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Fed up with $#!#@ cyclists! (warning - rant!)(41 posts)

Fed up with $#!#@ cyclists! (warning - rant!)Marlon
Jun 12, 2001 7:26 AM
I know most of the men and women on this board are experienced cyclists, so don't take this as a personal assault but...

I've just about had it with other cyclists.

I'm talking about the numbskulls who ride without helmets.
Who also listen to headphones while riding.
Who *also* ride without hands.

As it is, I'm running enough risk just by being on the road some days - at times, doing the cycling commute through the downtown section of the city is enough to get my heart going faster than racing in a crit. At least once a week (if not every other day), I have a close shave with a homicidal driver or a unsympathetic bus driver who thinks that I belong on a sidewalk, even though I've following the rules of the road to the letter. Granted, I'm not perfect, and I tend to roll through stop signs on my training rides, but I can honestly say I don't risk doing red lights. Even so, some days, heck, I just say "screw it" when the traffic's heavy and walk on the darn sidewalk, Look cleats or no Look cleats, just because I fear for my life. And so, I complain and write articles to the paper, complaining about motorists...

But then, I see those other cyclists.

The ones who like riding on sidewalks.
The ones who ride all over the road like a squirrel on crack.
The ones who don't care to signal.
The ones who blithely ignore ALL traffic signs and lights.
The ones who insist on riding in my blind spot when I drive.
The ones who weave in and out of traffic with (literally) blind abandon.

As a driver, I've had more than my share of close calls with them at intersections while making turns. I've suffered behind a group of 3 kids riding abreast (two abreast I can understand, but three kids on BMXs?!?). I've watched as one idiot on a Colnago, of all things, deftly rolled through a red light at a four-lane road intersection, then proceeded to ride along the sidewalk at full speed, nearly bashing into several pedestrians.

Who the heck is teaching these people how to ride?!? I'm sorry, but if I was lobbying for more rights for cyclists, I'd be pretty darned ashamed to do so for these idiot pedallers on the road. From what I've seen, I think more than ever that we not only need to fight for our rights to ride safely, but we have to TEACH how to ride safely, especially kids. As it is, I'm starting to get seriously pissed off when an experienced, safe cyclist takes the flak during an accident because he's considered just "another one of those crazy cyclists who don't ride by the rules of the road."
re: Fed up with $#!#@ cyclists! (warning - rant!)PaulCL
Jun 12, 2001 7:36 AM
Generally, I'm with you on this one. One of my riding partners insists on running red lights and stop signs all the time. I've gotten to the point that I stop anyway, then take my time catching up to him. Two weeks ago, he buzzed through a blind four-way stop in the middle of the country. He cut off a car, more specifically, a police car..but the office didn't do anything. I wish he had.

As for the sidewalk: I get yelled at regularly to get off the road and onto the sidewalk, which of course, I won't do. Reminds me of a guy I vaguely know the type. 45 years old, wears lycra to workout, wears a speedo, drives a red convertible, dates a 22 year old (that's OK), rides a USPS Trek totally decked out in USPS colors from his socks to his helmet. Where does he ride??? On the sidewalk. Kids belong on the sidewalk. Parents on "Sunday" rides with the kids belong on the sidewalk. Not us.

It starts with us. If we, as cyclists, want respect from cars, we have to behave like cars. Meaning: We have to follow the rules of the road.
Jun 12, 2001 9:32 AM
sidewalk is not a good place to be, but what gets me is the idiots that ride on a busy road tying up traffic when a wide, relatively unused bike path is right next to the road. you don't HAVE to ride the road if a better alternative exists. let's have some respect out there. you know if you were driving a busy 4 lane it's a pain to have to find a way around a cyclists or group of cyclists who could just as well be using the path next to the road and saving the hassle. i'm not talking about crowded or dangerous bike paths here either.
Jun 12, 2001 10:12 AM
Except for the driveways attached to a good bike path this is not a bad idea. I've tried to ride good bike paths only to narrowly miss T-Boning motor vehicles entering the road from these driveways without stopping first to make sure the bike path is clear. Forget it, I'll stay on the road unless I'm riding 5 mph.
Jun 12, 2001 1:56 PM
I'm not talking dangerous bike paths...these are ones with LOTS of space. i'd say you're more in danger from irate drivers having to slow from 50 down to your speed than from a car T-boning you which you should be able to see coming a mile away if you're paying attention.
Jun 14, 2001 11:08 AM
If there is a driveway crossing the's potentially dangerous. The driveways here in Florida are mostly invisible until you're within 15 to 20 feet of them. Ever try to slow down from 20 mph to zero in that space when a Cadillac suddenly appears in your path, even when you're paying the best attention? Especially when you're in your aero bars?
I admit, I ride the path in areas where there are long distances between driveways and cross streets, or when I'm cooling down and am traveling 5-8 mph. Any thing else...I'll stay on the road. I've not had any seroius problems with motor vehiclists coming from behind so far. Unless you want to count the ones that have made a right turn in front of me after passing me? But that would surly occur to the path rider as well.
Ride where you think your safest.
Road and path...not the same...biknben
Jun 13, 2001 10:01 AM
Before I start, let me explain that when pedaing around town or towing the kid around I prefer to use the sidewalks and paths.

A road is smoother, cleaner, well maintained, and safer when riding fast. A path is nothing more than 4 inches of asphalt on top of loose gravel. It's good for about a year. After that it gets heaved by winter freeze and thaw, it cracks, and is covered with debris.

Trying to do a training ride on a typically path is not fun in my book. Doing 20+mph on a path near me feels like the Paris-Roubaix.

The bike path has an intended purpose. I don't think they had faster cyclists in mind when they though of it. When it's just me, the bike, and the HRM, you'll find me on the road. When it's my daughter and I, on our way for ice cream, you'll find us on the path.
Wouldn't it be great...Spoke Wrench
Jun 12, 2001 7:43 AM
If I were king of the world and could make everybody else do what I know is best.
I can't say I never cross an intersection on the red. Whenbill
Jun 12, 2001 8:28 AM
the only traffic is waiting with me (and I do stop), I have made the executive decision that I am safer getting away from the traffic and not being turned into by someone going right, etc. And I have crossed prematurely (making absolutely sure that no one is coming on the cross street with the green; if there is any traffic at all, I stop and wait).
What does anyone think about that?
I do the same. But cautiously! (nm)Len J
Jun 12, 2001 8:31 AM
the best argument I've heard against this is that, when you'rebill
Jun 12, 2001 8:39 AM
tired, your judgment is in the sh*tter, so, don't trust it. Which is pretty persuasive.
the best argument I've heard against this is that, when you'reLen J
Jun 12, 2001 8:41 AM
Good point. And when you are tired your judgement about wether your judgement is impaired is impaired.
ugh. head hurt. NMHaiku d'état
Jun 12, 2001 2:23 PM
Cautiously, OKPaulCL
Jun 12, 2001 8:38 AM
..but my beef is with the guy(s) who run EVERY light and every stop sign as if it is their right to do so or as if the rules of the road don't apply to bicycles. I roll through stop signs too, but not when there is a car ready to cross. Then, I take my turn.

We can't demand respect from drivers if we don't respect the rules of the road.
I can't say I never cross an intersection on the red. WhenKEN2
Jun 12, 2001 10:17 AM
I think you are breaking the law and doing it in front of law-abiding citizens aka motorists, which tends to have a negative impact on their perception of you and all cyclists. It's not as hare-brained as some of the behavior described in the original rant, but think about this: everyone reacts negatively to people breaking the rules trying to "get ahead," like jumping ahead in a line. Have you considered that motorists who see you do what you describe may perceive you as one of these rule-breakers? When they catch up to you riding before the next red light their perception of you is just that, and I think they are less likely to go around you quietly and safely.

IMHO you shouldn't be stopped at a red light in a position that allows traffic to come up beside you. Personally I always take the lane as I approach a red light, and continue riding through the intersection (on green) in the middle of the lane, then head over to the right. That prevents drivers from overtaking you and turning right in front of you. I can easily accelerate faster in the initial startup than cars so their impatience is not usually a factor.
good points. nmbill
Jun 12, 2001 11:06 AM
Motorists are not law-abiding citizensredman
Jun 12, 2001 2:05 PM
I know you are only referring to motorists abiding the law at that moment as they wait for the light. And I agree with you about setting an example--I often don't roll through a light or sign when I could do so safely and considerately, only because do so so would seem inconsiderate and unfair to witnessing drivers who don't feel they can do that because they'd risk a ticket, whereas I don't risk a ticket(very unlikely anyway), and also because I don't want to seem to motorists as though I scoff at the law.

So I agree with you completely, KEN2, but I'm taking the opportunity to point out something that sometimes gets ignored in these conversations:
that those same motorists sitting obediently at the lights (and waiting to be morally disgusted at the cyclist who just rolled through) have likely just slowed down from a speed well above the speed limit. I have not observed any motorist that does not break at least a few traffic laws on every trip, no matter how safely he/she is driving. Where I live, every single driver speeds on the freeway and in many other road circumstances, and I've seen the same thing where ever I've lived. That includes all safe and considerate drivers I observe, too. I'd find it incredible if anyone tried to deny this. (Though I'm sure there are some motorists who never break laws, this is not at all how our motorist traffic opperates.)

That does not make it OK for cyclists to break the law; I'm pointing out that drivers and cyclists tend to break the law differently because of two things:
1)how safe it seems to do it, and 2)how likely they are to be ticketed. E.g., reasonable motorists drive faster that the limit when it seems more efficient, and when everybody is doing it and not getting ticketed. Cyclists run red lights when it seems safe enough after looking (as several posters here have confessed), and when it seems an ineffiency as a slow vehicle to sit around at a red light (cars are punished less for stop-start driving since the driver doesn't supply the power with his/her legs), and when it seems unlikely that he/she will be ticketed for running the light. Different kinds of vehicle drivers break different kinds of laws.

Again, I'm not trying to justify unsafe/unfair/illegal/inconsiderate behavior by cyclists. I'm pointing out that motorists make the same choices all the time, and sustain a high level of illegal actions (even within "safe" driving limits), and yet we don't examine the motorist's illegal choices because we take it for granted motorist's speeding, for example, is within our reasonable social limits. At worst though, we cyclists let ourselves get brow-beaten as scoff-laws by a motorist majority that is itself breaking laws in every outing of driving.

The only real difference is that the vehicle laws are pretty heavily enforced for motorists and not for cyclists. To begin enforcing vehicle laws for cyclists would require society to begin taking cycling seriously as transportation. Both would be good things in my opinion.
Ther is one other Major difference.........Len J
Jun 12, 2001 4:00 PM
there are more of them than there are of us. Pi** off enough drivers and they may start a movement to ban cyclist from some roads. I for one don't want to contribute to that possibility. Before you laugh, I have heard of counties & cities with such ordinances.
Ride considerately--that's my guideredman
Jun 12, 2001 11:27 PM
True, I've heard of those bans too. And though it's obvious that cyclist behavior that motorists object to would probably contribute to that kind of ordinance, I think that towns that want to ban cyclists are going to ban cyclists however they are behaving. The best way to prevent those kinds of bans are with effective activism and civic involvement in those decisions. The best reason to ride legally is to be considerate to others including motorists, and most of the time is is the safest way; I see motorists get pi**ed off at cylcists for just being there, regardless of the way they are riding.
Slight difference in cars speedingkenyee
Jun 13, 2001 7:23 AM
If you go at or below the speed limit, you'll be causing a hazard because cars will keep going around you.

Same thing would happen if you're riding in a pack and you decide to obey the laws and stop at a stop sign. I'm sure people would flip you off or plow into you.

The herd mentality is an amazing thing (not necessarily good)-:
Mad Cow DiseaseBreck
Jun 12, 2001 9:00 AM
Yo Baby must live in a different world than most of Youse Guys. Between Cyclists, Motorists, Bikers, Et. Al.'s, Me tolerates all of the Sins of the Road. Geeze, one Poster even got Golfer's in on the Gig. Ever notice when on the Road, Life is passing You by?* One must take responsibility for One's Own Self in Life. You cannot control the Masses last time Me checked. First We Take Manhattan, Then Berlin :)

my thought up phrase for the Insanity of trying to Control that which is Uncontrollable[-bl]

cheers All of "You" :)
Is "High Fidelity" your favorite movie or something?9WorCP
Jun 12, 2001 10:07 AM
You are an incorrigible musical "name dropper." It's like you have to show off your musical knowledge w/ every post. You do what you want buddy, but I'm beginning to wonder about you.

I'm not mad at you ar nothing, just raising an eyebrow.
Mid-Fi Guy will Cease, etc.Breck
Jun 12, 2001 10:29 AM
Sorry 9WorCP. Will cease. No, will gladly share my source references, as i don't have that good a memory! Mikey got me going on this ...again, thanks for the sanity check :)

You're alright Breck.9WorCP
Jun 12, 2001 10:41 AM
Just a stray jab from a bored guy. Be yourself, I'm not not a member of the "forum police."
You missed onemr_spin
Jun 12, 2001 9:09 AM
You missed my biggest rant: idiots riding on the wrong side of the street. I've seen more near misses with people doing this than anything else by far.

Whenever I encounter anyone doing this, I always hold my line. There is no way I am going to swing out into traffic I can't see to avoid them. They have the better view, they can swing out or pull over.
You missed oneLong_and_slow
Jun 12, 2001 9:29 AM
I agree. My dad is a recreational cyclist who insists on riding against the traffic on 2 lane roads. I have tried to explain the logic (not to mention the laws) on why he should not do this. I have not been successful and we just get into an argument. He feels he is safer because he can see cars coming at him instead of cars approaching from the rear. I brought up the argument about cars coming out of side streets and not looking to the right, but he says he watches them and will bail out onto the grass if necessary (he rides a hybrid bike).

It makes me nervous, but I have not been able to convince him.....
Reminds me of my DAD...biknben
Jun 13, 2001 10:14 AM
The stubbornness that is...

If it only starts an arguement, don't bother trying to persuade him. Stubbornness is a disease yet to be cured.

Hopefully he'll learn before getting hurt. Try printing these posts and showing him. If nothing else it will show him he's in the minority.
You should come to NYC.9WorCP
Jun 12, 2001 9:23 AM
And witness the magical pageantry of lawless cycling. Hell, in Queens even the cars ride on the sidewalk if the driver thinks it'll get him wherever faster. Being a traffic scofflaw is a point of pride and traffic rules are for suckers. This place is so far gone that most adults think there are no rules for cyclists. My personal favorites are the little gangs of Puerto Rican kids in my neighborhood who ride their bmx bikes in packs of 15 or more in the middle of the street going the wrong way. The cars are expected to stop for them and they invariably do. I've saw a guy with a chest of drawers tied to his back riding down the street in heavy traffic (pedestrian and vehicular). Just toodling along, ya know? God help whoever if he had to suddenly stop or swerve. This place is so hopeless your better off laughing about it because the problems will never be solved.
Jun 12, 2001 9:28 AM
there are bad cyclists...but you gotta admit that there are bad drivers too that do stupid things.
TOTALLY agree....rollo tommassi
Jun 12, 2001 9:43 AM
And when you say anything to the 'idiot', they look completely dumbfounded, as if it never occurred to them that they are being an idiot. Or, they get all huffy, like 'how dare you tell me what to do'.

Only shame and degradation can teach them the path to enlightenment (that's the Attila the Hun Buddhist Seminar motto)

Do you think we could get Ann Landers to respond to a post such as yours? I'd love to hear what she would say, etiquette wise....
re: Fed up with $#!#@ cyclists! (warning - rant!)DINOSAUR
Jun 12, 2001 10:30 AM
Aye laddy, I hear you. The trouble is that when we ride people watch us. A couple of boneheads ruin it for all of us. I was traveling with my wife the other day, and came upon two cylists on a one lane country road. They were riding abreast, and my wife who was driving, had to wait until the road widened as there was not enough room to pass them.
My wife muttered Why do cyclist do that? She brought it up again a couple of days later. I had no answer, I wanted to say that the cyclist was rude. Incidentally, both the cyclist were from my LBS and riding with club jerseys. One of the cyclist was the owner of the LBS. People remember stuff like this when they see another cyclist. Perhaps that's why some of them choose to blast by me, missing me by inches, when I'm trying to ride as far to the right as I can.
I was watching the news on TV the other day and the police are having a big crackdown on bicyclist in a neighboring large metropolitan city. The bicycle accidents were way up, and statistics indicated that bicyclist were at fault in 70% of bicycling accidents, nationwide.
In the longrun it hurts all of us. Ride safe, obey the laws, and don't become another statistic.
Fogot about how people percieve Cyclist...Len J
Jun 12, 2001 11:00 AM
based on the behavior of a few. Thanks for reminding me. I guess it's not just my own safety I need to be thinking about but also the continued acceptance of cyclist on the roads.

Something to Ponder!

As alway dinosaur, you give me somthing to put in my empty helmet. Thanks.
Only More QuestionsKristin
Jun 12, 2001 11:53 AM
I'm gonna swing into this conversation from a different angle--as an observer. As I ride, I watch. When I'm around better riders all decked out in team colors, I watch what they do to determine what I might change about my riding habits. Cycling happens to be one of the most cliqueish activities I've ever encountered. I used to stop at every stop sign in my neighborhood. But I've watched a couple cyclists who live near me, and noticed that they don't stop. Eventually, I began to immitate--only stopping if a car is approaches at the same time. There is a particular intersection (Penney+Bartlette) were the light is long. I've observed the faster pacelines here and they never wait for the light. As soon as a break in traffic appears, they go. Almost the entire mid-level group in our club has picked up on this and is following suit. In this area, road laws seem to be basically observered, but at times loosely. This is perpetuated as newer riders take their queue's from the more experienced, decorated riders. So is the Penney Road roll thru acceptable or is it wrong??
Depends on goal.....Len J
Jun 12, 2001 12:00 PM
If goal is to move fast & all is clear it's probably OK. If goal is to project cycling as a safe sport that should be allowed access to the roads......well maybe not.
Only More QuestionsDINOSAUR
Jun 12, 2001 3:23 PM
No it's wrong. I'm not familar with that location. I'm fortunate as I don't have any stop lights where I live. I think I counted 10 stop signs in a 25 hour ride. I'll roll to a near stop, and if no cars are appproaching, I'll roll through. I guess I'm kind of a hypocrite, a stop sign means "Stop" not slow. In the long run if you make a mistake in judgement and run a red light, your are the one who is going to pay. We have to remember that we are subject to the same rules of the road as a motor vehicle. A lot of our riding skills is learned by habit, develope bad habits and you could end up being a hood ordainment for somebody's car. Remember too, that in a recent survey in bicycle vs vehicle traffic accidents, the biyclist was found at fault in 70% of the accidents. A lot of this is the retired traffic cop in me speaking out. Some riders ride like they are invincible, and they are very shocked to find out they aren't. I think the longer you ride, the more invincible you think you are, and the more chances you take. I can speak for myself. It took me 26 years, and I thought I was a skilled rider. *hit happens!! Ride so you can ride tomorrow...
Slow To Observe Police!Lazy
Jun 12, 2001 3:54 PM
That's the actual definition. STOP is an acronym. Otherwise it wouldn't be in all caps right?
Jun 12, 2001 4:24 PM
I try to come to as close as possible to a near stop, then check to see if any traffic is approaching so I don't get run over. I was riding last summer, wearing dark sun glasses and I coped a left turn from a stop sign on a descending road and pulled in front of a car I didn't see. Maybe I'm lucky, I rarely see cops when I ride, it's my safety I'm concerned with. I also stopped riding with dark tinted glasses and use clear or amber.

Thanks for the tip Mr Lazy, whomever you are....
No worriesLazy
Jun 12, 2001 4:33 PM
I'm always glad to add a little levity to an otherwise serious topic!

I had to switch sunglasses recently too, but not because of the lenses. I had some Rudy's whose frame caused a blind spot when I turned around to see what was going on behind me. To remedy this, I would turn around further than natural. This then caused me to veer left or right pretty dangerously. Back to the Oakleys for me!
thought it was "Spin Tires On Pavement" nmfreespirit
Jun 13, 2001 10:39 AM
Good post. You forgot to mention the cyclists that trash carskenyee
Jun 12, 2001 12:25 PM
This was years ago in Harvard Square:
Cyclist is going opposite the flow of traffic, then decides to cut across traffic. I give him a glaring look. He bikes by me. As I start pulling away, he kicks in the side of my car and bikes away going the opposite direction.

Now how is this different from the horror stories about drivers backing over chained up bikes? It's just plain wrong to damage other people's property. And people wonder why kids are screwed up nowadays.

The laws have to be enforced evenly. In Boston, pedestrians are acting more like they are the only ones that exist on the road. They'll saunter across heavy traffic w/o making eye contact with drivers or cyclists. Ditto w/ cyclists and traffic rules; they are supposed to follow car traffic rules. The police don't go after pedestrians or cyclists who break rules. The ones who ignore rules and refuse to share fairly are the ones causing the accidents.
Are you from Tulsa, OK?freespirit
Jun 13, 2001 10:38 AM
and write letters to the editor?