• 04-08-2010
    ak_cowboy
    Road Manners and Manauvers
    This topic was hijacking another thread, so I thought I'd start a new one.

    When riding with traffic, we are supposed to be 100% aware of everything that is happening and could happen in the future. I've heard that we need to slow down, ride defensively, ride "invisible", ride like a "Chinese New Years", and lots of other opinions.

    Most riders realize that there will be times when nothing they can do will prevent an accident. A question I had, to hopefully prevent myself from getting hit, was misinterpreted earlier. So here it is again.

    I live in Fairbanks, Ak. We don't have bike lanes, near the highways there are bike paths, in town we use the 4' wide sidewalks. Now, the speed limit is anywhere from 35-45mph and I travel between 12 and 18mph. If someone is turning right, from behind me, is there anything I can honestly do? Someone really suggest "Not to pass on the right". That doesn't apply here, everyone is passing me!

    Thanks in advance.


    Heres a link to the road I commute on (College Rd)
    http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Colleg...ed=0CAgQ8gEwAA
  • 04-08-2010
    AlmostQuick
    Good question, and thanks for starting a new thread.

    The situation you are concerned about is called a right hook. There are two ways this can happen. First a cyclist pulls up on the right side of stopped or slow moving traffic, (the motorist may not even see him/her) and then the driver turns into the cyclist or his path. To drastically prevent this, don't pass vehicles that may turn right on their right! Don't count on no signal meaning that they aren't going to turn. Better to merge into the line of traffic (or be there already) and cross the intersection using the full lane.

    The other way a right hook can happen is when the motorist is passing the cyclist, and then immediately turns into him or his path. Here the driver may have seen him, but miscalculates his speed, or otherwise considers him irrelevant. To help prevent this from happening, move into the lane. Here you will be more likely to be seen, and seen as relevant. If the driver has to go into the left lane to get around you, he/she will be less likely to right hook you. As you noted, you still must be prepared for them to make the most stupidest move possible at any time, but these techniques do cut down on the frequency of close calls.

    Ride On! :)
  • 04-08-2010
    space
    You commute on College Rd, well you are a braver man then I.

    Given the width and condition of College I would almost suggest taking the whole lane. I don't know how far you commute, but in my experience traffic is not that bad between University and Johansen.
  • 04-08-2010
    ak_cowboy
    Thats why the previous thread had me so worried about right hooks! There are so many little side streets and driveways that it's not feasible to check behind me/slow down for every single one. There is no way I can keep up with traffic, so thats why I stick to the sidewalks. Pulling into a car lane at 15mph when they're doing 35+mph is just stupid
  • 04-08-2010
    jeffscott
    Evaluate different routes to get to the same place...

    While there are places with only one route, there are usually many options out there, maybe not exactly what you are looking for but they are out there.

    I have a short commute only 5.5 km, it is realtively safe....but I ride 7.5 km every day down a safer route, that is just better. Even when it is -30C i still ride the long way.
  • 04-08-2010
    jeffscott
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ak_cowboy
    Thats why the previous thread had me so worried about right hooks! There are so many little side streets and driveways that it's not feasible to check behind me/slow down for every single one. There is no way I can keep up with traffic, so thats why I stick to the sidewalks. Pulling into a car lane at 15mph when they're doing 35+mph is just stupid


    Try getting a mirror.
  • 04-08-2010
    AlmostQuick
    How many lanes is it, and how wide are they? Sidewalks are certainly no assurance of safety. Plenty of sidewalk cyclists get hit while crossing roads / driveways.

    "Pulling into a car lane at 15mph when they're doing 35+mph is just stupid"

    Only if you pull out directly in front of car. If you are already there, they will see you and go around. My commute has a section with 50+ mph traffic where I take the entire right lane the whole time I'm on it. (very narrow un-sharable lane and un-ridable shoulder)

    Hi - Vis clothing, blinking lights and helmet mirror... no close calls yet after 720 rides.

    If you can find a better route do so, but it's not always possible.
  • 04-08-2010
    Steve121
    I also use a longer route + 4 miles than going straight from point A to point B. Even if Im late,I will always use the longer route which is a lot safer and more enjoyeable than riding with traffic jam etc.

    With the shotrer route,i would have to pass by at least 6 major intersections with traffic lights. With the longer one,I only have 1 major intersection to cross.

    No close calls,no cars ( Almost). Im in peace
  • 04-08-2010
    ak_cowboy
    I would be up for a different route, but there isn't one. There's only one major intersection, its the sidestreets, which are everywhere lol. Its only a 3 mile commute, but I'm doing it at 8am and 5pm, so there's all the work traffic travelling. I am looking into getting a mirror soon, the other issue is we have curbs (you know a 4" drop to the road from the sidewalk). and thats just not something this cruiser can do.
    98% of the drivers I've had encounters with have been more than accommodating to me, its the other 2% I'm worried about.
  • 04-08-2010
    jeffscott
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ak_cowboy
    I would be up for a different route, but there isn't one.Not sure I am buying that but anyway There's only one major intersection, its the sidestreets, which are everywhere lol. Its only a 3 mile commute,Maybe it should be a five mile route but I'm doing it at 8am and 5pm, so there's all the work traffic travelling.So evaluate changing your ride times (take a course, do a spin somewhere) I am looking into getting a mirror soon, the other issue is we have curbs (you know a 4" drop to the road from the sidewalk). and thats just not something this cruiser can do.Damn right they can, second get a bike that can
    98% of the drivers I've had encounters with have been more than accommodating to me, its the other 2% I'm worried about.

    I am sure there are upteen dozen reasons why you can't change the ride time, but you should figure out how to instead of why not.

    And that goes for routing as well.
  • 04-08-2010
    ak_cowboy
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jeffscott
    I am sure there are upteen dozen reasons why you can't change the ride time, but you should figure out how to instead of why not.

    And that goes for routing as well.

    I work at 8 am and have class/work till 5pm. So there's no way I can change that, unless I leave earlier and come home later. Still not feasible because most jobs start between 6-8am (lots of military here too) and get out between 5-8pm. Did you look at the link I posted of my route? It would be 12miles instead of 3. The only options I have are back streets for 1/3 of it (single lane, no lightposts) or a loop which takes me over an hour and along the same kind of streets.

    Have you ever dropped off a curb with a 45lb+ bike? What about getting back up? I choose not the beat the crap out of my cruiser, I am looking at getting a fs 29er, but am poor. Reason #1 I'm biking, so I don't have to spend money of gas.
  • 04-08-2010
    jeffscott
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ak_cowboy
    I work at 8 am and have class/work till 5pm. Still doesn't mean that can't be changed So there's no way I can change that, unless I leave earlier and come home later. Still not feasible because most jobs start between 6-8am (lots of military here too) and get out between 5-8pm. Did you look at the link I posted of my route?So side streets don't connect It would be 12miles instead of 3.So whats wrong with a 12 mile ride The only options I have are back streets for 1/3 of it (single lane, no lightposts) or a loop which takes me over an hour and along the same kind of streets. So it is an option that you choose not to use

    Have you ever dropped off a curb with a 45lb+ bike? yup What about getting back up?Not a problem I choose not the beat the crap out of my cruiser, I am looking at getting a fs 29er, but am poor.Get and older road bike at an police auction or garage sale Reason #1 I'm biking, so I don't have to spend money of gas.

    Hell I rode a 40 lb steel mountain bike for two years back in the day.

    Course you still want to stay alive right?
  • 04-08-2010
    jeffscott
    So how long have you been riding the route 1 year, 5 years, 10 years...

    You riding winter too???
  • 04-08-2010
    ak_cowboy
    Sidestreets don't connect, I don't want to wake up an hour earlier to bike an extra 9 miles along roadways that are just as dangerous, congrats on being able to hop a massive bike cuz I can't. Ride to 20 above, then drive. using this route the last year.
    What's your commute like? Just curious
  • 04-08-2010
    BrianMc
    The safe cycling guides warn of the dangers of crossing side streets when riding sidewalks. Sounds like this is even more likely for a right hook than being in the traffic lane. Makes sense as drivers may look for a pedestrian about to cross as they are supposed to do, but not a bike further back.

    You can make your ride safer but you can't make it perfectly safe. Taking the middle of the lane has been one of the best things I have done. The mirror was the best and getting very visible is in there too. Sounds like you have eliminated the time and alternate route approaches, too bad, as they are normally useful. Be nice if there wasn't a curb so you could bail onto lawns or into the ditch. Fenders are even less forgiving than frozen earth.
  • 04-09-2010
    jeffscott
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ak_cowboy
    Sidestreets don't connect, I don't want to wake up an hour earlier to bike an extra 9 miles along roadways that are just as dangerousSo all your roads are equally dangerous that is just BS, congrats on being able to hop a massive bike cuz I can't. Start practicing it may save your life Ride to 20 above, then drive. using this route the last year.
    What's your commute like? Just curious

    When you get hit you will likely reevaluate most of what we have discussed here....

    I have ridden in to work for about 7 years in total..

    Shortest way in is 5.5 km...Normal way down a quiet residential street through a park, up a steep QRS, Cross a busy road, with a sidewalk. QRS to major intersection with proper ped crossings that I use, parking lot to steep downhill QRS, QRS to MUP down busy downtown street with bike lane....That is about 7.5 km....

    I ride the 7.5 km everyday down to -35C....Most summers days I will ride 25 plus km on the way home, I pick up up 15 km of single track in a park if I go that way.

    We have maybe 5 to 8 eight guys that will ride into work depending on the weather we discuss routes and variations and safety most of the time...

    Even down midute details like ride the sidewalk here then grab a lane the up the third curb to the light....

    BTW when you get hit you are gonna wish you did something different.
  • 04-09-2010
    shimano4
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jeffscott
    Try getting a mirror.

    I agree... Then gauge whether to speed up, slow down or pull to a standstill while maintaining yr throttle without turning yr head.
  • 04-09-2010
    ak_cowboy
    I am going to get a mirror, once I find one that will work on my bike.
    I ride my bike for recreation and to save money on fuel. If I only had to travel an extra mile, then I would definitely do it. If I had 8 miles of singletrack in the middle of town, I'd ride my mtb and go hit that too.
    I'm a motorhead first and a biker second, and your attitude about "When I Get Hit" is making me more sure of my position.
  • 04-09-2010
    mtbxplorer
    Cowboy, I feel I must apologize for the rude remarks of some on your thread. The commuter board is generally a friendly supportive bunch, and some have offered helpful suggestions. Unfortunately, others only chime in when they see an opportunity to be obnoxious, unsupportive, and truly lacking in empathy.
  • 04-09-2010
    BrianMc
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mtbxplorer
    Cowboy, I feel I must apologize for the rude remarks of some on your thread. The commuter board is generally a friendly supportive bunch, and some have offered helpful suggestions. Unfortunately, others only chime in when they see an opportunity to be obnoxious, unsupportive, and truly lacking in empathy.


    + gadzillion.

    FWIW: I LOVE my helmet mount mirror.
    Took a while to get it positioned 'just right' and a little black electical tape (black helmet) to help hold it there. I think it is the best safety device I own. The helmet, ANSI vest and SB SF's are after it. I am still improving at keeing an eye out behind. It is easy to get lulled by a nice day and your cadence.
  • 04-09-2010
    ak_cowboy
    Thanks mtbxplorer and BrianMc. I know that there's always some bad eggs.
    I posted this same question in my truck forum and got lots of positive responses. I haven't had any bad experiences biking, no horns or yelling or anything, the above was mostly a "what-if" scenario.
  • 04-09-2010
    AlmostQuick
    I'm not convinced that your present route is dangerous. With the right gear, lane position and especially attitude, I doubt you'll have many problems. Ride like you belong there... because you do!
  • 04-09-2010
    Tom93R1
    You can break down the right hook to at least 2 moving variants in addition to the one that can happen when passing stopped cars.

    1) You are cruising in the bike lane, car passes you, hooks right and you run into the side of car

    2) You are cruising in the bike lane, car pulls up next to you and turns right into your side.

    The first is most frequent and thankfully almost entirely preventable by the bike rider. Watching that car as it passes you if it seems to be slowing for any reason have your hands on the brakes and start slowing yourself down. It's much easier to stop quickly if you are already in the process and it is only a minor inconvenience.

    The second is likely not as easy to avoid but thankfully doesn't seem to be a very common occurance. A mirror certainly will help and also pay close attention to the sounds of what is going on behind you. Anything that will help keep you alert of your surrounding.
  • 04-09-2010
    ak_cowboy
    Thanks Tom, I'm definitely going to be getting a mirror, so many people have suggested it, and its a good idea lol.

    AlmostQuick- My beach cruiser only has 7 speeds, so I top out at 16mph. I can cruise at 18mph, but not for very long yet.

    The biggest problem I've had so far is people blowing stop signs or parking in the crosswalk. I generally make sure that they know they were in the wrong, making eye contact, shaking my head etc. I have had quite a few reverse back where they should be when they see me though, I make sure that I wave and smile when I pass them.
  • 04-09-2010
    AlmostQuick
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ak_cowboy
    Thanks Tom, I'm definitely going to be getting a mirror, so many people have suggested it, and its a good idea lol.

    AlmostQuick- My beach cruiser only has 7 speeds, so I top out at 16mph. I can cruise at 18mph, but not for very long yet.

    The biggest problem I've had so far is people blowing stop signs or parking in the crosswalk. I generally make sure that they know they were in the wrong, making eye contact, shaking my head etc. I have had quite a few reverse back where they should be when they see me though, I make sure that I wave and smile when I pass them.

    I try to keep up a good pace while I'm "taking the lane" just to be considerate to others, but the truth is it doesn't matter all that much whether your going 15 or 20 to a motorist going 40 mph or more. They will still have to change lanes or slow down behind you either way.

    If you are riding crosswalks I'm not surprised that you have problems. Driving past the stop line is common practice for motorists. I found my right of way gets much more respect when I'm riding near the center of the lane. A P-7 flashlight set on flash and Hi-Vis jacket / jersey helps a little too.

    For what it's worth, my only collision with a car as an adult cyclist occurred while I was riding in a crosswalk.
  • 04-09-2010
    BrianMc
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tom93R1
    2) You are cruising in the bike lane, car pulls up next to you and turns right into your side.

    The second is likely not as easy to avoid but thankfully doesn't seem to be a very common occurance. A mirror certainly will help and also pay close attention to the sounds of what is going on behind you. Anything that will help keep you alert of your surrounding.


    There is a fortunately even rarer subset of 2) call it 2 b) the pseudo right hook.

    This occurs most often on a one way street with two lanes or a 4 lane road. You are in the center of the right lane, the car/truck comes along side and slows, usually moves in your direction ...just like a right hook! Then it turns left. I have had this on a two lane two way street, too, when I thought I was being passed then the truck slowed...Oh crap!. If the signal goes on after you can see it in the mirror or never, you haven't a clue whether to ditch it, or not. They have NO idea that this sets off all the warnings for a right hook or sideswipe/run off road and that it really pisses off/scares the cyclist. A little delay in the turn, some respect of lane and road placement would be nice. Still, it is great when it is a pseudo right hook and not a rreal one or a deliberate running off the road.
  • 04-09-2010
    wsbca
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ak_cowboy
    ... people...parking in the crosswalk.

    I think what may be confusing some of the respondents here is that they didn't catch that currently you are riding up on the sidewalk, and entering the driveways and cross streets from the sidewalk (riding through the crosswalk if it's a street), returning to the sidewalk on the other side. Which, I think, is probably making your right hook problem worse than it would be if you were in the road (not to mention the curb hassle).

    I don't think you can reasonably expect drivers to themselves consistently expect something moving at vehicular speed (whether that's 16mph or 40mph) to suddenly come from off the road (the sidewalk) into an intersection, or through a driveway. They can barely handle being aware of pedestrians moving at 3mph, and in most cases not even that.

    If on the other hand you were sharing the roadway with them, and using the techniques described by some of the respondents...you still might be vulnerable to a right hook, but you'll generally be able to anticipate and avoid it, and in a lot of cases, just being properly positioned will prevent it from happening at all.

    Now, someone above expressed that this particular road is a bit of a nightmare - that's as may be, but I think the statistical reality is that you are putting yourself in more danger the way you are riding it now. True hit from behind collisions are rare. That's not to say they don't happen, but so do collisions between cars, and that doesn't stop people from driving. The (somewhat manageable if you are in the road) right hook (and/or left cross, and/or pull-out-in-front-of-you) is way, way more likely, and even moreso if you are coming at speed off the sidewalk.

    As to mirrors - yes, one would definitely help regardless, and it doesn't have to fit on your bike - I use a mirror on my glasses, called take-a-look. Works nicely, although as I said in the other thread it definitely takes some getting used to but after a week or so, no problem. With the mirror, were you to ride in the road, you'd see that drivers do in fact see you, and adjust (I also highly recommend a blindingly bright jacket, and of course super bright lights if it's dark). There will of course be people who are unhappy sharing the road who might hassle you, but hey at least that means they saw you!
  • 04-12-2010
    ak_cowboy
    I have a mirror ordered and should get it sometime this week. The problem with riding in the road here is that its illegal. Our signs say "Bike Lane-Use Sidewalk"
    Quote:

    I don't think you can reasonably expect drivers to themselves consistently expect something moving at vehicular speed (whether that's 16mph or 40mph) to suddenly come from off the road (the sidewalk) into an intersection, or through a driveway. They can barely handle being aware of pedestrians moving at 3mph, and in most cases not even that.
    I'm parallel to a road, and maybe 2 feet from the traffic, so even though they may not be expecting someone on the sidewalk itself, they still need to be prepared for traffic not 2 feet from where I am riding at.
  • 04-12-2010
    BrianMc
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ak_cowboy
    I have a mirror ordered and should get it sometime this week. The problem with riding in the road here is that its illegal. Our signs say "Bike Lane-Use Sidewalk" .

    Likely backed by city ordinance. Check if there is a speed limit for bikes on the sidewalk Multi Use Path (MUP). Sometimes there is, and if you are over that you can use the road. If state law allows you to use the road and there is no local law banning bikes on roads that have a designated MUP, then, it ia matter of where you feel safer.

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ak_cowboy
    I'm parallel to a road, and maybe 2 feet from the traffic, so even though they may not be expecting someone on the sidewalk itself, they still need to be prepared for traffic not 2 feet from where I am riding at.

    That close? I am 2' when I ride the shoulder with the rumble strip between me and traffic, and most see me fine. Of course the ANSI vest khelps a lot. I am thinking of a horizontal marker flag to help some drivers not wander to the fog line and make me start plans to head for the ditch. They make commercial versions of these safe distance bike flags, but a cheap surveyors flag ought to test the idea. Using the MUP, you may need to slow and verify you do not have an imminent right hand turn each intersection/crosswalk. PITA but not as much as being hit. Trust me. And faster that if it was a red light.
  • 04-12-2010
    ak_cowboy
    Thanks for the heads-up, I hadn't thought of any of those restrictions/ordinances. I'll see what I can find.