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How can I (a bicycle rider) be less annoying on the road?

I don't drive cars very often and normally ride my bike to wherever I need to go (work, school, etc.). We don't have a lot of bike roads therefore I am forced to drive on the road. I usually try to be as less annoying as I can, like avoid unexpected maneuvers, follow traffic laws, generally not be an ass on the road, etc., but since I don't drive regularly I can't relate to most other drivers on the road.
My question is, what is something that you hate about bikes on the road and want to yell at someone who does ride a bike in traffic, or suggest what would you like them to stop doing or avoid?
Thanks.

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I ride bikes exclusively. Been legally allowed to drive cars for well over a decade and never bothered because I just have no need for one.
Seeing as I don't know where you're from : most of my riding is in and around European (old) city centers, which of course is completely different from large open roads without cycle paths like in the US. Traffic can be hectic and there may or may not be a cycle path in the next 100 yards.

Stay to the far right of the road (or left if you live in the UK, Australia, Japan or any other country that still drives on the wrong side). Not with your wheels inches from the gutters, of course. I tend to have the end of my handlebar above the edge of the road, which means that my wheels are around a foot away from said edge.
If the situation is too dangerous, I usually get off the bike and walk. Better to lose some time than lose your life.

When you ride near parked cars, try to see if someone is inside the car. If so, assume that they will open the door as you pass. Personally I keep enough distance that they can open the door. If that's not possible due to other cars passing me, I slow down to a speed that allows me to either stop in time or hit the door so softly that it's unlikely to cause damage or bodily harm. Of course make sure that there is nobody about to overtake you as you move to the left (or right, again depending on where you normally drive in your country) to make room.

When turning, always use your arm to indicate your intentions. Far too often I see other cyclists just turn a corner or even do a 180 on a straight road without any sort of indication or even looking at the other traffic, creating a really dangerous situation.

When you arrive at a red light and there are cars there already that don't leave you enough space, don't just overtake them and put yourself in front of them. It's a sure way to annoy drivers, won't save you much time either.
When they do leave enough room, be sure that the drivers actually see you. You don't want to be run over as soon as the light turns green because the driver of the car next to you didn't see you.


One more tip that has less to do with being annoying and more with staying alive : Don't ever just take your right of way or assume that other road users have seen you. Unless someone makes eye contact and signals you to go first, always assume that he/she is either trying to kill you, doesn't see you, has no clue about traffic laws or is having a stroke.

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  1. Get off the road.
  2. No one wants to sit behind you and stare at your lycra encased ass, this is not the Tour De France, you are not Lance Armstrong
  3. Get off the road.

/s

My issue is when cyclists don't get out of the way and let traffic by. That and the ridiculous outfits they wear. I don't mind if you're on a bike to get from one place to another, but if you're just riding around aimlessly because you think this is the Tour De France......get off the road. Go ride in a gym on an exercise bike.

Basically, just don't be in the way. If you have traffic behind you, pull to the side and let them pass if you can.

If you really want to help, attach something to your bike that holds a hammer, and when you see one of those assholes covered in skin tight bullshit, peddling as fast as they can but moving 2 miles per hour, with 15 cars stuck behind him, hit him/her with said hammer, in the back of the head.

(I live in a Rural area, and this time of year is when the Lance Armstrong wannabe's come out and fuck everything up. They ride around in packs with absolutely no regard to traffic or the laws of the road. We made a big mistake a long time ago by legally giving them the right of way, when it should go to the angry person sitting behind 2000lbs. of metal and plastic)

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The best way to be less annoying would be to drive a car.

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Just one thing which wants me to ride over cyclists: When they ride right NEXT TO a bike path, just don't do that, please.
They have been built for all the cyclists to use, to keep them safe, and to let motorized traffic travel at reasonable speed.

other than that: What @CaptainChaos said. Rules apply to anyone, and if you don't follow them just because you're on a bike, it makes at least me go nuts...
And you're also required to stop at a crosswalk, which some people tend to forget, especially those wearing their fancy cycling suits, you are not supposed to cut corners and circumvent traffic lights by just riding on the sidewalk, I once got crashed into by a jerk who did this (While on foot, it hurt).

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About the whole riding bikes on sidewalks thing. In most places, it is illegal to ride on the sidewalk at all, so you might as well be running the light. However, while attending college, our campus was very bike friendly, with racks at every building. And the only way to get to the buildings was via sidewalk. I rode my bike every day for two years while there and so I had a lot of experience riding on sidewalks alongside pedestrians. I got a sort of infamy on campus after a while, and was known for going very fast and scaring the shit out of people, because I was very competent, very brash, and always in a rush. Often times, I would graze people's hands with the edge of my handlebars or generally just scare the piss out of them because they didn't see me coming and I passed them so fast.

Anyway, the only time that I ever ran into a person, he was on a skateboard. I was going along, minding my business, and he came perpendicular to my direction in what would be an intersection, had this been a road and not a sidewalk. He flew out in front of me, and we collided. The only other time that I came close was when someone was pushed in front of me by one of his "friends" as a joke of sorts. That was fun to avoid. My point being that it is totally doable, even on rather crowded side walks, so long as you are willing to slow down when necessary. So if he ran into you, he likely wasn't paying attention. There are assholes everywhere, it is just easier to spot them when they are on bikes.

Not sure if this was already said, but wearing high visibility clothing is a must (especially at night or if you are riding in areas where there is limited visibility).

definetly agreed. Same for cars. Asshole pedestrians are hard to spot.
EDIT: you had luck spotting them obviously:

What I take from your story is that: Campus sidewalks doubled as bike paths, since there were no other options, so that's fine for me. The people there would have somehow noticed "Oh there are bikes to be expected on the pathways".

However in my incident mentioned above, I was waiting at the crosswalk for the light to turn green, and the guy on the bike was cutting corners by using the sidewalk. The situation took place at a rather crowded intersection on public roads, loads of pedestrians, loads of cars. He just could not turn in the radius he would have needed to not ram any pedestrians and so i got the handle bars rammed into my back (kidney height), full speed. I might have been out of sight for him when he came down the hill because I was standing somewhat behind the corner of a building, but a little more foresight from him could have avoided me some pain and bruises.

I've had a few encounters when walking my dog with people who fly past without warning. They involved me yelling & swearing. None have ever stopped to discuss what I was upset about though..

My dog likes to stop people & force them to pat her, this includes idiots riding as fast as they can. If you are using a shared path with pedestrians & are approaching from behind, let people know so they can give you room & prevent their dog from forcibly dismounting you :)

I make sure to thank anyone who actually uses the bell on their bike, or just calls out that they are coming past.

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In terms of gear it's:

High-Vis Jacket (everybody will see you and think you dress incredibly tacky but then again: everybody saw you).

LED lighting on your bicycle. Bright lighting will help you be seen faster. Turn on your lights at the slightest hint of dawn or dusk. Seriously. That little light helps you be seen.

Get a high pitched bell. They are really awesome and have that piercing sound that gets heard above background noise.

Do not try to conserve your momentum at all costs. That's just asking for trouble.

As you can see by @anon43920604 s comment: Drivers will be annoyed with you no matter what.
There are studies that show that car drivers disassociate with their surroundings because they ride about in their very own 3500lbs bubble of steel and rubber. You have to make a conscious effort to empathise with pedestrians or bikers.

As CGP Grey put it: Humans are monkey drivers with slow reaction times and small attention spans.

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The only thing I have to add is that there is a proper way to signal your intentions when riding a bike. Please use them. It makes me (can't speak for everyone) feel safer and makes you come across as a responsible adult as opposed to some young idiot with no respect for anything.

https://driversed.com/driving-information/driving-techniques/using-turn-or-hand-signals.aspx

Woah, what a learning experience.
I do most of the stuff suggested, like signaling people when I drive by, assume that everyone hates me, etc. but things like staying off the road to let traffic pass, thanks to @anon43920604, I'll start doing. And for the record, I too find those tight on suits that a bunch of 'professionals' wear pretty ugly (no offense to whoever).
Another thing is my clothing choice, I usually wore pretty dark clothing but I have back and front lights and also stuck some reflectors onto me that kept falling off.
Does anyone have any suggestions on bright clothing? Anything which you don't look like a tool in like a coat or something.

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Well. I'm all for looking like a tool. But if you shy away from neon-yellow I'd go for something like a Jack Wolfskin jacket. Musn't be JW but Goretex is nice.
Most models come in a reasonably bright red.

If your reflectors keep falling of try get some of these.

You can zip-tie them for extra security.

Oh and: Keep your bike mechanically fit, that means: working brakes that can be well dosed, oiled and rust-free chain, working and precise gear-shift. If it's easy to pick up speed again you can stop if the situation get's hairy.

problem is, yeah, everyone hates you.

drivers are impatient idiots who think bikes belong on the sidewalk, or a dumpster.
in reality (most places, in US for example, where there's no dedicated bike path), they are vehicles; they not only can but are legally required to follow the same rules as motorists.

personally, what upsets me is when a cyclist runs a stop, doesn't use signals or makes unexpected (unnecessary) maneuvers, or rides in the way of traffic when there's no need to. otherwise, bikes are fine. i need to get myself one again.

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I disagree. The road belongs to all vehicles that are allowed on the road, this includes (in almost all countries, bicycles). You are allowed the entire lane, if you need it, then use it.

The only thing id say to that is if the road ahead is clear and there's a car behind you, move over a bit to give them more room (i even do this when cars are over taking my car especially in narrow roads). I generally cross the entire lane to over take anyway but more room is better.

@CaptainChaos its funny most of your other tips apply to drivers as well. Its basically eh law of watch out for terrible road users no matter what vehicle your in. Your just more likely to die on a bike (motorized or not)
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the best thing you can do is follow the rules of the road. You should be able to relate fine to drivers because you should be riding the same as drivers drive. (the good ones that it)

Always signal.

Bright clothes are super useful in the dark, so are lights.

Get a "dash" camera for your bike/helmet if you want, recording can be useful (for anyone on the road) when you get an idiot road user on you.

I have no problem with bikes, sure sometimes you want to get passed them, but I've no issue sitting behind a bike (or any vehicle) until its clear to over take.

  1. Don't run stoplights.
  2. Don't run stop signs.

Can't tell you how many cyclists I've had to avoid collisions with over the years, who think those two particular traffic control signals don't pertain to them, which unfortunately seems to be the majority of people who ride cycles in towns around here. Between a car and a cyclist, the cyclist will always lose and thankfully, I haven't had an accident with any cyclists so far. It's probably more of an issue due to lax enforcement against cyclists who do that, since traffic isn't heavy here and law enforcement prioritizes their enforcement more toward motorized vehicles.

And if there is a bike path along your route, try to use it until you get near your destination. I've seen people wobbling all over the road as they try to straddle the cement/pavement transition of the gutter with cars and trucks zipping past them, when there is a perfectly paved bike path 15 feet to their right. That particular practice has always boggled my mind, as I keep expecting to see splat marks all over the road from cyclists doing that.

Other than that, cycling isn't an issue for motorists around here, since most everyone is laid back and are more geared toward the "100 meter mosey" rather than the "big city rush" prevalent in metropolitan areas.

From a legal point of view this is true in most countries indeed. However the OP was asking for tips to be "less annoying" to car drivers. Giving as much room as possible (without endangering yourself) is common sense.


As for riding on the road when there are cycle paths, sometimes it's just necessary. A perfectly fine looking cycle lane may have glass shards on it (a common thing with cycle lanes that are at the same level as the road itself, after a car accident they just take a broom, wipe the glass onto the cycle lane and that's it).

There may also be stupid obstructions or dangerous cycle paths like this :

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Being in a conservative city, most of the drivers want to kill you. There was even a radio host lately that was preaching drivers to ram into cyclists. So ya be extra cautious, always check in every directions twice at a crossroad, and try to find calm roads when there is no bike path available, even if it takes a little bit more time.

And still be careful on a bike path when it's along a road with no physical separation because drivers will still be likely to ram you, and be angry against you. And at worst, if you don't feel safe, go on the sidewalk if there is one, even if it's illegal, and just go off the sidewalk when there is a bunch of people (while looking behind you first to check for cars before returning to the road)

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LOL that's Savage....definitely Savage:)

Luckily people like me behaved so badly when I had a bicycle you should have no worries. Light colored sweat pants made sure the crack problem was always in the public eye.

I am now completely paranoid around bicycles

Main thing is concentrate on staying alive. One cyclist was so worried about me behind them they did not worry about the crack in the road. It was as predictable as snot in cold weather. Front tire caught and down she went.
Her eyes got wide when she saw what could have been. Her politeness by trying to give me room to pass in a narrow work zone lane could have got her killed.

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