7 things non-cyclists should know about road cycling
I only got into road cycling last June when I decided to train for a triathlon, and there were a number of things that caught me by surprise. I realized that I had been an utter asshole at times to cyclists, and I want to share how you may be an unintentional asshole too. Obviously there are some entitled cyclists that are assholes themselves, but they are in the minority. Give a cyclist the benefit of the doubt. You’ll usually be right.
1) Road cycling is scary
Listen. I’m not a wuss. I’ve jumped out of an airplane. I’ve bungeed off a 20-story bridge. I’ve stepped into boxing rings and wrestling mats to train and compete in things like boxing, MMA/Ultimate Fighting, Judo, and submission grappling. I’ve hung off cliffs climbing tall peaks at altitude with a thousand feet of air underneath me, and much more. I’m a lot more risk tolerant than most people. I feel more in danger road cycling than I have in most other situations I’ve gotten myself into. I try to forget that a distracted driver texting a smiley to a friend could kill me at any minute. It’s hard to feel safe most of the time with how most cars drive around cyclists nevermind the random rager that seems to come around every month or so.
2) If I’m not close to the very side of the road, there is a reason for it
As a driver, I know it can frustrating when a cyclist is impeding your progress. It’s not just something we do on a whim. You may not see that glass, sand, gravel, or the sharp edges and potholes on the roadway, but we do. All of them could end our day pretty quickly and cause serious injury or even death. We’re constantly weighing the option, “What is more dangerous right now: being further out into the street or staying close to the side of the road?” The side of the road is different than the middle of it. All water is directed there, so the majority of water damage (potholes/cracks) and debris is there. Give us time to find a safe spot to move over. Saving twenty seconds isn’t worth both our lives since I could die, and you could end up in prison.
3) Buzzing by a cyclist is extremely dangerous
It’s really just a percentage game, and I hope I never win the unlucky lottery. Road obstacles may cause a cyclist to swerve unexpectedly. That could be the same exact time you are buzzing by us closely. All we are doing is trying to get a workout in and travel along the roads. Even if it annoys you that shouldn’t carry a death sentence, right? I’d hope you aren’t a sociopath and that you’d actually mind murdering somebody for cycling, so please give us a little more space when passing.
4) Cutting off a cyclist is a dickhead move
We are past the major safety hazards now and into some etiquette ones now. I know you want to make that right hand turn NOW and not 5 seconds from now. I know you want to come out into the roadway NOW and not 5 seconds from now. Try to be a little courteous though. Pressing your little footsie on your little pedal is a lot easier than braking a bike and then trying to get back up to speed. Biking may seem like effortless cruising at times, but it’s hard damn work. I used to just be a runner, and I’d see cyclists fly by thinking “psh. take the easy way out”. That’s not the case. It’s not easy at all, and it’s hard getting up to speed. It’s akin to a runner needing to sprint all out for 20-30 seconds every time they start running from a stop. Please don’t cut us off.
5) Getting mad at a cyclist for not obeying every traffic law is cherry picking and hypocritical
Admittedly this is debatable. I know in the eyes of the law, a cyclist is like a car. That is ridiculous though. A cyclist on a 20 lbs bike isn’t the same as a driver in a 1 ton car. There are special rules for both of us. You get to pass us on roads with or without a solid yellow line. That’s fair. We are different than cars. For YOUR convenience, we generally ride on the very side of the road and even the shoulder when available and safe (the shoulder is technically not considered part of the road by law in most states). Again, we are different than cars and realize this. We may run through a stop sign or continue through a red light when traffic allows and it is safe. Don’t get mad at that. Some cyclists may make a poor decision on when this is “safe” just like some drivers may make a poor decision on when it’s safe to take a right on red, when to proceed through a stop sign, when to merge through a yield sign, etc. If you think a cyclist should obey every single car law, then would you mind if we follow your idea and ride in the middle of the lane instead of the side of the road, and you can only pass us when you are allowed by law to pass other cars? I didn’t think so. I guarantee you the middle of the road is a lot better quality there. Let’s be courteous to each other and realize our differences.
6) Cycling clothes may look silly, but they are functional
Now this doesn’t include the people decked out in their cycling hero’s jersey. That’s like a guy wearing a full Celtics uniform to a pickup basketball game. The clothes themselves are very functional though. Those goofy shirts… Those tight shorts. Those weird looking helmets. They all serve a very important function that “normal” clothes don’t. Before I started cycling, I laughed at the clothing. When I started, I first tried not to wear the typical cycling gear. I quickly adopted it though because it just makes life so much easier and more comfortable. Try not to judge us. Oh ok. I know that’s hard. Laugh away. Just try to keep in mind that it serves a purpose.
7) Cycling is hard damn work
I know it can look easy. You look at me and see me pedaling away, not sweating much, and not having painful grimaces on my face. Well, a constant 20mph breeze does a lot for cooling and for drying sweat. Pedaling is hard work. It may be because I’ve been running for so much longer, but I find cycling more strenuous on the legs than running. Starting from a stop is like doing heavy lunges for reps, climbing long and/or steep hills is a lesson in physics (and futility), and your thighs burn on a regular basis. Yes. This is fun.
For your 5) Getting mad at a cyclist for not obeying every traffic law is cherry picking and hypocritical, I could be misunderstanding you, but it’s not. If I see a car do a slow down at a four-way stop and then cruise through, I’m fine with that if there’s no other traffic at the intersection. And I feel the same way about cyclists. But if there’s other vehicles at the intersection (or even on their way), then I expect both cars and bikes to come to a full stop.
Yes, it is a lot harder for bikes to start up again after a full stop. But these are the rules that we (I both drive and cycle) have to follow. P.S.: Love the list!
Thanks! I agree completely.
So from now on I can take the entire lane just like a car right? We both come to a full stop, we both share the full lane. Sounds good to me.
I gave the stop sign as an example, but I did not say the law should be the same for both. I implied that I expect both to be responsible. In my state (and in most others), the law says that cyclists have to stay as far to the right as is safe and practical. So whether I’m in my car, or I’m on a group ride, if I see cyclists blocking the lane or riding two (or more) abreast on a road with traffic, then I do get mad. By the same token, if I see a car overtake a cyclist who’s riding properly, then I expect the driver to do whatever it takes to pass safely, even if it includes slowing way down.
If you can go the speed limit and not impede traffic, sure, use the full lane. Cars going more than 10mph under the speed limit are breaking a law. Coasting through a 4-way stop is as dangerous for a cyclist as anything because it’s not your turn and it’s very possible the car who’s turn it is isn’t expecting you to ignore that stop sign.
In most states, a cyclist has every right to use the FULL LANE when they feel it’s necessary. So for example, if there are parked cars on the road and/or the right lane is too narrow to share with passing cars safely (minimum of 3ft between car and cyclist), then the cyclist may legally take the full lane. Cars must wait behind until the cyclist moves out of the way OR pass safely on the next lane. This scenario happens often and the law is on the cyclist’s side. This is just one example.
As for STEVE’s comment:
“In my state (and in most others), the law says that cyclists have to stay as far to the right as is safe and practical. So whether I’m in my car, or I’m on a group ride, if I see cyclists blocking the lane or riding two (or more) abreast on a road with traffic, then I do get mad.”
The same as I explained above applies (in CA and most other states). So if there are two riders abreast on the road, by law, they have the right to be there if they feel it’s necessary to take the lane. Two riders side by side is actually safer as it makes the cyclist more visible to the drivers AND preventing a driver from buzzing the cyclists. We’re not trying to get anyone mad, we’re trying to stay alive.
The point is, bikes have EVERY right to use the full lane when the cyclist feel it’s necessary – bikes are considered vehicles in most states. It’s also the law to stop and Stop signs. Many cyclist don’t but many drivers don’t as well (both should). Let’s just all respect each other and be safe.
And AUDDY, I have never heard that it’s illegal to drive 10mph slower than the posted speed limit. What state do you live in?
How often honestly do you come to a full and complete stop at a stop sign?
I stop every single time there’s oncoming traffic, be it cars, bikes, or pedestrians. When I’m driving, it takes no effort to get going again. And when I’m on my bike, it helps me avoid getting smashed by a car. It’s just not worth saving a few seconds if it increases my chances of having an accident.
Some states have adopted the “Idaho Stop”… which state that cycle traffic are not required to come to a full and complete stop at intersections where there is not traffic and oncomming traffic would not prevent them from progressing through… it is faster, and often safer for bikes to do that… check to see if your state is an “Idaho Stop” state…
Terry: This is not really true. The Idaho stop allows a cyclist to stop and go at ANY red light as long as they are not interfering with traffic (regardless of the functionality of detecting bicycles). It also allows a cyclists to treat a stop sign as yield. No other states have adopted such laws in this manner.
14 states have a un-responsive light law for bicycles and motorcyclists, but none have a stop-as-yield.
With respect to #5 also that roads were not made for bicycles but for CARS, so please do not talk about how cyclists are in any way making drivers lives more convenient.
The roads were made for people. They were not made for cars. Many roads have existed since before cars were invented.
Look at the laws of any state and you’ll find that bicyclists have as much right to travel on the road as motorists. That means that the law says that the road is for bicycles every bit as much as it is for cars.
You’re just trying to establish ownership of the road because you ignorantly and delusionally believe that you have priority over bicycles and can’t believe that you would ever have to deal with a bicyclist on the road. You really could not be more wrong. You really should have paid attention in driver’s education so that you would know the rules of the road.
Sharing the road with bicycles is easy. I never cease to be amazed at how giant children like you whine and whine and whine about it as if it’s a monumental hardship or a violation of your basic human rights. It isn’t. It’s a trivial inconvenience. Grow up and get over it.
I agree if there are cars at the intersection the biker should come to a full stop. Thats what I do when riding a bike.
Another comment on #5: Drivers not only forget that they’re breaking the law when they drive over the speed limit, but many also brag about how fast they drive. Higher vehicle speeds are a major factor in death and injury. Get hit at 25 mph and your chance of dying is about 20%. Get hit at 40 mph and your chance of dying is like 80%.
Try calling out someone on speeding and they’ll say things like “the speed limit is too low” or “It doesn’t hurt anyone” or “I’m paying attention.” They have no idea how dangerous it is for people walking or bicycling along or across the road.
It’s amazing how quickly your day can ruined by somebody who’s distracted for even a moment. At least it’s made me a better driver.
Reblogged this on Austraffic.
What is that first photo of the car running down a pack of cyclists? Is that real or something someone put together in photoshop?
I’m unsure. I just googled something like “cyclist road danger” to find a pic that I thought conveyed my fears, and I saw that. There was no story with it, but some feedback I’ve gotten makes me think it is real.
It’s a real photo and from a (pro, I think) road race in Mexico. The guy was drunk or high and just ran right into the rear of the pack. Happened 4 or 5 years ago. I don’t think anyone died but there were some serious injuries.
I think that photo is real, from a few years ago during an amateur road race in Mexico.
It’s very real. I think it happened several years back in another country.
Very real and with very deadly consequences.
Re #: http://www.vox.com/2014/5/9/5691098/why-cyclists-should-be-able-to-roll-through-stop-signs-and-ride
Great story. Thanks.
This is a great article but I had one question around the treating a stoplight as a stop sign; what if a cyclist proceeded through a stoplight and they misinterpreted the distance or speed of a car in the distance, would the driver of the car be charged even though they have the green light? Or would this just be a case where it’s chalked up to the cyclist making a poor decision?
I’d say that’s the cyclist’s fault for a judgement error just as if a driver made a bad judgement about taking a right on red or the safety of merging after a yield sign. Seeing as the consequences of an error are a lot greater to a cyclist, it’d behoove them to play it very safe where the “Idaho stop” is concerned.
In Idaho where they have the red light stop-n-go and the 14+ other other states that have the un-responsive light, the duty for ensuring the ROW is clear and safe is on the cyclist/motorcyclist going against the traffic control device. So for both Criminal (Ticket) and Civil (Insurance) purposes the one with the green light should not be facing charges outside of other issues and duty of care (cellphone/distracted).
All drivers of vehicles (autos and bikes) owe a duty of care to reasonably avoid accidents, regardless of fault.
You might have noticed that bikes won’t trip light sensors. If we are expected to wait for the light you could sit there all day. Motorcycles aren’t big enough to trip them. If common sense were more common we could say use it, but it isn’t. Sometimes you just have to be reasonable. But most of the time car drivers don’t know how much destructive power they are wielding and are simply not reasonable.
Most sensors can be tripped by bicycles. You just have to know how.
There are cuts in the road near intersections in the shapes of circles, squares or diamonds which indicate where the magnetic induction loop wires are. Put your wheels directly over the cuts. Aluminum rims can trip most of them. You just have to be as close to the wire as you can get.
I appreciate your #5. There is a growing debate among cyclists whether to take the lane or not at all times. I tend not to, because I want to get along. But it can so easily be argued that staying as far right as possible isn’t always the safest approach. I wish more drivers understood that we’re staying to the right to make their lives easier, not because we’re supposed to. I’m referring to specific situations when cyclists really are legally authorized to take the whole lane, such as narrow roadways, parked cars, etc. A lot of cyclists willingly put their lives at risk riding close to the curb, just to avoid upsetting drivers. Something’s off balance here.
As a general rule, I take the whole lane if I feel like it would be unsafe for a car to pass me while staying in their lane. In 2-way traffic roads that are 20 feet wide or less (interstate lanes are 12 feet), I’ll absolutely take the lane and indicate a slow/stop sign to the driver when I can see that no other cars are approaching to signal that I’m moving over and they can pass. If I feel like the lane is wide enough to accommodate me and two cars driving in both directions, then I will tend toward the edge.
This is what I do as well, If I’m coming up on parked cars I take a gander back and if clear I take the lane, if not clear I do a quick analysis and generally sign that I’m braking and slow down to let them pass. I rarely run into this situation as most of my miles are in the country and when I’m in the city there is so much stop and go I don’t expect to make good speed.
Generally speaking, it’s not “As far right as *Possible,* it’s “As far right as *Practicable*.” Big difference.
As I see it, the majority of the difficulty in bike-car interactions stem from the fact that most people are simply terrible, terrible drivers. I say this because while my and avocation is cycling, my vocation is long-haul truck driver. I drive more miles a month than most people do all year long. So when I say most people are terrible, terrible drivers, this is an informed (perhaps, though I say it myself, an expert) opinion. Most people drive to fast, don’t signal, don’t look far enough ahead.
Most people don’t pay attention. That’s the point of it, right there.
If all drivers would get in, sit down, turn off their phones, put both hands on the wheel and PAID ATTENTION and drove the way they were taught to in Drivers’ Ed, the accident rate nationwide would plummet like a rock. We’d have about 10% of the traffic incidents we do now.
It never ceases to amaze me that vehicle drivers fail to yield to pedestrian walkway signs at stop lights. In my state, once the light is flashing for pedestrians and cyclists to walk across the road, vehicles must stop and not cross the walkway until all pedestrians and cyclists have cleared the path. This means, from the moment a body hits that walkway and until that body clears that walkway, vehicles must NOT cross it.
You know of course that this is widely ignored. I’ve gotten off my bike, pushed the button to cross, waited patiently for the lights to change, and once changed, proceeded across the walkway. RARE is the vehicle who yields to me; most often, they are whizzing both directly in front of me as they make a right or whizzing behind me as they make a left – both illegal moves in my state.
This happens to both those who are pedestrians and those who have a bike. I’ve seen cars come within inches of both me and a woman pushing a baby in a stroller. Incredibly dangerous. And the move is generally done with pedal to metal since vehicle drivers see it as a “race” to get their turn in before the pedestrians or those with bikes can cross.
Just one more thing to be mindful of when driving a huge vehicle that can kill.
I think everyone agrees that a bike has the *right* to the full lane, what’s up for discussion is whether or not certain cyclists should be asserting their *right* even when it’s not necessary.
It’s all about playing nice and being courteous when safety isn’t in play and drivers, riders and peds using common sense when acting and not just doing something because you can.
If it’s rush hour and you have room to safely ride to one side of the lane, do so instead of riding slower than traffic in the middle of a lane, having a long line of people in cars getting frustrated just because you can.
Interesting. I love bicycles. Still, in my area, I find the majority of bicyclists who ride the country roads ride 4 abreast and sometimes 6 or more deep, weave in and out of lanes, run stop signs and pull across lanes on 50 MPH roads, often coming from blind entry points, and to be basically rude to anyone in a car, including me, a pro-cycling human being. There is not a lot of “Share the road” spirit, unless that means let them have the whole thing.
I don’t know where the idea of taking the whole lane comes from, but it’s not California law.
“Bicycle riders and automobile drivers follow the same rules and have the same rights. Example: Cars must stop at a stop sign, and bicycles must stop at a stop sign. Always ride with traffic. Bicyclists must travel in the same direction as cars.
1. When moving slower than the normal traffic speed, stay near the right edge of the road, except:
a. When passing another bicycle or vehicle.
b. When getting ready to turn left.
c. When passing a parked car or to avoid other objects.
d. When on a one-way road, two lanes or wider. Then bicyclists may ride near either the left or right side.”
I don’t see anything that says, “If you’re not comfortable staying right.”
A shard of glass is an “object” that poses a real hazard to a guy on a road bike. Similarly, a spread of sand or pebbles is a field of hazardous “objects”. The list goes on, but the point is that there are serious hazards that motorists cannot see that a cyclist must avoid.
In Los Angeles (where I live) there are a lot of roads that are marked with bicycle symbols in the middle of the street; that signifies that it’s legal for the bike to use the entire lane. I thought that was a California thing, but maybe it’s just this city. As for moving out into the lane when you’re not comfortable staying right, California Vehicle Code 21202, subsection 3 says exactly that: you just need to read the full text, not the paraphrasing from the chp website.
21202. (a) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed
less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction
at that time shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand
curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following
(1) When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle
proceeding in the same direction.
(2) When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a
private road or driveway.
(3) When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including, but
not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles,
pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes)
that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge,
subject to the provisions of Section 21656. For purposes of this
section, a “substandard width lane” is a lane that is too narrow for
a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the
(4) When approaching a place where a right turn is authorized.
(b) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway of a highway,
which highway carries traffic in one direction only and has two or
more marked traffic lanes, may ride as near the left-hand curb or
edge of that roadway as practicable.
@Anthony C. Lanni: Those bicycle symbols in the center of travel lanes with chevron arrows are commonly known as “sharrows” but the official name for them is shared lane markers. As you point out, they do mean that bicyclists can use the full lane, usually due to conditions that satisfy exceptions to the keep right requirement specified by CVC 21202(a)(3) and/or (a)(4). The markers are meant to support the law and make it more clear, with limited success.
They are not specific to California. They are in the national MUTCD. I’ve heard that they have spread to Australia.
@PJA: Sadly, the CHP is a notoriously anti-bicycle organization and they willfully distort the law. The law does not say what they says it says. The actual law is CVC 21202 and you need to read it. The CHP needs to read it.
Taking the lane is a safety technique of vehicular cycling. You can find out more about it from Effective Cycling by John Forester, Cyclecraft by John Franklin, Bicycling Street Smarts by John S. Allen or by taking a class from a League of American Bicyclists or Cycling Savvy certified instructor.
Taking the lane makes bicyclists far more visible and predictable. It helps them stay out of a lot of the conflicts that are set up by riding far right, especially at driveways and intersections.
Share the road means that you move over to pass. It doesn’t mean that bicyclists have to stay out of your way.
I’m a ride leader for a club of 350+ cyclists. We do a lot of riding on 2 lane country roads with very little traffic & can frequently be found riding 2 or 3 abreast. On my rides I stress that when somebody calls “car back” that means to single up & move right assuming there are no mitigating factors. More than a few riders complain about this pointing out that the car has the whole other lane empty to use for passing us. I tell them I don’t give a crap if he has an airport runway on which to pass. Moving over is a sign of respect, lets the motorist that we’re aware of his presence & allows for extra room if the motorist has to alter his course for some reason. It’s really frustrating to be riding in mid pack, hearing someone shout “car back” & the riders up ahead, 3 abreast don’t make any move at all. It’s like herding cats.
Larry, thank you. I’m with you. Do the right thing, regardless of whether in a car or on a bike.
I’ve seen the same phenomenon happen here in MA is group rides. For all the problems with cars not respecting cyclists and their rights, not responding to the “car back” call to single file is just arrogance and only makes drivers less tolerant.
I am convinced that some people just can’t wrap their minds around the simple of concept of moving over to pass a bicycle.
Why are bicyclists the only road users expected to endanger themselves by encouraging passing within the same lane?
Why is moving into the next lane such a terrible hardship when passing bicycles? Why is it acceptable when the slow traffic is a motor vehicle such as a bus or a garbage truck or a cement truck or a loaded 18 wheeler or and RV or a tractor? Why do we have this double standard for bicycles?
I don’t hate bikers, it just that they are like pedestrians with wheels and I don’t think either should mingle with SUVs, trucks or cars.
@susan mandeville, you say you don’t hate bikers and then you say something hateful about them. That’s sad.
We are not pedestrians. We are vehicle operators.
You are as naked and vulnerable as a pedestrian!
I have never ridden naked.
Real safety isn’t about a cage. Real safety is about preventing collisions in the first place. The notion that you need a cage to be safe is just plain false. For one thing, people in cages die and get seriously injured all the time. For another, I know how to make collisions extremely unlikely by riding defensively.
In California, ANY vehicle holding up 5 or more other vehicles is required to pull over and let the other vehicles pass. ANY vehicle.
Reblogged this on Cranky's Corner.
Hey here’s an idea! Stay on the fucking sidewalk. You see on the road there are these things called cars. They weigh a couple tons and have engines and go really fast. They can hit a guy blocking the road on his bike. That sidewalk there is nice and safe and car free. Try it sometime you selfish pricks!
Actually it is NOT safer on the sidewalk and does not avoid bad drivers. (Driveways, and crossings) not to mention that most sidewalks are also not designed well to accommodate bicycles, especially ones travelling at 20mph. At 4′ wide a sidewalk can barely handle 2 pedestrians passing each other. Safe 2 way travel requires 10’+
Bahahaha… Someone’s attempt at trolling.
Yessir. Needs way more work on his game. 🙂
Hey Gene, I have the same dislike of cyclists but can’t you be nice about it?! It’s just too dangerous to have cyclists on the road with cars. They have NO protection and if I were to hit one the rest of my life would be haunted by it.
Oh yeah, all cyclists reading this are going to honor your wonderful request from now on out like EVER EVER EVER! Try not being a jerk next time you post.
Actually that’s illegal in a lot of places.
Troll. Try educating yourself.
I think it’s obvious who the prick is here, Gene. Maybe educate yourself a little, you’ll be embarrassed by your utter ignorance.
That’s a truly dumb comment, Gene. You know,of course, that it’s illegal (let alone dangerous) to ride on sidewalks in most urban areas. You know that, right?
Almost everywhere it’s illegal (and unsafe for cyclists and pedestrians) to ride on the sidewalk. Bikes are vehicles and are legally REQUIRED to stay on the road in the traffic lane. Don’t be selfish – Share the Road, Not the Lane!
“Stay on the fucking sidewalk.” – if you stay on the f…ing highway – and if the road is too dangerous for you, just stay home
It’s sideWALK not sideRIDE!
The sidewalk is not safe because cars still cross driveways and bicyclists still have to cross intersections. Most collisions between bicycles and cars occur due to crossing conflicts at driveways and intersections. As an added bonus, bicyclists have to dodge pedestrians, which is dangerous for both.
Here’s an idea, how about you grow up and learn to move over to pass and stop whining like a little girl because your delusions of owning territory have been violated?
You are the selfish prick,
At the same time would you want a cyclist on the sidewalk which is more dangerous for us and pedestrians. How fast do you think a cyclist is going? 20MPH plus. You cant go that fast on thr sidewalk and most bike paths have an 8MPH speed limit so commuting at that speed for most is not plausible to make it to work or train for a race. We are no different then motorcycles and as for if you hit one of us you should be paying more attention or just not be on the road if you can’t see us or move over for 3 seconds.
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#5 will never be right, I don’t care what anyone says. NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER!
I lived in Chicago for 20 years rode my bike most days, including the winter . Got hit 5 or 6 times. The worst bruised a kidney. I ride 20 to 30 miles every other day. Well
I am 58, so .., if you ride you have to watch everything and never assume anything.
I agree with all of this except #1. Road cycling is not scary when you know how to manage the risk. I highly recommend a Cycling Savvy course if you live near a place that has it. If not, then a League of American Bicyclists safety course is also good.
I rarely feel afraid and I ride on major roads all the time.
In Florida it is LEGAL to ride your bike on the sidewalk. One must yield to pedestrians, but YES, it is LEGAL to ride on the sidewalk in Florida. If not, then all those kids under the age of 10 would be out in the freakin’ ROAD. That being said, those who want to use the bike path, please do.
It’s only legal in Florida if local law doesn’t prohibit it, which is the case in Orlando, for example. Many states have no laws regarding cycling on the sidewalks, leaving it to individual towns and cities to decide. My city allows riding on the sidewalk only for children under 12.
This is just like a cyclist to write an article like this…
So you ride a defenseless vehicle, look stupid, piss people off, slow traffic flow, disobey traffic laws, and work hard at doing it. And I thought I was an asshole…
How about this, find a bike trail, sell your 800 dollar bike for a cycle machine, or get a gym membership. Plenty of safe alternatives to being a dick. Just saying..
@jake: Sharing the road with bicyclists is easy. You’re just too childish, petty, territorial, elitist and pussified to handle the trivial inconvenience of sharing the road.
Bicycles typically don’t slow traffic flow. That’s because most drivers are capable of moving over to pass. I realize that that concept is too complicated to understand. Maybe you should ride the bus given the fact that driving is too complex for you.
He didn’t actually say that he disobeyed traffic laws. He simply pointed out that it isn’t as big a deal as you whiny drama queens pretend that it is. Furthermore, most motorists exceed the speed limit when they can, most don’t signal most of the time that they should, most roll stop signs when there’s no cross traffic, most roll right on red and numerous other violations.
Grow up princess.
I’ll start by saying what I always say…it’s as if non-cyclists forget that we (cyclists) are not also drivers. I’ve been a cyclist for 35 years and a driver for 34. I have to say that you have provided a pretty good view from someone who just drives – and then realizes what it’s like to be a cyclist. I think your #5 might be one of the most eloquently put thoughts on ‘legality’ that I have seen.
You hit the nail on the head. I don’t follow every rule to a tee when I ride. I don’t follow every rule to a tee when I drive. However, breaking the rules (laws) and doing something stupid are mutually exclusive. I have actually broken the law purposely on occasion while riding because the situation said it was safer – a case where I chose life over a fine; a choice I will make every time. Over the years, I’ve learned the one thing that is most likely to cause accidents: indecision. If I can take the indecision out of a situation, I have a better chance of survival.
And if I recorded drivers for just one day on my drive to work, we would be hard pressed to find the few people who always use their turn signals, don’t speed, etc. I’m neither a perfect driver nor a perfect rider. But I’m not going to be hypocritical.
My favorite pet peeve? When I arrive at a 4-way stop just after one or two other cars have already stopped. They will have a staring match with me and then wave me through. I refuse to go. Not gonna happen. What you have created is indecision. You have no idea what all the other cars are going to do at the intersection. If I had raced through the intersection just before you stopped, you would be mad that I ran the stop sign…but there would be no indecision and I would be alive. I would never run it if we were all stopped simultaneously. As a matter of fact, I forcibly slow down or speed up as the case may be so that we DON’T arrive simultaneously.
My 2 cents…or more like a nickel
Cyclists are drivers. We drive our bicycles. I’ve been a cyclist for 47 years and a motor vehicle driver for 36.
Cyclists are so annoying! They think they own the road.
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Sorry, but recreational pelotons to not have the right to “take the whole road.” Ride single file or get a permit for a road race. Those of us who rely on single-lane, twisty scenic roads to get to work or to the doctor don’t appreciate you playing in our streets.