Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby feral grasshopper » Mon Feb 25, 2013 4:44 pm

i'd just like to thank everyone for their replies to the OP. i'm a roadie of only a couple of years experience and i've increasingly been inclined to 'take the lane' (though always a matter for judgement as i ride in the Blue Mountains and beyond quite a bit) as being the logically most safe way to ride and my experience has been that it is when i try to be 'helpful and courteous' to allow a motorist to squeeze past that the situation has been potentially at its most dangerous both for me and the motorist (assuming here that most peeps don't actually want to kill or maim anybody :shock: :? :roll: )

I've found it very reassuring and validating to read the responses of some obviously experienced riders. :D :D :D
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by BNA » Mon Feb 25, 2013 4:52 pm

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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby ldrcycles » Mon Feb 25, 2013 4:52 pm

BIG +1 to both il padrone and andrewburns, both absolutely spot on and very well put.


And i'll take the opportunity to thank anyone who helps get the message out there about riding big, i'm in no doubt it prevents serious injuries or worse.
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby clackers » Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:28 pm

william wrote:Eventually I braved the main lane and watched my mirror like an eagle. I was quite surprised that just about every vehicle, including busses, would judge their timing to pass me. Occasionally I would move left if a big truck was coming as long as it was ok on the side. .


I'll also slow down and move over to the extreme left when there are double lines with cars approaching from both directions on 100kmh stretches. Just being practical, even though I know I've got just as much right to be there, etc etc. :smile:
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby RonK » Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:40 pm

clackers wrote:I'll also slow down and move over to the extreme left when there are double lines with cars approaching from both directions on 100kmh stretches. Just being practical, even though I know I've got just as much right to be there, etc etc. :smile:


Touring EnZed last year I decided that there needed to be an extension to Murphy's Law. I had plenty of time to think about such mundane things while riding across the Southlands broad acres.

Despite riding on near deserted roads for much of the journey, I noticed that:

1. If a vehicle approached from behind, then almost inevitably another would approach from ahead and they would cross exactly at my location, and

2. If a vehicle approached from behind, then almost inevitably another would follow immediately behind it.

I couldn't come up with a name - Murphy's law of traffic improbabilities perhaps... :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby clackers » Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:52 am

RonK wrote:
I couldn't come up with a name - Murphy's law of traffic improbabilities perhaps... :lol: :lol: :lol:


Yep, it's annoying on a road without shoulder to come to a virtual halt in the gravel, but I tell myself, "Harden up, princess. Yes, you're having to modify what you do because of the current traffic situation. But that's what you're asking all those drivers to do the rest of the time." :smile:
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby il padrone » Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:07 am

Actually on stretches of road with double lines, if approaching crests or bends, I have no reservations about staying wide and playing the 'cork in the bottle'. Double lines :idea: - it's pretty clear what the legal requirement is, and I'm afraid I've had far too many tossers overtaking across double lines... on crests.... or blind corners.... with oncoming traffic even :roll: :x . When I can see the clear road ahead I will move left and wave them on.

Rather have them sitting on the horn at my tail, than a head-on alongside me. They can see me. They know what to do, it's just that often they are too darn impatient to do it right. Sticking yourself out on the road ratchets up their 'fear factor'.
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby Christine Tham » Tue Feb 26, 2013 3:01 pm

There's some really good advice given by posters here.

In order to illustrate il padrone's point about playing the "cork in the bottle" on crests or bends, here's a short segment from my ride to work today, taken around Manly. Apologies for the dark video - this was before dawn.

Note that although there were at least half a dozen cars queued behind me, no one objected to me taking the whole lane. No aggression, angst, honking or shouting. The first vehicle that overtook me (the white ute) only did so after I relinquished the lane, went to the left, and signalled for it to overtake.

Also notice I was clear of the door zone at all times. And all vehicles that overtook me gave me plenty of clearance.

Doesn't mean there are no idiots on the road, but 99% of the time I am on the road I encounter no issues from drivers.

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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby Summernight » Tue Feb 26, 2013 3:16 pm

Christine Tham wrote:


Love the cyclist riding on the wrong side of the road at 15s. :lol:
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby Christine Tham » Tue Feb 26, 2013 3:31 pm

Summernight wrote:Love the cyclist riding on the wrong side of the road at 15s. :lol:


I KNOW! I was thinking "WT????"

Given there were a whole convoy of vehicles behind me - if he had not made it out of the divided section in time (it looks like he had mere seconds to spare) - it would have been a disaster. :shock:
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby Snagdog » Tue Feb 26, 2013 4:23 pm

Well said Andrew Burns!!!! It should be put up for all newbies to read. It took me a few
Close calls and about 6 months of riding to work all that out.
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby casual_cyclist » Tue Feb 26, 2013 5:52 pm

Another vote for mixing it up with the traffic and riding in your lane. I have some really busy roads where I live but ride with the traffic anyway because it is way safer to be in front of a car where the driver is more likely to see you than in the gutter where they might not be looking. In my area I have had zero issues with riding with cars. In other areas I have had a small number of issues when riding on the shoulder, riding in the gutter or riding in my lane. Out of these I have the least issues riding in my lane which reinforces to me that is the place to ride.
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby wombatK » Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:56 pm

Christine Tham wrote:There's some really good advice given by posters here.

In order to illustrate il padrone's point about playing the "cork in the bottle" on crests or bends, here's a short segment from my ride to work today, taken around Manly. Apologies for the dark video - this was before dawn.

First couple of minutes was a 40km/hr zone, so knowing your pedaling prowess, I'd expect everyone of those
vehicles overtaking you would have been exceeding the speed limit. :D

Not surprised the motorists were well-behaved - they really can't legally go much faster than you.
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby Christine Tham » Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:47 pm

wombatK wrote:First couple of minutes was a 40km/hr zone, so knowing your pedaling prowess, I'd expect everyone of those
vehicles overtaking you would have been exceeding the speed limit. :D


According to Strava, my speed around that section was only around 30 km/h so there's still a potential 10 km/h headroom.

Not quite sure what your point is. Are you saying there would have been issues if the speed differential was greater? If so, happy to post another segment where I am climbing at around 20 km/h in a 60 km/h zone. No issues there either.
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby wombatK » Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:08 pm

Christine Tham wrote:According to Strava, my speed around that section was only around 30 km/h so there's still a potential 10 km/h headroom.

A 10 km/hr headroom means a passing vehicle should gain just 2.8 meters on you per second. Its difficult to be precise
looking at the coarse time resolution of a youtube video, but it seems the ute that overtakes at 0:46 puts two to three lengths (maybe 10 m) on you in possibly a second or less. So that's maybe 20 to 30 kph over your speed, and a pretty decent fine if there's a copper with lidar down the street.
Christine Tham wrote:Not quite sure what your point is

Driver behavior is more moderate in a 40 kph zone, possibly for several reasons. Firstly, your speed difference means the impact of your obstruction is less; in the OP's terms, you're not much of a hog. Secondly, anyone attempting to pass risks racking up a pretty substantial fine if they accelerate 20 to 30 kph above your 30 or 40 kph. Impatient hoons tend to avoid these kinds of routes.

I'm not trying to argue against taking the lane. Rather, just making the observation that on 40 kph roads you're not having as much impact on motorists, and hence don't need quite as much nerve.
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby Christine Tham » Wed Feb 27, 2013 4:17 am

wombatK wrote:Driver behavior is more moderate in a 40 kph zone, possibly for several reasons.


If you have any evidence to back this up, I would be interested, because my experience doesn't support this. I don't see any difference in behaviour where the speed limit is 60 km/h (around Church Point for example, or on some of the roads in the Inner West), or even during the ride itself just 5 mins earlier than the segment I posted, or 5 mins after. The only reason I used that segment was it illustrates il padrone's point precisely about taking the lane during blind corners and crests, and it was a scenario with at least 6 vehicles behind me.

I have seen examples of bad driver behaviour (honking, swearing, aggressive cutting in after overtaking). Funnily enough almost all these examples are on multi lane highways, outside peak hour where there wasn't a lot of traffic and therefore no issues with the driver overtaking in a different lane, so there would have been no 'justification' for the aggression.

My theory is that drivers are more likely to be aggressive when they think no one is watching them, rather than the speed limit.

When taking the whole lane on a road with only one lane each way with double lines, it is important to communicate intention to vehicles behind. I do this in a variety of subtle and not so subtle ways. For example, in the segment above, I signal just before moving out to the centre of the lane (for example, I did that after the white ute has overtaken me after I relinquished the lane) so that the driver behind me understands. Sometimes, I point the reason I am taking the lane (obstruction, parked cars, pothole) and if a driver looks impatient I will actually use the wait signal.

I also try and look the driver in the eye just before they overtake - I find this helps in them giving me enough clearance.

I find the combination of signals (hand out just before taking the lane, the wait signal around blind corners or when car approaching, the "please overtake" flick just after I move to the left when conditions are safe - all help establish good relationship with drivers. I often get waves when drivers overtake me.

I also find drivers will sometimes defend me from other more aggressive drivers. Once a truck blocked a car from trying to squeeze past me. Another time this car kept honking me from behind. I think he got an earful from other drivers. When he finally had a chance to overtake me, he was meek as a mouse.
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby am50em » Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:03 am

Christine Tham wrote:...
I have seen examples of bad driver behaviour (honking, swearing, aggressive cutting in after overtaking). Funnily enough almost all these examples are on multi lane highways, outside peak hour where there wasn't a lot of traffic and therefore no issues with the driver overtaking in a different lane, so there would have been no 'justification' for the aggression.

My theory is that drivers are more likely to be aggressive when they think no one is watching them, rather than the speed limit.
...


I would second this. My alternate theory is that they have more time and can afford to use some of it on abusing cyclists without worrying about losing position in traffic.

Actually on my commute these days (same route for 3 years) the traffic is in general well behaved and I rarely get any aggression (there is always the must get in front of the bike but not to a dangerous degree). Touch wood. In fact in one section I often get preemptive moves by motorist into the right hand lane as I travel on shoulder looking to move into the left lane. Taking the lane and having motorist get familiar with cyclists on the road does appear to improve the situation.
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby il padrone » Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:49 am

am50em wrote:
Christine Tham wrote:...
I have seen examples of bad driver behaviour (honking, swearing, aggressive cutting in after overtaking). Funnily enough almost all these examples are on multi lane highways, outside peak hour where there wasn't a lot of traffic and therefore no issues with the driver overtaking in a different lane, so there would have been no 'justification' for the aggression.

My theory is that drivers are more likely to be aggressive when they think no one is watching them, rather than the speed limit.
...


I would second this. My alternate theory is that they have more time and can afford to use some of it on abusing cyclists without worrying about losing position in traffic.

An additional take on this is that for a significant proportion of drivers, on multi-lane roads off-peak, they expect to be able to drive consistently faster and they are lazy/indignant about the idea of changing lanes or needing to slow down at all. A cyclist in "their lane" is an affront to them and they lash out.

am50em wrote:Actually on my commute these days (same route for 3 years) the traffic is in general well behaved.....

....Taking the lane and having motorist get familiar with cyclists on the road does appear to improve the situation.

+1

I have experienced the same thing with a regular commute over the past 8 years on the same route.
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby rdp_au » Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:27 am

Christine Tham wrote:
wombatK wrote:
When taking the whole lane on a road with only one lane each way with double lines, it is important to communicate intention to vehicles behind. I do this in a variety of subtle and not so subtle ways. For example, in the segment above, I signal just before moving out to the centre of the lane (for example, I did that after the white ute has overtaken me after I relinquished the lane) so that the driver behind me understands. Sometimes, I point the reason I am taking the lane (obstruction, parked cars, pothole) and if a driver looks impatient I will actually use the wait signal.

I also try and look the driver in the eye just before they overtake - I find this helps in them giving me enough clearance.

I find the combination of signals (hand out just before taking the lane, the wait signal around blind corners or when car approaching, the "please overtake" flick just after I move to the left when conditions are safe - all help establish good relationship with drivers. I often get waves when drivers overtake me.



Absolutely spot on.

If we want to be respected as responsible road users, we need to behave that way. We expect other users to be confident and to signal their intentions when they intend to do something. We should do the same.

A perfect example of the wisdom of claiming the lane happens on my morning commute. I travel on the Pacific Highway between Wahroonga and Turramurra, mixing it with the travel weary road warriors streaming down from the Central Coast. I claim the left hand lane and very rarely have any issues from drivers who need to change lanes to pass me safely. I find this route much safer (and quicker) than dealing with the erratic behaviour of the often inattentive suburban drivers on the back streets.
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby Xplora » Wed Feb 27, 2013 11:43 am

It seems really sad that the only real explanation for all this bad driver behaviour is that they are lazy, ignorant scumbags. Can't HTFU and wait 15 seconds, can't use their brake, can't have the stones to actually experience traffic unless they are sure they are anonymous, can't appreciate their idiocy can kill/paralyse/hospitalise.

Road hog is the ONLY way to ride. If you can't handle that, you have to stay on bike paths and probably shouldn't commute - in the same way that you shouldn't drive if you can't cope with traffic between 0-60kmh as well.
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby russell.bathard » Wed Feb 27, 2013 4:34 pm

To il padrone and everybody else,
Thank you for your resposes. I am a newbie to computing but not to cycling as you have perceived.Hence my responses have been limited by my computer ability so they have been short to the point and derrogatory on some occasions.I appologise for offending people with the term road hog.It was a convenient term to use to describe quickly a riding position and one that I knew would attract a response.I am happy to be called a gutter rat.In this post I shall spend some time to explain myself more fully and hope I don't press a wrong button at the end and wipe it all off.
I have 45 years experience as riding as a gutter rat. I have ridden around Europe (17 countries), America(across and back in a large rectangle)New Zealand,Fiji,Singapore,Malaysia,Thailand.In Australia I have travelled on practically every major highway and road and recently switched to riding outback 4WD tracks eg Gibb river road,Oodnadata tk,Birdsville, Oodnadatta,Tanami,Gunbarrel,Strzelecki,Plenty and Sandover hwys etc.I am an addicted tourer cycling continually for 6 to 9 months at a time on each trip.
Is experience relevant to the questions i HAVE RAISED wih you.I at first thought not, and was going to quiery you on this point.As you have indicated there is a lack of data to answer my questions.So we seek wise council, anecdotel evidence, from our elders.Your picture indicates an aura of authority and I DO value your comments highly.
We have different and opposing views on where to ride.
All comments on this site support the idea of riding, say, in the path of the left hand car tyre.
I am the odd one out.(I have never been one to go with the mob, and always cycle alone).
This is not surprising as BNA and other cycling organisations support this view.
If you are on a bna site you will attract BNA readers with BNA views.
I encourage and challange BNA or any other bicycle organisations to investigate the questions I have asked about accidents and clearance passing distances and provide some data to actually support the recommendations they are proposing.They have a duty of care to do this for their members! It would be a relatively simple task to achieve.
I shall now outline why and how I ride gutter rat style and try to provide a more balanced (opposite) debate on this post.
1.My personality is to be considerate to others. I can tell them my ideas,I respect their point of view,I do not wish to force my ideas on them.Sort of live and let live.I am not assertive with my own importance.
I am considerate of car drivers.It is my personality that helps to dictate where I ride.I know that as a car driver I am frustrated by cyclists that ride wide.As a cyclist I wish to minimise my annoyance to passing traffic and minimise aggressive behaviour.
2.I know I have a legal right to ride wide from a law established in .......But the actual law does not improve my safety.
It is all very well to say act like a car, think like a car,but the fact is I do not have the protection of a car around me.
Cyclists are the most vulnerable road users.
3.I have made a conscious decision not to use a mirror based on the fact that I wish to enjoy my ride and not be peering into mirror with worry half the time.If I ride as far left as possible I consider I am in the safest position possible with or without a mirror.
4.I say this because I am protected by another law that says vehicles should pass at a safe distance.I do as much as I can to achieve this safe distance myself.
If I feel I am in danger I ride in the very gutter itself.
5.Lets talk about trucks.Professional truck drivers are some of the best and most considerate drivers on the road.Most pass well over in the lane on the other side.With oncoming traffic I regard them as king of the road I analyse the situation for my, and others safety, and get off onto the gravel if needed..If they toot or if its a road train you should certainly get off the road.If any articulated vehicle brakes, the rear trailers get up a wobble that can collect you as they pass .I use sound, and guage the closeness with my peripheral vision as the cabin passes.If I get blown out I keep going- way out.If you try to hold your line you can get sucked back in.If you try to remount the bitumin edge it can snag your front wheel and throw you onto the road under the trailer wheels..About 1 in 500 trucks will pass you as if they didn't see you.Possibly it could be end of story particularly if you ride wide.
I acknowlege this is an unsubstanciated statement. It can not be proved one way or the other.I am saying it is a possibility, where the cyclist can improve survival chances, by riding gutter rat style.
7.Caravans and wide trailers also pose similar problems.Buses are different and frightening because the engine is in the back.Wide loads are terrifying as the pilot vehicle often only travels behind so the first indication you have is when half a house passes you 1m. away.
8.Lets talk about relative speed.A fast vehicle must have less time to react to your presence on the road.Some drivers think well ahead when driving some don't.Combine not thinking ahead, with fast speed, throw in some innattention, texting,alcohol or drugs and you have an accident.Main arguments advanced by cyclists who ride further out are that you are SEEN in this position. If your not seen, your dead.(perhaps)Some friends of my friend were completely run over by a vehicle while presumably riding wide.Accidents like this do occur and we need to realize this and ride accordingly.
9.Most of my comments apply to highway riding and I suggest cycling stategy needs to be different because the potential danger is different due to faster and bigger passing traffic.If riding freeways off ramps are particularly dangerous because many cars fail to indicate.I recommend completely crossing where indicated at a slow speed or walk.
10.I ride gutter rat style in the cities also and have had very few problems.I always look right before passing a left turn as this is a big danger.I generally feel safer in slower traffic.I don't annoy them, and they don't annoy me.
11. thats all i can say at the moment.I hope this clarifies some of my posts and provides some safety tips for some cyclists.What unites us together, in a way is, that we all hope to survive the ride.The best solution to all this in the long run, is to have high quality cycle tracks then we don't have to worry about vehicles.
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby am50em » Wed Feb 27, 2013 5:25 pm

Hmmm. When I read the first post I was suspicious that the OP is actually more of a motorist than a cyclist and was more interested in getting cyclists to ride in the gutter while he is driving than making cycling safer. His last post just increases my suspicion. I could of course be completely wrong on this in which case apologies.
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby casual_cyclist » Wed Feb 27, 2013 5:52 pm

Case in point yesterday. I was riding out of the CBD in peak hour traffic on a 2 lane road with narrow lanes. Following the cycle commuter in front of me who took of from the lights I was surprised to see the commuter make a beeline for the gutter. At the end of the intersection he had left himself nowhere to go and swerved suddenly into the path of a car accelerating through the intersection without looking and without any hand signal to warn the car driver he was moving over. The car driver had to take evasive action to avoid hitting the cyclist! Realising what he had done, I checked behind me, made a hand signal I was about to move over and claimed my lane. A car came through the intersection, up behind me and gave a toot. I don't know if he was tooting me or tooting "there is a vehicle back here" because he saw the guy in front of me swerve out in front of another car without looking. In case the toot was directed at me, I looked around to see if I had missed somewhere I should have been riding. There literally was nowhere for me to go as the lane is too narrow at the point for a car to safely pass if I was riding in the gutter. Not sure if the guy behind me realised the same thing or if he was satisfied that both of us knew there was actually a car behind. Either way he gave us a buffer and sat back until the road widened out to three lanes. Personally I thought the driver behind did the right thing in response to cyclists weaving into traffic (although I did signal)... letting us know there is a car behind and to take care!

Lessons learned: a) be predictable! b) hand signals let drivers behind know what you are doing c) if there is not enough room to allow a car to overtake safely, don't ride in the gutter d) don't swerve into the path of a moving vehicle.

Seems pretty obvious I know but the guy in front was pretty well geared up for commuting and seemed fairly experienced. I guess appearances can be deceptive at times.
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby RonK » Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:09 pm

casual_cyclist wrote:Either way he gave us a buffer and sat back until the road widened out to three lanes. Personally I thought the driver behind did the right thing in response to cyclists weaving into traffic (although I did signal)... letting us know there is a car behind and to take care!

A good time to give a wave of acknowledgment and a mouthed thank you.
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby il padrone » Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:21 pm

Too many points that I would take issue with in russell.bathard's post to address really. Suffice to cover a few that I may have not made clear before.

If you ride wider in the traffic flow the presence you make will act to reduce vehicle speeds around you. You become a bit less predictable (to drivers - you're not over there in the gutter) and drivers will, despite any frustration or anger, drive more conservatively. This is usually evident by the far fewer horn blasts that I receive, and the cars slowing and changing lanes.

Secondly, my old 'thorn' (funny, that's what I ride :o ) - the mirror. Many think that a mirror is not needed on a bike, that it will cause you to be 'terrified' by the approaching traffic. Use one and get used to the view, the traffic is there whether you see them or not. Wouldn't you rather know more about your surroundings? Don't you think greater awareness of the nearby vehicles - ones that are about to directly effect you - would make your riding safer? Most safety experts I would expect would say yes. Would you rather drive a car with less information and awareness? Would you drive a car, or ride a motorbike without a rear-view mirror?

I only ride wider on the road because I know, through long experience of doing it, that it does make me safer in the road environment. Data collection on this issue is very difficult in its practical collection, and unnecessary as the jury has been out for many years. Also greater riding in this manner by more cyclists works to tame the actions of all other drivers. Do it now!
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Re: Where to Ride-Gutter Rat or Road Hog?????????

Postby AndrewBurns » Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:25 pm

Too often I see people hug the gutter and suddenly spear out into the path of a car when the road narrows or there's a parked car in the way. Drivers don't look for obstacles that far left so even if you indicate they may not see you. Better to already be where they're looking, if they really want to go around you and there's room to do so they will but you'll be safe which is the most important thing.
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