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Thread: Polite drivers

  1. #1
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    Polite drivers

    I'm just getting back on the bike this year. I had an injury sidetracked me for a while, so I'm just getting started again. Recently I've been riding the streets around the neighborhood to build up some miles. These are two lane, suburban side streets, 35 to 40 MPH, with a bike lane big enough for one. The streets are really wide too.

    I'd say that 70% of the drivers who pass me go WAY out of their way to give me space even though I'm in the bike lane. I bet 40% of them go over the double yellow to give me a wide berth. I'm talking 15 to 20 feet of distance between us.

    I don't do a lot of riding on the road, but even still, it surprised me.

  2. #2
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    It's a mix. In my area, I'd say 30/50/20; polite/indifferent/rude

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    I can only wish! Even with bike lanes. I try to ride rail/horse trails as much as possible around here.
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    Quote Originally Posted by muddytire View Post
    I'm just getting back on the bike this year. I had an injury sidetracked me for a while, so I'm just getting started again. Recently I've been riding the streets around the neighborhood to build up some miles. These are two lane, suburban side streets, 35 to 40 MPH, with a bike lane big enough for one. The streets are really wide too.

    I'd say that 70% of the drivers who pass me go WAY out of their way to give me space even though I'm in the bike lane. I bet 40% of them go over the double yellow to give me a wide berth. I'm talking 15 to 20 feet of distance between us.

    I don't do a lot of riding on the road, but even still, it surprised me.
    Wide streets . . . Bike lane . . . Polite drivers
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  5. #5
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    I just finished a road ride here in portland, oregon. Wow! It is amazing when a city realizes a person on a 20 lb vehicle needs to be given careful consideration by the 2 ton vehicles. Besides the bicycle infrastructure, the drivers were giving me the right of away. Riding more here the next few days and really looking forward to it. Then back to atlanta.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chazpat View Post
    I just finished a road ride here in portland, oregon. Wow! It is amazing when a city realizes a person on a 20 lb vehicle needs to be given careful consideration by the 2 ton vehicles. Besides the bicycle infrastructure, the drivers were giving me the right of away. Riding more here the next few days and really looking forward to it. Then back to atlanta.
    I'm guessing Atlanta is a little different!

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    Most drivers are fine, but it only takes one knobhead to kill you!

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    I'm pretty lucky. From the past several years of road riding drivers have been 70% decent, 29.5% indifferent, .5% not quite rude...but the rare comment gets tossed out. Like Mr. Pig said...only takes one...could be that one in a million...but so far here it's been good. Trails are too far away so I'm limited to the roads most of the time or I'd only get to ride 2-3 per month instead of 3-4 times a week.
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    I've had more near-misses that I care to think about. So much so that I consider it inevitable that I will get hit one day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    I've had more near-misses that I care to think about. So much so that I consider it inevitable that I will get hit one day.
    I would think on your neck of the woods, it wouldn't be as bad?

    Thought you guys had plenty of bike lanes?
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcd46 View Post
    Thought you guys had plenty of bike lanes?
    Bike lanes tend to be ill thought out and sporadic. There is little real commitment to bikes as a proper mode of transport. They're investing more in cycle networks nowadays but it's s till being shoehorned in around existing infrastructure so it's rarely ideal. Riding on busy roads is unavoidable.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    I've had more near-misses that I care to think about. So much so that I consider it inevitable that I will get hit one day.
    Been hit, not fun. Got hit in the arse by a mirror that was hung off the front fender so the driver could see around the camper he was supposed to be towing. Threw me over the handlebars and into the ditch. Go ahead, laugh it is really funny just thinking about it.

    Th driver turned out to be an ok person and made sure everything was taken care of, unlike most drivers these days.

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    Quote Originally Posted by me. View Post
    Been hit, not fun. Got hit in the arse by a mirror that was hung off the front fender so the driver could see around the camper he was supposed to be towing. Threw me over the handlebars and into the ditch. Go ahead, laugh it is really funny just thinking about it.
    .


    WOW! Glad you're OK.

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    Pittsburgh is going through growing pains. The number of bike lanes has grown exponentially in the past 5 years, and so the people who hate cyclists have gotten angrier. There aren't necessarily more angry drivers, but they now consider us entitled and think out bike lanes are an inconvenience to the "real commuters" in the city. I expect this trend will die down and the city will get more understanding of cyclists, but I have to wonder if bike friendly cities like San Fran and Portland went through these type of growing pains.

  15. #15
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    San Fran had some huge issues. I didn't pay close attention since I wasn't into cycling when I lived in the bay area, but I knew there was a lot going on. If it was still going on now like it was then, you'd had Twitterer in Chief denouncing how both sides were at fault...

    Meanwhile this morning on my commute, a car intentionally ran a stop sign as I was trying to go through the intersection (I made a complete stop, then started pedaling. If I didn't notice how fast he was going (45+ on a narrow 25 mph road) he might have hit me since he wouldn't have had time to stop.

    I got hit on my MTB in a cross walk (I had the green) a few weeks ago going from one trail network to another. I wanted the guy to pull over so I could get insurance info in case he crushed my carbon frame, but he took off. My ribs still hurt a little from the impact to the ground.

    This kind of thing is daily occurrence for me though. Hard to tell how much is asshole drivers hiding behind a steering wheel, ave how much is from me being a high mileage rider.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    Most drivers are fine, but it only takes one knobhead to kill you!
    Knobhead. I cant wait to use that.

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    As each road ride goes by, each drive to work and each kid drop off I see something much worse than the a-hat that has issues with bikers. What I am talking about are the people with their heads buried in their cell phones and trying to look at or text and drive at the same time. From behind they look like they are drunk driving. The bike lane becomes a suggestion as they weave across the line time and time again. They may not be angry but they are dangerous.

    I like to point it out to my children when someone is driving erratically as well as when we pass fellow bikers. My kids know when someone is not driving well, which bikers don't have helmets on and which bikers are on a sweet bike. I do this because it is fun to interact with the kids and I am also setting the stage for when they get older and are out on the roads either driving or biking. I remember reading in one of our threads that a great way to make people aware of cyclists is to show them how to be aware as children and I believe that.

    Where I live we have something like 50 miles of paved bike trails and a bunch of dirt options. I am able to get out and get some miles in without spending too much time on the road. Some other rides are white knuckle don't want to get tagged by a side view mirror rides. I find myself doing those less as the years go by and as the stories of bikers getting killed keep coming in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FullBladdy View Post
    I like to point it out to my children when someone is driving erratically as well as when we pass fellow bikers.
    I used to play a guessing game with my kids called "drunk, old, or texting?" whenever we saw someone weaving down the road in front of us.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewalk View Post
    I got hit on my MTB in a cross walk (I had the green) a few weeks ago going from one trail network to another. I wanted the guy to pull over so I could get insurance info in case he crushed my carbon frame, but he took off. My ribs still hurt a little from the impact to the ground.
    2 things;
    1 - Are you okay and did you get his plate info to get the cops to arrest him for a hit and run?
    2 - were you riding or walking in the cross walk? In California you are only a pedestrian when walking in a crosswalk, running, rollerblading, skateboarding or biking changes the rules.


    I live on a busy street, it is a neighborhood with driveways that back into the road, but the road is separated by a center painted island for turning in and out of driveways and the speed limit is 30mph instead of 25 like a normal residential street. Every week I ride from my house up the hill and into my local trail network and I refuse to use the bike lane because cars routinely drive 45-65 mph on the street and pay no heed to anyone in the bike lanes. Scares the crap out of me when on the sidewalk they go so fast....
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Klurejr View Post
    2 things;
    1 - Are you okay and did you get his plate info to get the cops to arrest him for a hit and run?
    No info, he took off too fast.

    Besides, I don't know if I want to waste my time with cops anymore. After literally being attacked by two guys in the middle of the road, the police did everything they could to talk me out of doing anything and implied that I must have been doing something to set them off.

    (Given the fact that I do actually stop at stop signs and red lights, and do actually obey all the rules of the road, I have no patience for such BS)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewalk View Post
    Besides, I don't know if I want to waste my time with cops anymore.
    Cops around here are the same. Do anything other than work. They're scared of the neds and try to avoid reporting crimes as it makes them look bad. Easy to post low crime figures if you won't let anyone report a crime!

  22. #22
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    I had a couple more great rides around Portland. Didn't see anything on the news about folks being late to work or kids missing school due to cyclist slowing everybody down. I can't imagine living there and not having a bike. Yesterday I got out early to ride so witnessed a lot of commuters.
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    I'd say the majority of motorists I encounter are good at offering reasonable berth. I ride on the road a lot as well.
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  24. #24
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    I have encountered two overly polite drivers who are so intent on doing the right thing that they stopped where there is no stop sign in order to let me go, even though I did have a stop sign. I think they were so surprised to see a cyclist on the road, obeying the rules, that they didn't know what to do! It seems it is de rigueur around here to either ride your bike on the sidewalk or ride in the bike lane against traffic. I even yelled at another cyclist the other day for riding the wrong way down the bike lane (I wasn't gonna yield the lane to him). He didn't hear me as he was wearing headphones /sigh.

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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by chazpat View Post
    I had a couple more great rides around Portland. Didn't see anything on the news about folks being late to work or kids missing school due to cyclist slowing everybody down. I can't imagine living there and not having a bike. Yesterday I got out early to ride so witnessed a lot of commuters.
    Portland may seem like a sunny cycling utopia compared to some places, but I assure you the rose city isn't all roses. There is plenty of hate and animosity against cyclists in Portland, and a there are a number of riders killed on the roads there every year.

    Where I live in Oregon (1.5 hours from Portland) is far better than Portland in terms of less traffic, safer roads etc., and over the years I've still had plenty of run ins with rude, angry, clueless, texting, and generally $hitty drivers. Drivers are still humans after all.

    So, even in one of the best places in the country to be a cyclist on the roads, you're still a vulnerable second class citizen.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by twd953 View Post
    Portland may seem like a sunny cycling utopia compared to some places, but I assure you the rose city isn't all roses. There is plenty of hate and animosity against cyclists in Portland, and a there are a number of riders killed on the roads there every year.

    Where I live in Oregon (1.5 hours from Portland) is far better than Portland in terms of less traffic, safer roads etc., and over the years I've still had plenty of run ins with rude, angry, clueless, texting, and generally $hitty drivers. Drivers are still humans after all.

    So, even in one of the best places in the country to be a cyclist on the roads, you're still a vulnerable second class citizen.
    I kind of figured I'd get a reality check reply. Still a lot more bicycle infrastructure than where I live!
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