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Thread: Is bike etiquette dead?

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    baiskeli's Avatar
    baiskeli is offline I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    Default Is bike etiquette dead?

    Very few cyclists seem to call their passes any more.

    I was in the bike lane on Wilson today and some pedestrians were about to jaywalk through it, but stopped. Just as I was about to swerve a little left to give them a wide berth, some jerk flies past me on the left. No warning. From the looks of him, he was an experienced cyclist who should know better. I have had people pass me on the right too, with no warning. One guy passed on the right as I was passing someone else on the left, and almost hit me as we were both coming back in the lane from opposite directions.

    Overall, even in safer situations, it seems only about 10 percent of cyclists on the trails and roads call warnings or ring bells these days. I don't expect it every time, but I do in hairy situations.

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    I'm getting a lot more than 10%, probably more like 70% warnings on the W&OD and Custis.

    Haven't ridden in the bike lanes of Arlington enough to guesstimate a percentage there.

    I agree -- warnings are valuable. I often hear the bicycle approaching, but not always, and especially not with auto traffic around. Better safe than sorry.

    Liz

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    I ride the W&OD to work and people rarely signal when passing. At a signalized crosswalk I witnessed three cyclists blast out into the street, turn right with the flow of traffic, cut off a car to pull and u-turn and swing back into the crosswalk just to avoid waiting another 30 seconds for the light to change. A minute later another cyclist blew by everyone waiting for the light to change and careened into traffic at full speed. He made it across, but not without scaring the crap out of a couple of drivers I'm sure. The rest of us kind of looked at each other in disbelief and shook our heads.

    I guess 10% of people drive their cars like idiots, why should cyclists be any different?

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    Geez, but yeah, I see this every day too. Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one who calls em out. When I call, I YELL! No sense mumbling it.

    On the rare occasion I'm riding in any sort of pack, I'm usually the only one who yells a passing call. I'm no saint, but at least I'm courteous!

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    Yesterday morning one of these doufuses ran a red light at Virginia and New Hampshire (he may have been on the sidewalk too) and almost ran into me. I was crossing with a green. Since I was riding a bike, it would have hurt if he hit me. If I were in a big metal box instead, we would have received his just desserts.

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    I typically don't announce or signal if I'm on the Cap or C&O, however I'm also only passing with very wide berths. If It is going to be tight, I usually don't pass at all or will say something first. This is what I do, because that's what I've found everyone else does. I have never ridden the street bike lanes before so I can't speak for them.

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    That's why I always glance behind me when I swerve or turn, specially in the bike lane.

    I don't worry too much the bikes. I want to make sure that the Big Box doesn't hit me.

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    PotomacCyclist is offline I spend all day thinking about bikes and talking to people on the internet about them.
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    What annoys me even more are people who pass when they clearly see oncoming bike traffic. They expect cyclists in the other lane to veer out of the way, even though the person passing is on the wrong side of the dividing line. This happened frequently last year. The passers can clearly see me riding toward them and yet they continue with their pass and ride almost directly at me.

    Since when does passing give someone an absolute right to go the wrong way on the trail? It's like there's some sort of unwritten rule about it now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PotomacCyclist View Post
    What annoys me even more are people who pass when they clearly see oncoming bike traffic. They expect cyclists in the other lane to veer out of the way, even though the person passing is on the wrong side of the dividing line. This happened frequently last year. The passers can clearly see me riding toward them and yet they continue with their pass and ride almost directly at me.

    Since when does passing give someone an absolute right to go the wrong way on the trail? It's like there's some sort of unwritten rule about it now.
    Yeah, I'm on the same page. If I am approaching a slower cyclist or pedestrian from behind and my target solutions are fuzzy due to oncoming bike or pedestrian traffic patterns (highly fuzzy if any pets or children are involved) I just slow up and wait it out, then announce the pass and go. I've hardly ever passed someone when doing so means I'm lined up or nearly lined up between the passee and oncoming traffic of any sort. I like to give myself a wide berth, esp. since I'm on the big dummy most of the time. The couple times I had, it was just poor judge of timing on my part (e.g. oncoming cyclist was going substantially faster than I had initially estimated, live and learn).

    This behavior can, of course, be a surprise to someone following me too closely. I think I need some "I brake for..." bumper stickers...

    Brendan

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    How many folks have a bell? I don't know how you could ride on a MUT like the WOD without one. One thing I've found.. I switched from a mini incredi-bell to a nice brass hammer-strike crane bell. The incredibell is pretty lound but short ring -- it has no sustain. It makes a short "ping" sound. The brass bell has a much longer and louder sound.... RIIINNNGGGGGGGGG with more sustain. I think the longer tone helps pedestrians tell how fast you're approaching. So the brass ones do work better. It even made the guy with over-the-ear headphones walking two pitbulls on 8-foot leads in the middle of the trail heard it.

    Then again if you don't like the idea of having the extra weight of a tiny aluminum black bell on your road bike you're probably not going to get a giant brass one.

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