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Why to people ride opposite traffic?

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Why to people ride opposite traffic?

Old 09-24-20, 10:39 AM
  #101  
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I was watching a guy on an ebike (not pedaling) cruising along a well marked, wide street with a bike lane that's offset ~6 feet from the curb on the wrong side of the road. He was an accident waiting to happen. Riding along the wrong side of the road, cars come from behind him, but don't necessarily see him when they turn left, and this stretch of road has a lot of turn offs for businesses in the area.

I wonder if a lot of the people we're seeing like this are because of the ebike craze. I guess it's better than bad drivers being in cars, but it's still bad.
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Old 09-24-20, 11:27 AM
  #102  
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why to (do) people ride opposite traffic ? > to test their reflexes ?
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Old 09-24-20, 11:41 AM
  #103  
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Originally Posted by royphotog View Post
In California, the law states that you must ride on the right side of the roadway with traffic. But I see people riding on the wrong side of the road all the time. In fact, years ago, I hit someone on a bike going the wrong way, on the sidewalk. I was turning out of a parking lot onto a busy street and bam, knocked a girl off her bike, she was not hurt, luckily and the bike was not damaged, but I was freaked out. I was not looking for someone on a bike going the wrong way.
I think people ride so they can see the traffic coming, but not only is it more dangerous, not just because no one is looking for you, but also if you do get hit, now the speed is multiplied, by the speed of the car and how fast your riding. If your riding at 15 mph and the car is going 35 mph you get hit at the force of 50mph, where if you were riding with traffic and got hit given the same scenario, the impact would be 20mph, still, not a good experience, but much better then 50mph.
Now your incident description begs the question, "How old was the girl?" Because if she was 12 or younger, she was LEGALLY RIDING ON THE SIDEWALK and you were fully to blame. Drivers must make sure a sidewalk is clear before proceeding. Doesn't matter which way she was riding on the sidewalk - they are not directional. Not much different than you hitting a fast jogger on a sidewalk, or someone in a wheelchair. But drivers often just blast over sidewalks all the time assuming people will get out of the way. This is irresponsible and wrong; drivers have to cross sidewalks with care.

Now if she was an adult, then that changes the legal determination. However, fault might end up being 50/50. Sure, an adult shouldn't be riding on the sidewalk, but a driver still must exhibit care crossing sidewalks because she COULD HAVE BEEN A CHILD. But still, it still doesn't really matter; it seems you drove across the sidewalk without enough care to avoid someone using the sidewalk.
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Old 09-24-20, 11:46 AM
  #104  
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I think the answer is simple: novice riders think it's better to see oncoming traffic.

But that's counter to the CA VC AND physics. Closing speeds are changed by a differential double the rider's speed. So a rider doing 20 mph AGAINST traffic is approaching 40 mph faster than if they were going in the opposite direction. This greatly increases the risk or collision and reduces reaction times to avoid disaster.
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Old 09-24-20, 01:33 PM
  #105  
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Originally Posted by LV2TNDM View Post
I think the answer is simple: novice riders think it's better to see oncoming traffic.
Good luck getting out of the way of a car commng at you at 40mph.
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Old 09-24-20, 02:19 PM
  #106  
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Originally Posted by LV2TNDM View Post
Now your incident description begs the question, "How old was the girl?" Because if she was 12 or younger, she was LEGALLY RIDING ON THE SIDEWALK and you were fully to blame. Drivers must make sure a sidewalk is clear before proceeding. Doesn't matter which way she was riding on the sidewalk - they are not directional. Not much different than you hitting a fast jogger on a sidewalk, or someone in a wheelchair. But drivers often just blast over sidewalks all the time assuming people will get out of the way. This is irresponsible and wrong; drivers have to cross sidewalks with care.

Now if she was an adult, then that changes the legal determination. However, fault might end up being 50/50. Sure, an adult shouldn't be riding on the sidewalk, but a driver still must exhibit care crossing sidewalks because she COULD HAVE BEEN A CHILD. But still, it still doesn't really matter; it seems you drove across the sidewalk without enough care to avoid someone using the sidewalk.
I would have to agree with your assessment, this was a long time ago but the girl was in her teens, I would say 15-16 as I remember but as you said, it really makes no difference. If I had looked to the right I would have seen the girl on the bike. I remember I was stopped at the driveway for some time waiting for an opening in traffic. In my post, I should have noted that I was not trying to place full blame on the girl. I am of the option, that in most accidents on the road, no matter who is legally at fault, that they could have been avoided had the drivers/riders been attentive and observant. I was not observant that day.
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Old 09-25-20, 06:42 PM
  #107  
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It's an irrational fear analysis. People greatly fear being hit from behind because they wouldn't see it coming. Never mind that those types of accidents are relative uncommon (I think I read something like 6-8%) and that riding wrong-way greatly increases head-on crashes. A better response would be to use a flashing tail light so that drivers see them better. It's always safer to behave predictably, and riding against traffic just ain't that.

So people do it to be 'safer' but in the end they make themselves less safe.
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Old 06-26-21, 07:21 PM
  #108  
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People ride the wrong way on one-way streets here in Toronto, which is insane. Every driver knows that and so should the cyclists.
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Old 06-26-21, 08:36 PM
  #109  
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
Maybe.. but everybody having to walk in the streets isn't a plus for safety, if that's the gist of this thread.
9 out of 10 times the people in my neighborhood walk in the street even though we have sidewalks ....don't get it at all.

There are some two way bike lanes that go against traffic in indianapolis but in the absence of bike lanes with traffic is law.
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Old 06-26-21, 11:24 PM
  #110  
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Originally Posted by drahimi View Post
People ride the wrong way on one-way streets here in Toronto, which is insane. Every driver knows that and so should the cyclists.
I believe they know but it is usually because it is the shorter way to get somewhere without much bother.

However, riding a bike against traffic while believing its safer that way, that takes the mick. But what do you expect from people that need instructions that the coffee is hot or that you should not dry your cat in microwave oven...
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Old 06-27-21, 08:50 AM
  #111  
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Originally Posted by Clyde1820 View Post
Haven't yet ridden the wrong way on a roadway myself. Even with the risks, I feel with lighting and DayGlo vests and reflectors, it's hard to not be seen even on a relatively narrow and winding road. I hate it, but the alternative on such roads is uglier.

Though, truth be told, I often did this on narrow roads when I used to run. It was about the least-ugly way to be running along a route where there was no sidewalk, trail or bike lane to be running on. Against traffic, in a relatively lightly-used lane, one (as a runner) could see oncoming traffic and could easily get off the road long before the approaching car was anywhere near. Far safer, though technically unlawful. No way would I run on such a road in a manner failing to see what was approaching.

Why do people, in general, do such things? Mindless assumption they'll be seen, they'll be safer, and (I'm sure, with some) that they've every right to ride where they please. I just stopped in my lane, once, on a one-way road, when an oncoming "salmon" cyclist was assuming I'd pull over and make room. There was no such room, and there were vehicles in the next lane over. So, forced to pull his finger out, he finally hopped up to the sidewalk where he should have been in the first place. Probably saved him from being run down. Given it was at the darker side of dawn ... and he had no reflectors or lighting or reflectors.
I see people riding on the wrong side of the street all the time….or on the sidewalks. Not a one of them wear a helmet or have a light. Most ride in dark clothing and have no(or minimal) reflectors.I just chalk it up to them being stupid and/or lazy. A quick google search would’ve informed them of which side of the road to ride on.
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Old 06-28-21, 10:32 AM
  #112  
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You guys are forgetting one. They are taught to.

I am a middle school teacher and this one comes up at times. The students ask why I ride the way I do. I have even been berated by parents for setting such a bad example.

The police teach the cycle safety class and in it they instruct the kids to ride facing traffic and on the sidewalk when one is available. If no sidewalk is available they are told to ride as close to the curb as possible. Yes, this frequently leaves them popping in and out from behind parked cars.

It has been made very clear to me that I am not to instruct cycle safety to the students. If they ask about it I will give them a copy of the state cycle safety handout, which basically states what we know to be good safety practices. You can be sure it, unlike the district police, does not instruct them to ride in the gutter and facing traffic. I may explain why I ride as I do, however, I make it very clear that I am not saying how they should ride.

. . . Some unsafe practices are the result of direct instruction by "experts."
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Old 06-28-21, 10:49 AM
  #113  
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Originally Posted by Rdmonster69 View Post
9 out of 10 times the people in my neighborhood walk in the street even though we have sidewalks ....don't get it at all.
Common reasons include sidewalk disrepair, lacking snow clearance, overhanging bushes, street light coverage - and since March 2020, social distancing.
​​​​​​
There are some two way bike lanes that go against traffic in indianapolis but in the absence of bike lanes with traffic is law.
Making something legal doesn't immediately make it safe. Neither turning drivers nor crossing pedestrians typically expect counterflow bikes, and it takes a long time to build awareness. Just look at how often with-traffic bike lanes don't "register" as travel lanes.
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Old 06-28-21, 10:53 AM
  #114  
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Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
. . . Some unsafe practices are the result of direct instruction by "experts."
Ouch.
​​​​​​
Your examples probably ultimately come down to the basic issue: non-cyclists see a bicycle as a toy for mechanizing a pedestrian, not as a form of vehicular traffic.
​​​​​​
They project pedestrian norms, and get surprised and angry when actual cyclists turn out to be much more car-like than pedestrian-like.

That said, little kids riding on their own probably need to adopt some pedestrian behaviors. We don't let kids drive cars because things like reading the intent of other traffic is a complex skill which gets no simpler when you're interacting with it from a bike.

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Old 06-28-21, 10:58 AM
  #115  
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Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
You guys are forgetting one. They are taught to.

I am a middle school teacher and this one comes up at times. The students ask why I ride the way I do. I have even been berated by parents for setting such a bad example.

The police teach the cycle safety class and in it they instruct the kids to ride facing traffic and on the sidewalk when one is available. If no sidewalk is available they are told to ride as close to the curb as possible. Yes, this frequently leaves them popping in and out from behind parked cars.

It has been made very clear to me that I am not to instruct cycle safety to the students. If they ask about it I will give them a copy of the state cycle safety handout, which basically states what we know to be good safety practices. You can be sure it, unlike the district police, does not instruct them to ride in the gutter and facing traffic. I may explain why I ride as I do, however, I make it very clear that I am not saying how they should ride.

. . . Some unsafe practices are the result of direct instruction by "experts."

Yes, this NA practice has always puzzled me — OK I've only lived here for 52 years.
Bicycles are part of road traffic and the same rules/laws should apply! Apart from riding with the flow there are also the stop signs that need to be obeyed and .. and .. and.
BTW when riding on 2 lane roads with a fair flow of traffic and no paved emergency strip, I leave myself 1.5 m (5 ft) of space to the shoulder of the pavement. That's a bit more than required by law in some places and I keep my ears and eyes tuned.
For impatient drivers I point to the left and move a bit to the right.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/re...dzK/story.html
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Old 06-28-21, 10:58 AM
  #116  
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Their Mommas told them it was Safer.
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Old 06-28-21, 10:59 AM
  #117  
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Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
The police teach the cycle safety class and in it they instruct the kids to ride facing traffic and on the sidewalk when one is available. If no sidewalk is available they are told to ride as close to the curb as possible. Yes, this frequently leaves them popping in and out from behind parked cars.
In Wisconsin at least, state law says that bicycles on the road follow the direction of traffic.
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Old 06-28-21, 11:05 AM
  #118  
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
In Wisconsin at least, state law says that bicycles on the road follow the direction of traffic.
I'd be surprised in you find any place where the law is otherwise, apart from exceptions for designated counterflow bike lanes.

​​
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Old 06-28-21, 11:15 AM
  #119  
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
I'd be surprised in you find any place where the law is otherwise, apart from exceptions for designated counterflow bike lanes.​​
But you have to wonder why, then, as @Robert C points out, do police teach young children to ride against traffic.

In my town, there are dedicated bike lanes on some roads, and these have large arrows painted on the pavement to indicate proper direction. Despite this, I often see people, including adults, riding against the flow.
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Old 06-28-21, 11:29 AM
  #120  
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
But you have to wonder why, then, as @Robert C points out, do police teach young children to ride against traffic.
Like most people they act from their gut rather than actual knowledge of the law.

That said, while the chance of injuring others is lower, cycling in traffic is arguably a more mature skill than driving in it, so there is some dilemma of what to ask of kids at what age.

The problem is that even a little kid on training wheels can enter an intersection from the sidewalk at an unexpected speed. Pedestrian right of way does not include the authorization to leave a place of safety in a manner which does not give approaching traffic reasonable reaction time.
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Old 06-29-21, 04:14 AM
  #121  
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I'm going to go out on a limb and assert that this must be an American phenomenon. While there is no shortage of stupid behaviour to be seen in Australian drivers and cyclists, I rarely see cyclists salmoning on the streets of Sydney. I've never heard of kids being instructed to ride that way.
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Old 06-29-21, 08:48 AM
  #122  
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Agree it's a bad idea on the whole to teach this, but I think there is an argument to be made in favor of a low-speed rider, who may not have much situational awareness or knowledge of driver behavior, riding in such a way that they can see approaching traffic. I am also continually surprised to see runners and walkers with their backs to traffic when doctrine is the opposite for good reason.
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Old 06-29-21, 09:28 AM
  #123  
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Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
Agree it's a bad idea on the whole to teach this, but I think there is an argument to be made in favor of a low-speed rider, who may not have much situational awareness or knowledge of driver behavior, riding in such a way that they can see approaching traffic.
I don't buy that, and would note that it imposes a danger on cyclists travelling in the legal direction.

Rather, what I do buy is that there are situations where for those who can't be expected to practice adult-level scenario modeling of drivers intentions (what does it mean that that car is slowing) just as are required to actually drive a car, the mechanized pedestrian mode can have merit.

But only if they stick to the physical and legal fact that pedestrians do not get to rapidly enter intersections in a way that gives drivers no time to react. And doubly so if they do it in the counterflow direction compared to anything moving at non-negligable speed.


I am also continually surprised to see runners and walkers with their backs to traffic when doctrine is the opposite for good reason.
Or without much reason. Really what matters is if people are or are not suddenly ending up where they're not expected to be.

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Old 06-29-21, 09:30 AM
  #124  
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
I don't buy that, and would note that it imposes a danger on cyclists travelling in the legal direction.

Rather, what I do but is that there are situations where for those who can't be expected to practice adult-level scenario modeling of drivers intentions (what does it mean that that car is slowing), the mechanized pedestrian mode can have merit.

But only if they stick to the physical and legal fact that pedestrians do not get to rapidly enter intersections in a way that gives drivers no time to react.



Or without much reason. Really what matters is if people are or are not suddenly ending up where they're not expected to be.
Good point about oncoming cyclists.
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Old 06-30-21, 06:26 PM
  #125  
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I recently got a flier from the Minato City office here in Tokyo, these were sent to every household in MInato City (which is Akasaka, Roppongi, Azabu, Odaiba, Hamamatsu-cho, etc). These fliers were reminders about the street rules for riding bicycles, and the potential penalties of breaking these rules. They were nice enough to send me a copy printed in English.

If you run a red light or stop sign, the potential penalty is 90 days in jail, and/or a $500 fine. If you ride a bike drunk, the potential penalty is 1 year in jail and a $3000 fine. Riding on the sidewalk can result in a $300 fine, riding the wrong way on a street can cost $500 and 90 days in jail. Normally the police don't waste their time bothering cyclists, they are too busy giving directions to old people and harassing Filipinos. But since the pandemic, countless food delivery bikes (Uber Eats and others) have taken to the streets, and have caused mayhem with their disregard for traffic rules, and I have seen police stopping and even taking away some of these riders for running red lights and such.
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