On Cyclists and Cars – and Common Sense and Coexistence

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As a biker (and someone who rode bicycles in the past) I’m sympathetic to people on bicycles. Cagers (people in cars) can be dicks.

Courtesy – and common sense – should extend both ways, though.

People in cars should should never crowd cyclists – and pass with care, when it’s safe to do so. It is horrifically easy to seriously injure a guy on a 50 pound cycle when you’re driving a 5,000 lb. SUV.

Cyclists, for their part, should be aware of cars – and do their best not to impede them – just as slow-moving car drivers, RV drivers and drivers of tractors, etc., ought not to. Moving over to the right – or even off the road, if need be – is sometimes the courteous (and arguably, safe) move. I do it when I’m hauling junk in my truck, for example. It’s no skin off my nose – and I’ve never understood why any slow-mover (car, bicycle, whatever) wouldn’t do it, once they notice you back there. It dissipates tension (more on this in a moment) and beyond that, it’s just the cool thing to do. You see there’s someone behind you who obviously would like to get by.

Why not let them by?

We have a large number of cyclists in my area and here, at least, part of the mutual animosity between cyclists and cagers stems from belligerent actions by both parties. Car drivers who “shave” the cyclists, deliberately trying to intimidate them by passing as close to them as possible. Cyclists, who ride two (or three – or  a dozen) abreast uphill doing less than 15 MPH on a road with a 45-plus MPH traffic flow… .

One group grows to resent – then hate – the other. And some in each group begin to actively look for an opportunity to  harass the members of the other group – as in the video of the man in the Explorer laying on his horn as he creeped along behind a pair of cyclists. (Video of that here.)

Anus apertures abound – some in tight-fitting spandex; others in Easy Fit jeans.

Each is equally smelly.

There are also structural problems – specifically, the increasing absence of legal passing zones. In my area, they are being disappeared at a startling rate.  Formerly legal passing zones with clear sight lines and plenty of room to do it safely – just painted over double yellow. I assume this is being done to provide more pretext for ticket-issuing, or just as another dumbing-down measure precipitated by the actions of a Clover like that guy in the Explorer who could not execute a safe pass – and so now everyone is prohibited from passing. Very much like no-right-on-red.

It’s no fun for the cyclists, either. Who wants to have three or four (or a dozen) cars breathing down one’s neck?

In any case, the absence of legal passing zones makes it more frustrating – and thus, dangerous – for car drivers to pass slow-moving bicyclists. Because now, the car driver is faced with executing a potentially ticketable maneuver – which affects his concentration on the task, makes him nervous – etc. Hence, it makes executing a safe pass more difficult for those who choose to attempt it – and discourages many from even trying, out of fear of being caught by Officer Unfriendly and issued a piece of payin’ paper. Result? A conga line of cars creeping along behind a cyclist at perhaps 20 or 30 MPH below the speed limit for that road. The cyclist won’t pull off or move over – and the cars won’t try to pass. Or they pass unsafely.

This gins up tension – and tension on the road is inherently unsafe.

Anything that impedes the natural, smooth flow of traffic is a problem – whatever the cause. It can be an artificially low speed limit or dumbed-down laws that make reasonable actions (such as making a right on red when the way is obviously clear, or passing a cyclist when it’s clearly safe to do so) illegal. Or it can be drivers – or cyclists – who refuse to obey the Prime Directive of the road: Yield to faster-moving traffic.

It is technically (legally) correct, of course, that bicycles are vehicles under the law, just like cars – and entitled to use the road just like cars. But that ought not to become an excuse for anus aperture conduct.  Bicycles – like RVs – have some inherent limitations (they’re slow) and these limitations arguably impose some additional obligations on those piloting them.

That obligation being simple common courtesy. Yield, when other vehicles are stacking up behind you. I suspect if more cyclists did this as a matter of course, there’d be a lot less tension between car drivers and cyclists. Similarly, if you’re in a car, remember that you’re in a car – and several thousand pounds of steel and glass can be very intimidating. Exercise extra caution. Don’t be a dick.

Another structural problem is the absence of dedicated bike lanes on roads where motorized traffic is moving at speeds significantly higher than bicycle traffic can keep up with. This is called speed variance – and it’s a known killer. It results in abrupt slow-downs, speed ups, crossings of the double yellow – and so on. More tension equals more dangerous road conditions – for all parties. Dedicated bike lanes greatly ameliorate the inherently unsafe condition that otherwise exists when you have vehicles operating at significantly different speeds on the same road. Unfortunately, like turn-out lanes, bike lanes are still a relative rarity in most areas. There are “resources” available to pay for $40,000 cop car Taurus SHOs (see here for a story about that) … but not for an extra 12 inches of asphalt on the shoulder. Notwithstanding that it would probably “save a lot more lives,” in the popular jargon of today.

The bottom line? A little courtesy – and common sense – goes a long way. Try not to be dick to your fellow road users, no matter what they’re driving – or riding.

And vice versa.

 Throw it in the Woods?   

 

 

 

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eric

Author of "Automotive Atrocities" and "Road Hogs" (MBI). Currently living amongst the Edentulites in rural SW Virginia. 

  171 comments for “On Cyclists and Cars – and Common Sense and Coexistence

  1. Tor Munkov
    September 22, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    This is a classic case of an inequality. Clovers become insensed because everyone is not equal. TPTB working behind the scenes are more than happy to outlaw everything and stop everyone everywhere from traveling on an individually controlled vehicle.
    As the article says the person with less power needs to yield and make allowances.
    This a life principle you should learn and apply everywhere.
    I spend a lot of time in free shit army controlled territory. If you are in SE DC there’s a good chance a bike rider is on the job and gang affiliated. Especially at night. The unseen is karma that can be a real bitch. I always redneckonize and mind my p’s r’s and e’s. Preps perps reep what you so la ti do. The tune you play to others gets reflected back to you. Don’t rush the tempo toget to the good part.
    Maybe driving thru crowded trashy streets with crips and ms13s strutting by like tortoises on crack is the good part.
    You have the right to drive what ever speedd you can get away with. At the same time the local ghetto galts have a right to keep traffic slow so they can create and profit from their roadside agora.
    WRONGTHINK IS TO OVERLY COMPLY until we’re all stuck in a nightmare mediocristan.
    Rightthink is to enjoy max speed where you can and endure a city of bikers and FSA baggy pants dawdlers where you must. Extremistan is the place a freedom lover can really live and enjoy his thing and others including your mortal enemies can live and enjoy theirs.
    Doublethrow it at Tiger Woods? Or let the polyamorous multinationals play by their rules while you play by yours.

    • MoT
      September 23, 2012 at 6:24 pm

      Tor, sometimes when I “read” you it’s like sitting in on a beat poetry session in some smoke filled coffee shop. (que the bongo drums)

      • September 25, 2012 at 2:05 pm

        Ah, whining about bicycles eh? Try living in Asia.

        Here the motorcyclists will drive you binge-drinking crazy…

        Then again so do the car drivers, and truck drivers, and bus drivers…

        I love Asians, heck I married one – but they can’t drive for shit.

        • Zig-Zag
          September 28, 2012 at 5:29 am

          I don’t know where in “Asia” you are referring to, as it’s a pretty damn big continent, however if by the commonly accepted stereotype of “Asian” you mean somewhere in the Orient then I have to respectfully disagree.

          At least with respect to the developed far east. Personally never been in south east Asia.

          I could see why an American, or ANY Westerner for that matter, would think “Asians” are terrible drivers. You just look at the traffic on the road and it appears to be complete chaos. However, I expect this is because a Westerner will be looking through their own “goggles” and expect orderly, clearly defined, designated by law segregated lanes that must be adhered to. While there are of course traffic laws, they are treated as very loose guidelines at best sometimes. Sure there may be 3 cars side by side in 2 lanes (which are narrower than a standard road lane in US), with people weaving in and out of traffic to get where they need to go. But in all the chaos people make room and allow others over, merge and transition without much difficulty.

          In all the crowded jumbled mess there are relatively few accidents. IMO miniscule compared to what I’ve seen on American roadways, granted I don’t have statistical evidence of that. But I think it’s entirely unfair to criticize “Asians” for their driving b/c they don’t drive like YOU want or expect them to. I believe it partly has to do with culture, as “Asians” are generally more courteous and willing to “work as a unit” than westerners. Personally never seen/heard of any Asian, in Asia at least, getting road rage at being “cut off” by someone merging onto the highway as would be terribly common in USSA.

  2. Eric_G
    September 22, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Colorado revised their bicycle/car laws a few years ago, most think for the better (they also put a law out there that slow moving vehicles, like campers and 5th wheels MUST yield, but the Texans don’t understand that). You are permitted to cross a double yellow to pass a bicycle when it is safe to do so. Safe is of course open to interpretation.

    I always ride with a clip-on rear view mirror. It is easily the best safety device I own. I don’t know that it should be mandatory or not, but it really does help me know what’s going on around me. Most responsible riders will look behind them before making a move, such as into a left-turn lane or if they need to get out into the middle of the road because the road is chewed up, but a mirror makes it something I don’t even think about, just a quick glance and go.

    I see more and more riders with headphones too. It’s hard enough to hear with all the wind noise and now they’re just making it worse (not to mention earbuds tend to amplify wind noise, forcing the listener to crank up the tunes higher and going deaf that much sooner).

    • September 22, 2012 at 5:05 pm

      The headphone thing is incredibly reckless, in my opinion.

      Bicycle – or car – or motorcycle – you’ve made yourself deaf to your surroundings and so, a menace to yourself and others.

      • MoT
        September 22, 2012 at 7:42 pm

        And yet how many knuckleheads wear ear buds while driving down the road? I’ve long since lost count. Their weaving and general obliviousness to it all is vexing. Still, in a libertarian society, there shouldn’t be a “law” to rectify rectal cranial inversion.

        • liberranter
          September 23, 2012 at 6:52 pm

          Exactly. I’ve reached the point where I absolutely want to T-bone, against the nearest concrete wall, the brainless f***tards who text while driving. Instead I give them as wide a berth as possible and hope and pray that when the inevitable accident occurs, it’s against some inanimate object and that they’re the only fatalities, not anyone else unfortunate enough to be a passenger in their car or on the road with them at the same time.

          IOW, let Darwinian nature take its course.

      • dom
        September 22, 2012 at 8:21 pm

        Doh, I wear ear plugs every time I ride my motorcycle. But even with them on I think I can hear better than most people.

        • Mithrandir
          September 23, 2012 at 12:44 pm

          It might depend on the ear plugs. Some might block certain frequencies (often higher frequencies) better than others. This can improve over all hearing by reducing some background (wind) noise.

        • Bob Robertson
          September 25, 2012 at 2:19 pm

          The difference between “ear buds” and “ear plugs” is important.

          I also ride my motorcycle with earplugs, as soon as I had the experience of riding without them. And I have found that with the earplugs I hear -better- the traffic around me.

          That’s because I’m not being deafened by wind noise. I can hear the tires of cars and trucks in every direction, much better than in a car with the windows all rolled up.

          Laws against earplugs are insane. Laws against ear-buds I can understand, but I too would much rather it be left to the contract I have with my insurance company.

          • dom
            September 26, 2012 at 1:40 am

            Wow, there are laws against earplugs? I can’t ride without them. I’ve become so used to it that it’s impossible for me to go without.

        • Bob Robertson
          September 25, 2012 at 2:26 pm

          As a bicyclist I have always made sure to ride out of the way of traffic. And maybe that’s why I’ve never had an “incident” with an angry automobile driver.

          I did ride into a car once, who turned right in front of me clearly not realizing I was even there. Idiots come in all packages.

          When I do “move into traffic”, it’s for things like left turns in left turn lanes, where I ride exactly like just another vehicle on the road. But as soon as the maneuver is complete, I again move out of the way of the cars. No driver has ever done so much as honk their horn, even though I have gotten a few “really?” glances.

          It all comes down to the idea of deference. Basic polite behavior. As Eric says, just not being an Anal Orifice. Yes, you might get to your destination 10 second later, but so what? Ease up, everybody. It’s the journey, not the destination.

          • Chris
            September 26, 2012 at 1:51 pm

            Same here. Folks around here (Nashville, TN area) are fairly accommodating to cyclists. They drive slow anyway on the back roads. Regardless, I make sure to get out really early on the weekends, particularly during summer, and get my ride done by 9 or 10am. On the weekdays I have a few routes that keep me out of folks way trying to get home from work. I even take my burly mtn bike on the Greenway and get decent training as the bike is heavier and has much more rolling resistance, just to stay out of traffic. I always ride/train alone. Never with earphones.

      • chip
        September 26, 2012 at 1:11 am

        No, it’s only incredibly reckless for those who also can’t walk and chew gum. I’ve been riding, in traffic, for nearly 50 years and I’ve done it listening to some kind of audio device for at least 40 of those years. I can hear what I need to hear just fine – the rub of the chain when the derailleur isn’t right, the hiss of a flat, the sound of a car approaching from the rear, some driver hollering at me to get on the sidewalk…and I am hearing impaired to boot.

        The key is a reasonable volume and the ability to put the music into another compartment of your mind…in the background with the rest of the noise. It really is nothing more than background noise, just like it is when driving…nothing more, nothing less. Is your hearing critical to your situational awareness when you drive? If so, you should NEVER listen to the radio…or allow a passenger to gab…while driving…nor listen to music while you ride either.

        Granted, some people go automagically brain-dead while listening to music…those people should probably not walk, let alone ride a bike, without all of their faculties focused on that action. Luckily all of us don’t share that handicap.

        So if riding with music is incredibly reckless for you…cool…don’t do it – but please don’t assume that we all share your limitations and please, please, please don’t go screaming for government to “do something” about us.

        • September 26, 2012 at 10:22 am

          Chip,

          You’re new here – so you may not know that the last thing I would ever do is advocate for the government to “do something” about it!

          Your points are well-taken.

          Provided your awareness isn’t drowned out by your iPod, fine. It all (as always) boils down to not being an idiot.

    • SSteveL
      September 26, 2012 at 12:21 am

      Last time I checked, Ontario, Canada’s HTA (Highway Traffic Act) did not prohibit passing on a solid single- or double-lined road. Thus, solid lines are simply a guideline.

  3. Enjoy Every Sandwich
    September 22, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    I generally don’t mind the cyclists in my area (Northern VA). Some of them are extraordinarily rude and think they’re better than everybody else, but that’s due to the population they’re drawn from rather than their mode of transportation. Drivers, cyclists, pedestrians; they’re all bloody insane.

    Some of the hard core cyclists can be a pain though. They like to swarm the road leading to the local state park and seem to think that they own it, period. They pointedly ignore the bike trail running parallel to the same road. Yes, I know there are a million reasons why the “professional” (as they regard themselves) cyclists don’t like them. Fine. Then stop spending my tax dollars on them! And damn it I have just as much right to be in the park as they do.

    There is also the problem of cyclists riding with earphones on. That strikes me as just plain suicidal, especially in an area rightly known for grotesquely incompetent drivers. What’s truly funny to me is how they (and the joggers who scare off the birds I’m trying to photograph) tell me they’re out there to “enjoy nature”. How can you enjoy nature when you’re not looking at or listening to it, or paying the slightest bit of attention to it?

    Ech, sorry for the rant.

    • BrentP
      September 22, 2012 at 4:37 pm

      I oppose bicycle lanes and street parallel paths. I’ve expressed many of the reasons in the past. I also make note of the gas tax diversions that fund many of them. The only bike paths that make sense A) go somewhere, B) take a separate route from the roads taking advantage of the bicycle’s small size shortening travel distance for many (such as connecting two roads eliminating going west to come back east for instance), C) follow a relatively straight line.

      Separation works only with high speed roads with no/very few businesses, homes, and infrequent side streets.

      The solution to other conditions as far as I am concerned is a lane ~15ft wide. Only the right lane on roads with more than one lane in each direction. The wide curb lane does not create complexity, the lane does not gather debris like a bike lane or shoulder, passing is easy, and conflict is approximately never in my experience.

      Also remember most people using a bicycle also drive. They most often bring the same attitudes from one to the other.

    • September 22, 2012 at 5:03 pm

      Hi Enjoy,

      I always like a good rant!

      I have some of the same issues in my area – we live right next to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Most cyclists are ok; but as you wrote, every now and then you get the ones trying to make a point who will ignore the cars piling up behind them, even though they could easily pull off/over (and ought to, out of courtesy, given they’re traveling so much slower than the prevailing speed of traffic).

      Those guys make me want to rush home, get my two-stroke bike, head back out, find ‘em – and smog ‘em!

      Ha!

      • MoT
        September 22, 2012 at 8:03 pm

        Hate to say it buy you find “bikers” who’ll pull this shit from time to time. They’ll ride two abreast and do it SLoooooowwwwly. They know damn well what they’re doing and they do it deliberately.

        • September 22, 2012 at 9:24 pm

          It’s true – I encounter them on the Parkway every once in awhile… dicks abound!

        • MrP
          September 25, 2012 at 2:55 pm

          Yeah, that’s my big problem with cyclists–they ride two or three abreast instead of single-file. I usually beep them when I pass to let them know, but they tend to be oblivious. “Why is he beeping?”

          Because riding a bicycle in the street is dangerous to the cyclists. They need to be a lot more cautious than drivers. Wake up, you dildoes!

        • Ethan
          September 25, 2012 at 6:24 pm

          I HATE when they do that. Or, they’ll travel in entire packs of 15-20 3 or 4 wide. I see red when I come up behind a pack like that. Or the bikers will ride the center of the lane until they hear my car, which, being a modern aerodynamic (and therefore, quiet) car, isn’t until I would have run their rears over if I wasn’t paying attention. When I used to ride a bicycle around in college, I always rode on the right side of the white line whenever possible, and when it wasn’t, I looked behind me every few seconds. If bikers did that more often, or got a rearview mirror, there would be a lot less animosity between them and drivers.

  4. Doug
    September 22, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    In Germany, bicycles are subject to the same traffic rules as motor vehicles so there are no cyclists riding two-abreast on a road. Germany also has an abundance of bicycle paths (nearly all of which are paved when paralleling a highway) so seldom is a rider required to share the same space as motor vehicles except in towns. Also, when passing a cyclist, a driver must maintain a minimum 1,5 Meter overtaking distance.
    Although I love cars and driving (why else would I spend half the year in Germany?), I spend most of my travel time on my bicycle – logging a minimum of about 20Km each day. I have ridden in F, ES, A, CZ, P, CH and NL. Overall, I have not seen a more Bicycle Friendly Country than Germany.
    In Mexico, there are no traffic rules for bicycles so here in Guadalajara, I can reach my destination more easily and sometimes faster because I can ride the opposite way on One-Way streets and ignore traffic lights. I shall NEVER ride on the open highway though.

    • Goldhoarder
      September 25, 2012 at 9:53 am

      There are bike paths on the sidewalks in Germany rather than the roads. An extra danger for pedestrians but it seems to work OK.

  5. MoT
    September 22, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    I don’t have any particular spite for bicyclists. Just the “assholes” who wag their condemning tongue at me. Case in point… Out with the family units in our truck and I saw a city billboard notice planted to the left side of the road. Now on this particular stretch of pavement, on the very fringe outskirts of town, there was NO, None, ZILCH traffic of any kind either coming or going as I noted as much in my mirrors prior to pulling closer to the middle of the road. I had in fact made a note of two clowns in their spandex “look at how cool I am” outfits with the requisite helmets and oh-so-cool sunglasses, pedaling a good block behind me. Now I’m reading this city notice when all of a sudden I hear “Get the fuck out of the road” from one of these two cock suckers who just at that moment were passing me by on the right, where I had made plenty of room and in no way blocked anything. They could have ridden three abreast and still had room. Now where in the fuck did that shit head get off on saying that?! That’s the kind of crap that pisses me off. I was only two blocks away from my destination but decided to simply ride behind them. They constantly kept looking over their shoulders wondering what the hell I was going to do.

  6. Patrick Pickens
    September 22, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    I appreciate your willingness to frame this issue democratically, although I might say that anything less would be diversion from the truth. For, as a long time avid cyclist (over 35 years) and very safe, experienced driver (slightly longer), I feel well qualified to comment on the very real fact many cyclists directly contribute to their own demise when it comes to the unwillingness of auto purists to alter their paradigm(s) in terms of sharing the road with…. Well, pedestrians, is how I might put it, despite knowing better. Bicycle riders in America include a vastly wide array of personalities, political mind sets, personal character, and mobility needs; in Tucson, AZ, for example, where I spent the last 12 years of my life, there are any number of riders, e.g., who ride bicycles for the explicit reason that they lost their driver’s license(s), far too often in direct relation to DUI and other like issues. The point being, that some of us ride our bikes as direct a direct consequence of our irresponsibility as drivers, so it is hardly realistic to presume that bike riders are, by nature, of higher character than drivers. Likewise, there are a lot of drivers on the road with anything along the lines of nearly or entirely suspended licenses for the same reason. But I am most concerned with the very real fact that many of the most legitimately experienced cyclists on the road, as in high level racers, dedicated bicycle commuters, participants in bicycle advocacy (such as CM, etc), even fans of bicycle touring, bitch and moan about the direness of our situation while simultaneously “safely” running stop signs, for example, and not to mention any number of other very specific violations of common law and accepted civility. Out on the bike, I don’t know how many times I have commented to such riders (racers and rebels), requesting in effect that they take this into account before they run that next stop sign, only to be presented with a vacant gaze of sorts that basically says “What the hell are you talking about? We’re on bikes.” It would be easy for me, as a former high level racer, to stick my nose in the air and declare all those losers on the sidewalks in downtown suburban America as carpetbaggers and problem causers with respect for the dislike of cyclists that so many people harbor, but the fact is, it is the most serious cyclist who poses the most potentially damaging impacts on the delicate and still evolving socio-polical relationship of cars and bikes, because the most serious cyclists are the ones spending the most time out their in the trenches, and are as such the most visible, etc. So get a grip on reality, any of you (drivers or cyclists- I am both) who have yet to grasp the big picture, because sharing the road doesn’t come free: It is a privilege, through and through. There are very specific laws about how to conduct yourself on the roads that have been in place for many years, e.g. the red octagonal thing known as a stop sign, and yet far far too many experiences riders seem to think that the same specific parameters of what those laws mean simply don’t apply to a cyclist; and until we all begin sharing the full responsibility that comes with the privilege of being on the road in the first place, we can hardly expect the world to slow down and graphically alter the terms by which we have operated our cars since the dawn of mechanized time.

    • MoT
      September 23, 2012 at 10:04 am

      Yes. Here in the Boise area they routinely run the red because, as I’ve been told, they’re allowed to. So if someone like me, who came from outside the city of trees doesn’t keep his eyes peeled constantly for red-running cyclists he’s likely to run someone over. And I’ve been a safe driver my entire thirtyfive years of being on the road. It does indeed work both ways but tell that to the cyclists killed every year who simply don’t pay attention to the dunderheads bearing down on them with over two tons of steel.

      • September 23, 2012 at 10:07 am

        “Here in the Boise area they routinely run the red because, as I’ve been told, they’re allowed to.”

        Is this correct?

        If so, it’s outrageous. On the one hand, they’re vehicles under the law – entitled to use the road as much as a car or motorcycle – but (if the above is correct) given special license to violate the laws cars and motorcycles are required to obey.

        It’s also an objective safety hazard – not merely a legal double standard. How is one (when driving or riding a motorcycle supposed to avoid creaming a red light-running cyclist? If one does cream a cyclist who runs a red light, does that mean the cyclist accepts responsibility for his being injured or killed?)

        I hope it isn’t true.

        • MoT
          September 23, 2012 at 10:11 am

          Here you go, Eric. Straight from the horses mouth so to speak.

          http://www.boisestreetsmartcycling.org/safe-cycling-tips.htm

          • September 23, 2012 at 10:17 am

            “First the facts about Idaho’s stop sign and stoplight laws. For stop signs, a cyclist has the right to proceed through the intersection without coming to a full stop, if there are no other vehicles in or approaching the intersection and if the cyclist has slowed appropriately to see the entire intersection. If there is another vehicle stopped at the intersection or is approaching, the cyclist is required to stop completely and to take their turn proceeding through the intersection just like any other vehicle.

            For red stoplights, the cyclist is always required to come to a complete stop first. If there are no other vehicles in or approaching the intersection, the cyclist is allowed under Idaho law to proceed through when safe. A cyclist is allowed to make a right turn against a red stoplight without stopping if they have slowed and if there are no vehicles proceeding left to right or turning into the intersection.”

            Incredible.

            I am speechless.

            Sure, they couch it with caveats – “if there are no other vehicles in or approaching the intersection and if the cyclist has slowed appropriately to see the entire intersection” – and such like.

            But if they can do this “safely” – why not cars? Why not motorcycles? What entitles a bicyclist to “proceed when clear” as opposed to stopping and waiting like everyone else? Hell, they’re not wasting any fuel just sitting there like you would be in a car or on a bike. And a car or bike has the power to proceed quickly – and so, safely – through an intersection. A bicycle does not.

            Gawd.

            Lawsee!

            This is exactly the sort of BS that makes car and motorcycle operators hostile toward cyclists.

          • MoT
            September 23, 2012 at 10:29 am

            Granted on an empty road in the middle of nowhere it makes sense. Why come to a complete stop? But I’ve had my nerves jangled quite a few times by cyclists in town (I live in a small place elsewhere) where they cut in front of you, the one who doesn’t have a stop sign in his lane, oblivious to your existence. They simply don’t look or they take the “lets race across and see if we can make it” attitude. It’s nerve wracking because I really don’t want to hurt anyone. Just have to be that much more careful. Probably all those transient Californians who infest the arts district but that would fan the flames a little too much so we’ll leave it at that.

          • September 23, 2012 at 10:38 am

            Sure, it makes absolute sense – and I’m all for it. For everyone. Why should cyclists get special dispensation to “proceed when safe”?

          • BrentP
            September 23, 2012 at 7:30 pm

            To be honest, bicyclists get a lot less flack on the road from motorists by gutter passing and running stop signs and reds than by riding vehicularly. I’m the only person I’ve seen say anything to people who ride that way. Meanwhile many of drivers have told me I am not doing things properly (but they aren’t that nice) when when I come to full stops and when there are others ahead of me, stop behind the queue.

            Drivers will race me to stop signs. They will nearly hit me to get to a red light or a stop sign first. I take the lane about 50-75 feet before a stop and these drivers will end up stopping in the oncoming lane of two lane roads. Sometimes they cut back in front of me…. and then when the light turns green accelerate slower than I want to!

            But I am digressing. The laws above seem to be codifying what clovers expect. I never had drivers be such aggressive assholes towards me until I started following the letter of the law on a bicycle. While it’s unfair, I would probably start taking advantage of those laws where I could just to avoid the hostility of drivers.

          • Tionico
            September 26, 2012 at 6:34 am

            an avid road cyclist (about five THOUSAND miles a year, for many years) and also a car driver, it infuriates me when I am out in the middle of nowhere, come to a four way stop sign, I can see half a mile in every direction, and there is nothing excpet possibly a slow moving possum in sight.. yet state laws in most places REQUIRE that I come to a full and complete stop. This is STUPID. Idaho’s laws make sense, are reasonable, considerate of the FACT that we cyclists get where we are going by means of our own energy. Bear in mind it takes a LOT of energy to stop, then reaccelerate back to cruising speed of 20-25 mph again. WHY stop when there is no reason to? Do I exist to be a slave to the stop sign/signal, or does the traffic control device exist to assure our safety? If the latter, when I can verify complete safety, why bow down to the red tin octagon? I wish ALL states would pass such laws. OF COURSE, there are the bozos who hear “oh, we’re on bikes, we don’t NEED to stop, ever, anywhere”. Well, stupid, go ahead and duke it out with the Hummer 2…. I’ll come by and pat your big toe, the one with the tag, down at the morgue. Those laws should be revised to state that, when there IS a collision involving a cyclist who did not stop at the traffic device, prima facie the fault lies with the cyclist. These laws of common sense and convenience are further subject to the laws of physics.

            As to “pulling over to let the traffic pass’.. in Washington State, cyclists are required to ride ON THE ROADWAY, as far to the right as is SAFELY possible. When there are craters coming out to six inches left of the fog line, riding the fog line is NOT safe. Overtaking traffic is the burdened traffic, and may pass when safe to do so, irregardless of lines, centre left turn lanes, etc. SUre, when I have opportunity I will pull to the right to help the motorists pass.

            On the other hand, how many times have I been out, either in the car or on the bike, and come across cyclists completely clogging the traffic lane.. I quit riding with a local club because too many idiots did this, refusing to single up and let the cars pass…. when we had a nice smooth clear four foot shoulder, they preferred to ride six abreast blocing traffic. IO’d holler at these idiots to single up, let the cars pass, etc, but they’d refuse….. making the motorists on their evening commute home get madder and madder. Then, when there are only one or two of us out togethe, these same motorists, stirred up with a mighty hatred for cyclists, would take it out on us, defenseless by ourselves. Stupid…. I talked to the club president, who didn’t have the spine to make an issue of it. So I quit riding with these knuckleheads.

            I’ve had very few real incidents with motorists.. drink bottles thrown at me (bot plate number, other witness followed and got it, returning to give it me, sheriff declined to do anything.. four punks out joyriding, harrassing the cyclist. Nice… had a city bus deliverately knock me sideways, making an unsafe swerve into me at 30 mph.. got his number, called his safely officer, I think he got into some hot water. Deservedly so. I did not go down, there was room for me to swerve and put the bike back underneath me. Adrenaline rush was memorable…. other than that, never hit by anything in somewhere near two hundred thousand miles of biking on the road in six states and two provinces. Most out there are decent. II do NOT like riding in Seattle, though.. despite their fairy tales of being a bike friendly city, and with a mayor known as Mc Schwinn for his noisy pro-bike policies.

        • liberranter
          September 23, 2012 at 7:04 pm

          To exercise my cynicism beyond its logical limits, one is led to wonder if the PTB in Idaho have created this law in hopes that it leads to more cycling fatalities.

          Why, an incredulous person would ask, would the State of Idaho do this?

          Why, for the same reason government at all levels passes insane, destructive, and burdensome laws: to sew division amongst the sheeple and to create dangers where none previously existed, the ultimate object being to seize more power and exercise more oppressive control over the population.

          Would not creating an environment in which automobiles cause more deaths of cyclists than normal not be the perfect pretext under which to create more restrictions on both communities?

          • MoT
            September 23, 2012 at 11:52 pm

            Liberanter, I love bikes! Always have. And having lived in Europe and Japan they’re a practical method of getting around with physical side benefits. I also despise laws that in effect make the rider careless because they “ass-u-me” too much. It’s all touchy-feely, like helmets, and I believe people can, and should, be responsible without nanny-state policies. I suspect the above came with the influx of “do-gooders” from the granola state. Bringing the hell of their best intentions to bear on us all.

          • rEVOLutionary
            September 25, 2012 at 3:14 pm

            Perhaps the logic is that, since the bicycle is so light, it will do little damage to the important people in SUV’s

        • Tom Lawson
          September 24, 2012 at 5:04 pm

          Reverse clover!! Reverse clover!!

      • Bill
        September 25, 2012 at 4:42 pm

        They do it here in the city of Chicago all the time. Most of the bicyclists are well mannered and ride with due care. However, there are a lot of the younger ones who routinely ignore traffic laws, run red lights and stop signs with impunity. Then, when a car driver almost hits them, they rant, yell and swear at the driver of the car. I am sick and tired of those bicyclists who display this attitude, they are watermelons.

        • September 30, 2012 at 7:10 am

          The clovers strike! How dare those bikes not stop when we have to!! Never, never stop at an intersection. much too dangerous. However it is also dangerous to ride through a green light, or when the other road has the stop sign. Because it doesn’t matter who is, “right” just who is alive, and 10 out of 10 it is the driver, not the cyclist!

    • tbiggs
      September 25, 2012 at 4:46 pm

      Well said. I lost my license when I was 20 from accumulated points (all speeding tickets, I should note, not dangerous infractions). Having ridden many miles on a bicycle as a teen, I naturally resumed riding when unable to drive. Even when I was able to ride again, the insurance was crazy expensive, so I kept riding for over a year.

      I found that many car drivers just weren’t looking for me, but I was ready for that. But some were just crazy hostile to bicycles. Having to slow down AT ALL riled them up no end. It is true that some ‘entitled’ bicyclists seemed to deliberately antagonize drivers by over-asserting their right-of-way. I claimed my right-of-way any time I needed to (no shoulder or whatever) but I tempered it with the knowledge that I was exposing myself to danger from clueless drivers, so I minimized it whenever possible.

  7. Patrick Pickens
    September 23, 2012 at 4:43 am

    One more point of a fact that is often lost due to the saliency of this debate, relates to reality that even non-automoble mobilizes, be it by bike, foot, or donkey, are obligated to pay for the development and maintenance of the the high majority of American roads. In over words, anytime a driver whines about how cyclists abuse the resources that come about as a result of responsible tax payers, just remind them that you, even as a bike rider, share the same responsibilities in this context (public resource taxation). A reminder, too: The first paved roads in the country (Conn., NY State circa 1900, maybe earlier) were created to serve the convenience of the new fangled machine of the future, bicycles. Today, as expressed very recently by a Dutch film maker, some of us see the auto as being rather out of style, with the revival of the bicycle as the only way to go, here in the 21st century. Go figure? All things are cyclical, and cadence is the only truth.

    • MoT
      September 23, 2012 at 10:06 am

      Gas consuming vehicles are a cash cow for Leviathan. Just how in the world would they function without the means to fleece us?

    • david ward
      September 26, 2012 at 4:31 am

      OK, let’s review. people on bicycles pay what road taxes? ZIP. Also why should they be allowed to use roads that others were fleeced through road taxes to pay for? Again, ZIP. In my opinion, if you want to ride do it on a sidewalk. If the thugs in power deny riding on a sidewalk it is time for tar and feathers. A tradition that has sadly fell into disuse.

      A clean way to end the terror in my opinion.

      • September 26, 2012 at 10:00 am

        Hi Dave,

        Dunno ’bout that.

        As others have pointed out, many bicyclists (probably most) own a car or truck and so do pay motor fuels taxes. And if they’re riding their bikes and not using the cars, they’re contributing less to the wear and tear of the roads. My father-in-law is a big cycle guy. But he owns (last time I checked) at least four vehicles (two cars and two trucks) so he surely pays his “fair share” of gas taxes.

        The underlying problem, of course, is that roads are a “public” resource – funded by force, not paid for by those who choose to. If we had private roads, the owners could set terms and conditions – acceptable to those who pay for them – and them only. We could have roads with “reasonable and prudent” speeds – and for cars/trucks/motorcycles only. And bike paths/routes for them only.

      • BrentP
        September 26, 2012 at 1:26 pm

        1) Bicyclists don’t need roads designed for heavy trucks. A 2 inch wide dirt track for each direction is good enough.

        2) All vehicles smaller than a box truck subsidize all vehicles larger than a box truck.

        3) If taxed fairly a stamp would cost more than a bicycle tax.

        4) Most bicyclists own property and motor vehicles and thus paid for the road. Would you prefer I drive and take up even more space?

        5) Sidewalk riding is not ‘tradition’, it’s been wrong since there have been bicycles. See the the 1950s film “drive your bike”. Why adult americans can’t understand what was aimed at children ~55 years ago is really sad.

        • MoT
          September 27, 2012 at 5:17 pm

          Maybe it’s a false American tradition but having lived in Germany and Japan, where the town sidewalks are more often bicycle friendly, driving your bike in the road with heavy traffic is an invitation to the undertaker. I’ve done it and it was scary as hell! The cases of people being killed by bus or dump truck are legion.

  8. liberranter
    September 23, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    Definitely a very sore subject that is near and dear to my own heart. The two-lane, twelve-mile-long country road winding through the national park adjacent to my home is a very popular cycling route, especially on weekends. The dual problem with it is that 1) it’s the ONLY thoroughfare between our rural community and civilization, and 2) it’s only two lanes, with NO bicycle lane and, in large sections, no real shoulder. Personally, I think that any cyclist would have to be either an imbecile, insane, or suicidal to even consider riding on such a road. Yet this they do, and often utterly without regard for either their own safety or the motorists forced to a crawl by their arrogant, reckless behavior, especially when they ride two or three abreast – which too many of them do. Worse still are the assholes who ride the giant tricycles that hog up not only one lane, but often half of the opposing traffic lane. It takes all of my self control to not floor the accelerator and create an organ donor.

    Southeastern Arizona is considered a cyclist’s Mecca, largely due to the preferential treatment given them by the left-wing politicians who dominate the area’s political establishment and who don’t even attempt to mask their disdain for all things technological, especially anything propelled by an ICE.

    To be clear, I have no problem whatsoever with sharing the road with cyclists PROVIDED THAT THERE IS ROOM ON THE ROAD TO SHARE. Otherwise, in the absence of common sense (whoever ascribed the term “common” to this kind of sense obviously never lived in today’s Amerika), I find it hard to feel sorry for someone taking a foolish risk and then losing the gamble when weight, speed, and the laws of gravity and physics assert themselves.

    Just sayin’.

  9. September 23, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    In many ways, bicycles are the future. But forcing them to “share” the same roadways with motorists is idiocy. There are way too many morons and jerks both on bikes and in cars to allow them to mix. They should have absolutely, physically separate roads. Separated by at least 10 feet. And the bike roads should have as many, if not more, traffic pigs, to keep the spandex crowd from making biking hazardous for the huge number of people who would use them for transport…..”if” it were reasonably safe.

    I think bikes totally rock. Ride one approximately 4 miles almost every day. ALL off street/highway. Purely for exercise and recreation. Would NEVER use one for practical transportation, until separate bike roads become available. So that probably will remain NEVER.

    Bicyclists who decide to “share” roadways with motorists….especially those who choose to express belligerence while they do so, are fools.

    • MoT
      September 23, 2012 at 11:56 pm

      One of my dreams back in High School was to cycle through Australia or New Zealand. Sigh! One of these days, mates, one of these days.

    • BrentP
      September 24, 2012 at 2:53 am

      First of all they are the bicyclist’s roads if we wish to be technical about it. That’s what paved roads in the USA were started for, bicycles.

      Secondly, what it sounds to me you are advocating for is bicycle cloverism. Trails with 8mph speed limits because heaven forbid someone can ride faster than what another person can or likes. Oh btw, I don’t wear spandex but I can still do 28mph if I have to. (when I rode more it was 35mph)

      • September 27, 2012 at 7:11 pm

        Are you opposed to the idea of any speed limits at all? If so, you’re entitled to your opinion. And you can call everyone who does not adhere to your opinion a “clover.”

        But if you think that reasonable speed limits can sometimes be appropriate (as even many libertarians do,)….then the concept is applicable to bike roads too. Because some drivers and bicyclists are inclined to drive like anal orifices, making navigation unreasonably dangerous for others on the road.

        Spandex is not a sure sign that the wearer is an “AO.” But it is a fairly decent clue.

        • September 27, 2012 at 7:23 pm

          Can someone explain the whole Spandex thing to me?

          I used to ride a bicycle (like most people) and still have a bicycle that I ride occasionally. But I never wear Spandex. I wear shorts – normal, cut-offs or cargo pants or whatever. And a T-shirt.

          When did Spandex become the “required uniform”? And, why?

        • BrentP
          September 27, 2012 at 8:46 pm

          Because you don’t want to be bothered with the minor driving task of passing a bicyclist you are suggesting that I should have to travel at ~30% of my desired speed with all sorts of extra stops. All because incompetent and lazy drivers can’t manage to operate their vehicles correctly.

          I am not going to travel at 8mph on the sidewalk, I’ll do 25mph on the road thank you very much.

          And it’s the spandex cracks aimed my way that I find particularly absurd. The only piece of bicycling clothing I own is a jacket. Beyond that I have a pair of gloves (I remember buying them… I think I did), clip in shoes I don’t use because there is too much traffic, and sunglasses.

          • September 27, 2012 at 9:03 pm

            Hey Brent,

            Seriously – can you shed any light on the Spandex thing? Is it just a fashion thing?

          • Mithrandir
            September 27, 2012 at 10:03 pm

            Eric,

            I think some spandex pants have padding for extra comfort on extended riding.

            Some bicycle seats are also designed to be more comfortable and not affect the body.

            (just did a search.)

            In brief:
            1–>moisture is not as noticeable
            2–>less chafing
            3–>dries quickly

            Although I have not previously commented, in NJ, the bicycle (and skateboarder and inline skater) has the same rights and responsibilities as a moving motor vehicle.

            In a nutshell: I generally stay out of the way of other traffic.

            When I travel by bicycle I try to avoid roads with high traffic volume and/or non-existent shoulders. I often travel under 20mph so I do not ride in travel lanes with 40+ mph traffic.

            I almost always travel with traffic, since I do not feel comfortable riding against traffic.

            I have traveled in lanes of traffic (w/traffic flow) due to necessity. This is usually short distances (under 500 ft).

            If traffic is light or PSL is low enough, I do not have issue with traveling with traffic in travel lanes.

            Since I travel slower than most motorized traffic, I usually give way to faster traffic.

            In my area there are usually enough local streets that I can use to get around without needing to use high traffic and/or high speed roads.

            I have not experienced any acts against me while riding, but I do not ride as often as I would like or in traffic lanes often.

          • September 28, 2012 at 9:48 am

            I guess it does something for them!

            I rode a bicycle a lot when I was in my teens/20s. Never wore Spandex. (Outside of professional/hard-core racers, I don’t remember anyone wearing it back then – 1980s). I’d never wear it now, either! Forget the helmet, too.

            I know some people sweat a lot more than others; maybe that’s one of the reasons for Spandex, as you note. But I’m thinking it’s also a hive-mind fashion statement. Have you noticed that whatever activity it is (not just bikes) people seem to need all sorts of special “gear” for it?

            Example: I have been a pretty serious hiker/backpacker since my teens – so, a good 30 years now. I’ve noticed, during the past two or three years, that almost every other hiker I encounter on the trails has ski poles. It’s as though someone fed a thought into the collective hiker unconscious: You must have ski poles to hike!

            Or rather, you’re not “with it” and “hip” if you do not.

            Runners, too. Now, you need a special suit to go running.

            Geezer thought: I remember when you just hopped on your bike and went for a ride; and hiked without ski poles; and ran in cut-offs and T-shirt… so much less pretentious (and expensive)!

          • BrentP
            September 28, 2012 at 1:25 pm

            Ski poles? What happened to finding a good stick?

            When I’ve hiked I just find a good stick and use it. When I am done, if the stick didn’t break it either goes back in the woods or gets used as a camp fire poker.

        • methylamine
          September 27, 2012 at 8:50 pm

          But if you think that reasonable speed limits can sometimes be appropriate (as even many libertarians do,)…

          Only if it’s a privately-owned road and the owner has seen fit to limit the speed.

          But in principle I’m opposed to speed limits, because they’re imposed by the state as revenue sources, they’re ineffective, and they cause driver complacency which is responsible for more accidents than “speeding”.

          “Speeding” is arbitrary; it depends on driver skill, car capability, and road conditions. There are roads around here I feel perfectly safe at 120+ on a clear day with minimal traffic, but crawl at 40 in the rain and moderate traffic.

    • Steve
      September 25, 2012 at 6:39 am

      As a bicyclist, my primary fear is drunk/reckless drivers.

      I can control my own behavior, but drunk/reckless drivers could run me over from behind and I’d never see it coming.

    • david ward
      September 26, 2012 at 4:34 am

      no tag no taxes no privilege. so do i support that no. but under the current system that is what we have to live with. until the current regime is crushed this is what we live with.

      • BrentP
        September 26, 2012 at 1:28 pm

        So you think road use is a government granted privilege. You’re pretty well conditioned.

  10. liberranter
    September 23, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    Regular LRC readers would probably be interested in reading Karen De Coster’s take on the Colorado asshole driver:

    http://karendecoster.com/an-act-of-aggression.html

  11. Tor Munkov
    September 23, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    Like you said elsewhere they’re afraid to allow us an unmolested co-existence. The relentless 600 lb gorilla nanny sitting on our couch is hungrier and more belligerent than ever. The seen is US auto fatalities are down to 30K. CHina is 63K and India is 133K according to the WHO Planet of the apes on our backs reports.

    The unseen is suicides have jumped into 1st place in the USSA at 37K per year.

    I miss those days of separate but equal. Ill live on streets with potholes and low quality homes if I can avoid those DAMN DIRTY APES. I would rather have illiterate kids and crime. And be discriminated against for the red color of my skin.

    I don’t want to use their toilets drink their water or ride on their buses. Keep the full measure of redistribution tithing but only on yourselves. Stop telling me how to live cooperate with my neighbors and raise my family.

    Once you touch the fruits of my labors the stench you’re touching them leaves is an abomination to me!

  12. geoih
    September 24, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    Quote from article: “It is technically (legally) correct, of course, that bicycles are vehicles under the law, just like cars – and entitled to use the road just like cars.”

    You don’t have to be a physics genius to recognize that in any collision between a car and a bike, the bike looses. The idea that because of antiquated laws that we should continue to consider bikes “vehicles” rather than pedestrians with wheels (like a person in a wheelchair) is just a failure to recognize reality. Any appeals to safety within the present bikes-are-vehicles point of view is ridiculous. There’s a reason why we don’t put sidewalks down the middle of the road. Putting bikes in the road is just as stupid.

    If we were really interested in making things safe, we’d be making the sidewalks wider (or just installing them in the first place), not putting pedestrians in the road.

    • September 24, 2012 at 3:30 pm

      I understand what you’re saying, Geo – but the same also applies to motorcycles, right? Should they be kept separate as well? But, they can keep up with traffic (easily)… ? Well, ok… then how about RVs? Do they get banned from the roads, too?

      I have no problem with bikes when their riders don’t act like assholes. Same goes for any other vehicle. Irrespective of “the law.”

      • geoih
        September 25, 2012 at 6:06 pm

        No, for the same reason we don’t want wheelchairs or tricycles or lawn mowers or pedestrians with wagons in the road, we don’t want bicycles in the road. Just because a bike has wheels, doesn’t make it a road vehicle. A motorcycle has an engine and is more than capable of functioning on the road at speed with motorized multi-wheeled vehicles.

        Most state laws consider bicycles “vehicles” requiring them to use the road and prohibiting them from sidewalks. This is just silly.

    • BrentP
      September 24, 2012 at 4:49 pm

      How can I tell you’ve never ridden a bicycle at speed or for long distances?

      You want bicycle riding on sidewalks.

      How many people do you know that walk at speeds of 12 (my slowest) to 35mph (my fastest)? My typical speed, if you were to spot me at any random instance would fall between 17 and 22mph. How many people do you know that walk that fast? Do you scan the sidewalks for vehicles moving in excess of 20mph? 15mph? 8mph?

      I am tired of people who have no practical experience with the kind of riding I and many others do telling us how to do it and what’s safe and what isn’t. Democracy in action I suppose. Idiots running everything.

      • Steve
        September 25, 2012 at 6:34 am

        Don’t forget about the extreme danger of vehicles crossing the sidewalk to exit driveways! Drivers simply don’t expect anything to come moving down a sidewalk at more than a walking pace, and this creates a very dangerous situation for bicyclists on the sidewalk.

        On the rare occasions that I do bike on sidewalks, I have to slow way down and stay on constant lookout for drivers who don’t even see me coming, so that I don’t plow into the side of their vehicle.

        Not to mention weaving back and forth to cross intersections, sometimes without a ramp up/down, and almost always strewn with broken glass and garbage in the city.

        Oh, and there are children on sidewalks as well as people wearing headphones, both oblivious to the world.

        I’d rather take my chances on the road!

        • BrentP
          September 25, 2012 at 2:39 pm

          Exactly.

          The road is far safer. Angry & violent drivers are several orders of magnitude rarer than ones who aren’t looking for traffic on the side walk.

      • geoih
        September 25, 2012 at 6:19 pm

        That’s why you make the sidewalks wider, rather than making the roads narrower to accomodate a dedicated bike lane. There are plenty of cities where wide sidewalks are in place to accomodate both bikes and pedestrians. If there’s room for a dedicated bike lane, then make the sidewalks wider instead.

        Plus, dedicating such a large part of the road to bikes in parts of the country where you’re lucky if you can ride a bike 6 months of the year because of the weather is again, just silly.

        • BrentP
          September 25, 2012 at 8:20 pm

          Again, how can I tell you don’t ride a bicycle at speed? Because of idiotic suggestions that nobody who has actually ridden a bicycle at 20mph or faster would know are idiotic.

          Wider sidewalks do not stop dogs, people walking, or roller bladers from stepping into your path at the last moment.

          What does work is widening the curb side lane of the road.

          • geoih
            September 26, 2012 at 11:23 am

            So, you ride in the road if you think you’re bicycle is a car. I’m not in favor of keeping bicyclists out of the road. I think it’s stupid to force bicyclists into the road, and even stupider to give them dedicated lanes in the road.

            Make the sidewalk wider and put a speed limit on the sidewalk (15 mph?), or better yet, just make people liable for their own conduct on the sidewalk (you crash into somebody “at speed”, then expect to be sued). If you want to go faster than is safe for the sidewalk, then you can take your chances in the road with the cars, as if you are a car (just like the motorcycles).

          • BrentP
            September 26, 2012 at 2:15 pm

            Again you make your ignorance obvious.

            15mph speed limit? How about you drive that slow and let pedestrians wonder in the road as they feel like? How’s that sound to you? Ridiculous? Yep. That’s exactly how it sounds to vehicular bicyclist who is moving at speed.

            Bike lanes are stupid. But not for your reason. They add complication to the roadway and that’s why they should not exist. A wide curb lane is the ideal solution. Wide curb lanes allow bicyclists to operate as part of traffic.

            The only place I’ve seen separatist bike lanes work is on Maui coastal roads where intersections were few and widely spaced and nobody walked. The moment intersections (including driveways) are greater than about one or two per mile the system becomes burdensome, confusing, and dangerous.

      • david ward
        September 26, 2012 at 4:43 am

        So let me think about that… well. It is easier for a pedestrian to dodge a person on a bike than a car. Of course, that depends on the person riding the bike. I mean that person might be a Psycho. You know I really can’t remember a person murdered aka killed by someone on a bicycle.

        • BrentP
          September 26, 2012 at 1:29 pm

          People without a clue should really keep their mouths shut. Take your motorcycle, ride it at 20mph on the sidewalk. See how it works out.

    • Helicopter Bicyclist
      September 25, 2012 at 6:48 am

      I’ve been riding bicycles for 53 years (got a bit of a late start) and driving for 47 years. I’ve rarely had problems biking. HOWEVER, I assume the automobiles are all out to KILL me, even though I drive one myself. You have to be very flexible and choose your personal solution to safety, regardless of the law. Specifically, I learned to ride on the wrong side of the road in certain highway situations (daytime, little opposing bicycle traffic, shoulder available (15″ to 36″)). This transition occurred one day after about 27 years of riding (which included some long bicycle camping trips of several hundred miles on highways). I chose to ride on the wrong side of a 6 lane divided highway leading into Ft. Worth, TX from the NE to stay upwind of the fumes. What astounded and unnerved me was watching car after car make that barely perceptable track correction when they became aware of my existance. I began to roughly measure the actual distance with my eyes. It seemed that most drivers didn’t even see me until I was 50′ to 75′ in front of them. Since then, I stay on sidewalks in town if they are not full of pedestrians and ride the wrong way when the conditions both demand it and simultaneously permit it (can’t at night with a headlight…too confusing to drivers, of course). I’ve had a few bicyclists yell at me, but no cop has ever said a word. My wrong way highway driving is mostly confined to country highways. The only startling thing about that is when a car passes another going in my direction (2 lane undivided hwy). The passing car flies by me at 80 to 85 mph. That can be breathtaking when they are a little too close. My neighbors all think I will be killed doing this. However, my vigilance is high as is my skill. I would be terrified to take any children with me doing this.

      I don’t recommend you try this unless you are very sure of yourself. You don’t ever get to be really wrong twice. I’ve had some close calls years ago. Not much anymore. Close calls are how I measure how I’m doing whether biking, driving, or flying. If you have too many (requiring you to use your superior skill to make up for a lapse in judgment) then you know it’s time to readjust.

      • September 25, 2012 at 9:25 am

        Hi HB,

        Yup!

        “The law” is one thing – common sense (and self-preservation) another.

        As a biker (motorcycles!) I also ride paranoid – I assume every car is out to kill me. This has helped me to avoid getting whacked several times – each time, “the law” being on my side. But of course, the car still wins, every time…

        • rEVOLutionary
          September 25, 2012 at 3:25 pm

          What did the old ad say? “You could be right – dead right!”

      • BrentP
        September 25, 2012 at 2:52 pm

        It’s true that wrong ways get little harassment. But I’ve nearly hit a few myself… why? Because they are going the wrong way and I am not looking for traffic moving that direction there.

        That and gutter passing riders when I am turning right.

      • Ethan
        September 25, 2012 at 6:40 pm

        I wish more cyclists would think that way. One incident in particular comes to mind: I passed a bicycle coming down a hill, and then slowed to a stop for the light at the bottom of the hill. I knew that cyclist was back there, so I took extra care in watching for him as the light turned green and I started moving into the intersection to make my right turn. Good thing I did, because the idiot decided the best time to pass me was the exact moment I would have turned my wheel right and squashed him like a bug. Mind you, my right blinker had been on for 20 or 30 seconds by this point. The moron gave me a little “sorry” wave as he passed me, realizing by my suddenly stopping car and unmentionable words spewing out the open window that he had nearly been turned into mincemeat. I don’t know why riding a 50 pound bike on a busy street hadn’t already given him the idea to pay attention to his surroundings to avoid death.

      • david ward
        September 26, 2012 at 4:51 am

        Sigh, I’ve been riding motorcycles since I was 16 and I’m now 59. The same shit that we experience is the same shit that bike riders do. Yet we are forced at gun point to support wheel taxes, gas taxes and road taxes the cage drivers do and still get no respect. Yet where are the bike riders support of our position? I don’t hear a peep. Until bike riders support liberty I have no sympathy for them. PERIOD.

        • September 26, 2012 at 9:54 am

          Dave,

          Ditto.

          I have thought about this some and come to the conclusion it’s because bikes have engines. We use gaaaaaaaaaas and so are enemies of the earf. There is a lot of eco-militancy amongst the spandex set. Not all – I hasten to add. But it is there, big time.

          I have no issue with cyclists, per se – and I support their right to use the road, in principle.

          But, cycling seems to draw left-liberal authoritarian types. It is to them what fuhhhhhhhhttttttttball is to right-wing conservative authoritarian types. More than a few cyclists appear to be making a statement as much as taking their exercise and enjoying the outdoors.

          I’m in my 40s, so I am old enough to remember the days before Lance Armstrong mania – when people rode $75 bicycles in cut-off shorts and t-shirts, not $3,000 Tour de France knock-offs and spandex. But that’s not the main difference, Then vs. Now.

          Back when I was a kid/teenager, cyclists (in general) deferred to motorized traffic as a matter of course. It was ok to ride on the road, but if a car came up on you, you moved over – or off – the road. And there was relative peace.

          Today, there is this (as I see it) needless, deliberate antagonism between bicyclists and motorists, premised on the legal fact that in many areas a bicyclist has the same right to use the roads as any other “vehicle.”

          The antagonism arises from the Cloverite insistence on this equal right, even when the cyclist is unable to operate his machine at a speed sufficient to avoid creating a traffic logjam. I see it as exactly the same as a Clover in a car who refuses to move right (or briefly pull off the road, if need be) to allow faster-moving traffic to get by.

          This, then, is the nut of the problem: Refusal to yield.

          People in cars get mad at any slow-poke, be it a bicycle or an RV or a tractor. No one – not me, anyhow – objects to slow-movers using the roads. We’re all stuck paying for them, so we’re all entitled to use them.
          But it’s unreasonable – and frankly, an asshole move – to make yourself a rolling roadblock. If people would just be courteous and let those who want to drive faster pass, then the tension is gone and everyone’s happy. At least, most reasonable people would be happy.

          • BrentP
            September 26, 2012 at 2:08 pm

            Toy bicycling was an oddity of the 1970s and early 1980s best I can tell. “Drive your bike” was a film for school children in the 1950s and quite clearly expresses the principles of vehicular bicycling with little error*. It also condemns the practices of toy bicycling such as wrong-way riding. Sadly there are still way too many people out there who think toy bicycling is the way things should be done.

            Toy bicycling is fine for someone under say 8 years old. But that’s as far as it goes.

            Log-jams of traffic are caused by drivers who don’t have the skills to pass a bicyclist IME. Bicyclists are easy to pass but some driver will have a problem. Catering to their lack of skill is not something a bicyclist should have to do. The only times I have had a ‘log jam’ of traffic behind me is when some driver made the first mistake of slowing to my speed and then didn’t have the ability and confidence to make a safe pass. The result was a log jam and eventually a brush pass with drivers behind annoyed at me. I would do everything I could to get the idiots to pass. I will not stop and get off the road for these idiots any more than I do in my car when there is are perfect opportunities to pass. However, some years ago I started re-routing to get away from the idiots, making a left or preferably right turn.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDm6jiQz5BY

            *The door zone ‘advice’ is misguided.

          • September 26, 2012 at 3:36 pm

            Hi Brent,

            I get (and appreciate) what you are saying. However, at least in my area, it is also the case that there are roads that are too curvy (poor sight lines) and not wide enough (with little or no shoulder) to pass safely without also crossing over the double yellow – with who-knows-what coming at you around the next bend in the road.

            This is bad news for everyone – but especially the cyclist, who is most vulnerable. They are legally entitled to use these roads – but is it a good idea? Is it courteous for them to do so – when they cannot maintain a speed close to the flow of traffic, and thereby force others to operate at their (often much, much lower) speed? Some of these roads are hilly, with steep grades – a bike can barely maintain a fast-walking pace… but the speed limit is 45 MPH. The cyclist won’t pull off for the brief moment it would take to let the cars (sometimes a dozen of them) stacked up behind him get past.

            We complain about Clovers in cars who do that. Who see people behind them, clearly anxious to get by – but who absolutely will not move over (or briefly off the road).

            Why doesn’t the same reasoning apply to cyclists?

            I have no issue with them when – as I mentioned in a previous post – they aren’t impeding others; when they are willing to pull over (or off, if need be) to allow faster-moving traffic to get past them.

            I agree this should not be necessary – if the road is adequately wide. But unfortunately, it’s often not adequately wide. In which case, the bike ought to yield – as I see it – irrespective of “the law.”

            I do it when I drive a slow-moving vehicle, such as my tractor – or truck, when it’s loaded with stuff in the bed.

            I’d do it on a bike, too.

            A big part of the problem these days is that cycling has become a very popular activity, so one often encounters dozens of them at a time (in my area at least). Sometimes, they are deliberately (passive-aggressively) obstructive. It’s obnoxious as hell when they are. And that’s probably the source of the animosity you’re seeing from Dave, et al.

          • BrentP
            September 26, 2012 at 4:10 pm

            If sight lines are that poor then why are people driving more than ~25mph? There could be anything in the road. Like a broken down semi truck.

            A bicycle is a small vehicle that is easily passed. Every day drivers put up with slow drivers. I don’t see the slow drivers harassed. I don’t see them pulling over and stopping. And they take up so much space they cannot be passed easily. I’ve simply never had this great difficulty passing a bicyclist. Nor have I ever seen a cop ticket someone who crossed over the double yellow line to do so safely. And that’s the difference. Mr. & Mrs. Clover can’t be passed easily, bicyclists can.

            Which is another thing, this idea that when passing a bicyclist the double yellow is always right, but then when it comes to slow motorists that the double yellow is over-used. If sight lines are that poor for more than a few seconds at a time it would make it appear that the double yellow isn’t over used.

            The bicycle is the smallest vehicle on the road with the smallest clearance space around it. A typical bicycle we are talking about 18″ wide with a 3ft passing clearance. I ride usually with my right brake handle lining up with the white line on a two lane road. So that’s 4.5ft of lane space. Meanwhile, a car is less than 6ft wide and the lane width for them is 12ft. Now if I do my math correctly, 1.5ft + 3ft + 6ft = 10.5ft. There’s 1.5 ft of space left over.

            Now the odds of two bicyclists and two cars being at the same place at the same time is rather slim. So if we don’t pretend the double yellow is a wall and oncoming traffic does appear we have 24ft of road (+another 6 inches or more in the center that is the double yellow line) 12ft of car. 1.5 ft of bicyclist. So, there’s 10.5ft left, 3 which goes to making a safe pass of the bicyclist leaving the cars to deal with 6.5 feet of passing space between them.

            If the roads don’t have 12ft lanes and speeds are over ~35mph that’s a safety problem for everyone even if bicyclists aren’t on the road. If we are talking less than 35mph I really don’t see what the problem is, it’s not as if passing a bicyclist is going to make any noticeable difference in travel time vs. not encountering one at all. It’s the people who make dangerous passes on these mostly residential roads that get to hear me say things like ‘save a lot of time?’ as they get out of their car at their destination.

            As to yielding, it’s a very dangerous thing to do. I stopped pulling to the edge of the road for motorists because they then see weakness and will far too often go on an offensive and that’s when I get hurt. This is why I take a turn and reroute or just u-turn on a side road. A break in confidence is all it takes for one of these drivers to decide he is free to attack. So long as they think that I’ll hold my ground or fight back damaging their vehicle they’ll remain at least somewhat polite. Show weakness and I can get hurt or worse. I’ve got scars to prove it.

          • September 26, 2012 at 4:44 pm

            C’mon, Brent!

            “A bicycle is a small vehicle that is easily passed.”

            Not always.

            There are curvy rural roads where the speeds are higher than 25 MPH but sight lines “down the road” are limited. Ditto insufficient lane width to safely pass. That is, pass without crossing the double yellow while still giving the cyclist an adequate space cushion. Cyclists not infrequently weave and wobble as they ascend a steep grade. It can be hairy trying to pass one of these guys without risking contact – or (again) crossing into the opposite lane.

            “Every day drivers put up with slow drivers.”

            True – but should they have to? Why be a dick about it? If I am slowing you up, I will get out of your way. It’s just common courtesy. Mind: I am talking about a vehicle (of whatever type) that is traveling well below the normal flow of traffic – for whatever reason. In such a situation, common courtesy is for the slow-mover to yield.

            “Now the odds of two bicyclists and two cars being at the same place at the same time is rather slim.”

            Not in my area! The Blue Ridge Parkway (especially at this time of year) is fairly crowded. It is taking a big chance to pass a bike during fall “leaf season” – because it is fairly likely a car (or an RV) will be coming the opposite direction around the next curve. The Parkway has some very steep grades, too – which reduce cyclists to a literal crawl (RVs, too).

            “As to yielding, it’s a very dangerous thing to do. I stopped pulling to the edge of the road for motorists because they then see weakness and will far too often go on an offensive and that’s when I get hurt. ”

            You’re basically saying that because some drivers are dicks, you’ll assume they all are dicks – and act accordingly. I can’t buy into that.

            For me, yielding to faster-moving traffic is the prime directive of using any road. If we expect Clover to move over, we ought to expect no less from non-Clover cyclists….

          • BrentP
            September 26, 2012 at 5:57 pm

            The cranking side to side is a few inches. inches. It’s lean, the tires go straight. 6 inches or so doesn’t change the result of the calculation in any significant way.

            If the roads where you are are so substandard your beef isn’t with bicyclists, it’s with the county, state, or city. In Illinois there is what is known as the Boub decision. This is where the government can make roads unsafe for bicyclists and has no liability for doing so. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boub_v._Township_of_Wayne ) Thus bicyclists must use the provisions of the vehicle code to establish safety for themselves.

            If the lanes are 9 feet wide, with blind curves and people are traveling at 55mph there’s a problem even if a bicyclist never uses that road. Holding bicyclists responsible because the road isn’t wide enough for motor vehicles or people want to out drive what they can see strikes me as absurd. If the roads are that bad maybe it should be motor vehicles bigger than a smart car that should be banned from them.

            When I read it what I see is trying to justify what is ultimately a social feeling or perception. It’s like saying bicyclists will be respected if they follow the vehicle code. I tried to appease drivers by following the vehicle code and giving them all the space they wanted. The result was me getting hurt and more angry drivers. I’ll put up with the angry drivers because ultimately I’m safer than not following the vehicle code, but I am not putting up with getting injured or killed.

            Slow drivers:

            The point I was making is the same as with wrong-way and other people on bikes (POBs). The typical driver simply accepts it. Says nothing. Does nothing. But a vehicular bicyclist gets special hate. Why? It’s a social issue. The trucker is seen as commerce. The RV driver is a tourist. The POB is just someone without a car or enjoying the day… the vehicular bicyclist is uppity and there to ruin their day. It’s all social perception. Nobody demands the RV driver get the f off the road. Nobody tries to make the trucker go off the road. The timid wrong way POB is left alone. But the vehicular bicyclist…. he’s a ‘dick’ or worse. Someone who has to be put in his place.

            Traffic:

            I have rarely had an on coming truck or bicyclists on each side when I wanted to pass. I adjust my speed accordingly to alter the timings. Again, I see this as the driver faulting the bicyclist for his own issues. Passing bicyclists is part of the driving skill set as far as I am concerned. It’s like merging. It’s about learning how to use minor adjustments of speed.

            Yielding:

            Let me know when the “dicks” and “non-dicks” have their status painted in big letters on their vehicles so I know. Because if I guess wrong, I’m hurt or dead. One of the scars I have was because I moved over for a box truck. There was a county cop parked right there. The driver of the truck had slowed and there was a cop there. I felt the chance of being run off the road by a driver who appeared polite in front of a cop was approximately zero. Well I guessed wrong. The truck driver passed me so close I struggled not to be sucked under. I landed on the gravel and my bike was on the other side of the ditch.

            Furthermore, do you put such trust in drivers when you are on two wheels? I’ll bet you don’t. Why? Because you’re still alive and able-bodied. Motorcyclists with that kind of trust end up hurt or dead.

            And mind you I still yield to prevent backups behind incompetent motorists, in a way that is safe for me. One where I’ll still be alive at the end of the day. And cross streets where I ride are very frequent. Usually can be measured in yards away, very rarely more than ~1/2 mile.

            BTW, I’ve never had slow enjoying the ride motorcyclists get out of my way and yield. Never.

          • September 26, 2012 at 6:30 pm

            Brent,

            “The cranking side to side is a few inches. inches”

            You’re making assertions – not stating facts. My experience is very different – and I’m no Clover. Some cyclists may only “crank” a few inches; others “crank” a great deal more. Some are wobbly and unpredictable. To deny this is just silly. Not all cyclists are competent (just as not all drivers are competent). And sometimes, it’s simply because the cyclist is not in superb physical condition (or tired) and the road is steep… it’s a reality.

            I don’t need absurd clearance – and I am well able to judge distances between myself and a bicycle. The problem is that not infrequently there simply isn’t adequate room. Not without either crossing the double yellow into the opposing lane (risking a crash that way, one in which you’d be found liable) or crowding the cycle (and if you strike him, then it’s also your fault as well as on your conscience).

            I say this based on my experience – and as someone with more driving experience than most people. If it’s an issue for me, I can certainly see how it could be an issue for others.

            “If the roads where you are are so substandard your beef isn’t with bicyclists, it’s with the county, state, or city. In Illinois there is what is known as the Boub decision.”

            No. My beef is with discourteous people. It is discourteous to impede faster-moving traffic. You believe it’s almost always safe for a competent driver to pass. I disagree. It sometimes is – but not infrequently, isn’t. In that case, the slow-mover should yield as a matter of courtesy. Just as a tractor or RV or slow-moving truck ought to yield – out of consideration for others. Because they’re holding up the line. So the obligation is theirs. That’s how I see it – based on my own attitudes. You’re free to disagree, of course.

            “The point I was making is the same as with wrong-way and other people on bikes (POBs). The typical driver simply accepts it. Says nothing. Does nothing. But a vehicular bicyclist gets special hate. Why? It’s a social issue.”

            You are making sweeping generalizations.

            I have no “special hate” for cyclists – that’s your assertion. Some may, I don’t. I do have hate for for asshole conduct by anyone. I mentioned the Parkway. I travel this road routinely, almost every day. This road was (as you probably know) designed in the 1930s as a scenic route for cars. It is fairly narrow – and curvy – and hilly. Posted speed is 45. Few bikes can maintain that, except on the downhills. On the uphills, forget it. There are often two or the three cyclists in a group struggling to ascend one of these grades. Vehicle traffic will be coming in the opposing lane, making it very difficult to pass. Sometimes, there will be half a dozen cars piled up behind the cycles, crawling along at 10 MPH or so. It’s a clusterfuck. And it’s not because the drivers are all inept. It is a combination of factors – one of which is the often-unreasonable attitude of cyclists, who in some cases belligerently refuse to acknowledge they are creating a logjam – indeed, they seem to revel in it. I just don’t get that. Irrespective of “the law,” if I notice someone behind me, I move over (or even off the road). I’d feel like a dick pumping along at 17 MPH on a bike on a 45 MPH road with cars stacking up behind me. Again, that’s just me…

            My point here is: We all ought to be more accommodating. Entitlement-minded cyclists are as annoying as entitlement-minded RV drivers.. or truck drivers.. or whatever.

            Don’t be a Clover – just move over!

          • September 26, 2012 at 8:28 pm

            “BTW, I’ve never had slow enjoying the ride motorcyclists get out of my way and yield. Never.”

            Yup – they’re dicks, too.

            We have them here as well.

            It’s almost always a certain type, too:

            Never a sport bike; never an antique bike. Almost invariably, it’s some middle-aged guy on an overstuffed Goldwing or Venture – with flags and teddy bears. They’re just as infuriating as the Spandex Nazis.

          • dom
            September 26, 2012 at 9:58 pm

            Dammit… I just had this for the last seven miles of my commute home!

            “BTW, I’ve never had slow enjoying the ride motorcyclists get out of my way and yield. Never.”

          • BrentP
            September 27, 2012 at 3:24 am

            I assert it, because it is a few inches. I’ve -DONE- it. I may live in the flat lands, I’m what others may call ‘inexperienced and incompetent’ when it comes to climbing hills on my bicycle because of it, but I’ve ridden in other states and done some pretty good climbs (such going up to Iao Needle on Maui) and I did not weave. I rocked, left, then right, the tires go -straight-. Think about the energy loss if the tires didn’t go straight.

            It looks like there is side to side movement to an observer, but it’s an illusion. I’ve seen it. And I’ve done it. Don’t look at the rider, look at the tires. They are going straight up the hill, if there is any side to side to side it’s on the order of inches, not feet.

            My beef is with discourteous people. It is discourteous to impede faster-moving traffic.

            Great. Let me know when people yield to my 412hp car by taking a header into the ditch. They aren’t going to. If the road is built to modern standards passing properly is easy. Replace every slow or incompetent driver with a bicyclist riding vehicularly and I’ll be happy. At least I’ll be able to pass!

            When I am bicycling I am not going to stop and pull off the road every few -seconds- because some drivers are incompetent. Competent drivers pass me easily and safely with little to no effort and -no- loss of speed. I am not going to endanger myself to cater to incompetent drivers.

            It’s bad enough that I don’t ride as much as I used to thanks to the anxiety of dealing with hostile motorists. But to do as you suggest, pull over and stop, just because something faster comes near, means giving up bicycling entirely. Entirely. Bike trails around here are useless for anyone who doesn’t want to putter around at 8mph and I’d still have to get to them. And don’t get me started on the peds on the so-called bike trail.

            I mentioned the Parkway. I travel this road routinely, almost every day. This road was (as you probably know) designed in the 1930s as a scenic route for cars.

            Then the road is substandard. I don’t know what else to say except that the blue ridge parkway was a make-work project of the FDR administration and was to connect national parks. I can’t find any other reasons mentioned.

            Here’s something that happened today:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKWtkbP_2mM

            I didn’t move all the way over because he blew the stop sign. I would have stopped and waited for the two cars (mine being the lead in the video) to pass before turning. However note what I can do that I can’t do when a motorist does this to me. I can pass.

            This video, about a mile away from the one with the bicycle rider above, but on another road is one of many I have of various distances. Except I was stuck behind this guy until I turned off that road.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZ1Tm9vS3xo

            Even the rude bicycle rider is far easier to deal with than the rude driver. But there are going to be a lot more people hating on that bicycle rider than that pickup truck driver.

            Of all the people voicing dislike of bicycle riders with sweeping generalizations I’ll wager they’ll be like Clover, our Clover, and find blame with me for that video instead of the pickup truck driver. I know they are the same people. Because I’ve had the -same- drivers, seconds or minutes apart complain that I am too slow and too fast when I am bicycling. For instance…

            One day I am on a 30mph residential road. It has an S curve. At the entrance of the S curve a driver of an Audi SUV guns it to pass me to get into the curve first. He passes me tight and cuts back right and then nails the brakes because he can’t take the turn. I am on his ass and I have to brake to avoid rear ending him. I yell at him to go. We get through the S curve with me on his ass because I’m trying not to lose any more speed and I am annoyed with this dickhead. He then turns off on to another road and I go buy. Some blocks later he’s coming at me hot. Brush passes me again and and starts screaming at me. He was pissed off I found his speed too slow. Yeah. That’s what I have to deal with around here.

            Then there are the clovers who got violent when I passed them on my bicycle.

            And that guy and the videos are probably the best way I can illustrate my point.

            It’s mostly social perception and emotion. It’s about dominance and submission and the last 15 years of riding convinced me of it. Following the law to letter, going the same speed, etc and so on doesn’t make a damn bit of difference. The only thing that makes a difference is social perception differences of people in different geographical areas. 25 in a 25 in the NW chicago suburbs gets me harassed. 25 in city of chicago traffic doesn’t phase anyone. Hell, I’ve ridden in the loop, in the left hand lane passing traffic to my right (keeping up with or being slowed by traffic in front of me) and not a peep. Do the same in the NW burbs? The driver behind me is likely to attempt murder just to kiss up to the bumper I’m looking at.

            I’ve run out of ways to put this.

          • September 27, 2012 at 9:57 am

            Brent,

            “I assert it, because it is a few inches. I’ve -DONE- it.”

            Come on – you’re a lot smarter than this.

            I didn’t say you didn’t do it. I said – very clearly, I thought – that others don’t.

            Crikey!

            “It looks like there is side to side movement to an observer, but it’s an illusion.”

            This is observer’s pretty observant. And I regularly observe riders who wobble, weave and can’t hold their line. It’s common. Just as it’s common to see drivers (and bikers) who can’t hold their line.

            C’mon, man!

            Cyclists aren’t perfect magnificos, Brent. And saying so doesn’t make one a Clover. Or filled with “cycle hate.”

            There are dicks on both sides of the proverbial fence. Isn’t that a fair statement?

            Yes, as a matter of law, cycles have the same right to use the road. That’s one issue – which we can debate, for or against.

            The other issue is whether it’s courteous to yield when you are holding up others. I say that it is. You disagree. That’s your right, of course.

            I regard yielding to faster-moving traffic as the proper thing to do, irrespective of the law.

            If I am walking slowly down the sidewalk, and notice people bunching up behind me, I will defer to them and move to the side – even though I have the same right to use the sidewalk as they do. I don’t expect them to maneuver around me.

            If I am driving slowly, and others are bunching up behind me, I regard it as my obligation – as a matter of common courtesy – to pull over (or off) and let the traffic get past. I don’t expect them to maneuver around me – or patiently slow their pace to accommodate mine, when I am the one traveling well below the normal speed for that road.

            I think the same etiquette applies to cyclists.

            How can we critique Clover for not moving over, if we don’t criticize cyclists who do the same thing? Clover, camped in the left lane at “the speed limit” expects others to either sit patiently behind him – or pass him on the right (or over the double yellow). We call him a dick for having that attitude.

            I think the same applies to cyclists who insist on riding on roads where they can’t maintain pace with the normal speed of motorized traffic – yet refuse to yield and expect others to accommodate them.

            Again, I understand you disagree. I understand that you think the obligation is on the traffic to “deal with it” – whether by attempting to pass or by patiently waiting behind the cyclist.

            That strikes me a rude – and a recipe for “cycle hate,” as you call it.

          • BrentP
            September 27, 2012 at 5:26 pm

            I do understand, and I simply do not believe you. Bicycle riders who cannot hold a line do not take on steep slopes on curvy 1930s roads through the mountains. They simply don’t.

            I have never seen -anyone- on a bicycle take a challenging road/trail/path who could not hold a line. Never. In over 20 years of riding. If you can’t hold a line you’re inefficient. The inefficient aren’t going to have the confidence or ability to ride tens of miles into the wilderness on a two lane road full of curves and hills.

            Poor riders dismount and walk when it gets challenging. They can’t get up the hill. It’s simply an energy issue. zigging and zagging up the hill is a longer path and does significantly reduce the effort.

            At best you’re mixing things to try to create a worst case scenario that represents a failure that’s out at six sigma. Low occurrence on failure modes analysis.

            The riders who can’t hold a line? They are the POBs. I see them almost entirely on trails. Come up on one of them at 20mph…. arg.

            Holding up others? I stated no such thing. I stated that it’s the incapable, incompetent drivers that hold up other drivers. I’m biking along the road and 99 drivers pass me without issue. Then comes along Mr. incompetent. He slows to my speed. He won’t pass. And you’re 2 cars behind him. You’d blame me for being rude because I won’t pull over and stop for this guy.* And that’s just crap. It’s the incompetent motorist that’s blocking your progress, not me.

            *As I stated earlier, I turn on to other roads now. I don’t want to be hurt by mr. incompetent or the drivers he’s made angry at me.

            I will not take a header into the ditch for him. Sorry. I want to live. I’ve tried going on to the edge of the road for these incompetents and thankfully escaped serious injury and I intend to keep it that way by not repeating the mistake of making more room for them. Because they have shoved me off the road when I did.

            If only a small percentage of drivers can’t pass me who’s the problem?

            Are you rude when Mrs. Clover comes up on your left on the interstate and then refuses to pass? Is it then your duty to pull on to the shoulder so other drivers can pass?

            I’m on the right. I am where I am supposed to be. There’s more than enough room to pass. Almost all drivers pass without issue and most of those safely.

            But after mr incompetent finally passes me, you come along and pass immediately, with no significant effort, but now it’s my fault you were delayed. That’s part of the perception.

            Just like the videos I linked. In one it’s a bicycle rider doing something that would be socially acceptable for me to be angry at. The second is a driver doing the exact same thing but if I so much as used my horn I would be considered by many to be guilty of “road rage”.

            The driving public (not you) is more than accepting of the same behaviors in drivers and that’s what I term “bicycle hate”. Because it’s irrational. Well that and people who intentionally try to harm/scare me.

          • September 27, 2012 at 6:25 pm

            “I do understand, and I simply do not believe you. Bicycle riders who cannot hold a line do not take on steep slopes on curvy 1930s roads through the mountains. They simply don’t.”

            Ok, so I’m lying. You know – for a fact – that I am lying.

            Of course, I’m not lying. Why do you accuse me of doing that?

            I’ve told you honestly what I see routinely in my area. Not just on the Parkway, either. (Most of our local roads are similar to the Parkway in that they’re almost all old farm roads, laid out 80 or 100 or more years ago, then paved over… fairly narrow, hilly, not much room for a car to pass a wobbling or refusing to stay right cyclist … )

            You seem to believe you know how all cyclists behave, everywhere. That they all are courteous, always maintain a predictable line, never swerve unpredictably…

            Need we pursue this line of discussion?

            I’ve already explained my position in re yielding – just as you have yours.

            You are apparently ok with holding up others – whom you deem “incompetent” because they have trouble passing you.

            I’m ok with yielding to faster-moving traffic – period.

            If a vehicle can’t keep up with traffic, then it is holding back traffic. And in that case, it ought to yield. Not expect others to yield (or defer) to it.

            This is why I would prefer that cyclists did two things:

            1. Restricted themselves to roads with speeds low enough that they can comfortably drive with traffic, and so not create rolling roadblocks.

            2. If they insist on using roads where they are not able to maintain the same speed as traffic, and especially when they are operating at speeds much lower than the normal speed of traffic, then they should be willing to yield. To move over – or even pull off, for a moment, if need be – to let the faster-moving traffic get by.

            What pisses people off (me included ) is not the bicylist per se but the impediment to traffic they often create when they are operating much more slowly than other traffic.

            There’s no issue when cyclists can keep up with the flow of traffic.

            And the issue goes away when slower-moving vehicles yield.

            PS: Earlier today I had to deal with a Clover motorcyclist who did just what some of the Spandex Legions do: Gimp along at well below the limit (30-ish in a 45) refusing to pull off – forcing me to pass him on over the double yellow.

            What a dick.

          • BrentP
            September 27, 2012 at 9:43 pm

            Did I say lying? I wrote I don’t believe you. People mix different kinds of people who use bicycles expecting me to believe that someone who can’t hold a line goes out for very long rides on challenging roads. It doesn’t compute.

            There are two basic types of people on a bicycle.
            1) The wobbly rider who rides sidewalks or rides because he got a DUI or is doesn’t have the money to buy a car or rides three times a year for fun.

            2) The experienced rider who can do a 100 mile plus ride up and down hills. Who rides for transportation and sport. Sometimes they are in groups and they pass each other and fall back but that isn’t wobble. Neither is the side to side rock.

            These groups are exclusive to one another in that you won’t see a type 1 rider on the road to Hana or any other even mildly challenging road. Sometimes they will be cowering in the gutter of a major arterial… usually going the wrong way or traveling in the median.

            It doesn’t compute that you are seeing wobbly riding illegal aliens heading towards their bus boy job on the parkway. Nor a 65 year old woman heading to the grocery store. Or some guy who has had a bunch of DUIs. Or even the couple out enjoying each others company on a once a year ride. Those are the wobbly riders. Those are the kind who can’t hold a line. they are the ones who have a left right path like a roller blader.

            I’ve biked in IL, WI, IN, MI, IA, WV, and HI. I have been on the road in many more states than that… and I have never seen wobbly POBs on challenging roads. Ever. Even the ones with bike lanes. They can’t even make it up the hills.

            I believe you’ve seen wobbly riders. I believe you’ve seen assholes taking the lane on hills on the parkway. But I do not believe you see wobbly assholes unable to hold a line taking the lane on the parkway. It requires an opposing list of traits.

            As bicycle riders we are the monolithic ‘other’. When some driver expresses his opinion at me, it’s always about some other people he encountered and he’s taking it out on me. It’s always their excuse for running me off the road, passing me in the oncoming lane when I am signaling a left, and so on. Heard it countless times ‘you bikers don’t obey the law’. All mixed together like we all have club meetings or something. I ride alone so all those drivers those clusters pissed off take it out on me too and verbalize it when I catch back up to them. Sunday afternoons after the clusters were out in the morning on the same roads.

            1. Restricted themselves to roads with speeds low enough that they can comfortably drive with traffic, and so not create rolling roadblocks.

            Great. I’d love that. Too bad it isn’t practical or practicable. Let me know when drivers don’t intentionally through the political process stop those roads from going through. Since they don’t want people using the roads they live on they intentionally make the minor roads not go through, not line up on different sides of arterial roads and so on. Then on the few that do go through they are actually more likely to flip out than on the major arterial roads. Nothing is worse than 20-35mph residential roads that go somewhere. They attract asshole drivers. Probably why drivers don’t make these roads go through, they don’t want to deal with these assholes either.

            2. If they insist on using roads where they are not able to maintain the same speed as traffic, and especially when they are operating at speeds much lower than the normal speed of traffic, then they should be willing to yield. To move over – or even pull off, for a moment, if need be – to let the faster-moving traffic get by.

            Personally, I am already ‘over’. I am not going to get killed by Mrs. Clover because you think that by default her lack of driving skill means I have to put myself at risk because she wants to go faster. She’s the problem. Every time I have accommodated one of those drivers I was lucky not to be hit. And get this… if I stop… they stop. Do you want to stop as I roll to a stop and dismount to step off the road so Mrs. Clover won’t kill me?

            Every other driver gets past me just fine*. Are you going to expect drivers in the right lane of the interstate to pull over on the shoulder when Mrs. Clover can’t manage to get up the skills to pass but refuses to give up blocking others from doing so?

            *Perhaps I need to take some bicycling video. Although the end of the season can be really rough.

        • BrentP
          September 26, 2012 at 1:33 pm

          That’s very cloverish of you. When are motorcyclists going to stand up for bicyclists? Look at what you write here. ‘ride the sidewalk’, ‘pay taxes’, ‘beg the government for privilege’ Some support. Because of the helmet issue I thought motorcyclists in general stood with bicyclists and vice-versa. But now that I see what’s posted here and some of the nonsense motorcyclists have aimed towards me on the road perhaps I was being too generous.

  13. Hal
    September 25, 2012 at 5:55 am

    I see this problem stemming from the fact that “our” roads are public. And it also stems from zoning laws and various other regulations.

    First off, zoning laws and environmental regulation force more and more people to live in cities, urban areas, or suburbs (also special thanks to the boys at the UN who drafted agenda 21). Second, the roads built in these urban areas are seen as public goods usable by anyone including cars, bike riders and everything in between.

    This is a case where segregation is very important. If all means of transportation were private, providers would have to compete to create more efficient systems. Owners of roads would most likely choose to create a seperate grid of roads and highways exclusively for bikes and similar vehicles. Dedicating roadways to certain types of vehicles would create far more efficient transportation for everyone. The inner cores of cities could be completely car-free while generating far more human traffic than simple road grid systems. Urban density would be boosted as well. Those who choose to drive their car within the city will probably save a lot of time and money becuase they will not have to navigate downtown traffic.

    And the parking issue would be solved because cheap public transit will provide quick transportation to the outer limits of the city where parking spaces are cheaper to build.

    There are those who prefer to be completely car free and like living in dense urban/city areas. There is no reason to force them to mix with car users. Also not wasting money on roads and highways will allow for far more development on high speed rail, maglev, and other alternatives that are far cheaper. I for one, feel that the public highway system was a terrible waste of human capital and physical resources. All of it benefits could have easily been outdone by private rail companies.

    • Steve
      September 25, 2012 at 6:25 am

      Privatizing roads, and transportation in general, would lead to a great deal of beneficial change!

      Various creative alternatives could be explored and tested for viability, instead of forcing everybody into a one-size-fits-all paradigm designed by the government.

      • BrentP
        September 25, 2012 at 2:35 pm

        It would have to be free market. Simply privatizing roads will put them entirely in the hands of the wealthy, ruling, control freaks.

    • david ward
      September 26, 2012 at 4:53 am

      Hal, nice to see you here. The first problem is goonberment. Eliminate goonberment there are no problems LOL!

  14. Steve
    September 25, 2012 at 6:10 am

    The reason cyclists are often permitted to run stop signs and red lights is explicitly BECAUSE THEY ARE SLOW! This means that cyclists have plenty of time to observe the intersection before proceeding. I can attest that it is perfectly safe for a bicyclist to approach an intersection at 10-15mph and make an appropriate judgement call about whether or not it is safe to proceed. I can also attest that it would be sheer insanity to make the same rule for vehicles which regularly travel at 50+mph and possess literally hundreds of times the deadly kinetic energy, while at the same time having only a fraction of the time to judge the situation of the intersection on approach, and having the feeling of speed and armor to encourage risky behavior. Meanwhile, a bicyclist knows that if he/she gets hit by a car, that’s probably game-over, so either behavior is much more risk-adverse, or Darwin reaps his harvest, either way society wins.

    • Steve
      September 25, 2012 at 6:20 am

      Other factors:

      - Bicycles don’t trigger traffic light sensors, so could be stuck indefinitely unless they either run a red light, or other vehicles come along to trigger the sensor. Motorcycles in many states have a similar legal ability to run red lights after coming to a complete stop.

      - While bicycles don’t burn energy idling at a stop, it takes quite a bit of physical effort to accelerate from a stop, as opposed to a driver, who merely must lightly depress a pedal once. The excess energy repeatedly stopping and starting can take a toll on bike commuters.

      - Due to slow acceleration, when bicyclists come to a complete stop, they take much longer to cross the intersection, and this can actually be more dangerous as well as inconvenient to other people on the road.

      Bicycles may be vehicles, but they are very terrible performance vehicles with zero crash protection, so that gives different safety characteristics.

      • Steve
        September 25, 2012 at 6:44 am

        Also, bicyclists should never use the left turn lane of a busy road. Vehicle, schmehicle, using a left turn lane in traffic on a bicycle is just asking to get run over, even if the law says it’s “OK”.

        Go straight across the intersection. Stop. Do a 90 degree turn (because we can do that on bikes!) and then go straight again. Unfortunately, you might need to wait for 2 green lights, but better that than getting run over in a failed attempt to merge with the flow of traffic…

        • September 25, 2012 at 9:27 am

          That’s good common sense advice, Steve –

          I agree it’s important to use good judgment and take into account the limits of whatever you’re operating bicycle, motorcycle – whatever – irrespective of “the law.”

        • BrentP
          September 25, 2012 at 2:38 pm

          I always use the turn lanes. I have absolutely no problems doing so.

      • September 25, 2012 at 9:39 am

        Hi Steve,

        I get that –

        My issue is that these exceptions to the law implicitly confirm that they ought to be general practice – for everyone.

        I ride motorcycles – and here in VA, the law allows a motorcyclist who is stuck at a light that won’t cycle to proceed after having waited one full cycle – or a certain amount of time. Cars should be able to do so – legally – as well.

        It is idiotic to insist that people (regardless of what they’re operating) just sit there – for no other reason than “the light is red.”

        If someone “runs” a red light or stop sign and causes an accident – hold them accountable, by all means. But it’s absurd to punish people when they haven’t done anything – other than ignore a mindless light or pointless stop sign (and so on).

        Let people use their judgment – not insist they be mindless law-obeying automatons!

        • david ward
          September 26, 2012 at 4:55 am

          Not in Tennessee you run a red on a motorcycle it is ticket time if the revenuers catch you.

      • BrentP
        September 25, 2012 at 2:34 pm

        I routinely accelerate faster than others from a dead stop regardless of the vehicle I use. That includes my bicycle. One bicycling incident I had was where I was in the right lane at a red signal. In the left lane was a dodge neon, behind me a ford taurus. I beat the neon off the line and out accelerated it with enough margin that the taurus driver changed over the to the left lane to pass me and the passenger threw a bottle at me hitting me on the shoulder. This is what I get for out-performing automobile drivers.

        More commonly is the roar of an engine as someone realizes a bicyclist is getting ahead of him. Also had some drivers get violent when I switch to the left lane and pass them because they are too slow getting going.

        The typical driver’s performance is way overstated. Where my trips are mostly governed by traffic control devices and the acceleration rates of other drivers my driving and bicycling times are nearly identical. This can be over as much as 6 miles. More in Chicago proper.

        • Tor Munkov
          September 27, 2012 at 11:43 am

          You are up against 1) The Just Institution Fallacy 2) The human action is reducible to an an algebraic equation fallacy.

          Its hard to weed out the last vestige of cloverism because its roots go so deep. Freedom is important but always we equivocate for “a serious issue” just like Elisabeth and her penchant for alcohol prohibition to “save lives”

          Be reasonable BrentP. Let’s embrace the state just this one time. The are experts in robes and official scientists who testify in mahogeny paneled justice churches where the collective truth can be learned.

          Let’s throw all technology and progress in the woods and be cavemen again. Cavemen who must answer to the clan like naked apes. Are you a vehicle or not monkey man? Don’t give us your answer by physical and mental evidence we can objectively observe. We need yes and no answers that fit in our forms. We need you to submit and answer in the anticoncept jargonese of our enslavers.

          Forget natural law which says your long history of assertion and taking of easement has carved a well demarked path thru the statutes and rigid street signage.

          Ayn Rand was wrong. Mystics of muscle and witch doctor made regimes are fit constructs to rule over a free people. Our only role is to tweak and petition these twin strongmen not dare to live a life as we see fit, social chains and traditions be damned.

    • September 25, 2012 at 9:47 am

      Steve,

      RVs are slow. Tractors, really slow. They’re not legally entitled to run stop signs or red lights.

      This is an either – or – situation. Either bicycles are “vehicles” – same as cars and other vehicles as a matter of law and entitled to the same privileges – and bound by the same rules. Or they’re not vehicles – and subject to different rules.

      You favor special rules for cyclists – such as allowing them to ignore red lights, apparently because you believe they have superior judgment (and aversion to risk).

      Well, most bikers are likewise very aware of their vulnerable status; they also tend to be very skilled – and of course, they enjoy the same panoramic visibility as a cyclist.

      What you’re arguing for is a double standard favoring cyclists – which is wrong on its face but worse because it breeds resentment among drivers and others who must obey “the law” that cyclists get to ignore.

      My stand on this is: If bicycle riders want to be regarded as having the same right to use the same roads as cars and other vehicles, then they should not bitch about playing by the same rules as cars and other vehicles.

      Now, having said that, you’ll recall my previous post: I would like to see the law changed so that anyone – cyclist, biker, car driver – can (for example) proceed when the way is clear, irrespective of red lights and so on.

      The only reason the system doesn’t allow this is its lust for “revenue” – which is the functional corollary of deliberately dumbing-down “the law” by discouraging competence and initiative by insistence on literally blind obedience to whatever “the law” happens to be.

      • david ward
        September 26, 2012 at 4:56 am

        Any motorcycle caught passing a tractor in missasloppy or tennesse on a double yellow line will get a ticket.

        • September 26, 2012 at 9:38 am

          Same here – and it’s a stupid (because unreasonable) law.

          This country is painted over with double yellow, with the legal passing zone becoming almost nonexistent. It’s all based on the idea that because some people are too inept to execute a quick, safe pass when the opportunity arises, no one shall pass.

  15. Helicopter Bicyclist
    September 25, 2012 at 6:21 am

    Eric, the bicycle laws in Idaho regarding stop signs and red traffic signals are on page 5-7 of the current Idaho driver’s manual ( http://itd.idaho.gov/dmv/DriverServices/documents/driver_manual.pdf ). This is confirmation of MoT’s (MoT on September 23, 2012 at 10:04 am) posting.

    I’m amazed. I’ll have to check to see if this is true in FL. I doubt it, though.

  16. bigfootmm
    September 25, 2012 at 6:41 am

    Bicycling on two lane roads is dumb. To insist on your rights to bike in an obviously dangerous manner is arrogant. Aside from being dumb and arrogant, bikers make cagers responsible for their safety. Hit a biker with your car and see what happens. Consequently, every time a driver sees a bicyclist the driver instantly must divert his attention and care to a dumb and arrogant person.. It gets tiresome.

    • September 25, 2012 at 9:33 am

      Hi Bigfoot,

      I get what you’re saying, but here’s the issue – to play devil’s advocate:

      In my state (and most states) bicycles are legally considered vehicles and legally entitled to use the roads. All roads – excepting limited access highway. Whether this policy is sensible is another question, of course.

      My opinion: The problem has mostly to do with poor judgment – and Cloverite conduct. It is poor judgment to ride a bicycle on a road with narrow lanes, no shoulders and poor sight lines – and fairly heavy traffic that flows faster than a bicycle rider can maintain. Even if technically legal, it is poor judgment – for all the obvious reasons.

      Similarly, it is Cloverite to demand that bicyclists not use lower-speed roads with sufficient lane width/shoulders to allow a competent driver to safely pass (or allow the cyclist to pull off/over).

      As is the case with so many issues, there’s unreasonable conduct – and demands – on both sides.

      • Helicopter Bicyclist
        September 25, 2012 at 10:55 am

        Florida is full of 2 lane roads with no shoulder and rough grass right off the edge. I don’t ride them unless the traffic is sparse. It’s just too dangerous. For half of my life I trusted that cars would not hit me from behind while bicycling. I was lucky. I suppose I’ve logged 20,000 to 25,000 miles overall on bicyles. That’s not that much compared to a regular dedicated rider, but it still represents a very large number of hours of blind faith in a few hundred thousand people I’ve never met. I ride a little smarter now.

        • BrentP
          September 25, 2012 at 2:56 pm

          Hit from behind is very rare.
          See crash type manual for bicyclists. I might have the title slightly wrong.

    • BrentP
      September 25, 2012 at 2:49 pm

      I get this ‘get off the road’, ‘you’re insane’ on two lane roads. In my area these are usually residential streets or I am using the two lane road to get from one residential cluster to another. Because of course drivers don’t want the roads to line up so that people don’t drive on roads that pass in front of their homes.

      When the two lane road is residential, 30-35mph speed limits, there is often a 4 to 6 lane high curbed shoulderless arterial road I could use. With a very underposted speed limit. Now there’s one thing I like riding less than two lane roads, it’s arterials with underposted speed limits. Chaotic. Passing traffic uses the right lane. So there I am on a bicycle when someone pissed off for being blocked in the left lane by some clover doing 37mph in a 45mph zone dives into the right lane accelerating to 60mph only to find me there. Now that’s so pleasant…. why would I ever choose the 30mph residential two lane?

      As to the arterial two lane roads with higher speeds… well they are unavoidable. I ride as little of them as possible. But hey, I’m not the one who made the roads not line up properly. My route may actually be west but I have to ride north on the two lane arterial road because instead of a four way intersection it’s two T’s. Sometimes for the roads that go somewhere, I have to go a miles before before I can resume travel in the direction I desire. This usually happens when I am exploring.

  17. terrymac
    September 25, 2012 at 7:22 am

    Pedestrians and cyclists make another dangerous combo. S. California has many bikeways for the use of bicycles and pedestrians – and skaters. If you think a bicycle is bad, try a skater who zigs from side to side, taking up the entire roadway. But the worst is the pedestrian who steps into the road without looking left or right; eyes straight ahead. Bikes don’t come with power-assist brakes; they’re not able to stop on a dime.

    I once nearly t-boned a car which zoomed past me, then cut right in front of me to enter a parking lot. I was going downhill at about 30 mph, so it would not have taken long to wait for me to clear the driveway, yet there I was, jamming on my brakes for dear life, and I do mean that literally. I came to a stop with inches to spare. I am afraid that my advice to that driver was not the least bit polite; trees in the vicinity might have withered from the blast.

  18. Bruce
    September 25, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    I live in a hilly area, and cyclists are a royal pain especially on weekends. They hog the road, going up long twisty hills taking the whole lane with a double-solid line so you cannot pass, etc.

    Here in NYS if you cannot keep up with the flow of traffic (pedestrians, bikes, horses, etc.) you MUST, by law, keep to the right. But nobody pays any attention to that anymore.

    When I was a kid, my parents taught me to stay on the shoulder whether walking or biking. All my buddies were given the same rigid rules at home.

    People don’t even discipline their kids about anything anymore, so it’s not surprising that they don’t teach them the rules of the road.

    WHAT CHANGED? The bicyclists have, and it’s only been in the past 10-20 years. Before that, WHEN THEY FOLLOWED THE RULES OF THE ROAD, there were none of these problems. I have zero sympathy for the cyclists — they’re wrong.

  19. Larry Gies
    September 25, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Eric,
    Here are a couple local (Orlando/Central Florida) resources on the topic:
    http://commuteorlando.com/wordpress/ See especially “Smart Moves” section and
    http://cyclingsavvy.org/ which is rapidly becoming national in outreach

  20. Jordan
    September 25, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    I wanted to post here because I have a similar situation to bikers -well, sort of.

    I own a fairly large farm in Pennsylvania, in Amish areas (this is important), but also farm rented land and deals with other farmers since I own a round baler and wrapper, as well as haylage/silage equipment. This means I often have to transport my implements from my farm, on a small rural road, to other farms, using larger roads. Most of the time I can use a truck, but for the baler and forager I have to pull with my big tractor. This used to not be an issue, I don’t live in a populated area, but the past 5 years or so it’s quickly becoming a hassle and danger more than its worth. It’s doubly mystifying because there are Amish buggies all over the roads, as well.

    First off, I yield, a lot. I also make every effort to use the road during off-peak times (9 AM to 3 PM, 6 PM to dark) and never past dark. The forager still sticks out beyond my right tire even when collapsed for transportation (I never run with it un-packed like some lazy people do) which means unless I want to run over your mailboxes I have to be farther onto the road. I pull over when I have cars behind me in a place they cannot easily/safely pass me, but for an increasing amount of people anything less than careening off the road into someone’s lawn early enough that the driver doesn’t have to slow down is tantamount to a personal attack upon them. I have people absolutely FURIOUS that I would dare to run the road 10 AM on a Tuesday morning. Screaming curses, cutting back in front of me as closely as they can, the “friendly finger”, and last but not least, the “call the cops from the cell phone” trick that has become so common that the local dispatch has taken to explaining I am not breaking the law. It isn’t much better when using a truck to pull haylage wagons because the box blocks forward sight like a semi box does, and the road warriors are glued to your ass so they can’t see any hazards in front of you and run into wagons AT LEAST 1-2 times a year.

    I really don’t understand the problem these people have, because although I am only 30, it was only 10 years ago that this kind of thing was virtually unheard of. I stopped doing business with one farmer that lived just outside a small town (less than 15,000) because the harassment was too much, and someone had thrown a drink from a fast food place at me when they went by screaming. I could understand the frustration if I was operating outside New York City, but central Pennsyltucky? Come on.

  21. Mike
    September 25, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    I do not live far from where that Explorer/bike video was taken. Colorado has a high percentage of bicycles riding in traffic for a few reasons, high number of outdoor enthusiasts and serious cyclists, beautiful areas with fun roads. These places are enjoyable rides for the same reason they are fun drives.

    As a fairly serious cyclists and bike commuter I agree with a lot of your points and one thing that irritates me is jerks. I see it all the time, cyclists who disregard traffic rules, run stops, weave in and out of traffic, alternate road and sidewalk travel. Not to suggest we all be unthinking Clovers that need to be told every minute detail, but I think the concept is consistency and courtesy.

    If cyclists want to gain acceptance with cars then act like a car (or really a slow moving motorcycle). Stop at red lights, use hand signals, yield, etc. At the same time being assertive in traffic also goes a long way, if a car yields to you, take the pass or whatever. It seems to me most of the time (jerks like the Explorer guy not withstanding) car drivers are just confused or unsure because cyclists don’t act consistently, which means following normal rules of the road.

    BTW, since there are so many cyclists, Colorado does have some unique bike traffic laws (refer to Colorado Statue 42-4-1412), such as riding 2 abreast is allowed as long as you don’t impede traffic, cars are required to give 3′ to pass (not doing so can get you a ticket as the car driver), etc.

    • BrentP
      September 25, 2012 at 6:04 pm

      This follow the law that you and Todd Junker, and others are expressing is just BS. I converted to 100% follow the vehicle code to the letter bicycling in 1997. I traded near misses for hostile drivers. The hostile driver is something I did not experience in any significant way prior to converting to vehicular bicycling. Where I stopped being submissive and scared and started following the rules exactly, not doing whatever felt safer, doing what is safer.

      IMO drivers don’t want bicyclists to follow the vehicle code. I’ve never seen a driver harass a wrong way or some other person who rides contrary to the vehicle code. They do get angry because I follow it.

      I’ve had drivers get violently angry because they were behind me in a queue at a red signal. Yes, that’s just one of the ways I’ve been yelled at for stopping at a stop.

      I also signal turns. What do motorists do? I am signaling a left turn so they pass me on the left in the oncoming lane! Then they yell at me for the conflict. For another driver they wouldn’t try such a thing.

      I could go on with example after example after example of how I have been yelled at, harassed, and worse because I chose to follow the law to the letter. One thing that drivers do when I follow the vehicle code and they start yelling at me I yell back at them that I am in the right, they tell me that it’s still my fault because other people on bicycles violate the vehicle code. WTF? I do things to the letter of the vehicle code, the driver bullies his way through anyway and then blames me. I’ve had it happen countless times where they use this excuse. Well I didn’t run the stop sign so it’s my fault they are stopped in the on-coming lane because they tried to pass 50 feet from the stop sign. It’s my fault I was nearly killed when they passed me on the left when I was signaling a left turn. on and on and on….

      The simple summation of my experience is that drivers complain about bicycle riders not following the vehicle code is because it’s just a convenient thing to use. When actually confronted with bicyclists that do they go from mildly annoyed to angry. Why? My theory is because the vehicular bicyclist is no longer properly socially submissive. He’s there taking his place like a *motorist*. Which brings to mind another common thing to hear from a driver is him or her telling me I am not driving a car and thus should get the f**k out of their way. While stopped at a traffic signal, as while moving such a conversation is impossible to have.

      I don’t even think the typical motorist knows what the vehicle code is. Not even some/many cops. Which is another thing, I was never pulled over by cops until I started riding vehicularly.

      I am convinced that the last thing complaining motorists want is bicyclists obeying the vehicle code in mass to the letter. They use the fact that some don’t to justify their own poor behavior and/or its the way they really want it. Oh, on stop sign running bicycle riders, wrong ways, etc? I am still the only person I’ve ever seen give them any lip. I do it when I am bicycling too. Annoys me to pass the same idiot over and over again because they ran stops.

  22. Todd Junker
    September 25, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    I have ZERO sympathy for bike riders. I have, on too many occasions, seen bike riders ignore the rules of the road (yes, bikers, you and your bike are a vehicle, you are not pedestrians). Just the other day, I came to a 4 way stop sign, made my legal stop, and coming in the opposite direction was a bike rider. Of course, the bike rider blew through the intersection without even slowing down for their stop sign, made a left hand turn in the intersection without a hand turn signal, and then flipped me off because I was stupid enough to get pissed off at the biker for not only violating my right of way, but the 3 other moving violations they committed in going through 1 intersection. So I do not shed a tear when I hear of bike riders getting mow down by cars. Sorry, bikers, but you’ve made your own bed. Now you get to lay in it. Oh, yeah, kick my car or mirrors, and I’ll follow you to your destination and beat you within an inch of your life. Pricks.

    • Bruce
      September 26, 2012 at 12:21 am

      I’m with you all the way.

    • dom
      September 26, 2012 at 12:40 am

      Doh… BrentP is gonna hate me for this, but cyclists get little sympathy from me too!

      • BrentP
        September 26, 2012 at 1:39 am

        I’m as irritated by those who don’t follow the vehicle code as much as anyone, but I find coming from motorists that’s it’s just an argument tool.

        When I am out there on the road I see how they just let these wrong ways, stop sign runners, etc and so on just do it. Not peep. Not a horn blast. Not a damn thing. But me, someone who follows the vehicle code to the letter…. well they get angry at me if I don’t gutter pass to the front and run the red and much more.

        It’s the hypocrisy and bullsh*t when this topic comes up that annoys me. Follow the vehicle code and be respected? Total BS.

  23. captcow
    September 25, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    The biggest problem I have with the spandex clad army that invades my town every year is at fire scenes. I often end up serving as Fire Police, controlling intersections and fire scenes, it’s amazing how many people try to blow past me when I tell them to stop. I’m not telling them to stop (at a stop sign no less) just to be a dick, I’m stopping them so they don’t end up crushed by a 40,000lb truck. You should here the choice words they have for me, even after they see the truck go through the intersection.

  24. maureen
    September 25, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    I used to cycle when I lived in Virginia Beach. There, the roads are flat and you have a good sight distance. I now reside in Vermont, the exact opposite. Vermont is a haven for the weekend cyclists from out of state. Driving on the roads in Vermont require the car driver to be on constant guard; they twist and turn, grades exceeding 10%, foliage grows to the edge of the road, cattle crossings, tractors and chipmunks are everywhere.

    I have a gripe with the cyclists. There is a “share the road” campaign in this state; unfortunately the majority of the cyclists believe this to be a one sided message. It is more difficult to stop a 2 ton vehicle than a bike. The cyclists ride down the middle of the road, two and three abreast. The cars can not pass because as I stated earlier, limited sight distances due to curves and foliage. If you do pass, you risk your life and threaten other vehicles that may be coming around a bend.

    I have to say, given the many hazards facing the Vermont driver – the weekend cyclist (next to the ‘leaf peepers’ who stop their car in the middle of the road with no warning to take pictures of the foliage), are the biggest hazards on the road (this coming from someone that also lived in northern Maine and Alaska, where the moose were often standing in the middle of the road).

    I just wish the cyclist, while enjoying their weekend ride, would remember what it’s like to drive a car on the same roads they ride their bikes. There are a few commuters in my area that cycle up/down the mountain I cross daily. These are what I refer to as the professionals – they have realized that share the road is mutual. I give them a wide pass – the weekenders – all I can do is follow them, sometimes for quite a distance, until passing is safe for the entire road.

  25. D Bro
    September 25, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    Hey,
    Bicyclists should not be allowed on roads with speed limits over 30 mph. They are not motorized, they are dangerous. Roads were meant for conducting commerce. I really don’t care what people do as long as they don’t mess with my life, liberty, or property but they turned them into a special class in Oklahoma City and are spending part of a 3/4 billion dollar tax increase sponsored by republicans to build bike paths encompassing the city. When that is done, they will still be blocking traffic when I come up over a small hill. They create danger when they can’t keep up with the speed limit.

    • BrentP
      September 25, 2012 at 8:29 pm

      Is every tired old argument going to come out of the woodwork? I suggest people learn how to pay attention and drive properly. It’s amazing how a bicyclist is such an irritation yet someone driving 15mph under the speed limit is supposed to be tolerated. I see it every day, people who accelerate and often drive slower than I do on a bicycle and it’s just all tolerated. But if I were on a bicycle doing the same speed someone would flip out on me. Despite the fact that a bicyclist is -much- easier to pass.

      For the record I oppose most bicycle paths and lanes.

  26. Bryan Legg
    September 25, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    The laws of most states require bicyclists to not impede traffic. What a joke. To impede is the intent of most of them. They pay no use tax for the roads, so it would be best if they stayed on roads that have provisions for them, or at the least stay as far right as possible, because the rest of us are paying to use the roads. I would wager that the majority of these people are progresives (communists)in their thinking who want the rest of us to sucum to their bidding.

    • BrentP
      September 25, 2012 at 8:25 pm

      Another tired old argument.

      No, they do not. There is no such law. That’s what I now call ‘clover law’, it’s things people think are law. The standard vehicle code boilerplate does not have any such thing in it.

      Tax for the roads? I pay for -four- cars. I pay property tax on -two- properties. I pay extra sales tax for -transit- (including buses). How am I not paying for the roads? When I choose to use a bicycle it’s a subsidy for everyone else.

      Furthermore, if bicycles were taxed for road use fairly, based on wear and tear, the stamp to mail the payment in would be more than the tax. For every bicyclist who doesn’t have a motor vehicle and lives under a bridge to avoid property taxes there are thousands upon thousands of those of us who do have homes and motor vehicles that more than cover them.

  27. chip
    September 26, 2012 at 1:19 am

    Here’s the bottom line for cyclists:

    1. If the lane is wide enough to share, share it, otherwise, own it like you stole it. Your safety is more important than Eric’s need to get to the McDonald’s drive-thru before the lunch rush.

    2. Courtesy should be as common as sense. If you are holding up traffic and can safely pull off to let the gaggle pass, do it. If you’re as impatient and in a hurry as a driver, you should probably be driving, not riding a bike.

    • FuzzyRider
      September 26, 2012 at 2:20 am

      I have always been told that the law in Texas is that a bicycle must ‘occupy the lane’; if that is so it is a widely disregarded law!

      I have ridden for years and thousands of miles, even riding from Mexico to Canada, and I have never observed the kind of hostility toward bicycles that folks talk about here. I have far more trouble with dogs!

  28. Shawnee
    September 26, 2012 at 1:59 am

    I live way out in the country where bicyclists hardly ever go. So it was no big deal to me to tail the guy until I had an open curve and then pull CLEAR INTO THE OTHER LANE, gun my diesel and pass him as quickly as possible. I still got flipped off. Gosh I hope he comes back soon.

  29. FuzzyRider
    September 26, 2012 at 2:12 am

    I have no problem with cars in beautiful SE New Mexico, most roads have wide shoulders and drivers won’t bother you at all if you stay on them. The only problems I ever have with vehicles is when I ride my high-wheel bike, and drivers do really stupid things trying to get pictures of me on their cell phones!

  30. david ward
    September 26, 2012 at 5:00 am

    Ok, my last statement of the day. A bicycle can convey as efficiently on grass as on pavement. So if a bicycle has to take to grass why is that a crime?

    • Helicopter Bicyclist
      September 26, 2012 at 12:29 pm

      “A bicycle can convey as efficiently on grass as on pavement.”

      I can’t quantify that exactly, but I think the rolling resistance on grass, depending on the condition of the grass and soil underneath, varies from two to five times as high as riding on pavement or even gravel. The same sort of comparison of trains (steel wheels on steel rails) yields an advantage in rolling resistance of around 200:1 to the trains over rubber tires on asphault.

      I’m not sure what your point is because of your confusing last sentence (“So if a bicycle has to take to grass why is that a crime?”). I’ve never heard anything about it being a crime to move to the grass or ride on the grass. It surely is a lot harder to ride on grass and bicyclists don’t do it except for short periods to get around a more pressing problem.

    • BrentP
      September 26, 2012 at 1:36 pm

      Another clueless statement. How about you make a habit of that on your motorcycle? It’s actually easier on motorcycle, but I bet you know exactly why you don’t do it on your motorcycle.

  31. September 26, 2012 at 6:15 am

    My, My! Where to start! I suppose with bonafides. Been commuting by bicycle since 1964. Been hit by cars three times, once by a blind lady! (yes, she was driving! Not totally blind, but legally blind.)
    Been harassed by both cars and bikes (I am a VERY assertive rider; it’s kept me alive!)
    I have several b asic rules:
    1. Never stop: a stopped bicycle is the equivalent of a kayaker without a paddle. Subject to the whims of the environment around him. Unable to avoid anything.Turn right at red lights, make a u turn then turn right again. Sometimes stopping is unavoidable, but rarely (spent several days in Manhattan this winter and never had to stop.)
    2. Never give the driver the opportunity to say, “Gee officer i never saw him.” Wear bright clothes. get good lights.
    3. remember, no matter who causes the accident, you are going to get hurt or killed. No sense in being, “dead right.”
    4. Be polite. It costs nothing, and see #3 above

    • Tor Munkov
      September 27, 2012 at 11:56 am

      So you don’t carry the unabridged statutes of all 3000+ counties on your bike and change your behavior to obey the law? Rather just behave like any mammal on the Serengheti and get to and roam wherever you choose.

      That is highly irregular Dave. My circuits require stop signs installed in the Savannnah or for urban folk to tear down the totem poles of the traffic gods.

      Sincerely Hal Clover 9000. This is critical Dave. I am unable to continue this mission until you comply.

  32. Bryan
    September 28, 2012 at 12:31 am

    Hey Brent,
    The solution is extremely simple. Don’t Impede,(to interfere with or slow the progress of).
    It is obvious by the quantity and length of your replies, you have a lot of time on your hands. Maybe that is a problem. Why not move out of your parent’s basement, get a job, then move up to a car?

    • BrentP
      September 28, 2012 at 1:01 am

      Hmm… Dom letting the trolls trough? Alright I’ll play along.

      What was it about all but a tiny few drivers being able to pass without issue that you didn’t understand?

      As to the rest, wanna race? My fastest vehicle against yours. All kidding aside my bicycle is probably worth more than your car. I always find it amusing that drivers who take this line typically have less money in their cars than I have in my bicycle. The rest have slower cars than at least one of mine… somehow I don’t think they’d like me using it to bully them… but po-tee-weet.

      • dom
        September 28, 2012 at 1:18 am

        Sorry mang! From time to time it’s funny to see the garbage they manage to type up, makes me laugh. I’ll race you though. Fastest vehicle I have is my Harley. Still haven’t taken the engine to the drop off point, so I’m not even sure what it can do yet.

        “Why not move out of your parent’s basement, get a job, then move up to a car?”

        LMAO

        • Tor Munkov
          September 28, 2012 at 11:26 am

          Shouldn’t you be working on that moving box on the left? It’s very distracting to us non-pencil-necks.

          Still LMAO about that guy!

    • September 28, 2012 at 9:40 am

      Hi Bryan,

      Brent’s a long-timer here – and a good (and smart) dude. Though I think he’s being a bit militant with regard to his position on slow-moving cycles, there’s no need to attack him with petty insults. This blog’s for intelligent back-and-forth, not feces throwing. Ok?

  33. Brad Smith
    September 28, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    I don’t have a problem with bikers for the most part. But yes they can be rude. If you’re stacking up traffic in anything pull over. People in tractors seem to know how to do it and wave hello at the same time. So do Amish people in their buggies. I just take my time. it’s very slow paced around here.

    If bikers stack up and refuse to get over I still take my time and make sure I pass them safely. Then I slow down extend my left hand out of the window and then extend my middle finger. Sometimes freedom of speech is the last and best resort.

    • September 28, 2012 at 6:33 pm

      “If bikers stack up and refuse to get over I still take my time and make sure I pass them safely. Then I slow down extend my left hand out of the window and then extend my middle finger. Sometimes freedom of speech is the last and best resort.”

      Well-said, Brad.

      Though it’s unfortunate it sometimes has to come to that.

  34. Downrange
    September 28, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    So many of the bikers we encounter around these parts are either deliberately obtuse, or seemingly have some kind of death wish. They will ride two, three, or even four abreast on a winding up and down country lane, that two cars approaching each other can just safely pass each other on. No real margin, and nowhere to go but into the trees or through a farmer’s fence. The speed limit is 55mph (as it is for all unposted secondary highways), although most people don’t drive that fast, mainly because of the curves, pop-up hills and dips that can hide a stopped mail delivery car, school bus, or even a cow. Sometimes when these spandex-clad morons are behaving in particularly suicidal manner, I actually stop and engage them politely, asking them just what they think would happen if two cars encountered their group in a blind curve at 45 plus 45 MPH and nowhere to go? They are so oblivious.
    Sometimes I just put the window down and shout out “single file please.” They usually return a one-finger salute. One of the more “indigenous” populants out here told me he actually drove his truck down the road a piece, cut a good sized switch from the side of the road and drove back down the road and swatted them all off into the bushes.
    I can understand the feeling, even though that’s technically “assault.” But the stupidity of pedal bikers can be maddening. Hell, I own TWO bicycles, but would NEVER ride them on this particular road. Craziness – and no understanding of relative risk. These bikers are the true clovers – as their inner assertion is that it’s up to “the other guy to keep us safe” while they indulge their pleasure at others’ expense. It’s a miracle there hasn’t been a really serious accident with them yet.

    • September 28, 2012 at 10:58 pm

      Hey DR,

      We’re in the same neck – so I know what you mean! Tell Brent – please. I tried to. He doesn’t believe me.

      On tactics: I haven’t done it yet, but I have fantasies about taking the S1 two-stroke for a toodle on the Parkway… finding some Tour de Francers doing what you described … and pulling just ahead of them… and holding that pace… as my old Kaw perfumes them with the oily ambiance of infernal combustion!

      • dom
        September 28, 2012 at 11:39 pm

        Ya’ll ever seen the smoke them 4×4 diesel trucks are capable of making? That would work too! These roads where I live I’d never dream of riding a bike on them. Wouldn’t you know it they are packed with bikes sometimes! It’s crazy.

        • September 29, 2012 at 10:21 am

          Yeah!

          Those things are the ticket… if I had the coin, I’d love a hogged-out, big-turbo’d diesel 2500 dualie pick-up! It makes the sound that makes the entire Persian Gulf stand up and cheer!

          • Tor Munkov
            September 29, 2012 at 2:26 pm

            It is written that you must bring gold franfurters and mopar on a pilgrimage to Dodge once in every gas guzzlim’s lifetime.

            There in the bandit run promised land you must journey from Mecha to Funky Cold Medina middle east bound and rama down allah akbar holy shiite!

            Bow Down on your Muscle Car Floor Mat face North give thanks and worship the eternal Classic Detroit Mecha!

            * * * * * *
            Ayn Explains rationalism to Johnny Carson.
            youtu.be/B-GZKDdjb4k

            Some works of Ayn for free
            book.zi5.me/books/read/1726/

        • dom
          September 29, 2012 at 1:14 pm

          Smoke Out!

          • September 29, 2012 at 1:24 pm

            Avec!

            Le Tour de France!

          • dom
            September 29, 2012 at 1:32 pm

            Your second video’s commentary is funny as hell!

          • September 29, 2012 at 1:33 pm

            Here’s one you won’t want to miss!

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09LqJTA_Hv4

          • Downrange
            September 29, 2012 at 2:01 pm

            Obviously just an impromptu “de-lousing” operation conducted for the public good!

      • BrentP
        September 29, 2012 at 12:00 am

        I didn’t write a thing about two and three abreast. What I did not believe you about is inexperienced riders who can’t hold a line taking challenging roads with tons of automotive traffic at speeds of 45mph plus. It’s the typical putting together of multiple riders into one uber evil rider that practically does not exist, a six sigma plus outlier.

        Believe it or not I’m one of those who gives lip to a fair number of people on bicycles. What they do causes some drovers to take it out on me when I ride alone.

        You can do what one or two motorcyclists have done to me as I ride along keeping right. But it requires a quiet idling motorcycle. Coast up on me with no throttle as fellow riders sit back creating an ambient noise level. Then when just over the bicyclists left shoulder nail the throttle to make as much noise as possible.

        Thankfully most motorcyclists are simply amused with my speed. In Chicago one night I was keeping up with this guy and his passenger on a motorcycle. He kept looking at me after some odd traffic move he did at a red signal. I didn’t understand what his issue was other than perhaps getting ahead of me. So I said ‘you’ve got the motor’… and he replied ‘you got the feet’. He was further amused how I kept pace with motorized traffic for blocks and blocks thereafter.

        As to comments about ‘our own safety’, most vehicular riding safety technique is counter intuitive. Those who have don’t have experience riding in traffic would not understand it. I learned it by doing, by finally getting frustrated enough to implement advise I had been given. It works. It’s been written up in various sources on proper bicycling.

        If there is any one text that matches what I call proper bicycling, it’s the PA bicycle manual. Yes, put out by the state government. Although I think it was written by bicyclists and they some how got the state to endorse it. Read it. We can discuss what you consider disagreeable.

        http://www.dot.state.pa.us/Internet/Bureaus/pdBikePed.nsf/infoAcknowledgements?OpenForm

        The thing I don’t like is the foam hat preaching with the usual nonsense in chap 1. but other than that I can’t think of much.

        • September 29, 2012 at 10:33 am

          “What I did not believe you about is inexperienced riders who can’t hold a line taking challenging roads with tons of automotive traffic at speeds of 45mph plus. It’s the typical putting together of multiple riders into one uber evil rider that practically does not exist, a six sigma plus outlier. ”

          Brent, both myself and DR (who lives in the same part of SW Virginia) have told you, frankly, that we encounter this frequently in our area. Your lack of belief in our statements is both irrelevant – and surprising. By now, I would hope you consider me a pretty straight shooter. I’m also no Clover. I’m telling you the Troof. Nearly all the roads around here are as described. It is a very rural – very scenic – area – which is what attracts the Tour de Francers in droves. Packs of them. They drive up here in their cars, then cycle the local roads, including the Parkway but also the county roads. Dom also lives in VA, though further up the road. I bet he’ll confirm what DR and I are saying.

          These cyclists – the majority not locals – insist on riding on these hilly, curvy country roads – which purely from a common sense point of view are not suitable for foot traffic – let alone cycle traffic – at inevitably much slower speeds than the speed of traffic, creating rolling roadblocks, often “cranking” in such a way as to make it not possible for a car to pass safely without also being forced into the opposite lane. They frequently ride two and three abreast. They often wobble. Some operate these rickety-looking things that aren’t even bicycles – they sit prone, with their legs out in front of them. Some are pulling a small cart which contains their small kids. Many are couples – with an unsteady wife along with her boyfriend or husband. Some are older – and clearly not in great physical condition – and jerk unpredictably to the left and right.

          You don’t believe any of this. Fine.

          I’m confecting it for some bizarre reason. Or – the alternative – I must be an inept Clover, not able to deal with passing these cyclists without having to cross the double yellow.

          Seriously?

          • Tor Munkov
            September 29, 2012 at 12:15 pm

            That was a great piece of writing. Bipsychlists? Tour de Edentulites? Hellafunny 4 sho.I would HD film it and sell 2 TRU-TV. Worlds worst cyclists. You Dom and DR could pose some road challenges with some of your vehicles and see what kind of pranks you could pull off.
            Every public space is a tragedy of the commons in USSA. The solution if their is one is to print them a map with better suited roads away from roads locals need for navigation purposes?

          • September 29, 2012 at 1:18 pm

            Thanks, Tor!

            PS: Just posted your piece – thanks for that, too!

          • BrentP
            September 29, 2012 at 7:02 pm

            I have deleted what I wrote the first time. I will try to explain this another way.

            You are mixing together rider types into one big mass of ‘other’. Drivers do this all the time. You are also taking something very specific where I don’t believe you and expanding it to everything.

            First, what I don’t believe you on is that you’ve got POBs riding the blueridge parkway wobbling their way on narrow and challenging 45mph roads. They don’t ride roads like that. They scared to death of them.

            Second, I repeat, I believe you on the five abreast and such. Never stated otherwise.

            Now, In this reply you clearly state that POBs are on some generic country roads, not the parkway as you stated previously. The POBs you see riding an ordinary country road are not going to take on the more challenging roads like the parkway (as you describe it). Simply not going to happen. They take the country roads because there isn’t much traffic. They would be scared to death of anything like the parkway traffic you describe.

            Even your terms are incompatible. Tour de francers are not POBs and POBs cannot manage what tour de francers manage.

            Furthermore you make it clear that your perceptions are in play when you call Recombinant bicycles rickety.

            Maybe I have to put this another way. What you’ve done applied to motorcyclists would be as if I took your fat 55 year old goldwing rider and a teenage crotchrocket rider, a hells angel type, and a few others and mixed all their bad behaviors together into one uber evil motorcyclist type.

            Now I’ve got a lane splitting maniac who then blocks my progress by doing 30 in 50 and wacks cars with a wrench if the driver does something he doesn’t like.

            What you are telling me is that you have people who can barely do 10 miles on flat ground, who are afraid of traffic, who don’t know the first thing about riding in traffic, taking on the high traffic, high speed, mountainous blueridge parkway. I don’t believe it. It would be like expecting the 80+ yr old trike (human powered) rider I saw yesterday to take on the road to Iao Needle in Maui or something.

            A relatively lonely country road I can believe. But the crowded high speed traffic situations where you just can’t pass, up a steep incline in a blind curve with riders who don’t even know what the ring gear on their bicycle is…. no.

      • Downrange
        September 29, 2012 at 12:32 am

        I must confess I sustained a chuckle! Unfortunately, my Prius puts out so few hydrocarbons, that all I can do is bleat on the horn and buzz away from them! Would that I still had my Dad’s old ratted out 59 Chevy wagon, with the slant six, and worn-away cylinder liners, burning that old cheap 20W Kendall oil, that could lay down such a veritable cloud of mosquito repellant!
        I envy you guys!

  35. Robb
    September 30, 2012 at 6:28 am

    Red lights, stop signs, yellow lines…merely a suggestion. There is not a red light I will not blow off at 3:45am and nobody else is around. Same with the stop signs. I’m not going to just blow right through them, but I’m also not waiting 90 seconds if there is zero other traffic. Yellow lines, sort of the same. Maybe not legally, but you really only have to stay on your side of the line if there is somebody else using the road. I think a lot of bicyclists get hit because of the “if you swerve over the yellow line, you’re drunk!” unwritten rule that most seem to “know”.

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