Author Topic: Bicyclist vs. Motorcycle  (Read 11382 times)

Offline Slideways

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Bicyclist vs. Motorcycle
« on: March 15, 2013, 10:48:06 am »
Motorcycles vs. Bicycles

I am a lifelong avid motorcyclist and bicyclist. I'm an old guy who's been around the block many times on both pedal and motor bikes and there isn't much that'll shut me up but recently I was dumfounded. For me there is no better way to spend a Sunday morning then a motorcycle ride to The Rock Store for coffee with friends of the motor persuasion followed by a ride on the bicycle with friends from the other camp.
 
While enjoying the company my motor buddies on a recent Sunday morning the subject of bicycles came up in conversation with a Rock Store regular whom I have liked and spoken with several times. He mentioned coming upon big bicycle training ride and being annoyed (understatement) with the way the ride held up traffic and the general rudness of the bicyclists. Couldn't really fault him. Big group rides, especially race training rides pose the most difficult bicycles vs. all the other users of the road problems. I've given this issue a fair amount of thought and never really arrived at a satisfactory answer. Small groups and individual riders can ride in ways that make them good ambassadors for bicyclists but you need to turn on the grey matter under that little helmet thing. As the conversation progressed the fellow I was speaking with confessed something to me that has me deeply bothered still. He recounted a ride where he came up on a bicycle rider on a canyon descent. With ample time (his decription not mine) he sounded the motorcycle's horn to alert the bicycle rider of his approach. As he started to overtake the bicycle, in the same lane mind you, he said the bicyclist aggesively defended his line through the corner by moving toward the center line. By the telling of this affair you could tell the motorcyclist felt this was rude, even dangerous as he stated that to avoid not passing too close to the bicycle he would have had to moved into the oncoming lane. With a more then a little degree of self-righteousness he said he simply held his line (though he could have changed it, again his words) and made contact with the bicycle causing the rider to crash. When I asked what happened next to my dismay he stated that he never stopped and the bicycle rider got a heliocopter ride! My mind went blank from sudden overload and I could not collect my thoughts for several moments. Finally I looked at him and suggested that he might have committed a felony. His attitude suggested that the bicyclist had deserved the crash that resulted and he showed no remorse at all. I can only assume he knew of the rider being airlifted out because he looked into the matter after the fact, most likely concerned that he might be identified and arrested. Proving any of this would be pointless so I must deal with it on my own. Sadly I may never go the Rock Store for Sunday morning coffee again but maybe a little explaination bicycle vs. motorcycle will illuminate a few differences that can help us share the road in peace.

There are many similarities and many differences between motorcycles and bicycles. I just want to cover a few that concern the crash. "At speed" for a bicycle is much slower then a motorcycle. That bicycle rider you want to pass may seem to be going slow if you are on a motorcycle but the bicycle rider may be at the edge of his abilities or speed the conditions will allow. With skinny, fagile tires and a sub twenty pound vehicle under you road conditions that a motorcycle would perhaps not even notice can be very hazardous for that bicycle. A rut in the asphalt that a motorcycle tire could roll over without concern could grab a bicycle tire and cause a crash. Little wonder that a bicyclist might seem a jitter squid if a sudden change of line is made to avoid something that would not be a problem for a motorcycle. Passing a bicycle rider while staying in the same lane requires care and skill, even more so at speed on a descent. That many bicycle clubs specify 'no passing on down hills' for their club sponsored group rides is a good example of just how hazardous experienced bicycle riders believe this to be. As the operator of another vehicle you must not pass a bicycle unless you can do it well and safely. Sharing a lane with a bicycle while a pass is made can be illegal but at a minimum the motorcycles must understand the limits of a bicycle and think more like that bicycle rider then a motorcyclist to pull off a safe pass. So back to the bicycle rider who 'aggresivly defended his line'. No mention was made of eye contact or middle fingers being waved just the fact that the bicycle moved over suddenly was assumed to be an act of aggression. Who knows, maybe it was aggression and maybe it was a rut in the road. I do know that like motorcyclists most bicycle riders do not screw aound with the bigger vehicles they share the road with because let's face it the little guy loses. I also know that the hit and run motorcyclist had an incomplete understanding of the dynamics that a bicycle deals with. When you overtake that bicycle think about them making a sudden change and give them at least three feet. Melodiusly tootling you little horn is okay but consider that the wind noise for that bicyclist at speed may be worse then yours as you ears are covered more completely. Will he hear you? Most likely but he may not have the ability to change position quickly and the closing speed can leave little time for that bicycle rider to respond. If you can't pass and leave ample room or do it safely wait. What the hell, it's only going to be a few seconds. It's not like you're on a bicycle and would have to power yourself back up to speed with pedals, you have a throttle. This whole affair really boils down to a screwed up sense of entitlement on the part of the motorcyclist certainly and perhaps on the parts of both riders. We have to remind ourselves that it is not 'my road' but 'our road' and we should all share and play nicely together. 

Lastly I know this person to be a BMW Motorcycle ride ambassador, he told me this and described that the title even required special training before he could lead rides. Well guess what, are all ambassadors for our cycles motorized or not. To open a discussion about all those bicycles that ride half way out in the lane or two and three abreast is not the point here, though it is one of my own pet peeves. The main thing hopfully being accomplished is to help the motorized riders to better understand just a couple of the aspects of being on the skinny tired, pedal powered bikes. Just understanding better a little bit ain't the cure for a problem but it is a start.
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Re: Bicyclist vs. Motorcycle
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2013, 11:07:03 am »
Rude is rude, regardless of mode of transportation.  I hate the STP (Seattle To Portland) event every year.  Plugging the roads with no concern for the vehicles that pay for those roads.  Yet, I would never consider hitting them.  I see rude behaviour daily, it is just highlighted when it is on a bicycle and the idea that someone would consider themselves somehow protected is indeed mind boggling.  Everyone has the same right to the road, yet some think that right is extended to them only.  Laws are laws and apply equally to all forms of transport.  How often does a bike rider just filter to the front of the stop light and then run the same light?  Does pedaling give them some special power over others?  Is it unique?  Yes, but that same uniqueness does not give them special rights.

The rider who hit the bicyclist?  Jail would be a good place for him.  The bicyclist who supposedly cut him off?  If that was the case Karma showed him who was boss.  The laws of tonnage know no bounds.   If you find yourself in a destruction derby and a tank shows up, leave, because you will lose.

The so called ambasador?  I'd find his club and have a discussion with their members, he is not fit for the role, he comitted a felony, and worse yet, an act of violence with intent/willingness to harm.  Don't let it slide.

Educate other riders, powered and otherwise, to SHARE the road, not hog it up.  There is space enough for all of us.

I'm sure somehow, someway I have offended someone.  Tell me where I am wrong and I will listen.  Don't just tell me I am wrong.  I like being educated.

Offline Conrad

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Re: Bicyclist vs. Motorcycle
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2013, 11:21:14 am »
IMO this asshole on the motorcycle should be spending some time in jail. It's quite possible that the guy on the bike didn't even know that the motorcycle was even behind him blowing his horn. The bicyclist could have had ear buds in with his tunes cranked, not the safest practice but still.

How long ago did this happen? I'd be tempted to contact the authorities.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2013, 01:57:48 pm by Conrad »
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Offline JMills

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Re: Bicyclist vs. Motorcycle
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2013, 01:29:05 pm »
As a motorcyclist and a bicyclist I see the entitlement all the time.  When I ride I an always vigilant to know where others are an anticipate them.  From this account, that on a decent the bicyclist moved towards the centerline to set up for a possible curve.  The bicyclist had the right of way since it was ahead of the motorcyclist.  Had the motorcyclist reduced speed to allow the bicyclist to follow his line, the motorcyclist could have passed when it was safe for all riders.  Instead the motorcyclists took the tack of me first so true of many who ride BMW's.  the bicyclist ended up sacrificing theirselves, had he not they both could have been on the same care flight.  I am with others on this forum and the motorcyclist probably committed a felony.

I have no sympathy for this type of rider.
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Offline Nosmo

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Re: Bicyclist vs. Motorcycle
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2013, 07:48:12 pm »
The motorcyclist didn't "maybe commit a felony"...he DID commit one.  At least in Washington State, hit and run with injury is a class "C" felony, as I read the law.  Weaing earbuds/headphones, etc., while riding a bicycle is also illegal here, due to the safety factor of impaired hearing.  So, yeah, it could be a matter of two people both being wrong.

Intentionally striking someone with any vehicle is wrong unless that person is assaulting or attempting to assault you with their vehicle.  (Vehicular self-defense??)  A bicyclist hitting a car with their bike is equally wrong, although chances are the cyclist will get the short end of that stick.

Having said all that, not every situation is cut-and-dried.  I believe the cyclist in the scenario mentioned was wrong to intentionally hold up traffic IF he could have safely gotten out of the way.  But sometimes "safely" is a relative term.  I have many thousands of miles on my old bicycles and I have always been a "lane defender" WHEN APPROPRIATE.  Deciding when and what is appropriate is a quandry in itself and the motor vehicles around you are likely to disagree, much as they are likely to disagree with the way we motorcyclists defend our lane position.  ("Why do you a$$holes always ride way out in the middle of the road on the center line?  Why don't you stay to the right like you're supposed to?")  Sometimes you're safer in the middle of the lane than off to the side.

When I was young and fit I thought nothing of blasting downhill as fast as possible.  I hit 52.5 MPH once according to my speedo, wearing nothing but a thin T-shirt and Spandex shorts and a Dixie-cup plastic hat.  That was before I discovered motorcycles and Shoei and armored clothing.

I have always tried to be a polite cyclist and keep as far out of the way as I can, and not hold up traffic.  However, on the occasions when I can keep up speed with cars, like fast downhills, I hold to the law and defend my lane.  If I can do 40 MPH in a 35 MPH zone, then I get out in the center of my lane, which I have a legal right to do, and I own that lane.  My reasoning:  Almost everyone will try to pass a bicyclist who is riding on the fog line, and many won't be concerned if they gently sideswipe them and send them into the ditch.  ("Honest officer, I thought I had room, and anyway, he swerved into me.")   Maybe they feel that's defendable in court and in their own conscience.  But very few drivers will intentionally run down a cyclist from behind, knowing it will likely lead to death and vehicular assault charges.  But having a legal right to do something and being right in doing it aren't always the same.  You have to be reasonable and not go around thinking you own the world.  You may find you are dead right, as they say.

Some of the issue is about being inconvenienced by someone going slower and getting in your way.  But, a large part of it is the feeling some people have towards those who are differnet than they are.  I see this on my truck forums, too.  A lot of people who drive pickup trucks can't stand those guys in little cars, who hate guys in "them big-a$$ trucks", both groups hate motorcyclists and bicyclists and us here are sick and tired of being intimidated and assaulted by cagers.  Each group has some sort of problem with the others.  One thing I get tired of hearing is drivers' complaints that bicyclists don't pay for the roads so they should not be on the roads.  Well, I drive and/or motorcycle enough miles every year that I pay my fair share of fuel taxes and license fees and car tab fees for these roads, and I think I am within my rights to ride my bicycle on them as long as it is legal.  Very, very few people ride bicycles ALL the time, so nearly all cyclists do pay their share of highway fees.  If the state wants me off the vehicle road, then I'll pay a little extra in taxes if the state will build more USABLE, PRACTICAL bikeways to actually go somewhere and can be used for getting around.

We either have to learn to live together or decide to pay the price for being segregated, and that doesn't seem to be a workable solution at this time.
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Offline Furbo

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Re: Bicyclist vs. Motorcycle
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2013, 02:05:30 am »
Living in Italy, bicycles are a fact of life and a part of any daily commute. Old ladies with umbrellas, teenage kids, and skinny guys in matching spandex outfits....pass'em every day. In a place this crowded, with roads this small, sharing is mandatory and it really works pretty well. Most of the time guys ride in line, or will tuck back in line when a car approaches from the rear. As long as you leave about a foot of clearance for passing, no one gets upset.

Have had two incidents with bikes, one a lady came into the road from the left and I hit her. It was 6 AM, dark, she was wearing black (of course) and had no lights.... I was ticketed for failure to yield, but not with causing an accident.  The other was up in the Dolomites on the motorcycle - there are tons of cyclists riding the Sella Group passes in the summer. Was going up hill, came in behind a slow car, pulled out to pass, and a cyclist coming the other way veered off the road and did an endo-face plant right in front of me. Don't know if I scared him, or if he was already in a bad way when I saw him - he was heading downhill and a good clip.
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Offline Slideways

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Re: Bicyclist vs. Motorcycle
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2013, 05:10:36 am »
Well said Nosmo! Thanks for the reply.

The writing of this was partly therapy for the way the conversation left me feeling. In the end my goal was to perhaps explain to the non bicycle riding motorcyclist what the bicycle rider might be experiencing to help explain how and why that bicyclist might be reacting as they are.

The fact that the response has been as it has is a relief, wasn't certain how it might be recieved.

If it can't be fixed with a hammer you can sure as hell teach it a lesson.
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Offline MAN OF BLUES

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Re: Bicyclist vs. Motorcycle
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2013, 11:14:09 am »
Motorcycles vs. Bicycles

........ With ample time (his decription not mine) he sounded the motorcycle's horn to alert the bicycle rider of his approach. As he started to overtake the bicycle, in the same lane mind you, he said the bicyclist aggesively defended his line through the corner by moving toward the center line. By the telling of this affair you could tell the motorcyclist felt this was rude, even dangerous as he stated that to avoid not passing too close to the bicycle he would have had to moved into the oncoming lane. With a more then a little degree of self-righteousness he said he simply held his line (though he could have changed it, again his words) and made contact with the bicycle causing the rider to crash. When I asked what happened next to my dismay he stated that he never stopped and the bicycle rider got a heliocopter ride! My mind went blank from sudden overload and I could not collect my thoughts for several moments. Finally I looked at him and suggested that he might have committed a felony. His attitude suggested that the bicyclist had deserved the crash that resulted and he showed no remorse at all. ......

If you don't drop a dime on this no-account-ass-pilot you are destined to bear the stigmata of KNOWING what he did.
You also came here and trustingly shared this account with intent to gain some mental closure for someone else's deviant behavior.
I feel sorry that you have to go on thinking about the sad truth.

Seriously, I would not think twice of making a full disclosure and report him to the authorities, and go so far as to make a presence with said authorities at "The Rock Store" to fully point this clown out, to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
it could have been YOU that was injured, or anyone you care about, and that is unsettling.....

I was physically run off a road in my youth, (struck by a vehical) on a bike while hugging the berm on a backroad. Tore my ass up pretty severely, lots of pavement rash, total destruction of my wheels ($400 is a lot to loose as a kid); and the offenders actually turned around down the road, and returned and threw beer cans at me when they passed.... I got the license number and wrote it in the dirt on the side of the road. I hailed a deputy while limping home bleeding and carrying the remains of my bike, and made a report, returning with him to the spot, where he wrote the license number down....I didn't get a call from them and after a week, went  the Sherriff and asked what they were doing about this.....they basically told me they couldn't do a thing, as they did not catch "the driver" of the vehical in action. They did however share the name with me.

let's just say "an eye for an eye" was justice, and that's all I'm saying about that. ;)

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Offline Pokey

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Re: Bicyclist vs. Motorcycle
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2013, 11:21:50 am »
I loathe cyclist's on the main roads, pisses me off to no end. However I would never do anything to put any of them in danger, but I do believe there needs to be more rules and laws for cyclists if they want to be on the roads with combustible engines. Personally I think y'all are nuts for riding on the road, talk about a dangerous hobby and passion. There are so many bike trails and paths these days, but all I ever hear from cyclists is that they ride much too fast and aggressive for the trails/paths.   ::)
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Offline Rhino

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Re: Bicyclist vs. Motorcycle
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2013, 12:54:56 pm »
I have seen rude behavior by ALL types, cars, trucks, bicycles and motorcycles. No one group has a lock on bad behavior. Bad behavior on the bicyclist part is absolutely no excuse for hitting him on purpose. If you can avoid an accident regardless of who is at fault you should always AVOID THE ACCIDENT! To purposely cause the guy to crash, to leave the scene of an injury accident is criminal IMO. He should go to jail for awhile and think about what he did plus pay restitution to the bicyclist.

and BTW, if the collision had caused the MC to crash as well you just know he would be screaming bloody murder.

Offline Nosmo

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Re: Bicyclist vs. Motorcycle
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2013, 09:09:24 pm »
I loathe cyclist's on the main roads, pisses me off to no end. However I would never do anything to put any of them in danger, but I do believe there needs to be more rules and laws for cyclists if they want to be on the roads with combustible engines. Personally I think y'all are nuts for riding on the road, talk about a dangerous hobby and passion. There are so many bike trails and paths these days, but all I ever hear from cyclists is that they ride much too fast and aggressive for the trails/paths.   ::)

That right there is a big part of the problem with bike trails as they currently exist.  They are not designed to get you anywhere.  They are just for weekend type slow riders who like to smell the flowers and pretend they are getting some "cardio".  Most around here are posted at maybe 10 MPH speed limit.  A good, fit adult cyclist can bore along in the twenties easily.  So they are stuck, being too slow for the roads, and too fast for the trails.  And most bike trails are multi-use, for pedestrians and strollers, skate boards, etc.  And that is nearly as bad a mix as bicycles and cars.  Pedestrians REALLY hate cyclists.  We used to have a local trail (unpaved, but hard-packed) that was originally for mountain biking, then it got discovered by the baby stroller crowd, so they put a speed limit on it and signs saying cyclists must yield to pedestrians.  Then the horse riders found out about it, and they got the signs changed to say horses had right-of-way, and all users had to stop and make way for horses, and bicycles had to get off their bikes and OFF THE TRAIL to avoid spooking horses when they passed. 

It's funny how the most efficient form of transportation invented so far is hated by everyone else using a less efficient form.   People who don't bicycle are like people who don't motorcycle:  If you don't do it, you can't understand it.  As for rules and laws, at least in Washington State, bicycles are subject to all rules and laws for traffic movement that motor vehicles are, plus some extras.  That doesn't mean the riders obey them.
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Offline ZG

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Re: Bicyclist vs. Motorcycle
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2013, 12:05:49 am »
Why such long posts...  ???
 
Can somebody post a pic so I can understand the topic and join in?  :-\
 
 

Offline Wrinkled Wrider

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Re: Bicyclist vs. Motorcycle
« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2013, 04:38:07 am »
We have to assume some responsibility for own own safety while on the road, especially on two wheels (motorized or not). Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor. I've pulled pulled to the side to allow others to pass while riding my motorcycle; once when being tailgated by a jerk who wanted to go faster than I felt like, and once in dense fog when I was holding up several cars. I've also moved to the inside on downhill curves on my bicycle to allow cars to pass when it would have been more fun, but less safe, to use the entire lane and maximize my speed. The fact that I had a right to the lane didn't mean I was going to get to use it.
That said, there is no excuse, moral or legal, in this kind of context,  for deliberately endangering or injuring someone because they are where you want to be.

Offline TallyRex

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Re: Bicyclist vs. Motorcycle
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2013, 04:58:40 am »
Your BMW acquaintance is an a-hole.  Wonder if he would knock over a bunch of 50 H-Ds doing the same blocking manuever ?

Offline Cholla

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Re: Bicyclist vs. Motorcycle
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2013, 05:30:09 am »
Around here bicycles are to stay to the right. Riding in the middle of the road is a no-no.
They bicyclist axed to get hit but the m/c rider was wrong in doing so. BOTH were in the wrong.
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