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riding on roads with car traffic?

Old 09-28-20, 12:47 PM
  #1  
dwfoss
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Exclamation riding on roads with car traffic?

Hi, I live in virginia...ride mostly on W&OD bike trail...today, while a passenger in a car with my wife, we were driving near potomac maryland.
as we were driving on a 2 lane road, we came to a cross street...and there were 4 bike riders coming at us from the opposite direction.
It appeared there was a break in the traffic between our car and the one in front of us...
wasnt much room but all 4 bikers shot in front of us to make a left hand turn onto the cross street.
all appeared to be good riders, good bikes, the usually bike shorts, jerseys, clip in shoes...and helmets...
my wife isnt a bike rider and she asked me why they would do that?
note, none of them lifted a left hand/arm to signal the turn.
i tried to rationalize it by saying if you "have a pack, you have the power" to make such a move...
but she wasnt convinced...said that type of aggressive move is just why non riders think riders are arrogant...
tell me, how could I have defended that move? or could I?
I've seen it many times where riders, usually skilled / above avg types, display this behavior...
how do we keep a good name for ourselves with this sort of behavior.
thanks,
doug
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Old 09-29-20, 11:38 AM
  #2  
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Effective Cycling

Your description of the cyclists' behavior is not consistent with any bicycle safety training I've ever taken or read about, be it Effective Cycling or any program by the League of American Bicyclists.

I don't think their behavior reflects on anyone except themselves, any more than the driver that ran a red light in front of me represents all motorists.

I think the path to improving road culture in this country starts with "no one gets hurt on my trip" when each of us gets on the road, be it as a motorist, a pedestrian or a cyclist.
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Old 09-29-20, 11:42 AM
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Here's a question. Did your wife have to step on the brake to avoid hitting any of them? If not, maybe it just seemed like a dangerous move but in reality there was plenty of room for them to make the turn? I'm not defending them. I don't make moves like that simply because I respect what a car can do to me when I'm on a bike. In other words, people on bikes who take chances are just plain stupid.
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Old 09-29-20, 11:53 AM
  #4  
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Just imagine a car with four people inside turning the corner. Should those not driving signal also?

I know it's not quite the same, but when traveling as a group, I'd rather all the cyclists traveling as a group act as one vehicle instead of me having to determine what each of them is going to do when I'm driving.
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Old 09-29-20, 12:07 PM
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Thank you

Originally Posted by flangehead View Post
Your description of the cyclists' behavior is not consistent with any bicycle safety training I've ever taken or read about, be it Effective Cycling or any program by the League of American Bicyclists.

I don't think their behavior reflects on anyone except themselves, any more than the driver that ran a red light in front of me represents all motorists.

I think the path to improving road culture in this country starts with "no one gets hurt on my trip" when each of us gets on the road, be it as a motorist, a pedestrian or a cyclist.
thanks for the response...I agree, it was on them...but unfortunately, I see lots of drivers who lump all us bikers together. And bikers who lump all drivers together.
thanks
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Old 09-29-20, 12:09 PM
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Hi,
I think she hit the brake but barely...more of a perception on her part of uncertainty...
and I think she is representative of the "regular driver" world...
and they get nervous around us.
by not signaling, it sort of looked bad as a biker.
thank you
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Old 09-29-20, 12:11 PM
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ok, I can see that...maybe the first rider in line??? and the last?
thanks
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Old 09-29-20, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by dwfoss View Post
...as we were driving on a 2 lane road, we came to a cross street...and there were 4 bike riders coming at us from the opposite direction.
It appeared there was a break in the traffic between our car and the one in front of us...
wasnt much room but all 4 bikers shot in front of us to make a left hand turn onto the cross street.
Were there stop or yield signs? ...a 4-way intersection?
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Old 09-29-20, 01:00 PM
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So these riders made a safe and legal turn (other than not signaling)? And your concern is the perception caused by not signaling?
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Old 09-29-20, 01:05 PM
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Cars turn without signalling all the time. Sounds like it was a normal day.
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Old 09-29-20, 04:28 PM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by dwfoss View Post
Hi,
I think she hit the brake but barely...more of a perception on her part of uncertainty...
and I think she is representative of the "regular driver" world...
and they get nervous around us.
by not signaling, it sort of looked bad as a biker.
thank you
I think your wife may be representative of a world that consists of you and her. You and she apparantly get nervous/uncertain around cyclists riding legally and may have overreacted to a legal maneuver that, IAW your description of events, didn't endanger you or the cyclists at all.
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Old 09-29-20, 06:25 PM
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If you have to ask, you have your answer
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Old 09-29-20, 08:09 PM
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Here is how I make a left turn in that situation. About 600ft before the intersection I look for a gap in the traffic so I can occupy the left hand part of the lane. As I make that maneuver I stick my left hand straight out briefly to tell drivers behind me I’m turning. It’s the drivers following me who’s cooperation I need, drivers facing me not as much. As I arrive at the intersection both my hands are in the drops because I may have to stop or maneuver suddenly. Drivers in the intersection may not have seen my hand signal, but should understand my intention to turn left from my road position.
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Old 09-29-20, 10:10 PM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by dwfoss View Post
Hi, I live in virginia...ride mostly on W&OD bike trail...today, while a passenger in a car with my wife, we were driving near potomac maryland.
as we were driving on a 2 lane road, we came to a cross street...and there were 4 bike riders coming at us from the opposite direction.
It appeared there was a break in the traffic between our car and the one in front of us...
wasnt much room but all 4 bikers shot in front of us to make a left hand turn onto the cross street.
all appeared to be good riders, good bikes, the usually bike shorts, jerseys, clip in shoes...and helmets...
my wife isnt a bike rider and she asked me why they would do that?
note, none of them lifted a left hand/arm to signal the turn.
i tried to rationalize it by saying if you "have a pack, you have the power" to make such a move...
but she wasnt convinced...said that type of aggressive move is just why non riders think riders are arrogant...
tell me, how could I have defended that move? or could I?
I've seen it many times where riders, usually skilled / above avg types, display this behavior...
how do we keep a good name for ourselves with this sort of behavior.
thanks,
doug
What you saw are probably:

- "Brake Weenies" - they have great fear of losing their >20 mph "hard earned" momentum. Or just too lazy to build it up from scratch so braking is the least priority.

- Strava nuts. Establishing personal bests or trying to land top ten trophy. Strava is a safety risk for the undisciplined.

- Cyclists with inadequate bike handling skills - it takes a bit of advanced handling skills to hand signal while hunched down on the bike, in close proximity with other riders, and turning without losing stability. I know because my first few weeks into road cycling, I fear signaling because it felt so unstable riding one hand while hunched down. Eventually, I learned to use my core muscles to support my upper body weight while riding one hand.
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Old 09-30-20, 07:08 AM
  #15  
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While I generally signal when turning, there are times when it is not possible due to traffic conditions. While certainly it would have been more appropriate if the lead rider would have been signaled prior to turning, it seems that there was plenty of time for all 4 bicyclists to turn in front of you and your wife.

Without fully understanding the situation, speed of travel of cars, speed of travel of bicycles, cars moving behind bicyclists in the same lane, etc. it is difficult to understand if this was a dangerous situation for the bicyclists or a situation which you as a more cautious bicyclist are uncomfortable but it was completely safe for the cyclists.
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Old 09-30-20, 08:51 AM
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At the risk of awakening the sleeping VC militants, there are three ways for a person on a bike to make a left turn in Virgina Laws for Bicycling and Safety Tips, Changing Directions:
  1. Motorist Left Turn
  2. Pedestrian Left Turn
  3. Walk in Crosswalk
The four people on bikes chose door number one.

Second, "bicyclist must signal their intentions to stop or turn." BUT "The signals do not have to be given continuously if both hands are needed to control the bicycle."

So, they may have signaled earlier, you and your spouse didn't see the signal, and then they "shot" across your bow.

How do we keep a good name for ourselves? LEARN THE LAWS AND RULES IN YOUR AREA.

I hope you know your commonwealth's laws and rules for the W&OD trail better.

BTW, helpful hint. If four people on bikes are riding in the oncoming left lane or the far left of the oncoming lane, they are riding there because they are about to turn.

(Exception, certain VC militants who "control" the lane. If they are giving flappy bird signals they think they are communicating with you. Nobody knows what they are "saying." Thankfully, VC militants are rare and rarely travel in groups, because, well, they are rare.)

p.s. As far as the reply that speculates that people in drops can't signal. PUH-LEASE.

p.p.s. Always be skeptical of the person on a bicycle who registers for a bike forum to complain about people on bikes.

-mr. bill

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Old 09-30-20, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post

p.p.s. Always be skeptical of the person on a bicycle who registers for a bike forum to complain about people on bikes.

-mr. bill
True story.

Oh, and by the way, what do "flappy bird signals" look like? I don't believe I've ever seen these. Since I'm somewhat of a bird watcher, I want to know what to look for.
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Old 09-30-20, 09:22 AM
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The big picture should include the concept that any safe driver or safe cyclist should be aware that not all other drivers or cyclists follow or even know the rules of the road. If you get bent out of shape when you encounter them, then maybe you need to ask if you are safe too. A vehicle operator (cyclist included) has the responsibility to be ready for the unexpected.
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Old 09-30-20, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
True story.

Oh, and by the way, what do "flappy bird signals" look like? I don't believe I've ever seen these. Since I'm somewhat of a bird watcher, I want to know what to look for.
So much is said by those little wings.

My favorite are "I see the you in you" which keep motorists behind you from getting annoyed (1:00, pole 56), and "We are family!" (2:00, pole 101).

But most saavy [not sic] is the direct traffic hand signals, such as "Do not pass! Traffic ahead!" (0:37, pole 39).


-mr. bill
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Old 09-30-20, 10:56 AM
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There are quite a few hand signals that are just not meant for motorist. We might be pointing out a crack, pothole or rough spot for riders behind. Maybe twitching an elbow for another to take a turn. So many things can be flappy arms to motorists and others that just don't know.

As for the video from mr_bill It brings back too many memories of how many quarters I wasted on similar arcade games back in the day!

But I got them back... I went and spent 5000 dollars on a PC in the early eighties and probably paid another thousand or so on various games so I could play for free! Though the math actual savings is dubious! <grin>

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