Hot answers tagged

95

I found this article which has some statistics on accidents involving wrong-way cycling: Table 4 shows that all categories of bicyclists traveling against the direction of traffic flow are at greatly increased risk for accidents—on average 3.6 times the risk of those traveling with traffic, and as high as 6.6 times for those 17 and under. This result is ...


88

For one thing, if you cycle with traffic the closing speed between car and bike is the DIFFERENCE in speed between the two. If you're doing 20mph and the car is doing 45, the closing speed is 25. Reverse it and the closing speed is 65 -- over twice as fast. This affects the time the driver has to react to the cyclist's presence -- over twice as much time ...


56

A quick search, however, shows other colors available to purchase. Concerning "to be seen" bicycle lights, should they be avoided? Yes, they should be avoided. First, off-colors might not be legal in your area. Second, and more importantly, no one will know what it is. If a driver sees a flashing red taillight, or what looks like a normal white headlight,...


42

Most places will legally require you to run with white lights on the front and red lights behind. This is crucially important because it immediately tells everybody else on the road whether you're coming towards them or moving away. I once nearly hit somebody because they had a red light on the front of their bike. I saw that at the usual distance and ...


41

There is no one size fits all answer to this, except the first point below. When dealing with police, or other authority figures, always behave respectfully. Contact the people responsible for sweeping the road and ask when or if they are going to do it next. Maybe they only sweep when requested. Find out if there's a local bike advocacy group. They ...


33

Safety In general, riding on the sidewalk is more dangerous than riding on the road. There's higher risk from cars coming out of driveways than cars overtaking you from behind. Generally cars aren't looking for anything on a sidewalk moving more than about 3-4 mph, there's often visual obstacles (trees, sign posts, etc) so you're likely to be invisible to ...


32

I also live in Ottawa so I can provide some pertinent viewpoints. Yes, you should report it, and yes, it will probably be an exercise in frustration. Don't expect the police to do anything about it. However, you should report it anyway, it might end up in a database somewhere and give them another data point about why it's important to build more cycle ...


30

Well, regarding the question asked: "why is it safer etc." let's go: (already mentioned) The closing speed between a car coming from behind is much slower. He has more time to see you before overtaking, and if you need to cross, you can signal your turn, so he can slow down for you to pass; By the same reasons, you can flow with traffic, take the lane, ...


28

In the Netherlands at least: The license plates for bikes were tied to the taxation of bikes. You needed to get a new plate every year. The taxation lasted until WWII. The Germans abandoned the tax. After the war the tax wasn't introduced again so the plates were no longer needed. It was speculated that after the war the taxing of cars more then made up ...


27

This is a useful question beyond the continental US. Please add countries you know about to the appropriate section. Biking on the sidewalk is a violation of traffic law in: NSW Australia, unless you are a child under 12 years of age. An adult, who is riding in a supervisory capacity of a cyclist less than 12 years old, may also ride with the young cyclist ...


27

Cost versus benefits. As you have pointed out, in some societies and at some times, there were perceived benefits. These ranged from every road user is treated the same to we control every aspect of our citizens' lives, and we create jobs for everyone, as well as we'll punish those who make the slightest transgression. As you may be aware there are always ...


24

The topic has been discussed here in the Netherlands, and found an answer summarized in the below chart (text translated into English from the original): Wrapping up: lights should be fitting the standards and fulfill their scope. No blinding, no lighting up in the sky or down the floor, no fancy colors.


23

If you are in the UK this is an offence. You are traffic, therefore must obey the red. Consequences could be a pull by the police and a fine! I am not sure about other jurisdictions.


22

Most US State and Local laws are based on the Uniform Vehicle Code and American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) guidelines. They will normally have a phrase like: Where sidewalks are provided, it shall be unlawful for any pedestrian to walk along and upon an adjacent roadway. And a phrase like: Where sidewalks are ...


20

a cyclist has the speed, mass and maneuverability of a sprinting person Not really! The world record for 100 m sprint is 9.58 s, which equals 37.6 km/h, which is fast but not anything spectacular for a bicycle. The marathon world record equals to little more than 20 km/h, which is less than my average commuting speed. Going back to "human" speeds, I would ...


20

I definitely recommend this. Running lights will make you more readily visible as the light will penetrate the fog to an extent. Reflectors and high-viz clothing will be somewhat less effective during foggy conditions. Use caution riding in foggy conditions as drivers may not see you until they are very close.


20

In Holland, were I assume cycling is much more common than in Poland, the kind of traffic sign you describe are abundant (see example, "uitgezonderd" is Dutch for "except for"). And cycling against traffic in a one-way street without the sign is indeed illegal. The same rules seem to apply in Poland, though I cannot find a reliable source for Polands ...


19

Is it legal? That depends on the country's traffic laws and on the exact layout of the intersection. The traffic laws that I am familiar with (Denmark, Austria) indicate that the bicyclist you describe was wrong to overtake a right-turning car on the car's right side. If there is a bike lane that extends through the intersection, then AFAIK the cyclist ...


19

California Vehicle Code section 21717: Turning Across Bicycle Lane states that cars are required to enter the bike lane before turning. Whenever it is necessary for the driver of a motor vehicle to cross a bicycle lane that is adjacent to his lane of travel to make a turn, the driver shall drive the motor vehicle into the bicycle lane prior to making the ...


19

No. In California, a car can only drive in a bike lane 200 feet before making a turn from that side of the road or when entering or exiting the road. California Vehicle Code 21209


19

The City of Toronto required bicycles be licensed from 1935 to 1957. According to a City of Toronto web page on the topic of bicycle licensing part of the reason given at the time for repealing the by-law was "because it often results in an unconscious contravention of the law at a very tender age; they also emphasize the resulting poor public relations ...


18

I'm convinced that the prevalence of cameras is changing the attitude of certain drivers. For the last year or so, I've ridden with a helmet cam. I'm now on my second camera and I'm toying with mounting my old camera (lower definition, poorer lens) on the seat post to face to the rear. It wasn't for this kind of situation, but it would certainly be ...


17

The law regarding sidewalk cycling varies widely, but in general it is legal as long as you are traveling cautiously, yielding and giving pedestrians the right-of-way. That said, it usually is not a very smart thing to do, especially to ride against traffic on the sidewalk as you described. The most common accidents involving cars and cyclists occur at ...


17

The speed limits of the German traffic law (Straßenverkehrsordnung) make a distinction between general rules for "Vehicles" (Fahrzeuge) and "vehicles with engines" (Kraftfahrzeuge). i.e. §3 StVO: Wer ein Fahrzeug führt, darf nur so schnell fahren, dass das Fahrzeug ständig beherrscht wird. [...] Die zulässige Höchstgeschwindigkeit beträgt auch ...


16

Report it to his insurance company first. Period. If for whatever reason the driver decides to renege on his admittance of fault and declines to pay damages to your bike, you're basically screwed if you're past the insurance company's reporting threshold. However, do not sign any paperwork the insurance company asks you to (which may limit their liability ...


16

The consequences for you as an individual are perhaps not as important as the broader ramifications of your behaviour. By behaving as if you think that the local rules of the road don't apply to you, you are contributing to a perception that cyclists are dangerous idiots who disregard the rules and the safety of themselves and others. This has the effect ...


15

For any question about law, you always have to check local laws. The general rule is that you go with traffic and ride as far to the side as safe, taking the lane when it makes you safer. In many places this is how the law is written, but even when it isn't you may wish to do so. From what I recall of the League of American Bicyclists safe cycling class I ...


15

The 3 foot law is an example of a law that exists mostly to create awareness rather than having some direct practical function. This law is rarely enforced by itself. Can anyone cite an instance where a motorist was ticketed for passing in under three feet (and not ticketed for anything else)? The 3-foot law is, AFAIK, typically enforced as a supplement to ...


15

Just to add to FatHippos answer: The same applies to Germany. In my home town there was a survey of all one-way roads between 2004 and 2010, which resulted in most of them now being open for bikes in both directions. These roads are also marked explicitly with a sign like the one you describe.


14

John Duggan wrote an excellent checklist for what to do after a bike/car crash. It sounds like you've already handled the first part pretty well, but here are the steps he advises: Do get the necessary medical treatment. Do have your bike thoroughly inspected by a reputable bike shop. Do take photographs of the accident scene, your injuries, your ...


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