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DT08

Sharing the Road

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I just found this forum and was reading some old posts. I usually just visit the MN fishing reports forums. Cool to see all the other topics. I think one item that bears bringing up again is sharing the roadways. After reading some of the posts from this spring and then hearing recent news about bike-car incidents and Critical Mass, I think continuing to keep this topic alive is important. Especially on a non-biking HSOforum, where there are many diverse points of view.

I am a bicyclist, but I also put about 50,000 miles a year on my truck and 3-4000 on my motorcycle. So I have some perspective from both sides.

I used to be the cyclist who probably angered motorists. I almost felt like I had greater right-of-way than cars -- almost like a pedestrian. I rarely stopped for a stop sign and always rode up along cars if they were parked at a light.

I don't know if being an avid cyclist starts to give you a holier-than-thou attitude towards motorists because of the health benefits (until you take on a truck!), no emissions and cheaper transport, but it seems like I had that attitude and many cyclist I know did. It wasn't talked about, just seemed to be present.

But as I listen to podcasts and watch the news I see more and more cases where road rage is spilling over to action against bicyclists. It used to be a cyclist may be yelled at, even had some trash thrown at them or got the bird, but now some people have gotten so angry they are using there cars as weapons. One case that stuck out was a physician in CA who pulled ahead of a group of cyclists and braked hard, causing several to crash into the rear of his car. There are many similar stories this year.

I don't know what the answer is other than to encourage cyclists like myself to change our ways and to hope motorists realize most of us our willing to share the road and ride with a respectful attitude towards motorists. I think trying to ride like you are a slow-moving car is best. Move over as best you can and pull over if you are holding up too much traffic. Ride single file when traffic is present. Stay away from busy roadways if possible. Obey traffic laws -- especially when other travellers are around. Acknowledge motorists when they let you cross or give you space when they pass.

I think more and more people are going to be biking in the next years for many reasons. And if we as cyclists don't try to generate goodwill, I think it is only going to get worse. And shoving it in motorists faces like Critical Mass sometimes does is not the way, IMO. To any who read this, thanks for looking at it. Hopefully this topic will keep showing up now and then to keep people aware.

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Hey dont get me wrong getting out and riding the bike is GREAT!!! but what i dont understand is why cant they ride the sidewalk or the side of the road not the middleof it and they dont stop for stop signs and what not i have almost hit numerous of bikers becasue they didnt stop and they yell at me. Dont get me wrong bike riding is awsome but i mean come on they dont own the road.

Thats just my 2 cents

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Ok rant time. The very day I picked up my new truck from the dealership we had an issue with this topic. My very beautiful 150.

It was West River Parkway in Minneapolis at 5pm on a Wednesday. Hardcore traffic on this busy street during rush hour. Yes, I understand that there was a Triathlon in town that weekend. But there were two <poorwordusage> bicyclists riding straight down the middle of the lane in front of me. They were forcing traffic to do 10 mph in a 35 mph zone during rush hour.

There was a constant chorus of horns. Traffic was piled up as far back as I could see. Yet there was a beautiful bike path and walking path running parallel with this street. Why the <poorwordusage> couldn't these two bikers use the bike path? Instead they kept flipping me off for yelling at them. My passenger was a rather quiet Indian women who completely out of character started yelling at them. She even called the police.

These two bikers refused to allow anyone to pass them. They refused to use the bike path. All they wanted to do was control the road during rush hour. And realize these were no just two kids screwing around in traffic. They were riding fancy racing bikes with all the garb to go with it.

Issues like that are my problem with cyclists. Rather than using the expensive bike paths our tax dollars paid for. They insist on causing traffic back-ups and "interfering with the flow of traffic".

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Oh and i know from drivers ed class back in the day my instructor specifically telling us that when bikers are on the road they are required to follow all the rules of the road. That includes minimum speeds and traffic signals. That allows means they can be ticketed for "interfering with the flow of traffic".

When bikers are the sidewalk they dont have to follow the traffic laws because they arent on the road. But when bicyclists are on the road they must abide by all traffic laws.

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Quetico,

Your experience is exactly why I wanted to revisit this topic. In my mind you are in the right. I am one of those bikers with a fancy racing bike and the ugly spandex. I fully agree that bikers need to follow the rules of the road. Those bicyclists you had troubles with give all of us a bad name. I would like to hope that most of us would have moved over for you and the rest of the traffic. I would have and my friends would have. So hopefully you can know cyclists like me are on your side here.

Even if the laws said it was OK to run stop signs, hold up traffic or just act like we own the road, cyclists would be stupid to do that. It creates enemies and is disrespectful. And someone less tolerant may use that new f150 as a weapon.

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Yeah I cant lump all cyclists in with the stupid ones. What drove us nuts about the incident above is that there was a beautiful new black top bike path paralleling the road.

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I think that may always drive you nuts. For the most part avid road cyclists don't use the paths. On a busy road they probably should if available and if there is a bike lane they definitely should be in that. But you rarely see road cyclists on paths. More recreational bikers will be but not the ones with the fancy bikes and gear. I think the speeds a person can maintain on a road bike make many bike paths hard to ride, especially if there are walkers, runners, skaters, etc... I'm not saying we cyclists shouldn't use the path, just that you are probably not going to see this happen. But during busy times a bike path is a really good option both to avoid making enemies of drivers, but also is probably safer.

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The speed limit on most of the paths in the area is 10mph. I don't know any cyclist that is out riding for a workout and going the speed limit on those paths. I understand your frustration, however I have ridden on both West River Parkway and the path you refer too. Unless they have repaired that path in the last two months, that path is very dangerous to ride a skinny tired bike on. Add all the other path users make it a very dangerous situation for all users when cyclists are riding on paths at high speed.

As for riding on the road itself, it presents its own dangers. Very few drivers on that road are driving under 35mph (the maximum, not the minimum), there are parked cars and pedestrians that need to be avoided. I'll let you do the math on a cyclist being hit by car going faster than 35mph. A smart cyclist will ride more than a car's door width away from a parked car, when was the last time you looked for a person on a bike before you opened your car door. Most pedestrians are looking for cars not bikes so room must be given to people looking to cross the street. Lots of people use West River Parkway to avoid the busier streets, including cyclists. Many of these people are in a hurry and speeding down the road talking on the phone and generally not paying attention.

I'm sorry that you feel bikes belong on the sidewalk, but our taxes paid for the roads that you drive on too. Bicycles are subject to the same rules of the road as automobiles and they are also not to interfere with the flow of traffic. I have read too many posts where people complain about bikes. Rarely in a forum like this do you read a post with complaints about cars. Below is a link to an article on Velonews that was written in response to another article that addressed some very aggressive acts against cyclists and by cyclists. This article addresses road rage and the psychology behind it (not from a cyclists point of view). I found it a very interesting read. You've seen the bumper stickers for motorcycles "Share the Road" well it should apply to bicyclists as well.

http://www.velonews.com/article/82470

I understand your frustration with these two cyclists, but you like "all motorists" lump "all cyclists" into the same category. I find it amusing that motorists who speed up to get through a yellow light will complain about the cyclist who only slows down for a stop sign. That being said, I drive a car, sometimes speed, have gone through a yellow light, have rolled through a stop, have stopped my car on top of a crosswalk, etc. I am as guilty as most.

DT08 wrote a very good post suggesting that cyclists follow the rules of he road and that motorists should share the road. It was very thoughtful and well written. But, as it always happens, his thread turned into a place for motorists to rant about how it sucks to have to slow down and share the road with bikes. All we as cyclists are asking is that you be a safe and courteous driver when you are near us, our life is truly in your hands. Share the road.

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I sincerely apologize if I came across as lumping all cyclists into the same category. Thats definitely not my intention. I know most cyclists are respect of drivers and the traffic flow. All I ask is if cyclists must use the road, make sure your allowing traffic to flow around you.

I have no issue with cyclists. Just make sure your being respectful of traffic. I do have issue with these two particular cyclists who insisted on controlling the flow of traffic.

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Im all for biking. Love it. But when people are riding on the road slowing traffic, that ticks me off. All it takes is someone to be texting or changing their ipod and there will soon be 1 less biker on the road. There are usually enough back roads or trails to stay off the busy streets.

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The arguement that bicyclists pay taxes too, does not hold water. Because the only taxes that go to roads are gas tax and tab fees. So when they start buying tabs for their bikes I will be O.K. with them on the roads. But until then they should stay on bike paths. Which is the only thing that taxes pay for bicyclists to use.

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One other thing...in many cities like Shakopee for instance, the tarred "wider" paths ARE for bikes, and the smaller "concrete" paths are for walking. But yet down the road we go. One other rant...RUNNERS stop running down the side of the road when there is a PERFECTLY good sidewalk. I know you want to look all cool and tough but when your under a 2000lb car you wont look so tough then.

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The arguement that bicyclists pay taxes too, does not hold water. Because the only taxes that go to roads are gas tax and tab fees. So when they start buying tabs for their bikes I will be O.K. with them on the roads. But until then they should stay on bike paths. Which is the only thing that taxes pay for bicyclists to use.

Yes, and the lottery pays for the outdoors! Come on, this is ridiculous. I own a home and pay property taxes, I'm pretty sure some of that money gets used on roads. Farmer's don't have to pay some fuel taxes, does that mean they should stick to the sidewalks too?

Yes, cyclists slow traffic, break laws, and everything else you accuse them of. I'm sure you never speed, always come to a complete stop, pass cars on the inside and pass to close to cyclists. So of course you have a tall soap box to shout from.

MN statutes give cyclists the right to ride on the road, if you want it changed call your rep. Good luck with your fight!

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