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Rant -- Drafting on bikepaths

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Rant -- Drafting on bikepaths

Old 07-29-08, 08:59 AM
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tyburr
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Rant -- Drafting on bikepaths

New forum member here, so pardon me if this has been covered before. I just felt the pressing need to vent about my bike accident yesterday.

So I'm coming along the Charles River bikepath in Boston yesterday morning, right around 9 a.m., and I get up to the lagoon,where a footbridge comes over from the other side and intersects with the bike path. A mom and her two kids on bikes come off the footbridge and the little boy comes down the slope -- whee! -- and straight across the path into my line of fire. I sit on the brakes and stop with about two feet to spare; no problem and I'm really not too mad at the kid since he's, like, five.

The guy who I suddenly discover is drafting me is another matter. He rams into me from behind, takes a flyer and lands on his elbow, jumps up, inspects his road rash, and is off before I have the presence of mind to say, hey, wait. It's then I find out my rear wheel is seriously out of whack and, oddly, my front wheel too (I still had the brakes on so it must have absorbed the blow rather than rolling). Long story short, the rear wheel's unsalvageable and I have to get new rims. So I'm out a few hundred because AN IDIOT WAS DRAFTING ME ON A BIKEPATH DURING THE MORNING RUSH.

Or maybe I'm overreacting here -- is this acceptable behavior? I tend to hate strangers who draft anyway; something about personal space and believing it's polite to at least ask first. And even in that case, feel free to draft on a weekend ride or the Tour but not in a situation where you'll almost certainly have to come to a quick halt at some point.

Argh. One benefit of the gas crisis is that it's putting a lot more commuters on two wheels. Too bad some of them are frickin' amateurs.

Okay. I feel better now. But that guy still owes me a new set of wheels.
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Old 07-29-08, 09:02 AM
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As a commuter (I'm not a racer), I say bad form for the other guy. Especially the rushing off after the accident.

What if you were seriously hurt? And your bike was damaged and this other cyclist is responsible for making it right.

Shame on him.
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Old 07-29-08, 09:04 AM
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Did he look like *****? er, I mean Commuter? If he is, maybe you'll see him again, and talk it over.

vOv
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Old 07-29-08, 09:06 AM
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Drafting aside this guy rearended you and then rode off. It was a hit and run which clearly is not cool. Sorry for your troubles.
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Old 07-29-08, 09:06 AM
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If he'd been drafting you he would have hit you before you ever came to a complete stop.

In my mind, the kid's parent owes you the new wheel.
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Old 07-29-08, 09:09 AM
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Are you the same Ty Burr who writes for the Globe?
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Old 07-29-08, 09:11 AM
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I agree, The dude probably got screwed just like you did, except maybe he was gearing up to pass you or something. He still shoulda stopped though.
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Old 07-29-08, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by JeffS View Post
If he'd been drafting you he would have hit you before you ever came to a complete stop.

In my mind, the kid's parent owes you the new wheel.
If he wasn't drafting he was still too close.
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Old 07-29-08, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Denny Koll View Post
If he wasn't drafting he was still too close.
Or not paying attention.
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Old 07-29-08, 09:18 AM
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Unannounced drafting is poor form no matter where it takes place; bike path, organized/charity ride, just out on the road... anywhere.

I can't say who owes whom what, but I can offer a bit of advice: Get a mirror. If I see someone wheelsucking me, there's a 2 part course of action. 1) ask them to GTF off my wheel. 2) If they don't move, hose 'em with my water bottle. (or gas 'em out. depends on what I had for lunch.)
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Old 07-29-08, 09:21 AM
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There's also a s--t happens element to this. You can't tell when a five year old kid is going to pop out of nowhere. And not knowing how fast the two of you were going, it's tough to say whether the guy behind you had enough time to stop or otherwise get out of the way. If you stopped very quickly, he might not have been as close to you as you think.
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Old 07-29-08, 09:21 AM
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^^

I don't want any strangers drafting. Rude and dangerous.
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Old 07-29-08, 09:22 AM
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Drafting is perfectly fine, but there should be some courtesy involved. I also doubt it was an issue in this case. Inattention, mechanical problem, who knows what. Several factors came together and you took the brunt of it. That's the part that sucks. Dude should have stuck around, but nobody's ever responsible anymore.

My suspicion with those adamantly opposed to drafting is they don't have a very good handle on it. Fear of the unknown as it were. That's fine, but don't let it screw up your judgment enough to pursue nefarious acts.
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Originally Posted by cedricbosch View Post
It looks silly when you have quotes from other forum members in your signature. Nobody on this forum is that funny.
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Why am I in your signature.
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Old 07-29-08, 09:24 AM
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Curious, how far between you would you consider it "Drafting"
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Old 07-29-08, 09:25 AM
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^^ 1 bike length or LESS.
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Originally Posted by cedricbosch View Post
It looks silly when you have quotes from other forum members in your signature. Nobody on this forum is that funny.
Originally Posted by cedricbosch View Post
Why am I in your signature.
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Old 07-29-08, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by CastIron View Post
^^ 1 bike length or LESS.
I see. Well that makes me feel better, generally, if I am following a cyclist that is on the same rode, I give about 5 or so Bike Lengths between us, if I am matching speed.
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Old 07-29-08, 09:27 AM
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Don't ride on the paths. Stuff like this happens all the time.
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Old 07-29-08, 09:27 AM
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Part of the rub here is we're also talking about personal space. That's different for everyone. So are their reactions to a perceived breech.
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Originally Posted by cedricbosch View Post
It looks silly when you have quotes from other forum members in your signature. Nobody on this forum is that funny.
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Old 07-29-08, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by apricissimus View Post
Are you the same Ty Burr who writes for the Globe?
I'm guessing yes, because in Ty Burr's article, he said that he regularly uses that path as a commuting route. That was one of the four points I differed with him on. I've used that bike path during rush hour, and while I agree that the fault lies elsewhere, riding on that bike path during rush hour is a sketchy proposition at best. It's just too crowded, there are too many people with too many different styles and speeds of riding (plus dogs strollers pedestrians joggers roller bladers hot dog carts circus parades you name it), and you can vent about who's right and who's wrong until you're blue in the face, but what's the point? At the end of the day, you're right with a bent wheel. Unfortunate, but to a large extent foreseeable and avoidable.
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Old 07-29-08, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Hobartlemagne View Post
Don't ride on the paths. Stuff like this happens all the time.
The inevitible bike path cliche thrown into every thread about bike paths. I'm surprised it took so long.
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Old 07-29-08, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by apricissimus View Post
There's also a s--t happens element to this. You can't tell when a five year old kid is going to pop out of nowhere.
But that's precisely why drafting is dangerous, and also why tailgating is discouraged when driving a car too. If the guy in front has to stop quickly for whatever reason, the guy in back probably won't see it until he's mashed up against the first guy's rear end. Common sense says you leave adequate stopping distance between you and the person in front of you, whether you're on a bike or in a motor vehicle.
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Old 07-29-08, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by apricissimus View Post
Are you the same Ty Burr who writes for the Globe?
Yes.
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Old 07-29-08, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by tyburr View Post
Long story short, the rear wheel's unsalvageable and I have to get new rims.
Eh? Is this your prognosis or the bike shop's? Have you tried to true them?

I'm not saying you're wrong, but I have a hard time imagining a rear-ender from another cyclist destroying 2 rims. Pics?
 
Old 07-29-08, 09:44 AM
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If I find myself closing in on someone, I always call out "on your wheel" if I'm matching their speed. I keep 1+ bike length behind, and if I find I'm still gaining, I'll call out passing and go around. Works for most situations....although I had a guy recently who wouldn't get off my rear wheel (-1 length). I asked if he wouldn't mind backing off a bit - I don't want to cause an accident if I suddenly swerve to miss a rock or pothole.

He snapped something surly back at me, so I just kept dropping my speed until he passed me. After he passed me, I found that he couldn't keep the pace that I was riding earlier, so I just decided to keep +2 lengths behind and relax my pace a bit. I don't mind someone drafting with permission, but if when I come up on someone who looks like they're going the same pace, I'll offer to pull first.
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Old 07-29-08, 09:47 AM
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I've been in a similar situation and was completely obliterated by a girl on her bike. Just not paying attention and bam. She was fine, although quite shaken up by the fact that she had just seen me go sailing over the handlebars (don't ask how I went that way with a rear end collision) with the bike on top of me. She did stick around to make sure I was alright though. In retrospect, I should have gotten her number.... she was cute

Originally Posted by apricissimus View Post
There's also a s--t happens element to this. You can't tell when a five year old kid is going to pop out of nowhere. And not knowing how fast the two of you were going, it's tough to say whether the guy behind you had enough time to stop or otherwise get out of the way. If you stopped very quickly, he might not have been as close to you as you think.
Rules of the road (in a car) state that you're still a jerk if you fail to yield to a stopped vehicle. If I'm tooling along at 40 and slam on my brakes, the person behind me should still be able to stop without hitting me. I know, because I was one the idiot/jerk once (in my old car) and got the law read to me by the officer. Yeah, this was a bike path, but no, I don't believe its any different. The guy who slammed into the one stopped was at fault and was very discourteous to just get up and leave though, I've gotta believe that if that much damage happened to one bike, that the other guy had some injuries (personal and the bike) as well.

Originally Posted by Hobartlemagne View Post
Don't ride on the paths. Stuff like this happens all the time.
Its been said before but not all bike paths are created equal.

Edit: In regards to drafting in general, I found myself being super self-conscious about it while riding behind someone simply because of this board. Were it not for some of these posts I likely would be one of those people who others hate. I say this just to show that its not necessarily common knowledge. Yes, personal space does matter, but not everyone shares the same ideals and boundaries.
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