The Chainlink

Curious to what readers think of the following bike commuter habits.  Some are mine, some I've observed:  good/bad/indifferent

 

headphones

talking on cell phone (in hand/on shoulder)

talking on cell phone w/headset

easing through stop w/no cross traffic

using clip-in pedals

riding w/no hands

riding side-by-side in traffic/downtown

tailgating another rider

using "hand gesture" to drivers that yell or cut you off

circling in intersection while waiting on light to turn green

riding on dirt (i.e. running) paths on lakefront

smoking cigarette/pipe/cigar

 

 

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Thanks for updating - never saw this thread before...

headphones - right ear yes, left ear no (that’s my traffic ear)

talking on cell phone (in hand/on shoulder) - no

talking on cell phone w/headset - no

easing through stop w/no cross traffic - yes, if it makes me safe. Mostly I wait.

using clip-in pedals - yes

riding w/no hands - rarely

riding side-by-side in traffic/downtown - no

tailgating another rider - only if high traffic or riding in group w safe following distance 

using "hand gesture" to drivers that yell or cut you off - try not to but sometimes a bird flies on its own before  I can stop it 

circling in intersection while waiting on light to turn green - no

riding on dirt (i.e. running) paths on lakefront  - when the opportunity arises, I like dirt, crushed limestone 

smoking cigarette/pipe/cigar - no. Ew. I have asthma so I need all the lungs I can get.

Never headphones but I do have a speaker on the front of my bag 

I'll ease through a stop sign 

I gesture to so many drivers it's like it's in a cast 

I circle if I'm riding fixed or playing Frogger as I cross Mi ave

I used to ride no hands before I put a rack on the front and wear a cross wind balance destroying delivery bag

Outside of easing through a stop w/ no cross traffic when safe and using clip-in pedals, I'm a "no" to all of the others the vast majority of the time. 

That said, the "tailgating" question is interesting, as I'd imagine there's some difference about what constitutes actual tailgating among different riders. 

I try to leave at least a full bike length between myself and the next rider when possible, though in busy bike lane areas I do maybe shrink that to around half or a quarter of a bike length.  So I'd say I never "draft" a rider, but I do wonder if some that aren't used to group riding would still consider half a bike length too close. 

In other words, what do people view as actual problematic "tailgating?"     

I typically give at least 5'-6' (a bike length?) in a busy bike lane situation once we're up to speed. The only time I'd be closer to another commuter is if we're rolling up to/away from a stop, or if it's someone I know.

Group rides are a totally different situation, where closer proximity is appropriate and expected. 

I've never found "tailgating" to really be an issue when commuting. If someone wants to draft behind me, I'm cool with that as long as they aren't crashing into me. 

Yeah.  I think 5' (or a bike length) is typically fair.  If I find myself consistently closing that gap and having to brake to avoid a rider ahead where the bike lane isn't busy, that's when I know to pass to keep my preferred pace. 

On busy bike lanes like Milwaukee during rush hour on a nice summer day, though, I pretty consistently find myself in forced-together packs of riders giving each other much less space than that.  

headphones: no

talking on cell phone (in hand/on shoulder): no

talking on cell phone w/headset: no

easing through stop w/no cross traffic: stop signs treated like yield signs. Empty red lights treated like stop signs. Busy red lights treated like... red lights. 

using clip-in pedals: yes

riding w/no hands: no

riding side-by-side in traffic/downtown: no. I also will wait to pass until I know there's room. 

tailgating another rider: 1 bike length in a busy bike lane commute situation. I've never worried much about riders behind me. Draft away, wheel suckers. 

using "hand gesture" to drivers that yell or cut you off: Try not to, but sometimes yes. 

circling in intersection while waiting on light to turn green: No. Also no on the right turn + U turn on cross streets to avoid stopping. 

riding on dirt (i.e. running) paths on lakefront: Yes, but with lots of courtesy extended to runners/walkers. 

smoking cigarette/pipe/cigar: no, but I don't really care if others are doing this. Odds are I wouldn't be behind them for very long. 

Interesting that shoaling isn't on this list, or stopping in the middle of crosswalks. Both are related to the circling and right turn/u-turn thing. The number of people in this city that cannot bring themselves to stop behind any other cyclists at a busy red light is pretty stunning. 

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