commuting in highly urban areas?



Squeaker

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Apr 20, 2004
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Chris_L said:
I dunno, I've seen that one backfire too many times to bother with it anymore. A lot of drivers around here take it to mean that you've seen them, meaning they tend to charge straight through your path (regardless of red lights, stop/give way signs etc) without bothering to look. Personally, I look for a more reliable indication.

Hi new commuter. There's loads of good advice in the other posts here - my own 2p worth would just be make yourself highly visible, watch out for suicidal pedestrians, make sure you know the rules of the road and (unless you're a real sporting type and speed is important to you) try and relax and pretend you're just out for a nice leisurely ride.

As for eye contact with drivers, I agree with Chris - the fact you've passed through someone's field of vision and made eye contact doesn't mean they've seen you. I've found drivers waiting to pull out of a t-junction when I'm on the main road will often pull out anyway even if I'm sure they've seen me - if I stop pedalling and freewheel ready for an emergency stop they'll often interpret that as me giving way. I suppose the moral is just assume everyone you see on the road will do the wrong thing and be prepared for it.

Good luck with your commuting, I'm sure you'll really enjoy it!
 

TheDL

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Jul 1, 2004
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Squeaker said:
Hi new commuter. There's loads of good advice in the other posts here - my own 2p worth would just be make yourself highly visible, watch out for suicidal pedestrians, make sure you know the rules of the road and (unless you're a real sporting type and speed is important to you) try and relax and pretend you're just out for a nice leisurely ride.

As for eye contact with drivers, I agree with Chris - the fact you've passed through someone's field of vision and made eye contact doesn't mean they've seen you. I've found drivers waiting to pull out of a t-junction when I'm on the main road will often pull out anyway even if I'm sure they've seen me - if I stop pedalling and freewheel ready for an emergency stop they'll often interpret that as me giving way. I suppose the moral is just assume everyone you see on the road will do the wrong thing and be prepared for it.

Good luck with your commuting, I'm sure you'll really enjoy it!
How "fast" are the roads you all are commuting on? I'm looking at starting to commute myself and a couple of stretches on my propose route are posted at 55 mph. There is a bike lane but at one point I'd need to cross to the far left lane to follow my route. To me that sounds scary.
 

Squeaker

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Apr 20, 2004
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TheDL said:
How "fast" are the roads you all are commuting on? I'm looking at starting to commute myself and a couple of stretches on my propose route are posted at 55 mph. There is a bike lane but at one point I'd need to cross to the far left lane to follow my route. To me that sounds scary.

My commuting is done in 30 mph zones, so I can't offer much experience of faster traffic (mind you, in my home town the 30 limit is outrageously ignored by a few drivers ...). I'm sure others can tell you how to handle changing lanes in faster traffic. The only advice I can offer on this is that you must practise looking over your shoulder to see what's behind you, in a quiet car park if necessary (or get a mirror) - it isn't enough to signal and hope for the best.
 

tinajoy

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Jun 20, 2004
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Squeaker said:
My commuting is done in 30 mph zones, so I can't offer much experience of faster traffic (mind you, in my home town the 30 limit is outrageously ignored by a few drivers ...). I'm sure others can tell you how to handle changing lanes in faster traffic. The only advice I can offer on this is that you must practise looking over your shoulder to see what's behind you, in a quiet car park if necessary (or get a mirror) - it isn't enough to signal and hope for the best.
I used to ride to work but then I got hit by an RTD bus......and I'm too scared now. Riding there was great because I rode early before the traffic.......it is riding home that is bad, that's when I got hit. I miss the ride too work very much! Riding early in the morning just as the sun is coming up is THE BEST.

I'm just glad to be still riding and healthy!!
 

tpat3

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Aug 2, 2004
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Guest said:
My office is really only about 10 to 12 miles from home. I have often thought of commuting on my bike. But, quite honestly the people here scare me enough just driving in my car. I seems that I am almost in a wreck close to twice daily. And, I already drive the "backroads" into the office.

Traffic here seems to start at 7:00AM and go until 9:30. And, traffic isn't just on the highways. As a matter of fact, it takes me 30 minutes to drive the 12 miles I have to get to work, just taking the side roads.

I do have a shower here at work. Which is nice.

I guess my concern is..this town isn't used to people riding bikes to work. As a matter of fact, I can't think of ANY instance where I have seen people riding to work. And, the evening traffic is even worse. It starts at 3:30/4 and goes until at least 7pm. It is QUITE ridiculous.

Do you suggest even giving it a try? I mean, given the circumstances and the idiots. These people freak out when it rains. The all of a sudden can't drive at the slightest sprinkle. And, what kind of schedule would have to keep in order to avoid all the idiots?

It just doesn't seem very safe to me...at least in my situation.

Anyone got an urban commute that they make work?
I've just begun making part of my commute on my bike and I say absolutely do it. I work in an urban area with lots of lunatic drivers, too. Just assume all of them mean to kill you and take the appropriate steps to keep safe. These include:

Don't make it a race
Obey all rules of the road (as if you were driving a car)
Act as if you own the road (you do)
Leave enough room between you and potential trouble (being cut off, mainly) and know what you will do when it happens
Flip off any driver who beeps his horn at you
Glare menacingly at all numbskulls who infringe on your rights, even a little (I did this yesterday to a police officer in an SUV who clearly saw me travelling in a bike lane but stuck his front bumper in my way regardless)

Overall, try to relax and have a good time, which you will in spite of the countless morons with whom you must share the road.

I've worked in Boston for almost twenty years, mainly taking public transit, and only began riding my bike a couple weeks ago. I am astonished at what I've been missing. Just this morning I explored parts of Charlestown including Old Ironsides (the oldest commissioned US Naval vessel otherwise known as the Constitution), the Bunker Hill Monument and rode down the street where my grandfather lived as a boy. This detour added maybe a half hour to my commute. Yesterday on my way home, I rode along the Charles River, on a beautiful bike path, and on down to the Boston waterfront on some streets in the North End I never even knew existed. Plus I feel great.

This is a free pass to a whole new world. Go enjoy it.
 

kf5nd

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Jul 26, 2004
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Your town sounds like my town, full of rude idiots (Houston, TX)

I ride 35 miles round-trip, but honestly, I wouldn't do it if I didn't have shoulders and bike lanes to ride in. I am forced to mix-in with the traffic a few times during my commute, and I'm extra-careful when so doing. No problems thus far.

The key is to test-ride it on the weekends, or an a day-off from work.

Helmet or eyeglasses mirror! Lights front and rear! Flourescent clothing!

I don't ride in the rain anymore if I can help it. I wiped out in the rain, was painful.:(
 

kf5nd

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Jul 26, 2004
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Boy, do I disagree with that advice. Getting angry only makes more bad karma.

If they beep, I wave.:)

If they get in my way, I wait for them... if I were driving a car, I'd have to wait for them, too... but I put on a little street-threatre, dramatize the situation, make other people look, make the offender feel embarrassed if possible (I know, most offenders have no shame)



tpat3 said:
Flip off any driver who beeps his horn at you
Glare menacingly at all numbskulls who infringe on your rights, even a little (I did this yesterday to a police officer in an SUV who clearly saw me travelling in a bike lane but stuck his front bumper in my way regardless)
 

tpat3

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Aug 2, 2004
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kf5nd said:
Boy, do I disagree with that advice. Getting angry only makes more bad karma.

If they beep, I wave.:)

If they get in my way, I wait for them... if I were driving a car, I'd have to wait for them, too... but I put on a little street-threatre, dramatize the situation, make other people look, make the offender feel embarrassed if possible (I know, most offenders have no shame)
Maybe it's a cultural thing based on where we live: here in Boston I ride my bike like I drive my car and respond to all affronts as described above. It probably is a little too aggressive, but so far it has worked.