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bikes do not impede traffic, we are traffic

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bikes do not impede traffic, we are traffic

Old 12-06-09, 10:23 PM
  #1  
Bekologist
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bikes do not impede traffic, we are traffic

There seems to be a growing false legitimacy among some bicyclists surrounding the notion bicyclists should be and are subject to variations of the "slow moving vehicle-impeding-pull off roadway" laws.

this is a bad, marginalizing trend in so called bicycling 'advocacy'

Rules that require leaving the roadway to allow faster traffic to pass under certain traffic and roadway conditions run counter to bicyclists road rights.

From Swift v the city of Topeka in 1890 to much more recent court decision of Selz V Trotwood, bicyclists have been supported in our rights to ride the roads at our fair speed unimpeded by suggestions we can impede traffic.


I quote 'bicycledriving.org, in the online treatise 'a guide to improving bicycle laws'

"Some states have statutes prohibiting drivers from impeding traffic. These statutes should be written so that they apply only to motor vehicles, not to all vehicles. Otherwise, a broad version of this rule could be wrongly interpreted as prohibiting operation of bicycles or horse-drawn wagons whenever following drivers might be inconvenienced."

I believe - rather radically it seems - among some 'bicycle drivers', that bicyclists are not required to pull off a roadway under any states' "impeding" laws. bikes are traffic travelling at our normal speeds, are traffic, and cannot therefore 'impede'.

If this is civil disobedience, so be it, this is my position about 'can a bike impede traffic or are we traffic' in strong disapproval of any laws requiring bicyclists to 'pull off 2 lane highways' when five vehicles backup behind at the nearest safe location.

Any marginalizing notions suggesting bikes impede traffic and can be required to leave two lane roads if five vehicles back up behind should be exterminated.

Bicycledriving.org supports my general contentions about bicycles impeding laws and the potential for injustice inherent in this type of anti-bicycling interpretation of bicyclists road rights.
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Old 12-07-09, 03:33 AM
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I don't see what is so radical about this concept.

I am always amused at the concept that any driver should be able to count how many vehicles he/she is "impeding."
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Old 12-07-09, 03:51 AM
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I can see a problem if you're on a larger road with lanes of width insufficient to let cars pass you by. When it's busy and if you're unable to keep up with traffic, you'll have far more than 5 cars behind you immediately - you'd effectively be barred from cycling there, or else have to pull out at every opportunity. This is based on the original post, I haven't actually looked into it at all.
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Old 12-07-09, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
There seems to be a growing false legitimacy among some bicyclists surrounding the notion bicyclists should be and are subject to variations of the "slow moving vehicle-impeding-pull off roadway" laws.

this is a bad, marginalizing trend in so called bicycling 'advocacy'

Rules that require leaving the roadway to allow faster traffic to pass under certain traffic and roadway conditions run counter to bicyclists road rights.

From Swift v the city of Topeka in 1890 to much more recent court decision of Selz V Trotwood, bicyclists have been supported in our rights to ride the roads at our fair speed unimpeded by suggestions we can impede traffic.


I quote 'bicycledriving.org, in the online treatise 'a guide to improving bicycle laws'

"Some states have statutes prohibiting drivers from impeding traffic. These statutes should be written so that they apply only to motor vehicles, not to all vehicles. Otherwise, a broad version of this rule could be wrongly interpreted as prohibiting operation of bicycles or horse-drawn wagons whenever following drivers might be inconvenienced."

I believe - rather radically it seems - among some 'bicycle drivers', that bicyclists are not required to pull off a roadway under any states' "impeding" laws. bikes are traffic travelling at our normal speeds, are traffic, and cannot therefore 'impede'.

If this is civil disobedience, so be it, this is my position about 'can a bike impede traffic or are we traffic' in strong disapproval of any laws requiring bicyclists to 'pull off 2 lane highways' when five vehicles backup behind at the nearest safe location.

Any marginalizing notions suggesting bikes impede traffic and can be required to leave two lane roads if five vehicles back up behind should be exterminated.

Bicycledriving.org supports my general contentions about bicycles impeding laws and the potential for injustice inherent in this type of anti-bicycling interpretation of bicyclists road rights.

Sounds so, "Forester-esque"!
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Old 12-07-09, 08:13 AM
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I think it's important to avoid confusing two provisions in the law. The first is the prohibition against traveling so slowly that the normal movement of other traffic is impeded. Bicyclists, like other drivers of vehicles with limited speed capability, are exempt from this law, as they should be. Remember, compliance with this law requires increasing speed, which is physically impossible for some vehicle types, making them exempt. (In most states, the law is worded very clearly on this point.) The impeding traffic law does NOT prohibit use of slow vehicles on the roadway. Increasing public understanding of this point is of great importance to cyclists.

The second provision is the requirement, in some states (although not in North Carolina where I live) that if several vehicles back up behind a slow moving vehicle on a narrow TWO LANE roadway, the driver of the slow vehicle use the next available turnout to allow traffic to pass. This may well apply to cyclists; the question becomes a matter of practicality - what is considered an appropriate turnout for a bicycle, how often should a cyclist be expected to do this, and what if the number of cyclists exceeds the number of other drivers? Here our right to use the roadway is not in question, our equality is established. So, I suggest we turn to the Golden Rule to determine what is courteous versus what is silly - much like when we decide how long to wait to hold the door for one or more people approaching behind us, balancing our own convenience with the convenience of others.

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Old 12-07-09, 09:05 AM
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The Iowa Department of Transportation provides this advice for farm vehicle operators.
  • Make your intentions known when you're turning by using signal lights or the appropriate hand signal in advance of a turn.
  • Drive slow-moving vehicles in the right-hand lane as close to the edge of the roadway as safely possible. Traveling half on the shoulder may cause motorists to risk passing in a dangerous situation.
  • Avoid encouraging or signaling motorists to pass. Pull over where it is safe, and let the traffic go by.
Modified for cyclists this might read:
  • Make your intentions known when you're turning by using the appropriate hand signal in advance of a turn.
  • When the lane is wide enough for sharing, ride in the right-hand lane as close to the edge of the roadway as safely practicable.
  • When the lane is not wide enough for sharing, ride in it's center or left of center to make it clear to motorists that same lane passing would be dangerous.
  • Avoid encouraging or signaling motorists to pass. Pull over where it is safe, and let the other traffic go by.
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Old 12-07-09, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by sggoodri View Post


The second provision is the requirement, in some states (although not in North Carolina where I live) that if several vehicles back up behind a slow moving vehicle on a narrow TWO LANE roadway, the driver of the slow vehicle use the next available turnout to allow traffic to pass. This may well apply to cyclists; the question becomes a matter of practicality - what is considered an appropriate turnout for a bicycle, how often should a cyclist be expected to do this, and what if the number of cyclists exceeds the number of other drivers? Here our right to use the roadway is not in question, our equality is established. So, I suggest we turn to the Golden Rule to determine what is courteous versus what is silly - much like when we decide how long to wait to hold the door for one or more people approaching behind us, balancing our own convenience with the convenience of others.

I believe it is in not very many states, but regardless:

any law requiring specifically, that a bicyclist needs to turn off two lane roadways when n vehicles has built up behind is an affront to bicyclists right to the road.

Applicability of the SMV-impeding-pull off roadway to bicyclists needs to be fought.


'SMV-impeding-pull off roadway' laws should not apply to bicyclists, or our rights to travel two lane busy roads is seriously threatened.

Bicyclists should never be required to 'leave a roadway' to allow traffic to pass: Bicyclists have a basic right to travel public roads and our right to do so shall not be circumscribed in this degree.
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Old 12-07-09, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
I believe it is in not very many states, but regardless:
'SMV-impeding-pull off roadway' laws should not apply to bicyclists, or our rights to travel two lane busy roads is seriously threatened.
Do drivers of other SMVs feel their road rights are threatened or diminished by such laws? Do you believe that cyclists would fare worse than those other SMV drivers?

Seriously, how often is this an issue? In addition to the two-lane limitation and five-or more vehicles,what if we added the requirement that the vehicles be following for more than one minute before the SMV operator be required to pull off? I can't think of this scenario happening to me more than once or twice in the last decade. The exception is group rides, where cyclists outnumber motorists. Perhaps a different approach or interpretation would he appropriate for that.
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Old 12-07-09, 10:18 AM
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Whatever happened to common sense and common courtesy? Too many people with chips on their shoulders.
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Old 12-07-09, 10:18 AM
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If you are holding up a reasonable amount of traffic when operating a SMV or bicycle, it is good manners to pull over and let the log jam pass when and if it is safe to do so...nothing more, nothing less.
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Old 12-07-09, 10:26 AM
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good manners, perhaps. bicyclists circumscribed to 'leave the highway' on two lane roads with five vehicles behind?

imagine the wrongheaded interpretations of this restriction of bicyclists' rights. This 'impeding' crap is the kind of stuff bicyclists get pulled over for far more often that not operating FRAP. i doubt most police even know how to say 'FRAP' when pulling over a bicyclist, i'm confident a notion of 'impeding' BS plays out in far more cop/bike interactions.

Laws requiring bicyclists 'leave the highway' are fundamentally against bicyclists rights to operate on the public roads.
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Old 12-07-09, 10:30 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by sggoodri View Post
Do drivers of other SMVs feel their road rights are threatened or diminished by such laws? Do you believe that cyclists would fare worse than those other SMV drivers?

Seriously, how often is this an issue? In addition to the two-lane limitation and five-or more vehicles,what if we added the requirement that the vehicles be following for more than one minute before the SMV operator be required to pull off? I can't think of this scenario happening to me more than once or twice in the last decade. The exception is group rides, where cyclists outnumber motorists. Perhaps a different approach or interpretation would he appropriate for that.

do i believe that cyclists would far worse? yes.

how often is this an issue? for some cyclists, likely it would de facto prevent their leaving their house on a bicycle. On my rides to the grocery store, pretty much every ride when there's traffic, i'd have to pull over two or three times in the short mile or so on the road to the grocery store. the stoplight releases a pack of motorists, moving three times my speed, on a busy road.

Under SMV-impeding-pull off roadway laws, i'd be required to pull off the highway in these instances and let the pack of traffic pass. i would remount the bike, and ride until the next group of motorists from the light gets released behind me and approach at three times my speed. i would have to again leave the highway, and repeat.

this would be required of me under broad application of 'smv-impeding-pull off roadway' laws if they applied to bicyclists.
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Old 12-07-09, 11:44 AM
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If law enforcement officers believed incorrectly that it is practical and reasonable for cyclists to pull over very frequently, and with minimal warning, for such non-emergency situations then perhaps the law could be clarified. Requiring 5 vehicles to back up for more than one minute on the two-lane road before action must be taken might be better than having no time frame.

In my experience, tractors and construction equipment pull over less than once every few minutes.
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Old 12-07-09, 11:51 AM
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Courtesy goes a long way. No one like a road hog, regardless of their rights. Where the roadway allows pull off to let traffic pass.
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Old 12-07-09, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by filtersweep View Post
I don't see what is so radical about this concept.

I am always amused at the concept that any driver should be able to count how many vehicles he/she is "impeding."
Plus one..
. Take us off our bikes and put we cyclists in cars- those short sighted motorists will find more gridlock at traffic lights.
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Old 12-07-09, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by cyclezealot View Post
Plus one..
. Take us off our bikes and put we cyclists in cars- those short sighted motorists will find more gridlock at traffic lights.
Someone correct me if I am wrong but the variations of the "slow moving vehicle-impeding-pull off roadway" laws are neither applicable nor applied on streets where traffic lights and gridlock are issues.
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Old 12-07-09, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
There seems to be a growing false legitimacy among some bicyclists surrounding the notion bicyclists should be and are subject to variations of the "slow moving vehicle-impeding-pull off roadway" laws.

this is a bad, marginalizing trend in so called bicycling 'advocacy'

Rules that require leaving the roadway to allow faster traffic to pass under certain traffic and roadway conditions run counter to bicyclists road rights.

From Swift v the city of Topeka in 1890 to much more recent court decision of Selz V Trotwood, bicyclists have been supported in our rights to ride the roads at our fair speed unimpeded by suggestions we can impede traffic.


I quote 'bicycledriving.org, in the online treatise 'a guide to improving bicycle laws'

"Some states have statutes prohibiting drivers from impeding traffic. These statutes should be written so that they apply only to motor vehicles, not to all vehicles. Otherwise, a broad version of this rule could be wrongly interpreted as prohibiting operation of bicycles or horse-drawn wagons whenever following drivers might be inconvenienced."

I believe - rather radically it seems - among some 'bicycle drivers', that bicyclists are not required to pull off a roadway under any states' "impeding" laws. bikes are traffic travelling at our normal speeds, are traffic, and cannot therefore 'impede'.

If this is civil disobedience, so be it, this is my position about 'can a bike impede traffic or are we traffic' in strong disapproval of any laws requiring bicyclists to 'pull off 2 lane highways' when five vehicles backup behind at the nearest safe location.

Any marginalizing notions suggesting bikes impede traffic and can be required to leave two lane roads if five vehicles back up behind should be exterminated.

Bicycledriving.org supports my general contentions about bicycles impeding laws and the potential for injustice inherent in this type of anti-bicycling interpretation of bicyclists road rights.
By two-lane roads I presume that you mean one lane for each direction of travel, correct?

About a year or so ago I was on my way home from the First Friday Concert in downtown St. Pete. When an off duty St. Pete Traffic Homicide cop in a police SUV pulled me over. Claiming that I was riding too far into the lane/road. When I called St. Pete's office of Bicycle and Pedestrian safety to report him. I was called back and told that that particular officer not surprisingly has had a number of complaints logged against him. He also told the young lady who runs the Bicycle and Pedestrian safety office that traffic could not pass me. Which is/was interesting considering that the road I was on had two lanes of travel in each direction as well as a center turn lane. He also tried tell her that I didn't have reflectors or lights on my bike.

I'll admit that I may no longer have the factory installed red reflector on my bike, but that the taillight that I use has a reflector built into it's lens. So his argument that I didn't have a red reflector doesn't hold water.

There are certain roads that when either myself or when I am riding with a friend that if too many cars start stacking up that I will, IF I can do so safely will pull over and allow them to pass. But that is because I want to be polite and am hoping to create some good will. Those roads with only one lane in each direction of travel.

Or a few months ago when I was coming home from Tampa from meeting about the Friendship trail connecting Tampa and St. Pete. That time the road in question is normally two lanes in each direction of travel, but the left most lane was closed for maintenance and/or repair. It was also around 2130 or so that I was on the road, and yes I had my lights on as well as my reflective vest and ankle strap. I had I don't know how many cars backed up behind me, and I was looking for a safe place to pull over and allow them to pass, but couldn't find one. When the left hand lane opened up again and all of those cars were able to move over to that lane and safely pass me.

Somewhat surprisingly not one of those cars blew their horn at me or yelled the usual "pleasantries" at me. Which I have to say was both rather nice and somewhat surprising. And it would be nice if more drivers could be that polite.
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Old 12-07-09, 01:04 PM
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In some states, the impeding law does only apply to motor vehicles. In Ohio, that is not the case. Bicycles can impede traffic. Yes, I know about Selz vs. Trotwood. I am a big fan of that case or rather the appeal. Ohio changed the statutes because of that verdict. 4522.22 (C) now say, "In a case involving a violation of this section, the trier of fact, in determining whether the vehicle was being operated at an unreasonably slow speed, shall consider the capabilities of the vehicle and its operator."

It doesn't say bikes can't impede, but rather the capabilities of the vehicle and the operator needs to be considered. So, yes, If I am traveling normally, I can't impede. But if decided to ride at a very slow speed, then I could be sited for impeding. I think this is good. There is no reason if I am capable to ride at 12 mph that I should travel at 5 mph.
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Old 12-07-09, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by waldowales View Post
Whatever happened to common sense and common courtesy? Too many people with chips on their shoulders.
I doubt if a rabid anti-car luddite would suffer the ignominy of having a chip on his shoulder, since they believe nothing should be on the shoulder for any reason. All this quibble about tractors, farm equipment, etc is complelely irrelevant when it comes to bicycles. A tractor (etc) is designed for off road use (fields, last time I looked) and is granted the privilege of using the roadway occasionally and intermittently to go from one job to another. This has no relevance whatsoever to a cyclist obscuring traffic as part of a daily commute. I can easily imagine that if a tractor regularly crossed the Brooklyn bridge and held up traffic, he would be ticketed, banned, or probably just run off into the river.

Most farmers understand their equipment is bulky and awkward on the roadway, and are proud of the courtesy they show to other road users when they have the opportunity. Most critical mazzholes and their ilk are the exact opposite.

roughstuff

Nor do I swallow the cute mazzhole claim 'we are traffic.' Vehicles are equipped with brake lights, numerous mirrors, and turn signals, none of which require the rider to remove his hand from the streering mechanism or his eye from the roadway in front of him; and which provide invaluable information about, and to, other vehicles and raodway users. Bicycles have neither.
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Old 12-07-09, 04:31 PM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by Roughstuff View Post
A tractor (etc) is designed for off road use (fields, last time I looked) and is granted the privilege of using the roadway occasionally and intermittently to go from one job to another.
Exactly what privileges it's given would depend on what the law said.

I can easily imagine that if a tractor regularly crossed the Brooklyn bridge and held up traffic, he would be ticketed, banned, or probably just run off into the river.
If the law said he could be there, he could be there. Even if he was there every day twice a day. You can't get a ticket for breaking the law if you're not breaking the law. (Though of course, the law might be changed if he pushed too hard.)
Nor do I swallow the cute mazzhole claim 'we are traffic.' Vehicles are equipped with brake lights, numerous mirrors, and turn signals
Vehicles go. `A conveyance that transports people or objects'. Everything else is superfluous, though the law may require them for certain types of vehicles. Though if you believe that the brake lights, mirrors and turn signals make the vehicle, people certainly have added all of these to their bicycles. Here's a brake light and turn signal setup, and of course you can find mirrors easily enough. Though there are hand signals for stopping and turning -- and as long as you have two hands, you can use one of these signals and still keep a hand on the handlebars.
Bicycles have neither.
Well, some bicycles. And you may have noticed that many farm tractors omit these things too. Hell, antique cars may omit these things too -- and not be legally required to have them. The operators of these cars generally use the same hand signals that cyclists use.

... now to extract this hook from my mouth ...
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Old 12-07-09, 06:25 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by Roughstuff View Post
... Vehicles are equipped with brake lights, numerous mirrors, and turn signals, none of which require the rider to remove his hand from the streering mechanism or his eye from the roadway in front of him; and which provide invaluable information about, and to, other vehicles and raodway users. Bicycles have neither.
This part of your post is wrong. As a cyclist, I have a helmet mounted mirror that works much better than the numerous mirrors a motorist has. As a cyclist, I have a stop signal that works just fine, (my left arm) motorist just have to learn what the signal means (something they were suppose to do before they got a drivers license). As a cyclist, I have turn signals (see sentence above). I am able to see the road ahead and still keep one hand on my steering control. Are you claming that motorist keep both hands on their steering control when activating turn signals?

PS: Here in Hawaii, I use my turn signals far more often than most motorist.

Last edited by CB HI; 12-07-09 at 07:25 PM.
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Old 12-07-09, 07:19 PM
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In my state, at least, a slow-moving vehicle is defined as being incapable of speeds over 25mph. Since even my heavy MTB can do and has done 28-30, it doesn't apply.

Two-lanes without a shoulder, even though I have the right to travel on them, cause me to look at alternate routes. Another forum was discussing the new additions to bike lanes in SF, and I made a comment I'm quite proud of:

"No amount of creativity and good intention can overcome a raging tsunami of stupid."

This is what we all face.
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Old 12-07-09, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by DX-MAN View Post
In my state, at least, a slow-moving vehicle is defined as being incapable of speeds over 25mph. Since even my heavy MTB can do and has done 28-30, it doesn't apply.

Two-lanes without a shoulder, even though I have the right to travel on them, cause me to look at alternate routes. Another forum was discussing the new additions to bike lanes in SF, and I made a comment I'm quite proud of:

"No amount of creativity and good intention can overcome a raging tsunami of stupid."

This is what we all face.
oh for chris' sake. Two lanes with no shoulder isn't that big of a deal. Not trying to pick on you, but it's comments like this that perpetuate the notion that cycling is dangerous. Nobody will argue that I ain't the brightest bulb on the tree nor some kind of super human, yet I've managed to survive relatively unscathed riding on the roadways...two lane with no shoulder or otherwise, for over 4 decades. If I can do it, it can't be 'rocket surgery'.
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Old 12-07-09, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
oh for chris' sake. Two lanes with no shoulder isn't that big of a deal. Not trying to pick on you, but it's comments like this that perpetuate the notion that cycling is dangerous. Nobody will argue that I ain't the brightest bulb on the tree nor some kind of super human, yet I've managed to survive relatively unscathed riding on the roadways...two lane with no shoulder or otherwise, for over 4 decades. If I can do it, it can't be 'rocket surgery'.
Chip, the POINT of my comment about two-lanes is about STUPIDITY, not cycling being dangerous. Put STUPID behind the wheel, and, as SF's bike lanes portray, you get bike-unfriendly results. So you've been two-laning it for 4 decades...good for ya. Come visit my town and try it -- that streak will come to an end.
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Old 12-07-09, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
oh for chris' sake. Two lanes with no shoulder isn't that big of a deal. Not trying to pick on you, but it's comments like this that perpetuate the notion that cycling is dangerous. Nobody will argue that I ain't the brightest bulb on the tree nor some kind of super human, yet I've managed to survive relatively unscathed riding on the roadways...two lane with no shoulder or otherwise, for over 4 decades. If I can do it, it can't be 'rocket surgery'.
I kind of agree with DX-MAN on this one, but for different reasons. I don't find 2 lane roads without shoulders dangerous, but if there are alternative routes, I'll use them. This is because I am assuming the lanes are not wide enough to share and I'd rather not hold up others if I don't have to do that. It just makes for a more peaceful ride in my opinion. If there are no other options, I'll use those roads.
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