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educating one motorist at a time . . .

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educating one motorist at a time . . .

Old 04-04-06, 07:54 AM
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billh
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educating one motorist at a time . . .

I was at the polling place this morning, noticed one of the gray-haired granny poll volunteers oogling me as I walked in . . .

Worker #1: "So you're a cyclist"

Me: "How'd you guess" (thwacking my tights)

Worker #1: "I had this cyclist follow me home the other day and tell me off!

Me: (smirking) "Gee, hope it wasn't me . . . "

Worker #1: "I was on this narrow little street with a sidewalk right next to it, and he was right in the middle of the street! So I honked at him, and he followed me home and told me off!"

Worker #2: "Ohhh, I would have called 911"

Worker #1: "Well, I went to my friend's house. He was going on and on about how he had the same right to the road . . . "

Worker #2: "I thought they couldn't impede traffic . . ."

Me: (getting into official cyclist ambassador mode) "Well, the law actually says 'ride as far to the right as is safe', so it's a judgment call what's safe, sometimes it's not safe to share the lane side by side with those big SUV's, try to brush right by you . . . "

Worker #1: "He could have been on the sidewalk . . . "

Worker #2: "No, no, no, they're not supposed to ride on the sidewalk . . ."

Me: "Well, the law says we can't ride on the sidewalk in a business district, and I never know where a business district is . . . "

Bunch of other voters walk in, end of convo.
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Old 04-04-06, 08:57 AM
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I'd be tempted to ask them why they operate a vehicle without having read the Missouri Driver's Manual, beginning with page 61.

http://www.dor.mo.gov/mvdl/drivers/dlguide/dlguide.pdf

Then I'd wait for the deer-in-the-headlights gaze.
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Old 04-04-06, 09:06 AM
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The section on "Sharing the Road with Mopeds and Bicycles" is not too bad. Sort of paints us as dangerous scofflaws, oh well, if the shoe fits . . . . I like the part that says, "Cyclists often travel at surprisingly fast speeds . . . "!

Some things you should know when sharing the road with mopeds or
bicycles:
• Bicycles are often overlooked by motorists.
• It is not always easy to judge the speed or distance of a bicycle.
• Accidents with wrong-way bicyclists frequently occur when a motorist
wants to turn right onto a main road and is only looking left for
approaching traffic. Be sure to look right and check for wrong-way
bicyclists on the road or sidewalk before proceeding.
• On residential streets, especially those with parked cars, travel at or
below the speed limit.
• If you are following a bicyclist and need to make a right turn, slow down
and remain behind the cyclist until you are able to turn.
• Cyclists often travel at surprisingly fast speeds. If you need to make a left
turn, yield to oncoming bicyclists unless you are absolutely sure you can
make the turn before the cyclist reaches the intersection.
• Bicyclists change speed and lane position when encountering bad road
conditions, such as manhole covers, diagonal railroad tracks, road
debris, or in strong winds. Be ready to react.
• When you are passing, give bicycles and mopeds a full lane width. Do
not squeeze past these road users. The bicycle is generally a slower
moving vehicle and this may require you to slow down. Wait for a clear
stretch of road before passing a cyclist in a lane too narrow to share.
• Check for passing bicyclists before opening your car door into a traffic
lane or bicycle lane.
• A bicycle lane is a portion of a roadway designated by striping for use by
bicycles. You may cross a bicycle lane when turning or when entering or
leaving the roadway. You must yield to bicyclists in a bicycle lane.
WHERE TO RIDE MOPEDS AND BICYCLES
On public streets and highways, you have the same rights and
responsibilities as a motor vehicle operator. Always ride with traffic, never
against it. When operating at less than the posted speed or traffic flow,
generally ride as near to the right side of the roadway as safe. The right
edge of the road often has hazards like ditches, gutters, sand, and gravel
shoulders. Leave space between yourself and these hazards as needed for
safety.
You may move more toward the middle or left of the lane or roadway, as
appropriate:
• when making a left turn;
• when avoiding hazards;
• when the lane is too narrow to share with another vehicle; and
• when there is a right-turn-only lane and you are going straight.
Always check traffic and signal before changing lanes or changing your
position within a lane. On a one-way street, bicyclists may also choose to
ride as far left as is safe.
The law does not allow you to ride a moped on any part of the federal
interstate highway system.
SAFETY TIPS FOR MOPED AND BICYCLE RIDERS
1. State law does not require you to wear a helmet. However, wearing a
safety-certified helmet can prevent serious head injuries or death.
2. Be sure your bike is in safe condition and has all the equipment
required by law.
3. Make sure motorists see you. Wear bright colored clothes and stay out
of a vehicle’s blind spots. Use proper lights and reflectors when riding
after dark.
4. Make sure you signal before you slow down, change lanes, or turn.
Before merging, changing lanes, or turning, scan behind and in front to
ensure that it is safe to make this maneuver. Do so in plenty of time
62
and in cooperation with other drivers who will be affected by your move.
If it is not safe, continue on a straight course and scan repeatedly and
only move once it is safe. In conditions of heavy traffic, less proficient
bicyclists may find it easier to wait near the curb for a safe gap to
appear.
5. Be careful when passing to the left of a parked or moving vehicle. You
should leave 3 to 4 feet of clearance to avoid suddenly opened car
doors or to allow for a vehicle to swerve.
6. Be extra careful at intersections. Do not assume your right-of-way
when there is a vehicle approaching. Be aware that motor vehicle
drivers may not see you approaching the intersection, or may believe
that you are moving at a slower speed than you are.
7. Keep a steady line and be predictable as a courtesy to other traffic and
to increase your personal safety.
8. For teen and adult bicyclists, studies show that riding on the street with
traffic, not against it (following the same traffic rules that other vehicles
do), is far safer than riding on the sidewalk.
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Old 04-04-06, 09:26 AM
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Been through the same thing both as the "follower" and as the "official cyclist ambassador" in my office...

I carry a bunch of home made cards with me when I ride that outline the laws regarding cyclists in the state of CA. Those motorists that I have had verbal confrontations with that I can catch and converse with, have shown each and every time that they do not know the laws with regard to cyclists.

Conversations in my office with co-workers have show a wide range of misunderstandings... from younger drivers that knew the laws and understood them, to older drivers that not only did not have a clue, but frankly thought everything from "ride the sidewalk" to "ride against traffic." (turns out the younger driver also cycles)

Now this is not to say that all younger drivers know the laws, nor that all older drivers do not know the laws, but that there is really a lack of knowledge out there at the motorist level. And of course we all know that some cyclists either ignore the laws or also are not aware of them. Makes for a pretty scarry situation.

But since there are so many more motorists, and they DO have to show up regularly for renewal at their local state agencies, it seems to me that they are the easy target audiance.
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Old 04-04-06, 09:38 AM
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This lady was ignorant of the rules but at least she was reasonable enough to engage in a conversation with a cyclist she knew. The cyclist was very wrong in doing this, she was obviously frightened to death, it's this kind of behavior that makes it even harder to educate motorists. It's bad enough as it is without having to make apologies for this kind of behavior.

Look for pamphlets such as this one from your local bicycling coalition: http://www.massbike.org/info/roadhog.pdf and give one to her the next time you see her. You never know, she may become your best ally in town!
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Old 04-04-06, 10:30 AM
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Two weeks ago I did the same thing as the cyclist in the OP, only I didn't have far to go to follow this guy. I'm riding down the center of a narrow country road at about 15mph (posted speed limit 35mph). Driver comes up behind me, blasts his horn, then turns left into his driveway while still behind me. I just had to see what this was all about. Turns out, he thought I should be riding in the "shoulder" to my right and that it was rude of me to go so slow in the middle of the road. I explained that the shoulder to my right is actually a turning lane (and under construction still) and asked why he thought I would be safer going straight from a turning lane. He seemed to understand.

What I found interesting about this confrontation is that this driver had a valid point (in his mind) that if there was room to my right to share the road that I should be sharing it. What he didn't understand was that just because there's room doesn't make it safer to be using it. Overall, I was happy that I stopped. I did regret the little bit of profanity that slipped out in the beginning but this guy's honk was completely unnecessary considering the half second he was "stuck" behind me.
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Old 04-04-06, 12:25 PM
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One thing to keep in mind is that the law regarding bicycles went through a few swings in the 20th century. In the first half of the century bicycles were considered everyday transportation, but after WWII the automobile began to dominate. In the 50's and 60's the prevailing view was that automobiles and bicycles could not safely share the road, and state laws and the uniform codes began trying to force cyclists off the roads. In the 70's the tide turned, and since then the law has generally become more cyclist-friendly, recognizing that bicycles are vehicles. Believe it or not, we now live in a golden age of cyclist rights.

So in their defense, it's entirely possible that someone who started driving in the 50's or 60's learned to drive under a different set of rules. And as is often pointed out here, the way that licensing generally works in the US is you take a test once when you're 17 or so and you're good for life. I read a recent study that the majority of drivers over the age of 60 do not know the meaning of a green arrow -- which is far less complicated than dealing with bikes!
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Old 04-04-06, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by DCCommuter
One thing to keep in mind is that the law regarding bicycles went through a few swings in the 20th century. In the first half of the century bicycles were considered everyday transportation, but after WWII the automobile began to dominate. In the 50's and 60's the prevailing view was that automobiles and bicycles could not safely share the road, and state laws and the uniform codes began trying to force cyclists off the roads. In the 70's the tide turned, and since then the law has generally become more cyclist-friendly, recognizing that bicycles are vehicles. Believe it or not, we now live in a golden age of cyclist rights.

So in their defense, it's entirely possible that someone who started driving in the 50's or 60's learned to drive under a different set of rules. And as is often pointed out here, the way that licensing generally works in the US is you take a test once when you're 17 or so and you're good for life. I read a recent study that the majority of drivers over the age of 60 do not know the meaning of a green arrow -- which is far less complicated than dealing with bikes!
Agreed... and all the more reason for follow on education for motorists.

Do motorists really never return to the motor vehicle department in some states? I know in CA the license expires every so many years (10 I think) and you have to go back and take a written exam and eye test. (not every time mind you... if you have an accident free record, you get to skip the visit every other time)
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Old 04-04-06, 12:57 PM
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Yesteday riding home at 27mph in the center of a 40mph NOL with an adjancent same direction lane. Vehicle behind me starts tailgating and doing the side to side wiggle and honking. 15sec later they find a gap and pass me, passenger yells "I hope you get run over and die"
They are lucky I couldn't ride at 45mph to catch up to them and confront them.

Al
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Old 04-04-06, 01:16 PM
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In AZ your liscense is good until and needs to be renewed when you are 65. Even then one can renew by mail (but does require vision test results from licensed Dr.)

Al
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Old 04-04-06, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by noisebeam
Yesteday riding home at 27mph in the center of a 40mph NOL with an adjancent same direction lane. Vehicle behind me starts tailgating and doing the side to side wiggle and honking. 15sec later they find a gap and pass me, passenger yells "I hope you get run over and die"
They are lucky I couldn't ride at 45mph to catch up to them and confront them.

Al
While going 17mph in a 25mph zone with lots of speed bumps (you can only safely go about 20 in a motor vehicle, I drive it all the time too) I got "There's a sidewalk for a reason" yelled from the car behind me, who was hanging behind me for some inexplicable reason given that there was plenty of room to pass me safely. I just yelled "Not for that reason" and rode on, but I did think it was a bit silly that they were stressing that much over 3-8mph, probably a good 10% of the cars going down that road take it slower than I was going on my bike. It's just that "you don't belong on the road" mentality.

I do try to educate the people I know when I get the chance. I'm used to doing it about other things, biking is just one more thing to enlighten people about. Carrying my helmet with me on campus helps spark conversations even with people I don't know, and often the response to my information is fairly positive, which I think is a good sign.

I may not be converting those drivers who are really rude to us, but I am certainly helping those who aren't to handle themselves better when dealing with bikes. And just the knowledge that bikes are BY LAW allowed on the roads tends to reduce to amount of anger I think.
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Old 04-04-06, 04:09 PM
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This weekend, I educated one cop at a time. In response to recent spate of car/bicyclist accidents, one fatal, one critical, the police department in its infinite wisdom has decided to start ticketing bicyclists for running red lights, even though none of the incidents involved intersection collisions. Both incidents involved bicyclists getting run over from behind on a road heavily traveled by bicyclists where the posted speed limit is between 35 and 45 miles an hour but the average speed of cars is between 60 and 80mph.

I was out doing my usual ride when the cops pulled over two cyclists ahead of me. It seemed like a good time to ask the cop why there was so much enforcement against bicyclists, and apparently no enforcement against cars that were grossly exceeding the speed limit.

As I pulled up, he was lecturing the cyclists and telling them that they had to be as far to the right side of the lane as possible. I, of course, chimed in and said that cyclists only have to be to the right of the lane that if it is safe for them to do so . He argued and said, no, cyclists always have to be as far to the right as possible and can never occupy the entire lanes. I challenged him to pull out the Florida statutes, which he did, and promptly read the section which states that if the lane it is too narrow for both a bicycle and a car to occupy at the same time, that the cyclist can take the entire lane.

Not only did he not know the law as a police officer, but he was also the head of the bicycle police for Metropolitan Dade County. If bicycle cops don’t know the law, then I guess we can’t expect the general public to.
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Old 04-04-06, 04:18 PM
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Actually, I believe a rational conversation between a cyclist and non-cyclists goes a long way toward humanizing both.
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Old 04-04-06, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by webist
Actually, I believe a rational conversation between a cyclist and non-cyclists goes a long way toward humanizing both.
I very much agree. But unfortunately it is very hard to have a rational conversation while on the road or in/on our respective vehicles due to time constraints, emotions, dehumanizing/extrahumanizing effect of being surround by metal, etc.

The best time seem to be as described in this thread when away from the vehicles or road.

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Old 04-04-06, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by San Rensho
This weekend, I educated one cop at a time. In response to recent spate of car/bicyclist accidents, one fatal, one critical, the police department in its infinite wisdom has decided to start ticketing bicyclists for running red lights, even though none of the incidents involved intersection collisions. Both incidents involved bicyclists getting run over from behind on a road heavily traveled by bicyclists where the posted speed limit is between 35 and 45 miles an hour but the average speed of cars is between 60 and 80mph.

I was out doing my usual ride when the cops pulled over two cyclists ahead of me. It seemed like a good time to ask the cop why there was so much enforcement against bicyclists, and apparently no enforcement against cars that were grossly exceeding the speed limit.

As I pulled up, he was lecturing the cyclists and telling them that they had to be as far to the right side of the lane as possible. I, of course, chimed in and said that cyclists only have to be to the right of the lane that if it is safe for them to do so . He argued and said, no, cyclists always have to be as far to the right as possible and can never occupy the entire lanes. I challenged him to pull out the Florida statutes, which he did, and promptly read the section which states that if the lane it is too narrow for both a bicycle and a car to occupy at the same time, that the cyclist can take the entire lane.

Not only did he not know the law as a police officer, but he was also the head of the bicycle police for Metropolitan Dade County. If bicycle cops don’t know the law, then I guess we can’t expect the general public to.
Just the sorry state of what people assume the law is, and really pathetic coming from those whose business is to KNOW the law, otherwise enforcement is a farce...
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Old 04-04-06, 05:52 PM
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The amount of entrenched mis-information is one of the most major problems. It would appear that a lot of cops, in all states, are not familiar with their respective states' bicycle statutes. Ditto for most of the general public.

Pretty good story billh. I'm surprised that one of the polling place ladies didn't say "well when you riding a bicycle, you're a pedestrian", or something like that.

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Old 04-04-06, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by trackhub
The amount of entrenched mis-information is one of the most major problems. It would appear that a lot of cops, in all states, are not familiar with their respective states' bicycle statues. Ditto for most of the general public.

Pretty good story billh. I'm surprised that one of the polling place ladies didn't say "well when you riding a bicycle, you're a pedestrian", or something like that.
This is exactly why I believe that our problems as cyclist do not derive from cyclist's lack of knowledge, but from the other users of the road and their lack of knowledge.

This is why I believe that cycling advocacy should work to inform the general public, rather than focus on things like individual cyclist training and bike lanes.

Now as far as cyclist training... that should begin at home and be augmented in the public schools much like driver education. (and driver education belongs in the schools as well)

Consider that a well trained cyclist, that is familiar with rules of the road and traffic will become a better driver in the long run. (or better yet, chose to ride a bike forever)

Considering how dependent we as a nation are on autos, it is amazing that we do not treat auto training as importantly as the 3 Rs. This is perhaps the very reason that 45,000 Americans die annually in traffic accidents... We just don't take it seriously enough.
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Old 04-04-06, 10:39 PM
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Originally Posted by genec
This is exactly why I believe that our problems as cyclist do not derive from cyclist's lack of knowledge, but from the other users of the road and their lack of knowledge.
Which is why I feel that the #1 advocacy priority should be educating the public that it's OK for cyclists to ride in traffic. Sadly, around here the largest advocacy group doesn't have any interest in addressing the issue, and seems solely concerned with advocating for non-roadway facilities and recreational off-road alternatives.
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Old 04-04-06, 11:17 PM
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Originally Posted by genec
This is exactly why I believe that our problems as cyclist do not derive from cyclist's lack of knowledge, but from the other users of the road and their lack of knowledge.
Then how do you explain that cyclist knowledge and skills solve all of my problems?

Or, more generally, what problems are not solved by cyclist knowledge and skills?
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Old 04-05-06, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Helmet Head
Then how do you explain that cyclist knowledge and skills solve all of my problems?

Or, more generally, what problems are not solved by cyclist knowledge and skills?
By definition, you are solving you're problems if you are alive and riding a bike, because if you weren't, you'd be dead or on the sidelines, but that is just stating the obvious and I don't believe that really addresses the point of Genec's post.

He's saying that because of a lack of knowledge on the part of non-cycllists, that cyclists endure many more problems than they should,and I agree with him. Education of motorists will make it safer and more pleasant for bike riders.

Are less problems for cyclists something you want, Helmet Head, or do you relish the status quo of war between cyclists and cars?
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Old 04-05-06, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by noisebeam
Vehicle behind me starts tailgating and doing the side to side wiggle and honking. 15sec later they find a gap and pass me, passenger yells "I hope you get run over and die"

Al
Al, in Georgia this is called "agressive driving" and is a misdemeanor "of a high and aggravated nature."

Get the license and "educate" the cops (check if you have this kind of law in AZ.)
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Old 04-05-06, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by DCCommuter
Which is why I feel that the #1 advocacy priority should be educating the public that it's OK for cyclists to ride in traffic. Sadly, around here the largest advocacy group doesn't have any interest in addressing the issue, and seems solely concerned with advocating for non-roadway facilities and recreational off-road alternatives.

I'm lucky that in my area, we have authorities that recognize a cyclists rights to the road.

Heck, on the cover of the drivers traing book there is a picture of a driver with a cyclist on the road in front of him/her.


In the guide there is a section on sharing the road and cyclists are listed after pedestrians and advises to give at least a meter of clearance when passing and that they have the same rights and resposibilities as other road users.

The province sponsers a bicycle program for ages 12 and under and I would only wish they would extend that to teen-agers to tie in with obaining a learners drivers licence.

Last edited by closetbiker; 04-06-06 at 08:55 AM.
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Old 04-05-06, 10:18 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by closetbiker
Heck, on the cover of the drivers training book there is a picture of a driver with a cyclist on the road in front of him/her.
Sure there is a cyclist, but they are very poorly positioned and looks like they could make a last minute swerve into the DZ.
The cyclist should be far left (near double yellow) preparing for passing the parked vehicles outside the DZ.

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Old 04-05-06, 11:37 AM
  #24  
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Al - you have developed quite the "VC eye". I wonder how many others noticed the poor positioning of the cyclist in this picture?

However, given the context, a driver's manual, it is a fair representation of reality, since it does show how the typical cyclist would be positioned in this situation. Most people, probably even most cyclists, would not even blink, because they are so conditioned to "The Notion" - the notion that cyclists have an obligation to keep out of the way of motorists and to ride near the outside edge of the roadway at all times.
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Old 04-05-06, 12:02 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Helmet Head
Al - you have developed quite the "VC eye". I wonder how many others noticed the poor positioning of the cyclist in this picture?

However, given the context, a driver's manual, it is a fair representation of reality, since it does show how the typical cyclist would be positioned in this situation. Most people, probably even most cyclists, would not even blink, because they are so conditioned to "The Notion" - the notion that cyclists have an obligation to keep out of the way of motorists and to ride near the outside edge of the roadway at all times.
Opps you seem to be combining "Notion" and law there to create your "perfect" ideas of "the problems with cyclists."

Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that cyclists do have a legal obligation (as do all slower vehicles) when "at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway..."

Not exactly "Notion..." more like "Law."
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