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Car coming too close for comfort

Old 10-21-20, 09:14 AM
  #1  
isaac.waters
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Car coming too close for comfort

Cars coming too close for comfort. A problem or not?
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Old 10-21-20, 09:46 AM
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It happens, so learn to deal with it. In the city its' unavoidable, and takes nerves of steel. I avoid city riding for the most part. In the countryside, get a good mirror, check trajectory of every vehicle coming up behind you with one quick glance at the critical distance (maybe 50'), and bail onto shoulder or even into ditch if there is one, if you think they're going to hit you. If it just looks like a close pass, learn to hold firm on your line and avoid panic reaction. Swerving either way is potentially dangerous. Holding your line is a skill you will develop, and it serves you well when startled by sudden loud noise like gunshot or whatnot. Holding your line isn't so easy if a dog charges you from the side and isn't slowing down as it's about to hit your front wheel. Still working on that one....
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Old 10-21-20, 09:55 AM
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OP: Of course. Why do you ask? What is your story?
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Old 10-21-20, 09:59 AM
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Practice riding with trucks and soon cars won't bother you,
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Old 10-21-20, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by isaac.waters View Post
Cars coming too close for comfort. A problem or not?
Only you know if it's a problem.

I've had my arm hit twice by the right hand mirror... and i'm still riding.
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Old 10-21-20, 10:19 AM
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Ride in a straight line in a place where the cars can actually see you, don’t weave in and out of parked cars. There is a bit of an art to it. Don’t ride so far to the right that you’re in gutter because in my experience this only encourages close passes because many drivers don’t really know where their car is in the lane. Don’t ride so far into the lane you block the flow of traffic, probably this is not legal and some random driver with anger management issues will pass you close to ‘teach you a lesson’ and maybe throw something out the window. I find an little bit to the left or right of the white line, depending on the road width, works best.

There are some exceptions, like narrow residential streets with parking on both sides, I usually ride right in the middle of the road and don’t allow passing. Some roads have very generous shoulders where the county left a strip they didn’t chipseal, not a bike lane but obviously left that way for cyclists, and in this case I’ll ride here far to the right out of the flow of traffic.

Like driving a car, there will always be that clueless idiot that does something unsafe. I think when we’re in our cars we have an illusion of safety and invulnerablity created by our car culture. As a cyclist or pedestrian you come face to face with the actual reality. Don’t take it personally, just keep riding.
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Old 10-21-20, 10:29 AM
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Oddly enough, I found that riding in a group taught me to hold a line really well, so I can feel pretty secure really close to the edge of the road, so I'm as far out of the danger zone as possible. I also scan each parked car I'm about to pass for occupants, and give them a wide berth.

Around here, there are SO MANY cyclists that drivers don't tend to act like jerks and try to get too close. Where I grew up, in rural Pennsylvania, it's a different story. There are roads back there that have the same amount of traffic and the same width of shoulder as the roads I feel comfortable riding here, that I would be really spooked trying to ride back there.
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Old 10-21-20, 10:31 AM
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Old 10-21-20, 10:48 AM
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If you look at all the close pass videos on Upride (cycliq's web site), then it's definitely an issue. Good reason to always record.

Whether or not it's a problem for you, only you can decide. I'd say on a typical ride, I get a too close pass about once every 5-10 miles that I'm sharing roads with cars (lucky for me a good portion of my riding is on MUPs). About 1 in 20 or so of those really are scary close, like either intentional, or they really don't see me.
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Old 10-21-20, 10:51 AM
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I'll second the mirror.

One effective strategy that is at times useful is to minimize contact with packs of motor vehicles. For example, if I'm stopped at a light (I take the lane) and I see a lot of vehicles behind me, I'll pull to the side after crossing and wait for the pack to pass before proceeding.

Taking the lane when necessary and reasonable will also reduce close passes.

Last edited by flangehead; 10-23-20 at 08:37 PM. Reason: Punctuation
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Old 10-21-20, 11:07 AM
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Cars coming too close for comfort. A problem or not?

It isn't for me. If it was I'd look to change my behavior.
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Old 10-21-20, 11:17 AM
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Yes on the mirror. I ride on rural county and back roads, and he's my habit of/for safety.

As a car approaches towards me (on the other side of the road), I always check my mirror. This way I can see if there is a car behind me and if its slowing down behind me or going to try to make the squeeze pass. If you are going to be in danger of a tight pass, it will be when there are cars in opposing directions and the guy behind you cant be bothered to slow down, let alone actually hit the brakes.
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Old 10-21-20, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by isaac.waters View Post
Cars coming too close for comfort. A problem or not?
Generally, yes ... but sometimes not.

You may be interested in a couple threads I've started over the years:

https://www.bikeforums.net/advocacy-...violation.html

https://www.bikeforums.net/advocacy-...ead-again.html
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Old 10-21-20, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by GlennR View Post
4 feet in PA.
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Old 10-21-20, 02:06 PM
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I was bike riding in Bruges, while on vacation, and turned wrong down a one-way narrow street. Bus was coming up, so I moved over towards the curb. My pedal was brushing the sidewalk and I could lick the bus. Talk about nervey.
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Old 10-21-20, 02:31 PM
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I've seen some people get freaked out every time a car or truck passes them. Some folks aren't used to riding with other traffic, and I can sympathize. I recommend a course of acclimatization for those people.

First, get used to riding on quiet suburban streets (or deserted rural roads) when there's almost no other traffic -- think Sunday morning at 7-8:00. After you're used to that, graduate to lightly used streets or roads -- perhaps a car every minute or so. Learn to hold your line (meaning you can't dodge between parked cars!), and they'll have to go around you. Next, look for a four lane street you can ride at a time when two lanes would carry all the traffic. (In these Covid times, that may be near schools or in small business districts about 9:00 weekdays.) Again, ride that kind of street until you're comfortable with it. Next, try riding the same streets when school's out, or around lunch time. You may start to get some honks or yelling from people who really don't know how to drive, or that you're legally allowed to be there; as long as you're riding straight, holding your line, you should be OK -- they don't really want to have to stop for 30-45 minutes to deal with a cop. Deal with it. Once you're comfortable with that, you can handle riding almost any road, any time. (An exception might be a road you really don't want to be on, a highly trafficed, high speed road with no shoulders, for instance. Just stay off those as much as possible.)
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Old 10-21-20, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
4 feet in PA.
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Old 10-21-20, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by isaac.waters View Post
Cars coming too close for comfort. A problem or not?
cars are supposed to give you 4ft in NC, and they’re allowed to cross the double yellow if it’s safe to do so. Most cars where I ride give me plenty of space - maybe once or twice on any given ride will some dipsh1t cut close. Could be better, could be worse 🤔
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Old 10-21-20, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
4 feet in PA.
6 feet everywhere.
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Old 10-21-20, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
Practice riding with trucks and soon cars won't bother you,
No joke. This is good advice. On busy streets, I try to follow buses instead of passing them. A lot of cars change lanes for buses and the trucks. If they want to turn right, cars will more likely to patiently follow behind instead of try to right hook you.

The only drawback is the diesel exhaust.
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Old 10-21-20, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by isaac.waters View Post
Cars coming too close for comfort. A problem or not?
Regardless if you're walking, cycling or driving, bad drivers will be on the road. Close passes happen to pedestrians and drivers too. Deal with them because police enforcement is never everywhere.

What you can do to deter close passes is carry things on your bike that protrude. People have carried pool noodles. Looks funny and they get mocked by people on this website but they'll give you the results you need.
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Old 10-21-20, 05:48 PM
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Had some nice county highways with light traffic about 15 years ago. Now there is more building out in the sticks, much more traffic and many more double dump/gravel trucks, cement trucks and general big ones. They typically go 55/60MPH which gets a bit unnerving when there isn’t more than a 3’ shoulder and they can’t, or won’t, move over. This is especially true when hemmed in by a guard rail and there is no where to go. An occasional dump truck is fine but one every 3-4 minutes on a 30 minute stretch gets old. I know, ride faster!

About two years ago my left ear was almost brushed by a large box truck’s mirror on the same highway. I now avoid it as much as possible except for short stretches where I can’t. It’s a shame because it’s nearly flat and straight and a real time saver and all the alternate routes take me way out of my way.

Used to ride downtown Seattle at rush hour. It was always exhilarating trying to keep up with traffic on multi lane streets while not getting crushed. Really improved my sprinting.
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Old 10-21-20, 06:04 PM
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switch to gravel?
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Old 10-21-20, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Troul View Post
6 feet everywhere.
I’m talking about the legal requirement in the state. If you need 6’ you need to HTFU.
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Old 10-21-20, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by xseal View Post
switch to gravel?
Actually have a full on Trek mtn bike I use regularly for single track. I enjoy both disciplines. Have too many bikes anyway to add another.
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