Cars on narrow roads.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Cars on narrow roads.

    Bit of a rant, please be patient. My local road that runs to my house is very narrow, like sometimes only 8 ft wide. Barely wide enough for my corolla when meeting a car coming the other way. This section of road is signed either a 20 or 25 mph for the whole way, maybe a mile. Very curvy but there are a few places in which to pass. On my bike commute, I take the lane. To do other wise is to invite disaster. The road is not wide enough for a car and a bike to share the lane. Without getting crowded out when another car approaches from the other side. There are no shoulders, maybe 6-8" to the right of the white line. There is no" better" road nearby.
    I have tried pedaling on the white line, left of it by one foot as well as the right tire track. All suck badly and invite passing on blind corners and bad passes. So I take the lane. Drivers honk almost every day. Some will wait and never pass, even when safe to do so and I wave then on. Then the drivers behind get impatient. Sometimes I will pull off and let all the cars go by. Do other bike commuters do this? Most will just go by and pass when they can. This AM I had a few firsts. Had a car TWO cars back pass the car in front of it, then me, on a blind corner, going at least 35-40 mph in a 20 zone. I then had a really close punish pass. 150 yards of strait away, plenty of room and sight line to pass. Floors it by me, about 2 ft away, swerved right in front of me, very close. The worst part was a car had just pulled out of it's driveway headed toward me in the opposite lane. Now this crazy guy is swerving right in front of it, crazy.
    Looking for some solutions and remedy, if possible. No other road goes to my house for one. Get a camera and report to police? Probably going to go this route. Get a sign that says" don't run me over" or" share the road" ? Been doing this for 10+ years, suburbs into Boston, MA. Used to all kinds of car idiots, most I just shrug off. I use lights and a mirror. Besides violence, other thoughts. please.
    Last edited by leeboh; 09-16-2016 at 10:10 AM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Bit of a rant, please be patient. My local road that runs to my house is very narrow, like sometimes only 8 ft wide. Barley wide enough for my corolla when meeting a car coming the other way. This section of road is signed either a 20 or 25 mph for the whole way, maybe a mile. Very curvy but there are a few places in which to pass. On my bike commute, I take the lane. To do other wise is to invite disaster. The road is not wide enough for a car and a bike to share the lane. Without getting crowded out when another car approaches from the other side. There are no shoulders, maybe 6-8" to the right of the white line. There is no" better" road nearby.
    I have tried pedaling on the white line, left of it by one foot as well as the right tire track. All suck badly and invite passing on blind corners and bad passes. So I take the lane. Drivers honk almost every day. Some will wait and never pass, even when safe to do so and I wave then on. Then the drivers behind get impatient. Sometimes I will pull off and let all the cars go by. Do other bike commuters do this? Most will just go by and pass when they can. This AM I had a few firsts. Had a car TWO cars back pass the car in front of it, then me, on a blind corner, going at least 35-40 mph in a 20 zone. I then had a really close punish pass. 150 yards of strait away, plenty of room and sight line to pass. Floors it by me, about 2 ft away, swerved right in front of me, very close. The worst part was a car had just pulled out of it's driveway headed toward me in the opposite lane. Now this crazy guy is swerving right in front of it, crazy.
    Looking for some solutions and remedy, if possible. No other road goes to my house for one. Get a camera and report to police? Probably going to go this route. Get a sign that says" don't run me over" or" share the road" ? Been doing this for 10+ years, suburbs into Boston, MA. Used to all kinds of car idiots, most I just shrug off. I use lights and a mirror. Besides violence, other thoughts. please.
    Hmm...how long is this road and how long does it normally take you to ride it? Is it somewhat flat? Do you maintain a speed that is fairly close to the speed limit?

    I would probably do what you already are--take the lane and after a certain number of cars are backed up, or cars have been backed up a certain amount of time, then pull off and let them all by. Maybe giving some sort of a thanks for your patience kind of gesture.

    That's a tough one though.
    Baby, I want my face to be your quiver killer.

  3. #3
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    Length? This section is ,maybe just over a mile. The thing is there are probably 4-5 safe passing areas with good sight lines. Cars might have to wait 10-15 seconds at most to get to one. 1/2 is signed 20 mph, 1/2 is 25 mph. MA law states bikes may use full lane when needed. My speed is not the issue, I'm usually 16-18 mph, depending on slope.

  4. #4
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    That's a difficult situation, for sure.

    I've got a stretch of road that's maybe half a mile long that alternates between sharrows and a bike lane. It's a royal pain in the ass. I get off of it ASAP, but I have to use it to cross a very busy road.

    I live ON this street, and in front of my house, lanes are pretty wide, with sharrows, and a center turn lane. PLENTY of room for safe passes, and I have never had a problem with this stretch.

    After crossing the major road, there's maybe 50-100ft where the lane is hemmed in tight by a curb on the right (no shoulder) and a median curb on the left. Have to take the lane here. Some folks get impatient, but there's simply not enough room for sharing to allow a safe pass. After the narrow stretch, the lane widens, but is still sharrows. The sharrows indicate for bikes to keep in the straight lane as a right turn lane opens up. This pisses me off, because at other intersections, the sharrows point straight bikes into the left side of the right turn lane. The lack of consistency is maddening.

    The actual bike lane begins after this section, and I enter it to allow cars to pass. It doesn't last long, however. It's maybe 1/4mi long and a gradual downhill. At the bottom of the hill is a small creek, where the bridge narrows a touch such that the bike lane ends and sharrows point you out into the lane again. Shortly after this is my left turn off of the major road, so again, I have to take the whole lane so I can make my way into the short left turn lane that opens up.

    I have had a number of issues at the narrow bridge where cars are trying to rush through before I am forced left. The whole way down the hill in the bike lane, I am monitoring traffic to find a gap where I can move left. Sometimes I get over pretty early. Especially on my last commute where a big downed branch was in the bike lane. The worst incidents have been vans and delivery trucks. A UPS driver on one occasion, and an unmarked Sprinter van with Oregon plates on another.

    I have been considering installing cameras on my commuter (front and rear) to monitor traffic so I can report people. Unfortunately, in my state, a rear-facing camera isn't enough to ID bad passes, because there are no front license plates. Gotta have one in front to catch the plate after the pass. Helmet would probably be best so it captures where I'm looking to check traffic (as well as my hand signals, at least when I turn my head).

    Years ago, I heard of a guy who had lots of issues with traffic when he was commuting. He had shirts made that said, "Divorced. Wife got the car." on the back in bright, contrasting colors. He would ride wearing them, even though he was happily married. He said that the rednecks in big pickups, at least, treated him better. Probably wouldn't do much for the soccer mom in the oversized SUV, though.

  5. #5
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    Your speed doesn't matter if you're on a bike. If an idiot in a car sees you, they assume you're going slow and need to pass you.

    Maybe contact your city and ask for speed bumps or other traffic calming devices.
    You change your own flats? Support your LBS and pay them to instead.

  6. #6
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    Sounds like you are riding appropriately considering the conditions.

    Possibly helpful solution if you have a rear rack. A fellow bike commuter I chat with put a sign on the back of his rear rack that says something like "Smile, you are on camera". Supposedly cars are much more polite around him since he started doing that. He does actually run a video camera, but the sign might be enough. Something to consider.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by formula4speed View Post
    Sounds like you are riding appropriately considering the conditions.

    Possibly helpful solution if you have a rear rack. A fellow bike commuter I chat with put a sign on the back of his rear rack that says something like "Smile, you are on camera". Supposedly cars are much more polite around him since he started doing that. He does actually run a video camera, but the sign might be enough. Something to consider.
    I have one such sticker on my pannier (it's a BIG sticker I got with a motion-sensing game camera used for my master's research), but not running an actual camera. I'm not convinced it makes that big of a difference.

    I find my clothing selection makes a bigger difference. On my short commutes, I typically just wear whatever I'll be wearing throughout the day. I generally get treated better when I'm wearing regular clothes than when I'm wearing lycra.

  8. #8
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    This is an education issue....

    Assumming you aren't encouraging road rage????

    You need to get a few drivers to start driving it correctly from you side of life...

    Then these drivers need to communicate the issue to the others.

    This is not has impossible as you might think, but you will have to communicate.

    Signage can help.

    So can a horn that mimics a car.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Volsung View Post
    Your speed doesn't matter if you're on a bike. If an idiot in a car sees you, they assume you're going slow and need to pass you.

    Maybe contact your city and ask for speed bumps or other traffic calming devices.
    Traffic calming? The road is full of really narrow, tight corners with blind spots for passing everywhere. Plus 20-25 mph road signs.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott View Post
    This is an education issue....

    Assumming you aren't encouraging road rage????

    You need to get a few drivers to start driving it correctly from you side of life...

    Then these drivers need to communicate the issue to the others.

    This is not has impossible as you might think, but you will have to communicate.

    Signage can help.

    So can a horn that mimics a car.
    Have you driven in MA? Methinks not. Just being in car, let alone in traffic induces rage, anger, crazy driving and lunacy. Add in BMW's, texting/phones/ self absorbed behavior and the like. Drivers communicate here with tailgating, car horns, road rage and the MA salute( middle finger) I'm not exaggerating. Our term is Mass***** drivers. Same road in my car, I'm doing 12 mph over the speed limit, I have someone so close to my car I can't see their front bumper. Yikes. It's a sad , sad state of affairs.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Have you driven in MA? Methinks not. Just being in car, let alone in traffic induces rage, anger, crazy driving and lunacy. Add in BMW's, texting/phones/ self absorbed behavior and the like. Drivers communicate here with tailgating, car horns, road rage and the MA salute( middle finger) I'm not exaggerating. Our term is Mass***** drivers. Same road in my car, I'm doing 12 mph over the speed limit, I have someone so close to my car I can't see their front bumper. Yikes. It's a sad , sad state of affairs.

    No oh course not....I commute for 12 years in a city of 1.2MM we have our share of exactly what you describe....

    Over the years I see the same cars and drivers multiple times....those are the ones that know me....they will stop, slow down just basically be nice....that certainly helps the others understand the way to react to a biker....

    It works

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Have you driven in MA? Methinks not. Just being in car, let alone in traffic induces rage, anger, crazy driving and lunacy. Add in BMW's, texting/phones/ self absorbed behavior and the like. Drivers communicate here with tailgating, car horns, road rage and the MA salute( middle finger) I'm not exaggerating. Our term is Mass***** drivers. Same road in my car, I'm doing 12 mph over the speed limit, I have someone so close to my car I can't see their front bumper. Yikes. It's a sad , sad state of affairs.
    Hmm...now this explains Boston Bruins fans.
    Baby, I want my face to be your quiver killer.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott View Post
    No oh course not....I commute for 12 years in a city of 1.2MM we have our share of exactly what you describe....

    Over the years I see the same cars and drivers multiple times....those are the ones that know me....they will stop, slow down just basically be nice....that certainly helps the others understand the way to react to a biker....

    It works
    Nice? You really have not been here on the roads. Calgary, Alberta? I'm sure is full of nice, normal, considerate people. Not here. It's a different world.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buster Bluth View Post
    Hmm...now this explains Boston Bruins fans.
    And Red Sox vs Yankees mentality.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Nice? You really have not been here on the roads. Calgary, Alberta? I'm sure is full of nice, normal, considerate people. Not here. It's a different world.
    They're Canadians. Of course they're more considerate than the typical M*******. I don't envy you in the slightest.

    Have you considered rocket launchers?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    They're Canadians. Of course they're more considerate than the typical M*******. I don't envy you in the slightest.

    Have you considered rocket launchers?
    Drove up to PEI a few years ago. Vacation mode, relaxed driving. Or so I thought. I guess they are really nice up there. My regular stuff I guess they had never seen. A few other drivers actually had their chins drop and mouth open. Like aghast. Sort of like I slapped their mom and kicked their dog. Went super chill after that. Not getting to violence yet, will work on a camera though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Drove up to PEI a few years ago. Vacation mode, relaxed driving. Or so I thought. I guess they are really nice up there. My regular stuff I guess they had never seen. A few other drivers actually had their chins drop and mouth open. Like aghast. Sort of like I slapped their mom and kicked their dog. Went super chill after that. Not getting to violence yet, will work on a camera though.

    you must like TRUMP

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott View Post
    you must like TRUMP
    I think the OP should build a wall to separate himself from the cars and, more importantly, get THEM to pay for it.
    Baby, I want my face to be your quiver killer.

  19. #19
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    Well, I think I understand the problem.... you should put down the barley drinks if the road becomes barely wide enough to travel.

    Seriously though, get a camera. At the most, you can catch those idiots that are a danger to themselves and yourself. At the least, perhaps you can approach the city council with some of the footage and make a good case that the road should be widened to allow for bike traffic or for more passing room.
    I don't know why,... it's just MUSS easier to pedal than the other ones.

  20. #20
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    My roads are mostly all that narrow. The locals have gotten used to me over the last 8 years. I take at least the right track, and sometimes the center of the lane. I do have blind hills and corners where I meet oncoming traffic taking their half out of the middle but less frequently now. The roads are 30 but I have had 50-60 mph passes. I have pulled into a driveway to get a line of approaching cars past me with oncoming traffic making passing impossible. Indiana drivers for the most part are not psychopaths. Too may text and are otherwise distracted. My Hi-Vis vest seemed to be a big help in stopping the too late braking and too close tailgating.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott View Post
    you must like TRUMP
    Umm, what? Not following.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Umm, what? Not following.
    Me neither. That's quite an insult and he should be reported to the moderator. That's the equivalent of calling somebody insane.
    Baby, I want my face to be your quiver killer.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Looking for some solutions and remedy, if possible.
    Don't ride on that road. I'm not kidding.

    I used to live on a road like you describe, and my solution was simply not to bike there.

    So, either don't commute by bike, or find another route. You're going to get hurt on that road, as you describe it.

    One alternative: Buy an e-bike and keep your speed up.

  24. #24
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    The truly dangerous drivers such as OP described are not going to be stopped by anything you do, whether you are on a bike or in a car - they just don't care. For them, you have to ride with a healthy dose of fate, and hopefully it won't be your time. In the extreme, such as passing multiple cars on winding roads, or wrong-way drivers, consider calling the cops to report them, you may save a life.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bimmer74 View Post
    Don't ride on that road. I'm not kidding. You're going to get hurt on that road, as you describe it. One alternative: Buy an e-bike and keep your speed up.
    Another alternative drive the unsafe bit park the vehicle and ride in from there.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bimmer74 View Post
    Don't ride on that road. I'm not kidding.

    I used to live on a road like you describe, and my solution was simply not to bike there.

    So, either don't commute by bike, or find another route. You're going to get hurt on that road, as you describe it.

    One alternative: Buy an e-bike and keep your speed up.
    It is the only road that goes to my house in that direction. They would still pass me on an e bike. Plus, I'm on an e bike. Last ride I did slightly right of center, but not as far right as the right tire track. No honks. Maybe, by perception it looks like I'm not riding in the middle of the road. But they still need to cross over the the other side the same distance. Been pedaling that way for 11 years now, no issues yet. Just a few operator error moves.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    It is the only road that goes to my house in that direction...
    Again, if it's as dangerous as you describe, then you're going to get hurt, sooner or later.

    Faced with the same situation, I commuted by car until I moved to a place with a more bike-friendly commute.

    One alternative, if you have as much sticktoitiveness as you seem to have: Get involved in your local gov't and start lobbying for a real bike path on that road.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bimmer74 View Post
    Again, if it's as dangerous as you describe, then you're going to get hurt, sooner or later.

    Faced with the same situation, I commuted by car until I moved to a place with a more bike-friendly commute.

    One alternative, if you have as much sticktoitiveness as you seem to have: Get involved in your local gov't and start lobbying for a real bike path on that road.
    Bike path? Not going to happen. So few bike commuter in this car centric town. Plus, the road is narrow, it would have to happen on peoples front lawn.

  29. #29
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    Maybe it's time to first brush up with your state's traffic laws.


    Mine says yada yada five vehicles... pull over when safe to do so. Make yourself visible, be courteous and by all means take the lane. when it's safe, let cars by.

  30. #30
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    On the road, I run a Cycliq Fly6 rear facing camera/flashing red light. They run about $160. Runs continuous for about 5-6 hours and loops on a SD card. It lays down the video in 10 minute packets and organizes those packets by time. I've been off the road bike for a couple months and exclusively enjoying almost daily hero dirt now that we're seeing rain. When I get back on the Roubaix, I will probably splurge for the Cycliq Fly12 front facing light/camera. GoPro's are great but battery life is very limiting for this type of use. The way I see it, it might get my widowed wife a bit more cash if someone wipes me out.

  31. #31
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    If I had to take a road like that I'd make it my daily interval training, take the lane and bust that mile at 25+mph.
    I brake for stinkbugs

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