Straight-up list of Pittsburgh idiot cyclists
Catching up on this thread and have a few comments; jonawebb has it right, regarding cyclists who may not realize the danger they face in the door zones and are afraid to go fast down a hill and/or take a lane. These hills can be intimidating and let’s not forget the generally poor road surfaces with bumps, cracks, and holes can easily cause an inexperienced cyclists to be overly cautious.
Regarding 80 year olds and even the much-maligned 60 year olds from the suburbs, I don’t think they’re your problem. As a 59 and a half year old from the suburbs (the next best thing) I can say a few things. When you get to be my age, most people you see out there are younger than you are. Most of the people who drive out there, buzzing cyclists, laying on their horns, and saying things are in a younger age bracket. Us old folks generally drive slow (which is annoying as hell to the young folks), we don’t text very well or much at all, and we are generally a little less excitable than the younger set. So, please, stop blaming us for all the problems you experience on the roads, or else, we’ll slow drive you to death !!
@fultonco, as a fellow-traveller (57.8 years, exurbia) I agree that most of the folks out there doing things are younger than we are. That’s because there’s more younger folks than us older folks; a greater portion of our cohort are no longer with us. There’s just fewer geezers, although we make up for it with ear hair.
Certainly, some of the truly foolish youngsters remove themselves (ala Darwin) from the driver pool by the time their cohort hit 30 or 35.
But I don’t think there’s any driver virtue delivered by age. I will say that most of the aggro-stupid driving I see is young white men, and most of the ranting I see is middle-aged white men.
Yesterday, crossing 65 from Brighton Heights onto the McKees Rocks Bridge. I saw the guy turn off California Ave, and followed him down the brick approach to the 65 corner. I was back about two cars; he had one car in front of him at the light.
Initially he held back a bit, staying in traffic, but then filtered forward and dashed across 65 against the red when I guess he sensed that all four directions were red. Well, they were, but if he thought he was getting a jump on traffic, he was mistaken, as northbound 65’s left turn arrow went green, and he rapidly got a string of cars on his butt anyway. Even a strong cyclist isn’t going to get much above 30 mph, and motor traffic wants to go 45, not 35.
I think he would have been fine if he’d just stayed in line. In my opinion, just get in the lane, toodle along at 22, and give zero fucks.
This is getting off topic and away from idiot cyclists.
I have had many run-ins with elder folk. Majority of these cases have been them trying to over run me while taking the lane downhill at the speed limit or breaking it.
One case that made me furious was last year I was going down Forbes well past 25 MPH from S. Hill to Oakland. A old timer sees me and floors it in the opposite lane with cars coming up against him. He had the ideology that I was on a bike and I had no right on his roads built by Eisenhower just for him and his auto. His move was dangerous and completely had a lack of judgement.
This happened yet again early this month in Highland park. Again riding downhill over the speed limit behind the zoo in Highland park. A old timer comes up behind me and floors it. Then he gets in front of me and slams on his breaks almost causing me to go head into his car.
I have had many run-ins with older people who feel that I don’t have any right on the roads and make a completely lack of judgement. This could be because of their age or the fact that stupidity runs rampant at all age brackets. However, this boomer generation definitely comes from an age where the auto trumps all and bikes are considered a kid’s toy.
Stupidity and lack of judgement runs in all generations, but old age will take our quick judgement. This is demonstrated in a lot of horrible tragedies. Some older men need to hand in their licence. When I hit that age cars will be autonomous anyways.
It’s really just a perception issue. You can decide old people are acting like assholes because they think the roads were built just for cars and they’ve never seen a bike on the road so why start now. And the young guys are acting like assholes because they’re full of testosterone and like speeding and intimidating people. And people in the middle are acting like assholes because, I don’t know, they’re late for work and just don’t think they should have to share the road with a bike.
I think a lot of scary passes from drivers are because they’re afraid they’ll hit a cyclist, so they try to get away from them as quickly as possible and put as much space between them as possible. That of course winds up being a dangerous approach a lot of the time. But I choose not to see malice.
I barely know what I’m thinking half the time, and often I don’t understand my own motivations.
I have like 1% effectiveness at guessing what other people who I’ve never met or spoken with are thinking.
I think I’m with you today.
I rode the Panther Hollow sidewalk back toward squirrel hill today. I was never a big fan of the jug-handle maneuver required from the end to get to the left on Beacon.
But in retrospect, that’s less sketchy now with Greenfield Rd. a destination to nowhere. Anyways, passing the crest of the road, as it started easing down approaching the light I took advantage of the absence of opposing traffic and a gap in the waves coming from Oakland to cross from sidewalk to left lane.
Perhaps 5 seconds or so later the first car from a subsequent wave zooms up behind me and lays on the horn and calls me a motherf&*(cker. Of course, I had the baby seat on the back of the bike so his assumption was really quite well justified, but one wonders why it would be so worthy of comment and why he felt the need to bring it to my attention in particular.
Mr. Pie- Just to be clear, what ages qualify one to be an old-timer, older person, or being of old age? While we are at it, when is your birthday?
@ byogman said “Of course, I had the baby seat on the back of the bike so his assumption was really quite well justified”.
OK, back on topic again, me!
I’ve become used to seeing vehicles on the EFT and didn’t take particular note of the one partially blocking the closest entrance this morning. I bike into work semi-unconscious by my instincts normally carry me in just fine.
Not this morning, the gate was actually closed and I gored my handlebar tape and pushed my hood a bit sideways. No other damage done, to me or the bike. But be careful, especially if you’re an idiot like me.
Almost got into a collision in the Penn Avenue bike lane yesterday.
Asian man, mid 20’s, grey hoodie, black hat riding inbound on the Penn Avenue bike lane in front of the parking garage on 10th Street.
I like to try and get moving out of downtown, so I push in the bike lanes to try and get my speed up to around 20mph. I noticed an oncoming bike in the lane, but on the right side of the lane. Then, all of the sudden, he swerves into my lane about 150 feet in front of me, and continues to keep riding down in my lane until we are about 5 feet away from each other.
I got a good look at the guy, and it is without a doubt that he was stoned out of his mind. I understand swerving some of the manhole covers, but still.
So I was parking my bike in front of the Squirrel Hill liquor store last night, and a guy pulled up next to me, and as he was getting out of his car he told me, “You want to hear a funny story? I saw a guy getting a DUI on a bicycle the other night. I was at Soma, and this guy comes out, and he’s twisted. He gets on a bike, starts pedaling off. There’s two cops there, and they stop him and give him a DUI. For a bicycle! I laughed for two days.”
Shouldn’t that be an RUI? And what’s the equivalent of a license suspension? Do they take your chain away? Or just lock your bike, like for that whole too-many-parking-tickets thing?
More seriously: A quick check reveals that it would probably be treated as “Public Drunkenness”, which is “pose a danger: to themselves, others, to property, or of annoying others.”
You can totally call operating a bicycle driving! Nothing about the definition of the verb to drive is specific to motor vehicles.
Also, as far as i can tell Pennsylvania state law regarding drunk driving can be found here: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/HTM/75/00.038..HTM
and as it is written it applies to vehicles and does not specify motor vehicles. Bicycles, as we know are vehicles and as such are subject to the above laws. But who knows state statutes are hard to understand because they constantly refer to other statues, amend them, or fail to mention other relevant laws.
Usually, cycling impaired just isn’t a very good idea.
“it never ceases to amaze me when people ride with headphones”
FWIW, I wear a Bluetooth headset for hands-free phone calls (VERY infrequent use) and navigation (OSMAnd kicks butt, btw). So, if you see me in my grey helmet riding my old clunker from the late 80s, don’t judge me too harshly for having headphones on. ;)
When Bates is backed up during rush hour to Blvd of the Allies, I get wanting to make it down to EFT/Jail Trail quickly, but to the rider I saw this morning, I think that “filtering” on the left side of traffic that is backed up, i.e. riding in the upstream path of traffic coming off of the parkway and Second Ave, is probably a bad idea. May want to rethink that.
“filtering” on the left side of traffic that is backed up
hm. I do that occasionally when traffic is at a complete standstill. But doing it on Bates seems a bit risky given the oncoming car speeds.
I feel it’s ok to pass stopped cars on the left as long as you do it safely. After all it’s symmetrical to cars passing bikes on the left: you’re allowed to pass it if you happen to have a vehicle that’s significantly faster than the one in your lane in front of you. Usually you’re in a car but sometimes you’re on a bike.
To forestall possible commentary: I’m actually very much observant of traffic rules: I will stop at signs and at lights, even when the cars around me don’t.
Yesterday on the ride for Mike McDermott we were on the Eliza Furnace trail and I was riding a little left of the center of the trail when a rider came barreling down at really high speed, madly ringing his bell. Man, I looked up just in time, yelled “shit,” and veered right. That would have been a serious accident.
I know I should have been riding single file but this was in a group of 100 riders. Use a little sense. You are not going to get to set a Strava record when a bunch of people show up going the other way. Slow down.
He was probably yelling “you’re awesome!”
That, and “your sculpted calves make my knees weak” are the phrases I assume, when I can’t actually make out what someone is screaming at me.
“it never ceases to amaze me when people ride with headphones”.
Please: I am that ‘idiot’ and I can hear fine. Since I started bike commuting circa 1996. If you (& you know who you are) open yer yap one more time to tell me I need to “not have my headphones in” Just.One.More.Time… you’re gonna need a good dentist, all a’m sayin.
Goes for the rest of yoins evangelicals.
Now, lets talk about idiots that ride at night with no lights…while wearing all dark clothing. Discuss.
Threatening physical violence is utterly unacceptable. This is a thread that is almost guaranteed to generate friction because we are talking about each other. I may even have indirectly caused it by posting on the dangerous drivers thread about a bicyclist who was riding the wrong way on Darlington in the dark without lights, reflectors, or a helmet near the JCC. Often, we are likely to post on this thread when we are angry. Please, try to keep the posts civil, but regardless, in my opinion threatening violence should result in being banished from the mb.
Now, what I really meant to post. Yesterday I was coming home at about 5:30 on the EFT under the Birmingham Bridge at a decent clip (20 mph). I only saw 2 other bicycles on the whole trip form Grant to the UPMC lot. They both came into play right then. Bike 1 was on a citybike or something like it and tooling along slowly toward the right, going outbound like me, not exactly straight but still to the right. Bike 2 was quite far ahead coming inbound, well to their right and proceeding straight and predictably.
I moved leftward, giving what should have been most of the trail in clearance (10′ I guess?) and called loudly “on your left”, but Bike 1 proceeded to drift progressively left, not exactly turning but just drifting quickly. Bike 1 must have seen Bike 2, and regardless of me Bike 1 was now basically in Bike 2’s lane — I still had plenty of space (100 + feet) to pass and pull right under ordinary circumstances. As Bike 1 moved farther over and closer to me, I hollered ON YOUR LEFT a couple more times, and at the last second Bike 1 became aware of me, wobbled rightward, said something, and I got by on the last inch of the pavement. I would have gone over into the gravel and maybe should have, but I had not slowed and did not really want to hit gravel at that pace. Bike 2 had seen the CF up ahead and sensibly moved leftward, and I passed that person still hard left, now going 13 mph (adrenaline spikes look cool – +20 bpm instantly…), and moved on toward Bates.
Soooooo. Why was the straight up idiot? Bike 2 was totally fine and would even have been conveniently placed to render aid had I collided at speed with Bike 1. Sorry Bike 2 whoever you are for contributing to a hazard in your path.
Bike 1 managed to do two awful things at once: drift into my path without checking (after a standard and quite loud warning) and also drift into the path of an oncoming cyclist. I have absolutely no idea what that person was doing or thinking, and I did not see whether they had headphones in (non sequitur – “they” has I believe been formally accepted as a singular gender neutral pronoun by grammaticians, though ‘singular_they’ is close to the longest wikipedia page I have ever seen). Bike 1 clearly qualifies as an “idiot cyclist”. Sorry @meaculpa, but if that was you, how long you have been riding is irrelevant. I’ve been riding since 1965.
I thought I did everything right. Yes I was going fast. No, I wasn’t being a stravasshole; I was stretching my legs after 9h of continuous meetings in a hotel conference room on a Sunday when all of my friends were doing centuries and the like (not that I am pissed off about that…). The trail was nearly vacant, I gave a wide berth, I called out clearly, and Bike 1 up to the point of near contact was behaving inexpertly but still keeping generally to the right. Bike 2 was far ahead and under normal circumstances I would have been back in my lane with plenty of space to spare.
Should we *always* slow to a pace where we could more or less stop on a dime when encountering anybody doing anything remotely non-standard? Should there be a speed limit on EFT, and if so what should it be?
Two points: first, right, nobody should be threatening people with getting punched in the mouth here. Second, if you see somebody ahead of you who is blocking your path because of wobbly biking skills, slow down. Yelling “on your left” and expecting them to move over and keeping up the same speed isn’t a good idea.
I think it’s basically ok, not to sprint, but sure, to crank away at a good pace. 9 you’re fine, 10 you’re mine… something like that. You just have to be careful not to get too attached to that speed or you’ll create or contribute to dangerous situations. Go-fast cyclists are not the only, or even the majority trail users and if we treat it like it’s ours we’re uncomfortably similar to the motorists we bemoan in another thread here.
My apologies. It was out of norm for me to vent anywhere on the internet, much less BikePgh. Just gobsmacked that the same guy told me the same thing twice like I was his project or something…
Yesterday on the AM commute going down Stanton Ave hill toward Butler there was a line of cars about 5 cars long at the red light. Cyclist in front of me decides he doesn’t want to wait, bikes in the middle of the opposite lane of traffic on Stanton all the way to the corner to hop the sidewalk. If anyone is familiar with this corner, there is a large wall from Allegheny Cemetery there blocking vision of drivers coming around that corner. This guy is very lucky he wasn’t hit by a car all to save 15 seconds on his commute. As I was waiting, another cyclist decided to filter past traffic including me(waiting in line) and merge with traffic directly infront of a moving car as everyone was turning left on to Butler. Not as bad but still annoying.
I was riding around town enjoying the weather today, but my good time was spoiled by seeing quite a few straight-up idiots with headphones in while biking. Hey, idiots, if you have headphones in, you can’t hear what’s happening around you!
I think this is an opportunity for bikepgh to spread some awareness about how dangerous riding in sensory deprivation mode can have grave consequences. I’d love to see some “don’t be an idiot, leave the headphones out” ads around town. Paging Scott Bricker!
So you think deaf people shouldn’t be allowed to ride bikes?
“So you think deaf people shouldn’t be allowed to ride bikes?”
If you can’t hear, you should do what you can to compensate. That being said, you should have at least one mirror if not two to help understand your surroundings for safe travel. I do think deaf people are at a disadvantage, BUT I also feel they can travel safely if they enhance their vision to compensate.
Wearing earbuds and riding a bike could be okay I guess. I think they are trusting others too much, BUT I also think style could compensate. Enjoy.
Speaking of headphones, I was riding the highland park bridge home yesterday, and a guy was running the same direction I was riding. I approached him and yelled “do you mind if I pass on your left?” No response. He was wearing headphones. I got closer, yelled louder. No response. It took about 60 seconds of screaming until he finally heard me.
And an FYI, you may not want to wear headphones while riding to avoid getting mowed down by a cop. I was riding home just past junction hollow on
Boundary when I saw a police car heading toward the trail at full speed with just lights going. I know there were runners on the trail going to opposite way. I did not hear that cop turn on the sirens once as he flew up and through the trail.
I was thinking next give away BikePgh does should involve bells (though I like the light giveaways). When it was nice out on Saturday, the family and I went out and rode the trail between HMB & Waterfront, man, there was some seriously poor decision making going on. Lot of unannounced passes in tight areas (i.e. next to Sandcastle) and nonsense like two long lines of cyclists coming towards one another, then someone deciding that would be a good time to pass. One pair of oncoming riders did this and the pass was so close one of our kids got hit in the face by the female rider’s hair. Don’t pass when it’s not safe and there’s no clearance, just don’t do it, and let other trail users know that you’re there and passing.
I had a bell and used it a lot on Saturday! That is a good idea.
When riding around manhattan a few years ago I had to buy a bell to get anywhere on congested bikeways. Everyone there has a bell and uses it. Upon returning home, I thought I might as well use it in the burgh too.
In the summer, Frick park doubletrack is frequently congested with people walking side-by-side or by dog leashes stretched across the trail. It would be a perfect place for a bell to politely announce your presence from a distance.
My tactic was to ding it about 6 or 7 seconds before passing people from behind. People could tell it was far enough away that they didn’t feel the need to frantically jump out of the way. But I gave up and took it off my bike. Too many people becoming irate at it’s use. They viewed it as bossy, like “get the hell out of my way now!” rather than “i’m here and don’t want to startle you”.
Hopefully that changes, but right now there is a negative perception of people who use a bell.
I don’t have a bell on most of my bikes, but I do have one of those bluetooth speakers on my bag and used it while on the trails on saturday/sunday. It helps get the attention of non-earbud wearing folks so that I don’t accidentally sneak up on them. It made passing folks much easier, and they were much more receptive to my pardon me, on your left jazz…
Not sure if you’ll think this constitutes straight-up idiocy, but I kinda wanna share my double-take.
This afternoon I saw what looked like an experienced male commuter/utility cyclist, puffing away at a honkin’ big stogie while pumping his way down Forbes.
It just seemed dichotomous to me, since I’m a fitness/endurance rider.
I wouldn’t call it idiocy, just a questionable lifestyle choice. :-)
When I started riding (yeesh…over ten years ago…OMG I’m old…anyway…ignore me…), I was still smoking a pack of Marlboros per day. And yeah, I did sometimes smoke when riding; not much, as holding onto used butts until I could find a trashcan was kinda gross, but occasionally.
Cycling did help me quit, in that, when I set my quit date, I rode something like 200 miles over the first 3 days, as a way of coping with the physical withdrawal symptoms. (For context, my idea of a “long ride” then was 30 miles…I highly recommend unaccustomed exertion as a way to take your mind off nicotine pangs.)
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