Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Commuting
Reload this Page >

To be seen or not to be seen...That is the question

Notices
Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

To be seen or not to be seen...That is the question

Old 06-11-08, 08:04 PM
  #1  
CPD1085
Women love Carbon Cranks
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 16
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
To be seen or not to be seen...That is the question

I commute to work most everyday. Traveling through the inner city that are high crime areas.

My commute to work in mid afternoon is fine, but going home is another story. I sometimes find myself riding at 2 - 4 am. I do have a front and rear light and have had problems as they see me approach. People, groups of people and sometime passing motorists either yelling, tossing items and at one point I had a laser pointed at me.

So I decided to commute with no lights at all, no reflective gear, not even a reflector on my bike (Sounds Dangerous). Now vehicle traffic is avoided all together (hop onto the sidewalk or travel to the opposite side of the empty roadway). People don't even see me until I pass them. Since doing so I have had no problems and the not being seen thing seems to be effective.

Just curious if others have found themselves in a similar situation where it's better not to be seen than seen.
CPD1085 is offline  
Old 06-11-08, 08:13 PM
  #2  
hanshananigan
Senior Member
 
hanshananigan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 273

Bikes: 2006 K2 Apache 6.0, 2006(ish) Specialized Sirrus

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts


Actually, I think it's a great question, because it's a very real problem faced by many commuters. My vote would be to use lights but take a different route, if possible.
hanshananigan is offline  
Old 06-11-08, 08:16 PM
  #3  
ShadowGray
I like my car
 
ShadowGray's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 1,747
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
If you live in a high crime area, look like you're about to do some high crime. Lose the fred-ness. Put a doo rag on that helmet!

Keep the blinkies though.

I would not recommend going completely stealth, that's for cops and jet planes. You might find yourself crashing into something, or getting crashed into.

Isn't there any major streets you can take? If I have to commute at night, I take the biggest streets I can find for as long as possible, minimizing problems.
ShadowGray is offline  
Old 06-11-08, 08:28 PM
  #4  
CPD1085
Women love Carbon Cranks
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 16
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I actually work as a police officer in this high crime area. I know all the officers at my district so being mistaken for some street rat would be short lived. I have changed my route, riding on the less traveled roads only to encounter more people hanging out with nothing to do except mess with me.

The stealth mode seems to get the job done.
CPD1085 is offline  
Old 06-11-08, 08:32 PM
  #5  
Az B
Fattest Thin Man
 
Az B's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Directly above the center of the earth
Posts: 2,648

Bikes: Miyata 610, Vinco V, Rocky Mountain Element

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 1 Post
I've noticed the exact same thing. It's better not to be seen sometimes.

Watch out for other cyclists doing the same thing. I nearly hit a wrong way cyclist head on that was running without lights too. Scared the crap out of me.

Az
Az B is offline  
Old 06-11-08, 08:34 PM
  #6  
ShadowGray
I like my car
 
ShadowGray's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 1,747
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Where the hell is this?

I live in Philly, one of the most dangerous cities in the US, and everyone just minds their own business.
ShadowGray is offline  
Old 06-11-08, 08:35 PM
  #7  
tedi k wardhana
transport, not sport.
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: indonesia
Posts: 351
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
though my situation is not very similar,
I have prefered o be as low profile as possible.
when coming home very late, I prefer not to wear my helmet, let alone wearing jersey and bike pants.
wearing a helmet in indonesia, mostly will give the impression that you are a serious cyclist, not lke ordinary people on bikes, poor people who ride bikes because they cannot afford motorbikes.
serious cyclist wearng helmets, in my opinion, could give the impression they ride expensive bikes, or bring expensive stuff with them.
so to avoid all that, I prefer to look poor.
tedi k wardhana is offline  
Old 06-11-08, 08:42 PM
  #8  
CPD1085
Women love Carbon Cranks
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 16
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I am the same way. I don't wear a helmet because it does draw attention. I want to blend in as much as possible.
CPD1085 is offline  
Old 06-11-08, 09:45 PM
  #9  
bmclaughlin807
Crankenstein
 
bmclaughlin807's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Spokane
Posts: 4,038

Bikes: Novara Randonee (TankerBelle)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
...

Anyone else having trouble taking this guy at all seriously?

Put red and blue flashing lights on your bike... no more problems.

Seriously... the flashing superflash and LED headlight are plenty for me... I have no problems at all when the sun is down.
__________________
"There is no greater wonder than the way the face and character of a woman fit so perfectly in a man's mind, and stay there, and he could never tell you why. It just seems it was the thing he most wanted." Robert Louis Stevenson
bmclaughlin807 is offline  
Old 06-11-08, 10:23 PM
  #10  
thirdin77
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: San Jose, Ca
Posts: 1,213

Bikes: 09 Specialized Tricross Sport

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by bmclaughlin807 View Post
...

I have no problems at all when the sun is down.
You must be riding through better areas.

In some areas, there really are people just standing around waiting for something to happen and when someone comes down the street on a bike, they've found their entertainment.

I hope the OP can vary his route and or commute time so someone doesn't know when and where to meet him. It reminds me that I need to do the same thing as I saw plenty of people standing around one of the quieter sidestreets I use to get to my house.
thirdin77 is offline  
Old 06-11-08, 10:40 PM
  #11  
Industrial
^_^
 
Industrial's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 657

Bikes: Cannondale System Six, Specialized FSR-XC, Specialized Langster, Univega Arrow Spot, Raleigh Sports

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I used to live in a bad neighborhood in California and I'm not sure how to answer the OPs question. I can believe his situation 100% though. I think you are better off being seen. Even by people that might bother you, you might end up in more trouble if you surprise the same folks. Just try to be humble and pass them. They shouldn't bug you once they get to know you as a regular. Don't act terrified or scared or militant or smug. Just be a normal person riding a bike home at night that doesn't want to get hit.

I would definitely not ride a high dollar bike in anything resembling bike clothes though for the same reasons stated by the Indonesian rider above. Helmet and some lights should be okay.
Industrial is offline  
Old 06-11-08, 10:41 PM
  #12  
ShadowGray
I like my car
 
ShadowGray's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 1,747
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Then again, you said you were a cop. Can't you wear like a patrol jacket?
ShadowGray is offline  
Old 06-11-08, 10:54 PM
  #13  
gmule
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Conifer CO
Posts: 412
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by ShadowGray View Post
Then again, you said you were a cop. Can't you wear like a patrol jacket?
Oh hell no, that would be like putting a target on his back.
gmule is offline  
Old 06-11-08, 10:57 PM
  #14  
ThreLittleBirds
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 111
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by ShadowGray View Post
Where the hell is this?

I live in Philly, one of the most dangerous cities in the US, and everyone just minds their own business.
if everyone minded their own business it wouldnt be dangerous now would it?
ThreLittleBirds is offline  
Old 06-11-08, 10:58 PM
  #15  
ShadowGray
I like my car
 
ShadowGray's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 1,747
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by ThreLittleBirds View Post
if everyone minded their own business it wouldnt be dangerous now would it?
lol I think everyone just tries to keep it down because the moment one person starts something, the bullets start flying.
ShadowGray is offline  
Old 06-11-08, 11:24 PM
  #16  
Speed_Racer
Planeteer
 
Speed_Racer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Wichita, KS
Posts: 59

Bikes: Motobecane Mirage

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
If I was a cop that was into bicycle commuting, I would wear a reflective vest that says POLICE. I would also carry a gun on my hip and let all my cop buddies in the area know who I am. You are a officer of the law and should not worry about ***** stains ruining your commute.
Speed_Racer is offline  
Old 06-12-08, 12:07 AM
  #17  
chingon77
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 118
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
just keep your heater tucked away were you can have quick access to it in case anything goes down. And if you have to, make an example of someone. You know, regular cop stuff.
Or you can ride around waving your pistol around screaming "I HAVE A GUN" and folks would thing your plane nuts and leave you alone.
chingon77 is offline  
Old 06-12-08, 12:17 AM
  #18  
Tabor
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 1,019

Bikes: Surly Crosscheck, Surly Pacer

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by CPD1085 View Post
I actually work as a police officer in this high crime area.
Can't you just wave your gun at them?
Tabor is offline  
Old 06-12-08, 02:24 AM
  #19  
CPD1085
Women love Carbon Cranks
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 16
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I've been commuting to work since I was in my teens, I'm now in my mid 40's. Within the last 10 years I have noticed a big difference on how people react to cyclists in the area I ride in. Wearing anything other than ordinary street clothes would be foolish for me. Don't get me wrong, the majority of my commuting is without altercation, but when the weather warms up into the 80's and 90's, it gets a little nerve wracking.

Last edited by CPD1085; 06-12-08 at 02:58 AM.
CPD1085 is offline  
Old 06-12-08, 05:04 AM
  #20  
commuter33
Senior Member
 
commuter33's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 58

Bikes: Giant FCR3

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by CPD1085 View Post
I've been commuting to work since I was in my teens, I'm now in my mid 40's. Within the last 10 years I have noticed a big difference on how people react to cyclists in the area I ride in. Wearing anything other than ordinary street clothes would be foolish for me. Don't get me wrong, the majority of my commuting is without altercation, but when the weather warms up into the 80's and 90's, it gets a little nerve wracking.
Aren't you worried about getting hit? I don't know if there is much traffic at 2 in the morning but I'm sure there are still some cars on the road. I usually ride into work at 5am with little traffic and I'm always worried that I won't be seen. I just purchased a new bike and I had to order some headlights/tail lights because I'm paranoid. That new expensive bike wont' do me any good if someone runs me over!

I guess for me I want to be seen and I don't need to worry about similar problems. Usually all the hoodlums are asleep at that time
commuter33 is offline  
Old 06-12-08, 05:33 AM
  #21  
Fribley
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 111
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Slap on your cycling shorts under your uniform, ride home with your lights on and watch them scurry!

I live near a local school and used to have a bit of problems with the kids waiting outside after class when I would come out to bike to work at four. they would just says stuff nothing more then that, I just kind of ignored it and went on my way. One day I was driving home from work so i didnt bother to change out of my uniform, well as i am approaching my house i see a group of about 6-8 kids gathered in the street, then one kid hits another in the jaw. I speed up really fast and then come to a screeching stop next to the group and get out in my full Sheriff Dept uniform and demanded to know what is going on. This whole group of "tough" 15-16 year kids have no idea what to say, they thought i was some kind of unmarked undercover unit. I let them all walk their seperate ways with a stern warning that i better not see it again. I wonder what will happen when they find out that i am only a Corrections Officer? Oh well, now when i ride the bike with the students outside i get polite waves, works for me!
Fribley is offline  
Old 06-12-08, 06:03 AM
  #22  
tarwheel 
Senior Member
 
tarwheel's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 8,900

Bikes: Waterford RST-22, Bob Jackson World Tour, Ritchey Breakaway Cross, Soma Saga, De Bernardi SL, Specialized Sequoia

Mentioned: 36 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 196 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 4 Posts
Put a blue flashing light on your bike -- problem solved.
tarwheel is offline  
Old 06-12-08, 08:51 AM
  #23  
noisebeam
Arizona Dessert
 
noisebeam's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: AZ
Posts: 15,030

Bikes: Cannondale SuperSix, Lemond Poprad. Retired: Jamis Sputnik, Centurion LeMans Fixed, Diamond Back ascent ex

Mentioned: 76 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5343 Post(s)
Liked 2,164 Times in 1,286 Posts
Get front and rear lights that can easily be switched on and off. Maybe even rig up a system so you can light up everything with a push of a handlebar switch.

When off ride as if you are invisible as you are, yielding pulling over, etc when another vehicle is present. Turn them on for intersections, etc.

Al
noisebeam is offline  
Old 06-12-08, 09:03 AM
  #24  
newbojeff
Commuter First
 
newbojeff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 1,286
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Great thread and question! I have mostly more questions...

What do your superiors and fellow officers think about you riding to work? Is gmule right that riding around, decked out as a police officer on a bike, would make you into a bigger target? Is it crazy to think that many in the neighborhood would like to have a bike officer around? Could you get your travels through this neighborhood considered part of your shift?

Your fellow officers know you are going to be riding through this neighborhood on your way home. Is it too much to think that they could shadow you through or be available to check in?
newbojeff is offline  
Old 06-12-08, 09:56 AM
  #25  
annc
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 428
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Many police departments have bike units with police issued bikes and gear. If your department does not have one then how hard would it be to start a bike patrol unit? That way you don't need to commute; you're already working.
annc is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.