Jump to content
Brewer Fanatic

Bicycling safety


RU Rah Rah

Let me preface this by saying that I ride my bike 13 miles round-trip pretty much every day, and that I completely understand how careless/dangerous/outright stupid automobile drivers sometimes can be when they encounter bicycles on our roadways.

 

Nonetheless, I am absolutely dumbfounded by how reckless bicyclists are here in Madison. They fly through stop signs, weave in and out of traffic, fly through the sidewalks, and generally cause havoc everywhere. And not only that -- they become absolutely irate at you when you don't slam on the brakes quickly enough to yield to them. It's a little unreal sometimes.

 

Is it me, or is this getting worse?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Recommended Posts

Madison has had a similar problem with a sense of entitlement when it comes to pedestrians, too. I have always been surprised (pleasantly so) that there aren't more serious collisions. The bikers in Mad-town seem to want to have it both ways -- the privileges of being a road 'vehicle', yet some form of absolutist right-of-way at all times, like they're pedestrians with a semi-permanent 'Walk' signal. I know exactly what you're talking about, and have seen some potentially disastrous situations avoided by drivers being really heads-up... where the bikers were being idiots.
Stearns Brewing Co.: Sustainability from farm to plate
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The worst is when you're at a red light and the bicyclist decides it's OK for him to cross the intersection because there's no car coming.

 

Hey jerkwad, I have to wait for the light to turn green, and so do you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ahh, college towns. Pedestrians seem to have no regard for their lives. Stepping off the curb without looking, turning across 4 lanes of traffic without even so much as a glance to either side- it's all par for the course. I'm like toolivebrew, I've always been surprised that there aren't more serious accidents.

 

once, on campus in Minneapolis, I was caught behind some ass on a bike who was actually weaving from curb to curb down a busy street. I got out and set him straight, but I still can't believe someone could be so stupid and reckless, not to mention selfish.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I very rarely drove a car in the 5 years I was in college. I biked to work, school, the grocery store and everywhere else I had to go. I ran red lights and stop signs all the time. I am most definitely the type of rider that annoys motorists to no end, but the motorist needs to understand the bikers perspective.

I'll try and explain myself a little bit. I'm not sure how it is in Madison or Minneapolis, but in the town I went to college in there were almost no (0) bike paths. We were not allowed to ride on any sidewalks downtown, nor were we allowed to bike on campus. It always seemed like bikers got the short end of the stick. If I biked in the middle of the road and did 5 mph under the posted speed limit I would get honked at. If I moved it on to the sidewalk nearby I would be yelled at by the pedestrians. I'd often weave between the street and sidewalk depending on what was more available and this caused even more stress for myself and the motorists/pedestrians.

Nothing upsets me more than an impatient driver. I remember one time specifically where I was in the left hand turn lane on a red light and the driver behind me kept inching his car closer and closer to me as if to let me know that no matter how fast I accelerated it wasn't going to be fast enough for him. Drivers like him are the reason that I would often take off on a red light if I could get away with it.

I have a lot of other stories about inattentive and reckless drivers. Motorists essentially became my enemy on the road. Early in my college years I would obey almost all of the traffic laws like a car should, but as time went by I slowly changed my approach to riding my bike in the city. It became clear to me that to perfect the art of city riding I was going to have to do a little zigging and zagging and bend the rules of the road a bit.

Let's face it, bikes are not cars and should not be treated like cars. Cars go fast, cars are big, cars have blind-spots. Bikes are small, slower and more maneuverable. Bikers have to make adjustments based on the advantages given to them by the bike. This doesn't mean that I condone reckless riding, just that bikers need to practice a safe and aware style of riding sometimes geared toward defending themselves against motorists.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've never seen a bike stop at a stop sign or light in my life, unless they had to. They break rules/laws every intersection, and want to be treated however is better for them...like a car, or like a walker.

Case in point: the bottom (campus end) of State St. in Madison, where it intersects with Lake St. It's a bit downhill there, and bikes never, ever, ever stop, despite the stop sign. If you're crossing Lake St. there, you have to look up and make sure that a bike isn't hurtling through the intersection. (However, the current construction has temporarily alleviated this problem.)

My pet peeve is being stopped at an intersection and waiting to make a right-hand turn when the foot traffic clears. In Madison, bikes will squeeze between you and the curb (or fly through on the sidewalk) going straight, without thinking twice about how unbelievably dangerous it is. So, basically, you have to turn around and look backward, just to make sure.

 

It's even bad on the bike paths, when it's purely bike v. bike.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've never seen a bike stop at a stop sign or light in my life, unless they had to. They break rules/laws every intersection, and want to be treated however is better for them...like a car, or like a walker.

 

Now this might be going too far. My family are inveterate cyclists and we belong to various bike clubs. They all stress the fact that you must obey all traffic laws, just as you would if you were in a car. My dad in particular is a stickler for such things because he doesn't want to give people in cars the impression that cyclists have no regard for laws and thus imply that cars don't have to respect cyclist's rights in return. He's also extremely big on safety (in fact, he still has his old Bell Biker laying around somewhere, which was the first bike helmet that actually did anything), which is the biggest reason to obey all laws. The vast majority of cyclists that I know follow all traffic laws. However, there are many people who merely ride bikes and don't know anything about safety.

 

anyway, I guess what I'm saying is that motorists should have a little more respect for cyclists, considering the fact that people in cars are ensconced in a ton of steel, while cyclists are wearing a 10 ounce helmet and jeans, at best.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use to ride my bike everywhere as a kid. Now I only ride a bike casually for exersice with my son around our neihborhood or close by bike paths.

 

Here is something that I don't understand regarding bikers on country roads. There is generally about 3 or 4 feet of pavement between the gravel on the side of the road and the line that marks the edge of the road. Why do bikers always seem to want to ride right on the line? I asked a friend who does a lot of biking about this once. He claimed it's because there tends to be more stones and pebbles closer to the gravel. Ok, MAYBE this makes sense if you are riding with someone else and do not want to have your back tire spit a stone into them. Even so, The risk of being side swiped by a passing car vs. being hit by a stone?

User in-game thread post in 1st inning of 3rd game of the 2022 season: "This team stinks"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Biking at high speeds (15+ mph) and a road bike (skinny tires) stones can very easily cause you to go horizontal and end up with road rash.

 

Besides, the way people drive, being on that line makes no difference in your odds of being side swiped. I have gotten laid out on my bike in the bike lane twice by people in SUV's letting their mirrors clip my handlebars as they come up from behind me.

 

Yes, your SUV is gigantic, your head is not in the middle of the car, please, stop driving with your head in the middle of the traffic lane.

"I wasted so much time in my life hating Juventus or A.C. Milan that I should have spent hating the Cardinals." ~kalle8

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The vast majority of cyclists that I know follow all traffic laws. However, there are many people who merely ride bikes and don't know anything about safety.

Seconded. It's not accurate to let the bad apples spoil the entire bushel.


Also, bicyclists are supposed to ride in the street, not in the gutter. That's the law. Not everything is solely for the convenience of people in cars.

Get back in the gutter where you belong, bike trash!

Stearns Brewing Co.: Sustainability from farm to plate
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't say for every bicyclist, but virtually every hardcore bicyclist I've met has had a serious sense of entitlement. I volunteer at a local chicken dinner held for charity pretty much every fall, and we always get a ton of cyclists coming in. OK, great, that sells a bunch of dinners. The first year I was there, I was handling trash all day (pretty glamorous job, considering all the chicken bones, corn cobs, and bees swarming everywhere). One bicyclist goes off on me about how we don't have any recycling bins. He said to me "Oh, we dont' like that." What the hell did he expect me to do, magically conjure up some blue bins so he could throw his water bottles in there? OK, great...it would end up in the same dumpster out back regardless. The holier-than-thou, I'm doing something great for the environment kind of atttitude really irks me.
The Paul Molitor Statue at Miller Park: http://www.facebook.com/paulmolitorstatue
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Seconded. It's not accurate to let the bad apples spoil the entire bushel.

 

The tricky thing is that the bad apples are the easiest to remember, whether pedestrians, bicyclists or motorized vehicle operators.

 

I haven't biked much since I was a student, but when I did I was a traffic law follower to a nerdy degree. It sort of paid off once. I stopped at the State/Lake intersection mentioned by RU above, and a police officer waved me over. I was ready to get really incensed, because I couldn't imagine how she could have cause to pull me over. But it was part of a campaign to reward bicyclists for doing the right thing, and I got a Pizza Hut Personal Pan Pizza coupon just for "doing my job" and stopping at a stop sign.

(So at least one bicyclist in the history of the world has stopped at that stop sign.)

 

Just because I'm already posting, I'll add that when I'm walking home on one of Madison's fine bike-pedestrian paths, some bicyclists almost clip me as they pass - and on the path, I'm so far over to the right that I'm almost walking in the grass/dirt. But most give a wide berth.

Remember: the Brewers never panic like you do.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The worst is when you're at a red light and the bicyclist decides it's OK for him to cross the intersection because there's no car coming.

 

Hey jerkwad, I have to wait for the light to turn green, and so do you.

I was sitting at a light on Cottage Grove Road the other morning and some jerk did that. I can't stand people who don't follow the rules of the road, doesn't matter what they're riding.

 

Edit: I seem to recall a story from Madison a few years ago where a person on a bike collided with a car after blowing a stop light or sign and the police had a mess of people call or show up at the station saying they witnessed the accident and it was the bicyclists fault. People are fed up with the bad apples.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Community Moderator

Actually, bicycles ARE legally allowed to go through red lights, as long as they stop first and there are no cars coming.

 

Also, there has been some enforcement of running stop signs in Madison. My roommate got a ticket for going through one and had to attend a safety lesson or pay a ticket.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also, bicyclists are supposed to ride in the street, not in the gutter. That's the law. Not everything is solely for the convenience of people in cars.

I'm not saying the gutter. You didn't read my post correctly. See this picture. That's not a gutter. I think it's reasonable to expect the bikes to be somewhere between the white line and the gravel.

 

http://images.yuku.com/image/pjpeg/e72250e945747fa39cd1f6a25b683c69c92dd85.pjpg

If the actual law is that bikes are supposed to ride on the line or to the left of the line, that's insane.

 

Looks like I'm going to be in the very small minority once again. I don't think hwy roads were originally designed for bikes taking Sunday rides. They were designed for cars to get from point A to point B. Baldkin's point about getting side swiped on the "bike lane" (it's really not much of a lane at all) is one reason you would never see me biking out on a country highway. I think it's a huge leap of faith to trust that every driver is going to give you the room you need.

User in-game thread post in 1st inning of 3rd game of the 2022 season: "This team stinks"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I haven't biked much since I was a student, but when I did I was a traffic law follower to a nerdy degree. It sort of paid off once. I stopped at the State/Lake intersection mentioned by RU above, and a police officer waved me over. I was ready to get really incensed, because I couldn't imagine how she could have cause to pull me over. But it was part of a campaign to reward bicyclists for doing the right thing, and I got a Pizza Hut Personal Pan Pizza coupon just for "doing my job" and stopping at a stop sign. (So at least one bicyclist in the history of the world has stopped at that stop sign.)

I stand corrected. (It's hilarious to me that you got stopped there for following the law.)

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually, bicycles ARE legally allowed to go through red lights, as long as they stop first and there are no cars coming.

I am not sure if you meant that to be in blue or not. But Wisconsin DOT says:

"Bicycles are considered 'vehicles' on Wisconsin roadways. That means bicyclists must obey the rules of the road like any other vehicle and must be treated as equal users by all other vehicles . . . A bicycle is a legal vehicle whose operator is required to follow all traffic laws. This means stopping for stop signs and red lights if traveling in the street and riding on the same side of the road as other traffic that is going in the same direction."
Link to comment
Share on other sites

****If the actual law is that bikes are supposed to ride on the line or to the left of the line, that's insane. ****

 

that may be your opinion, but the law is to ride in the street, as you can see from the DOT language that RU Rah Rah helpfully posted above.

 

also, I didn't misunderstand anything, you're advocating for cyclists to ride in the run-off part of the street (which I feel would be fair to call a gutter), not on the actual main street as is their right, not to mention legal obligation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure how it is in Madison or Minneapolis, but in the town I went to college in there were almost no (0) bike paths.

Minneapolis s one of the most progressive cities in the country when it comes to aiding bikers. Their are paths all over the city and downtown they have dedicated lanes so they don't have to bike in traffic. Needless to say, the majority of bikers ignore using these lanes and paths and bike in the road while violating nearly every traffic law that can be thought of. My favorite is watching bikers bike side-by-side on a street holding up traffic when they have a dedicated path right alongside the road. I have even had my car punched by a biker because I was yielding to oncoming traffic as I was going to make a left turn and they didn't like that I wasn't turning into oncoming traffic to get out of their (the bikers) way. It is a joke how ridiculous bikers act here in Minneapolis.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I stand corrected. (It's hilarious to me that you got stopped there for following the law.)
No kidding. I wasn't flush with cash at the time, so I wasn't going to turn down a free personal pan pizza; but I remember thinking during the stop, "how many bicyclists are blowing through this intersection while you reward me for following the rule?"
Remember: the Brewers never panic like you do.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Verified Member

I bike fairly regularly (50 miles/wk) and feel like I obey all the traffic laws as I do when I'm driving. I realize as a biker I'm the one that needs to watch out for my own safety as drivers generally wont as much. That being said, I can see why some cyclists may take another approach. I regularly am honked at, given the one finger salute, yelled at, told to use the sidewalk (illegal) etc. by incredibly impatient/rude drivers. That kind of attitude from the fat guy who just pulled out of the McDs parking lot for his daily "run" gets pretty old. It definately doesn't justify cyclists being stupid about things, but sometimes we just want to get out of the vehicles way as quickly as possible or are so tired of bad drivers that we may say "screw it". Believe me, even those cyclists who are consious of the laws get it a lot worse than those poor drivers who have to deal with the random cyclists.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Never mind cycling etiquette, what staggers me is the almost complete lack of visibility most cyclists I come across have when it's dark.

 

Look, bud, riding a black bike, while dressed all in black with only a tiny red light (if at all) does not make it easy for me to avoid running my half ton of steel over you. Try, oh I don't know, a reflective strip, or better yet, wear a color that actually doesn't camouflage you with the buildings!

 

I'm just sayin'...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

The Twins Daily Caretaker Fund
The Brewer Fanatic Caretaker Fund

You all care about this site. The next step is caring for it. We’re asking you to caretake this site so it can remain the premiere Brewers community on the internet. Included with caretaking is ad-free browsing of Brewer Fanatic.

×
×
  • Create New...