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I don't feel like walking bike across intersection

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I don't feel like walking bike across intersection

Old 10-30-06, 07:56 PM
  #1  
notenspeed
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I don't feel like walking bike across intersection

So I did 2 half commutes this week. I am new at this by the way. On the first, a car came REALLY close, and on the bad stretch (no shoulder, 1 lane each way, quite a bit of traffic, etc.) several cars were closer than I would like them to be. Then today, somebody honked at me. Not a honk, honk I know you, but a rude honk while passing. That's so loud when you're not also in a car.

At a certain part of the commute, I ride on the sidewalk. And I've read all the bad stuff about this, but there is actually a high curb instead of a shoulder or bike lane, and everybody (what few cyclists there are) rides on the sidewalk for this stretch.

My mind started wandering to posts I've read about walking your bike across intersections if you're acting like a pedestrian by being on the sidewalk. And since I was a bit grumpy, I thought,

Screw that! These are 4 lane roads, I would just be in everybody's way a lot longer, plus waste my time. Plus screw that! There should be some kind of benefit for bothering to commute by bike! Yes, I want the benefits of having the right to the road as any other vehicle, and I want to be able to cross with the pedestrian traffic occasionally (but pedestrians are rare here, too).

This post is a bit of gest, by the way, before you all are totally harsh.
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Old 10-30-06, 08:11 PM
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As to sidewalks, when I commute (seldom) there is a 1/4 mile stretch on a bridge where I take to the sidewalks. Instead of a shoulder, there is a narrow gutter. In the middle of the gutter is a storm drain with a grate on top of it. Each direction, by the way.

I don't know about that cross walk, though. Drivers making turns aren't expecting something like a bike at speed, and what they don't expect, they don't see.
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Old 10-30-06, 08:16 PM
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I sympathise with you for wanting to be safe and free of harrassment. But be aware that riding across an intersection in the crosswalk may put you at risk, especially if you enter the intersection at riding speed and not walking speed. Drivers turning right watch for pedestrians and either zoom ahead of them or wait and go behind them, and in either case, they can judge the pedestrian's pace and avoid hitting them. But a bike comes out of their right rear blind spot much quicker than a pedestrian and they may cut you off or hit you because they just don't see you coming.
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Old 10-30-06, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Nermal
As to sidewalks, when I commute (seldom) there is a 1/4 mile stretch on a bridge where I take to the sidewalks.
Is the bridge railing high enough? You don't want winds like we had yesterday to blow you over the side.
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Old 10-30-06, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by notenspeed
So I did 2 half commutes this week. I am new at this by the way. On the first, a car came REALLY close, and on the bad stretch (no shoulder, 1 lane each way, quite a bit of traffic, etc.) several cars were closer than I would like them to be.
Sounds like there is not enough room for a car to pass you while still in the same lane. If you must be on this road, then you should move out into the lane far enough to discourage someone from attempting to pass you while in the same lane. Staying to the right simply invites people to unsafely pass. Use a mirror.

I'd look for another route with less traffic if possible.
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Old 10-30-06, 10:34 PM
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I lack that kind of dedication, cooker. If it's that windy on the way in, I drive. If it's that windy on the way back, I have an alternate route and use the tailwind for the longest hill.
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Old 10-30-06, 10:38 PM
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In Taiwan, usually the only folks you see on bikes are older people or kids. It's fascinating that the majority of older women will walk their bikes across an intersection. I guess the teachings were very specific on that point.

Anyway, riding here requires a lot of concentration. Taiwan drivers are quick to make lane changes or turns, so you have to be watching. I ride across intersections, but you must watch the intersection, cars beside you, turn signals and front tires. It is rare to be able to see with the driver is doing as many people have deep tints on their windows.

If you are going straight through an intersection, be just ahead of the car beside you Well BEFORE you get to the intersection. Either that or trail the car so if they turn they won't take you with them.

In theory, bikes and scooters are supposed to make 2 Step Turns. In other words, to make a Left turn you proceed to the front of the cross street lane to your right, turn 90 degrees and wait for the Green Light. The benefit to this is that you are always going with the traffic.
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Old 11-01-06, 07:53 AM
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Thanks for the feedback and tips!

When I'm in the pedestrian lane, I act in this way (there are no walk/don't walk signals) : I make eye contact with the driver of the first car especially if they have their turn signal on or wheels pointed like they are making a right turn. Then I usually do a nerdy hand signal. My 12 year old son thinks I'm a total dork. I always wait for the light, even if the intersection is clear. As I'm going across, I keep a keen eye on the cross traffic, especially in the right lane, as they might be turning right, and so edging up, and might turn on red if they don't see a CAR. I did this to a cyclist once, nothing happned, but I felt like an idiot.

I always do a 2 step turn, it just seems safer, plus I don't really know the rules for being in the left turn only lane. And the cars are going fast, 40 mph is the speed limit, but just under 60 mph is common.

As far as a different route, this is the last stretch before campus, and if I came at it from the other direction I'd be entering campus at a really crazy place, with a round-about. Also, I'd have to drive on a very busy road with a couple of strip malls. This way, I enter campus near a really nice really wide, bicycle/walking sidewalk, I only have to cross the least busy parking lot on campus, then I'm at the walk that goes to the building I need.

We're actually having some nice weather here, (Indiana) and I'm looking forward to riding this week!
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Old 11-01-06, 08:57 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by notenspeed
So I did 2 half commutes this week. I am new at this by the way.
Stupid question. Why did you post this here rather than in Commuting or A&S? You may get more responses.
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Old 11-01-06, 09:35 AM
  #10  
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Rather than ping on you for using sidewalks, I'll just point out that
1. every driveway and cross street is an intersection and a potential danger spot, and
2. at cross streets cars are looking for pedestrians to be in crosswalks. If you are on a bike in the crosswalk, at least make sure you're going at pedestrian speeds. Then they'll see you and be able to react.

I agree with a few other posters here; as you gain skills , confidence, and knowledge of how to do it, you may find it is less stressful to ride in the road. But some roads are just plain bike-hostile no matter what.
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Old 11-01-06, 05:55 PM
  #11  
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Funny..on my regular commuting route, there's a 3 mile stretch where there are no right shoulders/parking or bike lanes to ride in nor is there a sidewalk on that side. The traffic commonly drives at 55-60+ mph and cars are constantly cutting in and out of traffic. The curbs are rather high and there are no escape routes (driveways, side streets, etc).

A bicycle police officer happened to be riding with me one day and strongly suggested that I cross the street at the signal where the parking lanes end and use the sidewalks on the other side...for strictly safety reasons. There were several fatal accidents involving cars cutting into a lane occupied by a bicyclist that the drivers didn't see/notice. Just as long one is riding at a cruising/leisurely speed, using a sidewalk is acceptable. I just schedule more time to my commute to compensate.

To me, it all depends on the situation and circumstances. Everybody has a different threshold on what to do. At times it may be safer to use the crosswalk at certain intersections. The general idea is to get to where you want to go and arrive there in one piece without causing any injuries or for you being considered a hazard. It doesn't mean much if you technically have the right-of-way but are now in some hospital or if one is flying on a sidewalk and hits a pedestrian causing an avoidable/unnecessary injury.
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Old 11-01-06, 07:02 PM
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Crossing Guard

When is a crosswalk not a crosswalk?
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