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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    46

    Wink I broke my cardinal rule . . .

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    On Sunday, I really wanted to take a ride. I usually haul my bike on a Swagman to trails and ride. Couldn't do it on Sunday cuz my hubby took the SUV that has the hitch. I was in quandry on what to do. It was early enough so I decided to ride from my home around the area.

    Did I happen to mention the speed limit on the county road in which I reside is 45 mph (and that's the minimum). Most drivers think the posted speed limit is a suggestion . I have vowed I would never ride anywhere where the speed limit is higher than 35 mph, especially when the speed limit is not obeyed. I live in very rural area and no one pays attention to the speed limit. Hubby gets aggravated with me cuz I do observe the speed limit.

    I have to say I was apprehensive, but it was early enough that not many motorists were out. When I ride the roads, I don't pay attention to how hilly they are. On my bike I really I noticed how hilly the roads are. I rode about 10 or 11 miles and it took me about 30 minutes (because of the hills), but I made it back home safely. I have to admit when the motorists zoomed by me, I was scared cuz I know they were traveling more than 45 mph. Where I rode, it's only 2 lanes. Most motorists moved into the other lane to pass me when they could. I hugged the white line as much as I could.

    I was relieved when the ride was over and proud of myself for doing it. Don't know if I'll do it again. I cannot wrap my mind around the speed limit.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    On lightly traveled roads, the main thing that car speed affects is reaction distance. So your job as a cyclist is to make sure that drivers see you at the soonest possible time. That means wearing bright, solid colors that contrast with road, sky, grass and trees; wearing a light or lights and plenty of reflective gear in low light conditions; and NOT "hugging the white line." Stay far enough into the traffic lane that drivers behind you will be able to see you. Use a rear view mirror.

    On narrow rural roads, it is appropriate to ease toward the right side once you're sure that there's no oncoming traffic in the opposite direction and it's safe for the traffic behind you to pass. But it's really important to stay visible.

    You might want to see if there are club rides in your area that you can join - I do believe there's safety in numbers.

    And 20-22 mph is a VERY respectable average speed in hilly terrain. You might think about joining a racing club!
    Last edited by OakLeaf; 08-09-2011 at 03:54 AM.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Big City
    Posts
    444
    Quote Originally Posted by OakLeaf View Post
    and NOT "hugging the white line." Stay far enough into the traffic lane that drivers behind you will be able to see you.
    +1 to this.

    I regularly ride on roads for long periods of time with speed limits of 70+ mph. That's the choice out here, or you don't ride. I will admit I am pretty fearless, but I ALWAYS take the lane. It forces the cars to actually pass you as if you were a moving vehicle (which you are, but they try to avoid seeing you as) and they cannot squeak by you in a tight spot and almost kill you. I've had a couple of close calls with some large trucks when I was hugging the white line and that's why I always take my fair share of the road. You have to make sure it's within the boundaries of your state law however. In Texas you only have to ride in the shoulder if it's reasonable and safe, and none of ours here are as they are full of trash and flat-tire-inducing debris. The same goes for taking the lane - you just have to ride as far right as is reasonable and safe. Taking the lane is safer than not, I firmly believe it.

    The other key to dealing with traffic is to always act in a predictable manner. Cars expect us to misbehave - run reds/stop signs, swerve or generally be a nuisance on the road. But if you maintain a consistent speed, follow a straight line, take the lane and signal - it makes it much easier for them to predict your behavior and thus take you seriously (meaning, they won't make a sudden and dangerous/speedy move to get around and away from you as quickly as possible).

    Be proud of yourself for facing cars on a fast road! It's not easy and definitely not for the faint of heart!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    46

    Talking

    Thanks for the replies. I guess I never thought of it that way, taking the road. I thought hugging the white line would be OK, but there's no where to go on the right of that white line. It's either down a cliff or in the woods or ditch. I do wear extremely bright colors when I'm riding, like neon pink, yellow, green, orange, etc., with reflective strips. I have lots of reflectors on my bike and I do have a headlight and a flashing red light to attach to my jersey. I do not ride at night, always in the day time.

    I ride in the parks, but the park roads are not much better. The asphalt is crumbling which makes for a bad ride. The motorists in the park are not very kind to cyclists either. I usually get so frustrated with the crumbling asphalt and the motorists that I move to the multi-purpose trail. Of course, the trail has its hazards too.

    @westtexas -- riding on roads where the speed limit is 70+ or better -- you're a better person that I am. I would totally freak if cars passed me at that rate of speed. Although, on the country roads where I ride, I'm sure they are passing me at upwards of 55+ mph.

    I've thought about installing a mirror on my helmet or handlebar. Thoughts? Would the mirror on the helmet be too distracting?

    I love to ride -- guess I'll have to build my courage up to the country roads around me. Plus, I'm getting tired racking my bike on the Swagman just to get a ride in.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    209
    I agree with what is said above, be seen and be predictable. I understand what you mean about riding on rural roads. I live in a rural area and there are times motorists make it very clear they do not like bicyclists.

    About visibility, in addition to the bright, contrasting colors I also use a very bright rear light and head light if the sun is past it's peak. For example, before 8am and after 5pm. But if there is cloud cover then I extend the times. Now I live in So AZ so the sun VERY bright and I adjust my times accordingly. The point is it's about being seen. And as a motorist, I sure appreciate it when cyclist do this.

    Ah, just saw your reply post. You are already using lights.

    Way to go on the hills!
    Last edited by Desert Tortoise; 08-09-2011 at 07:23 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southeast Nebraska
    Posts
    470
    I ride in a rural area as well with cars going 60+. I was scared at first but it's the only place to ride. I can only ride a ten mile round trip as it's one straight five mile hill but riding down it at 30mph is a huge rush.

    The only thing that is hard is the semi trucks blowing past you so fast. Oh..and the combine tractors that ride the shoulder. Eek. Thankfully that was only once and he moved over to pass me.

    I agree with being highly visible and being aware of your surroundings. I also look for places that are "crash" worthy if I need to bail out from a crazed car.

    I always carry a cell phone.

    Congrats on conquering the road.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    West MI
    Posts
    4,308
    To be honest, where I live the drivers in the rural, 2-lane areas are SO much kinder and more accommodating. It's those rides I do on slower roads in towns that make me FAR more nervous. That's where the jerks are in higher concentration and lacking in patience. Farmers in trucks are much more likely to give me room than moms in mini-vans. YMMV.
    Kirsten
    run/bike log
    zoomylicious


    '11 Cannondale SuperSix 4 Rival
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    46

    Unhappy

    I sure hope I can get past the nervousness of riding on the rural roads. My friend stopped over yesterday and I told her what I did. She doesn't ride at all and she said "you're nuts." She proceeded to tell me about a lady that was jogging on the road and was hit by a car. The lady survived but had to have her leg amputated.

    I also know of another accident on our road. A person was riding their horse and I don't know how this happened, but a car hit the horse and the person. The horse had to be put down and I think the rider was hurt bad. The person riding the horse was riding in broad daylight so I don't know what happened. It wasn't a blind spot, nor was it in a hilly area. Pretty scary stuff.

    The ride I did on Sunday was about 10 -11 miles and it was early (8:30 ish). The closer it got to 9 AM, the more motorists appeared on the road, probably going to church.

    I hope I can get past being afraid.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    Motorcyclists call those "Uncle Fred stories." Do you know anyone who's been hurt in a car accident? Did your friends quit driving as a result of someone else's accident - or even their own accident, if they were still physically capable of driving afterward?

    It's good to be aware of your surroundings and practice safe riding skills. It's good to respect the dangers of the road, whatever your mode of transport. But study after study has shown that the more people ride, the safer it becomes.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    where ARE we?
    Posts
    435
    Quote Originally Posted by OakLeaf View Post
    Motorcyclists call those "Uncle Fred stories." Do you know anyone who's been hurt in a car accident? Did your friends quit driving as a result of someone else's accident - or even their own accident, if they were still physically capable of driving afterward?

    It's good to be aware of your surroundings and practice safe riding skills. It's good to respect the dangers of the road, whatever your mode of transport. But study after study has shown that the more people ride, the safer it becomes.
    Both good points.
    I hate riding alone, but sometimes if I want to get the training miles in, there really isn't much choice. I'm also in a rural area, and plan routes with as little contact with busy roads as possible. I went alone this evening - screaming yellow jersey, 200 lumen blinking light, rearview mirror (mounted on the bike) and my RoadKill ID - all that and just watching out for all possible scenarios is all you can do.

    I try to always smile, and wave and be friendly. I only had one car be a little rudely close while passing today. my biggest near-miss was an ambulance - the EMTs had just had dinner it looked like, they were in no rush but the driver looked right at me and.... went on anyway. Yay (swerve, hit brakes, shake head, keep going). I try not to ever yell, or react negatively, just try to improve people's opinion of us crazy cyclists.
    2009 Fuji Team

    My blog - which rarely mentions cycling. It's really about decorating & food. http://www.crisangsteninteriors.com/blog

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Mid-Michigan
    Posts
    10
    Quote Originally Posted by zoom-zoom View Post
    To be honest, where I live the drivers in the rural, 2-lane areas are SO much kinder and more accommodating. It's those rides I do on slower roads in towns that make me FAR more nervous. That's where the jerks are in higher concentration and lacking in patience. Farmers in trucks are much more likely to give me room than moms in mini-vans. YMMV.
    I completely agree... I'll go out of my way to *get* to those rural roads. Might have to deal with the smell of manure at times, but hey...it's worth it. Besides, it's much more "zen" riding out in the country. And the farmers and I wave to each other, which makes me smile.

    When I first started riding (end of June), I was very nervous about riding on the roads, period (having only been a mt. biker). Riding in town on busy roads still does make me a bit nervous, but I just hold my line and pedal like heck until I can get off them.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Dumas, TX
    Posts
    217
    I live in the country. So I do all of my riding on rural roads. For me the number 1 safety tip is wear a MIRROR! Know what is coming up behind you.
    Also, when I see a vehicle coming up on me I sit-up as tall as I can to be seen better.
    pedal pusher

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Katy, Texas
    Posts
    1,828
    I always ride solo, and am mostly on country roads or at least highways with four lanes so that I can take a lane. My usual training rides are a combination of both as I have to take the big roads to get out of the burbs to the country roads.

    +1 to wearing a mirror. I need to know what is coming up behind me, but I also look back over my shoulder frequently , always if I am going to turn, or change into a turn lane, or am coming out of a side road onto a main road, I follow the driving rule of always look back over your shoulder in addition to checking in your rear view mirror. The trick is to train yourself to look back without swerving into the lane- it takes practice, but it can be done.

    I also have a strong irregularly flashing red light on the left rear fork in addition to the one mounted on my underseat bag, along with helmet lights(all steady red) on the front and back of my helmet. That plus scads of bright, light, clothing. I would rather look like a dork than be injured. Of course that can't prevent the random accident but at least I am doing as much as I can to be visible.
    marni
    Katy, Texas
    Trek Madone 6.5- "Red"
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    "easily outrun by a chihuahua."

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    46

    Talking

    My DH seems to be taking the SUV more & more lately so it looks like I have no choice but to ride the rural roads. I think he's doing this on purpose to keep me from riding

    I've been riding all spring and summer so that I could do the 3 day 60 mile Susan G. Komen event. I served on the route safety team, which involved a lot of bike riding & assisting with crossing the walkers at various intersections. We were on our bikes from 6 AM until the last walker came into camp at around 7:30 - 8:00 PM. As part of route safety, we also piggy backed to check on the walkers to ensure they kept hydrated and were able to walk. I love doing this event. But it's over and I think my DH thinks now that it's over, so is my riding for the season -- WRONG!

    I love riding and have missed out the last couple days because of terrible T-storms. There's another thread on here about what to do when winter hits. I also reside in Ohio and as soon as Labor day passes, it seems the temperatures take a nose dive & the rain starts. I'm hoping to ride into late October, depending on the temperatures.

    I have a recumbant stationery bike that I guess I could ride throughout the winter, but it seems so boring. I would love to get involved in XC skiing and have contemplated that. I also have asthma and have to wonder if the cold will trigger it while XC skiing. I hate the winters

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,144
    You can put a gaiter up over your mouth, so you are not breathing in the cold air. I have asthma and cold weather has never bothered it; I think if you find the right combo of meds and hydrate well, build up slowly, you can do it. You can x country ski slowly, too, so the level of exertion you put out is very much like cycling, in that respect. I don't ski that fast, but I can climb like crazy and I am much more daring on the downhills than I am on the bike. You make of it whatever you want.
    Snow shoeing is less equipment intensive and you can do it anywhere.
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