Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > General Cycling Discussion
Reload this Page >

Why to people ride opposite traffic?

Notices
General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

Why to people ride opposite traffic?

Old 09-24-20, 11:46 AM
  #101  
LV2TNDM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Northern CA
Posts: 629

Bikes: Cannondale tandems: '92 Road, '97 Mtn. Mongoose 10.9 Ti, Kelly Deluxe, Tommaso Chorus, Cdale MT2000, Schwinn Deluxe Cruiser, Torker Unicycle, among others.

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 217 Post(s)
Liked 149 Times in 95 Posts
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.
LV2TNDM is offline  
Old 09-24-20, 01:33 PM
  #102  
GlennR
On Your Left
Thread Starter
 
GlennR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Long Island, New York, USA
Posts: 8,373

Bikes: Trek Emonda SLR, Sram eTap, Zipp 303

Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3004 Post(s)
Liked 2,422 Times in 1,184 Posts
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.
GlennR is offline  
Old 09-24-20, 02:19 PM
  #103  
royphotog
Senior Member
 
royphotog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Fresno CA
Posts: 141

Bikes: 1979 Centurion Omega, 95(?) Rocky Mountain Sherpa

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 50 Post(s)
Liked 44 Times in 27 Posts
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.
royphotog is offline  
Likes For royphotog:
Old 09-25-20, 06:42 PM
  #104  
BlazingPedals
Senior Member
 
BlazingPedals's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Middle of da Mitten
Posts: 12,228

Bikes: Trek 7500, RANS V-Rex, Optima Baron, Velokraft NoCom, M-5 Carbon Highracer, Catrike Speed

Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1411 Post(s)
Liked 614 Times in 382 Posts
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.
BlazingPedals is offline  
Old 06-26-21, 07:21 PM
  #105  
drahimi
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2021
Posts: 16
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 4 Posts
People ride the wrong way on one-way streets here in Toronto, which is insane. Every driver knows that and so should the cyclists.
drahimi is offline  
Old 06-26-21, 08:36 PM
  #106  
Rdmonster69
Shawn of the Dead
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Posts: 574
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 277 Post(s)
Liked 448 Times in 216 Posts
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.
Rdmonster69 is offline  
Old 06-26-21, 11:24 PM
  #107  
vane171
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 490
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 252 Post(s)
Liked 66 Times in 48 Posts
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...
vane171 is offline  
Likes For vane171:
Old 06-27-21, 08:50 AM
  #108  
GBK233
Full Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2021
Location: Syracuse NY
Posts: 244

Bikes: 2020 Giant Advanced 2, 2020 Giant Contend AR1

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 166 Post(s)
Liked 78 Times in 34 Posts
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.
GBK233 is offline  
Likes For GBK233:
Old 06-28-21, 10:32 AM
  #109  
Robert C
Senior Member
 
Robert C's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Kansas
Posts: 2,212

Bikes: This list got too long: several ‘bents, an urban utility e-bike, and a dahon D7 that my daughter has absconded with.

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 349 Post(s)
Liked 42 Times in 33 Posts
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."
Robert C is offline  
Likes For Robert C:
Old 06-28-21, 10:49 AM
  #110  
UniChris
Senior Member
 
UniChris's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Northampton, MA
Posts: 1,833

Bikes: 36" Unicycle, winter knock-around hybrid bike

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 889 Post(s)
Liked 369 Times in 265 Posts
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.
UniChris is online now  
Likes For UniChris:
Old 06-28-21, 10:53 AM
  #111  
UniChris
Senior Member
 
UniChris's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Northampton, MA
Posts: 1,833

Bikes: 36" Unicycle, winter knock-around hybrid bike

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 889 Post(s)
Liked 369 Times in 265 Posts
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.

Last edited by UniChris; 06-28-21 at 11:01 AM.
UniChris is online now  
Old 06-28-21, 10:58 AM
  #112  
OldRailfan
Old enough, hmmm?
 
OldRailfan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2021
Location: Coldstream, BC Canada
Posts: 287

Bikes: DeVinci, Bianchi, Nishiki, RBSM Mud Adder

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 70 Post(s)
Liked 113 Times in 82 Posts
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
OldRailfan is offline  
Old 06-28-21, 10:58 AM
  #113  
10 Wheels
Galveston County Texas
 
10 Wheels's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: In The Wind
Posts: 32,709

Bikes: 02 GTO, 2011 Magnum

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1222 Post(s)
Liked 933 Times in 464 Posts
Their Mommas told them it was Safer.
__________________
Fred "The Real Fred"

10 Wheels is offline  
Old 06-28-21, 10:59 AM
  #114  
JohnDThompson 
Old fart
 
JohnDThompson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Appleton WI
Posts: 23,769

Bikes: Several, mostly not name brands.

Mentioned: 142 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3056 Post(s)
Liked 2,195 Times in 1,311 Posts
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.
JohnDThompson is offline  
Old 06-28-21, 11:05 AM
  #115  
UniChris
Senior Member
 
UniChris's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Northampton, MA
Posts: 1,833

Bikes: 36" Unicycle, winter knock-around hybrid bike

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 889 Post(s)
Liked 369 Times in 265 Posts
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.

​​
UniChris is online now  
Old 06-28-21, 11:15 AM
  #116  
JohnDThompson 
Old fart
 
JohnDThompson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Appleton WI
Posts: 23,769

Bikes: Several, mostly not name brands.

Mentioned: 142 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3056 Post(s)
Liked 2,195 Times in 1,311 Posts
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.
JohnDThompson is offline  
Old 06-28-21, 11:29 AM
  #117  
UniChris
Senior Member
 
UniChris's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Northampton, MA
Posts: 1,833

Bikes: 36" Unicycle, winter knock-around hybrid bike

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 889 Post(s)
Liked 369 Times in 265 Posts
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.
UniChris is online now  
Old 06-29-21, 04:14 AM
  #118  
fredlord
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Posts: 181
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 104 Post(s)
Liked 97 Times in 59 Posts
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.
fredlord is offline  
Old 06-29-21, 08:48 AM
  #119  
MoAlpha
• —
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Land of Pleasant Living
Posts: 10,229

Bikes: Shmikes

Mentioned: 56 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8523 Post(s)
Liked 4,458 Times in 2,385 Posts
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.
MoAlpha is offline  
Old 06-29-21, 09:28 AM
  #120  
UniChris
Senior Member
 
UniChris's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Northampton, MA
Posts: 1,833

Bikes: 36" Unicycle, winter knock-around hybrid bike

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 889 Post(s)
Liked 369 Times in 265 Posts
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.

Last edited by UniChris; 06-29-21 at 09:31 AM.
UniChris is online now  
Old 06-29-21, 09:30 AM
  #121  
MoAlpha
• —
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Land of Pleasant Living
Posts: 10,229

Bikes: Shmikes

Mentioned: 56 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8523 Post(s)
Liked 4,458 Times in 2,385 Posts
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.
MoAlpha is offline  
Old 06-30-21, 06:26 PM
  #122  
50PlusCycling
Senior Member
 
50PlusCycling's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 703
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 330 Post(s)
Liked 312 Times in 184 Posts
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.
50PlusCycling is offline  
Old 07-01-21, 05:52 AM
  #123  
Sy Reene
Advocatus Diaboli
 
Sy Reene's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Wherever I am
Posts: 7,960

Bikes: Merlin Cyrene, Nashbar steel CX

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4279 Post(s)
Liked 1,243 Times in 818 Posts
Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
Good point about oncoming cyclists.
Runners going against traffic create the same situation with respect to oncoming cyclists
Sy Reene is offline  
Old 07-02-21, 05:31 AM
  #124  
bruce19
Senior Member
 
bruce19's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Lebanon (Liberty Hill), CT
Posts: 8,212

Bikes: CAAD 12, MASI Gran Criterium S, Colnago World Cup CX & Guru steel

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1625 Post(s)
Liked 1,097 Times in 640 Posts
Originally Posted by Skulking View Post
I was always taught that if I am walking I should be walking against traffic for safety, and if I'm riding I should be riding with traffic for safety. Maybe the people you see were never taught the second part, and see riding as an activity not done in a car and therefore they believe it is safer to ride against traffic. Or maybe they just feel safer being able to see the cars coming at them even if the reality is that it is more dangerous.
In CT a bicycle is considered a vehicle and is required to be used in compliance with motor vehicle/traffic laws. Some people don't get it. I think for the reason you cite.
bruce19 is offline  
Likes For bruce19:
Old 07-02-21, 11:57 AM
  #125  
Helldorado
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Tacoma, WA, USA
Posts: 161

Bikes: Cervelo Aspero Apex1x 2020; Giant Escape Disc modified commuter 2021

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 127 Post(s)
Liked 80 Times in 44 Posts
For the first time in my life, yesterday, I rode a whole city block against traffic. Just to see what it was like. I kept well to the left. A few cars passed me, oblivious.

It was fun.

Thank you.
Helldorado 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.