Empty Days

Friday, August 20, 2004



Biking with cars.

Found rather enlightening advice on how to ride with high-speed traffic:
Third: if at the same time there are oncoming vehicles, you must learn very quickly one of the nastiest lessons on the road. You have no right to expect a driver to edge over toward the lane of oncoming traffic if they feel it is threatening. Maybe they will still edge over a bit...but don't count on it. This is where your mirror can save your life! You must make a judgement about the cars coming from behind and in front of you and try and avoid the worst of all possible worlds: one where
====>You, the passing cars and oncoming cars are all at the same point at the same time! <===
I call this the 'gruesome threesome.' In this case...nobody has anywhere to go. But the situation is not hopeless....yet. Can you speed up a bit, or slow down some so that this situation does not arise? It doesn't take much effort to do this, especially if you see it coming pretty far in advance. Here again a rear view mirror helps. If you slow down, the sudden approach of your bike (from the perspective of the driver) may be frightening, when in fact you are trying to HELP! Let them know you want them to pass...again..wave them by! That was your whole point in slowing down to begin with. Don't be surprised if truckers, who are likely to understand completely the favor you just did them, honk and thank you profusely.
Yeah, you bet - I never thought I would need that mirror, but maybe I should get one after all. I am not really used to using a mirror on a bike and since I don't drive a car I am not used to checking mirrors at all. However on high-speed roads the bike naturally becomes more of an obstacle to cars than in town because of the much great difference in speed of traffic. So I guess he's right: you can't expect drivers to edge over every time as they do in town, quite simply because it's not always possible. When Ken Kifer describes the accidents he caused to drivers on his very first bike trips (precisely people who couldn't pass him due to upcoming traffic and panicked), it was likely because he was inexperienced with these situations and not simply because drivers back then were not used to bikes on the road.

Gruesome threesome, you bet.





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