Share the road?
This morning, we were out for a breakfast ride through back roads frequented by bicyclists. As we approached a T-intersection, a group of 12 blew the stop sign and continued down the road in front of us. Hubby was able to pass the group before the twisties. I was not. As I poked along at a respectable distance behind them, I finally got to a straight away where I could pass. Half way through the group, the leader sticks out his left hand signaling a left turn. The rest of the pack cut the corner and I was forced onto the left shoulder to avoid hitting someone all the while getting screamed at.
Of the 12, only one signalled a turn and the rest immediately moved over into the opposing lane. What happened to share the road??? I've got nothing against the bicyclists sharing our public back roads but at least drop the pack mentality and abide by traffic laws. This could have ended much worse for all of us.
Well Tracy...as you asked...I think it's part of the training from high school. It starts when the sports teams are sent out running in the road, day or evening, no reflective vests.....or maybe it's the jogging strollers that are pushed ahead-let go-then caught. I still remember Pain Hurts. :whistle
I consider bicyclists among the most dangerous vehicles for exactly the reasons you had this experience. I give them a VERY wide berth. What happened to you is inexcusable and very dangerous--and from what you say, was in no way your fault.
It's easy to interpret some of the things they do as 'arrogant' and that might be true. . . and I'm not excusing the things they do--but if you put yourself 'in their head' it helps (a bit). .
Like motorcyclists, bicyclists who ride alot find it safer to be 'assertive' and when at speed are reluctant to yield their lane to traffic approaching from the rear, for fear of being forced over onto an unsafe shoulder by impatient drivers or blocked from making a left turn at a safe speed for them. So they hog their lane--especially when planning a left turn. Plan accordingly. Their behavior at stop signs has to do with being unwilling or too lazy to shift down and take their shoes out of the clips for a full stop. Just plan on them not coming to a full stop. They sometimes act like they dont know we're approaching them from behind because THEY MAY NOT KNOW WE ARE APPROACHING THEM (especially a quiet motorcycle). They have minimal or no mirrors, poor hearing due to wind noise, and limited ability to accelerate out of danger (plus relatively poor braking, and terrible traction on difficult surfaces). Part of doing what they love is challenging themselves to go faster. . and when they ride in a pack they are likely drafting and don't want to be separated and have to reorganize for every single vehicle that will pass them. So they are piggy about riding in a group and not yielding to vehicles approacing from the rear (again I am NOT defending this. . .). Piggy, but predictable.
My horn sounds like a broken party favor and makes people burst out laughing-- so I rarely use it, but it really helps--in situations like the one you had--to give bicyclists a toot, or when you see they are thinking of blowing a stop and pulling out in front of you. Unlike car drivers, bicyclists will probably hear even the lamest motorcycle horn. It lets them know you consider what they are doing to be a potential hazard. Like us, bicyclists have an 'us versus them' mentality about cars and dont like the idea of being hit any better than motorcyclists do. . .and will usually respond if they are warned. They'll definitely take an extra 'over-the'shoulder' look. You may get saluted, but so what? Better than having them turn in front of you.
A lot of cyclists get into the herd mentality. Additionally, many ride with music playing. It is possible they didnt know you were there. I don't know of what else you could have done.
While I do encounter polite bicyclists who actually obey the same traffic laws that I must abide by (plus, actually, a few more specific just to them!), they are few and far between. :banghead
I consider a bicyclist ahead of me as unpredictable as deer.
They knew I was there. They passed two of us at the three-way intersection waiting to pull out when they ignored the stop sign. Only one passed them and the back of the pack kept looking back expecting me to pass. I was trying to be courteous.
I find that one or two bicyclists are generally polite and will often wave us by. I make a point not to crowd them. But put them in a group and watch what happens. Given the roads we share (tight turns, blind corners, narrow roadways with no shoulder) it can get hairy.
Oh well. We made it home safely and hopefully they did too.
I find ironic that about once a year or so a letter appears in the local newspaper complaining about motorists not rendering courtesy and respect to bicyclists, when what I see on the road is generally a complete disregard of traffic laws and courtesy by bicyclists towards other road users.
I suspect that since the police are reluctant to cite the bicyclists ("don't you have anything better to do") , they feel that they can violate the traffic laws with impunity.
This is whether it's the elite ones (wearing the racing costumes & etc) or a couple of old geezers going barely fast enough to stay up.
There is a lesson here; being predictable to other highway users often will benefit your safety. Don't forget "we" are occasionally accused of the same behavior.
I will happily share the road with bicyclists when they start respecting traffic laws, keeping to the right of the lane, and riding single file. The way they are around here, I'd rather be surrounded by drunk texters.
You want radical bicycle folk, find San Fransisico, Santa Cruz and the like! We have 'em in mass. They do have some point to their "madness", just like us bikers on mc's. Cage drivers rarely pay attention to any two wheelers, so they do their best to ignor most rules and push it! It gets ugly at times, even for us fellow bikers with engines. Randy:dance
I figure there's nothing I can do to change the minds or behaviors of the more militant bicyclists, so I treat them all like deer. Oblivious and totally unpredictable. Getting mad at a bicyclist is about as effective as getting mad at a deer. Hitting one is probably about as painful.
"Hitting one is probably about as painful."
and probably more expensive. The bicyclist will hire a lawyer. :fight
As a law abiding bicycle commuter, I 'd like to be able to ride with a sign announcing that I'm not like those others. One problem is that too many riders grow up with the idea of the bicycle as a toy and that the rules of the road don't apply to them. The pack mentality exacerbates the problem.
If this should happen again, try to notice bike shop or other local sponsor screens on the jerseys and complain to those sponsors about the behavior of those wearing their name. My LBS threatened to stop sponsoring a local group if the riding behavior the members did not improve. It worked.
'98 Waterford 2200, Canary Yellow w/Campy Chorus
[QUOTE=rkoreis;775228] The pack mentality exacerbates the problem.
That's the biggest factor...both on bicycles AND motorcycles.
Having ridden in a large pack or charity ride,the same attitude prevails as many large motorcycle groups.There are so many levels of experience and the pack follows the leader. I have paid the price out on rural roads when riding solo for actions of the groups that do not follow basic rules of the road or common courtesy.
In TX you can ride two abreast when you do not impede normal traffic...that leaves a wide berth of interpretaion. You may also take the whole lane if the roadway is under 14' in width and there is not room for two vehicles to take the lane safely. This causes a lot of issues from folks that do not know the laws. Have had rural LEO's actually tell me to get off the road because it did not have a shoulder ( most rural roads do not) ...it was a long discussion that ended up with me riding away and riding that road often.
Having ridden both kinds for most of my life, and both in "costumes" as perceived by others( BMW riders certainally have little room to poke fun!:brow)
I do not blow stop signs, and quit riding with some of the local college teams due to the pack mentality actions. I ride my motorized bikes more, but used to average 200 miles a week on pedal power.
On the road, I regard bicyclists as a species of deer. Unpredictable and erratic, ready to jump in front of you at any moment. To be approached with all due caution.
There are some twisties near here that are a favourite of motorcyclists and bicyclists. It turns out the bicyclists are the biggest problem for the police. On one occasion I was out with a friend and we came upon a group of bicyclists. I passed them on a curve approaching a stop, stopped at a stop sign, made a left turn and went ahead. My friend disappeared. I couldn't see him. I went back and he was picking his motorcycle up off the road. The bicyclists had suddenly turned left in front of him without looking or signalling. He was coming to the stop sign and going very slowly and they cut him off and forced him to brake unexpectedly and down he went. I now sound the horn when approaching bicyclists.