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Looking for tips to avoid unsafe driving behaviours

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Looking for tips to avoid unsafe driving behaviours

Old 07-06-20, 09:45 AM
  #26  
waters60
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Actually speaking as a road rider for 40+ years. I also know what works for me. Allowing a car to pass on a blind curve endangers me and one or potentially two cars. That said, nobody rides the white line better than me. I will absolutely let cars pass when safe. I would rather risk a pissed off driver on a blind curve than consider the deadly alternative. We need to be diplomats but also assertive when it comes to safety. It pisses me off seeing riders two abreast refusing to single up and let cars pass when appropriate.
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Old 07-06-20, 11:18 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by dirtydozen View Post
Last 2 rides I tried a new way to ride and i got 0 dangerous situation, well 1 but I wasn't applying my new "trick".

I rode with 70 centimeters to my right, when a car passes I go as close as possible to the right side of the road. Driver already picked his trajectory, so I get an extra 70centimeters on whatever space he would have left me.

Works like a charm for the moment.
I find this technique to be generally effective (though I prefer to have considerably more than 70 cm).

However, one thing you really need to watch out for is people waiting too long before passing you -- i.e. they pull out at the last second, the people tailgating them don't see you until even later, and someone a few vehicles back passes really close (especially if pulling a trailer).

My goto technique is to ride smack in the middle of the lane. Keep an eye on the mirror. If they slow down or shift even a tiny bit, they won't hit you. Hold your line. Don't even think of shifting right until they're within 2 seconds behind you. Vehicles tend to follow whatever is in front of them, so if you can push the vehicle out, others will follow even if they don't see you. Extend a friendly wave if they give any clearance when they're still 1/2 second behind. Drivers like when cyclists know what's going on around them, even more so if you help them get by. Done right, even though you slowed them down, you can make a lot of them feel good about the encounter which sets you up for the future.

You will probably find that your treatment improves considerably after a few months and people get used to you.
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Old 07-06-20, 12:19 PM
  #28  
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SIMPLE steps --
• use a flashing red tail-light at all times
• wear a reflective vest riding after dark
• use a handlebar headlight even in daylight hours, this makes you more visible to cars
• ride on the right, with traffic -- never ride in the direction opposing traffic
• ALWAYS obey stop signs, stoplights, and one-way and do-not-enter directives, don't cheat this you will surprise drivers and suffer for it
• use hand signals to indicate turning or lane changes, left-for-left and right-for-right, don't bother with the bent-elbow thing it confuses most drivers


COMPLEX steps --
• scout and know your route's roads before riding them -- identify the most difficult / dangerous spots, can you adjust your route to avoid trouble spots?
• taking the lane -- for me, it's most important to know those spots on the route where I want to take the lane, and preparing to do so in my approach . . . i.e., I never wait until I need the lane to make the move, I do it a couple hundred yards out, of course you can't wait to last second and jerk into traffic
• sidewalks -- to each his own here but I do not advocate riding on sidewalks, to me it heightens the dangers at intersections and driveways because drivers see you better when you're on the road than they do when you're on sidewalks . . . however, if you're more comfortable riding on sidewalk at certain parts of your route, you basically should slow your riding pace to almost walking speed, you thereby match your speed to the pace of sidewalk traffic so you don't surprise any drivers when you cross streets and driveways from the sidewalks . . . also you have pedestrians ons sidewalks (rightly so) so I think riding sidewalks is only smart in wide-open suburban areas with low foot traffic, not in urban areas where sidewalks are crowded
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Old 07-06-20, 01:06 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by jimmyodonnell View Post
SIMPLE steps --
• use a flashing red tail-light at all times
• wear a reflective vest riding after dark
• use a handlebar headlight even in daylight hours, this makes you more visible to cars
• ride on the right, with traffic -- never ride in the direction opposing traffic
• ALWAYS obey stop signs, stoplights, and one-way and do-not-enter directives, don't cheat this you will surprise drivers and suffer for it
• use hand signals to indicate turning or lane changes, left-for-left and right-for-right, don't bother with the bent-elbow thing it confuses most drivers


COMPLEX steps --
• scout and know your route's roads before riding them -- identify the most difficult / dangerous spots, can you adjust your route to avoid trouble spots?
• taking the lane -- for me, it's most important to know those spots on the route where I want to take the lane, and preparing to do so in my approach . . . i.e., I never wait until I need the lane to make the move, I do it a couple hundred yards out, of course you can't wait to last second and jerk into traffic
• sidewalks -- to each his own here but I do not advocate riding on sidewalks, to me it heightens the dangers at intersections and driveways because drivers see you better when you're on the road than they do when you're on sidewalks . . . however, if you're more comfortable riding on sidewalk at certain parts of your route, you basically should slow your riding pace to almost walking speed, you thereby match your speed to the pace of sidewalk traffic so you don't surprise any drivers when you cross streets and driveways from the sidewalks . . . also you have pedestrians ons sidewalks (rightly so) so I think riding sidewalks is only smart in wide-open suburban areas with low foot traffic, not in urban areas where sidewalks are crowded
This is probably the best concise set of tips so far. I'd only add to keep your head on a swivel and constantly check your surroundings similarly to defensive driving where you're trying to keep a bubble around you.
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Old 07-07-20, 07:40 PM
  #30  
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Here's one that I think helps. If you're approaching a street on your right and a car is waiting; if there are no cars behind you, shift to the left tire-track portion of the road.

In other words, move off the white line and to the left, closer to the center line. I think this helps drivers on the side street see you. When looking for oncoming traffic to their left, I think they are more likely to look towards the center of the lane and not hard left near the white line. As they turn their heads to look, they will see the outside track first, then the center and then the white line position.

Thoughts?

Glenn
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Old 07-12-20, 04:41 PM
  #31  
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I only take the lane where it’s impossible to fit me, a car and the legally-required three foot clearance between us.
If I must take the lane I always:
1. Signal my intention in advance. I always signal lane changes and turns by holding my left arm straight out (for a left turn) or using it to make an L for a right.
2. I go as fast as I can go to minimize my exposure.

In all situations, I always wave to motorists who yield to me. Usually while saying to myself “Thank you for not killing me.” I cannot control their bad behavior, but I can certainly show my gratitude for their good behavior.

I always observe stop signs and stoplights. I don’t necessarily stop at all of them, but I go 0.5 mph until the light changes, or I have the right of way. If I have the ROW, I seize it and require all others to take the ROW if they have it, by waving frantically at them to go ahead.

I’ll chose the safest route possible, even if it’s longer or tougher. When I used to commute 24 miles to work, my preferred route added 7 miles and 500 feet of climbing to avoid freeway on/off ramps. Truly a case of “That which does not kill me makes me strong.”

I ride on the edge of the gutter or dirt, as far to the right as possible, unless I must avoid an obstacle. I’ll not insist on my right at the risk of my life.

If someone looks like they may turn in front of me, I’ll wave my arm over my head and then wave thanks.

I never wear ear buds or listen to music as hearing the cars around me is literally life and death.

I practiced turning to look behind me until I could do so without changing my line at all.

I realize my style may not be popular with most “serious” cyclists, but if being popular means being anti-social or having a number of scars, I’ll pass. I’ve been riding 54 years in a number of states and my most serious injury is a broken knuckle. Good luck to all.
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Old 07-12-20, 04:51 PM
  #32  
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Keep your bike in great operating condition, be visible, keep your focus and trust nobody.
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Old 07-13-20, 05:13 AM
  #33  
Jim from Boston
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Looking for tips to avoid unsafe driving behaviours
Originally Posted by dirtydozen View Post
Hello guys, I am very concerned about my safety on the bike, I am already very aware about anything that could make me crash but there are things I cannot control.

I live in a new area and I find the drivers aggressive when they overtake me. Every ride there are 5/10 situations where a car overtakes me with no visibility, if a car comes from the opposite direction it's going to be 100% nasty.

I learnt a trick not too long ago : when it's not a good place to be overtaken, position yourself a bit more towards the center of the road to kind of block the car, but there are two problems : sometimes the car is already here and it feels like it's going to be unsafe to move to the center, and cars comming from the opposite direction well sometimes they take corners in the center of the road so yeah kind of scared of that too.

Anyways, appart from picking the routes with as less cars as possible is there anything I can do to avoid these scenarios ?

Anyone is using something to block wind noise that could give some feedback on that?

thanks
Originally Posted by bampilot06 View Post
I ride early in the morning to avoid traffic. I also stick to back roads for the most part, so far this has worked really well for me. Waving at drivers seems to help ease there aggression from my experience. People swear by Varia, might be something to think about getting.
Originally Posted by dirtydozen View Post
Yeah Varia seems nice I just heard about it an hour ago, but sadly I'm a student I can't afford this.
There seems to be a distinct lack of support for the value of a rearview mirror. That, combined with acute situational awareness seems to be the most reliable. Position on the road IMO depends on the situation.


Personally I am friendly to drivers, but I don't rely that as an effective deterrent.

Judicious route finding is important, but if you want to ride to a specific location , you have limitations, though you can choose time of day and day of week to modify.

BTW,see this thread”Garmin Varia Radar vs Rear View Mirror or Camera” for a discussion of Varia vs rearview mirrors.
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Old 07-13-20, 08:06 AM
  #34  
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After more than 50 years on the roads and my share of hits by motorists, my feeling is that aside from avoiding obviously stupid or reckless behavior and traffic hellscapes, which most contributors to this section of the forum presumably do already, the rider's contribution to risk from drivers is negligible. A corollary is that most of what we do to mitigate it—and I do a lot—is essentially superstitious.
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Old 07-13-20, 02:27 PM
  #35  
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I rarely get hit by a car in Zwift.
I say this in jest, and I know my post isn't an answer to your question, but I thought I'd just throw my 2 cents in.
You won't always be strapped for cash, and when you can afford it, you can significantly decrease your level of risk by incorporating an indoor trainer.
I know it's not as fun, but if you can split your riding between indoor and outdoors, then it goes to reason that you cut your risk of getting hit by a car in half (I have a 5 year old, and knowing this does make me feel a little better).
There are other advantages to incorporating an indoor trainer (listen to music, watch a show, ride when the weather doesn't allow it, don't have to worry about flats...)
In the end, you don't really have a chance against a distracted driver. You can do some things, but how marginal are those decisions to the grand scheme of risk?
That being said, I have noticed that drivers tend to notice me more when I have a flashing front light (i.e. I notice more eye contact when someone is in front of me getting ready to turn onto the street I'm on).
If this is the case, I'm sure it also helps for the light behind me.
I also ride farther to the right when there is room to bail out on the right (I can't really see the downside to that). When there is no room to bail out, I do ride a little more to the left.
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