Author Topic: Please help with my commute -- crazy drivers  (Read 10325 times)

madame librarian

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Please help with my commute -- crazy drivers
« on: October 21, 2014, 08:55:27 PM »
I have a 3 mile commute. I've been walking/biking it, but I keep getting harassed by drivers. One example of the type of thing that happens pretty regularly: a driver fails to understand that bikes don't go as fast as cars, gets grumpy/antsy at having to wait 10 extra seconds for me to go through a light, so pulls up immediately behind me and honks. I think I'm a good biker -- I obey traffic laws and let cars pass me whenever it is safe -- people just don't seem to think it's acceptable for bikes to be on the road & try to intimidate me by doing things like revving their engines at me, honking, etc. Due to this I've been walking to work more and more lately, even though it takes a lot longer.

Well, a couple days ago, while I was walking, someone made an illegal left turn into a crosswalk where I had the walk light and I had to jump out of the way and bolt across the street to avoid being hit. Then, to top it off, he pulled his car over and started screaming/cursing at me in an absolute fit of apoplectic rage. This was an extremely terrifying experience. I am a 100 lb woman. For a minute I thought he was going to come after me and I would have to literally run for my life (again). I am starting to feel like it might be worth it to go by car. Just thinking about risking something like that again makes me anxious.

Has anybody dealt with this and how did you overcome it? I feel like it is prima facie absurd to drive 3 miles, but my nerves can't take much more of this.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2014, 08:58:08 PM by madame librarian »

surfhb

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Re: Please help with my commute -- crazy drivers
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2014, 09:29:15 PM »
This is the way it is unfortunately.    Is there another route you can take?

 Better yet,  why do you care what they think?   You know you're right :)

gaiusbaltar

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Re: Please help with my commute -- crazy drivers
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2014, 09:40:37 PM »
3 miles is a long way to walk. That's about an hour of travel time each way, so unless you enjoy it (find it relaxing and/or like the exercise) two hours of daily commuting is probably not a good use of your time.

Are you stuck at your current residence? And are you planning to stay at this job for a while? If so, maybe you could move closer to work or move to a place with a safer biking route.

It's a shame that it's not bike-friendly, but some routes are just like that.  If I were you I would probably just drive the 3 miles for now and try to relocate soon.

kaetana

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Re: Please help with my commute -- crazy drivers
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2014, 09:45:08 PM »
Any chance you can make that commute earlier/later, when the streets aren't likely to be too busy?

FreeWheel

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Re: Please help with my commute -- crazy drivers
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2014, 10:09:46 PM »
I'm sorry to hear you're having a tough time of it, ml. Some people can be real jerks. The good news is even these jerks don't actually want to hurt us. Even so, it really burns me up knowing that they may be preventing someone from exercising their legal right to the road.

When drivers attempt to intimidate me, it only solidifies my resolve to ride and hold my position. Be assertive and don't slink into the gutter. If you believe and act as though you belong, drivers will sense it. If you do it every day at the same time, around the same drivers, they will get used to your presence. Act afraid like you don't belong in their way and they can sense that too. Maybe this mindset will help you.

I once had a guy who would honk at me everyday. (while passing me safely) I always held my line and never acknowledged him in any way. He finally decided it wasn't fun anymore, and that I wasn't going to stop riding on account of him.

I once had a semi truck get on my ass and blast his air horn. That was fun! I held my position until it was safe to move over... and he safely and quietly passed me.

I figure if they honk or yell, they see me and are unlikely to hit me. That's all that really matters to me. Honks also alert others to pay attention... they'll look to see what's going on.

I also like kaetana's suggestion. Sometimes, even a 30 minute difference makes a big difference in the amount of traffic you're dealing with.

FreeWheel

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Re: Please help with my commute -- crazy drivers
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2014, 10:27:40 PM »
Also, make sure to have your cell phone ready to grab. If ever you feel threatened, like you were with the crosswalk jerk, pull it out and call for help. Just seeing you do this will make most jerks reconsider their actions with the quickness.

GuitarStv

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Re: Please help with my commute -- crazy drivers
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2014, 06:08:28 AM »
While there are moment that I fantasize about a handlebar baggie full of caltrops and carrying a mace on my bike (not the stupid pepper spray, I mean a full sized fucking medieval skull-crushing mace) . . . if they're honking they do see you, and if they see you they're not going to try and put a cyclist sized dent in their car.  Just try to stay calm and ride on.

madame librarian

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Re: Please help with my commute -- crazy drivers
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2014, 06:15:23 AM »
Thanks for the tips. I am not ready to give up yet! It also helps to know this sort of thing happens to other people, and although these people may be obnoxious, nobody is going to take the obnoxiousness to the point of deliberately harming me (probably). I moved here from an extremely bike-friendly city where nothing like this ever happened, so it's been quite a shock.

CatchingFire

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Re: Please help with my commute -- crazy drivers
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2014, 06:49:12 AM »
Strap a Go-Pro to your helmet.

This is actually a superb idea, even if it's not on or doesn't work.  Additionally, if someone gets out and comes after you like you described, hold up your phone and video them (even if your phone has no such function).  People will snap right out of their crazy dance if they think they're being taped and could be the next nutcase on the news.

On another note, I'm really sorry to hear about your troubles making your commute mustache friendly.  Any chance of another route?  Can you buy a cheap kid trailer to tag along?  I live in a very bike friendly town, but I still get more respect and a wider berth when I have a kid trailer or my double Wald baskets on filled with bags. etc.

CatchingFire

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Re: Please help with my commute -- crazy drivers
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2014, 06:54:32 AM »
I also recommend a reflective bright orange vest.  It's quite the fashion statement, but everyone sees you!  Especially now that commute times are getting darker and darker.  Honestly, even walking (and I walk a lot) I always make eye contact with turning drivers before I start crossing on my bike or on foot to ensure that drivers see me.  If I can't make eye contact, I stay put.  I've seen too many close calls and I can't win a fight with a giant hunk of steel.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Please help with my commute -- crazy drivers
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2014, 07:01:22 AM »
+1 to what others have said.

I also tend to design my routes around streets that are at least 4 lanes, so that I'm never taking the only lane moving in my direction. For me to go on a two lane road, ideally it has a bike lane, a wide shoulder, or just isn't very busy.

For whatever reason, some streets seem to attract more assholes. Try a different route, even if it's longer. My route for work is a good 3-4 miles longer each way to avoid some crappy streets and unsafe intersections, and it's just a more enjoyable ride.

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Please help with my commute -- crazy drivers
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2014, 07:11:47 AM »
I also tend to design my routes around streets that are at least 4 lanes, so that I'm never taking the only lane moving in my direction. For me to go on a two lane road, ideally it has a bike lane, a wide shoulder, or just isn't very busy.

definitely this! and what everyone else said. I know it totally blows living somewhere where drivers have an attitude about bikes. I've noticed a lot more bikers in Tulsa with GoPros on their helmets lately, and I wonder how much of it is, like someone else said, to catch and/or deter asshole drivers.

madame librarian

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Re: Please help with my commute -- crazy drivers
« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2014, 07:23:11 AM »
I will definitely be getting a high-vis jacket for winter. The GoPro is actually an amazing idea. Maybe that will be my Christmas present to myself, lol.

Unfortunately I have to go over a river as part of my commute. There are only 2 bridges within reasonable distance and I already go over the smaller/slower one. And where all the roads funnel down right before that bridge is where I run into the assholes. I usually try to go on residential roads as long as possible because there is a lot less traffic, but I can try hitting the main drag sooner to see if that helps. Maybe people get angrier closer to the bridge because they already know they're going to get slowed down.

icek05

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Re: Please help with my commute -- crazy drivers
« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2014, 08:23:29 AM »
Definitely have dealt with a fair share of jerks, from people yelling right as they pass me to try and scare me to honking to even one guy stopping his ridiculous F-250 truck in the middle of the road and getting out to come yell at me even though I was already as far over to the right side of the lane as I could be.  I am a 6'7 male so those encounters probably aren't as scary as what they would be for you but people can be ass hats no matter what. 

As others have said though, a honking driver is a driver that sees you and that isn't a bad thing.  Make sure to stay super visible and obey the laws.  If you are in a busy area I'd guess people wouldn't actually want to do anything to you just because of the other people around.  Wish you the best!

FreeWheel

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Re: Please help with my commute -- crazy drivers
« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2014, 11:23:46 AM »
Unfortunately I have to go over a river as part of my commute. There are only 2 bridges within reasonable distance and I already go over the smaller/slower one. And where all the roads funnel down right before that bridge is where I run into the assholes. I usually try to go on residential roads as long as possible because there is a lot less traffic, but I can try hitting the main drag sooner to see if that helps.

I like using a mirror to monitor traffic behind me. Sometimes, if I slow or speed up a bit ahead of time, I can minimize conflicts at any "funnel" points.

Once I'm pacing the car(s) behind me I always ramp up my speed... And glance back so they know I'm aware they are there. It seems drivers have a bit more tolerance for speedy cyclists, and I like the extra exercise a good sprint provides.

After doing all the things I do to NOT hold up motorists, (like route & time choice, speed up, slow down to avoid conflicts, etc) I feel no guilt at all for the minor delays I might cost them. And you shouldn't either. Usually they end up at the next light or stop sign in the same position as if I wasn't there anyway.

« Last Edit: October 22, 2014, 11:26:12 AM by FreeWheel »

cambridgecyclist

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Re: Please help with my commute -- crazy drivers
« Reply #15 on: October 22, 2014, 12:37:03 PM »
Strap a Go-Pro to your helmet.

This. People behave better when they are being recorded. It doesn't need to even be a functional camera to act as a deterrent.

Dicey

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Re: Please help with my commute -- crazy drivers
« Reply #16 on: October 22, 2014, 12:45:24 PM »
Also, make sure to have your cell phone ready to grab. If ever you feel threatened, like you were with the crosswalk jerk, pull it out and call for help. Just seeing you do this will make most jerks reconsider their actions with the quickness.
I was going to say forget calling for help, start taking pictures, but I also like the Go Pro idea. Two good, easy to implement ideas. In my area, a law has just been passed whereby drivers must stay three feet away from bicyclists. A good start, I say! Perhaps you could look into spearheading similar legislation in your state. Good for you, good for everybody.

BlueMR2

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Re: Please help with my commute -- crazy drivers
« Reply #17 on: October 22, 2014, 04:26:35 PM »
I feel your pain.  Sunday I was riding over to a carshow and had 3 drivers in a row almost mow me down by driving up next to me on the left and trying to turn right through me.  They had to know I was there, they had to move over to not  hit me in the first place.  Memory of a goldfish I guess.

kaetana

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Re: Please help with my commute -- crazy drivers
« Reply #18 on: October 22, 2014, 05:09:06 PM »
I have a camera mounted to my handlebars (the Sony Action cam, not a GoPro), but what I've found makes people act more carefully is the front and rear combo light I have on my helmet. It apparently looks enough like a camera and is more noticeable than my real camera, and I've noticed that drivers are generally nicer to me since I've started wearing it. Go figure!

m8547

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Re: Please help with my commute -- crazy drivers
« Reply #19 on: October 22, 2014, 07:08:17 PM »
The best reflective vest I've found is from Alert Shirt. They have a class 3 vest designed for traffic over 55mph, but you might as well be as visible as possible in any traffic. Best of all they are cheap! The only downside is that they are sized very large. Construction workers must be large people.
http://alertshirt.com/wiraja.html

Lights on a bike or helmet are good, even in the daytime. A front light is at least as important as a rear light. I've noticed cars leave me more room when I have my obnoxious rear flashing light on.


Beric01

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Re: Please help with my commute -- crazy drivers
« Reply #20 on: October 22, 2014, 07:28:32 PM »
The best reflective vest I've found is from Alert Shirt. They have a class 3 vest designed for traffic over 55mph, but you might as well be as visible as possible in any traffic. Best of all they are cheap! The only downside is that they are sized very large. Construction workers must be large people.
http://alertshirt.com/wiraja.html

Lights on a bike or helmet are good, even in the daytime. A front light is at least as important as a rear light. I've noticed cars leave me more room when I have my obnoxious rear flashing light on.

Wow - thanks for the link to the vest! I'm actually looking at purchasing something like this right now.

Jesus Christ

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Re: Please help with my commute -- crazy drivers
« Reply #21 on: October 22, 2014, 07:32:19 PM »
You have to keep cycling and keep your head up. I automatically raise my middle finger at ALL motorists who honk the horn at me. I don't even bother to look if it is a little old lady or Mr. Muscles.

It is usually the people that are trying to make a right  hand turn and are inconvienced by my slower cycle so they in turn have to wait for me to pass.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2014, 12:59:14 AM by plasticspale »

tofuchampion

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Re: Please help with my commute -- crazy drivers
« Reply #22 on: October 23, 2014, 12:31:27 AM »
You have to keep cycling and keep your head up. I automatically raise my middle finger at ALL motorists who honk the horn at me. I don't even bother to look if it is a little old lady of Mr. Muscles.

I do the same thing.  Flip the bird and keep going; I don't even look at them.  Assholes.

I will say, though, that I get honked at less now that I live & work where I can avoid busy roads.  I used to ride 7 miles straight down a main road every morning, and back in the afternoon, and I encountered a lot more hostility than I do now, where my route is a combination of a road with a bike lane, an off-road trail, and a quiet residential neighborhood, with only one small section on a busy road. 

The dumbest things I have had happen:

- while I was in a bike lane, a lady yelled at me "get on the sidewalk!"

- someone pulled up next to me at a stoplight, I was in no way blocking them or otherwise in their way, and they honked at me while waiting for the light to turn.  NO idea what prompted that, other than my presence where I clearly wasn't wanted.

- just a few weeks ago, a guy on a moped actually came up close behind me and grabbed at my ass.  It took me a minute to figure out what happened; for a second I thought I got grazed by a car, but then I looked behind and saw the moped.  He pulled out in front of me quickly, u-turned, crossing the median in the process, almost got hit by another moped, and took off behind a park across the street.  That was the worst; I'm very fortunate that I don't startle easily, because that could have had disastrous consequences, for both of us.  However, based on what I saw of his driving and the high rate of moped accidents in my town, I'm fairly confident that he will get what he deserves.

After the moped incident, a coworker actually had the nerve to tell me that I obviously needed to stop biking to work.  I replied that actually, I should continue to get to work however I damn well please, and that assholes need to, y'know, stop assaulting strangers.

Honestly, I've gotten to a point where the more jerkoffish behavior I see, the more I want to bike.  It gives me a sense of satisfaction to refuse to be intimidated.

Keep biking.  It gets easier.  In the meantime, start flipping off rude drivers; I think that helps cultivate the proper attitude.  ;)

Good luck!

1967mama

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Re: Please help with my commute -- crazy drivers
« Reply #23 on: October 23, 2014, 01:12:47 AM »
what I've found makes people act more carefully is the front and rear combo light I have on my helmet. It apparently looks enough like a camera and is more noticeable than my real camera, and I've noticed that drivers are generally nicer to me since I've started wearing it. Go figure!

Would you mind posting a photo or a link to a photo of the type of combo light you are talking about? I'd like to get one for my son who bikes a lot. Thanks so much!

cakie

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Re: Please help with my commute -- crazy drivers
« Reply #24 on: October 23, 2014, 02:32:35 AM »
It's nice to hear the comments about it making people more determined! I can understand why the guy pulling over to yell would have been scary though, i am only 5' tall, and that kind of intimidating behaviour is pretty much the only thing that freaks me out when riding/walking.

I used to always bike commute 8km (5?miles) but was to ill to do it for about a year. My FIRST TIME back on the bike doing the commute, a driver threatened to run me over while waiting at a red light (rev'ed and kept getting so close i had to push my bike forward into the pedestrian area to avoid getting hit)

I just yelled at him, but it really scared me and it took me a long time to start riding regularly again. Which is silly, since it was clearly just some idiotic coward who thought a tiny girl on a push bike was an easy target for harassment :-P

cakie

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Re: Please help with my commute -- crazy drivers
« Reply #25 on: October 23, 2014, 02:34:15 AM »
My fluoro vest is the best for helping people notice me, even in bright daylight! I concur with the others, its a must-have...

GuitarStv

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Re: Please help with my commute -- crazy drivers
« Reply #26 on: October 23, 2014, 05:55:51 AM »
You have to keep cycling and keep your head up. I automatically raise my middle finger at ALL motorists who honk the horn at me. I don't even bother to look if it is a little old lady of Mr. Muscles.

- just a few weeks ago, a guy on a moped actually came up close behind me and grabbed at my ass.  It took me a minute to figure out what happened; for a second I thought I got grazed by a car, but then I looked behind and saw the moped.  He pulled out in front of me quickly, u-turned, crossing the median in the process, almost got hit by another moped, and took off behind a park across the street.

See my earlier comment about carrying a mace.

johnny847

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Re: Please help with my commute -- crazy drivers
« Reply #27 on: October 23, 2014, 07:12:29 AM »
Another thing that may help is a bike horn http://www.amazon.com/Delta-Airzound-Bike-Horn-colors/dp/B000ACAMJC. I haven't tried it personally but will be getting one soon.

What's nice about this bike horn is that it requires no batteries. Instead, it is attached to (in a closed loop system) a compressed air canister, which you can pump with your standard bike pump (I believe the tip is schrader). It is rated to about 115 dB, so I'm sure it will be as loud as a standard car horn.

johnny847

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Re: Please help with my commute -- crazy drivers
« Reply #28 on: October 23, 2014, 07:13:44 AM »
Another thing that may help is a bike horn http://www.amazon.com/Delta-Airzound-Bike-Horn-colors/dp/B000ACAMJC. I haven't tried it personally but will be getting one soon.

What's nice about this bike horn is that it requires no batteries. Instead, it is attached to (in a closed loop system) a compressed air canister, which you can pump with your standard bike pump (I believe the tip is schrader). It is rated to about 115 dB, so I'm sure it will be as loud as a standard car horn.

EDIT: And as others have said, hold your ground. I always take a full lane (unless its a one way road, then I start feeling bad) to force people to pass me like a car, because otherwise, they sometimes pass with just inches to spare (God I hate Atlanta drivers sometimes).

FreeWheel

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Re: Please help with my commute -- crazy drivers
« Reply #29 on: October 23, 2014, 09:07:53 AM »
The problem with flipping them off is that it can be an escalation of conflict. Better to defuse a potentially dangerous situation by just ignoring them and enjoying your ride. Let them be the angry jack donkey stuck in a car.

The usual reason they honk is to teach you a lesson, (you shouldnít be on the road!) intimidate, aggravate, or scare you. I prefer to NOT give these bullies any satisfaction. Flipping them off means that they got to me, and probably makes them happy.

The air horn can be helpful in instances where it can prevent a collision, like when someone is about to pull out into your path. But I donít want any extra junk on my bike, and have found that a bright headlight and being in the lane where drivers not only can see me more easily, but see me as relevant traffic, goes a long way in preventing pull outs. As a last resort I have occasionally let out a loud yell to get attention, which I imagine works as well as an air horn. 

johnny847

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Re: Please help with my commute -- crazy drivers
« Reply #30 on: October 23, 2014, 09:14:34 AM »
The problem with flipping them off is that it can be an escalation of conflict. Better to defuse a potentially dangerous situation by just ignoring them and enjoying your ride. Let them be the angry jack donkey stuck in a car.
Agreed, ignoring them (although it is hard sometimes) is probably best.
The air horn can be helpful in instances where it can prevent a collision, like when someone is about to pull out into your path. But I donít want any extra junk on my bike, and have found that a bright headlight and being in the lane where drivers not only can see me more easily, but see me as relevant traffic, goes a long way in preventing pull outs. As a last resort I have occasionally let out a loud yell to get attention, which I imagine works as well as an air horn. 

I've tried yelling before. When their windows are up and they've got music on, or if they're on the phone, yelling is close to useless. It's also useless if you're trying to get the attention of a driver making a left across your driving direction.
Also, some drivers just don't realize that bikes can go 20+ mph, and just assume that if you're on a bicycle you're going slowly. So sometimes even if they see you, they just don't process that you're going to reach them by the time they pull out onto your section of road. I find that this happens more often in daylight than at night (though I ride a lot more during the day than at night, so it's a bit hard for me to actually track the statistics).

Primm

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Re: Please help with my commute -- crazy drivers
« Reply #31 on: October 23, 2014, 09:32:01 AM »
I've tried yelling before. When their windows are up and they've got music on, or if they're on the phone, yelling is close to useless. It's also useless if you're trying to get the attention of a driver making a left across your driving direction.
Also, some drivers just don't realize that bikes can go 20+ mph, and just assume that if you're on a bicycle you're going slowly. So sometimes even if they see you, they just don't process that you're going to reach them by the time they pull out onto your section of road. I find that this happens more often in daylight than at night (though I ride a lot more during the day than at night, so it's a bit hard for me to actually track the statistics).

I ride bikes and drive older (1960s) cars, and this happens to me all the time. I'm forever slamming on my brakes to avoid someone who's pulled out from a side street, and when they roll down their window to apologise at the next set of lights (which happens more often than not, thank goodness), the excuse is always "I didn't realise that old girl could go that fast". It's a 60km (40mph) zone people. I can just about do that on my push bike. What makes you think my car can't?

So it's not just new cars / cyclists. It's new cars / old cars, new cars / trucks, in fact new cars / anything that's not a new car.

GuitarStv

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Re: Please help with my commute -- crazy drivers
« Reply #32 on: October 23, 2014, 09:35:33 AM »
Also, some drivers just don't realize that bikes can go 20+ mph, and just assume that if you're on a bicycle you're going slowly. So sometimes even if they see you, they just don't process that you're going to reach them by the time they pull out onto your section of road. I find that this happens more often in daylight than at night (though I ride a lot more during the day than at night, so it's a bit hard for me to actually track the statistics).

I run into this problem quite often, and yes it's usually during the day.  Particularly folks making left hand turns at intersections and people pulling out of side streets.  At night they seem to have more difficulty determining speeds from the bike lights so are more cautious.

The Architect

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Re: Please help with my commute -- crazy drivers
« Reply #33 on: October 23, 2014, 12:26:58 PM »
I've never had problems with motorists while biking, but I'm also:
1) 6'-2", and on the bike probably closer to 7' or 8'.
2) REALLY fast. I'll be through any stoplight before the cars will, despite riding a front-suspension mountain bike. I've found I'm putting out a constant 180 Watts on an exercise bike, with bursts up to 600 or more.
3) Riding in broad daylight - if/when I start night riding I'll have flashing lights front and rear, and possibly wheel and helmet lights. I need a day-glow jacket before I'm going to start riding in any kind of dim lighting though.
4) Riding mostly on residential roads where the speed limit is 25. In the limited area I must drive on a major street, I use my right to take up as much lane as legally allowed on that road (some herre allow me to take the full thing) and sprint up to 25-30 MPH (or whatever mountain bike top speed is). At stoplights, I'll go into the middle of the lane if it's a 2-way street with one lane either way to try to let right-turners through. Then I'll get over after I've crossed.
5) In the PNW, where cyclists are more accepted and drivers aren't as aggressive.
6) If it's a really busy street/time, and a short distance to a more friendly street, I'll ride slow on the sidewalk. Better to be safe than hit.

poorboyrichman

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Re: Please help with my commute -- crazy drivers
« Reply #34 on: October 23, 2014, 03:15:33 PM »
I have been cycle commuting since June now and I haven't had any major intimidation, but lots of poor driving... close passes, left-hooks (we ride on the left in the UK!) and cutting into cycle lanes while riding in parallel with the offending driver, which coupled with the horror stories of cyclists been killed is enough to put you off entirely. But persevere!

The intimidation sucks, but don't let it get to you, just like any conflict it's all about defusing tension and not escalating the situation further. Now, whilst trying to remain calm (as I do have a tenancy to blow my top when I am confronted by morons in cars putting lives at risk) I tend to find a quick tut and shake of the head and getting on with your journey always defuses any confrontation. Chances are the driver is just going to get back in their car realising they achieved nothing and just look like an idiot to everyone else around them. Of course, if they then go out of their way to continue to intimidate or even threaten you with assault it's a matter for the police and video evidence would be of real benefit, though can't say I have experienced more than petty shouting from the drivers window, which pretty much sums up 99% of the truly terrible car drivers!

kaetana

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Re: Please help with my commute -- crazy drivers
« Reply #35 on: October 23, 2014, 04:02:14 PM »
Another thing that may help is a bike horn http://www.amazon.com/Delta-Airzound-Bike-Horn-colors/dp/B000ACAMJC. I haven't tried it personally but will be getting one soon.

What's nice about this bike horn is that it requires no batteries. Instead, it is attached to (in a closed loop system) a compressed air canister, which you can pump with your standard bike pump (I believe the tip is schrader). It is rated to about 115 dB, so I'm sure it will be as loud as a standard car horn.

I actually have an AirZound! I initially got it to help with unleashed dogs that would chase me on the bike path that I commute on, but I have found it useful for cars as well. I don't know that it would be useful in the OP's situation, though. The AirZound is good for a driver that doesn't see you, but it's less than useless for a driver that does see you but chooses to be a jerk anyway. Honking back doesn't generally make jerks behave any better.

johnny847

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Re: Please help with my commute -- crazy drivers
« Reply #36 on: October 23, 2014, 05:26:18 PM »
Another thing that may help is a bike horn http://www.amazon.com/Delta-Airzound-Bike-Horn-colors/dp/B000ACAMJC. I haven't tried it personally but will be getting one soon.

What's nice about this bike horn is that it requires no batteries. Instead, it is attached to (in a closed loop system) a compressed air canister, which you can pump with your standard bike pump (I believe the tip is schrader). It is rated to about 115 dB, so I'm sure it will be as loud as a standard car horn.

I actually have an AirZound! I initially got it to help with unleashed dogs that would chase me on the bike path that I commute on, but I have found it useful for cars as well. I don't know that it would be useful in the OP's situation, though. The AirZound is good for a driver that doesn't see you, but it's less than useless for a driver that does see you but chooses to be a jerk anyway. Honking back doesn't generally make jerks behave any better.

It could ward off overly aggressive drivers that continuously harass the OP, but yea it doesn't add too much for the OP's situation.
It still seems like a nice device though! I should order one soon.

calicuervo

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Re: Please help with my commute -- crazy drivers
« Reply #37 on: October 23, 2014, 05:51:59 PM »
Where in the world do you live?? You have me counting my blessing for the relative ease of my own biking/commuting.

As far as having an easier time of it... I'm not sure. Make yourself Super Visible??? Lights, Reflectors, that sort of thing... Ride off the main streets... Not sure if that can even help.. seems to me like you're in an area very inexperienced with bikes+cars mingling in traffic.

Cheers

~Cuervo