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Subject: Re: On the road
Newsgroups: rec.bicycles.misc
Message-ID: <Xs05d.15051$>
Date: Fri, 24 Sep 2004 21:37:59 GMT

Tom Keats writes:

>> While that sounds good, I actually hate it when cars stay well back
>> and refuse to pass.  I can never tell what they're thinking, and at
>> every cross-street, I keep thinking, 'that guy is gonna speed up
>> and right-hook me', and stuff.  This is on low traffic roads where
>> there's plenty of room to pass, although there are cars parked
>> along the side.  So I keep having to check my mirror and keep
>> pulling over so they'll pass, and they never do.

> Try shoulder-checking and looking right at them.  I find they often
> just want reassurance that I know they're there, and then they make
> their move.

That won't help with the best alarmists, drivers who don't pass
because they believe bicyclists are completely unpredictable.  When I
encounter such folks, I stop and force them to go by, at which they
often floor the engine and swerve to the far side of the road, beyond
the double center strip, to make apparent what a hazard they are
skirting.  Meanwhile the cars behind them have no problem driving by,
even though I continued riding as soon as the alarmist floored his

Making such drivers pass is important, because drivers of following
cars hold the bicyclist responsible for the hold up, not the alarmist
who is "only trying to be safe".

I find odd that bicyclists are not immune to this disease, having
ridden with some of the afflicted.  When driving, they have no empathy
for bicyclists and when bicycling have none for drivers.  This is
apparent from the comments they offer and from incessant car-up,
car-back calls, often from the other end of a column of bicyclists.
There isn't much you can say as they persist in their elitist act in
which others are not as perceptive as they, regardless whether behind
the wheel or the handlebar.

Jobst Brandt

Subject: Re: Why American don't  ride bike?
Message-ID: <7uZhc.7674$>
Date: Fri, 23 Apr 2004 00:32:03 GMT

Benjamin Lewis <> writes:

>> I'd ride more if the roads were safer.

> Then they are likely much, much safer than you think they are.

Oh shit!  All the old excuses.  The real reason is the same as the
ones for my use of my car.  Attending dinner at someone's house not
even near my neighborhood, shopping for groceries at a market two
miles from my house where I buy 20 lbs or more of somewhat fragile
groceries including ice cream, going to a meeting of an organization
in SF about 33 miles from my house, taking a 100 mile bicycle ride
over Mt. Hamilton from Milpitas CA that is reached from Palo Alto by
freeways, etc.

Those are some of the excuses for someone who rides at least 200 miles
per week.  There are even better excuses for people who don't have my
aerobic capacity and physical fitness that seems to amaze even
bicyclists when they consider by age.  I've been doing this for the
last 50 years.

Don't be so self righteous about bicycle riding.  I'll bet when you
are a bit older and wiser, you won't be raising a family using only a
bicycle, although there may be people who do so.  The neighborhood
store for most of our needs vanished with the automobile.  That's one
of the expenses of affluent life.  It's the same in Europe and Asia.

Be realistic and face up to the facts.  I live in California where
much of this is far easier than in areas with variable weather (rain,
sleet, hail, snow, strong winds, etc) and I use my car often.  To make
up for that, I ride to work daily taking a detour that makes the
distance 20 miles instead of +-5miles.  When it's shitty weather, I
drive.  Bicycling is not my religion and I don't believe in imposing
it on others.

Jobst Brandt

From: (Jobst Brandt)
Newsgroups: rec.bicycles.misc
Subject: Re: Bicycle choice is mre hype
Date: 30 Jun 2001 20:39:29 GMT

Barry Davidson writes:

>>>>> Always ride as far to the right as you possibly can.  If there
>>>>> isn't room for both you and a car, concede the roadway.

>> How about just the road.  Otherwise it should be roadway set.

>>>> Very bad advice.

>>> Yes I entirely agree that is terrible advice.  It is much better I
>>> think to ride well away from the curb for a great many reasons.  For
>>> one thing you are far more visible, especially when approaching a
>>> side road for example, cars are much more likely to see you.

>> Without qualification, this sounds typically like the bicyclists that
>> cause much ill will between motorists and bicyclists.  Believing one
>> is invisible is a misunderstanding of the fact.  Bicyclists are seen
>> but they are not important to many drivers and are thereby mentally
>> erased from the scene in right-of-way incidents, like left or right
>> turns.  Such drivers are not helped by riding farther out on the road
>> than necessary.

> "Cyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles."
> [John Forester]

It's this concept that screws up traffic, because people who do not
naturally come upon the basis for this statement also misconstrue it
as they rigorously execute it.  All driving is a human interaction
that must be modified with compromise according to the situation.  Of
course those who do this are also smart enough not to have to read
"Defective Cycling" to learn what they should have noticed from early
youth sitting next to a parent driving a car.

> The bicycle is a considered a vehicle under the Ontario Highway
> Traffic Act (HTA) and has the same rights and responsibilties as any
> other user of the road.  According to section 147 of the HTA, any
> vehicle moving slower than the normal traffic speed shall drive in
> the right-hand lane, or "as close as [practical] to the right" edge
> of the road, except when preparing to turn left or when passing
> another vehicle.  Most jurisdictions have similar laws.

All this falls apart when you dismount, pick up the bicycle and set it
down in a doorway, or for that matter ride it up the sidewalk to your
house.  It also fails when a car overtakes you in a no passing zone or
even worse, when you pass a car on a road with no shoulder and do so
to its left.  No policeman in my area would cite you for making a
U-turn in the middle of a block in a residential area where he would
cite a car doing so.

This whole idea that a bicycle is a car with respect to the law is
conceived by motorists who don't want the bicyclists to have any
advantages.  Meanwhile, some bicyclists feel honored by this slight.
Bicycle are not motor vehicles and in that way are drastically
different form them.

> What is practical?  Only the cyclist can make this decision for
> their own safety based on road and traffic conditions.  Reasons why
> I leave at least 3' between my front wheel and the curb: (1) to be
> visible as traffic to motorists (2) to avoid debris swept onto the
> side by traffic such as; glass, nails, bolts, bottles,cans etc. (3)
> to avoid dangerous irregularities such as sewer grates and uneven or
> cracked pavement. (4) to give me a safety zone in case I need to
> take evasive action because of cars overtaking too close or
> pedestrians suddenly entering the roadway without looking.

Your rigorosity reveals a lack of adaptability to the situation at
hand.  No such rigid rules can have general usefulness, especially
ones based on as vague concepts as road debris (which may not be
present), evasive space (which could mean a lot to an SUV driver),
sewer grates (few of which ever pose a threat), and least important,

It is exactly this perception of bicycling that is insulting to other
road users, regardless of their attitude toward bicyclists.  This
subject needs to be turned around into how can we coexist on the road
without unnecessarily infringing on the others progress, such as
pulling off and stopping if cars following up a hill cannot safely get

Jobst Brandt    <>

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