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Drivers yell at me to ride on sidewallk. Pedestrians yell at me to ride on road.

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Drivers yell at me to ride on sidewallk. Pedestrians yell at me to ride on road.

Old 10-05-15, 01:20 PM
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Drivers yell at me to ride on sidewallk. Pedestrians yell at me to ride on road.

Should I try to fly?

When I go uphill on rightmost lane, there is a high chance that a driver would yell at me to get off road because I'm impeding traffic. When I follow their demand, there are pedestrians who would tell me to get off sidewalk as well.

I know I have the same duties and right as vehicle drivers as a cyclist (I'm Canadian and the traffic rules are similar to that of the US) and I am supposed to ride with cars, but how do you guys deal with those kind of drivers?

Their ignorance is sometimes monumental. A (very) few get frustrated enough that they physically threaten me by overtaking my bike barely leaving 1~2 feet space in between us because they think I'm not supposed to ride on roads. It's scary as hell and I am discouraged from riding every time that happens.

These harassment made me inclined to stick close to the curb since drivers get less frustrated and are less likely to yell at me that way, but then I had many close calls with cars turning right without checking the sidemirror and parked cars suddenly opening the door.

Any word of advice to a novice cyclist?

Last edited by highsis; 10-05-15 at 01:25 PM.
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Old 10-05-15, 01:27 PM
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Urban cycling isn't for everybody, unless you live in Denmark.
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Old 10-05-15, 01:32 PM
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It's situational. If the lane is wide enough for cars to safely pass you with a reasonable margin, you should be to the right and then you won't be impeding traffic. Yes, one driver 10,000 might yell something, but there are just people like that.

However, if the lane is too narrow for a bike and a car to share safely, or there are parked cars to the right and not enough room to stay out of the door zone, I will usually take the lane, I prefer riding slightly to the left of center to make it clear that I am taking the whole lane and there is no room to pass. My own experience doing this is that I don't get yelled at any more frequently than when edge-riding, but I feel a lot safer. If this is a multi-lane road, then drivers have the option of changing lanes to get around you. If it is a single lane road in each direction and you are going some distance, it is a good idea to pull off to the right occasionally to let the group of backed up cars pass.

By my riding I try to make it clear to cars I am trying to be both safe and courteous. I ride as fast as possible when taking a lane, I signal, and will yield as soon as I feel it can be done safely.
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Old 10-05-15, 01:32 PM
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Use the road and try not to care what people think. (Also use common sense and good judgement, sometimes you should use the sidewalk instead, those times are rare and it's up to you to recognize them.)

You aren't impeding traffic, you are traffic. Imagine yourself a school bus or farm equipment, also slow, with no choice but to use the public roads that your taxes help to build and maintain.

Don't stick very close to the curb, it encourages drives to pass you too close. You'll need to find your comfort zone and see what works for you but in general if a lane isn't wide enough to share with a car, putting yourself in the middle of the lane forces cars to pass you as if you were another car (or a tractor or a minivan). You need to be mindful when you do this and not create a backup, I'm not telling you to ride in the center of the lane always, just to notice how your positioning affects your experience, and then try to position yourself appropriately for the traffic and conditions.
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Old 10-05-15, 01:32 PM
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Be brave. Make yourself so visible that if you get hit it had to be intentional.

What city are you in? I have ridden in downtown Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and many smaller cities. I very seldom got or get any lip from motorists.
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Old 10-05-15, 01:33 PM
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Assuming it's illegal to ride on the sidewalk like it is in many U.S. jurisdictions, ride in the road and tell anyone who tells you to get on the sidewalk that it would be illegal to do so.
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Old 10-05-15, 01:34 PM
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Stay on the road. That is where you belong, where the law requires you to be, and where it protects you. Stay away from the curb. No good comes from riding in the gutter. Take st least 40% of the lane. If traffic builds up behind you, pull over and stop while they pass you. If you can't assert your right to the road, no one will acknowledge it. In many jurisdictions there are three-foot rules prohibiting motorists from passing too close.
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Old 10-05-15, 01:38 PM
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I like to ride my road bike on the road.
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Old 10-05-15, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker
In many jurisdictions there are three-foot rules prohibiting motorists from passing too close.
Ontario very recently began enforcing the one-meter rule.
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Old 10-05-15, 01:41 PM
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Old 10-05-15, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by RPK79



I like to ride my road bike on the road.
Yes, the lack of nearby mountains had kept me from buying one of those bikes
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Old 10-05-15, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Assuming it's illegal to ride on the sidewalk like it is in many U.S. jurisdictions, ride in the road and tell anyone who tells you to get on the sidewalk that it would be illegal to do so.
If you think I'm breaking the law, you should stop and I will call the police so an officer can come out so you can report me.

Used this a few times and the motorists seem to move right along.
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Old 10-05-15, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by andr0id
If you think I'm breaking the law, you should stop and I will call the police so an officer can come out so you can report me.

Used this a few times and the motorists seem to move right along.
Heh. A week or two ago I threw a fake elbow at a delivery guy who was riding a ebike on the sidewalk and almost hit me as I was walking to lunch. (They are becoming more and more of a problem in Philly.) He started cursing at me. In response, I suggested that we call the cops and tell them how you were riding a motorized bicycle on the sidewalk in an area that is home to many elderly citizens and nearly mowed me down.
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Old 10-05-15, 01:54 PM
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Ride on the road, outside the door zone.

Unless your dad is running behind you because you've just taken off your training wheels, you don't belong on the sidewalk. If for some reason you absolutely must ride on the sidewalk, you better be going walking speed, or slower.
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Old 10-05-15, 01:56 PM
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Wave at them (all five fingers!) If they slow enough for a conversation, invite them to call the police.
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Old 10-05-15, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker
In many jurisdictions there are three-foot rules prohibiting motorists from passing too close.
It's four feet in PA. The sheriff of Montgomery County, which borders Philadelphia and is full of sprawl in many places, has recently been holding informational meetings/press conferences to educate people about the law, which has been in effect since 2012. His office also printed yellow signs educating drivers about the law. The signs specifically mention his name and title.

Montgomery County sheriff promotes bike safety
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Old 10-05-15, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Wilfred Laurier
Be brave. Make yourself so visible that if you get hit it had to be intentional.

What city are you in? I have ridden in downtown Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and many smaller cities. I very seldom got or get any lip from motorists.
I ride in Vancouver. There aren't many jerks but even if they are like 1 in 1000, I come across those people from time to time. I can cope with yelling to a certain degree but for cars intentionally overtaking me with almost no space when I'm taking a whole lane in order to to threaten me because they believe I'm breaking the law, I don't have guts to keep riding when that happens.

I can't even report this unless they've really scraped me...
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Old 10-05-15, 02:08 PM
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I just yell back. Most drivers are not insane enough to actually run you over. And what else can they do? Impotent rage is funny.
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Old 10-05-15, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest
Use the road and try not to care what people think. (Also use common sense and good judgement, sometimes you should use the sidewalk instead, those times are rare and it's up to you to recognize them.)

You aren't impeding traffic, you are traffic. Imagine yourself a school bus or farm equipment, also slow, with no choice but to use the public roads that your taxes help to build and maintain.

Don't stick very close to the curb, it encourages drives to pass you too close. You'll need to find your comfort zone and see what works for you but in general if a lane isn't wide enough to share with a car, putting yourself in the middle of the lane forces cars to pass you as if you were another car (or a tractor or a minivan). You need to be mindful when you do this and not create a backup, I'm not telling you to ride in the center of the lane always, just to notice how your positioning affects your experience, and then try to position yourself appropriately for the traffic and conditions.
Other than the first sentence, these are sound advices.
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Old 10-05-15, 02:19 PM
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Thankfully so far, I haven't encountered any angry motorists. Sidewalks are for pedestrians and roads and trails are for bicycles:

Traffic laws apply to persons riding bicycles. A bicyclist upon a roadway shall have all the rights and responsibilities of a vehicle operator, except when specifically regulated otherwise. Yet, some regulations may not apply to bicycles because of their nature. (Title 47 § 11-1202)


It's also a felony here for anyone to throw something at a cyclist:

No person shall throw or drop any substance on a moving vehicle. This is a FELONY punishable by as many as ten years in prison. (Title 47 § 11-1111)
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Old 10-05-15, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by highsis
I ride in Vancouver. There aren't many jerks but even if they are like 1 in 1000, I come across those people from time to time. I can cope with yelling to a certain degree but for cars intentionally overtaking me with almost no space when I'm taking a whole lane in order to to threaten me because they believe I'm breaking the law, I don't have guts to keep riding when that happens.

I can't even report this unless they've really scraped me...
I visited Vancouver regularly and have seen a great deal of improvements over the years for cyclist in terms of dedicated lanes and traffic signs. I rode up to Whistler on Sea to Sky Highway almost entirely on a dedicated bike lane, and it was a blast. I think you should feel luck living in Vancouver because the geberal cycling awareness in Vancouver is pretty high, much higher than most US cities with may be a few exceptions, e.g. Portland.
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Old 10-05-15, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Wilfred Laurier
Ontario very recently began enforcing the one-meter rule.
wut, 1 meter? how would i know how many feet is that
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Old 10-05-15, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by YogaKat
It's also a felony here for anyone to throw something at a cyclist:

No person shall throw or drop any substance on a moving vehicle. This is a FELONY punishable by as many as ten years in prison. (Title 47 § 11-1111)
Would love to see the media backlash if someone ever got the max sentence for flicking a cigarette butt at a cyclist.
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Old 10-05-15, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by dalava
wut, 1 meter? how would i know how many feet is that
I think that's just a fancy word for yard so it would be 3 feet.
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Old 10-05-15, 02:26 PM
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