Sunday, January 3

YE 2009 Honk Report Raw Data

Click on image for much larger version

This data represents roughly 1100 miles of commute cycling plus unknown, but nontrivial non-commute mileage around North Texas. At this point, it is somewhat early to derive any trends. Interestingly, contrary to my expectations, five of the six honks were in the morning.

The mileage represents roughly 12000 cyclist/motorist interactions, about 3/4 of which occur in the afternoon commute portion that experienced no honks whatsoever. Past experience suggests this is NOT typical and that afternoon commutes will ultimately experience more honks.

So far, none of the honks have occurred in the heavy traffic which represents a relatively small portion of my total commute mileage. Past experience suggests this may, in fact, be typical, except when being overtaken from behind by a heavy "wave" of traffic.

The last honk was notable because the honker never did pass and, instead, patiently followed me for about a half mile before I made my right turn. Based on our relative "not on the road at the same time" speeds, this suggests the motorist may have experienced a delay of nearly a minute, which is FAR longer than typical.

Clarifications and observations after looking at comments:
The data represents the period from 25 September through 31 December 2009, per the post reported here. It's quarterly data. Total mileage for 2009 was around 6000 miles, of which 1100 is in this report. Raw honk numbers can be somewhat misleading. Even in this period, the longest distance between honks was 800 miles, and the shortest was 5, so these are clearly not real uniform. Had I not gone on the Sanger ride, my count would be 4, and Pondero who was along on that ride probably doesn't remember either honk (neither seemed hostile). Certainly some places you can ride are more prone to honk generation than others, just as more mileage should generate more honks per month. Some honks are clearly much more hostile than others, as well This report should become more meaningful as time passes and additional history is collected. Since it is principally commute data, most of the honks will be 6-7:30AM and 4:30-6PM. If you, reading this, mainly rode during the day on bike paths that don't intersect roads, your honking data would look pretty boring. If you, on the other hand, mostly rode in the main traffic lane with a bike lane in clear view to your right, you'd probably pick up honks much faster. For Apertome's benefit, I'd estimate that my commute, by itself, picks up about 3 honks per thousand miles on average. That'd be around 15-20 honks over the course of a year, with the bulk of them coming from the commute. Of course, the honk project will reveal how good an estimator I am.

If this project has any value, it will be to lend support, or not, to popular theories about honking over a fairly controlled and consistent route that is not selected to maximize or minimize honking behavior from motorists, but rather to get me, as the blog name suggests, from point to point. If this project has NO value, it still serves to keep me a little more "ready" for the unexpected event of observation without advance notice. Personally, I look forward to seeing how things develop.

IT SEEMS THAT EVERYONE IN SANGER DRIVES A WHITE PICKUP! I share Apertome's theory that pickups seem more likely to exhibit territorial honking behavior, though I would hate to suggest that white ones are bigger offenders than red or blue or black. My own theory is that pickups and cheap muscle cars, driven by young males, honk at stuff more than other motorists. I'm conflicted on the coffee theory. Certainly, as far as I was able to notice, none of the honkers were drinking Starbucks (or any other coffee) WHILE they were honking. I also did not see any texting/honking combinations going on.


Pondero said...

It is amazing to me that we have data on this.

I am very lucky to ride where I do.

twister said...

four of the six people honking hadn't had their coffee

Apertome said...

Only 6 honks in an entire year? That's amazing!

And, what is it about people in white pickup trucks? I have a lot of issues with those, to the point that I try to keep my distance every time I see one.

Anonymous said...

I am glad I live where I do. I have never been honked at.

Filigree said...

This is fabulous. Have you considered getting a group of acquaintances to keep similar records and publishing a paper?

Keri said...

Andy Cline and I got more honks than that in a 1/2 mile stretch of road yesterday!! We even had one helpful driver slow in the left lane and tell us to ride in the "bike lane" (a 2ft strip of pavement between a white line and a curb). We've trained then so well.

We entertained ourselves by smiling and waving (with all 5 fingers) and yelling "hi! have a nice day!" and other greetings. But in all honesty, that sht gets old if you have to deal with it day after day. Any cyclist using the roads in the Orlando burbs does have to deal with that day after day.

So yeah. Be very, very grateful for where you live, my North Texas friends.

Steve A said...

Just remind Andy he was my inspiration!

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