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Riding on rural roads or urban roads?(19 posts)

Riding on rural roads or urban roads?2ride
Apr 2, 2002 12:07 AM
Normally I'd rather ride on quite rural country roads free of the traffic and noise of the city. Recently however, I have noticed that I encounter a higher percentage of drivers on rural roads being inconsiderate and unforgiving than drivers in the city. Granted I encounter many more cars while riding in the city, but proportionately, they are much more considerate drivers. Another observation is that, in general, the more expensive the car the more considerate the driver. Any thoughts?
Rural and Urban OK - stay away from suburban thoughRay Sachs
Apr 2, 2002 4:43 AM
I do alright in urban riding - traffic speeds aren't that high and I can just take my place in traffic without slowing anyone else down significantly. Also, relatively few nasty drivers, probably because they're already in a constrained situation so another obstacle causes relatively little additional aggravation for them. Really rural areas also seem to be ok, primarily because there's so little traffic and if the road is curvy enough, they aren't going much faster than I am. Suburban riding scares the cr@p out of me though - big differential between bike and car speeds, stressed out and angry drivers thoroughly stuck in the car culture, road designs that suck for cyclists, etc.

I don't find any consistent pattern regarding cost of the car and politeness of the drivers. 99% of all drivers are quite considerate and the 1% that aren't can be driving ANYTHING.

Were you on our ride Saturday? ;-) nmMB1
Apr 2, 2002 4:48 AM
YeahRay Sachs
Apr 2, 2002 11:04 AM
I was on your Saturday ride, but I was in the Philly exurbs instead of the DC exurbs. It's all the same ride :)

Suburbs aren't that bad. Just stay off the choke & pukesdzrider
Apr 2, 2002 5:47 AM
You do need to know the roads and stay away from suburban shopping areas with strip malls and fast food places. I'll agree that they are the worst situation on a bike. Most of the CT suburbs have smaller, alternative roads that will take you out to the rural areas where riding is actually enjoyable.
Anywhere but suburbs.MB1
Apr 2, 2002 4:45 AM
We were talking about this on our Saturday ride. We all agreed that rural and urban roads are much better than the suburbs.

Rural roads don't have much traffic and only occasional morons. You can usually hear cars coming.

In the city we know to be agressively alert in traffic. There are also lots of bike routes in cities for casual rides and riders.

Suburban drivers are nutso crazy driving fast and ignoring (and not expecting) cyclists and pedestrians. Around DC there is a huge problem of pedestrians getting run over trying to cross suburban roads. If I am riding in the 'burbs I am not happy.
Anywhere but suburbs.netso
Apr 2, 2002 4:52 AM
I was hit by a hit-run driver in the suburbs. I ride primarily in rural areas, rail-to-trails, or bike areas without car traffic. The only comment I have gotten from rural drivers, "why do you wear such bright clothes?" I tell them its because they notice me!
What about the age of drivers in Florida.MB1
Apr 2, 2002 5:21 AM
Miss M has a sister in Florida-they are always talking about how dangerous it is with all the old drivers.

BTW how was traffic on Skyline Drive. We do all of our long rides on roads like that crossing back and forth over all those ridges. I am always amazed (coming from California) how little traffic there is on these beautiful roads.
What about the age of drivers in Florida.netso
Apr 2, 2002 6:04 AM
The areas that we ride in do not have elderly riders in the main. Have a lot of pickup drivers, but they have been relatively friendly. The Blue Ridge was great, wish it could be transplanted to my area in Florida.
Senior Driversjw2
Apr 2, 2002 7:14 AM
I just had to relate this story that my brother told me over the weekend.

As he was merging on to the highway last week, a car with Florida tags and containing a senior couple passed by. He could see that the man was driving and that the woman (spouse?) was reading a book. My brother pulled in behind them.

They hadn't traveled even a 1/2 mile when my brother spots a deer coming down an embankment towards the highway. He immediately begins to slow, but recognizes that the seniors are still going full speed. Of course the obvious happens, the seniors hit the deer, knocking it 20-30 ft. into the air, it spirals 4-5 times and lands in a ditch. The front bumper flies off the seniors' car across 2 lanes of traffic. So how do the seniors react? They don't. They never even so much as slowed down. Another driver in the lane next to my brother has also slowed and shakes his head in amazement.

My brother decides to try and catch up to the couple to let them know what happened. As he gets close enough, he starts flashing his lights and blowing his horn, but it fails to draw a response. Inside the car, he can see that the woman is still reading her book. At this point, my brother has reached his exit, as he pulls off he watches the seniors continue obliviously on down the road.

Now I don't have anything against seniors, I hope to be one myself someday, but I can't help substituting a cyclist for the deer in this story every time I think about it. Scary.

On the humorous side though, can't you just see them coming out of Denny's 2 hours later. "Look Henry! Someone has backed into the front of our car and they didn't even bother to stop."

BTW, I wish you guys would please stop talking about how nice the Blue Ridge Parkway is. It's supposed to be our little secret. :-)
agree 100% nmgtx
Apr 2, 2002 11:51 AM
Expensive=courteous doesn't apply to SUVs...retro
Apr 2, 2002 8:19 AM
Depends a little on what part of the country you live in, I think. When I ride around the Sili Valley, all I see are BMW drivers with Colnagos in their garages (little stereotype there?), and they're predisposed to be aware of bikes. In other parts of the country it doesn't always apply. What I notice most are the terrible driving habits of 20ish to 40ish mommies in SUVs--phone in one hand, diet coke in the lap, swatting at the kids and trying to change a CD while they make a left turn out of the mall...
I thought I was the only one with "Soccer Mom" phobia! (nm)rideslikeagirl
Apr 2, 2002 8:42 AM
Apr 2, 2002 8:56 AM
Some of the wonderful backroads we used to ride on after work have become alternate routes for commuters now. They want to avoid the traffic on the freeway, and they still want to drive as fast as if they were on a freeway. Plus, they are still building houses miles out in the boonies. That's not going to help with traffic. Few of these commuters seem to give a damn about cyclists. We're just in their way, and sometimes a source of amusement as they try to run us off the road.

It got scary enough that we just don't ride a lot of places anymore on weekdays during commute times. Sadly, I can only see it getting worse, not better.
just the oppositegrandemamou
Apr 2, 2002 10:53 AM
I lived in several large NE cities and got tired of fighting traffic both on and off the bike. Every ride was a white knuckled slugfest. Trying to carve out a piece of the rode for myself made the riding unpleasant.

I live in a very rural part of the south and the natives are pretty friendly. You get the occasional jerk in a pick up but nothing like city riding. There are roads we ride that we can go for hours on without meeting more than one or two cars and they are mostly friendly farmers.
you can't fool me, I saw Easy RiderSlipstream
Apr 2, 2002 11:33 AM
Those guys in pickups also have shotguns in the window--and they just love us freaks in lycra on a lonely country road, particularly when they are getting home from an allnighter' suckin' some gawdawful home brewed hooch.

So, is this a cycle friendly area? Are you going to reveal it to the rest of us or just keep it to yourself and the new arrival? ;>)
re: Riding on rural roads or urban roads?Krypton
Apr 2, 2002 11:46 AM
I really feel for you guys. Where I live, I'm out of the city in a couple of minutes (small city by the way) and I can do a 200k ride without seing to many cars. And I can also find great MB trails all around. Occasional retard in there pick up, but they are rare. The biggest danger on the roads was this huge german sheppard that loves to come after me....good for sprint training....

I guess, one day, I'll have to invite all of you to come up from the states (Qc, Canada) and come ride with me around here. The roads are a bit bumpy some times, but the ridin's fine!
Road and driver observationsms
Apr 2, 2002 1:38 PM
I live in the suburbs and consequently begin every ride on suburban roads. But, I also ride both on urban roads (when I ride to my office -- about once per week) and on rural roads. I agree with the posts above that the suburban roads are the worst. However, the most significant factor is not the type of road, but when one is riding. For example, Saturdays are hell in the suburbs (every soccer mom, mall bunny and office worker is out and about). But, the same roads often are deserted during major holidays and sports events (e.g., world series, "important" televised football games in which the home team is playing).

Insofar as drivers are concerned, their attitudes seem to correlate to their age and sex: Males under 40 -- at either extreme, either very obnoxious or very considerate. Females under 40 -- very considerate unless they have kids in the car (then they are dangerous). Males and females 40-60 -- neutral. Males and females over 60 -- they appear to be scared of us (for example, they will hover behind and not pass). Exception to the over 60 generalization -- drivers of large American cars (Lincolns, Cadillacs, Oldsmobiles) like to lean on their horns whenever they see a cyclist (there are so many near my house that I now can distinguish between a Lincoln horn and a Cadillac horn).
I find the opposite...DINOSAUR
Apr 2, 2002 7:51 PM
I ride nothing but rural roads. The more remote I travel, the more considerate the drivers tend to become. Not that I don't get some idiot blowing by me once and a while missing me by inches. The more rural I get, the drivers seem more tolerant. Probably because they don't see that many cyclist. And also because they aren't in a rat race and don't fret over losing a couple of seconds because they have to slow for a two wheeler. Of course there are some rural roads I just won't ride no matter what. Had a lady in a newer model MZB conv. blow by me today in a 8ft traffic lane. I don't find a correlation with types of vehicles..