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Thread: Behavior

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    806

    Behavior

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    Has anyone noticed that things are off in the world of bike commuting? I'm having an increase in near misses with cars/pedestrians/squirrels/etc. Just a lot of wackiness, enough to notice. People seem, I don't know, b*tchier than normal toward cyclists? Turning in front of me, even after obviously seeing me and making eye contact. I almost got sideswiped by a boxtruck today, but he probably just didn't see me even though I was in the bike lane and wearing a nuclear yellow rainjacket. I decided to use the sidewalk over the chicago river today because in the rain the grated bridges get really slick and there was this swirling wind today. Just not feeling like wiping out in front of a bus or something. So this pedestrian had to raise up his umbrella a little to get by. I hear a "get off the f-ing sidewalk." Which is the opposite of what I sometimes hear, "get off the f-ing road and onto the sidewalk!"

    Maybe it's just me, but it's gotten a little more nerve racking and I normally really like riding in traffic. I get cranky when people are overtly aggressive with me, which seems to be happening more. Maybe it's the change of seasons. People are getting cranky that summer is winding down

    Anyone else notice this or am I just lucky?
    "Only the meek get pinched, the bold survive"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    I'm the only one allowed to whine
    Posts
    10,576
    I haven't noticed it here. But I'm lucky enough to have a designated Bike Route for my commute with very little traffic. If I had to deal with real traffic I'd probably have a different story!
    "If Americans want to live the American Dream, they should go to Denmark." - Richard Wilkinson

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    melbourne
    Posts
    47
    I'm having an increase in near misses with cars/pedestrians/squirrels/etc.
    I wish we had squirrels here
    They're so cute

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Chi-town
    Posts
    3,265
    Quote Originally Posted by postiechic
    I wish we had squirrels here
    They're so cute
    I'm sure we could afford to send one or two from the Midwest.

    I haven't ridden for about a week, but I do remember the past few commutes having very aggravating pedestrian encounters. I've taken to yelling "Heads UP!" as they wander into my path, looking the other way. If they're looking right at me, and still wandering into the street, I say, "Do NOT walk in front of me!" To cars, I yell, "Do NOT hit me!" I think it's more an attempt at magical command than actual communication in the case of the cars. But if they hear me yelling and suddenly pay attention to something other than the cell phone, that's a good thing.
    Run like a dachshund! Ride like a superhero! Swim like a three-legged cat!
    TE Bianchi Girls Rock

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Welsh but living in Munich, Germany
    Posts
    324
    Maybe it's some sort of late-summer madness.
    Actually here the worst offenders are other cyclists - jumping red lights, cycling the wrong way down cycle paths and yesterday, to cap it all, a girl cycling while holding an umbrella
    Grrrrr, it makes me so mad.
    Bron

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    806
    An umbrella??? Was it Mary Poppins?
    "Only the meek get pinched, the bold survive"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    North Andover, Massachusetts USA
    Posts
    1,643
    I guess I'm pretty lucky in my commuting route. My experience is that on the whole the drivers respect me as a cyclist and allow me the room that I need to ride safely. Of course that may be partially because I do ride as far out into the driving lane as I feel is necessary to be safe. That means they really can't just blast by me but need to more over. One of the roads I ride on my way to work has a wide paved shoulder that I am quite happy to ride on, but none of the other roads have that extra width so I'm in the driving lane.

    It still surprises me when oncoming drivers stop so that I can turn left.

    --- Denise
    www.denisegoldberg.com

    • Click here for links to journals and photo galleries from my travels on two wheels and two feet.
    • Random thoughts and experiences in my blog at denisegoldberg.blogspot.com


    "To truly find yourself you should play hide and seek alone."
    (quote courtesy of an unknown fortune cookie writer)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Chi-town
    Posts
    3,265
    I remember last Thursday evening was particularly strange. I saw a guy riding with a full-sized umbrella (closed). One cyclist saw a friend on the sidewalk and stopped abruptly in the bike lane to chat. Right in front of me. On Armitage there was a girl jogger running in the bike lane, directly at me. It was at dusk. I have a bright flashing white light on the front of my bike. No way you can't see me if you're running the wrong way in the bike lane. Just as I veered out into traffic, she hopped up onto the sidewalk. Never even acknowledged me.

    And how about those geese down by McCormick Place on the south Lakefront Trail? They fear no bike! Can my tires handle that much goose poop?
    Run like a dachshund! Ride like a superhero! Swim like a three-legged cat!
    TE Bianchi Girls Rock

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    806
    LOL Lise. Those geese will take you down. Though I'd rather deal with the geese than the rollerbladers up by Oak Street. On their phone, striding like they're an olympic speed skater.

    Denise, I'm pretty aggressive when I ride. I don't ride near the parked cars as to not get "doored." My route is very urban, either in downtown chicago or the surrounding neighborhoods. Most people are like what you describe, which is so nice.

    But lately, man it's like there's a full moon. Maybe because I had some close calls I'm more keyed into them and things I ignored in the past I now notice. The guy on the sidewalk yesterday was hilarious. I think he was a tourist to boot. Not that we don't love our tourists here
    "Only the meek get pinched, the bold survive"

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    4,556
    I think there's general craziness. I (sadly) can't bike commute to work (35 miles each way, and no safe bikeable alternative), nor is there reasonable public transit. Yet our area just lost funding for a commuter rail which would have provided a reasonable alternative (granted it would have taken years...)

    However drivers have been terrible for the last couple of weeks. I'm attributing it to 1) college kids being back in the area and 2) back to school for secondary schools. Hubby and I were stopped at the bottom of a (one way) exit ramp last weekend when a car tried to turn up the ramp. Grrrrr....apparently one way doesn't really mean one way to some people
    Most days in life don't stand out, But life's about those days that will...

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    North Andover, Massachusetts USA
    Posts
    1,643
    Quote Originally Posted by betagirl
    Denise, I'm pretty aggressive when I ride. I don't ride near the parked cars as to not get "doored." My route is very urban, either in downtown chicago or the surrounding neighborhoods. Most people are like what you describe, which is so nice.

    But lately, man it's like there's a full moon...
    I suspect that my luck (and your bad luck) is more related to where we are riding than anything else. My commute is in heavily populated areas, but areas that I would classify as suburban, and not urban. I ride a route that (auto) commuters drive, so it is busy - but nothing like riding in Boston (or Chicago) would be. You've got a lot of guts to ride where you do!

    --- Denise
    www.denisegoldberg.com

    • Click here for links to journals and photo galleries from my travels on two wheels and two feet.
    • Random thoughts and experiences in my blog at denisegoldberg.blogspot.com


    "To truly find yourself you should play hide and seek alone."
    (quote courtesy of an unknown fortune cookie writer)

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    8,548
    Quote Originally Posted by postiechic
    I wish we had squirrels here
    They're so cute
    yeah, but you have wallabies and koalas!!
    Mimi Team TE BIANCHISTA
    for six tanks of gas you could have bought a bike.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    8,548
    I have noticed a big change too, but not what you've noticed. We have bikers EVERYWHERE!

    I had to drive to another town near here, and i noticed even on some tremendous hills (that I ALWAYS avoid) there were bicyclists pedalling for all it's worth.
    The combination of high gas prices, CLOGGED highways and health scares (we need to get fit or else) is sending throngs of folks out onto their bikes.
    And I am seeing all ages.
    Mimi Team TE BIANCHISTA
    for six tanks of gas you could have bought a bike.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    806
    Chicagoans could use a few hours on their bikes also To work off that deep dish pizza....among other things.
    "Only the meek get pinched, the bold survive"

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Riding my Luna & Rivendell in the Hudson Valley, NY
    Posts
    8,409
    I recently read that car accident deaths have risen this past year nationwide for the very first time after many years of slow decline. I think it's from all the drivers talking on their cell phones, causing accidents. Even though it's illegal here in NY state to talk while driving unless you are using a hands-free phone, I see multiple drivers EVERY DAY holding their little phones to their ears while driving, talking endlessly....they are simply ignoring the laws and nobody is sufficiently enforcing them, or else the fines are not high enough to discourage people much.
    And then there was the recent study that showed even hand-less cell phone talking caused drivers to have equally bad reaction time as someone who is driving while impaired by alcohol.
    I HOPE it will very soon become painfully obvious that there will have to be a very tough total nationwide ban on ALL phone talking while driving. Let people pull over and stop if they must talk on the phone!
    Lisa
    Our bikes...OurBikes...and my mountain dulcimer blog
    Ruby's Website and My blog
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