Saturday, October 07, 2006

Rage in a cage

So, today 3 of us were riding back into town on West VanDorn - one in front a ways and two of us close to the white line - after a rather arduous bout with the wind and all the sudden a black SUV roars by. As it passes, the blondish white 50+ year old driver and what looked to be his wife screamed out the windows, "Single file you [deleted to keep this safe for work]. Single file!" The SUV then swerved around us, jerking to the right and then again to the left to pass our friend. Five minutes later a loud speaker was heard, "Single file. Thank you." That was a police officer making use of his loudspeaker.

What was funny is that in 10 minutes, only those two vehicles had come by and there was plenty of room for passing. Moreover, we were hugging the right side of the road. Are people really in such hurry on Saturday afternoon? Would it have been so difficult to lightly tap the horn to let us know they were approaching? Is sharing the road such a foreign idea??? I hope never see hate like that in anyone's face again.


Jill said...

You just gave me a great idea. Maybe one of these days I'll go out for a ride carrying a loudspeaker. Then, for every hateful comment, I can loudspeak back, "Same to you, bub."

3p0 said...

riding in traffic has recently been on my mind,

our good buddy carp has a buddy who just got hit up north, just riding along. and wack.

broke his femur, broke his tib and fib in two and three places.

almost had to amputate the boys leg.

just riding alog

a cycling hero, big johney the creator of the drunk cyclist websight, also just got dusted, he's in way big hurt.

any more.
I tend to keep both wheels on the ground, and I seem to like that sidewalk that cars don't drive on as much.

sure i'm entiltled to the road,

but 7 months in a wheel chair doesn't sound good, especial after 2 months off the bike with my latest endevor.

I'm all for sharing the road,

but I do like the sidewalk a lot more nowadays....

gravy said...

Woo! Go Huskers! Farms & tractors rule! Bicycles and healthy choices are for commies! Woo! Go BIg Red!

sda said...

actually, you should look it up. i think every car is supposed to tap their horn when passing a cyclist. seriously, i think it's in the ne. state statutes.

some people are just angry. did the huskers lose this weekend or something?

gravy said...

BTW- R in a C, J Geils Band ref?

Anonymous said...

I stay off the road as much as possible. I was bumped by a car on a crosswalk where I had the walk light.
The drivers just turn right on red without looking who is on their right while they look to the left to see if it is clear for them.

The hit knocked the bag off my bike but I was ok and the driver was very apologetic.

I stay on bike paths or the sidewalk. It does not matter what the law says the drivers have the advantage in their cars.

Do you want to be "Dead right"


sydney_b said...

I hold the position that in most cases (not all) the sidewalk is MUCH more dangerous than the road, especially to cyclists traveling at higher speeds. Folks turning into and coming out of driveways, strip malls, etc. are looking for vehicles on the road, not on the sidewalk.

Because pedestrians usually travel as less than 5mph, they have plenty of time to stop and be seen. Moreover, if a driver does check the sidewalk, he is looking for a pedestrian, not a bicycle.

Consequently, since I usually travel over 15mph, I will stick to the road and risk being dead-right on the road, as opposed to dead-wrong on the sidewalk. (The law puts bikes on the road.)


mM said...

Maybe you should slow down.

sydney_b said...

Surely you jest.

dale said...

Choosing between the street and the shoulder/sidewalk depends on how busy the street is and how fast I can ride compared to traffic.

I rode down 144th nine miles to Hwy 370 on the road before riding the shoulder. Only had one pickup truck pass close to me. Everyone else gave me space. Now this was 05:00 Sunday morning on my way to Platte.

On the way back, my legs were toast, traffic was heavy; I rode the trail, shoulder or sidewalk.

We may have a legal right to the road but I ride as the weaker entity and treat vehicles as the master of the road. I don't want to impede traffic and piss drivers off, so I pick my route carefully or ride offroad.

Sidewalks are more difficult because of all the directions to check at each intersection, often requiring me to slow down. But, I'm in control of my safety. I'm not relying on the driver to see and miss me like I do on the road.

cominatcha said...

Die for your rights. My grandfather was exiled and died fighting Franco. He fought for what he believed in. Millions of others have also. People flee their country's, Iraq, because they won't fight for their rights. A few must die for the rights of others. Always has been always will be. You think this might be a little extreme in this case. Thank me later when I'm dead. All I want you to say is " he fought for what he thought was right". Maybe they'll put sidewalks out Van Dorn, ect. Maybe they will take away your right to ride a bike. Maybe they'll take away your right to carry a gun. Maybe we wont have any rights or dignities left.

Carl Brown said...

Couple of thoughts on biking the highways: 1) What exactly is the law? And why not start a civilian education campaign via all channels of communiation - government and self-energized - to put biking ideas forward to the general public? 2) Recognize that there are numbers of motorists who consider their right-of-passage (a driver's license and wheels)an entitlement to commadeer the highway regardless if you're a biker or semi. Can they ever be touched by rhetoric or advice? Seldom, until tragedy strikes right at home and they suffer the full experience of ignorance on their part.

SO, if it is your right, is it worth being DEAD right?

sydney_b said...

I think it's worth the risk. Doesn't mean I'm going to ride my bike down the middle of the road in the dark during rush hour, but I am going to use the roads. I will avoid O st, Cornhusker, and the like b/c there are other more pleasant options. However, that's not the case with the shoulder-free county roads outside of town.

Interestingly, the state-maintained hiways are being redone and will all include shoulders. There is even a guy whose job includes cultivating and monitoring bicyle traffic on state hiways. I talked to him and he sent me a map which rate the highways in terms of bicycle-friendliness. Very nice guy, very enthusiastic about getting more bike touring going in Nebraska.

The pamphlet includes the laws governing cyclists and vehicles as well.

By law, cyclists should ride single-file as far right as is practical. By law, bicycles are vehicles and subject to all vehicle laws. But, we also have a right to the roads and I will continue to exercise my rights - despite being smaller and less protected.

Moreover, the more cyclists take to the roads the more the need for mutual education and awareness and the more likely we will learn to share the road in a civilized fashion.

That being said, if you feel safer on sidewalk, ride there. Feel safer on the road, ride there. Just ride your bike more.

Carl Brown said...

Riding a bike, is like riding a motorcycle in respect to your personal safety. If you want any personal safety, the burden's on you.

And like I said numerous folks have no respect for anything or anyone on the highway except themselves...and I've given way to such with my car, my motorcycle, myself while jogging in the old days, when driving a Semi in college, and hundreds of times pulling horses to rodeos and various contests, of which you've shared some of those experiences. They're just plain sorry, rude folks once they get behind the wheel of their entitlement. Consider how many times we've experienced drivers who break their ass and endanger us, oncoming traffic and themselves to pass our truck and trailer too simply get in front and then slow down so that they're in our way. Sadly no amount of education will move them to correct themselves except a tragedy to a friend, family member or themselves.

Steve C said...

All - Nebraska is a very bike-friendly state. Very bike-friendly. Most farmers are very bike-friendly. Most folks, young and old, are quite generous giving us room on the roads and will wait to pass without incident.

I have noticed that my incidents over the past couple of years generally are with the following:

1) Teenager who almost hits me because she/he is not paying attention
2) Guy in pickup (likely NOT a farmer/rancher) heading to/from the bars late in the afternoon
3) Elderly folks who don't give you enough room.
4) People in high end cars (often drinking lattes and on their cell phone at the same time) who can't fathom the fact that they might have to wait 10 seconds to pass me.

Provided they don't hit me I can excuse #3.
#1 is not malicious intent, simply inattentiveness.
#2 and #4 are inexcusable. They often get mouthy.

Take your cell phone. When you get run off the road get the license plate and call the cops. When somebody 'returns' to run you off the road, pull out your phone, the driver will scatter like cockroaches in the light.....

Steve C said...

The sidewalk/bike paths are more dangerous in the respect that a crash is more likely, yet the crash is not likely to be 'serious'.

The road is more dangerous in the respect that you are much more likely to die.

The above said, I ride the roads.

dale said...

As someone wrote long ago, there's a time to live and a time to die. Many things are worth living for, fewer are worth dieing for.

Die riding my bike on the road to make a point about my right to be there? Not a wise use of my life, in my opinion.

Though I would die to protect my wife and kids from harm, that is defeatist thinking. Take out the b*st*rds who are trying to harm my family. I'm surprised by the rage raising in me when I get buzzed by a vehicle. The anger is a downer for my ride.

I ride roads solo, but I prefer to ride in numbers. No matter what vehicle one drives on the road, one is responsible for their own safety.

cominatcha said...

Die for a good cause even if it's not your fault. At least I would be within my rights. I'm not suiciDale but if it happens it happens and I would be within my rights to be there on the road. I would never succumb to the sidewalk just because of idiots. I don't ride as far right as safety would deem. I take up a 3rd of the road to make cars pass me. I've also got a good sense, from 23 yrs on the road, of car proximities. It's about skill and confidence when in traffic. These yahoo's know that they can't push me up onto the sidewalk. I'll earn their respect. Most are just trying to scare you.

Steve C said...

I will definitely agree with Mark that it makes sense NOT to ride all the way at the right side of the road in many cases. When cars are coming the other way I purposely ride nearer the middle of my lane (not in the middle of the road mind you but in the middle of my lane), unless I am just over the crest of a hill and a car from behind might not see me. This forces the car behind me to wait and keeps them from forcing me off the side of the road/hitting me. I especially do this when the road clearly is not wide enough for two cars AND a cyclist.
To me this is safer than having them try and pass with a car coming the other way.

The funny thing is, when I do this I rarely experience 'driver rage'. Driver rage seems more evident on group rides and/or rides with two or more cyclists. This may be because we get stupid, riding three or more across, etc. and violating the 'rules of the road'.