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Are most avid/experienced cyclists knowledgeable of laws, safety practices?

Old 04-04-18, 12:32 PM
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jeldredmitchell
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Are most avid/experienced cyclists knowledgeable of laws, safety practices?

The assumption, in my mind, about avid and experienced cyclists, is that they are acutely aware of laws, safety practices and local cycling issues. I was wondering if this is a safe assumption, given the thought I've had of using these individuals in my community to help with a bicycle education campaign.
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Old 04-04-18, 12:52 PM
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Yes.
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Old 04-04-18, 01:35 PM
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With the proviso that frequently people describe themselves as an avid and experienced cyclist in casual conversation, but really aren't.
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Old 04-04-18, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
With the proviso that frequently people describe themselves as an avid and experienced cyclist in casual conversation, but really aren't.
Exactly.
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Old 04-04-18, 03:44 PM
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I see many so called avid and experienced cyclist riding in the door zone. Too many here think it is OK to paint a bike lane in the door zone.
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Old 04-04-18, 03:54 PM
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Not really. And even the ones who are knowledgeable will often espouse contrary opinions and practices with knowledgeable cyclists.


Usually there is some sort of bike advocacy group or large club in your area. They would have a better shot at nominating an appropriate person.
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Old 04-04-18, 04:21 PM
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If a cyclist has survived commuting in an urban or dense suburban area for many years, I would trust him/her to have (possibly) some insights ion smart cycling (the caveat that i have seen people draw all the wrong lessons from right behavior.)

if a person has ridden mostly on roads chosen for being low traffic, that person could be an "avid cyclist" (with more miles to his/her credit than most) but not necessarily have survival habits ingrained.

if you plan to start a safety course You had best know in advance what you want to teach, because I am sure if you picked any three people off this site you would find five or eight absolute and absolutely contradictory sets of guidelines over a span of a couple days.

Really, you need to sit down with the folks in your area, have some conversations, and make the call yourself.
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Old 04-04-18, 04:28 PM
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many are aware, some observe, some don't observe. There are also differing philosophies, often strongly held, that result in contrarian approaches

It might help to know location and audience (kids, adults, new to bike, etc)
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Old 04-04-18, 04:29 PM
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Bike messengers have more urban cycling survival skills than anyone, and I absolutely wouldn't recommend they teach biking courses.
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Old 04-04-18, 08:50 PM
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I read a lot of news articles, perhaps the majority, where (1) a cyclist died or was seriously injured from a right-hook or getting doored or some other preventable collision and (2) their friends and relatives identify them as having been an "avid cyclist". So I vote no.
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Old 04-04-18, 09:58 PM
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A mixed bag, much like the posts in this forum.
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Old 04-04-18, 11:36 PM
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It doesn't seem that way at all. Among the multitude of cyclists in my city, I rarely if ever see one obeying the traffic laws or really even displaying basic safety and awareness of their surroundings. It's very troubling.
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Old 04-05-18, 05:58 AM
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It's always a bit surprising to me how many people post here who don't seem to like bicyclists in the roadways.

There is certainly disagreement among avid riders on the safest practices, but generally speaking few are more cognizant of the specific traffic laws regarding cycling.
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Old 04-05-18, 06:20 AM
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Seems to be some mixed feelings about this from the masses. OP used 'avid and experienced' cyclist, and if I were to organize a safety workshop I'd certainly want someone who, first of all, rides a bike and has been riding regularly on a variety of roads and under a variety of conditions.

Second, an experienced cyclist doesn't necessarily mean that he/she is knowledgeable about the laws. You want someone who is, and also know when to ignore those laws if it favours his own safety.

OP can contact cycling advocacy group(s) in his community. I"m sure there is one.

Last edited by mcours2006; 04-05-18 at 07:13 AM.
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Old 04-05-18, 07:09 AM
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Also ... most states have some sort of Uniform Traffic Code which contains a section on bicycles. Regardless of what other riders (and sometimes LEOs) might tell you, it is the laws on the books that a judge will enforce.

In this internet age, researching, downloading, and learning the specific bike laws is easy.
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Old 04-05-18, 07:13 AM
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If one is over 16, then it is likely one holds a drivers license. So according to the authorities, that person is aware of traffic laws.

However, as we see on a daily basis, being aware of the law and practicing within the law are different. Bicyclists and motorists are not that much different from each other except that when violating the law, one puts himself in danger while the other puts everybody else in danger.
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Old 04-05-18, 07:14 AM
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you might also tap other sources like urban planners responsible for bicycle infrastructure & police, even if, ironically, many police are not quite up to speed w bike law. every year, in the Boston area, cops got thru bike law training. maybe you can talk to bike cops, meaning police that ride bikes

depending on where you live, you might have organizations such as MassBike, that specialize in bike advocacy & education

If you crash... - Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition
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Old 04-05-18, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by jeldredmitchell View Post
The assumption, in my mind, about avid and experienced cyclists, is that they are acutely aware of laws, safety practices and local cycling issues. I was wondering if this is a safe assumption, given the thought I've had of using these individuals in my community to help with a bicycle education campaign.
while it might be intuitive to assume that, i wouldn't say i agree.

one might likewise assume that an avid and experienced cyclist might know how to perform the most basic of bike maintenance, changing a flat tire/tube. i've seen more of this inability than one would expect.

in addition, on the issue of safety practices, or behaving with a sense of self-preservation, i wish i would see more of this than i do. too many riders i see behave as if they are seen 100% and that drivers will behave with complete predictability.
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Old 04-06-18, 07:11 AM
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Are most avid/experienced cyclists knowledgeable of laws, safety practices?
Originally Posted by jeldredmitchell View Post
The assumption, in my mind, about avid and experienced cyclists, is that they are acutely aware of laws, safety practices and local cycling issues.

I was wondering if this is a safe assumption, given the thought I've had of using these individuals in my community with a bicycle education campaign.
Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
If one is over 16, then it is likely one holds a drivers license. So according to the authorities, that person is aware of traffic laws.

However, as we see on a daily basis, being aware of the law and practicing within the law are different. Bicyclists and motorists are not that much different from each other except that when violating the law, one puts himself in danger while the other puts everybody else in danger.
Originally Posted by FrenchFit View Post
A mixed bag, much like the posts in this forum.
As a native of the Motor City, with an excellent driver’s ed in high school, a good driving record, especially in Boston
for decades, I consider myself well versed.


However IMO, though we share roads with autos, I consider cycling a different modality.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I’m a decades-long, year-round cycle commuter in Boston, lucky to have a reverse commute from downtown to a outlying suburb. In general I don’t ride sidewalks in busy commercial districts, and I use bike lanes when available.

However, riding venues for me are situational, and I use my judgement
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I rarely ride as a wheeled-pedestrian, almost always for convenience, like a shortcut on the sidewalk.

Actually, not to raise the usual controversy, IMO when I’m on the bike, I consider myself as an amphibian. Like the biologic species between reptile and fish, I exist as a cyclist [vehicle] and wheeled pedestrian.

I obey traffic laws, and respect fellow road-users, but as noted above, I may assume pedestrian privileges, like circumventing traffic by going on to the sidewalk, and even some ”bad” habits of pedestrians, not appropriate for mention on a car-free-centered forum.
Originally Posted by Stun View Post
My experience is that people drive differently in every city and treat cyclists very differently. The best advice often comes from cyclists that live the closest to you …

The exception here would also be Jim from Boston--anyone that can successfully commute around Boston has my full respect and probably knows how to deal with about every intersection imaginable!
To assure my safety with such an attitude
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
…Over the past few months I have come to realize that my safety aphorisms, collected over the years by personal or vicarious experience,are my way of actively aligning the stars in my favor, to anticipate those unseen and otherwise unanticipated dangers.

FWIW, for my own information at least:
  • Make yourself as visible as possible,and assume nobody sees you.
  • Like a weapon, assume every stopped car is loaded, with an occupant ready to exit from either sid
  • To know where a car is going, watch the front wheels, not the body or hood.
  • Don’t ride over an area (such as puddles or leaves) when you can’t see the road surface
  • When approaching a curve with no forward sight lines, hug the curb…’tight to the right’
  • When riding at night, look for cars, not just headlights
  • You don’t have the right-of-way until the other yields it to you (learned from my teacher in driver’s ed).
  • Truck at corner in sight, don't go right [from a few local fatalities].
  • Jim’s Law of the Road: “No matter how well-paved and lightly traveled the Road, a vehicle is likely to pass on the left as you encounter an obstacle on the right.” My argument to wear a rearview mirror.
Those are all I remember for now, and they all pop-up in my mind as I encounter the situation.
Furthermore, though I have lived a cycling lifestyle for decades, my approach to cycling education is contrarian:
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Frankly, I have posted that I would not be inclined to encourage, unless by example (nor discourage) someone to cycle-commute, but if they so chose, I would freely and gladly give any advice...

I would not want the recriminations of a personal endorsement if something bad happened…

FWIW, I’m not advocatin’ against, just sayin’
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
...I had promised myself as I did last year, that I would not take the participants out onto the streets of Boston, since I live downtown…and now at the end of the Path we were facing the busy mean streets of downtown Boston at rush hour. ….

So we made our way, mostly on crowded sidewalks with some hazardous street crossings.…

Dick and I chatted about some of his multi-day organized rides in Ohio and Florida. Finally he revealed that he is a certified Cycling Instructor by the League of American Cyclists and taught safe, including urban, cycling to adults and children.

As a decades-long, year-round urban cyclist, I proudly told him I learned by experience, and he replied, “It shows. You made some mistakes out there.”
Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Though I know that some of their gurus claim that training/indoctrination into the mysteries of Effective Cycling™ trumps experience, I never knew that Cycling Instructors certified by the League of American Cyclists believe they never make mistakes.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 05-07-18 at 07:44 AM. Reason: quoted I-L-T-B
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Old 04-06-18, 07:47 AM
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Jim, the cautious cycling amphibian from Boston ....

I am like you. I may not know all the best practices (particularly as taught by others) but somehow I have cycled some of the worst places int eh nation and survived. But I like reptiles better than amphibians .... and I don't consider it a mistake unless at least two drivers honk, one curses, and some skin is lost.
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Old 04-06-18, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Jim, the cautious cycling amphibian from Boston ....

I am like you. I may not know all the best practices (particularly as taught by others) but somehow I have cycled some of the worst places in the nation and survived. But I like reptiles better than amphibians .... and I don't consider it a mistake unless at least two drivers honk, one curses, and some skin is lost.
Thanks for your reply, @Maelochs. Further up the evolutionary tree, I posted:
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
...I used to feel resentful that I was self-relegated off to the sidewalks, but now I accept it as the way it is. I’m a visitor [in Michigan], and must accommodate.

To further the evolutionary analogy I am a small furry mammal (cyclist), whose survival depends on avoiding being trampled by the dinosaurs (autos), whose evolutionary pathway may eventually lead to much less ferocious lizards
...and the mammalian cyclists will rule the earth.
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Old 04-06-18, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
…However, riding venues for me are situational, and I use my judgement……
Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Also ...most states have some sort of Uniform Traffic Code which contains a section on bicycles. Regardless of what other riders (and sometimes LEOs) might tell you, it is the laws on the books that a judge will enforce.

In this internet age, researching, downloading, and learning the specific bike laws is easy.
Thanks for that sobering piece of advice, particularly if I had to appear before one “as sober as a judge.”
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Old 04-07-18, 10:07 AM
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Speaking of being knowledgeable of the law, what is the expectation of you when another experienced cyclist decides to run a stop sign or a red light crossing your path for which you have the right of way?
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Old 04-07-18, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
Speaking of being knowledgeable of the law, what is the expectation of you when another experienced cyclist decides to run a stop sign or a red light crossing your path for which you have the right of way?
No expectation IMO, it's usually an unexpected event; just a "," or something like it.

It seems unlikely that an experienced cyclist would decide risk a collision to cross my path; likely they would not be paying attention and so too might "."
If such an experienced cyclist did decide to obnoxiously cross my path, whatever I might say would have no effect, unless we did collide.
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Old 04-07-18, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
Speaking of being knowledgeable of the law, what is the expectation of you when another experienced cyclist decides to run a stop sign or a red light crossing your path for which you have the right of way?
I'd expect him to be an a-hole in other parts of his life too.
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