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Damn bikers, part 2

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Old 11-03-04, 12:27 PM
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rog
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Damn bikers, part 2

So, I'm starting to see more and more of this on my morning commute...I'll be riding along a road in New Brunswick, NJ (actually, I'm on that road through a couple towns, ending up in NB), in the dark. I have lights on my bike, I'm pretty visible...but more and more I'll come up on guys on bikes riding toward me. On my side of the road. Of course, I always come across those guys on the section of the road with no shoulder...this is a road that is two lanes in each direction, pretty heavily traveled, even at that time of morning (about 5am). The wrong side cyclists are usually the guys who buy Wal Mart bikes, because they're low paid, don't speak english well enough to get better paying jobs, etc. I certainly don't begrudge them their right to get where they're going, and I understand they have it a lot tougher than I do...but damn...how many near collisions do you need in the early morning?

Anyone else deal with this, and how do you deal with it?
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Old 11-03-04, 01:00 PM
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They certainly have a right to get where their going, but they don't have the right to endanger you and themselves by riding illegally and dangerously.

What other language do these riders speak? If it's Spanish, here are some helpful phrases:

!Otro lado! (Other side!)
!Necesita una luz! (You need a light!)
!Ten cuidado! (Be careful!)
Bienvenidos a los Estados Unidos. Por su informacion, en nuestro pais, es la ley para manejar la bicicleta en la derecha del camino. (Welcome to the United States. For your information, in our country it is the law to cycle on the right side of the road.)

As far as avoiding them, generally I just move out into the lane. Some people might say that they should go into the lane, but I find it easier and safer if I do it.
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Old 11-03-04, 01:03 PM
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neccesita una helmuto!

I find wrong-siders are helmetless also.

Oh, ant btw, I have no idea how to say 'helmet' in spanish.
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Old 11-03-04, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by super-douper
neccesita una helmuto!

I find wrong-siders are helmetless also.

Oh, ant btw, I have no idea how to say 'helmet' in spanish.
"Casco," I believe.
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Old 11-03-04, 01:10 PM
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Priceless. I come across the same thing, too. Although, I wouldn't want to put some of them on a halfway decent bike. I bet they could hoof it.
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Old 11-03-04, 01:22 PM
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It happens to me pretty often. I just put my head down, hold my line, and brace for the impact. So far they've always yielded to me and no collisions have resulted.
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Old 11-03-04, 01:26 PM
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I went past one rider up a steep hill this morning, obviously he was struggling up it in the middle (zigzagging) of the road, I was loaded with full panniers and kept my right straight, cars started blowing the horn for being in the way, I felt like he was making me look bad for not keeping the right side of the road, but thank goodness I made the top way far ahead of him.
It's unfortunate that there are a lot of riders out there who don't know what concerns them as far as their place on the road, needless to say this commuter didn't have a helmet or anything that read safety for that matter.
It gives safe riders like us a bad name.
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Old 11-03-04, 02:28 PM
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One suggestion -- baseball bat. That will straighten them out.

Just kidding, by the way.
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Old 11-03-04, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso
"Casco," I believe.
The only problem there is that they might interpret this as "you need a Costco."
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Old 11-03-04, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by nick burns
It happens to me pretty often. I just put my head down, hold my line, and brace for the impact. So far they've always yielded to me and no collisions have resulted.
And if the other guy also "puts his head down, holds his line, and braces for the impact"?
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Old 11-03-04, 05:43 PM
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As Emril would say, "BAM!"

Hahaha! I would pushed that zig zaggy guy over.
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Old 11-03-04, 05:54 PM
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I sometimes wish I had my wifes command of the spanish language at times like this, but all I know is good ol' Texas boy spanish (ordering in resturants and knowing when your being insulted and able to cuss back).

Yeah, I've seen all that stuff plus I've seen hispanic cyclists riding on sidewalks right next to a bike lane. I don't think it's always ignorance that causes such behavior. A lot of these guys are from places that are dangerous to even step out of your home and sometimes your own home isn't safe. These could be ingrained survival mechanisms designed not to save them from traffic dangers so much as from other dangers.
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Old 11-03-04, 06:11 PM
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It's the "going the wrong way" thing that kills me. Happened to me twice today.

One guy came out from behind a double parked car on my way to work, the other was coming at me in the dark on the way home, wearing all black, no lights.

Hooray!
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Old 11-03-04, 06:26 PM
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(warning:abrasive comments within)

I'm about tempted to start commuting with my mtn bike again, and just running these morons down. Seems all of the ones I find speal enligsh well, and just mouth off whenever I call them on their dangerous riding techniques...basically they are all jackarses.

This morning one of these morons got violent with me over telling him to ride on the right side of the road....so basically he costed all wrong way riders their notification....I'm just going to keep going straight as if they arent there, and if they get injured, tough....learn to ride right and it wouldn't have happened. I'm sick of being the voice of reason.
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Old 11-03-04, 06:36 PM
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I disagree with your methods but sympathize with you. Good luck with that. I hope no one gets hurt.
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Old 11-03-04, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Konakazi
It's the "going the wrong way" thing that kills me. Happened to me twice today.

One guy came out from behind a double parked car on my way to work, the other was coming at me in the dark on the way home, wearing all black, no lights.

Hooray!
This is actually my biggest problem...I speak spanish well enough, and when I see them coming, I can adjust accordingly. It's the no light, no visible clothing thing that messes me up...sometimes I don't see them til we're real close.
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Old 11-03-04, 10:34 PM
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Low wage Mexican workers often feel a lot of rage over their overall treatment here in this country. They really don't give a **** about what some White guy on a $600 bike thinks of their bike riding style, so talking to them won't do much good.

I personally take my hands off the bars, cover my eyes and ride straight at them yelling AHHHHHH! They seem to always to get out of the way and it makes them laugh. One guy started riding on the right side of the road so he race me every day a couple years back. After about a week, I gave him a helmet that he didn't wear for another week, but then one day, he started wearing it, with a sticker of the Virgin Mary on the front of it. Then he gave me a sticker of the Virgin for my helmet. We rode together for about 4 months. I never knew his name or even what Latin American country he was from. The guys were he worked told me that the INS caught him and deported him and I doubt he got to take that old Ross ten-speed with him.

I somehow always hope I'll see him again riding along, Learn that he's alive and well and happy. I look carefully at every Latin rider I see. After he was gone for about a month, I had a dream that he was lost in the desert crossing the border didn't have any water. I was riding at dusk though the single track looking for him and wanted to yell out his name, but I couldn't becuase I didn't know it. In the deam I knew he was dead.

Sorry about the personal and sappy nature of the post--- the bottom line is that when I see the down-and-outers, the immigrants, the poor, the mentally ill, doing something stupid on a bike-- I try to never to insult them in any way. I only try to help if I think I could really get though to them and most of the time that's not going to happen. These folks get enough crap already.
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Old 11-04-04, 12:00 AM
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i like your style tacomee
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Old 11-04-04, 12:53 AM
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true...i dont mind those who seem like they dont know any better...its all the college kids here who do know better and just dont care...fortunately today they werent clogging up the road by riding backwards...although now I understand why drivers in teh past week or so have been such jerks...I havent got honked at and screamed at for nothing so much ever, even when I deserved it...oh well....I've been right cranky the past few days.
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Old 11-04-04, 04:14 AM
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I don't think anger is the best reaction to the guys who are just trying to get to a job to make a living. They are using the only transportation they can afford to get to a job they need. Their mistakes are made out of ignorance, not stupidity or malice. We all need to watch our snobism.

If you see lots of Mexican immigrants riding dangerously, find a local immigrant advocacy group and offer to teach a bike safety class. But don't be nasty to people who are just trying to put food on the table.

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Old 11-04-04, 06:33 AM
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The place it tends to happen for me, ALL THE TIME, is on or near the Universtiy of Minnesota campus. There are like two main drags both one-ways going in opposite directions, with bike lanes with arrows painted in the bike lane pointing direction bike traffic should be flowing, but these yahoos working on their Phds in Sociology, or is it a masters in Recreation, will ride against the arrows, against traffic, against better judgement. I am always amazed that they made it to college, but then maybe their helmet protected their soft skulls, and thus were not weeded out of the herd.
The latinos I can understand, or at least I give them the benefit of the doubt, but the rest of them...
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Old 11-04-04, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Daily Commute
I don't think anger is the best reaction the guys who are just trying to get to a job to make a living. They are using the only transportation they can afford to get to a job they need. Their mistakes are made out of ignorance, not stupidity or malice. We all need to watch our snobism.

If you see lots of Mexican immigrants riding dangerously, find a local immigrant advocacy group and offer to teach a bike safety class. But don't be nasty to people who are just trying to put food on the table.
Ditto to the above. That's a better approach, we can't be snobs about this, we altleast have the tools and info at the tip of our fingers to get educated and inform about riding and safety, I'm sure they don't, they just ride primitively to and fro to work to put food on the table and/or send money to their impoverish families south of the border.

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Old 11-04-04, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by rog
...more and more I'll come up on guys on bikes riding toward me. On my side of the road. Of course, I always come across those guys on the section of the road with no shoulder...this is a road that is two lanes in each direction, pretty heavily traveled, even at that time of morning (about 5am).

Anyone else deal with this, and how do you deal with it?
I wouldn't feel badly about reporting it to police. Head-on collisions (bicycle vs. bicycle) have killed people, believe it or not.

Having respect for a hardworking immigrant cyclist shouldn't mean allowing him to ride on the wrong side of the road without a light. If he's stopped, it might save his life (and yours.)
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Old 11-04-04, 11:58 AM
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I've been to Mexico City and know that even driving the wrong way on a one way street is acceptible behavior (at least if you're a rich business man trying to get to the best restaurant in town.) People also park in the street right in the middle. Crazy driving is normal. My neighborhood is full of immigrants and its like one of those driver's ed simulations trying to get around here. I don't get mad, though, because sometimes I ride on the sidewalk, too, because it seems like the best way to stay alive on some streets. I feel bad when I have to pass some of these guys. It hurts their pride (I'm female), but they don't understand that I ride to a sit-on-my-butt job and they're riding to their job digging ditches or whatever, so they're probably already tired from yesterday's work.
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Old 11-04-04, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by LittleBigMan
. . . Having respect for a hardworking immigrant cyclist shouldn't mean allowing him to ride on the wrong side of the road without a light. If he's stopped, it might save his life (and yours.)
I agree. I just don't think some of the harsher suggestions (insults, games of chicken, etc.) were appropriate. The question is how best to change the behavior of the wrong-way cyclists.
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