Tuesday, April 27

Follow Up Report on Yetiness

Back here, in March, I made a report on the 20 minutes it really took to get across the basic points regarding safely operating in traffic in a vehicular manner. The cyclist, we'll call her "Linda A," has now been riding this way for better than a month. Following is her follow-up report, in her own words:

Okay, here is my report on a convert to vehicular bicycling. Is that what it is called? Anyway,

I notice that when I actually drive, er, I mean ride like a bonafide vehicle on my bike the cars actually move out of my way. I feel safer, kind of. I still have fears of getting rear-ended, but those are offset by no longer fearing getting broadsided by some car coming from my right out of a side street as I'm cycling in the glass and dirt-filled gutter, er, I mean bike lane.

I learned to ride my bike in the traditional ways, way back when Seattle was a sleepy town and traffic was reasonable. On the side of the road. What I've noticed since I've gone vehicular is that when I am actively doing it I am much more alert. When I slip into the other mode I kind of space out. In my younger days I actually rode into more than a few parked cars, and collided once with someone's car door as they opened it up on me while I was riding down University Way, along the side of course.

I have to relay one experience; the other day I was riding vehicular, fully occupying the lane and feeling much more on top of things when a truck passed me, and the passenger yelled something very nasty out the window at me. I didn't feel defensive or angry. I actually felt calm and in charge because I knew I was doing the right thing and following the rules. At the stop light I caught up with the truck, and then passed him later. The passenger never yelled anything more, and there was no incident. I think it was because they realized I was not a problem or threat -- simply trying to get somewhere just like them, and not taking that much longer either!

So, we will see as time progresses. But I love being able to make my left hand turns more easily, and I feel a lot less like I am in traffic limbo. I also have more control over avoiding potholes, and my tires will probably last longer not being in the bike lane where all the road grit and broken glass accumulates.

So that is it for now. I'll keep you posted. Thanks Steve, I think it really has helped.

SO, what's this about these collisions? HMM? I must say I admire the restraint "Linda A" showed in her experience with the truck. I'm working on dealing with rude drivers pleasantly (even THEY are my motorists), but the rare rude motorist still riles me up a bit, even though I KNOW the rude ones are outnumbered a thousand to one. Overall, I think this supports the hypothesis that cycling CAN be fun and safe! And yes, those tires WILL last longer. One of my Contis is now closing in on 5000miles.

BTW, Linda, I had a close call on Admiral Way in Seattle back in 1974. A car shot out of a driveway. Today, I'd have a lot more time to react and the motorist would be more likely to SEE me before darting out into the street.


Anonymous said...

Drivers are like kids. Teachers complain about the bad kids even though there are WAY more good kids than bad. Same with motorists. There are many more good drivers than bad... but to hear a cyclist talk you wouldn't know it sometimes. It's just that it is no fun to talk about the driver who pulled to the right and gave plenty of room when talking. It's much more entertaining to vent about the guy who threw a lit cigarette at you out the window.

Steve A said...

So if drivers are like kids, does that make cyclists like teachers, and how do we become GREAT teachers? Actually, I like that analogy a lot.

Rantwick said...

GREAT teachers do so by example... but in our case I think that translates into really good comm. with the drivers around you. That includes funky made-up signals of thanks and where you want to be... I've been partial to peace signs after I know I have slowed a driver down for a bit and hand signal communicated while I did so. I like to think they appreciate me appreciating them.


Steve A said...

Peace signs. I'd never thought of THAT. I tend towards nice open-handed waves for thanks. I also like to think they appreciate me appreciating them.

Doohickie said...

I sited a Yeti today. A real one! I was riding home from work and as I approached an intersection I noticed a cyclist up ahead of me in the right lane. Cool, I thought, he's out in the lane, riding right where he should be.

At this particular intersection there are three lanes- one each for right turn, straight and left turn.

Anyway, as he got to the intersection, his left arm came out to signal a left hand turn! He changed lanes into the center lane, then put his arm down. He stopped in line behind the car in that lane. Wow.

I pulled up next to him and said hi. We both went straight through the intersection and rode about a half mile together while we exchanged pleasantries. He came to a full stop at the four-way stop sign at a school, then went to the other end of the block and stopped again before signaling and turning right. I turn left there, so we parted ways.

HE DID EVERYTHING RIGHT. It was pretty awesome.

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