Author Topic: Best reactions on a bike?  (Read 4132 times)

aneel

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Best reactions on a bike?
« on: June 02, 2014, 06:54:39 AM »
Fellow mustachians, this morning I found myself in a rather dangerous biking situation, and realized I didn't have a plan for what to do in that case?  Do you have certain if then plans for when you're biking?  For instance, I started to feel like I was going to be run off the road (and into a sidewalk curb) by a large truck this morning.  In hindsight, instead of yelling pointlessly at the driver and getting scared, I realize I should have braked so he would pass me more quickly.  Have you run into similar situations?  What are your best bike safety tips?
For a little background, I've biked in rural and city (Boston) areas pretty extensively, but this was my scariest interaction with a driver.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Best reactions on a bike?
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2014, 07:02:23 AM »
More details?

Did they overtake you a bit too closely or something?

Even when I don't fully take the lane (occupy the center) I am always a good two feet off of the curb in case I need to move around potholes, debris, or cases of a car coming close.

Whatever you do, don't overreact when drivers get too close. Instances of actual clipping are quite rare.

GuitarStv

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Re: Best reactions on a bike?
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2014, 07:22:25 AM »
If I feel that cars are passing too closely (usually on sections of road where there's no or little shoulder to cycle on), I check my blind spot/traffic behind me and then move into the center of the lane until it's safe for me to move back to the right.  The roads are quite potholed on some sections of my commute, so I have to stay a couple feet from the curb at all times to have room to avoid hazards anyway.  If a vehicle gets too close while passing I'll use my left arm to hammer on their window or car panels to let them know that they're too close, as often they're just not paying attention.  (In a worst case scenario, this lets me stiff-arm the vehicle and will hopefully shove me clear of the vehicle and into the curb/ditch).

With large trucks, the most dangerous scenario to be in is to the right of the truck at an intersection when they decide to make a turn.  In many cases they can't see you, and the potential for them to turn and run you over is high.  Due to that, I position my bike either ahead of trucks at intersections, or wait in the center of the lane behind the truck.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2014, 09:02:06 AM by GuitarStv »

wtjbatman

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Re: Best reactions on a bike?
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2014, 07:32:33 AM »
Motorists driving passenger vehicles are encouraged to practice defensive driving. I would imagine that advice is even more important for someone as vulnerable as a cyclist. Even if the other person is driving aggressively and is in the wrong, why risk your own safety and health? Let them go by, get out of the way, etc.

aneel

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Re: Best reactions on a bike?
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2014, 09:25:53 AM »
I think you all pointed out my major flaw that lead to the situation, riding to far to the right.  It was a big truck (not passenger) and it didn't leave me much room at all, and I'm tempted to say he was screwing with me since he passed painfully slowly (which is why I should have braked).  I was just disappointed with my do-nothing reaction.  I will have to remember to ride further out, especially in that section of my commute since there are also pot holes to be navigated as you all mentioned.

PindyStache

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Re: Best reactions on a bike?
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2014, 10:35:24 AM »
I'm of the opinion that anything you can do as they're already passing is a losing proposition for a cyclist vs. motorized vehicle. The only way to assert yourself is, as others have suggested, to take the center of the lane before traffic is passing you. Otherwise, if you're already in a situation where you're too far to the right and out of other options, you have to take responsibility for being there and stop if passing traffic is truly dangerously close, then wait for an opening to start again and retake the lane. I don't know what kind of road you were on, but it may have just been a difficult place for the truck driver to navigate through--those things are huge!

I totally agree riding ni the center of the lane can be hard to do mentally, and can make clueless drivers annoyed. But, unless someone is a true psychopath, they're not just going to rear-end you.

GuitarStv

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Re: Best reactions on a bike?
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2014, 11:13:27 AM »
That's because even the psychopaths don't want to have to take the time to wipe the eyebrows off the windshield wipers and buff the cyclist shaped dents out of their hood.

TrMama

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Re: Best reactions on a bike?
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2014, 11:26:52 AM »
Yeah, take the lane anywhere where it's not safe for a car to pass you. I've been biking for many years and only in the last year and a half has "taking the lane" become truly instinctive. It does make it more likely you'll get honked at, but that's way better than being run off the road.

I really like the site, http://cyclingsavvy.org/ for ideas on how to navigate specific road features and situations. Read through a few of their examples, and you'll soon be able to apply the same principles to your own routes.

frompa

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Re: Best reactions on a bike?
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2014, 08:19:41 PM »
Taking the full lane isn't your only option.  Although it's counterintuitive, bicyclists are much safer riding a few feet to the left of the white line -- ON the road, not in the shoulder.  I've experienced this first hand for years, and I'm always amazed to see how close motorized vehicle drivers will try to come to a cyclist riding in the shoulder or at the very edge of the road, while the same motorists will give significant and safe distance to a rider who is unmistakably taking up a few feet on the actual road.  Last year when my sweetie and I were cycling on tiny little roads in Ireland where there was no shoulder to be had, we saw this dynamic at work over and over.  If we tried to ride the edge, the motorists drove too fast and too close, but when we took up more space, they carefully and slowly passed us.  As GuitarStv said more graphically, motorists don't want cyclist blood on their windshields.  Take up your space on the road, relax and enjoy the ride.

PindyStache

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Re: Best reactions on a bike?
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2014, 08:38:21 AM »
I really like the site, http://cyclingsavvy.org/ for ideas on how to navigate specific road features and situations. Read through a few of their examples, and you'll soon be able to apply the same principles to your own routes.

This is a really great link, thanks for posting!

electriceagle

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Re: Best reactions on a bike?
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2014, 06:44:11 PM »
That's because even the psychopaths don't want to have to take the time to wipe the eyebrows off the windshield wipers and buff the cyclist shaped dents out of their hood.

They also don't want to spend the next 30 years in prison for second degree murder.

If someone sideswipes you and runs you off the road, it'll probably be deemed an accident. If they honk at you and rear end you while you are front and center, they will be found guilty of murder and spend the next couple of decades in prison.

GuitarStv

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Re: Best reactions on a bike?
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2014, 06:10:42 AM »
That's because even the psychopaths don't want to have to take the time to wipe the eyebrows off the windshield wipers and buff the cyclist shaped dents out of their hood.

They also don't want to spend the next 30 years in prison for second degree murder.

If someone sideswipes you and runs you off the road, it'll probably be deemed an accident. If they honk at you and rear end you while you are front and center, they will be found guilty of murder and spend the next couple of decades in prison.

Sure.

Assuming someone sees it and they're reported.  At 6 am in the dark winter mornings when I'm biking to work it's not to hard to come up with scenarios where someone could run me over and take off scott free.  My guess is that on the balance fear of damage to the vehicle helps me out at least as much as fear of law enforcement.