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Old 09-13-17, 01:12 PM   #1
rachel120
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At a loss for words

Warning, venting, I just had to get this off my chest. But serious question needing discussion at the very bottom.

So for 2½ months I've been using my bicycle for my primary mode of transportation. My family in turn has gotten used to part of the dining room turning into my personal bike parking and equipment storage area and occasionally hearing my "grrr" stories from the day's commute.

Well my body is in bad enough shape that I need physical therapy but in good enough shape that I can ride my bike to and from the appointments. I had an appointment this morning and one thing led to another and my husband and I ended up with schedules matching well enough to meet for lunch after my appointment.

On the way to the appointment I decided to cut through a series of parking lots to get to the area where the PT center is. It's a really crazy area, there are a lot of "roads" that end after a whopping three feet in length, a lot of stop signs giving right of way to those three feet roads and a lot of grass. My guess is the grass covers where there used to be a lot more businesses and where the "roads" were actual roads leading to buildings and someone ripped up all the concrete when the businesses went away. Cutting through it though is very common even by motor vehicles as the other option is nasty traffic on a major road....a road I didn't want to make a left turn onto, followed by another left turn into the PT center.

There was absolutely no other traffic traveling my direction, so I was completely safe unless I did something so stupid that would cause me to fall off the bike. Cutting through the parking lots meant a left turn before the nasty road, and that area of road has nothing but asphalt and super low-cut grass, absolutely nothing to impede vision. When the left turn lane started I signaled in case there was a bored cop somewhere watching and moved into the lane. When I got to the end of the turn lane oncoming traffic was really, really far away and there's no stop sign so I didn't even slow down.

Neither did the 70+ year old man turning out of the parking lot. I'm on the main road, I have right of way, he has a stop sign and he didn't even slow down for the stop sign. In fact, I think he sped up. I had to stop on a dime and I screamed at the top of my lungs "****ER!!!" Not yelled, screamed, the whole voice raised by an octave or two that can only be done in extreme situations or by actresses in horror flicks. Looking back, I think he thought he hit me when he heard the scream, because he actually stopped in the main road just clear of the break in the median. I wish I had realized at the time he probably thought that, I would have stopped and used my best mom voice to give him a tongue-lashing on a scale that even his own mother never managed, but I was so angry I rode off after giving him the bird.

So PT hurt, PT hurt a lot, and afterwards I headed off to the restaurant. Met with the hubby, told him about the old man, told him PT hurt, and yada yada. Apparently at some point my husband has passed me on the road, maybe even today since I left home before he did going in the same direction, and he asked a few questions. How long does it take for me to get to work, what's my average speed, things like that. Then he asked "Why do you ride in the middle of the lane instead of to the far right?" That question means he must have seen me on the road, and I explained about visibility from behind, how drivers mistake distances and think they can safely pass without ceding any of the lane which leads to increased buzzing, and other safety/visibility issues.

And then my intelligent and well educated husband asked "Why don't you just ride on the sidewalk like everyone else?" Wha??? You've had a driver's license longer than I have, honey. You've been living with me the last 2½ months, honey. Legal responsibility, legal rights, lack of continuous sidewalks, lack of pedestrian crosswalks, not wanting a $70 fine, you've been hearing it all for 2½ months, honey. How can you even ask that question??

If the live-in spouse of a daily commuting cyclist can think the sidewalk is the place for a bicycle, what hope is there of educating motorists at large?

Last edited by cb400bill; 09-13-17 at 03:01 PM. Reason: Bypassing forum censor
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Old 09-13-17, 01:21 PM   #2
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Senior citizen drivers are what scares me the most...after texting teen drivers.
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Old 09-13-17, 01:28 PM   #3
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If the live-in spouse of a daily commuting cyclist can think the sidewalk is the place for a bicycle, what hope is there of educating motorists at large?
About as much hope as there is of educating cyclists to the dangers of assuming their rights as a road user are worth any more than the paper they are written on.

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he has a stop sign and he didn't even slow down for the stop sign.
He probably learnt that from a cyclist
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Old 09-13-17, 01:46 PM   #4
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recently took possession of my 90 yr old Dad's 1994 Camry. now gotta get the car from my 87 yr old Mom, but she's a tiger. isn't gonna be easy
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Old 09-13-17, 02:08 PM   #5
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About as much hope as there is of educating cyclists to the dangers of assuming their rights as a road user are worth any more than the paper they are written on.
Yeah, probably a dig at me, but oh well. I'm not aggressive, but I'm assertive. I watch closely for danger at all times and I think I'm a better cyclist than a driver when it comes to planning and reacting, and I will shy off of a "this will get me squished" situation. But if I judge that I won't get squished unless the motorist has decided on 1st degree murder (at which point nothing I do will help me) I'll claim my right of way.

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He probably learnt that from a cyclist
If I hadn't read first person accounts on this forum, I'd have never believed it was a common thing. Legal rights and legal responsibilities go hand in hand, obey the same laws the cars have to.

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recently took possession of my 90 yr old Dad's 1994 Camry. now gotta get the car from my 87 yr old Mom, but she's a tiger. isn't gonna be easy
Long story short, I know of a couple of older people where a bogus story was given to "temporarily" take the vehicle to get something checked out and it just hadn't been completed yet, there's more to be done, this thingamajig needs to be fixed, that rare thingamajig is backordered, etc. (The best one I heard is that the thieves that took it might have put a bomb in it so it had to have every part carefully checked over. The truth was that thieves did really take it, the police really did find it and the son was super-quick on his feet when it came time for the police to turn it back over to his mother.) It won't help if the old person is super sharp but physically a danger (poor eyesight or something), but if the brains are somewhat addled it can be pulled off.
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Old 09-13-17, 02:41 PM   #6
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If the live-in spouse of a daily commuting cyclist can think the sidewalk is the place for a bicycle, what hope is there of educating motorists at large?
Send said "live in spouse" to a Road 101 class for cyclists... and then show him your local driver's handbook... Education starts at home, first.
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Old 09-13-17, 02:54 PM   #7
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I pray daily on my commute that the barriers to getting a driver's license in the U.S. become much, much higher/harder/stringent. It's insane that as a 16 year old you take a short course, a short test and wham...you can pilot a deadly vehicle!

Even crazier is the fact that you don't have to get recertified and just can drive until you're dead?! Good lord, an x-ray tech (not a slight) has to get re-upped more than that! It's crazy.

And throw in using a phone while driving. It's infuriating. It really is beyond me. Even worse when the motorist using their phone while driving is a mother and has kids in the car. Or has some peace/love/happiness bumper sticker. Or "co-exist." Or has a bike or bike rack on the car.

Riding a bike in the U.S on open roads and dealing with distracted/aggressive motorists is truly enough to break the spirit of even the most loving, open, happy person.
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Old 09-13-17, 03:01 PM   #8
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"Loss for Words"? 8-)

But as another who is healthy enough to ride a bike, but needs regular PT (and the bike is actually part of the PT!) I totally sympathize with you and wish you safety and good luck with your PT.
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Old 09-13-17, 03:25 PM   #9
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But as another who is healthy enough to ride a bike, but needs regular PT (and the bike is actually part of the PT!) I totally sympathize with you and wish you safety and good luck with your PT.
Good luck to you too with your PT.
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Old 09-13-17, 04:43 PM   #10
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I had a parking lot experience with another biker recently. I probably was mostly at fault as I was riding through an area that was lined off for car parking but had no cars instead of the traffic lane of the lot. I wanted to see what a large box mounted on a post next to the parking lot was. Just as I passed by the box and looked up, a biker was coming toward me and intent on passing to my left as is correct for most situations.

However I was already incorrect by not being in the traffic lane of the parking lot. Why would the other biker think it correct try and pass on the side of me that only had three feet of clearance when there was 60 plus feet of clean unobstructed pavement on the other side of me?

And why didn't they at least holler "heads up" or something to alert me of their presence. I never saw them until way too late and just barely got out of the way.

Looking at who was most at fault violating rules and guidelines. That probably was me. But looking at who had more opportunities to avoid the situation, I would have to put that on the other biker.

So I guess the point is we all screw up. In your joust with the car coming out of the other lot..... I'd have probably deferred to the car, unless I'd been able to make eye contact with the driver and felt that they saw me. Even then, I'd probably rather they go first so they don't have to pass me later. So consider whether asserting your right of way is worth the risk. Death isn't always worth being right.

I'd also consider that parking lots might be more dangerous than streets. Traffic in parking lots is less predictable.

And don't think that every car that almost ran you over or violated your rights is someone that needs to be chastised in some fashion.

As for your spouse. Well yes you can use that incorrect knowledge he had to beat up on him or work any future conversation with him to your advantage. That's fair play in any relationship. Makes it fun if you aren't the type that gets enraged over such.
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Old 09-13-17, 05:15 PM   #11
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Except in the downtown area, it is perfectly legal to ride your bike on the sidewalks--yielding to pedestrians just like on a MUP, and in the crosswalk you have the same rights as a pedestrian. I use the sidewalks in my city as much as possible and have ridden 8 miles from one end of the city to the other, only encountering a few people walking and having no trouble. I ride on the side streets which are wide and are where there are bike lanes as well as on the MUPs. This has kept me safe from ever being hit by a motor vehicle in my 58 years of riding a bike.

I am continually amazed by those cyclists who choose to ride in traffic, especially on busy streets where vehicles are often traveling 35 mph or faster because you have a faith that rivals nearly any religion, trusting that every car or truck coming behind you will pass you safely or that their drivers are not distracted by many things. You must win every one of the close encounters that come upon you because the first one you lose could be your last.
You have a courage and bravery and trust that I lack since I want to remain safe and have no desire to have on my tombstone: "He had every legal right to ride where he was hit".

"So consider whether asserting your right of way is worth the risk. Death isn't always worth being right." Absolutely and wisely true.
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Old 09-13-17, 05:28 PM   #12
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ISo I guess the point is we all screw up. In your joust with the car coming out of the other lot..... I'd have probably deferred to the car, unless I'd been able to make eye contact with the driver and felt that they saw me. Even then, I'd probably rather they go first so they don't have to pass me later. So consider whether asserting your right of way is worth the risk. Death isn't always worth being right.
Oh I deferred to him all right, I hit the brakes so hard the back wheel lifted up slightly. That was a situation where it would result in me getting squished. And it happened so suddenly that I am certain of age because I saw him very frighteningly close and very clearly through his windshield.

But as far as chastising......as close as he came to hitting me by not even slowing down, he deserved a good dressing down.

In this case when I say "parking lots" it's a really weird setup where all that's left is interconnecting roads and roads that vanish after just a few feet. The actual parking areas and building foundations are long gone. So imagine a maze of roads that have a tendency to just vanish, but there is one path threading through connecting three businesses in an area of about 1/3 of a mile by 1/3 of a mile before joining the road going in front of a strip mall.
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Old 09-13-17, 05:36 PM   #13
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Except in the downtown area, it is perfectly legal to ride your bike on the sidewalks--yielding to pedestrians just like on a MUP, and in the crosswalk
And you know that to be true everywhere? I didn't think we were talking about a specific city. Unlike you, I find the streets more reassuring than sidewalks where space is at a premium. Even the state road and highways where traffic exceeds 55mph around here is not a big deal.

What amazes me is that either you people have way more drivers that get enraged around bikers or y'all are just here to bemoan any discrepancy of a car driver that suits your mission.
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Old 09-13-17, 05:41 PM   #14
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Except in the downtown area, it is perfectly legal to ride your bike on the sidewalks--yielding to pedestrians just like on a MUP, and in the crosswalk you have the same rights as a pedestrian. I use the sidewalks in my city as much as possible and have ridden 8 miles from one end of the city to the other, only encountering a few people walking and having no trouble. I ride on the side streets which are wide and are where there are bike lanes as well as on the MUPs. This has kept me safe from ever being hit by a motor vehicle in my 58 years of riding a bike.
Nearly every state makes it illegal to ride your bike on the sidewalk. The few that don't outright ban it make it legal only in certain circumstances and the default is illegal unless specifically legalized. My state makes it legal only if the local government makes it legal, and after combing through more traffic studies than I thought could exist for a tiny county, the verdict is that actual sidewalks are pedestrian only and bikes are permitted only on "hiker/biker trails".

Basically in the eyes of the law we are road vehicles. We are cars without motors and not enough wheels. Bicycles being on sidewalks are the same as jumping your car up over the curb onto one.
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Old 09-13-17, 05:42 PM   #15
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It's insane that as a 16 year old you take a short course, a short test and wham...you can pilot a deadly vehicle!
Bingo! It has nothing to do, directly, with their knowledge of cycling regs either.
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Old 09-13-17, 05:59 PM   #16
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What amazes me is that either you people have way more drivers that get enraged around bikers or y'all are just here to bemoan any discrepancy of a car driver that suits your mission.
I think why I'm getting honked at a lot and screamed at a lot is because of home location and work location there is only one road I can take to get from point A to point B. That road is a 4 lane divided highway, the speed limit is 40mph but is routinely violated by 10mph or more (I've driven that road at 50mph and been passed by many, many cars going faster) and the road is a government encouraged bypass of a major US highway. So lots of cars going by, and I suspect that per mile I encounter more cars on my commute than many other commuters who can choose from a variety of roads. On top of that, my usual commuting hours puts me in traffic around rush hour, and people are mean during rush hour.

I do think that familiarity may also be a factor as the honking and yelling is tapering down, despite me not getting faster. Almost a "omg, she's not going away, fine, whatever, at least passing her is easy". And since I do come here to vent or to get advice, I'm not talking about all the nice people that are a great counter-balance. Like one day the oncoming left turn folks got a green light and the lead guy just sat there until he was sure I wasn't going to blow through the red light. Another guy, late at night, he didn't have a stop sign but stopped until he was sure I wasn't going to blow through the stop sign. A few people that clearly wanted to turn right but chose to pace me at a safe distance instead of speeding past me and then cutting back in for the right turn. All those wonderful people that have followed at a safe distance when I had no possible way of getting the heck out of the way. The woman who yelled "You go girl!" when she saw me in traffic. All those wonderful people who pass no closer than 3 feet. The woman who hung back and waited for clear signaling from me before she sped up to merge in front of me. There's a lot of really nice drivers I don't talk about, and there are times of the day that people are far, far nicer than rush hour.
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Old 09-13-17, 06:15 PM   #17
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Bingo! It has nothing to do, directly, with their knowledge of cycling regs either.
Okay, so for you folks in the US, please tell me if my license exam experience is normal or not normal.

So the written portion was 100 questions, and they had hundreds of questions to choose from to give a random test to everyone. You had to study the manual forwards and backwards because while there were obvious everyday stuff, there was also the less known and less encountered stuff. Same testing standards for learner's permit and for the written portion of the driver's license. To this day I remember the only question I missed during the written portion for the actual license - "When driving in heavy fog do you have your lights a) off, b) on low beams, c) on high beams?" There never was any fog where I lived in the state and that's the kind of obscure stuff that you had to know to pass the test. The test was considered "cutting edge" for the time because it would show videos of things like your view when backing up or your view when driving along and ask questions based on the video scenario presented. Several classmates failed the written portion the first time through because the stuff being asked and the sheer number of questions exposed gaps of knowledge. (They would then actually read the manual carefully before trying a second time. One girl failed it three times before finally passing the written portion.) The reason why I had a pretty good grasp on cycling laws and only had to learn the state variations is because a significant portion of the state driving manual covered both bicycle laws and motor vehicle laws for sharing the road.

Having gone through a written exam that asks about fog and seeing so many classmates fail because they didn't carefully read through the state driving manual, it seems like you really have to know your stuff to pass the written portion. Was my state unusually strict in the knowledge level that was required? My husband just says that he doesn't recall the exam being that difficult in the state he was licensed in.
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Old 09-13-17, 06:24 PM   #18
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It's legal in my area to ride on the sidewalk and I do on one stretch of road sometimes. But the road honestly seems way easier to me. Ive had more run ins, crashes, and close calls on the sidewalk than on the road.
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Old 09-13-17, 06:26 PM   #19
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At a loss for words
Apparently not.
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Old 09-13-17, 06:31 PM   #20
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If I hadn't read first person accounts on this forum, I'd have never believed it was a common thing. Legal rights and legal responsibilities go hand in hand, obey the same laws the cars have to.
running stop signs is all too common. It's such an acceptable thing in fact that many brag videos posted here show it and no one questions it. I have, but my comments are ignored. there was one the other day where a rider flew through a stop sign on a bikepath to cross a road 2 seconds after a couple of vans had shot in front of the camera. His gloves are custom made though so that makes up for it


http://www.bikeforums.net/general-cy...bike-path.html

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Old 09-13-17, 06:37 PM   #21
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: Originally Posted by rachel120
At a loss for words

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Apparently not.
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Old 09-13-17, 06:44 PM   #22
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Sorry, I don't see anything wrong with crossing a road even 1/4 second AFTER a vehicle passes. I saw the same video and was slightly (very slightly) bothered that the rider didn't seem to slow down as he came to the crossing. But then I figured that there were good sight lines and he could see that the way was clear.

As I've posed here before, I just about ignore all the traffic laws and adhere to the basic rules of the road that have existed for over a century. So, red light, stop sign or nothing, I check for traffic and proceed when I can do so safely without needing anyone to make any adjustment on my behalf.

By the same token, I don't assume having a green will magically keep me safe. Green or no, I check cross traffic and go if/when it's safe.

My basic rule for intersections is that I not only ride so I won't get hit, I ride so they couldn't hit me if they tried. That's kept me safe for over half a century.
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Old 09-13-17, 06:52 PM   #23
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Apparently not.
You know they don't have a very good "sticking my tongue out at you" smiley.

At the restaurant though, when he asked that, I really did not know what to say.
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Old 09-13-17, 06:56 PM   #24
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Okay, so for you folks in the US, please tell me if my license exam experience is normal or not normal.
Was my state unusually strict in the knowledge level that was required? My husband just says that he doesn't recall the exam being that difficult in the state he was licensed in.
It has been 46 years since I took a drivers license exam and I have no memory of it whatsoever. Yes, that's a huge problem. No concern whatsoever when renewing a license, now online. Probably no changes will be made in my lifetime.
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Old 09-13-17, 11:33 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
Senior citizen drivers are what scares me the most...after texting teen drivers.
Oh it gets worse; the local senior citizen center teaches them to text, FB message and all sorts of other things on their phones. I think they're actually outpacing some of the college kids on bad driving.
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