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  1. #1
    t x
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    Question Fitting in to traffic patterns in other cities

    Hi All,
    Recently I was on vacation in another city (Honolulu) and the wife and I rented bikes for our stay. It was a lot of fun and a great way to experience the area. In my home town (LA) I'm a religious adherent to VC and brought the same habits with me to Hawaii. One thing I noticed though was that the occasional horn or shout from drivers made me more uncomfortable than it would've at home. When I'm riding around my city I'm comfortable weathering any driver abuse because I have a general "This is my city too and I have a right to use and enjoy it" attitude, but I felt almost guilty when I'm more of a "guest" in another area, I was definitely more likely to make concessions like yielding the lane.

    Has anyone else felt this? How do you handle riding outside of your home territory?

  2. #2
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    So much for the claimed Aloha towards our guest.

    Sorry you had to come across some of our jerks.

    I ride the same regardless of location.
    Land of the Free, Because of the Brave.

  3. #3
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    I think it has to do with the hostility towards cyclists' in a given region. Nov.'02-Jan.'07, I lived in the Midwest in Duluth(MN). Hostility towards cyclists' was far less, than what I have experienced. Since I moved back to the DC-Metro region. Here in the DC-Metro region, they are more car-centric, than economical and concerned about the environment. Since I moved back to the region in 2007, I have been hit five times in the last seven years. One time resulted in a hairline fracture in the same wrist I fractured back in 2003. While I have never needed hospitilization, the hostility in this region is like the pungent odor of a rotting carcass of a dead game kill.

    I didn't experience this level of hostility, when I lived in Minnesota.

    I grant you partly that I have been focusing on 'living conditions'. When I went 65 mile day tour ride last September in Southern Virginia, that atmosphere of the traffic was far less hostile.

    So, It depends on the region and their approach to cycling.

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    When I came to Oregon after forty years split between the SF (L)East Bay and the Sacramento Valley, it was a shock. I briefly stopped riding altogether due to the overly hostile motoring public. After a while, I saw the way it was working and got back in the saddle, but it's still more stressful than NorCal.

    Hereabouts, when I go out for a training/joy ride, I always wear a bright reflective vest (we call then newbie vests), reflective ankle straps and at least one bright blinkie, sometimes a Dinotte 400R. About one-third of the motorists pass me illegally with about 5% of them passing close enough that it is uncomfortable/stressful. When I ride back in NorCal, which happens several times per year, I just wear what I want and rarely put a blinkie on the bike for daytime riding. The motorists almost all change lanes to pass and I don't even consider the possibility of getting hit. There's also a LOT more intercity cyclists in NorCal than there are in Oregon and that may be a factor.

    Other parts of the country that I have ridden in have been a mixed bag. Oddly enough, I found Lubbock, TX to be quite bike-friendly/tolerant, at least as far as the behavior of the motorists. Perhaps it was just their shock at seeing someone on a bike that led to that. However, if that was the case then I can't explain Pittsburgh; what an angry city.

  5. #5
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    About one-third of the motorists pass me illegally with about 5% of them passing close enough that it is uncomfortable/stressful.
    In what way are the 30% of passes illegal, other than the 5% too close passing?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    In what way are the 30% of passes illegal, other than the 5% too close passing?
    They violate the admittedly generous space provisions for overtaking motorists when passing cyclists under ORS 811.065. This statute requires overtaking motorists to give cyclists room to fall over in the direction of the overtaking vehicle when passing on a roadway with a speed limit in excess of 35 mph and no bike lane.

    It was passed into law in response to a local college instructor's death at the hands of an aggressive log truck driver. She apparently lost concentration and crossed wheels with a bike in front of her and fell down. The log truck ran over her, resulting in her death. No charges were filed nor was a citation given to her killer. If that is indeed how it went down, she was riding way past her skill level and was a fool for doing so when she was being tailgated by an aggressive log hauler (redundant).

    While she is not blameless, our legislature felt that her lack of skill should not have resulted in her death and set out to reduce the likelihood that someone else will meet the same fate. However, I'm not sure a $400 fine would do much even if the law was enforced. As I said, many motorists pass me well within the space requirements of the law, but not very many of those get my attention; I don't fall over while riding very often (as in I can't remember the last time such a thing happened), and I doubt if I would fall to my left since I generally try to leave an out to the right. I think I am more likely to get struck by lightning than to fall over in front of an overtaking vehicle. However, the law does remove, or at least make more difficult, the "sole survivor suicide swerve" defense for motorists.

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    I love riding in larger cities during rush hour. Speeds are slow and the high-speed weaving is just a little bit more real. Probably my favorite places to bike are SF (hills) and Philly (love the boulevards/parkways).
    Road rash is a precious gift. Road rash is your friend. Bask in it, appreciate it, love it. Above all, learn from it. --Robert Hurst

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