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Old 10-05-04, 09:22 PM
Chris L
Every lane is a bike lane
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Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia - passionfruit capital of the universe!
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I disagree with the gist of this thread totally. Sure, there are plenty of abusive drivers out there, but let's look at this realistically. Firstly, most of them merely limit their abuse to verbal. It's rare that they throw things, and even when it happens (yes, I've been a target more than once), it's pretty easy for an reasonably skillful cyclist to deal with.

The other thing to remember is that if someone really wants to take you out, they'll just do it, and they'll do it whether or not you're on the road at all (I've experienced that one, too). Drivers around here have absolutely no qualms with leaving the road if it suits whatever agenda they have. If you're going to be that paranoid about every other person in existence, you might as well never leave the house at all.

Originally Posted by wfin
do not ride on the roads for that very purpose. I found myself always thinking about this guy swerving that way or that guy doing this. It was to much of a distraction for me and I want to ride for the shear joy and solitude that I get. That could not happen on the road. I just load my bike in the truck and head off to the Rail Trails around here. No worries there at all.
This is exactly the type of response that typifies this fear of "what might happen if I dare ride on the road" without actually doing enough of it to get an idea of the probabilities. You see, in this life, there is nothing any of us can do to totally eliminate risk. Eating, sleeping, watching TV, riding on separate trails all carry elements of risk.

Contrary to popular belief, the risk of cycling on the road is relatively small. Where I live has, by reputation, the worst drivers in this entire country, yet in over 100,000km of riding on the roads through conditions including extreme heat (the scariest of them all), droughts, floods, lightning storms etc etc, I've never sustained an injury that prevented me from riding away after the event (and that includes five collisions with cars). A little bruised perhaps (and a little wiser), but never seriously injured. Imagine if I'd been in a car travelling at 80km/h on any of those five crashes!

The other thing is, virtually all of the crashes that I have had have been entirely preventable. Indeed, four of the five car collisions I mentioned happened within the first 20,000km of cycling on the roads around here. Conditions haven't really changed much (except that the traffic increases with our population growth), I've merely become wiser about it. I've discovered that if you ride assertively and act like a vehicle, your far more likely to be treated like one.

Sure, I get the honks and the abuse, but even car drivers get that around here -- and it's not that difficult to shrug off. One thing I have to deal with a lot less since I started acting assertively is people cutting me off or passing too close. It happens from time to time, but even when it does, I'm far better equipped to deal with it than I would be cowering on the path or in the gutter.

Gee, I did go on a little bit, didn't I?
I am clinically insane. I am proud of it.

That is all.
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