Cycling: A Year Later, Getting Faster


So you take all the precautions of making yourself as visible as possible, riding on streets with wide bike lanes and shoulders, and during times of the day that you should be easily visible. Are you completely safe? Nope. We all know it; the average American driver is just not very good. As a road cyclist, you have to take on the same mentality as a motorcyclist which is every car out there is trying to kill you. You need to ride defensively all the time.


This is a neighborhood I ride through where it is a bit twisty on a downhill and the speed limit is 25mph. Riding defensively, I am always on the lookout for a car pulling out of a driveway around the corner.
To help protect myself against bad drivers should I get into an accident, I have my trusty Replay XD1080 video camera mounted on the handlebar. Oh, and my front light.

Here is an example of a car behaving badly. The speed limit on this road is 45mph and I was doing 23mph. Instead of just slowing down and waiting an extra 2-3 seconds to make the turn after me, the driver decided to accelerate and then cut me off. I actually did swerve a bit to avoid the car.
Here is car #2 behaving badly. This happened to me a couple weekends ago. I was out on a ride with a friend who is on my right. We are coming up to a 3-way intersection with stop signs for each direction. In the first picture, the Infiniti M45 is just starting to leave from the stop sign. The Honda Fit behind decides to not bother stopping for the stop sign or even slowing down. Better yet, he made a right hand turn in front of me without even blinking while nearly cutting through the front portion of the bike lane at the stop line.

Speaking of stop signs, a pet peeve of mine is cyclists who blow through them. [Standing on soap box] As a cyclist, you count as a moving vehicle and need to obey the same laws as cars. This includes coming to a stop for a stop sign. Do I expect cyclists to come to a COMPLETE stop? No, I expect them to behave like they would in a car which is to do the California roll (slow down to 1-2mph) assuming there are no other vehicles at the intersection. Does ‘stopping’ suck? Yes, but you would have to come to a stop in a car and being on a bicycle is no different. Besides, I use it as an opportunity to work on my accelerations to get stronger, so don’t be lazy and do come to a stop at the signs. Then work on your accelerations to build strength and speed. [Off soap box]

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