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VeloNews: The Science of Being Seen... Now What?

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

VeloNews: The Science of Being Seen... Now What?

Old 11-15-18, 01:53 PM
  #126  
MKahrl
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Originally Posted by PepeM View Post
Because he doesn't get to choose what is safe. Only I get to choose!
I don't see how he was choosing for you. You did get to choose. When you could go around him you went around him.

It seems like you're irritated he wasn't positioned in the lane ideally for how you wanted to execute your pass. If you wanted to you could choose to pass him right away by crossing the yellow line and running head on into oncoming traffic. Your choice, not his.
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Old 11-16-18, 09:04 AM
  #127  
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Originally Posted by slowrevs View Post
...
If a road is freshly paved or in great shape with unobstructed bike lanes and no stopping signs posted everywhere, motorists should not expect or anticipate cyclists to be riding out of lane.
...
This part is true, no question about it.

There are a lot of situations where a cyclist can and should be out in the lane, and he can be anywhere in the lane that he wants in that case. There are some who stretch that to rationalize "taking the lane" in practically any situation, and that's not helpful IMO.
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Old 11-16-18, 12:09 PM
  #128  
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Being Seen and Being Safe

Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
There are a lot of situations where a cyclist can and should be out in the lane, and he can be anywhere in the lane that he wants in that case.
I'm not disagreeing with this statement, but it is so broad as to be misleading to riders who live where it may not apply. Perhaps this is the law in Georgia, but it is not the law in California.

The California Vehicle Code (yes, bicycles are considered vehicles) has a number of sections pertaining to the operation of bicycles on state roads and highways, bikeways and bike paths, etc. Any California rider should be familiar with them. Some municipalities vary from the state rules, but only in a few cases, and state law requires those cases to be prominently posted. Lastly, Federal Law even pertains to Class 1 Bikeways which were paid for 50% by the federal government Transportation Department out of Federal Highway Funds. Those laws are actually great, and every rider should know them, but not abuse them.

I'll shut up now.
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Old 11-16-18, 12:17 PM
  #129  
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Be careful and stay alive

Originally Posted by noisebeam View Post
Even on a freshly paved road there may be a patch of glass in the right side of lane so a cyclist will be using the left side.
I agree. But, a rider should be sure the traffic behind him/her is able to react to his movement. If you are riding 15 mph and pull in front of someone doing 35 who is fifteen feet behind you, splat.

On more than one occasion in dealing with the situation you describe, I have stopped to the right, let traffic pass and then ridden around glass. Common sense is called for.
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Old 11-16-18, 12:39 PM
  #130  
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Of course one needs to signal a merge and confirm the way is clear and/or you have confirmed the approaching vehicle has slowed to let you in before merging. That is a given from your post that started this. Your making up a condition that has nothign to do with riding 'outside the lane'

The main point is all drivers must at all times expect cyclists to be driving in share lanes and drive accordingly. If a cyclist is hit because they are using a shared lane they are not the
ones at fault when they are struck by an otherwise driving-attentive motorist or trucker who is paying attention to what they are doing and observing applicable traffic laws. Cyclists who don't respect motorists' rights to use the roads within the law are "entitled" to reap what they sow.
To say so is violently anti-cyclist.
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Old 11-16-18, 01:31 PM
  #131  
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Originally Posted by slowrevs View Post
I'm not disagreeing with this statement, but it is so broad as to be misleading to riders who live where it may not apply. Perhaps this is the law in Georgia, but it is not the law in California.

The California Vehicle Code (yes, bicycles are considered vehicles) has a number of sections pertaining to the operation of bicycles on state roads and highways, bikeways and bike paths, etc. Any California rider should be familiar with them. Some municipalities vary from the state rules, but only in a few cases, and state law requires those cases to be prominently posted. Lastly, Federal Law even pertains to Class 1 Bikeways which were paid for 50% by the federal government Transportation Department out of Federal Highway Funds. Those laws are actually great, and every rider should know them, but not abuse them.

I'll shut up now.
I respectfully beg to differ, as I believe that it DOES apply in California, and in every other state* as far as I know. CVC 21202

"shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:" and the situations are listed there.

*edited to correct: I recall that there may be one or two states with no bicycle FRAP law at all, so they would not have the exceptions.
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Old 11-17-18, 12:57 PM
  #132  
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For saftey's sake...

Originally Posted by noisebeam View Post
Of course one needs to signal a merge and confirm the way is clear and/or you have confirmed the approaching vehicle has slowed to let you in before merging. That is a given from your post that started this. Your making up a condition that has nothign to do with riding 'outside the lane'

The main point is all drivers must at all times expect cyclists to be driving in share lanes and drive accordingly. If a cyclist is hit because they are using a shared lane they are not the "one at fault... (see earlier post)"

To say so is violently anti-cyclist.
My comments have been neither violent, nor anti-cyclist.

The bold italicized assertion above has it backwards as far as cyclist safety is concerned. You can rag all you want about it being the drivers' faults, but the simple reality is that cars and trucks outweigh cyclists on bikes from 10:1 to 100:1; plus they go faster, have more restricted visibility and greater distraction options. All of which makes cycling in traffic inherently unsafe.

The main point is that all cyclists should expect all drivers to be "out to get them," and ride defensively.
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Old 11-18-18, 08:44 PM
  #133  
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[QUOTE=peterraymond;20662015] I was driving home, with my bike inside my Mini Cooper, when a rider decided I was incompetent and that he would decide for me if it was safe to pass. Obviously he was "taking the lane". I'll tell you, fellow bike rider or not, there was no way that I was going to let that a%^& instruct me on safe driving. If he had not done that I would have looked ahead, slowed down if I needed to, and made sure there was plenty of clearance when I did pass. Fortunately, in Colorado it is legal to cross a solid double line to pass a bike, so long as it's safe. So what did his superior attitude accomplish other than pissing me off? In this case it made no difference in safety, I was just further over the center line when I passed. Passing clearance was the same. Time lost to passing was still zero. But, what about the guy who already hates us?


Your attitude amazes me.


In my state, as in (I believe) most states, cyclists are permitted to move further left if there are problems with the road surface, or if there are parked cars, or - importantly! - if the lane is too narrow to be safely shared with a motor vehicle. And if you do the math, many if not most lanes are too narrow to be safely shared with a motor vehicle.


Now who is to judge whether the lane is too narrow to safely share? It _has_ to be the cyclist! Half the motorists in the world think passing with a few inches clearance is fine, but that's obviously wrong. They don't account for the possibility of potholes, gravel, glass, wet leaves, pedestrians popping out between parked cars, etc. Furthermore, most of them don't pass more than one or two cyclists per day. Practically speaking they will always be novices.


I get passed by hundreds of motorists every time I ride, and I know all about road hazards. I'm far more experienced and expert than almost all motorists; and it's my skin in the game, not theirs. Therefore I get to decide which lanes are wide enough to safely share. If it's not, I'll take the lane.


I've had plenty of experience in the past when I was too courteous, thinking "I'll stay right to make it easier on that guy coming up behind." My reward? Being passed with inches of clearance, in order to allow some idiot to get home in time for an extra minute of Oprah's show; or getting a flat tire from a shoulder full of glass.


If someone is pissed because they were delayed - what? fifteen seconds? - by a cyclist, they should turn in their driver's license. Nobody is that important.

Last edited by frkrygow; 11-18-18 at 08:45 PM. Reason: two typos
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Old 11-18-18, 10:39 PM
  #134  
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[QUOTE=frkrygow;20668912]
Originally Posted by peterraymond View Post
I was driving home, with my bike inside my Mini Cooper, when a rider decided I was incompetent and that he would decide for me if it was safe to pass. Obviously he was "taking the lane". I'll tell you, fellow bike rider or not, there was no way that I was going to let that a%^& instruct me on safe driving. If he had not done that I would have looked ahead, slowed down if I needed to, and made sure there was plenty of clearance when I did pass. Fortunately, in Colorado it is legal to cross a solid double line to pass a bike, so long as it's safe. So what did his superior attitude accomplish other than pissing me off? In this case it made no difference in safety, I was just further over the center line when I passed. Passing clearance was the same. Time lost to passing was still zero. But, what about the guy who already hates us?


Your attitude amazes me.


In my state, as in (I believe) most states, cyclists are permitted to move further left if there are problems with the road surface, or if there are parked cars, or - importantly! - if the lane is too narrow to be safely shared with a motor vehicle. And if you do the math, many if not most lanes are too narrow to be safely shared with a motor vehicle.


Now who is to judge whether the lane is too narrow to safely share? It _has_ to be the cyclist! Half the motorists in the world think passing with a few inches clearance is fine, but that's obviously wrong. They don't account for the possibility of potholes, gravel, glass, wet leaves, pedestrians popping out between parked cars, etc. Furthermore, most of them don't pass more than one or two cyclists per day. Practically speaking they will always be novices.


I get passed by hundreds of motorists every time I ride, and I know all about road hazards. I'm far more experienced and expert than almost all motorists; and it's my skin in the game, not theirs. Therefore I get to decide which lanes are wide enough to safely share. If it's not, I'll take the lane.


I've had plenty of experience in the past when I was too courteous, thinking "I'll stay right to make it easier on that guy coming up behind." My reward? Being passed with inches of clearance, in order to allow some idiot to get home in time for an extra minute of Oprah's show; or getting a flat tire from a shoulder full of glass.


If someone is pissed because they were delayed - what? fifteen seconds? - by a cyclist, they should turn in their driver's license. Nobody is that important.
Your attitude does not amaze me. I see it all the time. In my universe, I'm an endoskeleton creature. Automobiles have steel exoskeletons. In almost any contact between these two, the endoskeleton will lose, so I never make a contest out of it. I always give way. Besides physics, there's psychology. If I think I'm smarter, more experienced, or more aware than other occupants of the road, I'm going to lose, sooner or later because that's not a universal truth. Traffic laws are formulated to help smooth traffic flow and prevent accidents. The law says, "stay to the right." I much prefer to do that rather than argue my case from my hospital bed or have my estate argue it for me.

In 65 years of riding, I've had one accident with a motor vehicle, which vehicle turned out in front of me: my bad for wearing a blue-green jersey in Washington State and not having a forward white flasher. I've never worn that jersey since, even though it is a valued event jersey, and always have a 250 lumen forward flasher and a 300 lumen rear flasher, day and night. Never had another problem. BTW, cars never pass me with inches to spare, maybe because of the clothing and flashers and because I ride as far to the right as practical so they have lots of room. IME, drivers are extremely courteous, even the ones whose passengers shout "Get off the road!" No one wants a big fat lawsuit and no one tries to brush me back.
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Old 11-18-18, 11:08 PM
  #135  
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Traffic laws are formulated to help smooth traffic flow and prevent accidents.
This is demonstrably untrue, both by case law and observation.

IMO if you never have a car pass you closely or otherwise engage with you in a sociopathic manner you don't really have much of substance to discuss. You must ride in a much higher trust and lower stress community than I do, great for you but not really applicable to those of us in less than ideal conditions.

When I ride as far right as practical a lot of time cars pass me without slowing at all and often much too close. I can often touch their car by only partially extending my arm. Well within 18 inches I'd guess. My front and rear flashers matter not at all and it's not unusual to get honked at every week or so as a car speeds by above the speed limit with inches to spare.

Oh wait all that should be in past tense because I don't ride like that anymore. Mostly I ride 24 inches or so to the left of the fog line and get a close pass maybe once every couple months. I'd have to search my post history to remember the last time I got honked at now. IME the vast majority of drivers are courteous and want to leave me alone just like I want to leave them alone. However, the balance falls significantly depending where I ride. If there's a lot of space on the road and low traffic I can almost always ride the fog line because I've had great experiences on roads with wide open space and low traffic. Car pass with tons of room to spare and often slow a little and give a wave, it's low stress for me and low stress for motorists so we get along great.

On narrow roads with high traffic or even near high traffic I'm as left as I can be based on how the road surface looks and how heavy traffic is. I've had terrible experience trying to be courteous to drivers when the road is only 10 feet wide or traffic is heavy. It's high stress for motorists and that encourages them to make poor choices. So I try to help them out and say "hey with this narrow lane and the 3 foot passing law there's no way to do this dance safely, I'll just have a little more lane and we can all chill for 10 seconds until it's safe for me and you."

I've learned how to behave to make my rides on these roads lower stress and safer. Which almost never is as far right as practical, because it's not practical.

Tangentially, saying "I ride like I'm invisible" is silly. If that was really the case you'd be home in the garage on a trainer. There's no pretending to be invisible on the road because cars and trucks will blast any number of things on the side of the road where "invisible" cyclists think they should ride. Drivers swerve onto the shoulder for no reason, careen onto the sidewalk and into ditches with regularity and just do as they please with no regard for the consequences. Because almost always there aren't any.
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Old 11-19-18, 12:46 PM
  #136  
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At least in the parts of Colorado I've lived for the past few decades the roads are slowly getting better for cyclists. More bike lanes, more shoulders, with more and better bike paths and drivers that are more aware that there could be cyclists on the road. Still, everywhere in the country, aren't there still roads that bike riders should just stay off of? I'm retired now, but when long rides were only on weekends my favorite road in the mountains was one I rode on Sunday and I always rode early enough that I was off before 9:00 AM. Yes I could legally ride that any time, any day, but would that be denial, entitlement, stubbornness, or just a subconscious desire for a Darwinian demonstration?
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Old 11-21-18, 06:31 PM
  #137  
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Most drivers are nice people, but there are a$$holes everywhere. I have bright flashing lights, front and back, as well as a Fly6 camera with the flashing light as well. My family and others have told me that I am visible from at least a quarter of a mile away. Yet, I have this particular country jersey that when I wear it I notice an increase in verbal harrassment, close passes, coal rolling, and otherwise unsafe (to me) incidents. My conclusion, right or wrong, is that those drivers CAN see me and see me well enough and with enough time to allow their biases to influence their road interaction with me. For the last year or so these people have come out of the woods, bolder than ever. This has been my experience.

My rides are primarily through long stretches of lonely roads and sometimes I feel very concerned for my safety. I’m into group rides but prefer to train alone. I try to ride as defensively as possible and never assume I have the right to anything. My wife monitors my solo rides through “Find My Friends” and will call or contact the police if she senses something is wrong.
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Old 11-22-18, 04:27 PM
  #138  
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Carbon, Ti ? everything?

So... any recommendations for really nice, carbon, Ti ankle/lights?


ankle implants?
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Old 11-25-18, 07:17 PM
  #139  
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[QUOTE=Carbonfiberboy;20669013]
Originally Posted by frkrygow View Post
Your attitude does not amaze me. I see it all the time. In my universe, I'm an endoskeleton creature. Automobiles have steel exoskeletons. In almost any contact between these two, the endoskeleton will lose, so I never make a contest out of it. I always give way. Besides physics, there's psychology. If I think I'm smarter, more experienced, or more aware than other occupants of the road, I'm going to lose, sooner or later because that's not a universal truth. Traffic laws are formulated to help smooth traffic flow and prevent accidents. The law says, "stay to the right." I much prefer to do that rather than argue my case from my hospital bed or have my estate argue it for me.


In 65 years of riding, I've had one accident with a motor vehicle, which vehicle turned out in front of me: my bad for wearing a blue-green jersey in Washington State and not having a forward white flasher. I've never worn that jersey since, even though it is a valued event jersey, and always have a 250 lumen forward flasher and a 300 lumen rear flasher, day and night. Never had another problem. BTW, cars never pass me with inches to spare, maybe because of the clothing and flashers and because I ride as far to the right as practical so they have lots of room. IME, drivers are extremely courteous, even the ones whose passengers shout "Get off the road!" No one wants a big fat lawsuit and no one tries to brush me back.

Well, you and I seem to have been riding about the same amount of time. (I'm in my 70s.) If results do matter, you're not doing as well as I. I've never had a car-bike crash, despite having ridden in 47 states and about 12 countries, doing tons of touring including a coast-to-coast, and commuting to work by bike for something like 30 years. And BTW, I don't use daytime lights, because I've never seen a need to do so. And my commuting was always in my ordinary office-casual work clothes. (It was only 7 miles to work, and I took it fairly easy on the way in.)


So what's responsible for my success? For me, things improved greatly in the mid to late 1970s when I was first taught to take the lane if it's too narrow to safely share, or if I'm moving the speed of traffic. Since then, close passes are rare, and the one bad incident that really changed me - a left-cross near miss - has never repeated. Why? I believe it's because I'm now very visible, not hidden in the roadside optical clutter. Now I don't get left crossed, I don't get right hooked, I almost never get buzz passed. Occasionally a motorist gets a bit irritated, but so what? I'm not going to endanger myself to mollify some self-important clod. I'll share the lane when it's safe to do so, but not when it would put me at risk.


I'll mention that there are quite a few cycling education programs and books - things like the LAB's course, or the (better) Cycling Savvy program. There's also CAN-Bike in Canada and the British Bikeability course. There are the books _Cyclecraft_ by John Franklin, _Street Smarts_ by John Allen, _Effective Cycling_ by John Forester. Those and countless other good sources explain the value of taking the lane when necessary. More to the point, they explain why the law does _NOT_ say just "stay to the right" as you claim.


Perhaps you should buy a copy of _Bicycling and the Law_ by Bob Mionske and get an explanation of what the laws really say. Then take a cycling class. It's never too late to learn.
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Old 11-28-18, 11:01 AM
  #140  
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[QUOTE=frkrygow;20677506]
Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post


Well, you and I seem to have been riding about the same amount of time. (I'm in my 70s.) If results do matter, you're not doing as well as I. I've never had a car-bike crash, despite having ridden in 47 states and about 12 countries, doing tons of touring including a coast-to-coast, and commuting to work by bike for something like 30 years. And BTW, I don't use daytime lights, because I've never seen a need to do so. And my commuting was always in my ordinary office-casual work clothes. (It was only 7 miles to work, and I took it fairly easy on the way in.)


So what's responsible for my success? For me, things improved greatly in the mid to late 1970s when I was first taught to take the lane if it's too narrow to safely share, or if I'm moving the speed of traffic. Since then, close passes are rare, and the one bad incident that really changed me - a left-cross near miss - has never repeated. Why? I believe it's because I'm now very visible, not hidden in the roadside optical clutter. Now I don't get left crossed, I don't get right hooked, I almost never get buzz passed. Occasionally a motorist gets a bit irritated, but so what? I'm not going to endanger myself to mollify some self-important clod. I'll share the lane when it's safe to do so, but not when it would put me at risk.


I'll mention that there are quite a few cycling education programs and books - things like the LAB's course, or the (better) Cycling Savvy program. There's also CAN-Bike in Canada and the British Bikeability course. There are the books _Cyclecraft_ by John Franklin, _Street Smarts_ by John Allen, _Effective Cycling_ by John Forester. Those and countless other good sources explain the value of taking the lane when necessary. More to the point, they explain why the law does _NOT_ say just "stay to the right" as you claim.


Perhaps you should buy a copy of _Bicycling and the Law_ by Bob Mionske and get an explanation of what the laws really say. Then take a cycling class. It's never too late to learn.
[Drops mic...]
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Old 12-05-18, 01:42 PM
  #141  
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I'm not a big fan myself of the "Crime Scene in the Los Vegas Strip" approach to bike lighting...



To me this "research" sounds like it was conducted by the marketing department..."listening tests" with speakers result in whichever one is louder winning. I imagine visual contests reward whichever one is brighter, more obnoxious, and more annoying as winning...


In my experience as a driver and biker the most visible bikes that also aren't horrible distracting are like these guys (with rear lights):


Maybe they're not as easy to sell because they require installation and can't easily be removed to save 500 grams...but in my experience they're the easiest to see without flashing/twirling/etc.

The "louder bigger brighter is always better" idea is quickly becomes nuts. An escalating battle where each person makes their lights brighter, flashier, and more eyecatching, until you can't see a thing driving down the road. It's really annoying.

But I do want to make sure that I'm safe at night and not distracted by others bright, flashing, irritating lights. I figure if I use a bright enough front light and it should drown all of the other bikes out. I think this guy should do the trick, hard to imagine anyone else being able to mount a brighter light on their bike...


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Old 12-09-18, 10:30 PM
  #142  
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Now that is a light!!! Love the lit bikes in colors. I am well lit at night and I do notice they slow down when they see me. Plus this time of year I get a lot of oh cool bike!! Even had someone ask to take my picture last week. Course It might have been the light up star on my head too. Hey someone did say I looked like a Christmas tree so I went with it! LOL Its all fun and safety.
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