-07 at 03:25 PM.

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    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    Well HH's response was that motorists already do a good enough job.
    Partial credit. I don't oppose motorist education for crying out loud.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Forester
    What you have seen is the argument that since the traffic behavior of cyclists is so much inferior to the traffic behavior of motorists, and since cyclists ought to have the stronger motivation to improve, one will produce more benefit by concentrating on cyclist training than on motorist training as suggested by cyclists.
    Exactly. Once in a while I think, "huh, they identified an issue on which Forester and I disagree", but usually you end up stating the same position I hold more succinctly that I ever could. Case in point.

    Back to lurking.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbhikes
    Why is it that Vehicular Cyclists are opposed to motorist education?
    Do you really believe this? I'd like to see the requirements for a driver's license in the U.S. be much more stringent, and I wouldn't oppose driver's licenses for cyclists either.

  7. #7
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by larryfeltonj
    Do you really believe this? I'd like to see the requirements for a driver's license in the U.S. be much more stringent, and I wouldn't oppose driver's licenses for cyclists either.
    Yeah, I bet you wouldn't mind at all. And just what training will bicyclists need to qualify for that license in your wishful thinking scenario?

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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
    Yeah, I bet you wouldn't mind at all. And just what training will bicyclists need to qualify for that license in your wishful thinking scenario?
    Congratulations! Your response has just summed up "Why I'm a vehicular cyclist" better than I could ever have done it.

    In my own view cyclists are a legitimate part of the traffic flow. In order to operate safely in traffic there are many skills involved, from not falling over (I think most cyclists above four years old can handle that one), to how to pass, change lanes, make left turns, signal intention to other drivers, and what the various signs and traffic signals signify. In addition to those things common to drivers of all vehicles there are a few skills particular to cyclists (how to not get squeezed into the curb in a narrow lane, how to share a lane on a right turn).

    Do you think that cycling is such a trivial activity that it should be assumed that even an untrained child can do it?

  9. #9
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by larryfeltonj
    Congratulations! Your response has just summed up "Why I'm a vehicular cyclist" better than I could ever have done it.

    In my own view cyclists are a legitimate part of the traffic flow. In order to operate safely in traffic there are many skills involved, from not falling over (I think most cyclists above four years old can handle that one), to how to pass, change lanes, make left turns, signal intention to other drivers, and what the various signs and traffic signals signify. In addition to those things common to drivers of all vehicles there are a few skills particular to cyclists (how to not get squeezed into the curb in a narrow lane, how to share a lane on a right turn).

    Do you think that cycling is such a trivial activity that it should be assumed that even an untrained child can do it?
    It ain't rocket science either. How 'bout cutting to the chase about this training/testing/licensing scheme for untrained children and untrained adults that you think is such a good idea? What training program in specific did you have in mind? Surprise me!

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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
    It ain't rocket science either. How 'bout cutting to the chase about this training/testing/licensing scheme for untrained children and untrained adults that you think is such a good idea? What training program in specific did you have in mind? Surprise me!
    I actually thought I did in the last post. If I had to devise a driver's license test for cyclists it would be much like a test for drivers of motor vehicles. There would be a written test and a road test. It would cover the skills necessary to drive in traffic.

    Now answer my question. Is cycling in traffic such a trivial activity that an untrained child can do it?
    Last edited by larryfeltonj; 06-28-07 at 07:18 PM.

  11. #11
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by larryfeltonj
    Now answer my question. Is cycling in traffic such a trivial activity that an untrained child can do it?
    Yes Sir! But that isn't your original question, is it?

    Cycling is an activity that millions of children and adults have done safely around the world without any special training, testing or licensing for a hundred years or so.
    Last edited by I-Like-To-Bike; 06-29-07 at 06:39 AM.

  12. #12
    Yabba-Dabba-Doo! AlmostTrick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Forester
    What you have seen is the argument that since the traffic behavior of cyclists is so much inferior to the traffic behavior of motorists, and since cyclists ought to have the stronger motivation to improve, one will produce more benefit by concentrating on cyclist training than on motorist training as suggested by cyclists.
    True, but I have to believe that the cyclists on this board that are asking for better motorist training, are NOT exhibiting "inferior traffic behavior" but instead most likely follow the rules of the road better than many motorists do. So for them, (and me) motorist training would provide more benefit.
    Have Bike, Will Travel

  13. #13
    Dominatrikes sbhikes's Avatar
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    I regularly see motorists who:
    1) Do not know they are required to merge into the bike lane before turning
    2) Do not understand that if a bicycle is in the center of the lane doing close to the speed limit that they should not try to pass
    3) Pass bicyclists unsafely at any opportunity no matter how dire, including blind corners, crests of hills or both
    4) Believe that cyclists have no rights to the road and thus harass cyclists with dangerous behavior to teach them a lesson
    5) Drive 40 mph in school zones in order to pass cyclists going 20
    6) Write letters to the editor of the local paper about the "bicycle" problem, which is that there are bicycles on the road who "shouldn't be there."

    And I live in a cycling-frienly town. It's much worse in other places.

    Motorists need more education. They simply do not understand. And with 4000lbs of metal to use to enforce their self-righteous ignorance upon you, I believe it is in our best interest to inform them.
    ~Diane
    Recumbents: Lightning Thunderbolt, '06 Catrike Pocket. Upright: Trek Mountain Bike.
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  14. #14
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    1 - Of course not, why cross a white line and drive partially in a lane that is too narrow to fit in, a lane that most cyclists get all uptight about when a motorist otherwise gets near, let alone enters. This problem should be fixed not thru training, but by changing the confusing paint on the road and varied laws across the US and mixed messages about bike lanes.

    2 - Why? The only possible (but not certain depending how close to SL the cyclist is riding) illegal behavior is speeding. Most motorists find it is safer to pass a bit above the SL than to pass for an extended period while not going over. I drive my SUV at the SL and get passed all the time by other vehicles going a bit faster. Why should it be wrong to pass a slower cyclist? Is that a new law you want?

    3 - This is driving safety, not cyclist specific. Motorist pass other vehicles of all kinds in dangerous situations - spend a weekend driving rural mountain grade/curve roads in AZ at the SL and you will be passed at dangerous places all the time. I agree that drivers should be educated about this, but not as a cycling specific training

    4 - Most motorists know cyclists can use the road legally. Cyclist do it all the time and everyone witnesses this and there are no news stories of cracking down on illegal cycling on the road and never comments in the news that the cyclist was illegally using the road. On the contrary most bike accident stories where I live are about cyclists who get hit when on the sidewalk. The problem is not that motorists don't know the rights and the law, its that they don't want cyclist to have the rights. Put law enforcement witness present and that same motorist will not harass. They know it is wrong.

    5 - Basic illegal driving behavior. Nothing to do with cycling specifically. Motorists speed and get away with it. Enforcement helps. Many school zones are heavily enforced where I live and speeding is rarely a problem. It is the one area with zero tollerance to speeding (i.e. not 11mph over allowed as in other areas)

    6 - That is an attitude problem. We discussed extensively in a different thread. The 'problem' is that cyclists have rights. The 'solution' is to take them away. Bike lanes and MUPs (both of which I am not in fully against) also help erode those rights.

    Al

  15. #15
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Forester
    Frankly, a great deal of the discussion on these lists is just another demonstration of the great need for better cyclist behavior.
    There are far too many conversations on these forums where a car cuts a cyclists off and causes [a near] accident and every one jumps on the cyclists and what they could have done better. While there is a great deal of benefit in understanding how we can control situations like this they no way in H*** that these demonstrate that cyclists have the greater need for education because of all the dumb A** things motorist do.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Human Car
    There are far too many conversations on these forums where a car cuts a cyclists off and causes [a near] accident and every one jumps on the cyclists and what they could have done better. While there is a great deal of benefit in understanding how we can control situations like this they no way in H*** that these demonstrate that cyclists have the greater need for education because of all the dumb A** things motorist do.
    When a cyclist is going straight from the edge of the road where a right turn is allowed and a motorist turns in front of them, of course there's plenty the cyclist could have done better. Do you really think it's dumb of a motorist to not try and drive in a bike lane to make their right turn? How often are motorists presented with traffic lanes that are too narrow for them to drive in aside from bike lanes? How consistent are laws from state to state regarding bike lane usage by motor vehicles? I know DE doesn't even address bike lanes in the vehicle code and I don't think MD does either (could be wrong though).

  17. #17
    Dominatrikes sbhikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noisebeam
    1 - Of course not, why cross a white line and drive partially in a lane that is too narrow to fit in, a lane that most cyclists get all uptight about when a motorist otherwise gets near, let alone enters. This problem should be fixed not thru training, but by changing the confusing paint on the road and varied laws across the US and mixed messages about bike lanes.

    2 - Why? The only possible (but not certain depending how close to SL the cyclist is riding) illegal behavior is speeding. Most motorists find it is safer to pass a bit above the SL than to pass for an extended period while not going over. I drive my SUV at the SL and get passed all the time by other vehicles going a bit faster. Why should it be wrong to pass a slower cyclist? Is that a new law you want?

    3 - This is driving safety, not cyclist specific. Motorist pass other vehicles of all kinds in dangerous situations - spend a weekend driving rural mountain grade/curve roads in AZ at the SL and you will be passed at dangerous places all the time. I agree that drivers should be educated about this, but not as a cycling specific training

    4 - Most motorists know cyclists can use the road legally. Cyclist do it all the time and everyone witnesses this and there are no news stories of cracking down on illegal cycling on the road and never comments in the news that the cyclist was illegally using the road. On the contrary most bike accident stories where I live are about cyclists who get hit when on the sidewalk. The problem is not that motorists don't know the rights and the law, its that they don't want cyclist to have the rights. Put law enforcement witness present and that same motorist will not harass. They know it is wrong.

    5 - Basic illegal driving behavior. Nothing to do with cycling specifically. Motorists speed and get away with it. Enforcement helps. Many school zones are heavily enforced where I live and speeding is rarely a problem. It is the one area with zero tollerance to speeding (i.e. not 11mph over allowed as in other areas)

    6 - That is an attitude problem. We discussed extensively in a different thread. The 'problem' is that cyclists have rights. The 'solution' is to take them away. Bike lanes and MUPs (both of which I am not in fully against) also help erode those rights.

    Al
    It's no wonder nothing ever changes. We we always be cut off, passed illegally and unsafely even if we are doing the speed limit in school zones and taking the lane and people will continue to try to get us off the road with intimidation as long as they are never informed of our rights and the basic laws of the road. And that cyclists (who claim to be vehicular cyclists and thus far superior to all the others) will just make excuses for the poor driving and ignorance of motorists instead of wanting to fix it just proves my point. Vehicular cyclists don't even want to try.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member sggoodri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbhikes
    Motorists need more education. They simply do not understand. And with 4000lbs of metal to use to enforce their self-righteous ignorance upon you, I believe it is in our best interest to inform them.
    I agree with this, However, we must be concerned about who will be developing the educational message, and what it contains.

    If the people developing the educational message are themselves ignorant about proper cycling in traffic, or do not accept the idea that cyclists have full rights to the roadway, then the message they send to motorists will either be counter-productive or ineffective. This is the status quo. For example, here in NC, the NCDOT's own bicycle and pedestrian division contracted out development of a guidebook on North Carolina's bicycle laws and distributed it to police. Unfortunately, the guidebook implies that a cyclist who operates where motorists cannot pass immediately, without delay, is operating unlawfully. Since this publication, we've had reports of local cyclists being stopped by police for "impeding traffic." Other government organizations have published very different interpretetations of identical laws, providing emphatic support of a cyclist's right to use an entire travel lane, with or without qualifications such as lane width. These authors obviously have a better understanding of vehicular cycling.

    It's also possible for motorist education to backfire if it doesn't apply appropriate responsibility to the cyclist. If motorists are admonished for failing to yield to cyclists who are crossing mid-block unpredictably, running red lights, passing right-turning traffic on the right, riding against traffic or at night without lights, and so forth - the most common causes of collisions - motorists will dismiss the message of sharing the road.

    We need to educate the educators, first, by teaching them vehicular cycling.

  19. #19
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbhikes
    It's no wonder nothing ever changes. We we always be cut off, passed illegally and unsafely even if we are doing the speed limit in school zones and taking the lane and people will continue to try to get us off the road with intimidation as long as they are never informed of our rights and the basic laws of the road. And that cyclists (who claim to be vehicular cyclists and thus far superior to all the others) will just make excuses for the poor driving and ignorance of motorists instead of wanting to fix it just proves my point. Vehicular cyclists don't even want to try.
    You missed the point: Training and enforcement of existing laws applicable to all drivers can improve the safety of driving for all.

    All drivers who are not pushing or exceeding the speed and road limits are cut off and passed by agressive drivers. Did you not read response to #3?

    I do support driver education and more importantly enforcement to help with this. Where have I said I don't want to try?

    What excuses have I made?
    (and where have I ever claimed to be superior?)

    To your credit I actually wonder how much you have driven a motor vehicle? Or perhaps when you motor you don't obey the laws and therefore do not regularly encounter such agressive behavior. Hmmm... pehaps this makes sense as those who drive worst and with the least care are often the ones who think cycling with motorists is so risky.

    Al

  20. #20
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Forester
    Your own question states quite clearly the degree to which you suffer from your ideology. Where have you seen that vehicular cyclists oppose motorist education? You surely have never seen that from me.

    What you have seen is the argument that since the traffic behavior of cyclists is so much inferior to the traffic behavior of motorists, and since cyclists ought to have the stronger motivation to improve, one will produce more benefit by concentrating on cyclist training than on motorist training as suggested by cyclists.

    Frankly, a great deal of the discussion on these lists is just another demonstration of the great need for better cyclist behavior.
    But could it not also be true that the behaviour of cyclists is due to pressure from motorists... it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you attempt to ride in the street and are harassed by big metal objects flying at you making terrifying noises, there is a good chance you are going to shy away from that negative experience.

    All you and others have offered in response to honking or yelling from motorists is "ignore it."

    Couple that honking and yelling with the childhood lessons of "stay out of the street" and "watch out for cars" and one can see why many cyclists try to do just that.

    Improve motorist behaviour to include the acceptance of cyclists on the road, and you reduce the negative feedback and cyclists will feel comfortable riding in the street.

  21. #21
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Let me ask again Diane:
    You find these issues:
    "1) Do not know they are required to merge into the bike lane before turning
    2) Do not understand that if a bicycle is in the center of the lane doing close to the speed limit that they should not try to pass
    3) Pass bicyclists unsafely at any opportunity no matter how dire, including blind corners, crests of hills or both
    4) Believe that cyclists have no rights to the road and thus harass cyclists with dangerous behavior to teach them a lesson
    5) Drive 40 mph in school zones in order to pass cyclists going 20
    6) Write letters to the editor of the local paper about the "bicycle" problem, which is that there are bicycles on the road who "shouldn't be there."

    1 - So what? If this is illegal in most every other state, why is it so terrible if many motorists don't do this in CA?
    2 - So what? How is this even a problem for the cyclist? The alternative is to have the motorist follow you for blocks on end in which case you come to the forum complaining about some creep who was watching you.
    3 - A safety problem for all drivers. "Pass unsafely at any opportunity no matter how dire, including blind corners, crests of hills or both" Yep, and what are cyclists going to do to fix this? Motorists who may be the victim of a head on collision from an aggresive driver have more too lose than cyclists. Get them on board and maybe you can get some traction to help educate of the dangers.
    4 - Where do you get the "and thus"? You claim to "regularly see motorists who" Now you read their mind too? See I don't believe the harrassment comes from lack of knowing rights, it comes from being directly affected by those rights combined with the anti-social behavior that driving can cause.
    5 - Speeding is an epidemic problem in the US. And cyclists should tackle this?
    6 - Same comments as before.

  22. #22
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noisebeam
    1 - Of course not, why cross a white line and drive partially in a lane that is too narrow to fit in, a lane that most cyclists get all uptight about when a motorist otherwise gets near, let alone enters. This problem should be fixed not thru training, but by changing the confusing paint on the road and varied laws across the US and mixed messages about bike lanes.
    OK bike lanes are confusing... let's leave that one for now.
    2 - Why? The only possible (but not certain depending how close to SL the cyclist is riding) illegal behavior is speeding. Most motorists find it is safer to pass a bit above the SL than to pass for an extended period while not going over. I drive my SUV at the SL and get passed all the time by other vehicles going a bit faster. Why should it be wrong to pass a slower cyclist? Is that a new law you want?
    Motorists speed... they tend to drive over the speed limit any time an opportunity arises, motorists tend to also close the gap... something that really doesn't make sense from a safety standpoint, but seems to be the norm these days. Motorists often also are somehow compelled to get around bikes... no matter what the situation. (the notion)
    3 - This is driving safety, not cyclist specific. Motorist pass other vehicles of all kinds in dangerous situations - spend a weekend driving rural mountain grade/curve roads in AZ at the SL and you will be passed at dangerous places all the time. I agree that drivers should be educated about this, but not as a cycling specific training
    OK, a clear need for education.
    4 - Most motorists know cyclists can use the road legally. Cyclist do it all the time and everyone witnesses this and there are no news stories of cracking down on illegal cycling on the road and never comments in the news that the cyclist was illegally using the road. On the contrary most bike accident stories where I live are about cyclists who get hit when on the sidewalk. The problem is not that motorists don't know the rights and the law, its that they don't want cyclist to have the rights. Put law enforcement witness present and that same motorist will not harass. They know it is wrong.
    This I will debate. Motorists know harassment is wrong... and that is what they will not do if LE is present; but as far as motorists understanding that cyclists have rights to the road... no, most motorists do not know this.

    I challenge you to talk to motorists that do not know you as a cyclist. Have a candid conversation with some folks at some public situation where you can converse about anything. Talk about the price of gas, ask what they think about bikes on the road. Keep the conversation open, don't lead it, and listen. You will be quite surprised to hear the misconceptions held by most motorists. It tends to be somewhat age dependent... older folks tend to be quite negative about cyclists... younger college age folks are a bit more accepting, but they usually don't know that cyclists have RIGHTS to use the road.

    Oddly enough, I had this same conversation with my father just a few months ago. He knows I am a cyclist; I toured to his home some 20 years ago across the US. We happened to be talking about that, and he expressed surprise that I was able to do that... this many years later.

    He had no idea that cyclists have rights to the road... he, like many other motorists, feel that cyclists are "borrowing" the road that motorists pay for through taxes and fees.

    Really go out and have that conversation.... find out what motorists really think.
    5 - Basic illegal driving behavior. Nothing to do with cycling specifically. Motorists speed and get away with it. Enforcement helps. Many school zones are heavily enforced where I live and speeding is rarely a problem. It is the one area with zero tollerance to speeding (i.e. not 11mph over allowed as in other areas)

    6 - That is an attitude problem. We discussed extensively in a different thread. The 'problem' is that cyclists have rights. The 'solution' is to take them away. Bike lanes and MUPs (both of which I am not in fully against) also help erode those rights.

    Al
    # 6 stems from what I mentioned in #4. Motorists have misconceptions about the ownership of the road based on fees they pay and entitlements they feel they are owed due to the "price of admission," the cost of their cars. The misconceptions are expressed in opinion pieces in the paper (remember the AZ hiway patrolman... who should have known better) and these misconceptions are reinforced by shock radio.

    Most motorists do not know that cyclists have the same rights to the road as any other vehicle driver and this forms the basis for motorists believing that bikes don't belong on the road.

    I would be willing to bet many utility cyclists don't know they have rights to the road either... but it is much harder to have a candid conversation with them.

    But really try that conversation I mentioned above, and come back and tell us what you find out.

  23. #23
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joejack951
    When a cyclist is going straight from the edge of the road where a right turn is allowed and a motorist turns in front of them, of course there's plenty the cyclist could have done better. Do you really think it's dumb of a motorist to not try and drive in a bike lane to make their right turn? How often are motorists presented with traffic lanes that are too narrow for them to drive in aside from bike lanes? How consistent are laws from state to state regarding bike lane usage by motor vehicles? I know DE doesn't even address bike lanes in the vehicle code and I don't think MD does either (could be wrong though).
    OK so what causes motorists to go around cyclists clearly in the middle of the lane, to then try to turn right in front of the cyclist. Or what causes motorists to turn from a middle lane across a cyclist in a right lane? Or to make illegal turns from straight through lanes next to ROTL; the latter being done to avoid a cyclist in the ROTL. Those behaviours have nothing to do with a cyclist acting poorly... they are decisions motorists make inspite of cyclists NOT hugging the curb.

  24. #24
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Gene- I've had that conversation many times. Of the dozen of conversations I've had (non-cyclists, even cyclist dislikers) everyone knows that cyclist can legally use the road - have a right to. A few misunderstood that if a bike lane is present cyclists must use it.

    But the most common 'anti-bike' sentiment was 'Just cause its right and legal, doesn't mean you should' - and then they may spout off many other examples of things that we in the US have a right to do, but are frowned upon if one exercises those rights or stays within the law. They range from national hot button issues to tedium like how high ones weeds can grow in ones front yard. Yesterdays example was weeds no higher than 12", but if I did keep my yard filled with weeds just under 12", the city couldn't tell me otherwise, but my neighbors would still be upset with me.

    Al

  25. #25
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noisebeam
    Hmmm... pehaps this makes sense as those who drive worst and with the least care are often the ones who think cycling with motorists is so risky.
    Quite true possibly... motorists may be aware of how poorly they control their car and realize... "Hey, no way I want to be out there with the likes of me driving."

    While this may be true, I doubt most drivers feel they drive poorly.

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