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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 06-03-19, 10:26 AM
  #1  
darktardis
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Hey yall, I was wandering what if anything that you carry on you while commuting. In case of bad drivers who try to run you off the road or just being plain jerks.
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Old 06-03-19, 10:30 AM
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My ninja training and skills.
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Old 06-03-19, 10:41 AM
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There isn't much you can do to actively stop somebody in a car who comes up from behind and is intentionally trying to run you off the road. Even if you were packing a gun for self defense, good luck getting it out in time for the aggressive driver to recognize it and change his mind about running you down.
I ride with a camera both front and rear. It may not stop an aggressive driver from doing something, but at least in the end I have evidence to take to the police, or worst case scenario, evidence my wife can use to sue the driver for everything he is worth after I've been run down.
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Old 06-03-19, 10:42 AM
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rear view mirror, and active avoidance.
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Old 06-03-19, 12:13 PM
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Having exclusively ridden a motorcycle for commuting for several years, and now a bicycle, many of the necessary skills transfer, but mostly 1). Being alert at all times to what is happening around you and 2). Developing an ability to predict what a driver is about to do. Obviously, these do not "protect" you if someone is intent upon running you off the road, but you may find yourself in fewer of those situations by practicing them.
One of the things that bothers me most about drivers, riders, etc... is many think that once they have their license or can balance on two wheels, they no longer have anything to learn about their chosen form of conveyance. I endeavor to be a life-long learner, always attempting to improve my skills both behind the wheel and on the bike, (motorized or not), with the idea of staying out of those situations and placing my own safety squarely on my own shoulders.
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Old 06-03-19, 01:28 PM
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As has been said: Ninja skillz, motorcycle endorsement, cameras, situational awareness, experience, the power of prediction, etc...

My own personal addition: I find good brakes, really strong legs when the need arises, smart decision making & fast accurate risk assessment/avoidance, the willingness to change your mind if the planned action would be unsafe due to the unexpected. (The right-hook that just became an unexpected right turn is a collision avoided, for example.)

Clear signaling & obscene strobe lights in the day time that command drivers attention are all assets you should carry with you.

Geographic knowledge of how/where to ride for the least car conflicting route.

Smart habits like staying out of door zones, being where drivers will be looking, not being where they are not.

Anticipating the actions of others is 90% of driving. It works for cycling too.

Often, the best decision is to avoid conflict altogether. Usually there is a lesser used street a block or 2 parallel to the major arterial. Use that instead, where it makes sense for your route.

Sorry, I know the answer everyone wants is usually some variation of bear spray, Glock, or giant window smashing hammer/springloaded nailset, but none of that is really practical. More often than not, car drivers will be indifferent to your existence & fight you with their car if provoked...ask me how I know. It's just not worth it.
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Old 06-03-19, 01:50 PM
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Thanks, these are all really good, I have changed most of my route to avoid riding on major road ways, but the final leg is through the middle of town and people round here usually only worry about themselves when it comes to driving.
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Old 06-03-19, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by oldgeezerjeff View Post
One of the things that bothers me most about drivers, riders, etc... is many think that once they have their license or can balance on two wheels, they no longer have anything to learn about their chosen form of conveyance. I endeavor to be a life-long learner, always attempting to improve my skills both behind the wheel and on the bike, (motorized or not), with the idea of staying out of those situations and placing my own safety squarely on my own shoulders.
I completely agree and I applaud your attitude. If only everyone else thought the same way...
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Old 06-03-19, 02:08 PM
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Well, if the final leg is "through the middle of town," Just own it if you have to.

To me: "Middle of town" suggests a couple of blocks in the innercity downtown core. City cars don't actually go that fast in dense urban environments. In my experience in Honolulu & Seattle keeping up on your bike isn't the hazardous problem you would think it would be so long as you can avoid being perceived as an impediment. Getting good at 20-25 (or more) mph sprints & being mounted & already moving across the intersection by the time the driver behind you gets rolling helps mitigate any animosity an irritated driver may accrue.

In summary, be a car & do your best to:
A) appear to making an effort, and B) appear competent.

If it calms your nerves, remember this: They don't want to hit you either.
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Old 06-03-19, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by base2 View Post
Geographic knowledge of how/where to ride for the least car conflicting route.
This one is key. If you take roughly the same route every day you should know where all the places to escape are where a car can't follow you.

I don't fear someone getting out of their car and coming at me. At least the odds are even, 1 human against 1 human, not 1 human against a car. I can't overpower a guy intent on hitting me with his car. The car is faster than I am and I can't punch a car back. My only escape is being able to get the bike to a place where the car can't follow me.

For example there is one spot on my route that runs parallel to the back of a parking lot. (meaning the road I'm on doesn't access the lot, you'd have to go around the block and approach the lot from the other side) But the divider is a bunch of big rocks, not a fence. A car can't go between the, but a bike fits through easily. So if someone was about to run me over on that road intentionally or otherwise, I can easily cut into that parking lot. If the car tries to follow me it's going to smash into a 2 ton boulder buried in the ground that isn't going to budge.

I know every inch of my normal route and where any such escape options are. You should also know which sections of your route do not have any escape options. And most importantly you should know spots that look like an escape route that will lead you to a dead end where you are trapped so you can avoid those.

If you ride a road next to a sidewalk that has driveways you can easily jump off the road onto the sidewalk using a driveway. (Or if you know how to hop a curb, but I never could get that right). A car could follow you up a driveway and turn onto the sidewalk to follow you but they probably won't.

It doesn't even have to be paved. If there are trees along the side of your route and you need to get away from a car, dart between the trees. You don't have to go deep into the forest, just get behind 1 good size tree.

Again, if the driver gets out of the car to continue pursuing you, you now choose between a 1 on 1 fight which is a big improvement over being run down by a car or you can ride you bike to a better escape route in the time it'll take the guy to get back into his car and start pursuing you again. And honestly...at that point they probably won't.
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Old 06-03-19, 03:55 PM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by darktardis View Post
people round here usually only worry about themselves when it comes to driving.
What, they should worry about you too? But your o.p. said you were concerned about bad drivers that try to run you off the road and/or act like jerks. You don't have to carry anything except common sense and patience to deal with drivers that only look out for themselves. That shouldn't endanger you, and if it does, but does not actually harm you, any reprisal on your part will be seen as an illegal escalation. IMO anyone concerned enough to be even thinking that they want to 'carry something' to deal with drivers should simply become a driver themselves, cycling in traffic is just not something that will work for them in the long term. It's human nature, if you carry something, sooner or later the occasion will arise when you (feel you) have to use it. That may not go the way you expect.
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Old 06-03-19, 04:14 PM
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You have to treat 'em like they're blind, stupid, and not paying attention; i.e. keep your head up and on a swivel, paying attention to your surroundings, and be prepared to dodge idiots. Have a mirror, and basically what everyone else has said.

Also, never, never, ever get between a vehicle and a turn, or a bus and a curb. Check around; I'll bet there's a bike association of some sort in your area that offers bike handling skills classes. Like oldgeezerjeff said, keep learning.
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Old 06-03-19, 05:22 PM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by Skipjacks View Post
This one is key. If you take roughly the same route every day you should know where all the places to escape are where a car can't follow you.

I don't fear someone getting out of their car and coming at me. At least the odds are even, 1 human against 1 human, not 1 human against a car. I can't overpower a guy intent on hitting me with his car. The car is faster than I am and I can't punch a car back. My only escape is being able to get the bike to a place where the car can't follow me.

For example there is one spot on my route that runs parallel to the back of a parking lot. (meaning the road I'm on doesn't access the lot, you'd have to go around the block and approach the lot from the other side) But the divider is a bunch of big rocks, not a fence. A car can't go between the, but a bike fits through easily. So if someone was about to run me over on that road intentionally or otherwise, I can easily cut into that parking lot. If the car tries to follow me it's going to smash into a 2 ton boulder buried in the ground that isn't going to budge.

I know every inch of my normal route and where any such escape options are. You should also know which sections of your route do not have any escape options. And most importantly you should know spots that look like an escape route that will lead you to a dead end where you are trapped so you can avoid those.

If you ride a road next to a sidewalk that has driveways you can easily jump off the road onto the sidewalk using a driveway. (Or if you know how to hop a curb, but I never could get that right). A car could follow you up a driveway and turn onto the sidewalk to follow you but they probably won't.

It doesn't even have to be paved. If there are trees along the side of your route and you need to get away from a car, dart between the trees. You don't have to go deep into the forest, just get behind 1 good size tree.

Again, if the driver gets out of the car to continue pursuing you, you now choose between a 1 on 1 fight which is a big improvement over being run down by a car or you can ride you bike to a better escape route in the time it'll take the guy to get back into his car and start pursuing you again. And honestly...at that point they probably won't.
Do car drivers hate you enough that you have had to take evasive action from cars chasing you into parking lots and such? It just seems that you've put a lot of thought in to this.
I've thought about places to bail when a driver comes up from behind and is not paying attention, but I've never even considered somebody intent on chasing me down even after I turn down some side road or in to a parking lot.
I've thought about drivers getting out at the stop light and trying to fight me in the street, but even that I'm sure I could just ride away faster than they could run after me. Or worst case I could pick up my bike and beat the hell out of them with it.
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Old 06-03-19, 05:36 PM
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Keep on top of maintenance so your bike doesn't let you down if you panic and flee https://www.bikeforums.net/advocacy-...-yourself.html
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Old 06-03-19, 06:27 PM
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I bought some elbow pads
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Old 06-03-19, 08:36 PM
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I'm terrified of a driver that might run me over, whether it be from hate of cyclist or negligence, the results are the same. I have wet dreams over a driver that would chase me to a dead end and then get out of their vehicle.
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Old 06-03-19, 09:06 PM
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A cell phone, equipped with a memo app and the police non-emergency number.

If it's just a jerk, I take note of the vehicle and license plate number in case I encounter them again. If it's someone engaging in intentionally dangerous actions (which are almost always illegal actions as well), I take down the license plate and report it to the police.

Otherwise, a mirror and an escape route.
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Old 06-03-19, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by downwinded View Post
I have wet dreams over a driver that would chase me to a dead end and then get out of their vehicle.
Definitely TMI.
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Old 06-03-19, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
I bought some elbow pads
You too? Is it a full moon or something?
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Old 06-03-19, 11:00 PM
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There are things that I probably can't predict or avoid, such as a driver suddenly swerving into me. One thing I've learned: If a driver is trying to harass me, yell, etc., my preferred tactic is just move over, gradually slow down, and let them pass. Very few drivers have the patience to drive as slow as I can ride, especially if traffic starts backing up behind them. And if I'm going to get knocked over, I'd rather be moving slowly when it happens.
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Old 06-04-19, 06:58 AM
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Originally Posted by RoadKill View Post
Do car drivers hate you enough that you have had to take evasive action from cars chasing you into parking lots and such? It just seems that you've put a lot of thought in to this.
I've thought about places to bail when a driver comes up from behind and is not paying attention, but I've never even considered somebody intent on chasing me down even after I turn down some side road or in to a parking lot.
I've thought about drivers getting out at the stop light and trying to fight me in the street, but even that I'm sure I could just ride away faster than they could run after me. Or worst case I could pick up my bike and beat the hell out of them with it.
It's not just drivers who want to hurt you. It's also drivers who are paying more attention to their phone than to the road you have to watch out for.

You should always know where you can bail out and be completely protected from the car.

It's better to know where that bail out option is in advance than to try and find out in a half second as a car is veering across the center into your lane.

This is just how my mind works. Where is a defensive position? I look for it everywhere I go. On a bike, in a car, walking, going into a restaurant. I see where escape routes are. I see where defensive positions are. I see where threats could come from and which direction I should be most alert towards. Marine Corps...years of urban warfare training. It was drilled into my head. I can't turn it off.
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Old 06-04-19, 09:28 AM
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If I was a new cyclist or someone considering cycling for the first time, I think I'd turn-tail & run after reading this thread. Sheesh!

I don't know what kind of war zones of hostility ya'll ride in, but Seattle has the some of the worst traffic in the world & I can count the number of angry driver conflicts on 1 hand over the last 4 or 5 years or so.

Really, urban cycling is safe. It's the country farm roads and "anti-city-boy on our turf" animosity among the farm truck crowd that actually gives me pause for actual intent to harm.

For the most part, drivers just do dumb things & are in too much of a hurry for situational awareness to fully inform their decisions.

Op: I'm sorry this thread has turned into the insecurity danger-fest it has. Just ride smart & competent with attention commanding lights...That's all you need to bring with you.

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Old 06-04-19, 10:47 AM
  #23  
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There's really not much you can do to protect yourself if someone wants to harass your from the driver's seat. Awhile back a guy in a truck took the time to change course and come back to yell at me. I was carrying a gun that day but it was (luckily) not a situation that warranted use of a firearm. I just said "Sorry" and he sped off after venting.
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Old 06-04-19, 10:52 AM
  #24  
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I live out in the country, and the one town I ride through is on a busy road where the average person goes about 5 over while texting on their phones. the road is lined with curbs so for the most part the only bailing would likely end with me crashing. I'm not looking to fight or anything, but if need be I would at least smack their car just to get their attention. I do ride with a camera so if anything does happen, its recorded.
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Old 06-04-19, 11:00 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by base2 View Post
If I was a new cyclist or someone considering cycling for the first time, I think I'd turn-tail & run after reading this thread. Sheesh!

I don't know what kind of war zones of hostility ya'll ride in, but Seattle has the some of the worst traffic in the world & I can count the number of angry driver conflicts on 1 hand over the last 4 or 5 years or so.

Really, urban cycling is safe. It's the country farm roads and "anti-city-boy on our turf" animosity among the farm truck crowd that actually gives me pause for actual intent to harm.

For the most part, drivers just do dumb things & are in too much of a hurry for situational awareness to fully inform their decisions.

Op: I'm sorry this thread has turned into the insecurity danger-fest it has. Just ride smart & competent with attention commanding lights...That's all you need to bring with you.
Well that isn't universal

Around me riding in the city is basically a suicide mission

Out in the surrounding countryside it's much more common and safe

It makes a BIG difference is cycling is popular in the area. Here it's not. So in the city it's not something drivers are looking out for. Out on the country roads with wide open views you see cyclists from a distance and people drive accordingly.
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