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Bicycle Safety System

System to discourage cars from riding too close to bicyclists.
  (+3, -7)
(+3, -7)
  [vote for,

I often fantisize as I commute on my bicycle about having a spike strip system attached to my bike to discourage car drivers from passing me too close . My defense system would deploy the same basic strips that law enforcement officers use to stop automobiles during car chases. I envision a set of spike strips attached to the bike radiating on each side and front and back , suspended just above the road surface. The bicycle owner could adjust the strips' length to suit his or her own personal comfort zone . I suppose that the strips should be painted a bright color to give vehicle drivers some sort of warning. Any car that comes too close to the operators bicycle will be immediately rendered undrivable by the strips. And life goes on...
kingwuz, Oct 23 2006

My solution to 21 Quest's dilemma Car_20Lane
all in good fun [GutPunchLullabies, Oct 24 2006]

Fuel Taxes http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_tax
[AusCan531, Jun 27 2012]


       <car runs over strip, bursting the steer tyre closer to the bike, causing the car to veer wildly through the bike rider and off the side of the overpass and down into the busload of special school kids. Total bodycount.. 53>   

Custardguts, Oct 23 2006

       //your side of the white line//   

       That is exactly the problem. Obviously the solution is not a spike strip, but the fact that you think you have a right to drive next to the white line is lethal ignorance.   

       Bikes can and often must go in the driving lane. You can choose to pass them, if safe, or slow down to what may or may not be slower than the speed limit until it is safe.
GutPunchLullabies, Oct 23 2006

       It sounds like you think you are doing them a special favor for not actually running them over. The other side of the line may have broken glass, nails, potholes, or car door danger zones. If they are in the lane, there is probably a reason.   

       Yes, cyclists can be intimidated by a huge, loud machine. Does that mean it is your personal responsibility to do so?
GutPunchLullabies, Oct 23 2006

       That very well may be the reason they are in the lane. If there is a lot of debris on the shoulder, and they believe they may have to swerve into the lane, it makes a lot of sense to go into the lane pre-emptively and stay there. This can be done during an opening in traffic, with proper hand signals. Swerving unexpectedly in front of cars is a separate issue.   

       It also gives drivers plenty of time to realize they are there in the lane and avoid hitting them, hardly the same as "daring" the driver to strike them.
GutPunchLullabies, Oct 23 2006

       Bone the spike strip, Bun cleaning the shoulder as well as the road. Argument over.
Chefboyrbored, Oct 23 2006

       The closer to the side of the road a cyclist rides, the closer vehicles pass on the other side. Cycle lanes are often so poorly maintained/designed they are unusable. Motorists use lane markings as an indication of a right rather than a responsibility, and often assume that a cyclist is in the cycle lane and not in the main lanes - and this is more likely the closer to the cycle lane they are riding. Cyclists often ride in toward the middle of the main (NOT "driver's", usually all the lanes are available to cyclists) lane for all these reasons and more. Just because a motorist cannot work this out doesn't mean it is safer or better for cyclists to do what motorists think they should do. Rest assured, any cyclist's most engaging concern is their own welfare, and they know more about it than a non-cyclist. The ones who don't are probably dead.
ooooooooo, Oct 23 2006

       You should work on making this more lethal for the driver. Cars give bicyclers a wide berth in Baghdad, and for good reason, as bikes might explode at any moment. (The cars too, come to think of it.)
ldischler, Oct 23 2006

       My understanding is that the uniform vehicle code states that "If a bicycle lane is not provided, the bicyclist is to travel in the middle of the traffic lane". I believe that the uniform vehicle code that I cite is more or less world wide, though it may apply only to the 50 US states.   

       I recently read a book about bicycle safety that suggested that it is much safer to ride in the center of the traffic lane that at the edge. The premise is that the bicyclist is more visible there, and that almost all drivers respect the rights of bicyclists, and that drivers have more respect for the safety of bicyclists who assert their rights. I have recently begun riding in the middle of the traffic lane if there is no bike lane. I do this about 50% of the time, (depending on other circumstances too numerous to list). My experience so far indicates that this author is right, and that the center of the traffic lane is often the safest place to ride.
RunVentura, Oct 24 2006

       You know what my favorite move is? When I'm going down a hill on the way home from work, going 30-35 mph, and cars will actually accelerate to pass me, then slam on their brakes because they are going uncomfortably fast. IT happens all the time.   

       It's like people just can't concieve of moving slower than a bicycle.   

       A close second? Stop lights placed 300 feet apart. The car guns it past me to be first to the light. Fine, I wait far behind his right side in case he turns right without signaling.   

       Green- He hits 40 mph and gets to the next red first, I toddle along 10 seconds later. We wait for the light together. Repeat.   

       I knew someone who got knocked silly by a rear-view mirror because someone HAD to pass him before a stop sign, and couldn't be bothered to drive 15 per for a hundred feet.   

       I got hit by a car once, when the driver was pulling out of a parking garage, into traffic. She calmly waited for me to pick myself up off her hood, waited for an opening in traffic, and drove off.
GutPunchLullabies, Oct 24 2006

       Erm, [21], roads are not just for cars.   

       If there is a pushbike, horse rider, tractor, motorbike, bus, mobility scooter or whatever in front of you, you have to *wait* until you can overtake. They aren't forcing you, as the rightful, car-driving owner of that bit of road, to swerve into the middle. They have every right to be there. You also are required to drive with due care and attention (at least in the UK) which means leaving enough space between you and the next vehicle/non-motorised thingy to allow you to stop in time if necessary.   

       I dunno where you learned to drive, but I was always told to give bikes, motorbikes, horses etc. as much room as possible. It's common sense. You're in a car and protected, they're not. Use your brain.   

       Oh, and speed limits are the *maximum* speed you are allowed to go.
squeak, Oct 24 2006

       A compromise (see link)
GutPunchLullabies, Oct 24 2006

       The idea proposed is a rant, I say. I'm fishboning.   

       I don't agree with all that 21 has been saying, but he does have some valid points. Some of the folks on bicycles are just kids, or overgrown children, who don't know jack about safety, courtesy or traffic law. But the same thing can be said for a lot of people driving cars. Cyclists that spend a lot of time on the road generally know more about the rules than most drivers, as is needed for survival.   

       My (very extensive) experience as a bicyclist leads me to ride defensively, but not wimpishly. I know that riding in a straight line very close to the edge of the road seems to invite motorists to pass me very closely (which makes me wish for a spike strip, some days). But if I ride a bit further out, which is safer for me, and throw in a wobble at the right time, the cars go well around. All that with safety in mind and two eyes on conditions, of course.
baconbrain, Oct 26 2006

       'Hey look, it's a wonderful biker. So nice of them to care for the enviro-'   

       *looses control on car*   

       'Ahh, can't steer !'   

       *floors gas to over-compensate*   

       *biker /bitesthedust*
Raithah, Oct 26 2006

       /*floors gas to over-compensate* /   

       I think that that's a pretty unlikely reaction.
Texticle, Oct 26 2006

       I think the problem would sort itself out if each user knew the problems and frustrations of the others:
1. All car drivers rode a bicycle for a while.
2. All bicycle riders drove a car for a while.

       Until the road users have the appropriate experience, then they cannot predict the actions of other users so easily.   

       I'll give an example:
Dog sees bicycle. Bicycle sees dog. Car sees bicycle. Car doesn't expect that if dog runs to bicycle, bicycle will swerve. Bicycle doesn't realise that car doesn't see dog as threat. Bicycle says, "Surely car could see dog?" Car says, "Surely bicycle should not swerve when car is passing?". etc.
Ling, Oct 27 2006

       Hold on everybody! I think doggie is trying to tell us something.
"ruff ruff"
Dad has been hit by an inconsiderate driver? He's lying unconscious on Main Street? Good doggie!
methinksnot, Oct 27 2006

       "Grrr. Bark. Bark."   

       Translation: "What a dumbass! He was riding his tricycle down the middle of Main street."
MoreCowbell, Oct 27 2006

       I can't figure it out for sure in my head, but I have some apprehensions that the reaction between the tire and the tire strip might go badly for the bicyclist.   

       Would the car tire not jerk the strip attached to the bike towards it? (for a front wheel drive car?)
Zimmy, Oct 28 2006

       Cyclists, as has been mentioned, have every right to be on the road. However, in the UK it is my understanding that any vehicle which is holding up more than a few cars, be it a slow tractor, cyclist, lorry or halfblind halfwit is required to move over and let them past.   

       If there's only one car impatiently trying to get past, let the sod wait if you don't feel there's space; there's no point getting right into the gutter only to have his mirrors miss you by millimetres. If there are a few cars backed up behind you then you should be more considerate.   

       And hey, bear in mind that bicycles were there well before automobiles came on the scene.
david_scothern, Oct 28 2006

       Just turn the white strip into a line of spikes! Eliminates the problem. Of course, it would suck if you tripped on the side of the road and hit your face on the spikes. That's why there's cars. They're faster anyway.
TahuNuva, Nov 04 2007

       Ouch. I don't like the idea of the car running me over after I've popped his tires.
m homola, Nov 05 2007

       Driving laws and how they apply to cyclists vary from country to country.   

       >I believe that the uniform vehicle code that I cite is more or less world wide, though it may apply only to the 50 US states.   

       <rant> That's a pretty telling caveat. US laws, contrary to what you may have heard on CNN, do not apply world wide. There is no "uniform vehicle code." </rant>   

       Here in Ontario, Canada:   

       "vehicle" includes a motor vehicle, trailer, traction engine, farm tractor, road-building machine, bicycle and any vehicle drawn, propelled or driven by any kind of power, including muscular power, but does not include a motorized snow vehicle or a street car;   

       (4) Every person in charge of a vehicle on a highway meeting a person travelling on a bicycle shall allow the cyclist sufficient room on the roadway to pass.   

       Bicycles overtaken (6) Every person on a bicycle or motor assisted bicycle who is overtaken by a vehicle or equestrian travelling at a greater speed shall turn out to the right and allow the vehicle or equestrian to pass and the vehicle or equestrian overtaking shall turn out to the left so far as may be necessary to avoid a collision.   

       Driver unable to turn out is to stop (7) Where one vehicle is met or overtaken by another, if by reason of the weight of the load on either of the vehicles so meeting or on the vehicle so overtaken the driver finds it impracticable to turn out, he or she shall immediately stop, and, if necessary for the safety of the other vehicle and if required so to do, he or she shall assist the person in charge thereof to pass without damage.   

       Passing vehicle going in same direction (8) No person in charge of a vehicle shall pass or attempt to pass another vehicle going in the same direction on a highway unless the roadway,   

       (a) in front of and to the left of the vehicle to be passed is safely free from approaching traffic; and   

       (b) to the left of the vehicle passing or attempting to pass is safely free from overtaking traffic.   

       Basically, don't be obnoxious about letting cars pass, but do so ONLY WHEN IT IS SAFE TO DO SO. At all times, you have all the rights of a vehicle on the road.
victor, May 26 2008

       Old debate, but:   

       I'm more likely to go out into the middle of the lane (note, not cut in front of cars, but move out when there is an opening) when there is oncoming traffic. Why? Because on the roads in question there is not room for two cars and a bicycle. Once the oncoming traffic has passed, and the oncoming lane is clear to let overtaking traffic use it to pass, I will move back over to the edge of the lane, to provide the overtaking traffic with as much space as possible.   

       And I'm sorry if I consider my life and safety more important than the 15 seconds of commute I cost you to slow down until that happens.
MechE, Dec 17 2009

       In order to keep the spike strip near the bike, it must be attached to the bicycle.   

       As bicycles are human-powered, any additional weight, or friction, makes traveling any distance more difficult. Spike strips would add weight to the bicycle. They might also need wheels of their own, and thus add friction.   

       Another unpleasant issue: Even if the car sweves in such a way as to NOT hit the bicycle, any car that hits the spike strip will momentarily PIN THE SPIKE STRIP TO THE ROAD   

       Bicycles with any part temporarly pinned to the road tend to make the rider slow down, lose balance, stop, or even die.   

       Perhaps you should look for some other solution to this particular problem.
ye_river_xiv, Jun 27 2012

       I don't have any problem sharing the roads with cyclists as long as everyone uses a modicum of common sense and courtesy. If they are using that form of transportation to get from A to B then so be it if it takes me a little bit of maneuvering to get around them. The roads are paid for (many times over) by fuel taxes paid by motorists, but its not a big deal in my day.   

       What I don't like is my use of the roadways being curtailed by cyclists using the public roadways to conduct their sport. Having 15 - 20 cyclists clogging things up in their lycra-bedazzled peloton is a different thing than 3 or 4 cyclists going to and from work or whatever. As in all things, a little moderation makes the difference.
AusCan531, Jun 27 2012

       //roads are paid for (many times over) by fuel taxes paid by motorists//   

       Cyclists spend most of their time on local roads, which are paid for by propery taxes, not fuel taxes. Since they are also responsible for so much less wear and tear on these roads, the overage they pay in property taxes more than offsets the amount they don't pay in fuel taxes for state and federal roads. (This ignores the fact that federal fuel taxes don't completely cover the road budget, so my income taxes are paying for some of those as well)
MechE, Jun 27 2012

       While I agree with that to some extent, and definitely agree that the laws should be enforced more strongly on cycylists, I would make a counter argument.   

       A cyclist doing something dangerous pretty much puts only themselves at risk, a driver doing something dangerous is threatening others. The point of the license isn't to protect the operator, it's to protect those around them.
MechE, Jun 27 2012

       You're absolutely right. Bicyclists are obviously a public menace and must be eradicated. I reccommend a program of internment camps for bicyclist re-education combined with stern legislation and anti-bicycle presentations for schoolchildren. If that doesn't work we'll try death squads.
Alterother, Jun 27 2012

       //Death Squads//   

       I read that as "death squats" - and thought you were talking about biological warfare, or at least 3rd world water. Good plan.
Custardguts, Jun 27 2012

       [MechE] I don't know what jurisdiction you live in, but for the vast majority of places in the western world fuel taxes more than pay for all the roads several times over. [link] In Australia, for example, taxes are 40 cents per litre of which only 9 cents are spent on roads. Canada is the same and I believe the UK is even worse.   

       In any event I don't object to cyclists 'getting a free ride' because it is not worth the hassle to try and register them in some way to collect a few bucks. As you said, they don't create much wear and tear but as I said, my objection is them using the roads as a convenient stretch of bitumen upon which to conduct their sport. There are parallels with me trying to organize a ball hockey league on the taxiways of the local airport.
AusCan531, Jun 27 2012

       In the US (which I freely admit has ridiculously low gas taxes) the gas taxes pay a large portion of the federal roads budget, but not all of it. The states are probably mixed on how much is covered, and most localities don't have a gas tax at all.
MechE, Jun 27 2012

       As far as the use of roads for recreational purposes, I could make the same arguments against tourists (which we get a lot of in the fall) taking up space on the roads I use for commutes. I fully agree that team or group rides should behave politely and legally on the roads, but they still have the right to be there.
MechE, Jun 27 2012

       //they still have a right to be there//. Watch for my International Rollerblade Ball Hockey League coming to a street near you...   

       The tourists will presumably be paying an amount of fuel tax commensurate with their amount of road use.
AusCan531, Jun 27 2012

       Nope, they all pay that in New Hampshire.
MechE, Jun 28 2012


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