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Are you a better driver?(9 posts)

Are you a better driver?mr_spin
Sep 19, 2001 11:02 AM
I was driving home from Los Angeles along I-5 last night, and a few thoughts occurred to me.

Driving next to a line of trucks used to be a nervous, tense experience, but not anymore.

Drivers drifting over into my lane at 75mph used to be a nervous, tense experience, but not anymore.

I wonder if it is because of all the time I've spent riding in pacelines. I'm now comfortable with plunging down a curving hill at 35mph in a double paceline. And I've learned not to panic and overreact to various situations (drifting or debris, for example) from riding in groups and pacelines.

Am I nuts? Or does anyone else think this has some merit?
I think your on to something...The General
Sep 19, 2001 11:33 AM
For the past few years I have kinda wondered that same thing. Both from road riding and Mountain biking it seems I am more comfortable in the same situations and I have a faster recation to the mistakes of other drivers. Better reflexes have saved me several times.

The General
re: Are you a better driver?Gus Riley
Sep 19, 2001 11:46 AM
I agree, I think I'm a better driver since I began riding. I also know that I don't drive as fast as I used to. I know I'll get there and the speed isn't going to make a bit of difference unless you count the savings in gas from going ten MPH less than I use to.

I still haven't had any luck "Bunny-Hopping" in my Ford Ranger!
Yes, cause I realize how bad I bike.MB1
Sep 19, 2001 12:15 PM
Running red lights, wishing I could speed, swerving in and out of traffic, riding on the sidewalk, jumping curbs, bouncing off of cars. I never ride the wrong way though.

So I get all of my crazyness out commuting and I am very calm driving and on weekend rides.
Yes. Absolutelyguido
Sep 19, 2001 12:42 PM
Riding a bike makes you a better driver, yeah. You have to anticipate what's moving in front of you, don't (generally!) try to beat traffic, and ya gotta have patience on the climbs! Ever drafted the cars in heavy traffic? Go with the flow is not new. I used to drive in 70mph pacelines on the Long Island Expressway, bumper to bumper. One crash brought down 30 cars once, just like in a bike race. I drive my car with the flow of traffic, am better at negotiating lane changes than before, and am more respectful of the other traffic, road conditions, aerodynamics, the "feel" of the car, and like others who responded, not so much in a hurry that I impatiently tailgate other cars. That's one of the nice spinoffs of bicycling traffic: it not only "calms" by slowing down the rate of flow, but also sets an example for motorists. Bicycling can civilize our streets!
re: Are you a better driver?DINOSAUR
Sep 19, 2001 12:52 PM
I feel uncomfortable driving on our Ca freeways. Perhaps it's because I know what can happen. I feel safer riding my bike on the back country roads where I live. Cycling probably makes us better drivers as we hone our reflexes and might have better visual perception than the average driver. If you are physically fit you don't tire as easy and probably adapt to stress better. I'm leery of big rig truck drivers, some of them don't belong behind the wheel of an 18 wheeler.
Yes and Nogrzy
Sep 19, 2001 3:20 PM
Yes you're probably a better driver, but you may actually be more dangerous. See you don't have much time to figure out the other driver's skills. You may actually be letting dangerous people get too close to you and place you in a position from which you can no longer react safely. In a pace line you have the time to do an assessment of the riders around you. There are some guys in our group that I won't let get too close to me - they're skills are lacking and they're a bit unpredictable at times. Used to fly jets for the Navy and close formation is the same thing.
Well, maybe calmer..TypeOne
Sep 19, 2001 5:17 PM
Like others have posted below, it seems like riding in pacelines gets you more accustomed to being close to other vehicles at high speeds. I experience the same thing! But I had to wonder to myself whether it was good to be so...calm when I should be more cautious when driving. As long as I resist the impulse to "jump on the wheel" of the guy who is "attacking" by swerving through lanes and accelerating up to 90 mph, I guess I am ok.
On the other hand, cycling has certainly made me a more passive and considerate driver. That's the benefit I see. But more comfortable with high speeds, bigger vehicles and closer proximities---well, I am not sure that's a good thing.
re: Are you a better driver?David Feldman
Sep 20, 2001 5:51 AM
I started "real" cycling in 1968 and learned to drive in 1987. Cycling informs my driving; i never dispute a right-of-way, treat speed limit signs as if they mean something, and try to remember that 1.) Every human powered traveler has a superior moral right to road space than I and 2.)That every time I step on the gas I'm destroying all of the living world and committing treason at the same time.