Thursday, May 21, 2009

Behold, an unsolicited comment from a gutter bunny at

05-21-09, 07:57 AM
nvincent Join Date: Mar 2009 Location: NYC

I'm a submissive "lane giver".

If I was on a fast road bike I would probably be more of an assertive "lane taker". I try to ride as far to the right as possible.

I ride mountain bikes, so my wheels and tires aren't as
affected by sewer grates and other roadside obstacles that might hamper road bikes.

Occasionally I'll swerve out of the way of a big pothole, but that usually gets drivers excited and they start honking like hell and that can be even more annoying than riding over the pothole.

Sigh. As Keri points out; "Nothing will reinforce a person’s fear of traffic faster than luring them into a compromised position like this." That is, to ride in the gutter with motorists speeding past at your elbow.

To repeat again, if a motorist can see that his path is clear, he may not slow or even yield his lane position for a cyclist.

His lane position allows him to be unnoticed by motorist turning left across his path or pulling into the road from his right. He will also be inviting right hooks.

He has resigned himself to ride through the trash and potholes in his way- he has even selected a type of bicycle with those expectations in mind! Fear of motor vehicle traffic has so bullied him, that he is afraid he will annoy drivers by avoiding potholes.

He has so internalized the stay out of the way directive that he thinks one must be a fast rider to venture into the lane, lest he impede them.

Unless this cyclist can buddy up with someone to show him by demonstration that his fears are misplaced, he will always be a crippled bicyclist. The walls around his ghetto are so high he can't see our world.


  1. Steve A said...
    So, why does such a person ride a bicycle at all?

    Hah! That makes sense now Steve!

  2. Hey, sometimes this commenting stuff isn't as simple as it looks!

  3. 'Nuff of this stuff, I'm off to be more of an "assertive lane taker on my fast road bike." Back on the road after I finally got my shifter boss and the corrosion arrested. I'm hoping it'll take a full five minutes off the ride to work versus the cross bike, now that it's getting towards the optimum combo of early light and cool weather. Got to get that front derailleur dialed in properly...

  4. Oh, goody, another venue where I can get into arguments! :)

    I, too, generally keep to the right side of the lane. If I rode the roads you did, with the light traffic you seem to have I'd probably take the road position you do, or at least the right tire track. I'm usually around the line on your picture, though I wouldn't on that road.

    I'm usually on a four lane divided road, no parked cars, speed limit 45, and smallish but not horrible room for a bike on the right, depending on location. I don't think I have visibility problems due to location, and I think that location has little to do with it--if someone doesn't see me on the right, they won't see me in the middle. Obviouly, I could be wrong.

    The funny thing is, I don't have a problem with fast traffic whizzing by me at a close distance. I think most people can point their car straight and keep it that way; it takes a lot to swerve a car.

    There's two things that I do that I think are the most dangerous. First, my right hand position puts me within inches of the gutter to road transition ridge. This isn't usually too much of a problem as my 28 mm tires can deal with this OK. Occasionally exciting though. The other is, of course, parked cars. I do have some stretches with these, and I'm usually riding in the door zone. I'm careful, but I'm apt to get complacent sometime or simply fail to see something. I do keep an eye out for traffic behind me so I have a bailout, but I do acknowledge that a more aggressive position would be better.

    It is very interesting, though, dealing with people that believe that cars and bikes can't coexist peacefully. I don't think taking the lane is apt to do anything except anger someone like that (as opposed to enlighten them), and I'm not sure what would change their mind, if anything.