Considering commuting but have safety questions- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Considering commuting but have safety questions

    HI all I am a newbie to MTBing and I am also considering commuting to and from work. As you all can imagine I have several safety issues I am thinking about. What do you commuters do to stay safe out there? Is it just bright colored clothes? Do yall run your lights (headlights/tailights) day as well as nights? What about those reflective vest I see? Any help would be great, thanks in advance

  2. #2

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    Dont put any trust into other peoples turn signales. Either they dont use em or they do but dont actually turn.

    But ofcourse it never hurts to signal your own turns.........

  3. #3

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    I dont commute, but where I live there are alot of bikers on the streets.. I know I see them them better with lights on and anything that reflects. Use a head and tail light, and the brighter the better, so hopefully drivers can see you from a greater distance. Just my .02 .

  4. #4
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    90% of your safety is choosing your route, and learnign and mitgating the dangers.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott
    90% of your safety is choosing your route, and learnign and mitgating the dangers.
    Well as for my route it is mainly off major roads and use of multi use trails. I have several options but there are only a few sections that I will need to be on major roads for maybe 50 yards total. Looking for added safety/insurance.Please inform me on the other dangers

  6. #6
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    A good friend of mine said look in the mirror you're the biggest problem.

    When you do it every day, you need to pay attention, every day. Its an attitude.

    My wife is auditing my spelling. is that okay. **** you to

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScubaLuke
    Well as for my route it is mainly off major roads and use of multi use trails. I have several options but there are only a few sections that I will need to be on major roads for maybe 50 yards total. Looking for added safety/insurance.Please inform me on the other dangers
    Well, 50 yards of road - you could just about wait until there are no cars and sprint that. Just don't get your shoelaces caught in the chain.

    I'm not currently bike commuting, due to work schedule and lack of a safe timely route to work. But I've put a lot of miles in on the road in my time. I'd say there are several basic things to do.

    Be visible. Lights and bright clothes are good. Those flashing lights in various colors are really good. With shorter daylight hours, you may be riding more at dawn or dusk, and visibility is trickier then.

    Be seen. Not the same as above. Commuters can be sleepy, tired, distracted. Make eye contact when possible. Don't assume you've been seen.

    Ride in a predictable fashion.

  8. #8
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    Run lights day and night

    I use my lights day and night, reflective jacket. Also assume your invisable to cars during the day. At night know you are.

  9. #9
    life is a barrel o'fun
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    My commute has been the highlight of my summer! And that's in rush-hour city traffic.

    Somebody in my local riding group who commutes suggested riding the route on your day off, that way you can get a feel for it without the added pressure of getting there on time.

    For safety, give yourself about 3' of room when passing parked cars, to avoid getting doored. Hell, my first dooring happened while the car was moving When blowing by rows of cars, if you can't get a wide enough berth, look inside the cars ahead for people that might be ready to exit the vehicle or pull out of the spot.

    Same with driveways: If you can't see what's coming, slow down and/or give yourself plenty of room to ride around whatever might pop out.

    I have a cheap LED headlamp tied with its own elastic to the front of my commuter ($4 at a street fair) for increased visibility; an even cheaper red blinky light ($2 in Chinatown) for the back, though I don't often ride after dusk.

    I don't wear a safety vest- most of my workout clothes are colorful though.

    Try to ride defensively- most drivers are in their own little world and will often do stuff w/o signaling or realizing you're there. I've had quite a few close calls, including two times where I was "shoved" by slow-moving cars that didn't see me.

    Oh yeah, a bell is also useful. I just bought a "buzzer-bell" ($13) which is obnoxious and therefore effective.
    "We sat outside the dentist, tooting a horn on the guy's bike."-overheard in the Underground

  10. #10
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    i dont own a car, and ride every day. ride for fun, and ride to get things done.

    i agree with the notion that 90% of safety is your route & time of day. just simply try to avoid cars.

    i ride at night all the time.
    from 12yrs of experience, the best thing, is the white blinkie vista light for a tail light. I've bought radio shack AA NiMh batteries and their charger.
    i use a Light and Motion Vega headlight on the bars, i really like the strobe mode.
    I also use a helmet mount Solo logic.

    im sure bright colored clothing is good too, but i cant stand to wear it.
    I've found that any kind of flashing or moving reflective/light gets attention. think fishing lures.

    motorcycle defensive driving books are a great resource!

    of course, cell phone is good, and its even better if you have one with digi cam, and maybe even an ear piece with voice activated dialing. depending on your area, you may be surprised how often you'd like to call the cops, and/or be able to snap a pic.

    if your commute times are consistant, you may keep in mind that the same typically holds true for others too. so, your behavior is noticed. its better to be the nice guy.

    peace.......d
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  11. #11

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    A lot of good advice has already been posted.

    My commute is mainly on road, with traffic, but not too heavy. On my commuter bike I have strips of 3M reflective tape so that when a car's headlights hit me I light up like Christmas. I also have strips on my jacket and backpack (they were bought that way). I only run lights when it's dark. I don't wear any special clothing.

    Like others have said, be aware and vigilant always. Assume no-one ever sees you - pedestrians and traffic. Own your spot of the road - don't ride in the gutter to make room for a car to squeeze by you. If a car approaches from a side junction, only assume the driver has seen you if you swap eye contact. Until they do, have your hands on the brakes and have an escape plan.

    It sounds like your route is pretty safe, though. Just do it!

  12. #12
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    Pretty much reiterating what others have said: Try to take advantage of anything you can. In my case, I'm on residential streets for most of my commute. However, on the busiest (most cars) section of my ride, there is a park with sidewalks for a good stretch. Our local city codes allow bikes on sidewalks in land zoned for parks. Of course you have to defer to pedestrians and call out when overtaking them, but these sidewalks are usually completely empty when most people are going to work by car.

    Also, there is a gravel surface that is unaccesable to cars that cuts across some other areas along my ride that I use.

    I found all these by taking a couple of test rides during a Sunday when everyone was home and I could explore different routes. So don't be afraid to take a couple of test runs.

  13. #13
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    i assume i'm not seen by any motorist that i dont make eye contact with, especially when riding by parked cars and driveways. i also try to ride through parks and off-road trails where possible.

  14. #14
    Cars Are Evil
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    Sidewalks are often more dangerous to ride on, since you'll be approaching intersecting streets from an angle that the cars don't expect.

    You are especially invisible to cars when they are turning right, or merging right. Always assume that they will try to knock you over and/or block your path of travel. I've had cars pass me, then turn directly across my path not 20 ft later.

    A blinky light on the back of your helmet, or high on your backpack, will help alert cars to your pressence over hills and traffic.

    A heavy chain or thick cable is a good lock since often you'll have trouble finding a spot that you can use a U-lock. You'll be suprised how pissy people can be about locking your bike to things.

    LED lights last the longest and the bulbs don't die.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott
    90% of your safety is choosing your route, and learnign and mitgating the dangers.
    and act if everyone wants to run you over
    the trick is ENJOYING YOUR LIFE EACH DAY, don't waste them away wishing for better days

  16. #16
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    Okay so this is just like when I use to ride a motorcycle everyday. Except with less horsepower. I am curious about lane splitting at red lights. Is it taboo, the norm, or just illegal?

  17. #17
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    I live out in an urban area so my commute isn't that bad. IF you don't mind cars buzzing by you between 50-70 mph. Doesn't bother me really. I wear colorful clothes and have 4 red blinking lights facing the rear. 1 small one on my backpack which I also use for jogging at night, 1 regular blinking light clipped onto the seat bag, 2 blinking bar end lights.

    Also have 2 blue blinking lights that are on my valve stems. Pick those up at any auto parts store. Use a niterider trailrat for a head light.

    My helmet has some reflective stickers on it also. So ya, a person is going to have a HARD time NOT seeing me.

  18. #18
    Silence! I kill you!
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    I'm lucky since my bike commute is short (for now) and is on non-busy streets and a bike path. I ride with the mentality that other drivers don't see me, and they'll probably turn in front of me or whatever. That mentality has stopped me from getting hit a couple times.

    Once it starts getting darker earlier, I'm gonna start using my Niterider headlights, one on the bar and one on my helmet. I found the best way to stop people from pulling out in front of you is shine your HID light in their face for a second. They'll stop, and wait for you to go by
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott
    90% of your safety is choosing your route, and learnign and mitgating the dangers.
    What he said.

    At the risk of stating the obvious:

    * stay off-road or off main routes as much as possible

    * do not trust other driver's signals

    * do not be afraid to yell like fcuk at drivers who look like they are not paying attention

    * reflective clothing is very helpful

    * flashing lights are useful where there is traffic. I have two front lights which are switchable between steady beam and flashing. In lit areas with traffic I switch them both to flashing.

    * get rid of your slicks in fall and use studs in winter if there is ice

    * when you are riding bike paths, esp. at night, watch out for:

    1. Other cyclists w/o lights heading at high speed in the opposite direction. Because they can see you, they assume you can see them. Not so. F'n terrifying.

    2. Dogs on or off leashes. They instinctively dash across your path.

    3. Joggers/cyclists with iPods. They will not check behind before veering off the path.

    4. Cyclists/skaters joining the path at speed from side trails.

    But the big one is the first one (pick your route).

    And the second is ride defensively.

  20. #20
    Who are the brain police?
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    This stuff was probably already said but...

    Tail light, headlight and tireflys on my wheels. I bought the tireflys for my child carrier, but enjoy them too much so I took 'em back.

    Never trust what a car is going to do. Too many are taking left turns from right lanes, blinking and going straight etc..

    I use lots of sidewalks too. This works for my commute but probably not everyones.

    If I had to deal with more cars I'd probably buy a AirZound air horn.

    FYIW, I find road riding more dangerous than solo night rides with dropoffs and cliffs....
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by HarryCallahan
    Be visible. Lights and bright clothes are good. Those flashing lights in various colors are really good.
    As you noticed, most people are recommending LED blinky lights. I recommend them too, but with the caveat that you change the battery on a regular schedule.

    I know they say that they run for 200 hours, but most people just keep running them because you can see them blink when you turn it on. You want the car to be able to see you from a half mile away. I'm thinking about getting the NiteRider add-on taillight, as that is the brightest one I've ever seen.

    Be safe, choose a good route, watch out for people making right turns in front of you and you'll be ok.

    -Derek

  22. #22
    ravingbikefiend
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    Cyclo-commuting is a wonderful thing and when one can use their bike for getting around during their workday it gets even better. I have used most of my bikes for commuting and even designed one specifically for this... the choice of ride is dependant on the weather, the distance I have to travel, what I need to do, and my prevailing mood.

    One has to follow the rules of the road, drive defensively, and follow much of the good advice already given here.

    I run several bikes for commuting and have fixed mounts for several swappable white LED lights that I run in the daytime (as well as at night)... these really help oncoming cars, pedestrians, and other cyclists see you coming, even on bright sunny days.

    I run a swappable red LED on the rear of my bikes and have a red LED mounted to the back of my helmet as this is the highest point when I'm riding and the most visible to anything that might be overtaking me.

    Over 60% of night time accidents that involve bikes are caused by the cyclist not being visible to motorists... active (powered and flashing) lighting is key.

    Bells are the law here if you are riding any shared bike path or trail and are also good for alerting pedestrians who have a tendency to stroll out in front of you with no notice.

    Many people run a second bike as a commuter as a mountain bike isn't always the most efficient urban transportation due to their lower gearing and wider tires and they are very attractive to thieves.

    My commuter: I wanted a bike that would handle the rigours of urban riding and be capable of decent cruising speeds as well as a bike that would be capable to handle the trails as I often use the MUTs on my commute and travels..





    The bike is based on an 80's Raleigh road frame (butted and lugged) running 26 by 1.75 tires on good quality steel rims. The rear drive is a Sturmey Archer 3 speed that is smooth, weatherproof, and very low maintainence.

    All the parts were drawn from what I had in my shop and the only new thing on the bike is the brakes.

    The paniers are great as if you're commuting as you can carry all the stuff you might need like lunch, tools, weather proof gear, etc. and it keeps things off your back.
    I ride with 65'er...he's a mountain goat....But then again, we need to throw him in the mud and pack his pockets with lead shot before a scale will read him. - Psycho Mike

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  23. #23
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    Well, at least in California, lane splitting is legal. I was in traffic school once and the question was asked regarding this to the CHP instructor, and he stated the law in Ca. reads that no vehicle should straddle lanes but no laws restrict the number of vehicles in a lane (side by side). Although coming up to a red light between stopped cars can be dangerous due to the possibility of getting doored.

    One other bit of advice I haven't seen yet is when coming up to a stop sign, pull out into the middle of the lane and take your turn with cars. Don't come to a stop on the shoulder next to a car on your left, since this could end up with the car making a right turn in front of you (or into you).

    BM
    "I've come to believe that common sense is not that common" - Matt Timmerman

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmadau
    One other bit of advice I haven't seen yet is when coming up to a stop sign, pull out into the middle of the lane and take your turn with cars. Don't come to a stop on the shoulder next to a car on your left, since this could end up with the car making a right turn in front of you (or into you).BM
    GREAT advice here. I'd advise taking up the center of the turn lane or any one lane exits from someplace so cars CAN'T pass you. Then, when there's room for a car to SAFELY pass you, move back over. ie: Alot of the shoulders here become turn only lanes so I have no choice but to ride in it. When that happens I move to the middle/left side of the lane. The cars can wait a few seconds as far as I'm concerned. Yes, I've had people yell at me. Whatever. I've also had people who COULDN'T wait a few seconds and almost hit me in those turn lanes as they buzz by. So I don't give them the chance to pass until I *key word here* feel it's safe to. I don't do it anymore than I have to though. Basically. IF there's a chance a car COULD hit you by not wanting to wait a few, take up the lane so they HAVE to wait until YOU feel safe.

  25. #25
    Too busy looking good
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    I've been commuting to work once or twice a week for three years or so, when the weather is dry. However, I'm not brave enough to ride on the streets at night, just too scary, so I'm not commuting too much in the winter. Commuting by bike is a positve thing in so many ways, hope you enjoy it and stick with it! The following website has a lot of good tips that worked for me:

    http://www.bicyclesafe.com/

    Here's how I would summarize some important points regarding safe communting. The trick to riding safely on streets is about knowing when to be assertive and when to be passive to the point of paranoia.

    That is, be assertive with regards to the traffic you ride with, claim your space and ride a straight line, don't weave right and left, and merge with traffic at intersections. This makes you more visible to cross traffic and to oncoming traffic that is turning left, and may let cars behind you get by to turn right.

    With regards to cross traffic when you have the right of way, be very paranoid. Don't ever assume drivers see you and will stop. Stare down the drivers as you approach intersections and make eye contact, and even then you can only be 95% sure they see you, and even then be prepared to stop. Because you're moving slow you have the opportunity to see the drivers and judge how attentive they are, so use this opportunity. (Tinted windows suck for this reason...)

  26. #26
    life is a barrel o'fun
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    This morning I had a close call: Traffic (one-way) going straight; I was cruising along in the blind spot (passenger side) of a Jeep. Without signaling, it decides to make a quick right, and I nearly broadside it. Pisses me off, but a reminder that I should just take my place IN traffic and not tuck in alongside it.
    "We sat outside the dentist, tooting a horn on the guy's bike."-overheard in the Underground

  27. #27
    ravingbikefiend
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    I use the information at bicyclesafe.com when I am giving safety workshops and since I usually have an internet connection and projection system it works very well to illustrate what and what not to do when riding. A picture really does say 1000 words.

    I am pretty comfortable riding at night as I'm so well lit up that I am probably more visible in the dark than I am in the daytime and traffic volumes are also much lighter in the evening once rush hour has passed.

    Some of us are pretty fast riders and it is essential to slow down when you are passing through intersections as oncoming / turning cars and their drivers generally don't realize that a bicycle can be moving nearly as fast (and sometimes faster) than cars. I often run two blinking front LED's on my road bikes as I am generally travelling faster and the offset timing of the lights is even more eye catching.

    I ride 12 months of year and live in the far frozen north (Canada)... despite the no-sidealk rule I will use sections of sidewalk in winter as sometimes the side streets are so packed with snow that they can be nearly impassable and force you to take the middle of the road... side walks are usually cleared of snow and generally free of pedestrian traffic so it works as being a far safer place to ride for everyone.

    Our main routes are generally well cleared so riding on the street, in traffic, in the dark, and in the dead of winter isn't a problem as long as you have the right bike set up, confidence and skills to ride.

    Follow the information at bicyclesafe and keep you head on a swivel when you ride and your risk of cycling accidents will drop dramatically.
    I ride with 65'er...he's a mountain goat....But then again, we need to throw him in the mud and pack his pockets with lead shot before a scale will read him. - Psycho Mike

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  28. #28
    pillage! plunder! 4 parts
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    http://store.tireflysonline.com/vastli.html

    http://www.radioshack.com/search/ind...20stem%20light

    Visability is a key and not just front and back. I am not a fan of reflectors on the spokes after an accident (one broke and twisted in the spokes - endo) but these lights that are on your valve stems are nice. It creates enough visual that a motorist might be inclined to slowing down enough to figure out who/what you are. They don't fit presta but you can get the adapter.
    don't question why you ride but rather why you don't ride more.

  29. #29

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    I've been riding in the streets for about 2 years now, everyday, rain, snow, or shine. I should have a bike messenger job by the end of Oct. (nice time to start with winter right around the corner ). Anyway, here in Philly, there are ALOT of bike messengers, but drivers still seem oblivious to the existance of bikers.

    Personally I don't use any lights/reflective materials, the best thing you can do is to assume that the driver does not see you, and will not affect there driving for you. Never put yourself in a position where you'd affect the driver, this usaully isn't a problem in center city, where you'll usaully be going faster then the cars anyway.

    After a while, you should find a flow for getting between places, you'll see where you can slip through, you'll begin to notice driving habbits, etc. and everntually you won't ever have to stop bewtween point A and B. Heres a nice little video of what I mean:
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...bike+messenger
    (I wouldn't recommend trying that btw).

    P.S: Buses and taxi drivers don't care about your safety...ever.

  30. #30
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    There's a lot of really good advice here. I've been commuting for a lot of years now, and I'll add one more thing to think about.

    Give yourself time to learn your route. Learn the traffic. Take it easy at first and get a feel for how a certain intersection works, how a section of road tends to flow. After awhile, you'll start to see the trouble spots: the abnormally trafficked alley, the main road left-turners that never seem to see you, the slightly hidden stop sign that will severly jeopardize your right of way. Once you've spotted these areas, you'll have a much more predictable, safer ride in to work.

    Unfortunately, if there's no bike lane, you're an undesireable to most people. Pedestrians don't want you on the sidewalk and drivers don't want you on the road....some are even prone to retaliation. It's better to be two minutes late than it is to force a situation and get hit or go down. And even though they're less threatening, pedestrians are WAY more unpredictable and oblivious than cars.

    Good luck and enjoy! Your commute will be the best part of your day.
    All the Dude ever wanted was his rug back.

  31. #31
    ravingbikefiend
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    nightfall... your post scares me as you sound like a statistic waiting to happen..

    Active lighting works wonders for getting the attention of motorists and as a driver I have had some close calls with folks who didn't think lights and reflectors were needed.

    If the drivers in Philly seem oblivious then you should strive to be more obvious by rigging your bike with the aforementioned reflective tape and lighting... you may educate a few drivers by making them more aware of the cyclists in their midst.

    I have found that the bus drivers here are extremely considerate of cyclists and the city itself has a thriving cycling community and culture that strives to educate the non cycling public.

    The dumbass who nearly ran me over on my ride home apparently missed some of this free education and actually cursed me out for not being visible enough... two flashing lights on the rear plus the generator light, two blinkers up front, reflectors front and rear, and a high visibility jacket with 3m reflective tape just weren't enough for this guy.

    I say "almost ran me over" because I had watched him drive up to where I had the right of way (I was walking across a crosswalk) and saw he was looking off in the wrong direction so I redirected the super bright blinky lights straight at him.

    So, even if you do everything right there will still be people who are competely clueless to the fact they are sharing the road with you, come close to running you over, and still think it was your fault.
    I ride with 65'er...he's a mountain goat....But then again, we need to throw him in the mud and pack his pockets with lead shot before a scale will read him. - Psycho Mike

    -Environmental stickers don't mean shite when they are stuck to CARS!-

  32. #32
    Double-metric mtb man
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    I'll agree with 65'er here....I ride some of the same streets in the Great White North although I use a FS mtb with full knobbys for my commutes.

    I have reflective strips on my pack and use reflective leg bands to keep the sweat pants out of the driveline as it gets cooler. I have a fairly bright 5 LED red blinking light on the rear and a single white LED blinker on the front. Also available on the front is a 15W night riding lamp w/ a blink mode for when it gets darker or if the traffic is heavier.

    A lot of what has been said is true and I would forward the same things....my favorites include

    Ride defensively and be aware of what's going on around you: first and foremost look out for yourself.

    Pick your route: Ride the routes you want to use a few times when there is low traffic so you are familiar with them and have an idea as to how long it could take...then add a lot for the impacts of congestion. Don't be afraid to alter you routes if need be because of traffic. Personally, I make use of some of the MUT's and singletrack on the way home as my routes are a lot busier than in the morning.

    Make yourself visible: you don't need to dress in fluorescent colors and have 10,000W of blinking lights, but try not to be a black hole on the street.

    Ride responsibly: share the road, be courteous and you'll find that a lot of the folks you encounter on a regular basis will return the favor. This also means taking the lane (i.e. riding in the middle of the lane and taking your turn) as required for your safety.

    Finally, bring along a pen and paper, voice recorder, camera, a cell phone or something else to record details. I am not one for reporting every little thing, but if someone is putting your life on the line by being an idiot and/or breaking the law, I say report it to the police. It is not worth getting into the road rage thing with anyone, but a visit from the boys in blue can sometimes make for wonderful attitude adjustments.
    As if four times wasn't enough-> Psycho Mike's 2013 Ride to Conquer Cancer Page

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  33. #33
    ravingbikefiend
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    Mike - Speaking of riding the same streets... it looks like we might get some decent weather this week and think we should hook up with some of the guys for a spin. I should have the SS conversion on the Trek done this evening and would like to go on a good test spin. The singkletrack here is going to be a mud bog but the MUTS should be more than rideable.

    On that commuting thing...

    I had to drive the van today and almost took out yet another guy who was riding on the sidewalk and crosswalks against the flow of traffic (and against the crossing light) and I cannot say this enough to anyone who rides...

    Try and stay off the sidewalks (I'll admit that sometiomes this is the safest place to be and mihgt even be legal) and if you use a crosswalk, get off your bike and walk unless you want to end up being nominated for a Darwin award.
    I ride with 65'er...he's a mountain goat....But then again, we need to throw him in the mud and pack his pockets with lead shot before a scale will read him. - Psycho Mike

    -Environmental stickers don't mean shite when they are stuck to CARS!-

  34. #34
    inner peace to make peace
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    enjoy bike commuting, but do not get the delusion that it'll be safe in an urban traffic enviroment.
    “Everyday is a good day,” from the Blue Cliff Records, Yun-men (864-949 AD).

  35. #35

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    I have been commuting to work for 20 years and have had zero accidents. Mostly at night too. I use an off road light system,rear LED and in cool weather my jacket has reflector stripes. I ride on road like I belong there yet follow all safety rules. A handlebar mounted rear view mirror is indispensable. Gives me way more confidence as I can see cars coming.

  36. #36
    It's a slugfest!
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    I'm a long time commuter. I've tried the mirror thing, but can't get it to work for me. So I have allowed my senses to play a more important role in my commute. Listen to what is happening around you, behind you. Be attentive always. Learn your route and where the problem sections of road are. When traveling with traffic, hold your line and try and ride predictably. A buddy of mine recently had an encounter with a piece of metal on the road. His front tire picked it up and carried it to the top of the tire rotation where it lodged itself between the tire and underbelly of the fork. This stopped the bike dead in its tracks, sending my pal face first into the pavement. Because of this, I pay much more attention to what is in front of my front wheel. You don't have to hard-core stare at the road in front of you, just use common sense and make yourself more aware of what you are going to roll over. Select your lines as smoothly as possible. Commuting to work is a rush and a joy. It will give you a buzz that will last all day long, as well as give you something to look forward to as your work day comes to an end. (A byproduct of commuting is the extra fitness that you will gain allowing you to hit the trails harder on the weekends...) Enjoy.

  37. #37
    MONKEYMAN
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver
    nightfall... your post scares me as you sound like a statistic waiting to happen..

    Active lighting works wonders for getting the attention of motorists and as a driver I have had some close calls with folks who didn't think lights and reflectors were needed.

    If the drivers in Philly seem oblivious then you should strive to be more obvious by rigging your bike with the aforementioned reflective tape and lighting... you may educate a few drivers by making them more aware of the cyclists in their midst.

    I have found that the bus drivers here are extremely considerate of cyclists and the city itself has a thriving cycling community and culture that strives to educate the non cycling public.

    The dumbass who nearly ran me over on my ride home apparently missed some of this free education and actually cursed me out for not being visible enough... two flashing lights on the rear plus the generator light, two blinkers up front, reflectors front and rear, and a high visibility jacket with 3m reflective tape just weren't enough for this guy.

    I say "almost ran me over" because I had watched him drive up to where I had the right of way (I was walking across a crosswalk) and saw he was looking off in the wrong direction so I redirected the super bright blinky lights straight at him.

    So, even if you do everything right there will still be people who are competely clueless to the fact they are sharing the road with you, come close to running you over, and still think it was your fault.
    I have to chime in here because I actually agree with nightfall- your average driver in an urban environment is MUCH more predictable if he doesn't see you. how many times I've seen a driver catch sight of me and start doing this ridiculous shimmy stutter jerky indecisive jig in their 2000 pound metal death monster.
    If you ride with the 'I am invisible' mentality, your defensive riding-fu becomes quite strong.

    (I ride with lights fore and aft BTW)
    “I don't like jail, they got the wrong kind of bars in there”

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