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Bike rage/road rage--thoughts from 50+ers?

Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

Bike rage/road rage--thoughts from 50+ers?

Old 07-17-08, 08:46 PM
  #51  
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Originally Posted by mandovoodoo View Post
A strikingly easy way to make it all work is to gradually replace roads with 14' lanes. I like that even better than shoulders.

I'm actually struggling to comprehend some of the figures being thrown about in this thread. If the figures used here are accurate indications of the roads which are prevalent in your country then I'd think that the road system there us urgently in need of upgrading. 10 feet is a 'wide lane'? Wow! I sure am glad that I live in Oz!

I earlier ducked out the front an, during a break in traffic, measured the width of lane out front. I live on a road which is kinda typical of secondary roads around here which actually carry regular traffic, and the lanes are about 12 feet in width. Theres an extra 2 to 3 feet of shoulder outside that, for the most part. Tertiary paved roads around here are kinda similar, but without the shoulder. The kind of roads I'm hearing described in this thread I'd be expecting to see only as little used ones which serve and predominately only carry traffic for farming communities.

What I'm seeing described here I'd think would be rather dangerous for cars, let alone bikes! Gotta leave room for margin of error, or the unavoidable lateral movement created by unexpected gusts of wind etc etc.



But hey! Even given all that it's still not justification for pig-headedly plodding along taking the lane up that hill, oblivious and uncaring toward the vehicle behind which is reduced to a crawl.

If there are two traffic lanes heading up that hill then fine. Hell, over here we try as far as possible and practicable to have 'overtaking lanes' on hills for even secondary roads. If the edge of the paved roadway is a sheer cliff or a morass or some other such impedent to leaving the paved lane then fine too. The bloke in the car behind needs to suck it up and suffer. But wherever possible and practicable the good old 'common courtesy' maxim of slower vehicles making provision/allowance for faster vehicles to overtake should apply to cyclists just as much as it does to motorists.


I think Louis stated it best. 'Take the lane' when it's necessary for safety purposes. I think that "entitlement mode" can just as well be applied as a critical term for cyclist who hog the road as it can be for motorists who are inconsiderate in the way they pass. And I don't think it universally applies to any and all motorists who feel that faster traffic shouldn't be unnecessarily delayed by much slower traffic. Some motorists certainly do take that principle way too far. But that doesn't negate the common courtesy principle inherent to the concept.
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Old 07-17-08, 09:27 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by maddmaxx View Post
How about the alternative........rider sees one car (I am intentionally limiting the downside to the rider) behind him and moves off the road for say 5 seconds to let it by then proceeds on unmolested. Driver waves thanks. Everyone is happy.

Both the above post and this are equally possible solutions. I don't believe that it has to be one way or the other. Either solution can be used depending on the circumstances.

I live in farm country and the better tractor drivers will pull over every now and then to let the traffic by.
That is pretty much what you have to do at Zion National Park. If you decide to ride your bike while in the park the tour bus or tram is not allowed to pass a moving bike. The bike people know this and so pull over at the first opportunity to let the tram pass. The trams run about every ten minutes. Knowing the rules help.

That is one of the problems I have with my fellow cyclists that insist it is OK to run a red light. It isnít that I donít understand why they want to run one but rather that it doesnít follow understood rules of the road. As a driver I would assume a green light for me would indicate no pedestrians on cyclists would be shooting across the street. Imagine my shock when I come over a slight rise where I canít see the crosswalk but I can see the green light, and a bike comes flying through the intersection. Now I agree light traps should be sensitive enough to detect Bicycles but until they do we as cyclists will have to put up with living in a car centrists world. If we insist the rules donít apply we will be the 200 pound nail to the 3000-pound hammer. We need to think more about how things are rather than how we wish they should be.

I try very hard to avoid narrow streets with lots of traffic. The more successful I am at that the less stressed my rides are.
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Old 07-17-08, 10:08 PM
  #53  
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I had the radio on in the car yesterday morning at an unusual time, and there was a talk-guy on ranting about bikes. He kept saying, "If we're going to have all these people riding bikes, and the state wants us to be the most bike friendly state in america, then someone has to educate these bikers that they need to stay away from cars! It's against the law for them to be in our way! It's right there in the laws! They can't just sit in the lane at a light, and then hold up traffic when they slowly start up at the green light. It's against the law! And it makes us angry! No wonder we've had 2 cyclists killed by cars in the last week. And there are people on bikes who simply should not be on bikes. These are not kids on these bikes. They're adults who should know better!"


He laid out a few more topics and never discussed the bikes again, so I suppose a cop called up and straightened him out.
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Old 07-17-08, 10:32 PM
  #54  
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Being a loooooog time cyclist I can agree with at least 90% of what has been said here but to quote Brodrick Crawford from a old, old TV series " It is not who is right......IT IS WHO IS LEFT"

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Old 07-18-08, 04:06 AM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by solveg View Post
I had the radio on in the car yesterday morning at an unusual time, and there was a talk-guy on ranting about bikes. He kept saying, "If we're going to have all these people riding bikes, and the state wants us to be the most bike friendly state in america, then someone has to educate these bikers that they need to stay away from cars! It's against the law for them to be in our way! It's right there in the laws! They can't just sit in the lane at a light, and then hold up traffic when they slowly start up at the green light. It's against the law! And it makes us angry! No wonder we've had 2 cyclists killed by cars in the last week. And there are people on bikes who simply should not be on bikes. These are not kids on these bikes. They're adults who should know better!"


He laid out a few more topics and never discussed the bikes again, so I suppose a cop called up and straightened him out.
Talk show hosts are almost universally at the bottom of the food chain when it comes to knowledge!.

It wasn't always that way but then.........remember television news when it was news.
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Old 07-18-08, 07:46 AM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by Catweazle View Post
^

Agree with that, wholeheartedly. But I don't agree that labouring up a hill at 5mph is such a circumstance. Matter of fact, I find very few occasions where I actually have need to 'take the lane' other than approaches to certain intersections.
Whether riding up that hill is such a circumstance depends on circumstances. What if you're riding up next to a line of parked cars, for instance, or the edge of the road drops off into a deep ravine? It also depends on the grade, width, condition of the road, its curvature if any, and sightlines. Also exactly where you are on the climb, what kind of traffic is approaching both from ahead and behind, and how well you know the road, including what's on the other side of the hill.

In general I would agree that as you slow down you can move rightward. Slowness effectively widens the lane (my interpretation.)

What I find happening sometimes on my climbs is that I'll be a couple feet out until traffic approaching from behind has slowed down to my speed, then when and if I know that nothing is approaching from ahead I'll move right and traffic will pass.

I have actually gotten off the bike and the road to let a vehicle pass -- 3 times in the last 5 years. (Technically more if you count vehicles with sirens and flashing lights.) All three times it was a case of a really bad road surface (the sort of places where the potholes may have fishing regulations posted) rather than a pure hill, that made it unusually difficult for a passer.
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Old 07-18-08, 09:43 AM
  #57  
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As a 50+ exercise, this seems to have developed a different percentage of response types than the thread would have produced in other forums. Not a complete turnaround, but a noticable different take on the situation.
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Old 07-18-08, 12:24 PM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by alcanoe View Post
I don't know about dimensions, but there are many two lane roads that do not allow sufficient width for both a motor vehicle and a cyclist to fit for the safety of THE CYCLIST. Florida law, if I remember correctly says in effect that a cyclist must keep to the right as far as possible where he feels safe. In other words, it's up to the judgment of the cyclist how far to the right he rides since he has everything to lose and people like you have nothing to lose except possibly a little paint. It's that friendly attitude that makes one want to insure that lane-width sharing is avoided.

Al

Michigan law requires cyclists to ride as close as practicable to the right road edge. The criterion "as close as practicable" seems to be left up to the cyclists' judgement while in the moment. If the road edge zone is impassable, dangerous, hazardous, or damaging due to glass, other debris, poor/broken pavement, parked car/blind zone, or lack of final egress, then IMO it isn't practicable. Our law also allows cyclists to take the lane when necessary, though I don't have the language handy.

The risk to the cyclist again IMO is to deal with teh response of drivers when taking the lane, because I don't think these rights and responsibilites conferred to cyclists are widely trained to drivers, or necessarily to cyclists.

I also feel that rage is always the fault of the angry person. The actions of others may be irritating, the situation may be exacerbated by road design or condition, or it may be hard to be slowed down, but the response of anger is a choice, that IMO is not acceptable.

How may of us are both motor vehicle drivers and bicycle traffic drivers? How can anyuone here not simultaneously see both sides? How many cyclists, like motorists, pay taxes that support the existencd and maintenance of the road system?

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Old 07-18-08, 12:30 PM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by maddmaxx View Post
As a 50+ exercise, this seems to have developed a different percentage of response types than the thread would have produced in other forums. Not a complete turnaround, but a noticable different take on the situation.
How dare you make this suggestion (that I will misunderstand at will) when all the leading authorities (that agree with me) provide totally convincing data (that I can manufacture if necessary) proving that whatever it is you are suggesting (which must be the same thing you always say) has any resemblance to the real world (which is defined by the small parts I have experienced)?
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Old 07-18-08, 12:34 PM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by dit View Post
Being a loooooog time cyclist I can agree with at least 90% of what has been said here but to quote Brodrick Crawford from a old, old TV series " It is not who is right......IT IS WHO IS LEFT"

ditz
This is kind of the Hurst philosophy, that cyclists can best survive by eternal vigilance and realistic strategy, regardless of the prevailing rights and laws. I agree with this.

It seems to be in opposition to the Forester approach, that cyclists can best survive by adhering to the motor vehicle laws and, I presume, expecting drivers to act similarly. I agree that it would be best if all road users adhered to all the MV laws, but this is clearly not realistic.

I think a cyclist must carry both attitudes simultaneously combined with a saintly sense of equanimity and forgiveness. Fight with a weapon-carrier? crazy! Provoke such a fight? equally crazy. It's not practical to become self-righteous if you don't have the ability to deal with potential conflicts. Take the Marxist revolutionary approach, and always live to carry the passion another day.

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Old 07-18-08, 12:56 PM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by Catweazle View Post
I'm actually struggling to comprehend some of the figures being thrown about in this thread. If the figures used here are accurate indications of the roads which are prevalent in your country then I'd think that the road system there us urgently in need of upgrading. 10 feet is a 'wide lane'? Wow! I sure am glad that I live in Oz!

I earlier ducked out the front an, during a break in traffic, measured the width of lane out front. I live on a road which is kinda typical of secondary roads around here which actually carry regular traffic, and the lanes are about 12 feet in width. Theres an extra 2 to 3 feet of shoulder outside that, for the most part. Tertiary paved roads around here are kinda similar, but without the shoulder. The kind of roads I'm hearing described in this thread I'd be expecting to see only as little used ones which serve and predominately only carry traffic for farming communities.

What I'm seeing described here I'd think would be rather dangerous for cars, let alone bikes! Gotta leave room for margin of error, or the unavoidable lateral movement created by unexpected gusts of wind etc etc.



But hey! Even given all that it's still not justification for pig-headedly plodding along taking the lane up that hill, oblivious and uncaring toward the vehicle behind which is reduced to a crawl.

If there are two traffic lanes heading up that hill then fine. Hell, over here we try as far as possible and practicable to have 'overtaking lanes' on hills for even secondary roads. If the edge of the paved roadway is a sheer cliff or a morass or some other such impedent to leaving the paved lane then fine too. The bloke in the car behind needs to suck it up and suffer. But wherever possible and practicable the good old 'common courtesy' maxim of slower vehicles making provision/allowance for faster vehicles to overtake should apply to cyclists just as much as it does to motorists.


I think Louis stated it best. 'Take the lane' when it's necessary for safety purposes. I think that "entitlement mode" can just as well be applied as a critical term for cyclist who hog the road as it can be for motorists who are inconsiderate in the way they pass. And I don't think it universally applies to any and all motorists who feel that faster traffic shouldn't be unnecessarily delayed by much slower traffic. Some motorists certainly do take that principle way too far. But that doesn't negate the common courtesy principle inherent to the concept.
I can contribute a little about lane widths in the US and some of the design criteria, since I'm studying it a bit as part of my design work. Current national guidance comes from a handbook published by AASHTO, a society of state highway traffic engineers. Minumum recommended width for new design is 10 feet (about 3 m), for low road speeds, ranging up to 14 feet (4.3 m) for high speed roads with high curvature. Authority for implementation rests with the 50 states and more local road authorities. Any national consistency is therefore surprising, and a tribute to due diligence with integrity. The average width for limited access highways is 12 feet, 3.6 m. Car width is typically 1.8 m and a max of 2.1 m. Wider for big SUVs and larger vehicles. Road geometry criteria are similar but not identical in most other countries. Obviously wider roads cost more in labor, materials, and land acquisition costs.

Historical roads may be narrower, and it is not always practical to widen them. The narrowest example in my experience, for which I have data, is Ridge Avenue in Evanston, Ill, which has 9 foot (2.7 m) lanes. It is a 30 mph arterial and has been since way before 1950. It can't be widened due to historic district restrictions. Cycling cannot be legally prevented on that street, but is not reasonable IMO. I know, since I tried it during rush hour during my invulnerable youth.

AAHSTO also has a book of cycling facility design guidelines, first written in 1980 and updated since 2000, but I don't think it has been integrated with the general geometrics handbook I referred to.

Some counties and towns, for example Washtenaw County and Ann Arbor, MI, have mandated that all new roads, re-marking projects, and re-surfacing projects, must implement provisions to allow room for bikes. One problem with this is it doesn't always make sense to take space from the car traffic lane and mark it out for a bike lane. Narrowing the car lane could require reducing the marked speed limit, which limits the road capacity. Widening the right of way is a big increase in cost, which hits the taxpayers (that's us!). Such considerations (combined with other matters such as drainage, environmental remediation, and slope stabilization) could and has resulted in impeding road projects that are important for repairing bad road surfaces that force cyclists away from the solid white line! Huron river Drive is an example.

Apologies for all the local content and for the intense description of how the road engineering world works, but I think it's important context for a discussion such as this.
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Old 07-18-08, 01:01 PM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by Louis View Post
I take the lane when I feel it is necessary for my safety. The law in my state (Ohio) says it is permissible. I'm not about to let a motorist of unknown (to me) skills try to squeeze through when my life is at stake.

But, hey, that's just me. You can ride however you want.
+1, Louis!!
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Old 07-18-08, 04:18 PM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by oilman_15106 View Post
Pull into the side street that goes to the bank parking lot today. Guy riding opposing traffic, no helmet and gets upset at the cars! Gives cyclists a bad name.

On the other hand last weekend a group of teens screamed some foul stuff at us. I yelled back "Ya, well you will be paying for my Social Security when I am 105". Anymore if I don't get run over it is a bonus.
The no helmet thing makes me crazy. It's a must wear !!!

On a funny note, I once had prisoners in a DOC bus lay some cat calls on me....how embarrassing !!!!
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Old 07-18-08, 04:26 PM
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Can't we just let the no helmet wearers scramble their brains if they want to. I for one don't care as long as my insurance company pony's up none of my money for their medical bills caused by the absence of a helmet.

I have given up this activism thing for a new attitude of letting each person harm themselves as they see fit.
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Old 07-18-08, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by spikedog123 View Post
I am very pro cyclist and think I am a courteous driver but even I get really mad when I see cyclists riding two or three abreast on a busy country road. I was taught to "paint the white line" or close to it. I get mad when I see a cyclist 5 feet out from the roadway. It is dangerous and just plain rude. If the rider was focused he would be maintaining his line and no one would be endangered.

Whew. Thanks for letting me vent.
I have the same vent.

I used to ride 4 times a week with a road club but I've stopped. I just kept getting so mad at the attitude of club members. Because they rode in a large pack (sometimes hundreds of riders) they believed they ruled the road and forced cars and people to stop for them. I always hung back and felt like I had to apologize for all the bad behavior. I finally got tired of apologizing and stopped with the club. I now only help out on the newbie rides.

I do understand the competitiveness of riding but geez louise does that mean you have to run every stop sign/light, ride in large wide packs, pass runners, walkers and strollers dangerously etc.?

I started mountain biking more to get off the road but you find rude creeps there as well. Riders who on their downhill will force on uphill climber to stop, or riders who don't give hikers or equestrians the right of way, or who ride dangerously out of control.

I really understand why drivers and walkers sometimes hate us cyclist. There are more than a few bad apples out there.
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Old 07-18-08, 05:32 PM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by solveg View Post
I had the radio on in the car yesterday morning at an unusual time, and there was a talk-guy on ranting about bikes. He kept saying, "If we're going to have all these people riding bikes, and the state wants us to be the most bike friendly state in america, then someone has to educate these bikers that they need to stay away from cars! It's against the law for them to be in our way! It's right there in the laws! They can't just sit in the lane at a light, and then hold up traffic when they slowly start up at the green light. It's against the law! And it makes us angry! No wonder we've had 2 cyclists killed by cars in the last week. And there are people on bikes who simply should not be on bikes. These are not kids on these bikes. They're adults who should know better!"


He laid out a few more topics and never discussed the bikes again, so I suppose a cop called up and straightened him out.
It happens frequently. Someone gives a loudmouthed nitwit a talk radio show, a commercial transmitter, and a studio in an high-security office building somewhere. "oooohhh, I'm invincible!" The job of the talk radio host is to pull in ratings. This is apparently done by being controversial and provocative. (witness Don Imus) The problem is when they start to do things such as telling their listeners to commit violent acts against cyclists, or any other group that somehow bothers them.

I think the most disturbing things about these characters is that they actually have an audience. Oh, that, and the fact they most of them get paid very nice salaries for doing what they do. Egads!
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Old 07-18-08, 06:14 PM
  #67  
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Thanks mandovoodoo for your excellent posts here.

It's always surprising to see so much anti bike ignorance on this website. "Get off and walk along the roadside. Wave at the car driver and he might wave back!"
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Old 07-18-08, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by qmsdc15 View Post
Thanks mandovoodoo for your excellent posts here.

It's always surprising to see so much anti bike ignorance on this website. "Get off and walk along the roadside. Wave at the car driver and he might wave back!"
Wave at a car and your anti-bike.......................wow!

Not only that, but your ignorant.........................gee!

I can't understand why the motorists hate us..............so many of us are such warm fuzzy folks.
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Old 07-18-08, 09:34 PM
  #69  
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Out riding this evening I noticed two things about bike/car interactions.

1. Many drivers seem afraid to pass even though the lane is pretty wide. I'm riding over against the parked cars, really too close to them in the door zone, and this SUV will not pass me. I slow down, because the divided attention is a problem, and still won't pass. I finally lower my left hand and make a beckoning motion "it's ok, come on, I won't fall in your path," and finally the driver passes me. I feel they are a bigger hazard to me by sitting on my rear quarter than if they just pass. I think the driver did not think there was adequate clearance. IMO there was.

2. Some drivers really don't know that it is acceptable, not to say expected, that cyclists will use the street. While coming up to a stoplight behind a female cyclist, I suddenly noticed her shouting at young men in the car next to her (something about our road too), and a young man (her friend?) on the sidewalk shouting with her. I came up behind to hear what the guys in the car were saying. They were saying to her, rather quietly, that she should be on the sidewalk because it's illegal for bikes to ride in the street. I interrupted them, saying, "actually, the law is that bicycles are expected to be ridden in the street." They looked at me and nodded, and left when the light turned. Fairly civil drivers, presumably helpful, but clueless (How did these guys get their drivers license?). Not nice young cyclists, defensive, contentious, and reactionary.

Ann Arbor is filled with tourists tonight, it's the Art Fair. Supposedly 500,000 visitors in three days.
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Old 07-18-08, 09:37 PM
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Around here the narrow country lanes are distinctly narrower than our 20 ft wide road at the shop, which carries a bit of traffic during rush hour. Some stretches of the less traveled roads are perhaps 14 ft wide total, with no line. Lots of blind curves.

I'll distinguish once again burdens and what's reasonable from what I in particular do. I don't hold people up on hills. I'm generally actually riding up hills of short length where any delay someone might attribute to me would be 10 seconds or less.

I don't occupy the middle of the lane, I occupy where the right tire tread goes on the relatively untraveled roads. On faster, 12 ft lane, 45 mph roads I'm generally about 1 ft from the right pavement edge.

My wheels are rarely on a road with a shoulder.

I rarely get hassled, but I do get passed by people doing incredibly stupid and illegal things, sometimes leading to near misses with oncoming traffic.

I'm not personally going to get off my bike every time some yahoo things they own the road and gets bent out of shape for a 5 second delay. I'll pop into wide spots and wider paved driveways to let folks by when reasonable. Half the time they don't take the opportunity, and another chance isn't going to present itself.

I'm perfectly predictable on the road. I weave gently just the most tiny bit when followed, pushes passing vehicles a couple of feet further away.

So that's what I do and I don't want any crap about it from any holier than thou oldsters here. It's worked for many years and many miles. I don't have cars stacking up behind me, I don't get hit, and almost everyone figures out it's safe.

The key on the whole passing deal is that on most roads where the cyclist is in the road passing can't be done any more safely with the cyclist 1 ft from the right edge than if the cyclist is 5 feet from the right edge. That there's more room to pass with the cyclist close to the right edge is an illusion. I'd do the math, but why bother. If there's room to pass, then there's room to pass. If there isn't, then there isn't. That simple. How some moron can think that passing with 1/2 their car into oncoming traffic is different from passing with a whole car into oncoming traffic baffles me. I don't care where the bike I'm passing or where I am when I'm cycling. The passing vehicle be it mine or one passing me should be in the other lane all the way and pass properly. When there's enough sight line to be safe. At a reasonable speed (not loafing around slowly). Giving clearance ahead. Pulling in smoothly. It isn't a big deal except for the minority of people, some who apparently inhabit this forum of all places. Those people who think they own the road and that driving a car at the speed limit or above is a right above other rights.

Basic rules of the road, basic driving skills, basic common sense. I see about the same percentage of nonsense in cyclists and motorists. Motorcyclists seem somewhat more sensible in general, except the squids. Either the danger is apparent or the squids die off quickly. We lose a few regularly around here.

Here's a great spot. Disco Loop Road, which I ride on regularly, has one nice blind hill. It's a low gear hill, no pullover spot, probably 10 ft lanes. So it's a good road for this area. 35 mph limit. I hit the bottom at about 25 and keep shifting down. I can be safely passed at the bottom. Takes about a minute to climb the hill. So there's probably 45 seconds where passing me gets increasingly unsafe. How much difference is my position going to make? Probably none. If that idiot in the white pickup (I'll leave his license number off this thread) pops all the way into the left lane or 1/2 way he STILL won't be able to avoid that makeup queen from the city in the Escalade doing 45 when she pops over the blind hill. If any two lost lovers deserve to meet, those are the two. The only difference would be whether it's a nice solid head on with the vehicles staying on their side and messing up the road, or whether it's a corner to corner with vehicles slewing all over the place, getting into that yard on the right or running into me. They'll still hit. MY POSITION DOESN'T HAVE ANY EFFECT.

These two yahoos pull this stunt regularly, changing directions of course, and have yet to meet. They're probably kin to the folks who pass my pickup going 35 mph in the 35 mph zone across the double yellow with a blind curve ahead.

Motorists who have an attitude that gets them annoyed at slower vehicles need to just get off the dang road.

It does happen. I used to drive a wrecker. Ever see what happens when fat dad has a couple and gets pissed at the tractor and passes into the big rig? Pushes the meat and bones right out of the skin towards the back seat. Amazing. So cool it and encourage everybody else to cool it. They'll always be idiots out there, and most adults won't let those idiots get to them. It's simply stupid to let idiots get to you.

And the law. Remember the law. Rules of the road etc. Nobody has the right to enforce a right of way. Right of way is something one is required to give, not a right that can be enforced to another's peril. Stupid thinking. Stupid stupid stupid. I mean it. Stand around and watch a dad examine the car his little girl died in because of stupid thinking. Walk shoulder to shoulder through grass at night looking for a dead baby because of stupid thinking.

So cut it out. Some jerk on a bike taking a lane, relax. If it bothers you call 911. What? It's not illegal? Take a chill pill. Take another route. Drive on the Interstate where cars belong and bikes don't. Stay home. Park and wait. Do anything except get mad which makes you stupid or get mad and do stupid.

If I can't convince you, go visit a morgue somewhere and see what angry does.
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