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Why to people ride opposite traffic?

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Why to people ride opposite traffic?

Old 09-12-20, 01:14 PM
  #1  
GlennR
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Why to people ride opposite traffic?

I see many "casual" riders that ride facing traffic. Many are adults but some are kids. The do it not only on residential streets but on streets with 2 lanes each way, parked cars and cars going over 40mph.

Well today I saw someone get hit by a car making a right turn from a side street. This is at least the 10th time i've seen this. The driver approaches the intersection, looks left for traffic as they roll past the stop line and never sees the rider coming from the right.

New York State law states that cyclists need to ride in the same direction as cars.

So why do people feel safer when they are not?

BTW, the cyclist was not wearing a helmet and called his wife to come and get him. The driver was more shaken up. They were both VERY LUCKY.
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Old 09-12-20, 01:22 PM
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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.
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Old 09-12-20, 01:22 PM
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I agree with you but riding in NYC is not exactly the prototypical experience. For one thing, some people might be paranoid about drivers behind them that they may not be able to see and because drivers are often so careless, I could see them bumping into cyclists who are going in the same direction as well.
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Old 09-12-20, 01:30 PM
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[QUOTE=IGH_Only;21690612]I agree with you but riding in NYC is not exactly the prototypical experience. For one thing, some people might be paranoid about drivers behind them that they may not be able to see and because drivers are often so careless, I could see them bumping into cyclists who are going in the same direction as well.[/QUOTE

NYC or not ( Glenn is on L.I.), riding against traffic is illegal and dangerous and I’ve no clue how to educate people. I’ve so many near misses. On my bike commute I called them the “ Rockaway Wrong-Ways”
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Old 09-12-20, 01:34 PM
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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.
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Old 09-12-20, 01:37 PM
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Riding in NYC is a death wish, even when you're in a bike lane.

I'm talking suburban roads. Most cars tend to stop 5 feet past the stop line so they are already past the curb and into the cross street shoulder... here people ride their bikes.

Last month I saw a guy get thrown over the hood of a car that never looked left.
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Old 09-12-20, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by GlennR View Post
cyclists need to ride in the same direction as cars. So why do people feel safer when they are not?
Meth?
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Old 09-12-20, 01:51 PM
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I see it all the time. Often it's families teaching their kids how to get killed by cars ride. I want to stop and tell them not to, but since there's usually a Dad, he'd get all defensive about being corrected in front of his kids, and I'd just as soon avoid the drama.

The other thing that bothers me is runners running with traffic. THAT'S where you're supposed to be on the other side, when you're a pedestrian not on a sidewalk.
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Old 09-12-20, 01:57 PM
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Common sense is not common. Playing chicken isn't a good idea.
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Old 09-12-20, 01:58 PM
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I've seen it more than once, and the last time I was in a car with my family. I said "Salmon! Salmon! Salmon!" and pointed out to my kids how dangerous that was.

Whenever I've mentioned it to people, I've had a lot of people say, "That's what we were taught, to ride against traffic." I know that can't be right, or else someone giving this instruction was horribly mistaken. I wonder if they mistook being told to walk against traffic for riding a bike against traffic.
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Old 09-12-20, 02:08 PM
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Mandela Effect.

People believe they know something, despite getting it wrong on associations and details. But because of peer pressure and intellectual laziness they never question their own assumptions.

As a kid in the 1960s schools attempted to teach rudimentary lessons in how to be a decent human being. They called it "civics." That included teaching kids to walk facing traffic. Presumably so they could jump out of the way of murderous members of their "community" barging around maliciously in their death machines. In drivers ed I don't recall any lessons teaching drivers to be decent human beings and not run over slower pedestrians and cyclists.

Anyway, as a result of those lessons about walking facing traffic, which most people wake-slept through, they halfway remember something about facing traffic and assume it applies to cyclists too.

I encountered that same misapprehension from a friend who's my age (both born in the late 1950s). I occasionally see him outside when I'm coming home from bike rides and stop to chat awhile. He mentioned that same mistake about riding facing traffic. I told him that applies only to pedestrians and, in most states, cyclists are supposed to operate like motor vehicles.

Same reason why some drivers holler "Get on the sidewalk!" at cyclists. Never mind that there are very few sidewalks in suburbs that were built to take advantage of personal transportation.

And the misunderstanding is reinforced by people riding bikes pretty much the way most people walk -- opportunistically. To minimize our risk from reckless drivers, most of us walk with little or no regard to official guidlines -- crosswalks, intersections and walk lights. It makes no sense to cross at an intersection where the walk signal coincides with signals to drivers that it's okay to turn right on red and left against traffic on yellow. So pedestrians are competing with death machines coming from different directions. Effectively the walk signal means nothing. So for our own safety we'll "jaywalk" by choosing a place in the middle of the block to cross where we have a clear view in two directions (rather than four at the typical intersection), a median strip as a safe zone, etc.

In my area most folks on bicycles wouldn't self-identify as "cyclists." The bike is just a way to get around that's a little faster than walking. But they ride their bikes the same way most of us walk -- opportunistically. They'll ride on the sidewalk for awhile wherever a sidewalk is available. They'll ride facing traffic for awhile, then dart diagonally across an intersection, dodging vehicles, and ride with traffic for awhile, then cut through a parking lot, etc.

It might seem reckless to casual observers, and sometimes it is reckless. But if you study them closely enough, it's mostly opportunistic, trying to read the patterns of vehicle traffic and riding to suit conditions.

Last edited by canklecat; 09-12-20 at 09:46 PM.
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Old 09-12-20, 02:13 PM
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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.
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Old 09-12-20, 02:44 PM
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Many people just do not understand the reasoning of riding with traffic. They feel safer being able to see the oncoming vehicles. They do not get the dangers this behavior imposes on them and others. I believe one factor is the lack of enforcement in the laws. Obviously, education and explanation would be a huge help.
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Old 09-12-20, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
Meth?
Not sure someone on meth has the balance to ride a bike.
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Old 09-12-20, 03:25 PM
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I can't see how in the heck someone riding the wrong way on a busy street, with cars coming from parking lots and driveways can't figure out, after just a few blocks, that car drivers are not even looking their way.

Of course, they hardly ever get stopped by police for doing this. I did see a bicycle get stopped the other day by a motor officer on an electric motorcycle. He was stopped at a light, getting ready to turn left and there goes a guy on a bicycle riding fast on a sidewalk that had pedestrian on it. The motor officer pulls him over a couple of blocks up the road. He was riding with traffic but it was his speed and the fact he was on the sidewalk that got the cop's attention.
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Old 09-12-20, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by delbiker1 View Post
Many people just do not understand the reasoning of riding with traffic. They feel safer being able to see the oncoming vehicles. They do not get the dangers this behavior imposes on them and others. I believe one factor is the lack of enforcement in the laws. Obviously, education and explanation would be a huge help.

Same applies for people who are in the left lane on the interstate while driving slower than the flow of traffic. I presume they ~feel~ safer because no one is passing them on their left side. Of course, they are actually in a more dangerous position, hence the rule of using the left lane only for passing.
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Old 09-12-20, 03:51 PM
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While we're at it, what's with all the cheap or lazy suburban homeowners who don't put in sidewalks, so everyone's out walking around in the street?
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Old 09-12-20, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
While we're at it, what's with all the cheap or lazy suburban homeowners who don't put in sidewalks, so everyone's out walking around in the street?
Many communities don't require and don't have sidewalks. I have a sidewalk and 15 years ago the town put a tree at the curb. Their tree cracked my sidewalk and it's my responsibility to fix it. If I were allowed, i'd remove the sidewalk instead.
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Old 09-12-20, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by GlennR View Post
Many communities don't require and don't have sidewalks. I have a sidewalk and 15 years ago the town put a tree at the curb. Their tree cracked my sidewalk and it's my responsibility to fix it. If I were allowed, i'd remove the sidewalk instead.
Exactly.. when did towns and owners get so cheap and lazy?
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Old 09-12-20, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
Exactly.. when did towns and owners get so cheap and lazy?
It's not cheap or lazy... it's a more rural look. Some also don't have poured concrete curbs either.
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Old 09-12-20, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by GlennR View Post
It's not cheap or lazy... it's a more rural look. Some also don't have poured concrete curbs either.
Maybe.. but everybody having to walk in the streets isn't a plus for safety, if that's the gist of this thread.
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Old 09-12-20, 04:19 PM
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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.
So don't buy a house in that neighborhood.

Some gated communities have rules about the color of your house, the lawn decorations and thousands of others... I would never live in such a place.
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Old 09-12-20, 04:20 PM
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limited access curbs potential liability as it denys the pedestrians the right of way. Having or not having sidewalks does nothing for impacting the homeowners insurance rates, although it should. Which, with that being not impacted, the assumed rationale for not having sidewalks tends to be correlated to a population control. Such as perception of safety while also taking away the non urban image by discouraging walking for select clientele.
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Old 09-12-20, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by GlennR View Post
So don't buy a house in that neighborhood.

Some gated communities have rules about the color of your house, the lawn decorations and thousands of others... I would never live in such a place.
The houses I've lived in had sidewalks.. both my parents as a kid, and my own. However, moved to the city somewhat over a dozen years ago. Back then though, the talk was how new housing devs were not putting in sidewalks.. the positive spin and rationale seemed to be 'hey, no need too shovel snow, or keep the sidewalk in repair (liability issues)..' and the towns are all going along with this. Just a curiosity IMO.

Anyway, I brought it up since riding anywhere outside the city, I typically find myself riding lots of roads with lots of folks strolling down the streets as it now seems unavoidable. In suburbia, they walk with or against traffic in these situations; the jogger rules of thumb seem nonexistent. And these days, I get the dirty looks -- maybe for not having on a mask.. when they're the ones walking in traffic.
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Old 09-12-20, 04:35 PM
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it used to only be the homeless round here but since the pandemic bike apocalypse it is new riders too.
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