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I am embarrassed at the behavior we bicyclists display on the road. We are concerned for our safety and want to return home our family, but we choose dangerous roads to ride on and play Lance Armstrong. We don't all practice safety and have mirrors and use hand signals. I too have ridden in Poolesville and what I think Klein meant was the majority are from D.C. People park at the schools and have bike racks on them. There are a lot of D.C. tags on those cars, as well as Virginia and Maryland. We also play a role and make it dangerous for the typical vehicle. I know I have been concerned when driving at the posted speed limit and come across a bike without any mirrors or headlight/taillight. If we are that concerned about our safety, shouldn't we be more proactive and have similar safety items on our bicycles that automobiles have? Or, are we that immortal and rather spout out on automobiles?
You know, I have to laugh at the latest letter posted above. Bikes bring in a lot of revenue to Poolesville? Poolesville has been around for quite sometime and I hardly think our purchase of Gatorade, water, and energy bars is making a big difference. Also, I think stores have an issue with shopping there because we are unsanitary. I know I have walked into the CVS with sweat drenched tights and was dripping sweat on the floor. We are a guest when we ride in their town. We need to be more considerate of others and not feel we own the road. If we are to share, we need to equip our bicycles with lights and mirrors and use hand signals. It is a team effort and we need to take responsibility for our own safety and not just blame the cars. We are all entitled to our opinions, but putting someone's address out there is immature and you can be held liable if something were to happen at that residence. The owner of the this site needs to monitor and be more responsible.
Just be careful because that town does watch and you never know who owns surveillance cameras.

Why would you be concerned if the bike didn't have mirrors? It's not like it's the cyclist's responsibility to respond to things behind them, as long as they're not changing or crossing a lane. This indicates that you think cyclists should in fact yield to cars stacking up behind them. My own experience is that trying to monitor things happening behind you, trying to minimize one's presence on the road and pulling over to let cars pass are probably the most unsafe things one can do. Those roads aren't dangerous unless you ride unsafely. Nor should you presume to speak for the merchants of Poolesville. For all you know, they just might welcome the extra business. Times are tough all over.

I'm fine with lights--I run flashers even in daylight. And I think cyclists shouldn't blow stop signs. But I also ride a couple of feet out from the edge of the road, for a variety of safety reasons. This might be an inconvenience for drivers, but frankly, the inconvenience is highly overstated, and it's all part and parcel of sharing the road. I'll leave the anti-DC foolishness alone--it speaks for itself.

It is your responsibility to be aware of your surroundings. Why would you think it is not? Wow, that is why cars have issues with us. I wish all bicycles and cars would just learn to coexist. You should be concerned about anything behind you. That is the mentality that has lead to all of these letters. When you drive a car, I can only hope you check all of your mirrors on a regular basis. If a bike does not have mirrors then we tend to go too far out in the road and are not prepared when a vehicle passes us. Be honest and accountable when thinking this through. It is your responsibility for your safety when riding and if you happen to reach down for an item on your bike and move well into the lane and get hit, it won't be the vehicle at fault. It's that kind of thinking that gives us a bad name.
By the way, I have spoken to store owners and they have said this to me. When I step outside my box, I realize that I am sweaty and can leave my bodily fluids on the floor of the store, chairs, and anything I touch. I also ride on roads that have enough space for both a vehicle and bicycle. The roads in and around Poolesville are very thin and can barely fit two cars going opposite directions, let alone add a bike that isn't paying attention to what is approaching behind them. I'm trying to improve our image and all I see is people threatening each. Bikes and cars are like Dems and Repubs. Both are at fault and niether side can say they are more correct than the other. As a bicyclists, I practice using hand signals and do have mirrors. I use my headlight and taillight at all times when I am on the road. I don't have the issues that all of you are describing with automobiles. That might explain why. We need to take accountability both vehicle and bicycle. We do have an attitude and understand why both sides are upset.

Your definition of "aware" is strained. Nothing requires that I be looking behind me as long as I am maintaining my position. I have the right of way. Furthermore, my hearing clues me into the relative position of motor vehicles in a way cars cannot match. Are you requiring that drivers convert their radios into devices for capturing sounds around their vehicle?

As for tending to go too far out in the road, I totally do not get that. My position is based upon what is safe for me. It is the driver's legal responsibility to maintain a 3-foot spacing when passing. Not mine. That way, even if I swerve slightly, I'm good. You are right that the road is not wide enough for a bicycle and two cars going in opposite directions all at the same time. That's why the cyclist has to ride so that the car behind him or her must wait to pass.

How is anything my "fault" here? I'm riding legally and in the way that maximizes my safety. I recognize that it annoys a subset of drivers, and that is 100% their problem. Frankly, what those drivers really want is bicyclists off the road, period.

But it is not like Democrats and Republicans because while there are people I would never vote for, I drive a good deal (though proudly I log more miles on my bikes than my car each year). As a car driver I have as many complaints with the driving public as when I am riding a bike. As a bike rider I have some complaints of fellow bikers, but this has much more to do with how they interact with pedestrians and runners, not with their interactions with cars on roadways. Because one is more vulnerable on a bike, riders are much more aware of their surroundings. It is the invulnerability of drivers that make them such a threat. And it is that experience as a biker that makes me a much better driver. So a better analogy would be that the partisan car drivers don't wish to have an adult conversation with the bipartisan bikers/drivers.

You use the words "I" and "me" a lot. Are you that self-righteous? This is why we get exhaust in our face, spat on, and yelled at when riding. I'm ashamed. To all bicyclists out there, this person is the exception. 100% their problem? Think again. It's your life, so you do what you feel, but the consequences could be your life. Do you have children? Think of them when you choose to ride those roads and participate in safety, instead of thinking it is 100% their problem. Just try to not be so selfish in thinking. I'm not throwing stones, but I am tired of the fighting. It's got to start somewhere, so we should be the bigger people and set an example, not make it their problem because you feel we have the right away. Do you even wear a helmet?

I agree Early Man.

You picked the wrong example for the safety speech. I'm the designated safety weenie. I have 30 years of riding in road traffic, tens of thousands of miles, without a single major accident (i.e., requiring hospitalization). I obey all the traffic laws, wear my helmet at all times and run lights even during the day. I tried mirrors and found them unsafe because they diverted my attention from what was more important, the road in front of me.

I ride the way I described because it's the safest. My 3 kids kind of appreciate that, thanks for asking. Your way is far less safe, and frankly does not win any appreciation from the anti-bike set. If I'm obeying the law and being as safe as I can be, again, how is anything my fault?

Crickey7, you have issues. You're not worth my time. Have a nice life. I feel for your children.

I'd thank you to leave my kids out of this. That's kind of low.

I didn't mean to hurt your feelings. Do you want a hug?

As someone who has been reamed on this board for criticizing my fellow cyclists' behavior (as has Crickey7 I believe), I find Joe's comments completely absurd. Mirrors and lights (in the daytime) do not lead to safe cycling. (I don't see automobiles with their lights on during the day.) Riding in the lane, following traffic laws is the safe way to go. I can assure you that I won't veer to the left when grabbing my water bottle or shifting gears. (Particularly if a car is behind me, and I know if you are there because I can hear you, even if I don't have mirrors.) Whether I wear a helmet or not (and I do) should be irrelevant as helmets won't prevent any accidents. (Is the use of hand signals in rural areas really an issue?)

You can be sure that I am perfectly aware of my surrondings, both upfront and back, while riding. Expecting cyclists to conform to your notions of safe cycling is ridiculous because safe cycling mostly requires bicycling in a predictable manner as any other vehicle on the road.

Cyclists should obey stop lights and not blow through stop signs. That said, as a driver, one has the responsibility to pass safely. This means if there is oncoming traffic, you'll have to wait. Why would you not treat a cyclist any different from a farm tractor? I don't see the whining about them.

I ride bikes... I blog about riding bikes...

some time ago I bitched about an incident on MacArthur Blvd... it may be worth a glance

http://gwadzilla.blogspot.com/2008/05/back-to-war-on-macarthur-boulevard.html

enjoy... and watch your back! looking back and listening to the world around you always does better than looking into a little mirror... whether on the bike in a car or on a motorcycle... turn your head and take a look

Joe, I got to say, if you're looking to blame someone for being a scofflaw cyclist, Crickey7 is not your guy. As near as I can tell he is a classic "by the book" foot-dropper. He appears to follow the letter of the law with a religious fervor. The law does not require mirrors by the way. And I find they make me less safe. And the "hug" comment is not going to win you any friends.

Joe is making the extra-legal argument, that following the law is not enough. We must also use mirrors (even though I don't know of any evidence that they make one safer) and avoid certain roads. We can only bike in the area where we live. Can't say I support any of that.

What kind of bike do you ride Joe, and where?

Joe Franken rides a tricycle with pink tassels up and down his driveway.

I totally forgot to mention my supernatural safety protections. I'm currently using a medallion blessed by Mother Theresa herself that my brother scored on a trip to India a while back. I'm golden.

I was nonplussed for a moment by your use of the phrase "run lights", Crickey7. For the benefit of anyone else who might also have been, can I confirm that you meant "have lights illuminated on my bicycle", not "ride through controlled intersections"?

Now you've hurt my feelings. I would never disregard a traffic control device.

I happen to use a STI-lever -mounted mirror and I find it extremely handy. But that's just my choice, and I'm not criticizing anyone who chooses differently. Nonetheless, I'm curious how it makes things less safe for some people.

antibozo, for me I found that I was looking into it for a long time to try and see something and thus not looking elsewhere. That's why I quit using one.

washcycle, thanks for the clarification. Could it be partly the size of the mirror you were using? Mine's about 3" in diameter and slightly convex, and quite easy to spot hazards with quickly. I don't think I look into it overlong, tho I'll pay special attention on my Saturday ride.

http://www.mirrycle.com/road_mirror.php

I had one of those helmet mirrors.

I had a helmet mirror for a while, but it kept coming unstuck from my helmet, and I found it sort of confusing to use, plus the field of view seemed kind of small. I would have to move my head around to see more of what was back there.

The only drawback to the Mirrcycle is that on rough road it vibrates a bit, making the image blurry. And, I suppose it costs me a few seconds per mile in wind resistance, but I'm not a road racer so I don't mind. :^)

washcycle, BTW, I may have missed the news about the fatal crash on the Rock Creek Trail you mentioned in this post. Link?

Oh, never mind; you were referring to this one, which I did see (but hadn't noted your update):

http://www.thewashcycle.com/2011/08/cyclist-who-fell-in-rock-creek-park-dies-from-injuries.html

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