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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
im sick and tired of *******s trying to scare me by hugging the white line on the road, how much further can we roadies go before flying off the road, and the bad part is there will be no oncoming traffic coming at us and they still insist on trying to run me off the road, any suggestions?
 

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Most of them are doing it out of ignorance, not malice. Since thy don't ride, they just don't know how dangerous it is.
The ones who are doing it on purpose "win" when they get you angry or scared. So try not to get upset over it. At least in my experience, you're unlikely to actually get hit. Most car-bike accidents happen in intersections where cars make right or left turns in front of cyclists.

I sometimes ride farther out in the road to make them go around me. That works on the ignorant ones. Because they have to change their path and cross the centerline rather than just driving by, they usually leave more room. But it also makes the ones who are trying to leave more room have to drive further over the centerline, so I don't do it all the time.

You can also try pantomiming a safe clearance distance. That sometimes works.
 

· Hucken The Fard Up !
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move out of America

The funny thing is that in America you have those super wide roads compared to the narrow ones we have in Europe, but the drivers here manage to be careful with the cyclists very well.
 

· Banned forever.....or not
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Why don't you ignore them and let them hit you. I bet they'll be sorry about that big dent in their car.


For people who live in fear, while cycling.............Take up bowling.
 

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yank my crank said:
im sick and tired of *******s trying to scare me by hugging the white line on the road, how much further can we roadies go before flying off the road, and the bad part is there will be no oncoming traffic coming at us and they still insist on trying to run me off the road, any suggestions?
Not sure where you live but, in our area of the NW I find that, with the growth of road cycling, drivers are becoming much more courteous. Also, riding on narrow roads without shoulders actually causes them to both slow down and to be more considerate.
 

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Here are a few techniques that I use, in various circumstances. To do all these things, I rely heavily on using a mirror, in which I am a firm believer.

The basic principals are first that you don't want to tempt a driver to make that too-close pass (whether out of ignorance or intent), and second, that the only way you can influence a driver's behavior is to communicate somehow..

Situation 1: enough shoulder for plenty of safe clearance if the car stays in the center of the lane. Technique: ride just far enough to the right so there will be safe clearance. I'm watching (glancing) in the mirror, and if a car seems to be cutting it too close, I communicate, either by hand gesture (push left hand out as if pushing the car away) or by "wobbling" to the left a little, so the driver thinks I might move over unexpectedly. If either of those moves gets the desired response (they usually do), I hold my line. If the driver still stays too far right, my position gives me some slack, and I move to the right just before they overtake.

Situation 2. Inadequate shoulder, so that there's not enough room for a safe pass unless the driver moves at least partly into the other lane. Safe pass distance IMO pretty well matches state law here (Ct) which mandates 3 feet clearance. In that situation, I take the center of the lane, forcing a car to move over if they want to pass. I'm watching, so if some totally oblivious bozo were about to hit me, I should have room to bail out to the right (and I try always to be aware of the conditions on the right). Sometimes I get the angry honk. If the left lane is clear, so they could pass safely by moving over, I wave them around. If the other lane has traffic, or it's a blind curve or hill, I put out the "don't pass" signal (left arm out with hand facing back). As soon as there's a good spot for passing, I try to wave them around.

If a driver in this second situation moves over but still tries to pass too close (some roar by a foot away to show their displeasure at my usurpation of their road), my position in the center of the lane gives me the ability to create clearance, by moving right just before they overtake. Again, the mirror is very helpful so I know exactly how close they are.

Sometimes the driver I force to move over will yell at me about riding to the right. I try (not always successfully) not to lose my cool, and to explain as calmly as possible that the lane was too narrow for a safe or legal pass without moving over, and that I wasn't trying to hold them up, but to ride safely for everyone.

I try to be reasonable and allow drivers to pass whenever it's safe. That includes not only the wave-arounds mentioned above, but pulling over at stop signs to let cars go by (sometimes a string of them).

The toughest situations are narrow country roads with inadequate shoulder, but speeds high enough to make taking the lane unreasonable. I try to pick routes that minimize time on such roads, but when I have to, it takes extra vigilance. I generally ride a little further left than I could (which may mean on or even a little to the left of the white line), with the mirror allowing me to take advantage of the bit of extra room on the right to create clearance when somebody looks like they're going to cut it close.

Like you, I hate having them buzz by a foot from my elbow.

Hope this is helpful.
 

· Le Misérable
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Salsa_Lover said:
move out of America

The funny thing is that in America you have those super wide roads compared to the narrow ones we have in Europe, but the drivers here manage to be careful with the cyclists very well.
srsly...while this is probably not an option for the OP, it's worth noting that this is largely an American problem (I've got a fair amount of miles on both sides of the Atlantic). Why is that? Why is such a high percentage of American drivers so damn hostile towards bicyclists? With all those giant roads and beautiful land and mountains and valleys it should be a freakin' roadie paradise.
 

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Differing opinion

Ibashii said:
srsly...while this is probably not an option for the OP, it's worth noting that this is largely an American problem (I've got a fair amount of miles on both sides of the Atlantic). Why is that? Why is such a high percentage of American drivers so damn hostile towards bicyclists? With all those giant roads and beautiful land and mountains and valleys it should be a freakin' roadie paradise.

I have to render a differing opinion. Having cycled on both sides of the Atlantic (
United Kingdom, Italy and Spain), I have noticed the drivers doing the same thing there as they are in the U.S. Not much courtesy, they do use the horn more in Italy and will buzz you if they feel the need to. I really believe the closeness in passing (from car to bike) is just due to plain ignorance. The average driver has never had a 2 or 3 ton vehicle pass them at 60 or so mph, had to deal with the fright and then the air flow coming from the passing vehicle. I believe if you have a vehicle pass them at distances less than 12 inches while standing at the side of the road, the experience will make the average driver perhaps give more room.:thumbsup:
 

· I ride in circles..
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When I didn't live close to where I work I would get pissed and flash the middle finger for all to see.. Now that I live in the town my school district is in I hold that back... Last thing I want to do is flip off a student and have it get back to school... Out of all those birds I flipped not one of them helped any. Now when I get buzzed I just ignore it like it didn't even happen.

As for what can you do? Wear bright colors and hold a steady line in the middle of the shoulder so you have room to maneuver. Pretty much all you can do.
 

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Ibashii said:
Why is such a high percentage of American drivers so damn hostile towards bicyclists? With all those giant roads and beautiful land and mountains and valleys it should be a freakin' roadie paradise.
Because America is, for the most part, a status based society. We gotta have our massive SUV's that are overly expensive to buy and fuel up. Seeing someone on a bicycle says "I'm a poor undeserving person" and we try to run them off the road.
What's funny about all of this is that people don't know how much cyclists spend on their lifestyle. $7000 bikes, thousands in foods, upgrades, clothing, tires & tubes, charity ride donations, etc.
For the OP, get an imprint of a gun sticking out of your pocket, people will think twice about buzzing you :p
 

· turtle killer.
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Peanya said:
Because America is, for the most part, a status based society. We gotta have our massive SUV's that are overly expensive to buy and fuel up. Seeing someone on a bicycle says "I'm a poor undeserving person" and we try to run them off the road.
What's funny about all of this is that people don't know how much cyclists spend on their lifestyle. $7000 bikes, thousands in foods, upgrades, clothing, tires & tubes, charity ride donations, etc.
For the OP, get an imprint of a gun sticking out of your pocket, people will think twice about buzzing you :p
I do have to admit, I rarely get buzzed by anything under a ton in weight.. 1 ton Dodge diesels, for some reason, are the most common things to crowd me over. I rarely had any issues in Europe, course I left about 15 years ago now.. so perhaps things have simply changed.
 

· Le Misérable
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King Arthur said:
I have to render a differing opinion. Having cycled on both sides of the Atlantic (
United Kingdom, Italy and Spain), I have noticed the drivers doing the same thing there as they are in the U.S. Not much courtesy, they do use the horn more in Italy and will buzz you if they feel the need to. I really believe the closeness in passing (from car to bike) is just due to plain ignorance. The average driver has never had a 2 or 3 ton vehicle pass them at 60 or so mph, had to deal with the fright and then the air flow coming from the passing vehicle. I believe if you have a vehicle pass them at distances less than 12 inches while standing at the side of the road, the experience will make the average driver perhaps give more room.:thumbsup:
I have no experience in the UK and agree that Italian drivers can be pretty awful, no question, and in almost every sense of the word awful...but Spain? That surprises me, as I've had no problems...then again, it's a big country and one person's experience is pretty small, and I've only ridden there a few times.

I've ridden several 10s of thousands of kms in France, though, and have been honked at exactly 3 times (once was blatantly my fault, once iffy, and once the guy was a jerk) and have been put in unnecessarily dangerous situations by drivers maybe a dozen times a year, as opposed to a dozen times a week when I rode less mileage in the US. Besides the annoying habit of crossing the centerline regularly while going up and down mountain roads, I find country drivers here to be consistently courteous and almost never aggressive with cyclists; the city is another story, but the a-holery and indifference there is a general driving habit and not at all directed at cyclists in particular.

The comment you make about ignorance is spot-on, though, and may help explain the difference: the percentage of Frenchmen who have at one point in their life done some road biking is quite high, which means that more drivers DO know what it feels like to have a flying hunk of Death pass a few centimeters from their left elbow.

I stand by my statement, though, that general antipathy for bikes amongst countryfolk is curiously exaggerated in the States.
 

· Just Passing Time
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Spit

If you want more clearance from passing motorists, I've found that spitting to my left just as a car is approaching from behind works very well. Make it look like you didn't even know they were there. For some reason folks don't seem to mind the idea of your guts splattered onto the front of their car, but they are not okay with spit on their car. Of course if you are in heavy traffic, you might dehydrate!

You're right though, people will move left for a constuctionn barrel sitting on the side of the road, but god forbid they move two feet over in their own lane to pass a human being!
 

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Cars are inconsiderate for a myriad of reasons. From entitlement to lack of understanding to simple might is right mentality. Go ask your co-workers why they don't ride a bike to work.

After a few answers it should sink in how far on the fringe you really are.
I've had people take pity on me for commuting a scant 4 miles to work.
I've had people ofter me rides home like I was a helpless leper and my bike a wheelchair for the poor.

In the short age of motor vehicles, driving has become a birthright in the U.S. not a privilege.

Remember: Getting a drivers license is just like having a kid. Anyone can do it. No skills necessary.
 

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JCavilia said:
Here are a few techniques that I use, in various circumstances. To do all these things, I rely heavily on using a mirror, in which I am a firm believer.

The basic principals are first that you don't want to tempt a driver to make that too-close pass (whether out of ignorance or intent), and second, that the only way you can influence a driver's behavior is to communicate somehow..

Situation 1: enough shoulder for plenty of safe clearance if the car stays in the center of the lane. Technique: ride just far enough to the right so there will be safe clearance. I'm watching (glancing) in the mirror, and if a car seems to be cutting it too close, I communicate, either by hand gesture (push left hand out as if pushing the car away) or by "wobbling" to the left a little, so the driver thinks I might move over unexpectedly. If either of those moves gets the desired response (they usually do), I hold my line. If the driver still stays too far right, my position gives me some slack, and I move to the right just before they overtake.

Situation 2. Inadequate shoulder, so that there's not enough room for a safe pass unless the driver moves at least partly into the other lane. Safe pass distance IMO pretty well matches state law here (Ct) which mandates 3 feet clearance. In that situation, I take the center of the lane, forcing a car to move over if they want to pass. I'm watching, so if some totally oblivious bozo were about to hit me, I should have room to bail out to the right (and I try always to be aware of the conditions on the right). Sometimes I get the angry honk. If the left lane is clear, so they could pass safely by moving over, I wave them around. If the other lane has traffic, or it's a blind curve or hill, I put out the "don't pass" signal (left arm out with hand facing back). As soon as there's a good spot for passing, I try to wave them around.

If a driver in this second situation moves over but still tries to pass too close (some roar by a foot away to show their displeasure at my usurpation of their road), my position in the center of the lane gives me the ability to create clearance, by moving right just before they overtake. Again, the mirror is very helpful so I know exactly how close they are.

Sometimes the driver I force to move over will yell at me about riding to the right. I try (not always successfully) not to lose my cool, and to explain as calmly as possible that the lane was too narrow for a safe or legal pass without moving over, and that I wasn't trying to hold them up, but to ride safely for everyone.

I try to be reasonable and allow drivers to pass whenever it's safe. That includes not only the wave-arounds mentioned above, but pulling over at stop signs to let cars go by (sometimes a string of them).

The toughest situations are narrow country roads with inadequate shoulder, but speeds high enough to make taking the lane unreasonable. I try to pick routes that minimize time on such roads, but when I have to, it takes extra vigilance. I generally ride a little further left than I could (which may mean on or even a little to the left of the white line), with the mirror allowing me to take advantage of the bit of extra room on the right to create clearance when somebody looks like they're going to cut it close.

Like you, I hate having them buzz by a foot from my elbow.

Hope this is helpful.
Could not have said it better, I use all of these techniques and they tend to work well..

C
 

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I deliberately choose to ride in areas where there is not a lot of traffic and other cyclists tend to use. People driving on those roads tend to be more watchful and respectful of those of us on our bikes because they are apt to see several cyclists out on the road. I have only been buzzed once in the past year and that was deliberately done by some gang bangers on a joyride. I avoid riding where there's a lot of traffic whenever possible. It's always going to be somewhat dangerous though.
 

· Hucken The Fard Up !
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Things start by the attitude of the law towards cycling or even pedestrians.

I live in Switzerland, and here the pedestrian on a zebra pass has priority, the cars have to stop to let them pass. If they fail to do so they could get hefty fines.

The laws protect and prioritize the weaker user of the road, first pedestrians, then bycicles, then motorcycles, then cars, then trucks.,

We have a full network of cycling paths, bike "highways" and bike specific signalisation everywhere.

The law is very severe with a driver who injures a cyclist or pedestrian due to negligence. The drivers are allways corteous and careful with the cylists, but sure you have to be careful and prevent any problem anyway.

and indeed we have narrow roads here, but most people is on compact cars that leave enough space for a bike to ride safely even if there is not an specific cycling path.
 

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Find roads more conductive to riding on. It is already bad enough to be on heavily traveled streets but when they are narrow, no mater what...encounters with the 4 wheel versions will have a cost factor that is against you.
 
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