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JHOLLNAGEL Posts: 1,768
3/22/09 10:35 P

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I think there are no hard fast rules here. I think we have to take every precaution as necessary and make ourselves as visible as possible. I also think if the conditions warrant it then ride on the sidewalks. At the same time try and re-route yourself a different route as to avoid having to feel safe riding on the sidewalk.

I know our LBS club rides usually has around 20-50 riders on some nights so it is very hard not to see us. Yes we take up a good portion of the road but we will pull over and try to double pace line or single pace line ourselves. Sometimes hard to do with no shoulders but we manage. We also communicate "car back" so the up front riders know to start moving over. We also yell "car passing" so we are aware of the impatient driver forging ahead without waiting for us to create a safe passage for all.

We are trying to fight and work with our city gov't to incorpoarate bike lanes and cycling education to motorists. We are trying to promote green environment for the cause but at the same time safer cycling conditions for all ages. We are wanting to have stiffer fines for those motorists who choose to violate as well.

Jim

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GREENBONGI72's Photo GREENBONGI72 Posts: 30
3/22/09 10:02 P

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I was hit as a teenager in Fullerton,Ca (1986)... I was riding with traffic and a motorist made a left turn in front of me... I will never forget the passengers face as I plowed into the passenger side front fender... I remember hanging on to the handle bars of my schwinn 10 speed and slamming my head into the hood of the car... I do not remember much else other than the driver/passenger put me in their car and somehow I got home!!! I didnt ride road bikes again for about 5 years, I was in Virginia Beach and I was riding along and a driver made a right turn just as he passed me. I just bumped the rear fender of the car and the driver and I had words. I walked my bike back to my truck, not to ride again.... that was 19 years ago. I started riding to work 2 months ago (32 miles round trip) and have logged over 380 miles already with no incidents... I do try to be as visual as possible (very bright clothing, lights) to drivers as possible... I never assume anybody sees me!!! I have noticed that the worst place for riding and close calls is shopping center/business center driveways.. motorist seem to look right through cyclists... you really need to pay attention at these places, in my opinion, motorists either miscalculate (or just ignore) the speed in which you are riding.
Anyways.... I think the best advice for road riding, is never assume motorists see you, try to be seen, make yourself be seen! Be careful out there! And like the post says.. Pay Attention out there!

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DRC2205's Photo DRC2205 Posts: 8,845
3/22/09 1:08 P

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Around me, there are certain roads that have a lot of cyclists. Some of them are actually lousy roads to ride on (no shoulders, twisty) but since motorists are used to cyclists, it is still relatively safe. I prefer finding shoulders, though...

Regardless of the road, pay attention!

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3/22/09 12:48 P

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A lot of it depends on what motorists are used to. When I lived in a college town motorists were extremely aware of pedestrians and cyclists.

Where I live now there are few cyclists and almost no pedestrians so motorists never seem to notice us.

NORMAVI's Photo NORMAVI Posts: 94
3/21/09 9:59 P

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Crash and collision statistics that I have seen for Ottawa and Waterloo ON show that people get hit when crossing at an intersection with the right-of-way (walk person or green signal) by left and right-turning cars (OK, so I have to admit that I'm a traffic engineer). These motorists are not focused on who or what is crossing the side street. Whether you are a pedestrian or a cyclist on the sidewalk, watch out for left and right-turning cars. As a ped, I'm always looking over my right shoulder at the left-turning motorists, putting a hand up and trying to get thier attention.

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ELLA2012 Posts: 153
3/21/09 8:24 P

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Last year 2 people in my bike club had bike car accidents. In the first incident, a motorist took a right turn into the supermarket driveway. The cyclist saw her turn signal and thought she was going to turn at the light. She hit him and he only had minor injuries. The policeman faulted the cyclist because he did not adequately take the lane.
The 2nd accident happened on a club ride at night. A group of cyclists were riding down the street and a car pulled out in front of them. On cyclist hit the car leaning his bicycle out away from the car (bike was fine) and his hip side swiped the car and really damaged it. Even though most of the group had lights, the cyclist's (who collided with the car)light had burned out. He was held at fault and his home insurance had to cover the damage. The cyclist rode back to the ride start. He was sore the next day.


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3/21/09 11:53 A

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Bicycles are vehicles and we are best off riding them like they are. I will confess to occasionally riding sidewalks but only when there are no pedestrians around and if there is any auto traffic in sight I dismount at intersections.

Many people have a fear of being run down and this fear is what causes them to ride against traffic; at least this way they can see cars coming. Statistically we are much safer riding with traffic though.

MACS706's Photo MACS706 SparkPoints: (14,418)
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3/20/09 8:48 P

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I have not been on my bike in a couple of years but I am very hopeful that this year I will. But I must say that I am scared to death of the idea of riding on the road. When we visited Niagra Falls or Virginia Beach and even Washington DC we rode the streets - but here in PA -- I don't trust the drivers of autos.... Sidewalks are less travelled here so safer for me. I do obey the signs and lights though. Most of the time I will walk my bike across the street. I am not a Expert rider by any means. And I have had ENOUGH accidents just from walking in my lifetime so I am super cautious now!

Edited by: MACS706 at: 3/20/2009 (20:49)
~macs
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I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me ~ Phillipians 4:13 NKJV


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WONGERCHI's Photo WONGERCHI Posts: 3,889
3/20/09 6:45 P

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I have a pet peeve about riding on the sidewalk. When I was growing up we never rode on the sidewalk - mind you, in Britain our sidewalks are so narrow that two pedestrians passing abreast is a tight squeeze.

I'm also a runner and I've had so many near misses with sidewalk riders that sometimes it's safer to run on the road. I don't run with music either but you don't have a lot of time to react, especially if the cyclist is coming at you from behind. And believe me, the ped is always going to come off worse in a ped vs. bike incident - I accidentally ran over my cousin once and I was fine, but he was off to hospital.

So I've always ridden on the road. Around here riding on the sidewalk is illegal. There are a number of roads here that I try hard to avoid because they are far too dangerous - with a bike it's easy to plot an alternative/longer route.

If there's no alternative or a parked car is taking up the shoulder then I'll just take the lane. This actually does two things - firstly it makes you very visible, and it also discourages drivers from trying to pass you. Yeah they'll sit and curse but I seem to recall that hits from behind are very rare... Then at the earliest opportunity I'll get back over, and wave the driver through and give him a wave of thanks. Generally, this works but I have been buzzed a couple of times, but in this day and age I guess you have to take it.

It's hard but I find dealing with yahoos it's best just to smile and wave. Occasionally I'll snap and give them the finger but that really isn't the best way to go...

In God we trust, all others bring data.
- W. Edwards Demings

If God invented marathons to keep people from doing anything more stupid, the triathlon must have taken Him completely by surprise.
-P.Z. Pearce

Specificity, specificity, specificity.
-Andy Coggan

The plural of "anecdote" is not "data".
- Frank Kotsonis


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DRC2205's Photo DRC2205 Posts: 8,845
3/20/09 5:24 P

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Thanks for starting this thread. Another thing stressed in my tri club is that when you are cycling, you follow the rules of the road. That means you stop at stop signs. Not roll through them. Obey all signs. You have the right to be on the road, but you *WILL* lose in a head to head battle with a car.

ROGUE58's Photo ROGUE58 SparkPoints: (0)
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3/20/09 4:29 P

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Right now I live in Green Valley Arizona--home of the retired people--there are bike/golf cart lanes in a lot of the area, but that is truly no reason to let your guard down. Like Florida these people (many of them should no longer be issued a license) do not see well. Their depth perception is minimal and I have had one woman almost knock me off my bike.
Luckily no one throws anything at me.... yet.

We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without lighting our own--Ben Sweetland

Never look down on anybody unless you are lifting him (or her) up.---Jesse Jacksons (Spark quote o' the day 8-26-07)



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SARAHGMD Posts: 834
3/20/09 2:56 P

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Great points, but I'm curious about the sidewalk one. In downtown Sacramento, where I work, there are no bike lanes, but in many parts exceptionally wide sidewalks almost as if it's intended to accomodate more travel. I've been riding in the street, but when I'm riding along and parked cars suddenly kills my shoulder and traffic is heavy I'm tempted to hop up on the sidewalk for a little bit.

It seems like one other point of importance is LOOK FOR POTENTIAL PROBLEMS


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MYVISTA's Photo MYVISTA Posts: 86
3/20/09 2:54 P

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I have never used sidewalks to ride my bike - until I moved to Florida. It can be crazy down here at times because there is no uniform place for cyclists. Bike lanes appear and disappear leaving the cyclist in no man's land hanging out to dry so to speak. Older people don't turn and look well and may make a right turn across the bike lane. Yahoo's in trucks think they own the road, throw beer cans at you and curse you to get off the road. So if the road warrants it I ride the road and if I judge it to be too crazy out there I ride the sidewalk - which is more times than not legal and recommended here. So, there is never a hard and fast rule - you have to ride considering the risk and situation.
You are absolutely right about the dangers of riding on the sidewalk Against the flow of traffic. Cars merging on to the road across the sidewalk are not looking for someone coming at them to their right especially on four lane roads. Every driveway and cross walk is especially dangerous when riding on the sidewalk. It can be done safely, but it takes a lot of due diligence. And remember when riding on the sidewalk you are operating under the rules of a pedestrian! I have thousands of miles on my bike, but the most dangerous places to ride are multi lane roads without bike lanes, especially crossing intersections - and sidewalks especially against the traffic.
I ride defensively. I know I can't win against a few thousand lbs. of metal. Also I keep telling myself to expect that everyone out there is on "crack"! That means to expect anything - even the most logically unexpected.
Be safe out there.
Bob

Edited by: MYVISTA at: 3/20/2009 (14:58)
Do, or Do Not.
There is no "TRY"!
....YODA

It is obvious that we cannot use the same thinking to solve a problem that we have been using to cause it.


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MISSJCISRUNNING's Photo MISSJCISRUNNING Posts: 13,631
3/20/09 2:05 P

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Thanks for sharing!!!

I am new to outdoor cycling and am grateful to see that I am at least following the basics to a tee!!! I think being a runner first and having near misses has made me more diligent while on my bike!!!

Have a great day...I'm going out for a ride in a few minutes!!!

Jackie!!!

Jackie Chatman, MA, NC
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WONGERCHI's Photo WONGERCHI Posts: 3,889
3/20/09 1:55 P

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So yesterday the DW and I were asked to give witness statements to the police. Why? Because we were witness to a bike vs. car incident which brought home some very important and obvious things to remember now that spring is finally here.

We were sitting in our car in the left turning lane, waiting our turn to go. When I checked my blind spot to merge into the turning lane, I noticed someone riding an old MTB, with no helmet or lights on the opposite sidewalk, against the flow of traffic.

As there were no cars approaching from the front, the car in front started to make the turn. As he turned left, the cyclist cruised through the intersection and both of them collided with each other. Naturally, the cyclist took the brunt of the collision and ended up lying in the centre of the road. We pulled over and called 911, and the paramedics, fire and police all came over pretty quickly...

I've played this incident over several times now. Who's to blame? I'm not going to say. But the more I think about it, the take-home message is threefold.

1) Never ride on the sidewalk. If you're on the sidewalk, WALK your bike.

2) Never ride against the flow of traffic. Drivers are not conditioned to look for things that go against the flow of traffic other than pedestrians.

3) Always, always wear a helmet, and be aware of your surroundings. You will always lose against a car.

Stay safe out there, especially now that spring is coming!



In God we trust, all others bring data.
- W. Edwards Demings

If God invented marathons to keep people from doing anything more stupid, the triathlon must have taken Him completely by surprise.
-P.Z. Pearce

Specificity, specificity, specificity.
-Andy Coggan

The plural of "anecdote" is not "data".
- Frank Kotsonis


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