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How to convince others that bikes belong on the road

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How to convince others that bikes belong on the road

Old 08-14-06, 06:06 PM
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tbdean
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How to convince others that bikes belong on the road

It's easy enough to ignore the motorists driving by who yell or buzz you, it happens infrequently enough. But what about when you are off the bike and talking to someone and they just flat out say "bikes don't belong on the road"?

Case 1: My brother said he might start biking to the library for excersice. "There is a sidewalk the entire way". I say he should ride in the road, it's safer. "Whatever, I'll stick to the sidewalk."

Case 2: A bunch of guys are talking and one mentions he wants to go bicycling on a path in a park. I say it'd be dangerous to the people walking on the path. Someone else says "at least he's not one of those idiots who rides in the street!"

Case 3: On a motorcycling forum I frequent someone mentioned that their ride was cut short because of a cycling fund-raiser race. No big deal, just anoying. Following was this comment: "t still pisses me off something fierce when I see one or more bicyclists riding on a 45+mph back road that has no shoulder or bike lane." I tried to explain that cyclist have the right to share the road and they don't mean to piss motorist off. In regards to the legality of "Share the road" I got this:

"most cyclists won't be riding up around the speed limit, effectively bringing an entire lane of traffic to below school zone speed limits. You then have the effect of cars trying to get around the cyclist, which tends to then impede the flow of traffic in the other lanes. So in effect, one cyclist can bring an entire road almost to a standstill. One person should not be allowed to impede the flow of traffic for everyone else. And in my view, just because it is legal does not make it right."

This is a current thread in the forum, please help! How should I respond to this? These are good guys and I've learned a great deal about motorcycling from them. But I'd love for them to leave the discussion thinking that cyclist have a right to the road.

This made me think: If our laws are meant to be "by the people, of the people"... if 'Share the Road' was put to a vote, would cycling become illegal?
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Old 08-14-06, 06:15 PM
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I agree with the motorcyclist. We shouldn't be on the road. We should have our own roads, along side, but separated by barriers from the road, and off-limits to anything other than bicycle traffic. And because we shouldn't be on the road, society must immediately direct all road-building and road-maintenance funds towards creating these dedicated cycling roads, so that bicycles will have a complete network of roads that will enable them to travel anywhere a motor vehicle can travel. That will get us off the roads, to everyone's relief. Well, everyone except Helmet Head, but he doesn't count.

Yeah, I'm sure everyody will love that solution.
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Old 08-14-06, 06:21 PM
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This one's easy. From a motorcycling point of view (and I'm also a motorcyclist) there have been many arguments to ban motorcycles from the road as well. Turn it around on them and possibly they'll see that there are many similarities.

Main reasons for banning motorcycles:

They're noisy.
They're dangerous and only a fool would ride one on the street.
Only hooligans operate them and ride in rude and unsafe ways.
They don't conform to size standards like a car, making them very hard to see.
etc.

Or my favorite; How many minutes have you spent in your entire life waiting to pass a bicycle? 2? 5 if you're really old? How many hours have you sat in traffic jams caused by idiot and unsafe drivers running into each other? 40? 80?

Following this line of thought, why not spend the energy teaching people how to drive safely? Driver training has been proven to reduce the number of crashes dramatically, and would save you much more of your precious time than sitting behind a couple of occasional slow moving vehicles like bicycles.

Az
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Old 08-14-06, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by tbdean
"most cyclists won't be riding up around the speed limit, effectively bringing an entire lane of traffic to below school zone speed limits. You then have the effect of cars trying to get around the cyclist, which tends to then impede the flow of traffic in the other lanes. So in effect, one cyclist can bring an entire road almost to a standstill. One person should not be allowed to impede the flow of traffic for everyone else. And in my view, just because it is legal does not make it right."
1. One idiot motorist can bring 4 lanes of interstate traffic to an actual standstill for hours by crashing into someone else for no other reason than impatience.

2. Cyclists are traffic. If you don't like the traffic on a particular stretch of road, don't use it. you wouldn't voluntarily pull onto an interstate at a standstill if there was another way to go. There's plenty of major roads where there's very little chance of a cyclist getting in your way. Use them.

3. Driving is a priviledge. Cycling is a right. Deal with it.
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Old 08-14-06, 06:42 PM
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"most cyclists won't be riding up around the speed limit, effectively bringing an entire lane of traffic to below school zone speed limits. You then have the effect of cars trying to get around the cyclist, which tends to then impede the flow of traffic in the other lanes. So in effect, one cyclist can bring an entire road almost to a standstill. One person should not be allowed to impede the flow of traffic for everyone else. And in my view, just because it is legal does not make it right."

I tend to agree with this guy. If you are causing this much trouble impeding traffic then you should pull over frequently or find another route. It's common sense.
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Last edited by rando; 08-14-06 at 06:50 PM.
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Old 08-14-06, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by joejack951
1. One idiot motorist can bring 4 lanes of interstate traffic to an actual standstill for hours by crashing into someone else for no other reason than impatience.

2. Cyclists are traffic. If you don't like the traffic on a particular stretch of road, don't use it. you wouldn't voluntarily pull onto an interstate at a standstill if there was another way to go. There's plenty of major roads where there's very little chance of a cyclist getting in your way. Use them.

3. Driving is a priviledge. Cycling is a right. Deal with it.


cyclists are traffic, but they shouldn't be hazards or obstructions to the flow of traffic.
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Old 08-14-06, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by rando
I tend to agree with this guy. If you are causing this much trouble impeding traffic then you should pull over frequently or find another route. It's common sense.
Have you ever been in a situation where you've interupted the flow of both directions of traffic? I think that would be impossible unless the motorists behind are passing unsafely (in which case they aren't at a standstill, are they? just stuck behind a slow moving vehicle that has every right to use the road).
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Old 08-14-06, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by rando


cycling is a right? like in the bill of rights?
Yes, part of the right to travel. Not sure where it is in the bill of rights, but every person has the right to freely move about on public space. This includes using the roadways.

[edit] Ok, I take it back. There is no right to travel, just laws and precedents to protect your ability to travel. My point stands [edit]

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Old 08-14-06, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by joejack951
Have you ever been in a situation where you've interupted the flow of both directions of traffic? I think that would be impossible unless the motorists behind are passing unsafely (in which case they aren't at a standstill, are they? just stuck behind a slow moving vehicle that has every right to use the road).
come on, if you were going 15 mph in a 45 zone on a two-lane road and you had a line of cars behind you, you wouldn't pull over and let them go by?
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Old 08-14-06, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by rando
come on, if you were going 15 mph in a 45 zone on a two-lane road and you had a line of cars behind you, you wouldn't pull over and let them go by?
Sure, if you are truly impeding a lot of traffic, then pull over and let them by. The problem is that most people feel like having to slow for 15 seconds is being unnecessarily impeded. I've had this argument with people before who couldn't even remember the last time they were slowed down by a cyclist. Any "obstruction" I have ever caused by cycling has lasted no longer than a few minutes in a few rare instances.
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Old 08-14-06, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by joejack951
Sure, if you are truly impeding a lot of traffic, then pull over and let them by. The problem is that most people feel like having to slow for 15 seconds is being unnecessarily impeded. I've had this argument with people before who couldn't even remember the last time they were slowed down by a cyclist. Any "obstruction" I have ever caused by cycling has lasted no longer than a few minutes in a few rare instances.
how about this scenario: you are going 15 mph on a 45mph arterial that has two lanes going each direction. traffic heavy and moving fast. cars are piled up behind youand they can't pass you because of the steady stream of cars in the other lane going past you. do you see how that could be frustrating?
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Old 08-14-06, 07:19 PM
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Frustrating? Sure. Illegal? Hazardous? Ignorant? Far from any of them. Same thing happens when you get a big heavy truck on a high traffic road with traffic lights. Everyone has to change lanes to get around it or else be stuck moving slowly while it accelerates up to speed. At least cyclists are a little easier to pass.
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Old 08-14-06, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by tbdean
This made me think: If our laws are meant to be "by the people, of the people"... if 'Share the Road' was put to a vote, would cycling become illegal?
I forgot this one. Traffic laws are made to protect our safety. The "majority" has little to do with them.
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Old 08-14-06, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by joejack951
Frustrating? Sure. Illegal? Hazardous? Ignorant? Far from any of them. Same thing happens when you get a big heavy truck on a high traffic road with traffic lights. Everyone has to change lanes to get around it or else be stuck moving slowly while it accelerates up to speed. At least cyclists are a little easier to pass.
The difference is that truck will "slowly get up to speed". a cyclist won't. I personally do not want to be "that guy" who is holding up traffic. is it legal? yeah. is it considerate of other vehicles? in my mind, no.
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Old 08-14-06, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by rando
The difference is that truck will "slowly get up to speed". a cyclist won't. I personally do not want to be "that guy" who is holding up traffic. is it legal? yeah. is it considerate of other vehicles? in my mind, no.
The times I've had people get "stuck" behind me on a multilaned road, it's always been because of there bad planning. They'll have had plenty of time to changes lane without slowing down by getting right behind me. Instead, they slow down behind me and honk because they didn't think to move over earlier and now have a bit of trouble merging because of their slower speed. Or, there will be a few cars in both lanes at the light and instead of changing lanes to left lane to not be behind the cyclist, they pull up behind me then rant and rave because they don't get to the next red light as quickly as they'd like to. I feel zero remorse for "holding up" these people.

But, I'm not going to convince you of anything (not trying to sound rude just realizing that we are getting off topic here), so let me ask this: what's your alternative then? Would you rather drive a car to get a mile down a busy road or would you slow a few people down a few seconds and ride your bike there?
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Old 08-14-06, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by joejack951
The times I've had people get "stuck" behind me on a multilaned road, it's always been because of there bad planning. They'll have had plenty of time to changes lane without slowing down by getting right behind me. Instead, they slow down behind me and honk because they didn't think to move over earlier and now have a bit of trouble merging because of their slower speed. Or, there will be a few cars in both lanes at the light and instead of changing lanes to left lane to not be behind the cyclist, they pull up behind me then rant and rave because they don't get to the next red light as quickly as they'd like to. I feel zero remorse for "holding up" these people.

But, I'm not going to convince you of anything (not trying to sound rude just realizing that we are getting off topic here), so let me ask this: what's your alternative then? Would you rather drive a car to get a mile down a busy road or would you slow a few people down a few seconds and ride your bike there?
well, like I said, It's not something I have to do. I'm in the suburbs, I ride on quiet streets and sidewalks and roads that don't have a lot of traffic. But I avoid those streets where my much slower speed would severely hold up other road users.

so I guess my point is, as far as the OP's topic goes, is that there are some roads bikes should not be on, as a matter of courtesy and common sense, in the real world we ride in every day. (I'm not talking about downtown streets, where traffic is moving slowly).

So, I think bikes belong on the roads where they are not significantly altering speed and traffic flow. I think just becasue a road is great for commuting in your car, does not make it a great road for riding your bike.
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Last edited by rando; 08-14-06 at 08:08 PM.
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Old 08-14-06, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by joejack951
Have you ever been in a situation where you've interupted the flow of both directions of traffic? I think that would be impossible unless the motorists behind are passing unsafely (in which case they aren't at a standstill, are they? just stuck behind a slow moving vehicle that has every right to use the road).
YES, while on my motorcycle I came up on a group of road bikes on a back road with no lane markings, covering both side of road. When a car approached from the opposite lane, they move over, then when the car passes, they move back, blocking the whole road. I was patient on my motorcycle for the first 5 minutes, then I started picking them off ( passing) one at a time. Right through the middle of the peleton. I ride bikes, and it irratated me. A non biker would have been truly outraged.
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Old 08-14-06, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by rando
how about this scenario: you are going 15 mph on a 45mph arterial that has two lanes going each direction. traffic heavy and moving fast. cars are piled up behind youand they can't pass you because of the steady stream of cars in the other lane going past you. do you see how that could be frustrating?
I don't. You know why? I obey the law and ride on the RIGHT side. There is a steady stream of traffic passing me and they don't even have to leave their lane! I'm getting at least 2ft or more of clearance as well. Part of effective cycling [not the book, dogma, or VC] is being a good cyclist. The law is there to keep you safe and thinkin' will SAVE you.
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Old 08-14-06, 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Falkon
I don't. You know why? I obey the law and ride on the RIGHT side. There is a steady stream of traffic passing me and they don't even have to leave their lane! I'm getting at least 2ft or more of clearance as well. Part of effective cycling [not the book, dogma, or VC] is being a good cyclist. The law is there to keep you safe and thinkin' will SAVE you.
sounds like you have wide outside lanes. cool.
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Old 08-15-06, 12:52 AM
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Originally Posted by rando
so I guess my point is, as far as the OP's topic goes, is that there are some roads bikes should not be on, as a matter of courtesy and common sense, in the real world we ride in every day. (I'm not talking about downtown streets, where traffic is moving slowly).

So, I think bikes belong on the roads where they are not significantly altering speed and traffic flow. I think just becasue a road is great for commuting in your car, does not make it a great road for riding your bike
.
I ride my bike everywhere. It's my main--really only--form of transportation. I ride to work, the store, the doctor's office, everywhere. Are you saying that I am not allowed to go to these places if they are located on a road where I might briefly "inconvenience" a motorist?

What do you think is wrong about inconveniencing a motorist? Where are they going in such a hurry? If speed is a matter of life or death, wouldn't they have a siren and flashing lights on their vehicle? Actually, I might be in more of a hurry than they are. I sometimes get "stuck" behind a slow moving car when I'm riding my bike to work. I'm also slowed by parallel parkers, emergency vehicles, road construction and trains. So what? Who cares? Only a moron would get bent out of shape by this. We should all leave home a little earlier to allow time for the many things that might slow traffic. That would prevent many accidents caused by people rushing to get someplace.

And actually, tbdean, I guess you could say all this to the impatient and entitled people who are criticizing cyclists on the road.
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Old 08-15-06, 02:47 AM
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There are two points really that you need to begin with.

One is the law. If the law states, and in most cases it does, that cyclists belong in the road and that they should be trying to compel you to ride in an illegal manner. If they feel that they genuinely have a case against cycling in the road then they should be campaigning for a change instead of toothless whining.

Two is the Toronto study which very clearly determined that riding on the sidewalk was a contributory factor in more than 50% of all cycling related accidents.
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Old 08-15-06, 06:54 AM
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Which motorcycle forum ?

Link or PM me please ...
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Old 08-15-06, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by rando
well, like I said, It's not something I have to do. I'm in the suburbs, I ride on quiet streets and sidewalks and roads that don't have a lot of traffic. But I avoid those streets where my much slower speed would severely hold up other road users.

so I guess my point is, as far as the OP's topic goes, is that there are some roads bikes should not be on, as a matter of courtesy and common sense, in the real world we ride in every day. (I'm not talking about downtown streets, where traffic is moving slowly).

So, I think bikes belong on the roads where they are not significantly altering speed and traffic flow. I think just becasue a road is great for commuting in your car, does not make it a great road for riding your bike.
Ok, that's your opinion. That's fine. The law says I'm allowed to ride on any road I chose and I don't feel I create any more of a hazard by doing so than anyone else using the same road. If I did, the law would probably make it illegal for me to do so (such as riding in the lanes on an interstate). All I do is go a little slower at times. I'm in the suburbs mainly too. If I avoided all roads where I didn't "significantly" alter at least one person's speed on a ride then I could not leave my neighborhood. Yet, while I do alter at least one person's speed significantly on almost every ride, traffic seems to flow just fine. Roody has already mentioned many other things that significantly alter traffic speed and flow yet no one is running around trying to remove them from the roads.

Trying to ride a bike (or drive a car for that matter) without ever inconveniencing someone is about as misguided an approach to cycling as is trying to have a relationship with someone where you never argue.
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Old 08-15-06, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by maddyfish
YES, while on my motorcycle I came up on a group of road bikes on a back road with no lane markings, covering both side of road. When a car approached from the opposite lane, they move over, then when the car passes, they move back, blocking the whole road. I was patient on my motorcycle for the first 5 minutes, then I started picking them off ( passing) one at a time. Right through the middle of the peleton. I ride bikes, and it irratated me. A non biker would have been truly outraged.
How many times has this happened? Did you try talking to any of them to ask why they were taking the whole road or if they would move for a bit while you passed? I'm not defending them (what they were doing is illegal and is in no way related to using the right lane of a roadway to get around on a bike) but what you did endangered everybody including yourself.
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Old 08-15-06, 07:15 AM
  #25  
LittleBigMan
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Keep riding.

When I first started riding my bike, I used to get comments like, "You ride on the actual road with cars? That's too dangerous!" But now, years later, I get more comments like, "You must be really in shape!"

Give it some time. Some of these same folks will envy your fitness in years to come, as age begins to take it's toll on some of them.
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