Author Topic: bicycles on the roadways  (Read 1564 times)

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Offline BIKERJOHN

bicycles on the roadways
« on: August 21, 2013, 08:42:22 pm »
Two days ago, a 47-year old bike rider was struck & killed by a motor vehicle while riding NM136. This is the same road upon which former County Judge Pat O'Rourke father of current Congressman Beto O'Rourke) was bicycling when he was struck & killed July 2001. In the former, apparently he abruptly turned left into the path of a motor vehicle; in the latter, the motorist was blinded by Sunlight. I have pedaled this route and it is an extremely satisfactory/superior road with ample shoulder.  In May2009, Eastside bicyclist Heinz Duerkop was killed when he was rear-ended by a hit& run motorist; a Westside bicyclist was killed by a hit & run motorist; a biking Westside lawyer was hit and seriously injured. Could these tragedies have been avoided? We MUST always be diligent about following the rules of the road, especially when it comes to visibility. We have little chance of surviving high speed collisions (I have survived 3 low speed collisions) and we absolutely cannot take it for granted that just because it is legal for us to be on the roadway, we must also use common sense. All too often have I seen belligerent bike riders who think they own the road and refuse to yield to a much more massive vehicle, or bikers who ignore red lights in traffic, or who do not have lights in darkness/night. It is paramount to remember than whenever we use our bicycle on the road (which is just about all the time), it becomes a vehicle upon the road and is subject to all of the same rules as any other vehicle upon the road. There are no guarantees that we won't encounter problems, but the law is NOT on our side if the police report states that "Vehicle A (bicycle)  had no lights/ran red light/going against traffic flow, etc. Please do your part, be smart and pedal in accordance with the law. 
John Eyberg aka Juanito Hayburg aka BIKERJOHN

Offline johnsondasw

Re: bicycles on the roadways
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2013, 10:08:00 pm »
Good reminder, Bikerjohn.  I ride in Seattle a lot and will often be waiting for a red light to change when another cyclist will come up, look quickly, and proceed right through.  This gives us all a bad name and in Seattle there is now a constant "hate the bikes" theme going on.  People are tired of bikes not following the rules.

Likewise, every time I ride I see motorists who are not following the rules.  The most common infractions by the cars are failing to signal for turns, failure to yield right-of-way to bikes and speeding.  The failure to signal is especially irritating because on a bike we need to know what the cars are going to do!

I always ride with a mirror.  It allows me to know what is going on all around, not just in front and on the sides.  With this awareness, I can have more control of the situation, which in some cases means taking the lane.  Without a mirror, I would feel completely at the mercy of motorists, many of whom are drunk, texting, tired, etc.  No way am I venturing out on the roads without the protection a mirror provides.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline BIKERJOHN

Re: bicycles on the roadways
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2013, 08:05:46 pm »
Hi, Johnsondasw and all--I absolutely agree with a rear view mirror. In fact, there is no way I can pedal my Doublevision without it. A magnificent  additional safety device I never go without is a stout police whistle. Just an added bit of assurance, especially with (motor) vehicles turning left after performing the "California" stop. Interestingly, I did that ONCE (gave the correct hand signal, slowed down but did not come to a complete stop) while turning right off El Cajon Blvd, San DiegoCA in the late '70s on a bright Sunday am, but the only other (motor) vehicle around happened to be SDPD. They enforced the law! Fortunately, the judge acquitted me. Believe me, I'm extremely careful & conscientious when coming to any situation like that.
John Eyberg aka Juanito Hayburg aka BIKERJOHN

Offline Westinghouse

Re: bicycles on the roadways
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2013, 01:53:10 am »
I follow traffic rules and keep an eye out for traffic. If I am riding at 2 am in a small town and I come to an intersection where there is obviously no traffic anywhere in sight for a mile in every direction, I blow through the red light. I go through stop signs on small side roads where there is obviously no possibility of traffic. Sometimes I have to laugh at people in cars who pull into  completely empty large parking lots at 3 am, and go very slowly stopping at every little crosswalk stop sign. I am a safe cyclist, but not a conditioned robot. Where traffic is present, I obey all the rules. If I come to crossroads out in flat farming country where it is obvious there is no other moving vehicle for miles in all directions, I'm not stopping at that stop sign. Some people would stop there. Not me. That's for traffic control. When there isn't any traffic, what does it matter? There have been times when I came to no-traffic situations and stop signs, and little kids were somewhere watching, so I stopped anyway because I did not want to give the little ones the impression it was ok to ignore stop signs. Other than that, if there is no traffic whatsoever, I keep going.

Offline jrswenberger

Re: bicycles on the roadways
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2013, 08:21:31 am »
Westy...that attitude is entirely too practical!   ;)

Enjoy the ride,
Jay
ACA Life Member 368

Offline BIKERJOHN

Re: bicycles on the roadways
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2013, 08:54:59 am »
Enjoy the ride, indeed. None of us are conditioned robots, all of us are unique & individual as the machines we use. I can appreciate your attitude about role modelling; as adults, that is what the youngsters learn, from what we do, not what we say. And you make a good point about not stopping at every stop sign, it being for traffic control and if there's not traffic, no control. I had a friend and mentor, Jim Evans (ColumbiaMO Safety Council) who said our(Humanity) greatest problems are Greed, Hypocrisy & Ignorance. All of us are guilty of it to varying degrees. I am acutely aware of that when approaching traffic control devices, especially stop signs. I don't always come to a foot-on-the-ground stop, although I always come to at least a nanostop. Parking lots scare me; almost always some vehicle operator is weaving/shortcutting/simply acting chaotic. I rarely can be found out there at (03:00) because I like my Zzzzs, but sometimes if the authorities have requested that I "relocate" due to my resting on private property, I'll be pedaling! Most difficult for me, though, are when operators don't use lights on their vehicles at night. Fortunately, most do, but all it takes is one and we have little chance in a collision with a (motor)vehicle.

Please remember, whenever we use our bicycles on the road, we become vehicles upon the road and must follow all of the same rules as any other vehicle using the road!
John Eyberg aka Juanito Hayburg aka BIKERJOHN

Offline PeteJack

Re: bicycles on the roadways
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2013, 09:07:43 pm »
I remember riding due east  out of Big Bear City CA and being terrified. The rising sun was right in my eyes and those of any motorist behind me. To make it worse much of the road had no shoulder and a drop off of about 12 inches in places so there was nowhere to go if I did see someone behind me who hadn't seen me. I really should have waited an hour or two to let the sun move round (OK Galileo, let the earth rotate) a bit.

Offline mmounties

Re: bicycles on the roadways
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2013, 09:33:09 pm »
I generally agree with and ride like Westy.  8)  No sense waiting for the light to turn if my bike can't get that done anyway and there's no car to trip it for me or traffic from other directions.

On a different thought, when I planned my trip down the CA coast this spring I used Google to view my trip ahead of time.  Just west of Santa Barbara I noticed there was a bridge without a shoulder on the 101, http://goo.gl/maps/pFiJP, (which is the only road available in that area). 

At first I wondered how cyclists can ride there without getting killed on a regular basis.  When I got there in person, I realized they had solved the problem by having sensors on the shoulder before the bridge and a HUGE sign with flashing lights warning drivers that a bicycle is on the bridge.  It worked very well and I'm obviously still around, but it made me realize that we do quite often take our lives into our hands in places.
-- Tina

Offline canalligators

Re: bicycles on the roadways
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2013, 08:55:13 am »
Life is risk.  Figure out the worst scenarios and avoid them or mitigate them.  John, do you find yourself being even more careful when captaining the tandem?  I know that I am, because I am then responsible for two lives.  (BTW, we also ride a DV.)