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#1 2012-10-25 01:39:03

ovrheregrann
Member
Registered: 2012-10-25
Posts: 2

Heckling by drivers

I'm new at bike commuting, and have already almost been hit by a car pulling out of a small parkinglot. When I yell hello to make the driver aware of my presence she began screaming at me. What she was screaming I'm not sure because I was just glad I wasn't hit. As I'm continuing on my way I relize she is following me and continuing to scream at me. I had to turn into a library parkinglot to get away from this person. What should I do next time this happens?

It was around dusk and I had a headlight on. I was on a sidewalk but only because I do not trust the traffic in the area. Would it really make a difference if I was riding on the street? Should I overcome my fear of riding on busy roads and stop riding on the sidewalk? I really want to get this right so I can continue to commute by bike.

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#2 2012-10-25 09:01:03

rmonsees
Member
Registered: 2008-05-27
Posts: 39

Re: Heckling by drivers

The general rule of thumb is it's safer to ride in the street than on the sidewalk.  There are exceptions to that, but not many.  I've been riding 16 years, and have been a daily bicycle commuter for the last 5 years.  On the rare occasions when I get verbally harassed by someone, my response is just to smile and wave.  If someone is physically aggressive with you, that requires a call to the police.  I've only had that happen once, when a car full of teens threw a can of soda at me, but then went by too fast for me to get a license plate.

   I don't know the traffic circumstances on the street you're referring to, but the best thing for bicycle commuting is planning a low-traffic route, or one with a bike lane, even if it means going out of your way.

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#3 2012-10-25 09:13:20

Donald Lewis
Member
Registered: 2009-07-11
Posts: 181

Re: Heckling by drivers

Many cyclists take an absolutist stance about sidewalk riding -- that it is wrong and unsafe under all circumstances.  I disagree.  Sidewalk riding is as safe or unsafe as you and the particular sidewalk make it.  If circumstances are such that you feel a need to ride on the sidewalk, it is imperative to YIELD TO EVERYBODY AND EVERYTHING.  This is not a matter of law, it is a matter of survival.  Somebody pulling into the street typically looks left for oncoming traffic and will not see you if you are headed their way on their right.  If you do feel a need to ride on the sidewalk simply stop for anybody pulling out into the street.  You also need to constantly scan for people turning in.

The best sidewalks to ride on are more like MUPs with very few driveways crossing them, and, of course, little or no pedestrian traffic.

Do not expect to maintain a very good speed on most sidewalks.

If you are scared to ride in the street under any circumstances I strongly suggest a bicycle safety course.

I am not defending the driver, just trying to give you advice to prevent you from getting hit.

For the past few years I have been riding around Austin around 100 miles/week and have never been stalked by a motorist. 

It is not what to do "next time this happens" so much as avoiding the situation in the first place.

Don

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#4 2012-10-25 10:44:24

ovrheregrann
Member
Registered: 2012-10-25
Posts: 2

Re: Heckling by drivers

Thank you both for the advice. I think I will look into a bycicle saftey course.

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