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stoop
08-31-2007, 07:10 PM
I ride a road bike daily.
I also drive a car for a living.
I stop at stop signs on my bike and in my car, I dont tailgate on my bike or in my car, I use my turn signals(bike & car), I yield to pedestrians(bike & car), I wear a helmet (bike), because I'm not suicidal. I use my lights at night (bike & car).
On my bike I use the bike routes and stay off busy streets when possible, because I'm not obnoxious, suicidal and I dont need the attention.
I respect life and enjoy riding my bike and driving my car.
I must be an idiot.
Sincerely, Stoop

mcubed
09-01-2007, 04:30 AM
Well, from what I've seen lately, I'd say you're the exception.

I've been disheartened by how many pedestrians stop for me when I'm riding my bike, even though they are in/approaching a crosswalk and clearly have the right-of-way. I stop. They stop. I smile and say or motion for them to continue. They do, in a somewhat shocked state.

This tells me that my experience as a pedestrian isn't unique; that there are many pedestrians out there who have become used to cyclists speeding past them, ignoring the rules of the road (which so many cyclists seem to think should apply to everyone but them), overconfident in their manoeuvrability. I've spend about 25 years primarily as a pedestrian (mostly in NYC) and less than a year as a cyclist (and never a regular driver -- never owned a car) and my only collision ever was with a cyclist on a multi-use path. I was on foot. I thought maybe my perspective was somewhat skewed by my own personal history, but I'm realizing as I get more experience as a cyclist that it isn't. The obvious conclusion is that the group with the most blatant disregard for sharing the road is cyclists.

That explains why the cow on her bicycle this moring was dinging her bell and shouting "on your left" at me on the Hawthorne Bridge, as I was slowing down because of the large number of pedestrians and joggers I was approaching. She apparently felt no concern for anyone else's safety.

So what I wonder is do people who are basically good drivers become assholes when they start cycling, or should I be grateful that these people aren't behind the wheel of a car?

tatt2ed
09-01-2007, 08:22 AM
I have only been in Portland a month and I am amazed that so many people still are riding bikes here since most don't use common sense or;
lights at night
helmets at all
singling
stopping at lights or stop signs
riding against traffic on one streets

I am surprised that they haven't all been weeded out by now. I hate driving and I hate driving more in Portland since I really don't want to he the one that doesn't see one of the above riders and hits them.

bikey3
09-01-2007, 04:03 PM
I ride a road bike daily.
I also drive a car for a living.
I stop at stop signs on my bike and in my car, I dont tailgate on my bike or in my car, I use my turn signals(bike & car), I yield to pedestrians(bike & car), I wear a helmet (bike), because I'm not suicidal. I use my lights at night (bike & car).
On my bike I use the bike routes and stay off busy streets when possible, because I'm not obnoxious, suicidal and I dont need the attention.
I respect life and enjoy riding my bike and driving my car.
I must be an idiot.
Sincerely, Stoop

My story sounds similar.
HOWEVER, I realize that being a biker & driver doesn't mean I am free from ever being an idiot or making mistakes in both realms.
CASE IN POINT: While driving downtown (blech) and talking on my cell phone a few days ago, I went to make a right turn without checking well enough and almost creamed a cyclist. It was my fault; I felt like a total asshole. (If you're reading this, I'm sorry again!! It was on 2nd and Alder, roughly. You cursed and gestured wildly, I rolled down the window and feebly called out my apologies from a biodiesel benz. You said "you shouldn't be on your phone!" )

I've decided since the incident that in order to properly share the road I shouldn't be on my cell phone at all while driving. I won't wait for a law to pass, if it ever does, to try to curb this bad habit. I hope other drivers interested in sharing the road will do the same. My main strategy is to put the phone on silent whenever I get in the car.

Does anyone have any suggestions or similar concerns?? It's been embarrassingly difficult to stop yakking and driving, over the years my car has become something like my personal phone booth for longer calls. but I'm trying..
I haven't yet achieved perfection at transporting myself safely/efficiently. As a consolation though, no one else has either.

wsbob
09-01-2007, 05:23 PM
I wouldn't mind so much if drivers at least used the hands-free phones (although I think even those can be critical distractions in traffic), but this business of people trying to grasp and talk on their conventional cells while driving is just terrible. You can tell that most of them doing this don't know what the hell is going on around them. Your life hangs in the balance around these drivers.

Every once in awhile I do dopey things on the bike, to my considerable consternation. Yesterday I was riding from Beav to Hillsboro through Aloha on Alexander, a fairly quiet neighborhood street. Came to 185th, a very busy North/South thoroughfare; 4 lanes I think. Finally, I start crossing (Ihave the stop sign, 185th doesn't at this intersection...some cars considerately wait for me, and half-way across, I realize there's a 4-5" high concrete meridian dividing the directions of travel. It wasn't painted yellow, maybe that's why I didn't see it. Fortunately, it wasn't solid, but had some narrow spaces that I could ride through, even though my impression was that I wasn't supposed to. Meanwhile, as I pick my way through this, the main traffic is rapidly backing up, backing up.

huss
09-02-2007, 10:05 AM
Ok, one thing I have noticed after biking many years I'm 38. When on a bike you somtimes feel like a vehicle and sometimes a plain person that can fly. That is why most people enjoy riding, flying on wheels, and some even leave the ground.

I have to admit I dont wear a helmet, I used to years back, after I trusted a driver, that motioned for me to go and then was side swiped by a car, over the hood rolled out of it. No dammage to me just a bent crank arm where the car hit my bike. I was lucky to be on the up stroke on that side, or a leg injury would have happened. I know i'll never win the helmet debate, but if you want full protection, wear a full-face helmet.

I also admit I roll threw stop signs and go at stop lights before the light is green, but only after looking all directions two to three times to make sure there is no risk. The bottom line now is I dont trust any car out there even if it is parked, a door could swing open in front of you...ouch my greatest fear somtimes........most of my law breaking is at night when I get off work like 3-5 in the mourning, but I do have lights and use them.

One other thing I have motioned for cars to go after they stop for me and get the puzzeled look from drivers even thou the light is green for them. so the bottom line is I only break the law when nobody is around (mainly) I see some bikers cruse threw a intersection and just because its green they dont look around, just straight ahead. So I may not be perfect but I'm alert and pay attention to whats going on at all times on my bike and when I'm driving.

Also I ride fixed gear so that makes me a jerk right off the bat, I do have a front break, but try not to use it........and if i ever get a ticket it would be at the 39th and glisan round-about thing where I never stop, just watch the cars and keep flying threw..............:rolleyes:

donnambr
09-02-2007, 11:55 AM
Well, here are my rather extensive random thoughts in no particular order...

I used to drive a car. I don't own one anymore. My bike is my car and I use it to go just about everywhere. I only use Tri-Met to get over the West Hills and if I need to get to outer East County and I don't have time to ride. I commute downtown every weekday. I prefer quieter routes, but sometimes quieter routes are not available for the places I need to go. You see, just because I ride a bike as my primary form of transportation does not mean things like work commutes, doctor appointments, and grocery shopping become some sort of optional recreational activity. There are also situations where the physical hazards of a quieter route are more dangerous for me than taking the lane on a busy road for a short stretch. Using SE Division between SE Division Place and SE 13th to get between the Eastbank Esplanade and the Clinton neighborhood comes immediately to mind, as does avoiding the incredibly dangerous bike lane on SW Broadway downtown in favor of a parallel street with no bike lane and good traffic light timing. That's when you'll see me on busier routes. To not take the lane on the one ways downtown is completely suicidal, IMO. With the lights timed at 16-20 mph and a speed limit of 20 mph, I don't see how in the world I could be slowing down a motorist unless they wish to exceed the speed limit. Last time I checked, speeding is as illegal as running a stop sign. Also, I'm pretty sure the term "speed limit" does not mean "slowest speed you're allowed to go" unless the sign also posts a "minimum speed".

I stop at red lights. However, if it's 2 in the morning and completely deserted, I will proceed. If it's late at night and I'm nervous about the car stopped next to me (young, drunk males), I will proceed if it's clear. Basically, if I perceive the risk of remaining longer where I am outweighs the risk of proceeding through a red light, I'm going to do it. I make complete front wheel-stops at stop signs when there's even the slightest hint of a ped, car, or other bike, although I may roll a tad bit if I'm pulling my trailer with a lot of stuff on it. Oddly enough, I've noticed cars pulling trailers often do that, too.

I ride on the correct side of the street, I use lights at night, and I don't ride on the sidewalk in downtown Portland - that's the law. I wear a helmet about 90% of the time. Since I am older than 16, I am in compliance with the law in this state. Many people prefer cars with air bags, but it is not illegal to drive a car without them.

Now the Hawthorne Bridge is a whole 'nother story. IMO, if they really wanted to reduce tension on the bridge, they would restrict ped and bike traffic during rush hour to one way only - and enforce it. As far as I'm concerned, MUPs are generally a set-up for both peds and cyclists. They're never big enough for the number of people who want to use them - even the fantastic ones we have in Portland. And why do they want to use them? Because there are too many motorists who are far too careless of human life to be allowed a drivers' license. I've seen people even go so far as to actually drive their cars to MUPs to ride their bikes. And so we are shoved and crammed into these tiny spaces and wonder why we can't all get along. Don't get me wrong, bikes need to yield to peds - that's very important. Nothing pisses me off more than watching some jerk on their bike nearly run down an old lady or a kid, except for when that same jerk yells at me for slowing them down because I'm yielding to a pedestrian. However, peds might consider that flexi-leashes allowing their dogs to wander all over, double and triple wide strollers, and 5 people walking astride isn't exactly what you call sharing, either. It would also be nice if parents took MUP riding as a opportunity in which to educate their children on how to ride a bike around other human beings. Perhaps they might even actually say something to their little darlings when they do know better and still endanger others? I can only dream...

beelnite
09-05-2007, 03:53 PM
These are great posts - and I think a lot of us really want to share this stuff about our bike experiences. Awesome! Hopefully it will keep going, because it is interesting to hear other people's riding habits and experiences in PDX.

More random thoughts:

The Hawthorne Bridge really rings with me. I like the new "Double Bike Lane" passing lane they put at the base of the bridge on the East side. That is cool. Now the dudes who think they are sprint starts can pedal furiously at the green light, pass the slow starters and then slow the rest of us down when they hit the up slope of the bridge.

That never fails - the dudes zipping by on the flats and downhills always seem to peter out when they hit the hills. Probably just my impression. I'm a short little hill climber with nobby tires anyway.

Hey but on the Hawthorne - I don't care if anyone is slowing me down. We should slow down. In fact, I recommend single file. Just make it your policy not to pass anyone unless they're obviously just dogging it to not break a sweat.

"Tailgating" on a bike? It is my personal campaign to encourage Portland bike riders to learn the art of drafting and share the experience with other willing riders. Seriously it's not as hard as it looks and it can be an awesome way to save your legs particularly if you ride long commutes (say over 5-6 miles) M-F. Even the experienced rider is going to feel it come Friday afternoon.

I'm thinking about getting a sign - "Drafting OK". I think it's cool if folks do it and are willing to take turns. Does anyone know of a hand signal that might be universally understood as "s'ok ride my butt for the next mile, then I'll ride yours?"

As it is, if you pass me and I think we're probably about equal, I might "tailgate" you a little. Sorry to offend, but it seems if someone works up ahead of another bike and they don't want tailgating, they need to blow that bike away for a few blocks, not feet.

Oh yeah, the "On your Left" thing. AND the bell. NO I am sorry I have yet to meet any other rider using those things in a non-bullish fashion. I can't count the times I've heard someone scream that at me while I'm either waiting to get by another bike or slowing for the comfort of pedestrians. (Yes I said it the "comfort" of pedestrians - as in far as possible away and slow enough you don't freak them.)

Stop screaming. Lose the bell or just use it the way it was intended. It's not some magic code for "Gangway". I think people who do that have "Driver's Disease" you know the jerks that are whipping from lane to lane in traffic and going nowhere but slowing us all down on the freeway because they don't realize there are 80,000 cars ahead of you? Yeah, bell ringer and screamer... that's YOU!

Yes, indeedy this is a fun topic!

wsbob
09-05-2007, 08:04 PM
Inability to climb hills due to failure to condition for them or lack of opportunity to do so is a very sobering experience. Working out here in Portland, you can become a regular bike riding mountain goat. As I've said before, hills work just fine for me, although I'm talking from memory, since I'm not really in condition right now to charge them...hope to be again.

Great thing about hills is that the uphills eventually usually have an equally steep downhill. The downhills also require a certain critical level of conditioning (arms, shoulders, hands) but what can be more of a thrill than a fast, well controlled descent? I don't know what I'd do if had to live in some flat place.

Adrenaline is a major driving force in sports in general I suppose. Cycling would certainly qualify in that respect. People's personality, influenced by adrenaline can really become visible in cycling; excessive, improperly managed enthusiasm sometimes results in crazy, obnoxious riding behavior such as beelnite refers to.

Drafting can be great, but some people really don't like it all. It's definitely not wise to draft someone that hasn't given their permission. Probably not safe either.

mcubed
09-06-2007, 01:12 AM
I didn't mean to imply above that I slavishly obey all traffic laws, always. I probably don't even know all the laws on the books and I imagine one day I'll learn about one the hard way (as in, a fine).

I doubt there's a cyclist, pedestrian or driver who always follows the letter of the law precisely. It doesn't take long in NYC to embrace the widespread belief that jaywalking is an unwritten Constitutional right and that "Don't Walk" signs mean: stop (almost), glance down the street, and if you judge that you can make it provided the oncoming vehicle slams on its brakes, run. (It helps of course that NYC is the only place I know of in this country with the sense to prohibit the barbaric practice of right-turn-on-red.) Ok, I exaggerate, but basically, pedestrians rule there, for the simple reason that about four times the population of Oregon are crammed onto about 8 miles of a 12-mile-long island every weekday, and the vast majority of them are on foot. Achieving Critical Mass isn't a problem.

I'm just disappointed that, here, from what I've seen so far, motorist and pedestrians seem to have a better grasp, overall, of the "share the road" concept than cyclists, which is kind of ironic since that whole campaign, as I understand it, was devised to get drivers to be more aware of cyclists in particular. Or maybe it isn't ironic at all; maybe it has lent cyclists a sense of entitlement. Bad drivers and oblivious pedestrians are all around, of course, but in general I've been deferred to and/or accomodated by drivers and pedestrians while cycling far more often than I've seen cyclists defer to or accomodate others, even other cyclists. Huss is right that cycling can feel liberating. It's quick and maneouverable and elegant. But it isn't flawless, even in the hands of experts, and especially not in these crowded streets and paths. People aren't always predictable; just because someone is on a trajectory that should (and 95% of the time, will) make it safe for you to blow past them as they progress through a crosswalk doesn't mean they won't drop something and stop dead in their tracks, or trip, or suddenly remember something they forgot and do an about face. It may be careless on their part, but it's also human nature. That's why you stop. And that's why you slow down on MUPs.

I think what some cyclists want is an unencumbered cycling freeway where they can get where their going as fast as possible with a minimal amount of interference from others. That would be great, but that's not what an MUP nor a relatively quiet neighborhood street are about. Freeways are designed to get drivers from point A to point B as efficiently as possible -- hence, only one type of vehicle (motorized) and a design that accomodates their physics. There is no equivalent for cyclists, not on the public byways. Maybe there should be -- I'd be all for shutting down selected lanes of vehicular traffic and redesigning pedestrian crossings to accomodate relatively unencumbered cycling. This city accomodates and coddles motorized vehicles way too extensively, at all others' expense. But it seems to me that too many cyclists act as if such pipe dreams are reality already. I just have to wonder what parts of "STOP," "Slow," and "MULTI-use" these people don't understand.

bikerinNE
09-06-2007, 04:07 PM
My main strategy is to put the phone on silent whenever I get in the car.

Does anyone have any suggestions or similar concerns?? It's been embarrassingly difficult to stop yakking and driving, over the years my car has become something like my personal phone booth for longer calls. but I'm trying..
I haven't yet achieved perfection at transporting myself safely/efficiently. As a consolation though, no one else has either.

Why not just turn your phone completely off, if it's important enough, the person calling you will leave a voice mail.

Is it really that hard to put the phone down for an hour?

bikerinNE
09-06-2007, 04:13 PM
and if i ever get a ticket it would be at the 39th and glisan round-about thing where I never stop, just watch the cars and keep flying threw..............:rolleyes:

i live just over from that stupid intersection... and yeah, NEVER EVER STOP at that round-about. You wont make it through during rush hour. The worst is coming up the hill on glisan to it. No riding a fixed gear doesn't make you a jerk. Not using lights at night does, but you use them like you said.

Anyone who doesn't use lights at night is a jerk, cause even myself a cyclist can't see you.

Duncan
09-07-2007, 10:00 AM
i live just over from that stupid intersection... and yeah, NEVER EVER STOP at that round-about. You wont make it through during rush hour. The worst is coming up the hill on glisan to it. No riding a fixed gear doesn't make you a jerk. Not using lights at night does, but you use them like you said.

Anyone who doesn't use lights at night is a jerk, cause even myself a cyclist can't see you.


That reminds me last night there was a woman on 34th near division whose head light was about as bright as a candle. Almost collided with her (on my bike) because she was turning left (without signalling)

But she was obviously being safe because she was wearing a helmet (a black helmet, along with dark clothes).

beelnite
09-07-2007, 03:54 PM
Mcubed: I think what some cyclists want is an unencumbered cycling freeway where they can get where their going as fast as possible with a minimal amount of interference from others.

Totally! But with that many bikes we'd have to draft.

Hey - Just for the record - I only draft when someone makes an effort to get by me or blows by me at a stop light/sign I am stopped at and I realize they really aren't going much faster or slower than me. Course I yell out: "Hey I'm staying put - s'all good." Never on an inexperienced rider (unless we're navigating the Hawthorne with heavy ped traffic - can't be helped.)

And I don't mean race draft - just minor, almost negligible wind break draft - like 2-3 feet - not inches!

So yes anyone doing this during bike rush hour - COMMUNICATE what your doing!

One of three things happens:
1) they speed up
2) they slow down
3) they wave me up and draft off me after awhile

I just think in Portland we are so cool, weird and aware that we could get really good at riding together instead of competing to get away from each other or racing -- or the alternative - so freaked out you're hugging the shoulder and cringing anytime someone's behind you...

HAPPY AND SAFE WEEKEND RIDING EVERYONE!

huss
09-17-2007, 10:16 AM
I mentioned on another post that a dedicated bike lane(freeway) along I-84 from Gatway(205) to downtown would be sweet with stops or off ramps for Hollywood Dist etc. along the way.......No stoping, what? Maybe 10 minutes to downtown. Drafting would be mandatory:cool:

mizake
09-17-2007, 01:00 PM
i have no problem with people drafting me. my only concern is that they have their fingers on their brake levers (or quick leg reflexes for the brakeless fixies - although i don't think i've ever been drafted by someone on a fixie). i'm very cautious passing people on the corridor, and am always on the lookout for furry animals crossing. especially my favorite, black springwater cats. i love them and will endo over them if i have to.

and i also draft other people if they pass me at a strong clip. i figure if you pass me going that fast that you're a pretty strong rider and won't care if i draft you, big strong rider that you are. however, if you start getting all crazy and passing walkers, and other bikers really close, without announcing yourself, and generally being an asshat, i will stop drafting you and say really nasty things about you under my breath. oh, and the springwater cats hate you.

Attornatus_Oregonensis
09-17-2007, 02:00 PM
i have no problem with people drafting me. my only concern is that they have their fingers on their brake levers (or quick leg reflexes for the brakeless fixies - although i don't think i've ever been drafted by someone on a fixie). i'm very cautious passing people on the corridor, and am always on the lookout for furry animals crossing. especially my favorite, black springwater cats. i love them and will endo over them if i have to.

and i also draft other people if they pass me at a strong clip. i figure if you pass me going that fast that you're a pretty strong rider and won't care if i draft you, big strong rider that you are. however, if you start getting all crazy and passing walkers, and other bikers really close, without announcing yourself, and generally being an asshat, i will stop drafting you and say really nasty things about you under my breath. oh, and the springwater cats hate you.

I feel the same and do the same on the Springwater. Often when I'm drafting someone who passes peds close, I ring my bell to signal them that we're there. That usually annoys the draftee. And some can't seem to understand that I'm signaling the peds, not them. All that tells me they really don't get it. Oh, well. Don't let those black cats cross your path. Or the orange ones.

vseven
09-18-2007, 06:52 AM
I applaud you for learning from your mistake and I admire your committment to lose that dangerous habit of talking while driving, you are an inspiration and I hope others follow.

I don't commute in Portland (wish I did) but I announce myself with " I'm on your left, please" , seems to generate politeness on some rides (other riders start doing the same. ) The bells are easily over used, IMHO.

mizake
09-18-2007, 07:08 AM
I feel the same and do the same on the Springwater. Often when I'm drafting someone who passes peds close, I ring my bell to signal them that we're there. That usually annoys the draftee. And some can't seem to understand that I'm signaling the peds, not them. All that tells me they really don't get it. Oh, well. Don't let those black cats cross your path. Or the orange ones.

yes, and the orange ones, too.

Haven_kd7yct
09-18-2007, 08:25 AM
Two of my favorite (that's sarcasm, btw) things to see:

The people who text while they drive.

The people who talk on their cell or text while they ride their bikes.

I mean, really. You can't wait until you get where you're going?? Do you really NEED to send a text message while driving or riding?

My solution: my cell phone is tucked away while riding. I don't hear it ringing, but if I have a problem and need to call for help, it's handily available. There's enough things to pay attention to as a bike rider, I don't need any more distractions.

For driving: no texting. No casual conversation phone calls. Any call I'm on will be short and to the point, and I'll be using hands-free. Better yet, put it on silent and check it when you get to your end point.

Seriously, folks: do we need to be plugged in to technology every instant of every day? Do we really need to be in such constant communication with others? What's wrong with a little quiet time with yourself?

Psyfalcon
09-18-2007, 10:56 AM
Whats the difference between hand held and hands free?

I've never seen someone consistently drive with 2 hands on the steering wheel. Its either resting a hand, or eating or drinking. The problem is not the number of hands but how oblivious people become when they're on the phone! That can happen with hands free too. You could always drop the hand held if you really had to steer.

In my short tour of Portland so far, I'm a bit disturbed by how friendly cars are when yielding to pedestrians. Several times I was a few seconds from a store driveway and the car actually stopped in the middle of the road! Having been schooled in the NJ and NY driving/pedestrian style, I quickly waved them on, muttering in my head, "are you trying to get rear ended!?"

mizake
09-18-2007, 11:03 AM
That's one of the coolest nicks I've seen.

huss
09-18-2007, 12:39 PM
Just a little note on quiet time. I'm a father of three kids, and this year two are in school all day leaving just one at home. So during the summertime there is no quiet time, which is one reason I love riding my bike. Ok back to the one at home. Me and my wife were folding laundry with help from are little one. It got real quiet while we were all folding clothes. Me and my wife looked at each other, then I broke the silence and said did you here that? My daughter said what dad, so we were quiet again and listened for any sound and there was none........priceless....people without kids wont realy understand but with kids there is never a dull(quiet) moment. So like Haven_kd7yct said "Whats wrong with a little quiet time with yourself?":)

beelnite
09-19-2007, 10:40 AM
Amen!

Two kids -toddler and infant. Work downtown. Construction, jackhammers, noise all dang day. Then get home. It's witching hour - kids crazy, screaming...

Quiet time? I think I had some once... around the time I actually slept more than 2 consecutive hours.

Get that cell phone away from me!

BillD
09-19-2007, 05:34 PM
Whats the difference between hand held and hands free? ..........................


Indeed. It's not the hands that are being overtaxed by the cell phone, it's the brain.

Haven_kd7yct
09-20-2007, 07:43 AM
Exactly, Bill... unplug and slow down, people, you'll live longer. :)

I don't have kids, but two of my brothers do, so I can at least sort of understand. I'm pretty sure my brothers come to work so they can have some quiet! :)