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Top Two Driver Complaints About Cyclists

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Top Two Driver Complaints About Cyclists

Old 10-03-11, 07:59 AM
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goose70
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Top Two Driver Complaints About Cyclists

With all of the hand-wringing about car-bike conflict on here and in the press, I thought Iíd toss out a few unscientific observations from talking with non-bikers lately about their pet peeves with cyclists.

Number one pet peeve: cyclists who run red lights. I think itís a ďfairnessĒ thing as much as a safety concern. What Iím hearing is that ďweíll tolerate the minor inconveniences you may cause us while youíre on the roads, but you need to play by the same rules as us.Ē

The number two pet peeve: Cyclists who ride two or more abreast on roads where this forces passing traffic into the oncoming lane. Again, the issue Iím hearing does not concern the cyclistsí right to be on the road, but instead focuses on common courtesy (and safety) when a car is trying to pass. Drivers rightly ask, ďif Iím going to take my life in my hands by passing in the oncoming lane, at least only make me do it when there is no other option.Ē

Iím sure many of you have heard similar concerns. I also donít discount the fact that some drivers are just bitter, nuts and looking for a fight. But I suspect that most, like the ones with whom Iíve been talking, are perfectly rationale folks who simply donít want to be involved in a bike-car collision for a variety of excellent reasons. And the things that they are asking us to do have little, if any, negative impact on our ability to enjoy our sport, as far as I can tell.

On the other side of the coin, the most common misperception drivers seem to have about cyclists (other than that weíre either all gay or lost our diverís license) is that riding on the bike path or road shoulder is always safest. If you only have a few seconds to talk with someone about driving near cyclists and donít want to bore them with a long lecture about cycling (much like this post), then simply inviting them to walk on a MUP frequented by cyclists, or take a good look at the debris in the shoulder the next time theyíre stopped in traffic, will make the point nicely.

Anyhow, those are my Monday morning observation on driver-cyclist diplomacy, FWIW. The suggestions strike me as a reasonable alternative to being handcuffed by a convenience store security guard.
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Old 10-03-11, 08:04 AM
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Drivers rightly ask, “if I’m going to take my life in my hands by passing in the oncoming lane, take my life in my hands by passing in the oncoming lane
Oh please.
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Old 10-03-11, 08:15 AM
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I think goose has valid points. When I'm solo I stop at lights, stop signs, even stop at no-turn-on-reds.

In a group I'll usually follow their lead - I ran more stop signs in one day on recent group ride than I have all year. If it's my group everyone stops.

I also chide people for not riding single file when it's busy. I'll use different methods to get people to go single file - pushing pace is usually most effective because riders automatically seek shelter in the draft.
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Old 10-03-11, 08:23 AM
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The problem is if they see one cyclist run a light, they transfer that to ALL cyclist. I was stopped at a light next to a pickup and two riders I didn't know, and that I was not riding with approached, slowed, and then jumped through the red light. The driver of the pick up immediately then starts lecturing me through his open window about how we cyclist run red lights and need to obey traffic laws. I had to point out to him that I was waiting at the same red light he was.
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Old 10-03-11, 08:24 AM
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Old 10-03-11, 08:26 AM
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I stop at most stop signs or come close to stopping, but I also run them sometimes, especially if I have cars behind me. I figure it's easier for me, and it also saves time for them. If I came to a complete stop, I'd have to unclip, put my foot down, start moving again, reclip, and accelerate. It costs the drivers behind me a lot more time that way. Yea, it's still illegal, and I'm not saying it's right, but I do it.

As for going in the oncoming lane, if you're riding behind me, 9 out of 10 times you will have to go into the oncoming lane. I've noticed that if a driver thinks he has enough space to pass you without crossing the center line, he will. Even if it means passing within 6 inches of you. If you move far enough out that they can't pass you without crossing the center line, then they'll move all the way over and give you 3 feet of space or more.
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Old 10-03-11, 08:29 AM
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Moving to A & S from Road.
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Old 10-03-11, 08:40 AM
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Top 2 complains I've heard are these:

1. Cyclists exist.
2. Cyclists are on the road.

I think it is an american thing to be terrorized and fear imminent death of crossing the lane dividing lines. They think a laser beam from the heavens will strike them!! Move the foq over. It is not going to kill you!!!!!!
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Old 10-03-11, 08:41 AM
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A cyclist running a red light does absolutely nothing to inconvenience a driver. (assuming its done when no cars are coming). I think that is mainly an excuse drivers who hate having cyclists on the road throw out to complain about because its really all they have. The real problem they have with cyclists is the 10-20sec they get delayed on their way down the road. They get irritated when they are slowed down because of cyclists on the road and that's really all there is to it.
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Old 10-03-11, 08:42 AM
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Man, there are too many sub forums on this board. Really dilutes the content. I thought this was ok in the road forum personally. I never look in a&s for anything.
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Old 10-03-11, 08:43 AM
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I've often heard (and found to be true), that most drivers will give you as much space as you take from the fog line/end of the road. Cabbies and the occasional aggressive jerk might be different, but that's true for the most part. I'll typically only run a red if there's no one around, but I do often filter if the line is long (though that depends on the situation). I do tend to do a fair number of rolling stops at stop signs if there's not anyone particularly close except people behind me as I figure it speeds things up for them.
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Old 10-03-11, 09:00 AM
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For motorists, I'd be more worried about red light running motorists, especially after hearing other motorist's stories on their personal recovery from sustained injuries from a collision with another motor vehicle, versus motorists who had a collision with cyclist.
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Old 10-03-11, 09:06 AM
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I'm convinced the two abreast thing is upsetting because they think we aren't supposed to be doing it.
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Old 10-03-11, 09:14 AM
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I pretty much do the idaho stop as conditions dictate. The way I look at it most motorists treat us the way they treat other motorists. Sure some of them hate cyclists but for the most part a lot of people are rude inconsiderate jerks while driving. I try not to take it personally.
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Old 10-03-11, 09:16 AM
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As a cyclist, my two biggest complaints about other cyclists are:

1) cyclists who run red lights
2) cyclists who ride on the road, in the left lane... IN the lane.


1 I don't really understand. It's not THAT hard to stop at a light and accelerate when it's green. So it takes a few seconds off your time, big deal. I'd rather take a few seconds off my time than risk taking a few decades off my life. It's just not safe to do this. If you're going to bike on the road, follow the rules of the road. It's really that simple.

2 utterly baffles me. I can't tell you how many people I see doing this. It seems more people salmon than don't. I think they think it's because they'll be safer that way, since they can see oncoming traffic, but I've seen two people get badly T-boned at intersections because a car turning right failed to look right before they turned. It's just not safe. Don't do it!
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Old 10-03-11, 09:24 AM
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In my experience, there is no rhyme or reason to drivers that holler at me. The other night a car passed going in the other direction, and yelled at me, a pasty-white guy, "Hey ******! Get off that bike!" Twice recently cars passed me on four-lane bridges where they had to change lanes to go around me. In both cases there was no other traffic, just me and the single car, and in both cases someone in the car yelled at me. Because of the inconvenience of having to change lanes into a lane with absolutely no traffic. The second time it happened, it was a taxicab and it was (apparently) the paying passenger that felt compelled to roll down the window and yell at me: "Sidewalks! Every hear of them?!?" Yeah. Whatever.

I smile and wave. If their window is rolled down, I'll shout "I love you!"

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Old 10-03-11, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by iforgotmename View Post
I pretty much do the idaho stop as conditions dictate. The way I look at it most motorists treat us the way they treat other motorists. Sure some of them hate cyclists but for the most part a lot of people are rude inconsiderate jerks while driving. I try not to take it personally.
Yeah, as far as I can tell, motorists hate each other every bit as much as they hate cyclists.
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Old 10-03-11, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Mithrandir View Post
As a cyclist, my two biggest complaints about other cyclists are:

1) cyclists who run red lights
2) cyclists who ride on the road, in the left lane... IN the lane.


1 I don't really understand. It's not THAT hard to stop at a light and accelerate when it's green. So it takes a few seconds off your time, big deal. I'd rather take a few seconds off my time than risk taking a few decades off my life. It's just not safe to do this. If you're going to bike on the road, follow the rules of the road. It's really that simple.

2 utterly baffles me. I can't tell you how many people I see doing this. It seems more people salmon than don't. I think they think it's because they'll be safer that way, since they can see oncoming traffic, but I've seen two people get badly T-boned at intersections because a car turning right failed to look right before they turned. It's just not safe. Don't do it!
I don't like cyclist riding the wrong way up the road and I don't like reckless kids totally ignoring all laws and reason as they veer all over the place.
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Old 10-03-11, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I'm convinced the two abreast thing is upsetting because they think we aren't supposed to be doing it.
The one I hear all the time is simply that some cyclist was "riding in the middle of the lane!!!" usually voiced as if they should know what they're doing is illegal. I always point out that it's NOT necessarily illegal to do that, and give a quick explanation of the FRAP law. Almost every motorist I've had this conversation with in a friendly context has been very surprised when I laid it out for them. The other one I hear is that "all" cyclists supposedly run stop signs and red lights. I can't defend that one, so I just say that I personally stop for all of them. And I also usually point out that most motorists don't always fully stop for stop signs either, and so it's not really much different.

The biggest problem is that most motorists are at least somewhat ignorant of the rules of the road. And almost all motorists who are not cyclists themselves are ignorant of the specific rules of the road pertaining to cyclists. A surprisingly large percentage of them truly think we're breaking the law whenever we aren't hugging the curb. This situation really needs to be addressed by police and DMV driver retraining at license renewal time, as apparently no one is ever even telling most of these motorists that they are wrong. But there just doesn't seem to be much political will for the idea of actually requiring motorists to know the rules of the road before they're allowed to drive on them.
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Old 10-03-11, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by goose70 View Post
With all of the hand-wringing about car-bike conflict on here and in the press, I thought I’d toss out a few unscientific observations from talking with non-bikers lately about their pet peeves with cyclists.

Number one pet peeve: cyclists who run red lights. I think it’s a “fairness” thing as much as a safety concern. What I’m hearing is that “we’ll tolerate the minor inconveniences you may cause us while you’re on the roads, but you need to play by the same rules as us.”

If I run that red light, it probably has nothing to do with you, but may in fact make things more convenient for you further down the line.

The number two pet peeve: Cyclists who ride two or more abreast on roads where this forces passing traffic into the oncoming lane. Again, the issue I’m hearing does not concern the cyclists’ right to be on the road, but instead focuses on common courtesy (and safety) when a car is trying to pass. Drivers rightly ask, “if I’m going to take my life in my hands by passing in the oncoming lane, at least only make me do it when there is no other option.”

Given normal lane widths, you are going to have to cross the center line to safely and legallly pass me anyway idiot.

On the other side of the coin, the most common misperception drivers seem to have about cyclists (other than that we’re either all gay or lost our diver’s license) is that riding on the bike path or road shoulder is always safest. If you only have a few seconds to talk with someone about driving near cyclists and don’t want to bore them with a long lecture about cycling (much like this post), then simply inviting them to walk on a MUP frequented by cyclists, or take a good look at the debris in the shoulder the next time they’re stopped in traffic, will make the point nicely.

Most may not be gay, but they sure act like it.

Anyhow, those are my Monday morning observation on driver-cyclist diplomacy, FWIW. The suggestions strike me as a reasonable alternative to being handcuffed by a convenience store security guard.

Good talk!
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Old 10-03-11, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I'm convinced the two abreast thing is upsetting because they think we aren't supposed to be doing it.
I dunno. As far as I can tell, they usually think we aren't supposed to be on the road in the first place. I hardly see how riding two abreast is that much more of a bother if they already think we shouldn't even ride single file.
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Old 10-03-11, 09:59 AM
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If you were in a car doing 15 mph under the speed limit (legal) you'd annoy more drivers (and be a likely target for road rage) than if you were doing 15 mph over (illegal).

Why? Because motorists hate being slowed down a lot more than they hate when others break the law. They bring up the red light issue because it sounds better than the truth -- that they simply don't like bicycles on their roads.

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Old 10-03-11, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I'm convinced the two abreast thing is upsetting because they think we aren't supposed to be doing it.
If there is room to safely share the line if the cyclists went single file and the cyclists are just being ******s, I understand their frustration. But in most cases they're just ticked cuz they have to cross COMPLETELY into the oncoming lane, rather than just crossing it as little as possible and expecting either the cyclist or oncoming traffic to yield to their impatience because obviously their convenience trumps everyone's ROW.

Let's face it, the root cause of driver anger at cyclists or anyone else comes from the perception that we are in their way and inconveniencing them. The world revolves around ME, ME, ME and the constitution guarantees my right to not have to actually use the brake and be delayed by a couple of seconds, by gawd!
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Old 10-03-11, 10:10 AM
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I have to say I’m a little surprised at your findings. I was pretty sure that “Cyclist's asses are a lot hotter than mine” would’ve been tops.
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Old 10-03-11, 10:11 AM
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I don't think it's even the inconvenience as much as the "what do I do?" issue when they first spot us. I know I experience this, especially before I figure out if the cyclist is riding predictably or not. I would assert that I actually speed up traffic (on average) while riding my bike. They sure as hell don't slow down.
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