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Giving up riding on the road

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Giving up riding on the road

Old 12-27-19, 04:28 PM
  #126  
Ogsarg
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You can make all kinds of arguments for why someone should or shouldn't ride on the road but at the end of the day, if you are not comfortable, it will not be enjoyable, and I think the reason most of us are riding bikes as opposed to other activities is because we enjoy it.

You're enjoying single track so it's not like you're giving up bikes altogether. Enjoy that and don't dwell on whether your decision is justified. After you move, you may start up again or maybe you won't. Do whatever feels right.
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Old 12-27-19, 05:27 PM
  #127  
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well if this is your first "offense" you would have already been convicted. If you are charged with a crime like this it can only be charged if you were caught doing the activity. AND there are NO circumstances or explanation that would be acceptable for that action of talking on the phone while operating a motor vehicle... unless of course it was the " PERFECT PHONE CALL" we have heard so much about. indybabz is just the person we are so fearful of because he believes there is some kind of excuse for being on the phone while driving. Just like someone else we know so well. FOS
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Old 12-27-19, 07:02 PM
  #128  
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I've been riding a bike on the streets since I was 7-8. I had a paper route for years and multiple bikes were my primary transportation until I got a car. I bought a Mtn Bike in the Army and used it all over where I was stationed in Germany. When we moved to NM I road a Mtn Bike with friends on the trails and stayed off the streets, my wife was freaked out by any talk of riding on the roads here as there are far to many Ghost bikes and when I road with my friends on our road bikes we would often meet in town and tended to stay on the bike paths as did alot of other people because the drivers are terrible and my wife would constantly point out the people drifting all over the place.

As I've gotten older and have developed arthritis in my 40s and am now in my early 50s I've sold off my road and mtn bikes and have a cruiser. IF Im going to ride where I Iive I'll take a DS bike I have and ride around on the dirt roads or take my Cruiser into the small town and just ride on the sidewalks. If I go into the city ill ride on the bike paths or the sidewalk. Is it illegal to ride on the sidewalk here? I don't know and don't care. Im not blasting down the sidewalk at 20mph so its not an issue and the Police have real problems to deal with instead of bugging a guy on cruiser riding on the sidewalk. I know I'm 100% entitled to ride on the road and force the issue and at times I will but as we all know you can be 100% right and still get hit.
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Old 12-28-19, 07:26 AM
  #129  
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Originally Posted by Hiro11 View Post
So, I think I'm done here. Anyone else feel similarly?
Not me. I will not allow motorists to push me off the public roads.

I found being more assertive to be the biggest help in being noticed and receiving far fewer close calls.

Like all cyclists, I too choose my routes and times for comfort and safety, and even to not needlessly hold up other traffic. But there are only so many ways to get somewhere, and my work times are fixed. So once I've done all of the above and I'm out there, I take my space and make no apologies.

The reason this works is because except for an extremely few deranged exceptions, no driver wants to hit a cyclist. So it's up to us to help make sure that doesn't happen. Our behavior goes a long way in this, and is the only thing we have control of.

Hugging the far right edge and hopping for the best just about guarantees close calls and surprises in my experience. Yet this seems to be the safety strategy of many cyclists. Then they quit because "the roads are too dangerous".

Ride large and take charge of your safety, do not leave it in the hands of motorists.
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Old 12-29-19, 08:20 AM
  #130  
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Riding lightly travelled dirt roads can pose its own hazards. Far more cattle than cars.


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Old 01-01-20, 06:36 AM
  #131  
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If one looks closely enough, there is danger everywhere.
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Old 01-05-20, 09:49 PM
  #132  
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Originally Posted by Sudevan View Post
Do you or anyone else know if the data shown (I'm assuming the ordinate reflects actual number of road fatalities) is in any way corrected for total population, or for total driving/riding population? The US has a total population of around 320 million. I lived in the Netherlands in the early nineties, and they had a total population of about 15 million then.
By virtue of being total km travelled (by the entire population of a country) it encapsulates population. So, riding 10 miles in the U.S. is indeed about 9 times as dangerous as riding 10 miles in The Netherlands.

Though it may be a bit worse than that. A significant number of bicycle fatalities in The Netherlands, I believe about 20-30%, are elderly people who just happen to have a heart attack while riding somewhere or who are involved in a crash that would be a minor injury for someone younger but is deadly for elderly. If you look at just fatalities for people under 70 it may be a much greater difference.

Originally Posted by Sudevan View Post
I loved cycling in that country! But I also noted that far more people cycle, or take public transportation, rather than drive in the Netherlands. In cities like Amsterdam, where I lived, there was certainly quite a bit of motor traffic, but it was safe to ride because there were separate bike paths, with bike traffic lights. The total population, the driving and riding population, the prevalence of public transportation, and the ratio of cyclists to car drivers all factor into understanding the data in the graph. There's also the law: In the Netherlands, the burden of proof of innocence was much greater for the driver of a car than for the cyclist, when an accident happened, which meant drivers were far more cautious. As such, the graph leads to more questions about the reality it seeks to depict.
Yes. More people bicycle in The Netherlands because they have made bicycling safe and comfortable by designing safe places for bicycling. That chart is a condemnation of U.S. traffic engineers and how they've failed at designing a safe road system. In what other job could you design something that is that much more dangerous and results in the deaths of that many more people compared to what others design and still keep your job?

The law you are talking about is called presumed liability. I'm a fan of that but people who've studied it have determined that it actually has little real effect.
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Old 01-05-20, 10:04 PM
  #133  
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Originally Posted by horatio View Post
If one looks closely enough, there is danger everywhere.
True, but some things are more dangerous than others. If you are at a small airstrip in Tanzania and have a choice between two airlines with knowledge that airline B has 9 times as many crashes per km flown as airline A, would it make a difference which you choose? After all, there is danger everywhere? If airline A fills up but says they'll be back in 4 hours and you can get on then will you wait on them or hop on airline B?
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Old 01-06-20, 08:32 AM
  #134  
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@CrankyOne: Thanks for confirming the nature of the ordinate as total number of fatalities. As I have said before, I agree that cycling in the US is much more dangerous. Perhaps the difference in population size is encapsulated, as you say, in considering fatalities/bn km. However, there are many other factors that come into play, again as I mentioned -- in particular, the proportion of people who ride relative to the proportion of those who drive, neither of which is reflected in fatalities/bn km. Actually, since far more people ride in the Netherlands than drive compared to the States, the high number of fatalities in the US may turn out to be even more grim! Related to this, there is also my personal observation that drivers in the US simply do not "see" cyclists, it almost seems like a problem with how they pay attention to traffic while driving. (And this is only made worse by the tendency to use cell phones while driving!). Also, as you suggest, fatalities under 70 may provide an even greater difference.

As to the second point you mention, it is indeed sad that traffic engineers and city planners here in the US have not made safety a prime consideration. But I think there may be at least isolated cases where safer systems have been designed. One example I know of, again some years ago: In the early nineties, prior to living in Amsterdam, I spent a sabbatical year at the University of Illinois, living in Champaign-Urbana. There were more bike paths in Urbana, where I lived, than in almost any other American town I had been to, and what's more, they were safe because they were set at some distance from the roads carrying auto traffic. Many of my colleagues praised the engineer who worked for the city and designed the bike path system. It turned out that he was a Sikh, originally from the Punjab in India, where people use plenty of bicycles! But your point is well taken.
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Old 01-06-20, 12:39 PM
  #135  
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I live on LI, one of the most congested and overpopulated suburbs in the country. I make due by riding on areas with known less traffic. I stick to back roads to avoid the main road traffic and there are a number of paths to ride. But I ride everywhere, road, fire roads, dirt, and now even beach after getting a fatty. I must say the beach rides are nice and I can ride for endless miles. I would never give up riding though, plenty of other risks like driving.
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Old 01-06-20, 05:03 PM
  #136  
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Originally Posted by Sudevan View Post
@CrankyOne: Thanks for confirming the nature of the ordinate as total number of fatalities. As I have said before, I agree that cycling in the US is much more dangerous. Perhaps the difference in population size is encapsulated, as you say, in considering fatalities/bn km. However, there are many other factors that come into play, again as I mentioned -- in particular, the proportion of people who ride relative to the proportion of those who drive, neither of which is reflected in fatalities/bn km. Actually, since far more people ride in the Netherlands than drive compared to the States, the high number of fatalities in the US may turn out to be even more grim! Related to this, there is also my personal observation that drivers in the US simply do not "see" cyclists, it almost seems like a problem with how they pay attention to traffic while driving. (And this is only made worse by the tendency to use cell phones while driving!). Also, as you suggest, fatalities under 70 may provide an even greater difference.
Our highest of all developed countries road fatality rates for people in cars, people riding bicycles and people walking is almost entirely road engineering. First, we don't have as many people walking and riding bicycles because U.S. traffic engineers have made it both actually unsafe and subjectively unsafe. Riding or walking don't feel safe because they are not safe and so the vast majority of people quite wisely won't do it. Even bicycle riding enthusiasts such as those on this forum! Drivers don't see people walking and bicycling because the road system isn't designed to make them visible and because we rely too much on drivers seeing people that are often very difficult to see. In The Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe there is not as much of a need to see people walking and bicycling because they are separated by cement or time. Where they are not separated by either cement or time the motor lanes are narrowed to 8.2' (2.5 meters) or less cement curb to cement curb, the crossing is very well marked and frequently tabled (raised up), drivers approaching the crossing do so at 90° perpendicular to the crossing and bicycle riders approach at 90° perpendicular to the driver so that an approaching bicycle rider appears in the middle of the front windshield and can more easily be seen.

U.S. engineers say that if only drivers obeyed every law and regulation perfectly and always paid perfect attention that we would have fewer fatalities. Dutch engineers say that drivers are human, imperfect, will make mistakes that could prove fatal and so they design their road system to mitigate these mistakes as much as possible.

Originally Posted by Sudevan View Post
As to the second point you mention, it is indeed sad that traffic engineers and city planners here in the US have not made safety a prime consideration. But I think there may be at least isolated cases where safer systems have been designed. One example I know of, again some years ago: In the early nineties, prior to living in Amsterdam, I spent a sabbatical year at the University of Illinois, living in Champaign-Urbana. There were more bike paths in Urbana, where I lived, than in almost any other American town I had been to, and what's more, they were safe because they were set at some distance from the roads carrying auto traffic. Many of my colleagues praised the engineer who worked for the city and designed the bike path system. It turned out that he was a Sikh, originally from the Punjab in India, where people use plenty of bicycles! But your point is well taken.
Some of the bikeways in Champaign are quite good by U.S. standards but are exceptionally poor and unsafe by European standards. This particularly at junctions.

Many developed countries are adopting the Dutch CROW standards for bicycle and walking engineering. U.S. engineers should do the same. Imagine if 9 times as many people were killed in building collapses in the U.S. as in Europe every year but U.S. engineers continued to use their same unsafe practices rather than adopting the safer European standards? Why do we allow our traffic engineers to do so?
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Old 01-06-20, 05:54 PM
  #137  
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Thanks for all this information. I am not very optimistic that things will improve in the US anytime soon. I am surprised, though, that at least some towns and cities which are very pro-cycling (Portland, Oregon comes to mind) have not adopted the Dutch model and made safe bicycle lanes as in Holland. It reminds me of another event here in Wisconsin, when Federal money to expand the rail system to connect multiple cities and towns by passenger trains was simply refused by then Governor Scott Walker. Travel by train, especially when one can take one's bicycle on the train and use it when you disembark in the destination city, was a very nice feature of travel in NL and also in other parts of Europe -- you bought a ticket for yourself and one for your bike, then placed the bike in a separate bike compartment. Oh well.
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Old 01-07-20, 03:53 PM
  #138  
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Originally Posted by CrankyOne View Post
U.S. engineers say that if only drivers obeyed every law and regulation perfectly and always paid perfect attention that we would have fewer fatalities. Dutch engineers say that drivers are human, imperfect, will make mistakes that could prove fatal and so they design their road system to mitigate these mistakes as much as possible.
Excellent post and astute observations. Roads in the vast majority of the US are designed for cars and cars alone. Walking or riding a bike on the road is literally impossible on the majority of the roads in my area. This exclusion of non-car road users is further encouraged by ridiculous laws like "jaywalking" and the lax enforcement of non-driver rights. It's just taken as a matter of fact in the US that "roads are for cars" and any non-car driving user of the road is a lunatic asking for trouble. What particularly irks me is that we've seemingly arrived here in the US without much deliberate thought. These are really important decisions we're making given the amount of land we have ceded to roads, the legal structures that enable drivers to be reckless, the enormous government subsidies that sponsor car usage and the ways that road usage dictate how we live our lives. Most American can't conceive of another way. Then, there are us weirdos that look at a city like Utrecht and what they've accomplished, how their lifestyles have improved, how the city is much more livable and human, how non-car transportation has been normalized and made safer and you have to wonder how we've gotten it so wrong.

Last edited by Hiro11; 01-07-20 at 03:58 PM.
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Old 01-12-20, 07:17 PM
  #139  
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Thank you for your observations. I consider myself quite fortunate to live in a small college town (slightly larger than Utrecht) in a part of this country that is generally bike-friendly, although it has its issues and problems. Because of the size of the town, and the presence of a fair number of bicycles especially during term at the local university (where I taught before retirement), the general driving public has, over the years, become somewhat sympathetic to cyclists and behave in ways that are not dangerous. Our truly horrific problem is road condition, which affects drivers and cyclists alike. Wisconsin is the second worst state in the US when it comes to the quality of its roads -- the highways are a little better. Cuts in transportation funding have been the principal cause. Riding a bicycle on many city streets is like riding one on the rutted surface of the Serengeti plain! Nevertheless, I am happy to be able to ride on less-damaged roads deep in the country outside the city that are quiet, with only an occasional passing car or pickup truck. On a summer or fall day, this can truly be supernal. My friends and I always make it a point to wave at drivers and present a friendly attitude, just to encourage their perception of cyclists as people who are worthy of kind consideration.

Now it is winter and cycling is a memory! But I remember Camus' famous line: Au milieu de l'hiver, j'apprenais enfin qu'il y avait en moi un été invincible. (In the depths of winter, I finally learned that there lay within me an invincible summer). I hope that summer within sustains me until the winter passes, and there is still a world left to cycle in.
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Old 01-13-20, 11:27 AM
  #140  
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Let's give the city engineers and road designers a break. It's not their fault we don't have bike lanes. It's like Hiro11 said, in the US roads are for cars. We don't allocate any tax dollars for stinking bike lanes.
Make me wonder, it we had tax dollars to spend, what would be the priority?
Better schools/teacher pay?
High speed rail?
A Wall? (Ha!)
Bike lanes....humm.
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Old 01-20-20, 08:21 AM
  #141  
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I know this sounds like sacrilege to many here, but I think e-bikes have the potential to help.

As more people use them, and as they become faster, drivers will be forced to pay attention.

The way I see it, anything that gets more people involved in cycling is good for us all.
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Old 01-20-20, 09:21 AM
  #142  
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agreeing...

Originally Posted by studbike1 View Post
I know this sounds like sacrilege to many here, but I think e-bikes have the potential to help.

As more people use them, and as they become faster, drivers will be forced to pay attention.

The way I see it, anything that gets more people involved in cycling is good for us all.
.................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .......................................................
Agreeing totally with studbike1...the more the merrier....all people riding on relatively slow, 2 wheel conveyances , accomplish much enhanced exposure to our 4 wheeled companions using the roads! We will all be safer!
Julius in Ohio
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Old 01-20-20, 11:19 AM
  #143  
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Originally Posted by Hiro11 View Post
After about 30 years of riding on the road, I'm seriously considering giving it up. Several things have given me pause:
  • Getting hit by a car two years ago
  • Increasingly dealing with narrow misses due to oblivious / distracted driving on most rides
  • Jerks deliberately driving dangerously on most every ride
  • The availability of good alternatives: extensive limestone paths around my house, single track, gravel roads etc. I enjoy running, I enjoy swimming.
  • General responsibilities of being a father/husband/main earner.
  • I live in an area not very conducive to riding anyway: terrible weather, lots of traffic, limited route options etc

Overall, I also have a general sense that I'm "swimming upstream" by riding on the road. Drivers seem in general agreement that we have no right to be there. Police won't defend my rights to be there. Courts generally grant great leniency to drivers. Co-workers think I'm crazy. Wife has said she's terrified every time I ride on the road. Etc.

So, I think I'm done here. Anyone else feel similarly?
I too had a bad experience in bicycling. Back in 1992 I had a drunk pickup truck driver that violated me. He cut me off, pulled me over and threatened to hurt me. He also threw me a beer bottle and barely missed. It was a horrible experience. I think that is part of the reason that got me away from bicycling... till just several months ago. I'm now back on biking because I am in near poverty, getting free temp housing and have no car. I use my bike as transportation for work. I am no longer worried about getting hit by cars or get violated by thugs or criminals on the road cause Jesus is with me.

Last edited by StanSeven; 01-20-20 at 03:22 PM. Reason: Removed religious content
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Old 01-20-20, 11:26 AM
  #144  
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Originally Posted by studbike1 View Post
I know this sounds like sacrilege to many here, but I think e-bikes have the potential to help.

As more people use them, and as they become faster, drivers will be forced to pay attention.

The way I see it, anything that gets more people involved in cycling is good for us all.
The more part I have no problem with--safety increases with the numbers of cyclists, but as they become faster, they can be another source of hazard to us. Not all ebikes are created equal.
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Old 01-20-20, 01:08 PM
  #145  
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Originally Posted by Sudevan View Post
.. Wisconsin is the second worst state in the US when it comes to the quality of its roads --
I have believe Michigan is #1 .
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Old 01-20-20, 01:20 PM
  #146  
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And we're neighbours, across Lake Michigan!
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Old 01-20-20, 02:02 PM
  #147  
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Too many people texting and driving and hitting bicyclists. Has me riding the road a lot less. I prefer single track mountain bike trail or lightly used gravel roads.
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Old 01-20-20, 02:06 PM
  #148  
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Originally Posted by bobwysiwyg View Post
I have believe Michigan is #1 .
hands down

its Pennsylvania
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Old 01-20-20, 02:49 PM
  #149  
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I mean, I get it but for me (not you, OP) I feel LESS stressed riding than driving so it's a net benefit for me but you do you.

That said, I hope to do more gravel/NFS/offroad rides in 2020
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Old 01-20-20, 08:43 PM
  #150  
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That's why I usually ride in more rural areas. I meet about 5 or 6 cars on my usual jaunts.
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