Bikers Never Stop!

Discussion in 'Commuting and Road Safety' started by KStony, May 17, 2010.

  1. KStony

    KStony New Member

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    I live by a University and see bikers running through stop signs almost every day. It makes it even worse that cars frequently come to a skidding stop because they don't see the clearly placed signs in time.

    They can't be biking like they own the road, gona get ya killed! Bah! Just my rant.

    What's the worst bike safety you've seen on the road?
     
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  2. serra

    serra New Member

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    Hm, probably running stop signs on the wrong side of the street. Oh, and flying off sidewalks, scaring the crud out of car drivers. Makes me feel even more sorry for them.
     
  3. decca234uk

    decca234uk New Member

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    This thread is a nice coincidence because I'm still annoyed about an idiot cyclist who I watched going down the road on a dark night. He was dressed all in black, it was dark and he had no lights or reflectors and he was sat up riding with his hands in his jacket pockets on a main road. What a complete idiot. It's because of things like this that cyclists get a bad name.

    Driver's don't remember the decent cyclists they remember the idiots who have caused them to take some for of evasive action.
     
  4. 64Paramount

    64Paramount Active Member

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    Exactly right and I think it's just human nature.

    What's that old saying? Something like; It takes ten attaboys to get over 1 awe****.
     
  5. One-i-

    One-i- New Member

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    Yes, and for every bad cyclist they remember they also forget about the other 100 bad car drivers they have encountered beforehand!
     
  6. Nukuhiva

    Nukuhiva Member

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    Decca pretty much describes the majority of cyclists in my area. Stop signs, red lights and such are seen as 'suggestions' rather than regulations by most everyone - most notably drivers and motorcyclists, so it's basically a dog-eat-dog free for all anyway. I used to stop for stop signs. Sometimes, I still do, if I feel like practicing trackstands. Aside from that, be on your guard, be ready to swerve, bail, brake hard, etc. at all times, carry a bike lock/chain/club just in case things get gnarly and ride hard.
     
  7. Wlfdg

    Wlfdg New Member

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    My personal favorite is the folks who ride IN the road NEXT to the bike lane. :rolleyes:
     
  8. Nukuhiva

    Nukuhiva Member

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    Funny you should mention that.....
    There's a pretty long bike path running alongside a major high speed road (which will probably be a freeway bypass or something like that in 20 years) right up against the foothills, and it's pretty much as nice of a bike path you could expect to find in a desert urban environment. There's even prairie dogs and bunnies.
    Yet, the actual bike path is only ever used by pedestrians with or without dogs, the odd leftover rollerblader and one guy on 'land skis' cross training for biathlon.
    Where do the Lance Armstrong wannabes ride?
    On the shoulder of the road, 3 or 4 abreast, right next to the exhaust of cars going 70 in a 50.........
     
  9. SierraSlim

    SierraSlim Active Member

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    Decca, I nearly hit that idiot! Or at least an idiot just like him. It was late at night, he was a black man, dressed all in black, on a black bike complete with blackened spokes and no silver anywhere, no lights or reflectors to be found. He was going down the middle of my lane ahead of me. The ONLY reason I saw him in time to avoid him was because an oncoming car suddenly silhouetted him against their headlights. Otherwise, I would have plowed into him. It still gives me shivers.

    It wouldn't have been my fault at all -- but I'd never have been able to get over it, just the same. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/frown.gif
     
  10. pennstater

    pennstater New Member

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    Whats scary are the kids I see riding around at night with dark clothing that you can barely see. I don't even ride in the dark, unless on a decently lit walking path/trail. I'm not a parent, but if I were my kids wouldn't be cycling at night especially without flashing front and rear lights that drivers can usually see from a distance.

    As for not stopping at stop signs... I might be guilty of that myself on occassion, but usually it is more of a "rolling stop".
     
  11. SierraSlim

    SierraSlim Active Member

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    Hey, Stater!

    My at-home kids wouldn't be cycling at night, either!! EVER. But my daughter, who is 35 and lives on her own, commutes by bike to work each day. Good for her for getting healthy! But now it's dark in the morning when she goes, and it scares me to death. She's VERY cautious, has a good head on her, and has lights on her bike that are actually almost TOO bright. So nobody will ever be able to say they didn't see her because of the dark. Of course, if the worst were to happen, that wouldn't be much comfort!

    I'm afraid I have been known to do rolling stops, as well. I mean, I come as close to stopping as you can, without falling over, but then if no traffic is coming I go ahead and cross the intersection. Maybe it's because I'm new enough to biking that getting on and off well is hard for me, once I stop, and I DREAD doing it in front of people. So if I can, I pause and proceed, lol.

    If that makes me a lousy cyclist, I do apologize. I'll have to go somewhere private and practice my mounting when my new bike comes! At least with her I can move the pedal into the position I want, without having to move the bike too.

    Have a good one.
     
  12. InfinityMPG

    InfinityMPG New Member

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    I do agree with making sure that we as cyclists do our part to show drivers who don't cycle that we belong on the road, but on the subject of not using bike lanes or bike paths..

    Bike lanes are great when they're there, but you would not see me using a bike lane if it's in the "door zone" -- where cars are parked and an opened door would cross into the bike lane -- as this completely destroys the usefulness of the bike lane. Bike lanes can also be dangerous when they're covered with debree and dirt or if they move over sewer drains and bumps. A lot of cities install bike lanes and don't maintain them or else seem not to care what cyclists encounter on them. A white line, alone, does little. I still ride predictably when I'm trying to avoid these obstacles, not swirving sharply or anything, and I hug the line as much as possible, but if it looks like debree could cause a flat or a wipeout, once again, the bike lane has lost its usefulness.

    As for Multi-Use trails, the same thing can apply to those. Even if cyclists are allowed on these trails and they're off of the roadway, they can be dangerous for cyclists to use. Slow cyclists (below maybe, 12mph) can benefit from a casual cruise on these trails, but commuting or training at speeds above 20mph is not safe around people who are just walking or jogging.

    Anyways, keep an eye out. Some cyclists may well be taking the lane unnecessarily in the presence of bike lanes, but unless you've ridden that exact bike lane and are confident that there are no obstacles or safety issues, you should be able to give the benefit of the doubt -- especially if you yourself are a cyclist.
     
  13. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    I could do with a free Lambo or Ferrari. Do you reckon if I completely ignored the fact that some kid just rode through a red light and onto the hood on my car that I could sue him for damages and post-accident traumatic stress?

    It still amazes me the liberties that so many cyclists that I see in the US take on public roads. I never saw anything like that in England. It's like there's a whole herd of cyclists that are just missing vital parts of their brain are wandering the streets in a state of utter retardation just begging to be smashed into pieces.

    ... and don't get me started on Critical Mass. I don't think it'll be too long before we hear of someone in a F-350 super duty with a 2ft lift goes on a rampage during one of those events.
     
  14. InfinityMPG

    InfinityMPG New Member

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    The US is a big country. What works in a relatively micro system like The Netherlands (size of Maryland) or England (size of Louisiana) is a lot tougher to apply to the greater land area. There's a bigger audience to reach, and a lot of cultural barriers to get through, with each city seeming to have its own cycling etiquette or specific attitude towards cyclists.

    In Portland, I would say that the majority of cyclists obey traffic laws -- stopping at stop signs and red lights, signalling, etc. There is plenty of support for the bicycle culture, and a "do your part" attitude. I've still seen people running signs on occasion, but it's usually pretty easy to tell who is experienced in the area and who just grabbed a bicycle and is winging it, plus, bicycle law breakers tend to get "called out" more by their fellow cyclists. Head off to San Francisco, and it's still a bicycle friendly city, with the major change of it being that it is also somehow a place where cyclists routinely fly through stop signs. It's an interesting contradiction; a large cycling community with often bad behavior, but with a motorist acceptance of bicycle behaviors that make it a safe city to travel. Drop off the "bicycle friendly cities" list [ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/08/20-most-bike-friendly-cit_n_530186.html#s79376 ] and it gets worse.

    In many Southern cities cycling is something that people do not want to see. You start hearing about people who think that streets should be off-limits to cyclists, and the few local cyclists that the city has end up making huge commuter detours just to get to the same place. New Orleans, for instance, someone in the above link called "bicycle friendly" because there are bike paths on the river and lake fronts. Segregation is not bicycle-friendly. If you have to use segregated roads for travel then your options are limited. Imagine what that does to a local's psyche. They grow up thinking, "Oh yeah, bicycling is fine -- just go to the river-front to do it." What you end up with is a cyclist who sells themself short. In a place where bicycles and cars are rarely on the road together, there's not enough interaction for cyclists to even realize that stop-signs apply -- it's still just a leisurely activity minimized to sunny, weekend rides. For drivers that same lack of interaction can lead to the old imposed class prejudice against the smaller vehicle. That's the cultural barrier that people can be up against when there's no community. And it just degrades. That means no funding for bike lanes, no bike awareness campaigns, and very little progress. All there ends up being is cyclists "winging it," motorists getting angry, and politicians being powerless to affect change in that environment.

    Too long, yeah, so here's the wrap-up; again, it's the elementary school message: "Do your part." I don't think pure motorists (non-cyclists) visit here often, so for the leisure cyclists: don't go halfway. Don't dismiss it by saying, "it's okay on certain roads;" pick your battles, sure, but look around at the cultural impact that your area is producing, and ask if you're contributing to a prejudice. Ride, and ride often. Obey the laws, correct fellow cyclists (not from behind the wheel of a big truck, and be friendly about it), "thank you" wave the good drivers, and when you get out there, see yourself as an ambassador of the sport.
     
  15. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    I see the same idiots that you all see, but the worst by far was a man teaching his three or four year old daghter how to ride in the bike lane of a busy road. Come on, take her to a parking lot or to one of the many multi-use trails in the area. I was afraid that she was going to wobble right out in front of a car.

    Another beef is recumbent riders in the ultra-low bikes. I drive a full size pickup truck and I can't see them. Yeah, they have a little orange flag that sits about four feet over their head, but ya know what? There's a lot of orange leaves in the fall around here.
     
  16. daibutsu

    daibutsu New Member

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    "Obey the laws", and 'take your kids [to learn to ride] to the multi use trail' (paraphrased, here) are both situationally inane and stupid. Firstly, bikes are not cars, motor vehicles, or whatever. In all the jurisdictions I ride in everyone expects something else from us. On the sidewalk, get on the street, get off the street you're not a motor vehicle; get ticketed, like a car but have no rights. I've never encountered a traffic light sensor that changes the light for a bike. Other than recumbents, we see lot's more all around us, pedestrians (we are pedestrians on bikes, incidentally, and we need to promote that concept: more on that later..) aren't threatened by us approaching like an errant car.

    I don't remember taking a test where I drove a bike around for some gruff examiner, what do I have to know about signage, what damage to the roads do i do? Where's the damage I might can do like a car running into someone else? Minimal. I'm not paying road use tax, and am not a cab, or truck. If your 'powers that be' make you even consider the equality of sharing in responsibility, but always getting no benefit, then you can stop at lights when you can see all around, re-accelerate with the same cars at every intersection, wait like a kid behind cars breathing fumes.

    Not me: 35 years bike commuting, being very strategically aggressive ( which auto drivers sense and actually respect ), My simple mantra is I'm a pedestrian on a bike, with enhanced vision, acceleration, and endurance. I'm mostly doing motorists a favor by not being another competing driver.

    I live in DC; Cabs ( Third World drivers thinking bikers are Fourth Class ) Metro Buses (lot's of fatal incidents with the weak) and lot's of tourists (which doesn't necessarily mean I accomodate) make for an exciting experience. When i gotta move, I move,

    Don't get me started!!! Keep your kids off multi-use trails to learn how to bike. Teach them how to ride and trail etiquette; where most are really equal, i.e., no cars.
     
  17. InfinityMPG

    InfinityMPG New Member

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    My bad, I let this thread get away from me.

    I should be more specific in my meaning of "Obey the Law" by adding "...by default." In a car, for instance, a "rolling stop" through a stop sign is illegal. A car must come to a complete hault before passing through the stop sign. When I'm on my bike I come to a complete stop at a 4-way stop sign where other traffic is waiting for their turn, and track stand until it's my turn, but if there's a stop sign and I'm making a right turn with little or no traffic, I roll through. Similarly I will roll through stop signs where the timing works out with a car going the direction I'm going, or where a side street is feeding into the current path from the left side of the road but where there is no roadway to the right (3-way stop); because I'm on the right side of the road, cross traffic is not impeded by my continuance. Also, in the case of being stuck at red-lights, I don't just sit there and wait all alone for an automation that doesn't register my presence. I'll either make a right, U-Turn, and then make the right to be back on my way, or I'll just run it. However, technically running a stop sign or stop light in these conditions is still illegal, so by default cyclists should be aware that they can still be cited by police, however rare a possibility that is. I would just say to be prepared to explain or justify the action. So what I mean by "Obey the Law [... by default]" is to protect yourself legally before creating all the grey areas of rolling stops and cycle-specific opportunities.

    I, personally, am also not sitting behind a queue of cars breathing in their exhaust waiting for my turn, I agree. F*** that. The people waiting in the queue ahead probably just floored it past me to make a point of how cool they are. If they're stuck at a light or at a sign it's my turn to return the favor. I filter to the front and go with the next turn. Filtering is the rush-hour moneymaker. All those angry drivers get to floor it into red lights and I get to pass them going 20 something. That's one of my favorite things while riding. I like to think that the people who are then miles behind me still stuck in traffic will reconsider what they're burning everyday while getting nowhere fast. Probably that's too optimistic.
     
  18. steve

    steve Administrator
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    In a lot of places it's not illegal to pass stationary vehicles on their inside (ie; left in Australia / right in USA). So proceeding to the front of the queue is both reasonable and legal. Most major roads around here have a sealed shoulder, so vehicles can re-pass a rider without and issues.
     
  19. Mcwop

    Mcwop New Member

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    Agree.

    I look at it this way 90% of drivers on the road absolutely suck at driving. I mean horrible, and they hate cyclists. They hate that you can move around the city (Baltimore for me) as fast as them, and remind them they are burning $$$ on gas, and killing the environment. They hate pedestrians, and they hate all other drivers. They will try to beat pedestrians in the crosswalk, they will buzz you on your bike. They will try to cut off every car in sight. Drivers are a diseased bunch, hurling a giant dangerous object about. They want the road to themselves, and screw everyone else. When I was young and stupid, I was sort of like that too, but I grew up.

    I ride my bike around to be kind to the environment, save gas $$, and get exercise. It is war out there, and you gotta do what you gotta do, and try not to be a dangerous ass. I would like not to get killed, and that sometimes requires me to break the rules. I cannot wait for $6-8 a gallon gas so all the dumb drivers can sit at home and stew, while I jet around town at 0MPG. Be safe out there - wear a helmet - saved me once when a jerk left turned in front of me.

     
  20. 64Paramount

    64Paramount Active Member

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    I suppose if you can pass cars while they are stopped at a red light and you don't hold up traffic when the light turns green again, then that's okay. Sure, some of the drivers won't like it as it smacks of "the cutting into the line is bad" type behaviour that a lot of us had drilled into us in kindergarden school. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif But, if you aren't really affecting them one way or another.


    However, if you pass cars at a red light and then they have to pass you again because you can't keep up with the flow of traffic, which is probably going to running at the speed limit or more, then that's not okay. I often see riders slide past the cars at a red light, then they've got a line of cars following them having to wait to have room to safely pass when the light turns green. Some or maybe all of the cars may finally be able to pass, but sometimes they hit another red light and the cyclist again passes some of those same cars on the right. Then those cars go have to work their way past the rider again if they want to be able to drive at the speed limit. Now, I wonder why those drivers get so irrated?
     
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