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Toms unoffical Rules of Bicycle Commuting

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Toms unoffical Rules of Bicycle Commuting

Old 06-09-15, 12:44 PM
  #51  
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Originally Posted by richkarr View Post
Two of my unofficial rules follow:

1) Stay away from school buses. Don't ever pass them on the right or left. I've found a significant number drive erratic and have very little concern for bicyclists.

2) Be extra cautious when passing the Home Improvement Store. I pass a Home Depot on my commute. Not only is traffic dicey near the store drive entrances, but most of my flat tires have occurred within a mile after passing that store
#2 is a good point but I would expand it to include any hospital. I actually commute past our community hospital, the only hospital for about 40 miles in any direction. I'm VERY careful as I pass it, as the VERY LAST THING a car headed for the hospital is thinking about is a guy on a bike. Especially the long and fairly low bike like my long wheel base recumbent. I have been cut off, close passed, and nearly hit more in front of that hospital than any other place on my commute. And no, there is no easy way to commute somewhere else to stay away from the place, it's right down the street from my office. On the positive side, if I get hit in front of the hospital, I can probably drag myself across the parking lot to the Emergency Room entrance...

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Old 06-09-15, 02:26 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by Tractortom View Post
#2 is a good point but I would expand it to include any hospital. I actually commute past our community hospital, the only hospital for about 40 miles in any direction. I'm VERY careful as I pass it, as the VERY LAST THING a car headed for the hospital is thinking about is a guy on a bike. Especially the long and fairly low bike like my long wheel base recumbent. I have been cut off, close passed, and nearly hit more in front of that hospital than any other place on my commute. And no, there is no easy way to commute somewhere else to stay away from the place, it's right down the street from my office. On the positive side, if I get hit in front of the hospital, I can probably drag myself across the parking lot to the Emergency Room entrance...

Tractor Tom in Okeechobee, FL

Maybe we should add 'possessed of a sense of black humor' to that list! LOL
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Old 06-09-15, 02:39 PM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by realityinabox View Post
Taking the lane or not almost always depends on the size of the lane and general road condition. If it is a narrow lane in a 25mph zone, take it. If it is a wider lane where it is safe to slide to the side and you won't get pinched between a car and curb, then don't be a jerk, move over and let traffic pass. If it is a wider lane, but the right side is pothole hell (typical in MI), then take the lane.

My commute is a pretty good mix of narrow lanes, wide lanes, bike lanes, sharrows, and neighborhood streets. The most important thing is to keep your head up and be obvious about what you're doing. Hold the line as much as possible and be predictable.
That's what I figure is the answer for me too. I take the middle of the lane on the main thoroughfare nearest my house, because there's another lane cars can use to pass me, and the sidewalks there are more difficult to ride on anyway (narrow, not too heavy pedestrian traffic, but there's always someone walking and half the time with a stroller or dogs; some portions of the sidewalk stick out, etc.). I'd rather have motorists pass me on the next lane over, and not take the risk somebody will hit me on a right turn.

When I turn into my home street, I go more to the right because it's just wide enough for one car to go through (if two cars are moving in opposite directions, one has to pull over), it's a climb so I'm even slower than usual, and I'll switch to the sidewalk right away if there's nobody walking on it. If there is somebody on the sidewalk, then I stay on the street until I hear a car behind me, then hopefully get on the sidewalk past the pedestrian/dogs.
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Old 06-09-15, 05:06 PM
  #54  
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I have to agree with the school bus thing. They drive like cabbies and have no time for cyclists on the route. I was passed by a bus only for him to cut in front of me, slap on the yellows, then hit the red and stop right in front of me while almost running me int the curb..
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Old 06-09-15, 05:16 PM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
Keep the shiny side up and the rubber side down
My bike has a flat finish but maybe you are referring to my pate.
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Old 06-09-15, 11:27 PM
  #56  
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I will stand by my decision to take the lane. I found myself drifting to the right today on my commute, and I got buzzed by a Chevy pick up. Give an inch, and they will take a mile. I will not hug the curb ever again. It was fairly close, closer than I am comfortable with, especially at a rate of speed above 30mph.
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Old 06-10-15, 02:38 PM
  #57  
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A green light means check for cross traffic before proceeding.
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Old 06-10-15, 02:43 PM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by TenSpeedV2 View Post
I will stand by my decision to take the lane. I found myself drifting to the right today on my commute, and I got buzzed by a Chevy pick up. Give an inch, and they will take a mile. I will not hug the curb ever again. It was fairly close, closer than I am comfortable with, especially at a rate of speed above 30mph.
What's the speed limit on these roads you're riding, and how fast are you going?
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Old 06-10-15, 03:05 PM
  #59  
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After a confrontation when someone yelled at me to get on the sidewalk, and I yelled something uncomplimentary at the gentleman. he immediately slammed on his brakes to stop, I stopped behind him. When he asked me to repeat myself, I decided it was prudent not to antagonize him by repeating the comment. He did tell me that he knew (because he had a commercial driver's license) that bicycles are not allowed on the road. I corrected him, and after some more grumbling he took off and as I started to ride off behind him, he slammed on his brakes again, and so I just said firmly, "Sir, that is assault." after a few seconds of trying to come up with a remark he drove away.

So, I established my rule. It may not stop a confrontation, but at least I won't hesitate to repeat it, if asked.

*** If someone shouts at me while riding in the road to get on the sidewalk, I will shout back, "I am not walking!" ***
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Old 06-10-15, 03:21 PM
  #60  
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1) CHECK THE ROUTE BEFORE GOING ON THE RIDE.
2) KNOW YOUR ABILITIES AND NON ABILITIES
3) AT A STOP LIGHT GIVE THE TURN LANE AWAY AND DOUBLE CHECK FOR THE LAST CAR CROSSING INFRONT OF YOU BEFORE PROCEEDING.
4) ON PATHS HOMELESS ARE NIJIA AND DO SLEEPING KUNG FU STYLE
5) EVERYONE DESERVES A WARNING AS YOU OVER TAKE.
6) SLOW DOWN ON MUPS WHERE VISIABLITY IS LIMITED IE.. BLIND CORNERS
7) DONT TOUCH PEOPLES CARS ITS AN EXTENTION OF THEIR BEING
8) HAND SIGNALS
9) NO EAR PHONES WHEN RIDING ON THE STREET.
10) CRUB IT TO TAKE THAT CALL.
11) GET WITH YOUR LOCAL ADVOCACY. IF YOU DONT YOUR VOICE IS NOT HEARD.
12) ADVOCATE AT WORK, HOME, SCHOOL ,SOCIAL MEDIA, FRIENDS.
13 ALWAYS TRY AND HELP OUT ANOTHER CYCLIST PAY IT FORWARD.
v
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Old 06-10-15, 03:40 PM
  #61  
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@Little Darwin:

"Get on the sidewalk."

"I'm not allowed."

And thats the truth. Maybe we should carry the relevant sections of the vehicle code with us. But no, I don't think a roadside legal discussion is likely to be fruitful.
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Old 06-10-15, 05:18 PM
  #62  
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Don't stop dead center in the unbuffered bike lane in the middle of goddamned rush hour like the guy I navigated around this morning did.

Bonus: he was wearing headphones and changing tracks on his phone when I passed him.
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Old 06-10-15, 05:57 PM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by katsrevenge View Post
There is no such thing as a too bright taillight/headlight.
If someone says something about your light, a 'Thanks, it's good to know it's so visable, I don't want to die.' shuts them right up.

Never underestimate the Mary Poppins effect.
visible
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Old 06-10-15, 06:04 PM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Predict others.

Be predictable.
I read some pundit's advice which said (paraphrased here): Act unpredictable; swerve a little bit when you know a car is approaching behind you at a respectable distance. I am always amazed by how much room they give me when I do this.
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Old 06-10-15, 06:35 PM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
@Little Darwin:

"Get on the sidewalk."

"I'm not allowed."

And thats the truth. Maybe we should carry the relevant sections of the vehicle code with us. But no, I don't think a roadside legal discussion is likely to be fruitful.
Actually, in PA we are allowed on sidewalks as long as it is not in a business district. No idea why, maybe to let kids ride on the sidewalks in their neighborhoods.

For a while, I had considered carrying a summary of the applicable laws, but I agree, the people who yell at riders probably aren't interested in what the law is, they are interested more in what they think is right...
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Old 06-11-15, 07:56 AM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by Little Darwin View Post
Actually, in PA we are allowed on sidewalks as long as it is not in a business district. No idea why, maybe to let kids ride on the sidewalks in their neighborhoods.

For a while, I had considered carrying a summary of the applicable laws, but I agree, the people who yell at riders probably aren't interested in what the law is, they are interested more in what they think is right...
I DO carry a copy of the laws applicable to bicycles on my commuter bike. Was stopped at a traffic light one time last year and a cop pulled up beside me and began to question my position in the traffic lane ( and not on the sidewalk). After the light changed, I pulled through the intersection and produced said copy and handed it to the cop. He was NOT aware of the laws as they applied to bicycles, and questioned that the paperwork I had was valid????

Tractor Tom in Okeechobee, FL
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Old 06-11-15, 08:18 AM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by Tractortom View Post
<snipped> and questioned that the paperwork I had was valid????
That is one of the reasons I didn't print a copy to carry, since even though I know it is valid, anyone could compose and print whatever they want. I have considered stopping by the DMV and getting a driver's guide to see if it contains the info in an official document. But I wonder if they they still print those in the connected age.
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Old 06-11-15, 08:49 AM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by Little Darwin View Post
That is one of the reasons I didn't print a copy to carry, since even though I know it is valid, anyone could compose and print whatever they want. I have considered stopping by the DMV and getting a driver's guide to see if it contains the info in an official document. But I wonder if they they still print those in the connected age.
You could carry good case law along with your Bar card around with you and still never get an admission out of an peace officer that he's incorrect on a point of law.
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Old 06-11-15, 09:30 AM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by realityinabox View Post
What's the speed limit on these roads you're riding, and how fast are you going?
35mph, and I was traveling at about 20mph.
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Old 06-11-15, 01:32 PM
  #70  
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In DC, WABA (Washington Area Bicyclist Association | Advocacy and Education in the Washington Area) distributes a Pocket Guide to Washington DC Bike Laws, which appears to be nicely sized for either a, well, pocket, or an under-the-saddle pack. Every law mentioned in the booklet has Section/Title numbers. There's even a "Common Enforcement Errors" chapter which lists things police officers commonly cite incorrectly.

Think I'm going to start bringing this pocket guide with me every time I ride in DC proper.
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Old 06-12-15, 10:08 PM
  #71  
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When taking off from a stop light speed is life..
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Old 06-13-15, 01:58 PM
  #72  
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My rules are as follows:

1. Yellow, neon yellow or black cars equal danger!
2. Out of state plates equal danger.
3. Rear light is always on.
4. Carry bungee cord always.
5. The NYPD is not your friend.
6. If in doubt bring extra water.
7. "Somebody who can stay in control of virtually any situation is somebody who is said to know where his or her towel is" which is in my bag.
8. Only an idiot doesn't have a good multi-tool on their person at all times.
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Old 06-13-15, 01:59 PM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by Sirrus Rider View Post
When taking off from a stop light speed is life..
Amen!
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Old 06-13-15, 10:04 PM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by Bike Hermit View Post
I read some pundit's advice which said (paraphrased here): Act unpredictable; swerve a little bit when you know a car is approaching behind you at a respectable distance. I am always amazed by how much room they give me when I do this.
The safety wobble/swerve is an incredibly useful basic urban riding skill. It can also help prevent right and left crosses by helping drivers "see" a cyclist. Its one of the many basic urban cycling skills that VC bike education (e.g. cycling savvy, lab) ignores for ideological reasons. Decades of riding in traffic has taught me that riding predictably and in a straight line is not always safer.
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Old 06-14-15, 03:53 AM
  #75  
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Rule number 1:

RIDE!

...for everything else, I use plain old common sense* and have survived four years of daily commuting!


* the old fashion kind
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