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Cars and bikes just don't mix

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Cars and bikes just don't mix

Old 06-19-11, 10:54 PM
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shrp71
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Cars and bikes just don't mix

I've been cycling now for about a year and have grown about as comfortable as is possible for one to be with riding in traffic, but more and more I'm feeling that sharing the road with cars just isn't the best option with the current culture in America, and it's taking the joy out of riding for me. I follow all the traffic rules and adhere to the principles of vehicular cycling, but none of that stops the guy in the SUV who pulls into the bike lane and stops right in front of me to drop someone off, or the woman in the Mercedes who veers into traffic to get around me as I'm preparing to turn and then turns in front me, or the kids in the monster truck who lay on the horn and try to hit me as they pass. Most Americans are incredibly stupid, intolerant, and impatient, characteristics that are all magnified when they get behind the wheels of their killing machines. The road is theirs, and bikes are just a nuisance that needs to be dealt with.

Safety concerns aside, in addition to commuting, I ride my bike for recreation and fitness, to enjoy the outdoors and nature, something that's impossible to do when you have the noxious fumes and deafening roar of passing engines and blaring stereos assaulting the senses. Not surprisingly, I'm at my most comfortable on separate bike trails, where there is no concern of being harassed by motorists and their pollution, but trails that are accessible and take you to where you want to go with a minimum of contact with traffic are a rarity.

It just seems to me that a network of bike-only trails as expansive as public roads, while perhaps a pipe dream, would be the ideal solution. Neither cyclists nor motorists have the patience or desire to deal with each other, and frankly, it seems illogical to try and force the sharing of roads to work safely given the speed and size differential between the two. Without a physical barrier, the risk to the cyclist, real or perceived, is too great and ultimately takes away from the enjoyment of riding. I realize I'm probably in the minority among long-time cyclists on this, but I'd like to hear what others have to say. I'm averse to confrontation and really just want to ride in peace, so perhaps the problem is with me. I've been riding less of late and taken to running and hiking for recreation, thinking how great it would be if I could be at the same level of ease while riding my bike as I am with these activities.
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Old 06-19-11, 11:00 PM
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Funny, I was thinking of posting something similar, about bike-only trails, which also wouldn't allow pedestrians, dogs, skateboarders, roller bladers, bums, drunks, muggers, etc. Bicyclist only roads. Two lanes in each direction. Separated even. Smooth asphalt. Ahhhhhhhh. Surely these exist somewhere.
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Old 06-19-11, 11:05 PM
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After you have ridden a bit, you may just look back at this post and chuckle. (Then again, you may decide to start evening the game a bit and start launching grenades at cars.) The reason you will chuckle is that you will eventually begin to pick up on the clues that motorists give you about their intentions. Knowledge is power; in this case it provides the power to avoid nasty conflicts with incompetent road users. In my experience, it takes most folks somewhere in the neighborhood of 100,000 miles to develop the experience, skills and knowledge necessary to comfortably handle the yo-yos.
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Old 06-19-11, 11:08 PM
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Most Americans are incredibly stupid, intolerant, and impatient, characteristics that are all magnified when they get behind the wheels of their killing machines.
Unintentional irony is delicious

Sorry that the people where you live are not courteous to bike riders. It has nothing to do with their nationality though. I am an American who owns a car and don't do any of the things you mentioned.
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Old 06-20-11, 01:25 AM
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gbiker: I'd be content with any separate trails, really. They need not be for bikes only, just off-limits to motorized vehicles. Pedestrians are much more preferable and safer to navigate around than automobiles.

B. Carfree: You may be right in that I just haven't given myself enough time to acclimate. I fear I may never reach that point, though, if the learning process entails putting my life at risk each time I go out.

frantik: I'm glad to hear you're a conscientious driver, but it only takes one thoughtless individual to end a life. Unfortunately, there are many, many such individuals in this country. There are exceptions, of course, but the prevailing culture is one of ignorance and narcissism that enables those of relative privilege to believe their wealth or position in the world also entitles them to another person's life. I may have a bias toward biking as a form of transportation, but I certainly don't believe I have the right to take a motorist's life or otherwise make it miserable because he or she chooses to drive a car. The only thing I'm intolerant of is this selfish attitude that, while not unique to Americans, has particular relevance because of its prevalence among those where I happen to live, which is a microcosm of America as a whole. The desire to travel in peace, something motorists take for granted each day, should not be mistaken for intolerance in the pejorative sense. It is the culture of stupidity, the lack of empathy, the belief that my right to comfort trumps your right to exist which are endemic in this country that I am intolerant of.
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Old 06-20-11, 01:41 AM
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Originally Posted by shrp71 View Post
gbiker: I'd be content with any separate trails, really. They need not be for bikes only, just off-limits to motorized vehicles. Pedestrians are much more preferable and safer to navigate around than automobiles.
Safer, yeah, most likely. But I feel more comfortable on (rural) roads. Trails in the city are like obstacle courses often times. Rural roads with shoulders are almost as good as bike-only paths to me.
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Old 06-20-11, 02:14 AM
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As my club members in Calif witnessed, some motorists will intentionally attempt to force cyclists off the road.. It happened to me once.. Some states are more bike friendly than others. California being one.. As you drive about plan your bike routes in advance of a ride.. Maybe you could enhance your ride by seeking out the better routing before you just go out and ride.. I'll ride greater distances in order to avoid congested areas.. What's wrong with adding a few miles to a ride in order to stay safe.
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Old 06-20-11, 03:28 AM
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From what I remember from driving a car, people are always cutting you off, pulling out in front of you. The trick is not to let it bother you and be a graceful participant in the dance of life. Even if cyclists only path existed there will always be those too slow or too fast and inconsiderate, people are people no matter what mode of transportation.
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Old 06-20-11, 05:00 AM
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As far as many of motorists are concerned we already have a network of bike trails. They are commonly called sidewalks.
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Old 06-20-11, 05:10 AM
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Once (hah) bikes are a majority in Duhhmerica, then the drivers will change. Until then its an uphill battle. I think it was Ron White who said it, but "You can't fix stupid."
 
Old 06-20-11, 05:52 AM
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I've had next to no problems riding in traffic. I guess YMMV?

As far as comfortableness, yeah, riding on an MUP is more relaxing than riding in traffic. But I'm not riding in traffic to relax; I'm riding to and from work, or running errands. If I want to go for a ride for fun, I head for the country, same as I do when I want to go for a drive. Being in traffic in any mode isn't exactly something I do for fun. That's not to say I'm stressed riding in traffic; part of the reason I bike is because it lets me wind down better than a drive home, especially when I take it easy on side streets. $.02.
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Old 06-20-11, 06:19 AM
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After forty years on the street, I've found that riding conditions have improved dramatically. I haven't had anything thrown at me in years, twenty something hooligans in pickup trucks have yelled stupid things, but they used to hit me with sticks as they drove by. When I moved to this area 18 years ago, people bragged about a 3.5 mile MUP, now there's close to 40 and hundreds of miles of bike lanes installed on the streets. I don't see anything but improvement and I ride more than ever.
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Old 06-20-11, 06:19 AM
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Originally Posted by gbiker View Post
Funny, I was thinking of posting something similar, about bike-only trails, which also wouldn't allow pedestrians, dogs, skateboarders, roller bladers, bums, drunks, muggers, etc. Bicyclist only roads. Two lanes in each direction. Separated even. Smooth asphalt. Ahhhhhhhh. Surely these exist somewhere.
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Old 06-20-11, 06:48 AM
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There are places I simply will not ride my bike. Cars and bikes don't always mix well.
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Old 06-20-11, 07:01 AM
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Cars and bikes mix fine; it's ignorance, recklessness and intolerance that don't mix with either.
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Old 06-20-11, 10:14 AM
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I would certainly agree with you that high density urban areas are not pleasurable to bicycle in. Although, I feel like driving in them is even more miserable (which may be why the drivers are often so obnoxious to riders there). But I wouldn't ride there for fun. If I'm out for fun I pick a direction and get out of town as quick as I can.

Maybe that's not possible for you.


Bicycle trails bring there own problems. But they are nice.
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Old 06-20-11, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by irwin7638 View Post
After forty years on the street, I've found that riding conditions have improved dramatically. I haven't had anything thrown at me in years, twenty something hooligans in pickup trucks have yelled stupid things, but they used to hit me with sticks as they drove by. When I moved to this area 18 years ago, people bragged about a 3.5 mile MUP, now there's close to 40 and hundreds of miles of bike lanes installed on the streets. I don't see anything but improvement and I ride more than ever.
Same here except I've been 'on the street' for about 1/2 the time of the poster. Started in Chicago in '87 and there were NO bike lanes, no 3 ft rule, no designated bike routes...nothing. It was like the wild west. I'd see maybe one other cyclist in 2 weeks. I loved it. Felt very subversive at the time. No longer live there, but friends tell me cyclists are like vermin now. And that's a good thing. Nashville has added a 'public bike' program modeled on the European programs. It's a drop in the bucket when one considers that the ENTIRE East Coast Bikeway could be completed for the cost of ONE...THAT'S ONE interstate bridge. It's a start, at least. But I do get a sense that cycle-commuting is slowly but surely becoming more acceptable to the mainstream.
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Old 06-20-11, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by shrp71 View Post
gbiker: I'd be content with any separate trails, really. They need not be for bikes only, just off-limits to motorized vehicles. Pedestrians are much more preferable and safer to navigate around than automobiles. .
Originally Posted by gbiker View Post
Safer, yeah, most likely. But I feel more comfortable on (rural) roads. Trails in the city are like obstacle courses often times. Rural roads with shoulders are almost as good as bike-only paths to me. snip
Originally Posted by sudo bike View Post
snip As far as comfortableness, yeah, riding on an MUP is more relaxing than riding in traffic..
As the saying goes YMMV. I find MUP's I use require much attention on my part, due to the mix of users who are clueless, lacking in courtesy, dangerous, ...the list goes on. A lot of this is because the ones i use are popular and have a mix of walkers, runners, kids on bikes, dog walker, pack of walker, packs of dogs, etc. I also find that I can't go any where nearly as fast as I can on the street. So when I take the mup I accept that I am goinggt slower, have to watch out for everyone else and just chill in general and enjoy the nice (trees, creek) surroundings.

full segregated facilities, would be of little value unless they are strictly bike only and pedestians, joggers, baby strollers, mopeds, skateboards etc are kept out by vigorous enforcement.

Apply vigoruous enforement (and understtanding of what the laws are) would get a lot more immediate results for cyclists
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Old 06-20-11, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by sggoodri View Post
Cars and bikes mix fine; it's ignorance, recklessness and intolerance that don't mix with either.
100% this.
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Old 06-20-11, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by steve0257 View Post
As far as many of motorists are concerned we already have a network of bike trails. They are commonly called sidewalks.
They are called ROADS.
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Old 06-20-11, 11:28 AM
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People used to say horses and bikes don't mix 150 years ago.Just face it,we're the whipping boys of the street,get used to it.

I agree,I think things are better now than they where 30 years ago.There's always room for improvement,but we are headed in the right direction,SLOOOOOOWLY......

People driving are much more aware of bicycles on the road than ever before,at least in my 30 some odd years.There's room for improvement there also,but it is much better.

There's better safety equipment for bicycles now.Bicycle lights look like WWII seachlights now compared to what I had in the 70's and 80's.I have tires with reflector in the sidewalls.Hell,I have tires I haven't had a flat on in years.I can buy reflective tape that looks like it's on fire when a light hits it.You don't even have to know how to shift a bike anymore,they have index shifting and IGH.You can pay attention to your surroundings better.

30 years ago,the only bicycle maps that I knew of was 1, from ACA across America or getting a Trip-tik from AAA.I couldn't get maps from cities or counties or states for bicycle routes.There may have been some,but I had no idea how to get it,at least not like today.

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Old 06-20-11, 11:41 AM
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Please don't paint all of the United States with the same brush. I have 25,000 miles over the last 6 years on the roads around where I live and I've had almost no trouble at all. I'm not going to say that things aren't bad where the OP is, but they're fine here.
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Old 06-20-11, 11:43 AM
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If you don't feel comfortable on the street, then perhaps you should confine yourself to the path. But I wouldn't suggest that it's the ideal solution for all riders.
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Old 06-20-11, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by sharrn View Post
Once (hah) bikes are a majority in Duhhmerica, then the drivers will change.
This won't happen in any of our lifetimes, because the majority of people won't live through the complete collapse of civilization that would have to happen to get the majority of Americans to do more work than pushing a pedal down 3 inches to move around, regardless of what the cost is. Seriously, I think we wouldn't have a majority of people using bikes even with $20/gallon gas. People would switch to electric or mopeds or mass transit first. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised to see people try to build steam cars before resorting to bicycles.
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Old 06-20-11, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
This won't happen in any of our lifetimes, because the majority of people won't live through the complete collapse of civilization that would have to happen to get the majority of Americans to do more work than pushing a pedal down 3 inches to move around, regardless of what the cost is. Seriously, I think we wouldn't have a majority of people using bikes even with $20/gallon gas. People would switch to electric or mopeds or mass transit first. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised to see people try to build steam cars before resorting to bicycles.
True that the majority won't be riding bikes, but many more will be. This seems inevitable because in some areas the bike is the most sensible form of transportation for the type of trips that people currently make in their cars.

I also want to add to what you and another poster from Michigan said--cycling has improved a lot, even in the eight short years that I've been doing it. I don't know if this is particular to our state, or a more general thing.
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