Friday Group Ride #237

Friday Group Ride #237

When I damaged my hand over the summer and had to go to the emergency room, the admitting nurse asked me, “Do you feel safe at home?” which is a coded way of asking whether I might have been a victim of domestic violence. My wife stood there looking bemused, and I replied in a theatrical whisper, “She’s right there…” It’s a crass joke, and inappropriate probably. Domestic violence is no joke, except that I’m crass, and it made my wife laugh, which is one of my favorite sounds in the whole world, so…

We’ve already been talking about safety this week, but I wanted to delve a little deeper. The ER nurse’s question actually gets at the heart of the matter, and gives us this week’s Group Ride. Do you FEEL safe on your bike?

Because one thing that the comment thread in this week’s other safety-oriented post made me see is that how safe I feel often bears very little resemblance to how safe I actually am. Reading through a report of Boston Cycling Safety, I came away feeling much less likely to be injured on my bike.

But I’ve been hit by cars twice, both times while doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing, and I know that sometimes the odds beat you, and that the fallout of an accident can be an even wider gulf between how you feel and how you are. After my first accident, it took me a year, maybe more, to feel good about riding in the city again. I kept riding, but it wasn’t fun, and if it’s not fun, then what is it?

These days I take a varying approach to safety, even sometimes riding without a helmet, as I did on Block Island this last weekend. Off season there is very little traffic. Was that irresponsible? Maybe. But it also felt good and free and worth it to me.

I hear from a lot of my friends who are over-40 that they have fundamentally changed the way they ride, the times, the routes, sometimes even skewing hard toward trail riding, rather than being out on the road. Whether that’s a heightened sense of mortality or the product of hard-won experience, I couldn’t say. I do know that the older I get the more I want to enjoy every ride, and that encompasses safety, intensity and location.

My feeling is that drivers, at least in Boston, are far more aware of cyclists than they were 10 years ago, even verging on sympathetic sometimes, and yet the fact remains, in any conflict, I will come out worse than I went in. I rapped my knuckles on a woman’s side view mirror just this morning. She was stopped at a light, and lined up too far over toward the parked cars. I thought I could snake my way through, but I misjudged it. It was a small thing. She wasn’t mad. I wasn’t mad. But it hurt.

This week’s Group Ride asks, do YOU feel safe? How has your perception of safety changed the way you ride, if at all? If you’ve been hit, what was your experience of getting back on the bike?

 

 

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35 comments

  1. brian

    I’ve been hit twice. Both not my fault. Sometimes im super aware of everything…lots of others in lost in the ride. The one that gets me is never gonna see me. I could be riding in a pink elephant suit. No light, camera, or anything else is gonna stop that from happening. I watch people get so worked up everytime someone buzzes a little close or revs the engine when they pass. Seems exceptionally useless to me.

  2. Hoshie99

    It has changed and that is largely due to age and experience.

    We have had numerous vehicle / cyclist incidents so that’s always a big factor for safety. I am fortunate to live in a community near LA that has a number of bike and jog paths as part of the community development plan that lead to less congested roads, so early am training routes consist of mostly these paths and the weekend rides go further out into the hills where traffic is lighter.

    The other big development is that as a younger man, I was a fairly calculated and aware racer. Crits are out, so is the Tuesday Night World’s most weeks because I trust my own skills mostly, but not the nonsense I see in the out and out fray. Plus I am a little mellower on the downhills we have here in the San Gabriels and Santa Monicas as fun as they are. My mellow is still plenty fast.

    The crit is the cycling equivalent of seeing the over 30 guy in the office come in with a black eye or a taped ankle – pick-up basketball is a young man’s sport and so are crits if you like your skin and collarbones.

    j

  3. wayno

    This week has been rough, had a truck come well within the three foot zone to the point where I felt the sucking in of the air. and can I say that the 3 foot zone is a ridiculously narrow space at car speed? Its better than nothing but to close and hard to enforce.
    Almost got clocked this morning riding into work on bike path through a green box, driver didn’t stop/yield and rolled into it close enough for me to pound my fist on his hood while he was still coming towards me. So no, don’t feel safe, time to adjust. Again.

  4. SusanJane

    I know, I know, there are statistics that say this and that, but I feel very strongly about brain buckets (i.e. helmets). People do suffer head injuries standing still and having someone trip them. Forget the numbers for a second. Add speed to that basic tidbit. However skilled you are, bicycles are inherently unstable, if that thing goes out from under you… Play the numbers game if you want. It’s your life. But the rest of your family, friends, co-workers, and even the other people involved (if any) will want you in that a brain bucket before the head injury if not when you are in the ICU. Don’t go to Vegas and bet your brain.

    I was 20 miles from Chico in the foothills riding alone. A patch of gravel and boom. It was head first then a slide. My helmet was cracked all the way through. I road home with a massive headache and a trail of blood. No cell phones back then. Blue sky that went forever. Empty roads. I loved it. I never got on my bike again without my brain bucket.

    1. Ron

      I’m PRO helmet too. Funny that my worst crash I was wearing one, while when I was hit by cars twice, I wasn’t…

      As another note, I was told by a sharp lawyer that if you are not wearing a helmet and don’t have lights on your bike…good luck ever trying to get money out of a driver if they hit you. I don’t know how truthful this is, but sure encouraged me to run lights both night and day and always wear a helmet.

  5. Don Jagoe

    I have to say, if you are riding on the streets, and you feel safe, you are seriously deluded. When I go out I know it is a calculated risk that I am choosing to make. That said, I refuse to become old and unfit. That’s a calculated risk too. Good article. I love my wife’s laugh too. That made me smile.

  6. Kevin

    Luckily I’ve never been hit, but I have never really felt “safe”. I took up road riding late in life (40) and early on a cycling friend told me to either get over it or get off the bike. For the past 18 years I’ve sucked it up. It’s the only way I can stay on the bike. Here in Santa Fe cycling awareness is starting to catch on. Seventy percent of the drivers are mostly courteous, twenty percent are oblivious, and the other ten percent are downright dangerous. I can’t decide which of the last two categories concerns me the most.

    In the beginning I tried blinking lights and mirrors. Got rid of the mirrors because I was paying too much attention to what was coming up from behind and not what was in front. Felt like the blinking lights just made me a better target. I learned to head toward routes where traffic is lighter. But when I’m in traffic I am often nervous. Maybe nervous is good. It has made me more cautious and aware. Also, over time I have become more assertive when I ride.

    One thing is certain, when in my car I have become a better driver.

    1. Ron

      Heck yeah. I’ve always been a good, safe driver but now that I’m mainly a cyclist…I’m a very attentive driver, I always signal, I’m always driving the speed limit, not necessarily because I watch for speed limit signs, but because I drive at the speed that feels safe for the conditions.

      You realize on a bike how bad things can go at 25 mph. At 90 on a highway with 8 lanes and most drivers texting…

      I don’t call them car “accidents” any longer, since I’m POSITIVE most were entirely predictable due to distracted driving. And forget alcohol…how many Americans are now hopped up on 5 hour energy, Percoset, Oxycodone, Ritalin, etc. Since I don’t take anything like that, including caffeine, I know I’d be totally out of it if I did. I best 50% of drivers have powerful drugs in their systems when operating a vehicle.

  7. Ransom

    I spent much of my formative cycling time in Eugene, OR, which at the time was even quieter than during Padraig’s visit. So even “Portland, tolerant Portland” (sorry, Jello) feels dodgy to me sometimes. The roads outside town are much busier and many have narrower shoulders than around Eugene. A fair number of popular rides have segments that still occur to me as suicidal. Okay, scary.

    So I can’t say I always feel safe, but I feel fortunate to have a fair amount of riding around here that doesn’t feel too dodgy. I just wish I had a magic wand that would add four feet of smooth shoulder pavement to… a lot of roads. When I go back and visit the areas outside my childhood home in San Francisco, I’m struck by how beautiful the area is, and how unlikely I would be to have a relaxing ride there, if I was bold enough to even try…

    Our *notion* of risk is very much relative (mind you, the real risk is what it is). Look at traffic in Bangladesh. Look at what people wore on motorcycles in the ’70s (or the ’20s). I’m also a motorcyclist and an ATGATT (all the gear, all the time) person, but every now and then want to ride around the block in jeans and sneakers to remind myself that calculated risks are okay. Being certain that you’ll be squashed the *instant* you’re not armored is perhaps safer but maybe not much healthier than taking the odd calculated risk.

  8. Pat O'Brien

    Yes, I feel safe riding on and off road. I am older and each ride, as you said, is precious. My risk tolerance goes down with each passing year, but it will never take me completely off the bike. Cycling at its heart is a risky sport to start with even if you had the road or trail completely to yourself. So, I am very conservative on which routes I take when on the road, and which parts of a trail or trails I will ride. I also am firmly convinced that the more I stand out, I am talking about bright riding kit, the safer I will be. I can’t understand the all black kit that seems to be the latest bike fashion here in SE Arizona.

  9. ScottyCycles62

    I feel safe but I don’t take it for granted when riding in heavily traveled streets. I always have my “Spidey Sense” active. I may be fortunate in that I am over 6’ft tall so add that height to a tall mans bike and while not being intimidating to a motorist I am more noticeable.

  10. Marc

    If by feeling safe, you mean do I go out believing I can’t/won’t have an accident? If that’s what you mean, then I don’t (feel safe, that is), and neither should anybody else. But if you mean do I feel there is a pretty high likelihood that I’m going to get home without injury, then yes, I do. Of course, I also do what I can to improve my chances — I avoid riding the streets during rush hour (I live in LA), and some streets I avoid completely. That just seems prudent. I feel compelled to note, however, that part of the safety challenge we face is that our institutions (I’m thinking traffic engineers and especially local police) are not exactly acting in our best interests. For instance, the police make a habit of hanging out on Sunday mornings, and liberally handing out citations to cyclists, in a local, tony neighborhood that is a favorite of cyclists. Why? “For the cyclists safety,” they claim, although I would note that the reason there are so many cyclists out on Sunday mornings is that there are very few cars on the streets, and therefore the cyclists are safer than other times. So we try to maximize our safety, and the police punish us for it. (And yes, I did get a ticket a couple of weeks ago. But I’m not bitter…)

  11. Jay

    I do feel safe on my bike. That said, I live and ride in an area that has many lightly traveled roads. In fact, there are roads that I use whereby I do not encounter more than a handful of cars each. In addition, there a several roads that I have used for several years and have yet to cross paths with an automobile. That kind of makes it easy to feel safe when I am out on my bike…

  12. Les.B.

    I am deluded.
    Most of the time I feel safe. (Riding Pacific Coast Highway is not one of those times.)
    Despite being deluded about feeling safe, I do wear the helmet religiously, I’m starting the practice of using lights ALL the time, and when starting out on a ride, take a moment of quiet to garner the favor of the powers of the universe for protection.
    As my nephew with the broken ankle knows, riding trails is no guarantee of injury-free riding.

    Coincidentally, the other cycling blog I read regularly talked safety today, with a unique slant
    http://pvcycling.wordpress.com/

    1. jorgensen

      Having noticed some riders using lights during the daylight hours and their effectiveness, I use them during anything but broad daylight.
      I have been hit by a car three times, all decades ago. The first time I observed prior that the driver was one to be avoided, but they ended up beside me after making a dry cleaner stop and wham. The second time was being hit by a SUV mirror from behind on Wilshire Blvd west bound just after passing under the 405 in West LA, this section of road is notorious, acknowledged as bad by the authorities and has not been altered to help bicycles even after its multimillion dollar reconstruction, so it goes. I did not go down but my back hurt for a while. The last was on that now notorious PCH just outside of Santa Monica, a Ford Fairmount decided that gutterballing it was the way to break free of the traffic, I almost dodged him, his rear bumper knocked my rear axle as I turned to avoid him, the impact knocked my bike into a motocross style “cross up”, the rear wheel landed hard and rolled the tire. I don’t like going down, so I kicked the bike back under me and rode the bare rim to a stop and a new tire. The guy did stop, and proceeded to get mad for my hitting him, this argument was not going to be won, the car had four big angry dudes in it, sometimes it is just best to fold on a winning factual hand.

  13. Mark

    This will be quick – not eloquent or well stated:
    Life is not safe.
    We all need to be aware of what’s happening around us. Some are better at this than others.
    News and media skew our perceptions. Driving or riding in a car is more dangerous than cycling, but the perception is the opposite.
    Ride smart, ride aware. Be sure to enjoy your ride.

    1. Ron

      Totally agree! 10,000 people will die somewhere and it’s a BS “trending” topic on yahoo for 5 minutes. Then, back to the NFL news.

      Who ever said life was safe? Or sacred? As an animal lover, I’d be happy to trade some of those smashed rabbits, squirrels, possums, cats, deer, and dogs I see dead when I’m out cycling for…the idiot who ran them over. Or, for your general every day idiot.

      For me, a life is a life, is a life. That goddamn possum had pals and a family too, don’t you think they’ll miss him? I don’t like the exaltation of (white/American to a larger degree) human life above all life on the planet.

  14. Michael

    I live in Orange County, Ca and have been riding here for 20+ years.

    I feel much less safe now than I did 5-6 years ago- mostly caused by the number of deaths reported on routes I have traveled numerous times & by ‘close-calls’ I have personally experienced.

    This has drastically changed not how I ride, or what equipment I use but rather where and when I ride. Ironically, my favorite routes (those with fewer traffic signals & side traffic) are the ones I have chosen to NEVER ride on and feel they present the greatist risk to riders. Although these roads seem ideal for riding and what I used to prefer, you find yourself in a situation where vehicle speeds can easily be 40-50 MPH greater than what you are traveling. A collision at these speeds the rider will lose, and lose big everytime. And just as I feel somewhat more comfortable not having to react to traffic signals and side traffic- so do the drivers! Their guard is down- they check their phones, they play with the radio etc, etc.

    Speed kills. Drivers will not be slowing down or be any less distracted than they already are. I stick to dedicaled bike paths (paved & dirt) and use residential streets whenever I can. I miss you PCH

    I feel more comfortable riding along side a cars through beach cities (Newport, Laguna, Dana Point) when the speed of vehicles and my bike are closer to equal. One must be very alert and have good bike handling skills and although there is still risk for accidents and injury I feel my chances are much better and both avoiding them and assuming I get hit- surviving them.

  15. Miles Archer

    Suburban riding with a wide shoulder. Yeah, I feel pretty safe. Some of the older country roads with limited shoulders, not as much. I generally only ride those on Sunday mornings.

    What’s going to kill me, though, is when I completely zone out. There are times I can’t remember the last 2,3,4 miles because I get lost in thought.

  16. Steve Barner

    I started road riding as soon as my mom would let me (well, actually before that, truth be told). I’m now approaching 60 and ride about 5k miles a year commuting and about the same for recreation. I live in northern Vermont, so my commuting isn’t anything like it was in the 1970s when I was riding my track bike across Albany, NY, where it seemed all the drivers hated me, but many roads here have no shoulders and the cars are often fast and close. Still, I can’t say that I feel unsafe, and I certainly am not fearful. Neither do I feel like I am delusional or fatalistic and I don’t believe in pre-determination. Road cycling is what it is and while there is certainly more risk than there would be if one wrapped themselves in a 3,000 lb cocoon of steel and plastic, I think the truly delusional are those who think that riding in a private auto is safe. I have been hit by cars a few times over the years. All were the drivers’ fault, though I could also have avoided them if I had been more observant. In spite of having cracked a few helmets, I still consider them optional and a whole lot less effective than most people seem to think. I consider my biggest risk to be an overtaking collision involving a distracted driver, but when you consider the fact that drivers on 2-lane roads constantly face the risk of another driver heading in their direction swerving a few feet across the centerline and hitting them head-on at a combined velocity of 100 mph or more, why aren’t people terrified every time they go anywhere in a car? If you think engineering and air bags are going to always let you walk away from an accident like that, then I think you’re the one who is delusional. So, no, I don’t feel unsafe when I’m riding along the edge of the roadway. I’m aware of the risk, doing my part to stay safe, and accepting the fact that things could quickly go bad, just like they could for anyone else using the public roadways. I try to ride smart, but I still like a fast descent, and I believe in the “Any bike, anywhere, any time” philosophy. I don’t let busy roads scare me away. If a road is open to cyclists, we should be on it, if only to remind drivers that they are not the only ones entitled to its use.

  17. Scott

    I left the helmet at home the other week for a commute to work, just to see what it felt like wearing a cycling cap like everyone did back in the day (or as I see some cyclists doing every day in Chicago). Part of my rationale was that about 50% of the route was on a paved bicycle path through the woods. Covered, as it happened, in wet newly fallen leaves. I think I felt safer in traffic that day than I did taking corners on the treacherously slick bike path. I decided after that that my brain, being the most important thing that makes me a person, was worth a helmet every time. Same reason I always wore my helmet inside the RG-31 on the roads of eastern Afghanistan.

    Today I was actually thinking about how safe I feel on the way back from the morning team ride. I realized that it may be my level of relaxation that makes me a bit safer of a rider in traffic. I’m always focused, but I don’t tense up around cars like I did when I started riding. I’ve had a few close calls where my brakes and reflexes saved me from a hospital visit, but I’m lucky to have not been hit.

    Crap, now that I’ve said that…

  18. Bikelink

    Denial is strong; I’m sure I’d feel less safe if I’d been hit while riding correctly. I always have my head on a swivel but know I can’t control everything. On the other hand I don’t want to live in a situation where I’m afraid to road ride. My feelings about all of this swing and migrate all over the place all the time.

  19. Bill H-D

    Safe? Given the alternative, yes. Here’s why:

    Do the Health Benefits of Cycling Outweigh the Risks?
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2920084/

    “For individuals who shift from car to bicycle, we estimated that beneficial effects of increased physical activity are substantially larger (3–14 months gained) than the potential mortality effect of increased inhaled air pollution doses (0.8–40 days lost) and the increase in traffic accidents (5–9 days lost). Societal benefits are even larger because of a modest reduction in air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions and traffic accidents.”

  20. Mike in FLA

    Do I feel safe? Some days more than others.

    I haven’t been hit by a car but I have been punched by a driver. I didn’t ride alone for quite some time after that.

    The bulk of my riding is commuting alone. My roadie friends would be agast if they realized I ride on sidewalks and bike trails. (Sidewalks can be hazardous.) I choose my routes to “minimize” my risk exposure. This is partly for my family and partly for me.

    I do my best to stay visible. Helmet…always. Lights…always. I assume that no one can see me and those that can want to run me over. I try to keep a positive mental attitude and try not to get pissed off when drivers do stupid things.

  21. MattC

    Less safe. Due entirely to the invention of cell-phones. IMO, there’s never been a bigger risk to pedestrians, cyclists and even other cars. Here in CA it’s illegal to be using your phone “non hands-free”, yet you can’t go ANYWHERE w/out seeing people w/ them stuck to their ear, or even worse, down near the steering wheel as they are looking up and down while texting. My area isn’t that populous, but we’ve had enough people killed each year that it really sticks in your mind.

    2 weeks ago we had another death on a main cycling-route. The woman had multiple DUI’s and was driving on a suspended license. Other cars saw the HIT (the poor rider flew up over the hood and bounced off the pass-side windshield before being flung out into the ditch to die) and chased her down/held her until police got there. So she was caught…great. Doesn’t do that rider one single bit of good…he’s dead. My wife doesn’t even want me to ride solo anymore….though sometimes I break off of our group rides to add extra miles. Not that being in a group makes you safer…maybe it just feels safer. Groups get his just as well as loners. Sure don’t know what the answer is, other than to do more Mt biking.

    1. Ron

      Couldn’t agree more. I’m absolutely enraged and furious by people who drive and hold their phones to their ears. Furious. I’d have no problem if the police were allowed to shoot these people dead on site.

      It’s INSANE! Piloting a deadly machine, a privilege, and you can’t be bothered to actually pay attention to operating that machine?!

      I think that in the U.S. before you even apply for a driver’s license, you must commute by bicycle for two weeks. 1) this would demonstrate that using a car is a privilege. 2) this would instill in all drivers more respect for cyclists.

      I’ve actually gotten into it with soccer moms in big SUVs. “You’re in a rush to get your five kids to practice? Well, you nearly just hit me in your grand rush to this red light. Don’t you think I have a mom? Don’t you think she’d be pissed if her son was killed by an aggressive driver?”

      Not my fault you’re in a rush or late. Leave earlier.

  22. MattC

    On a side note, one-day I might try a little experiment: carry my pistol-grip Mossberg 500 12 gauge (not loaded, otherwise it would be illegal) slung over my back. I can’t help but wonder if some of the harassment might stop (shouting, honking, throwing of beverages/ etc)…That, or it might very well get me hit as they would be staring at my shotgun…and the old adage: look right, go right might bring them right into the shoulder. Still I chuckle about the thought…do you harass a guy carrying a shotgun? (“don’t poke the crazy guy” comes to mind).

    1. Ron

      A mechanic at the LBS once told me he was cycling and happened to have an axe on his back. (Not sure why, maybe a lumberjack when not wrenching). A driver was harassing him so he slowed…pointed to the axe strapped to his back and told them to fuck off. A shotgun might be better!

      The one time I really got fucked with was when a huge truck rolled alongside me on a Sunday evening country loop. Four or five teenagers leaned out and were yelling at me. Then then threw coins at me (didn’t seem like they had money to lose) but, being inbred fucks, none of them were able to hit me. I even called the police but the inept operator asked me, after I provide a two-block intersection, “Okay, what is the other street at the intersection?” It was a four way, so there were only two. Needless to say, the truck was long gone before the cops rolled through.

    1. Ron

      Huh, young, drunk males account for most of the deaths. Go figure…seems like this would be the case across the board, cyclo or non. Too much testosterone, not enough foresight.

      I see a LOT of cyclists riding dangerously in my city. The city is growing really fast, it’s now a “cool city”, and we have a major university. That means lots of new young people, who want to look cool, and who might have moved from a bigger city where there is such car traffic volume that there is more gridlock. Not here, yet. So the cars are going fast, they aren’t that used to cyclists. The cyclists felt safe in their last city so…no lights, no helmet, no checking blindspots at intersections (the driver pulling around the left-turning car ahead of them and aggressively veering into the right lane), riding in flip flops, on and on. I see a uni. student death coming and in all honest I think it would be good for cyclists at large. The uni. is so big, powerful, and wealthy that if a high-profile cyclist is killed (not a drunk homeless person who is “disposable”) I think they’d pressure the city, and kick in the money, for more bike lanes and infrastructure.

      Two more things about drivers: If the cyclist you just passed has lights on, turn on your fucking lights! It’s not about YOU seeing, it’s about others seeing you. I’m infuriated by drivers who won’t turn on their lights at dusk or in the rain. And, also enraged by drivers not using turn signals. It’s the LAW. I wish cops would enforce it. And, drivers pulling out of parallel parking spots need to signal too! It’s the law. No lights, tinted windows, no way to tell that the car is running. So dangerous.

      I’ll also say that I follow the Rules of the Road….but, if breaking one makes my life safer and takes me out of danger, I’ll do it. I never ever sit on a road between two lanes of opposite direction traffic waiting to turn myself. Between two streams of cars? No thanks. I’ll jump through that intersection as soon as possible.

      My motto – the fewer cars I’m near, the fewer that can run into me.

  23. Ron

    Yes. And no. I ride defensively aggressive. I’m always tuned in and watch every tiny move of the car and the driver. But, you simply cannot control everything. I have been hit twice by drivers, both when I was relatively new to road cycling and I was in a busy city (Wash. DC). Both could *probably* have been avoided, but both times the driver was clearly at fault. Thankfully I wasn’t injured badly.

    Cycling infrastructure is getting better here in Durham, NC and I’m part of a local advocacy group. But, we’ve also had a number of recent deaths. A fifty-year old man was just left crossed last week and he died yesterday. Lifelong cyclist and on a Dean Ti frameset. Driver was 83. And, it was right in my neighborhood.

    I try to make myself feel as safe as possible. I take the lowest car volume routes at all times. I’m thankful that I can bike commute on a dedicated bike trail. That’s awesome. When I ride on the open road I use plenty of lights, both front and rear. I take the quietest routes to get out of downtown. I take the lane when I need to. I also constantly peek over my shoulder. And, I “talk” to drivers. If a small hill prevents sight, I put my hand back as in “slow down, don’t pass.” It works more often than not. Always going to be jerks who blow by.

    I’m 35 and I have noticed a change. I used to argue with dangerous drivers. I used to chase down these drivers. I rarely do this anymore. And, at most, I just give a glare if I happen to catch them at a red light. I was much more argumentative and confrontational ten years ago when I hit the road.

    I love road cycling. I seek out the safest routes. I ride at off-off peak times, like 7:00 on Sunday, or 19:00 on Sunday…people either aren’t up or already home preparing for the week. I don’t hug the shoulder to “share” I ride a few feet from the shoulder line and hold my line. I’m usually coming in from rides when the uni. ride is heading out.

    So, I guess I do feel safer today. I’m more aware. I’m a better bike handler. I know my roads and routes well. I’m confident in holding my life and “talking” with drivers. I also try my best to not escalate situations. I ride at off peak times. And, I’ve had a cross bike for a few years. (not a mtn. guy). If I just must ride and it’s too busy, I hit the park or the trails that I can ride to and avoid dealing with crazed drivers.

    I haven’t owned a car in well over ten years. I’m in a car maybe a handful of times a month. I’m an American and car culture makes me sick. Bad for the humans. Bad for the planet. I cannot believe how it makes people act – rude, aggressive, pushy, egocentric. I truly hate automobiles. And drivers on cell phones – I think they’re the scum of the earth. Doubly selfish! Not only do you need your own private vehicle BUT you refuse to pay attention to operating it! I hope all of these folks die a slow, painful death in Hell. It’s gonna be a full place, since so damn many drivers do it. I’d love to see the cell phones companies do something. There has to be tech to disable all cell phones when in a car. But, it’ll be kept from daylight, I’m sure.

    I love cycling too much to stop. I commute. I cross ride and race. I road ride as much as I can, used to be 7 times a week, now is more like 3. My brother surfs in CA and there are lots of sharks there. I see distracted, aggressive drivers as sharks.

    I’m not going to stay on the shore.

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