Author Topic: Why I'm getting a lollipop for my road bike  (Read 3012 times)

Riggers

  • Mine's a pipe, er… pint!
Why I'm getting a lollipop for my road bike
« on: September 11, 2018, 01:55:27 pm »
Sunday just gone, I was coming up School Hill, in Lewes, East Sussex approaching the traffic lights near the Law courts. A rather lovely looking brand new Ferrari purred away from the lights just in front of me, then . . . a dozy cow (for that's what she was) driving some Panda-type car strolled past me, but so close I hardly had to reach my arm out and bang loudly 3 times on the windows. The two small kids in the car with her were shocked, but not as much as me. Bloody useless driver seemed to shrink in her seat, but of course carried on, not stopping to ask if I was okay.

The 4x4 driver behind me, pulled up alongside, and shouted across his wife in the passenger seat: "Fucking hell mate, are you okay!!? How fucking close was she!!!?

I said I was okay, and he carried on.

I don't know what to do to make myself more visible, other than now trying a 'lollipop', to see if this will make any difference to my visibility.

I've gone past caring what my road bike will look like with a lollipop, and the scathing looks one might receive. Who cares? this one was way too close.
Certainly never seen cycling south of Sussex

Re: Why I'm getting a lollipop for my road bike
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2018, 02:02:06 pm »
Plastazote. The stuff that Karrimats are made from.
It can be fashioned with a sharp blade, is reasonably structural (or can be reinforced), will take paint and weighs next to nothing.

I reckon that a bit of foam whittling, and some paint, and you could end up with something which plausibly looks like a garden fork.
Strapped sideways to your rear rack.
Tines pointing towards the right.

I'd be surprised if that doesn't afford you more road-space than a lollipop.

Stay safe out there, Riggers.

Basil

  • Um....err......oh bugger!
  • Help me!
Re: Why I'm getting a lollipop for my road bike
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2018, 02:31:56 pm »
The best 'close pass inhibitor' I ever carried in Brum, was in the form of a large bouquet of flowers looming out of my right pannier.  The effect on driving standards around me was astonishing.
Quote from: Kim
And remember that friends who organise things on Facebook aren't proper friends anyway.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Why I'm getting a lollipop for my road bike
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2018, 02:32:51 pm »
Those lollipop things just seem like a placebo for the rider, and a target for the driver.  They don't stick out far enough to make a useful difference (compare with a pannier, or the elbow of a cyclist on a flat-barred bike).  Maybe you could fettle a decently wide one?

FWIW, Things I've found that tend to increase passing distances:
  • Tricycles.
  • Unusual loads that look like they might fall off or damage a car, or have inherent comedy value.
  • Weird scary recumbents, the lower the better.  If you disappear below the nearside wing when they overtake, drivers tend to err on the side of caution[1].
  • Trailers (but only some of the time).
  • Wobbling.
  • As a general rule, if they're videoing you, shouting witty remarks or cat-calling, they tend to pay proper attention to your position and speed.  Anything sufficiently interesting changes the priority from "must get in front" to "must get a decent look".

Things I've found that tend to decrease passing distances:
  • Riding in the gutter (sometimes necessary to avoid a surface hazard).
  • Cycle lanes (see above).
  • Riding slowly.
  • Bromptons.
  • Clothing that makes me more likely to be read as male from behind.
  • Shit weather.
  • Panniers on a recumbent (may just be a side-effect of riding speed).

Things I've found that don't make a jot of difference:
  • Hi-vis.
  • Lights and reflectors.
  • Helmets, although I rarely use them in traffic.


I believe the SCIENCE says that authentic police uniforms are the only thing that really helps clothing-wise.


[1] Except for the ones who are sufficiently incompetent or don't give a fuck.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Oscar's dad

  • Cheers!
Re: Why I'm getting a lollipop for my road bike
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2018, 02:41:44 pm »
The best 'close pass inhibitor' I ever carried in Brum, was in the form of a large bouquet of flowers looming out of my right pannier.  The effect on driving standards around me was astonishing.

Priceless!  ;D

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Why I'm getting a lollipop for my road bike
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2018, 02:43:53 pm »
The best 'close pass inhibitor' I ever carried in Brum, was in the form of a large bouquet of flowers looming out of my right pannier.  The effect on driving standards around me was astonishing.

Who was it that attached a small Christmas tree to their rear-rack for the duration of the festive period?  That probably helps.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Why I'm getting a lollipop for my road bike
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2018, 03:02:01 pm »
Tbh, I think in most cases they either aren't looking or simply don't care, and often both. I remember a few years ago having to evasive action when someone reversed at the light. I asked reasonably why he didn't look in the mirror before doing so and he said 'I did!' I think that sums it up. It's not exactly uncommon for drivers to run over cyclists directly in front of them on the grounds they didn't see a large quite visible object that was evidently there.

Carrying big stuff in a pannier works if they're looking, mostly because they're terrified it might scratch their car, but I've had cars actually brush my panniers. I suspect the only two successful ways to discourage close pass is either to be a bloke who looks like he could idly dismantle a car with his hands or be young, female and in tight lycra. The downside of the latter is that the average male drivers are entranced by this spectacle they'll probably just run someone else over (to be fair, most drivers tend to favour not killing females over males). Not that most of them aren't too busy working their phones to notice any of this.
!nataS pihsroW

Re: Why I'm getting a lollipop for my road bike
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2018, 03:04:53 pm »
The best 'close pass inhibitor' I ever carried in Brum, was in the form of a large bouquet of flowers looming out of my right pannier.  The effect on driving standards around me was astonishing.

Who was it that attached a small Christmas tree to their rear-rack for the duration of the festive period?  That probably helps.

There have been other iterations, wil have to see if I can find them


Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: Why I'm getting a lollipop for my road bike
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2018, 03:15:01 pm »
The thing I've found best for getting more room is riding at night. I used to think there was an element of "wtf is he doing out on a bike at this time?" but I've found it works as soon as it gets dark, so it's not that. I put it down partly to there being less traffic and more so to drivers perceiving there to be no oncoming traffic unless they see headlights shining round the bend, so they'll happily go right over the centre line even on a blind bend. Which is good for the cyclist being overtaken even if not for the oncoming cyclist they've assumed isn't there.
A cup of tea is the perfect bridge between real life and cake.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Why I'm getting a lollipop for my road bike
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2018, 03:16:45 pm »
The thing I've found best for getting more room is riding at night. I used to think there was an element of "wtf is he doing out on a bike at this time?" but I've found it works as soon as it gets dark, so it's not that. I put it down partly to there being less traffic and more so to drivers perceiving there to be no oncoming traffic unless they see headlights shining round the bend, so they'll happily go right over the centre line even on a blind bend. Which is good for the cyclist being overtaken even if not for the oncoming cyclist they've assumed isn't there.

That's true enough, but not so much in urban areas where there's always another car.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Pingu

  • Put away those fiery biscuits!
  • Mrs Pingu's domestique
    • the Igloo
Re: Why I'm getting a lollipop for my road bike
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2018, 03:21:18 pm »
Wear a blonde wig.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: Why I'm getting a lollipop for my road bike
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2018, 03:31:05 pm »
The thing I've found best for getting more room is riding at night. I used to think there was an element of "wtf is he doing out on a bike at this time?" but I've found it works as soon as it gets dark, so it's not that. I put it down partly to there being less traffic and more so to drivers perceiving there to be no oncoming traffic unless they see headlights shining round the bend, so they'll happily go right over the centre line even on a blind bend. Which is good for the cyclist being overtaken even if not for the oncoming cyclist they've assumed isn't there.

That's true enough, but not so much in urban areas where there's always another car.
No, not in urban areas, but it does work on rural roads you wouldn't want to ride on in the day. I'm probably not qualified to talk about urban areas, despite living in one, as I'm rarely out at rush hours nowadays.
A cup of tea is the perfect bridge between real life and cake.

Re: Why I'm getting a lollipop for my road bike
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2018, 03:31:29 pm »
I was given a wide berth last week when I had a french stick in my saddle bag. I found out why when it subsequently fell out into the road. Under the 5 second rule I still ate the bread ...

It does sound Riggers like the driver probably didn't even see you in the first place- in which case a lollipop/umbrella/fork/flowers/loaf probably would have not made any difference  >:(

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Why I'm getting a lollipop for my road bike
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2018, 03:39:54 pm »
It does sound Riggers like the driver probably didn't even see you in the first place- in which case a lollipop/umbrella/fork/flowers/loaf probably would have not made any difference  >:(

Indeed.

An interesting bike/load/whatever might draw their attention and help them to see you (at a cognitive level) where they might otherwise be looking for cars and not process the presence of a cyclist, or clock you as a cyclist and make incorrect assumptions about your speed or direction of travel.  But that does depend on their eyes pointing in the right direction in the first place, rather than at their phone or fixated on the car in front or whatever...

You can't mitigate the really incompetent or really malicious ones, just be thankful that they're rare.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

zigzag

  • unfuckwithable
Re: Why I'm getting a lollipop for my road bike
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2018, 05:37:32 pm »
my usual technique on the narrow lanes or pinch points is to look back over my right shoulder (when i hear the car coming), wobble towards the middle of the road and back and start pedalling out of saddle rocking the bike side to side pretending i'm pushing very hard. this is very effective, as it gives a message to the driver that i can be unpredictable, but am also trying hard not to hold them up - they usually wait when it's safe to pass (with an odd exception). i also wave them to overtake if they are too hesitant and the road is clear ahead.

Pingu

  • Put away those fiery biscuits!
  • Mrs Pingu's domestique
    • the Igloo
Re: Why I'm getting a lollipop for my road bike
« Reply #15 on: September 11, 2018, 06:05:28 pm »
Coincidentally, this popped up in my FB feed.

Mrs Pingu

  • Who ate all the pies? Me
    • Twitter
Re: Why I'm getting a lollipop for my road bike
« Reply #16 on: September 11, 2018, 06:12:16 pm »
Coincidentally, this popped up in my FB feed.

Brilliant
Do not clench. It only makes it worse.

Clare

  • Is home
Re: Why I'm getting a lollipop for my road bike
« Reply #17 on: September 11, 2018, 06:22:17 pm »
The most space I ever got was with a helium filled balloon attached to my rear rack. It bobbed around as I cycled and every driver kept out of its way.

Re: Why I'm getting a lollipop for my road bike
« Reply #18 on: September 11, 2018, 06:26:45 pm »
School hill is moderately crap because it has just the wrong mix of pulling over for the shops, not wide enough to pass safely but a hill and drivers who absolutely have to pass a cyclist on a hill, despite the fact you’ll catch them at the next lights because it’s 20mph and busy.
I tend to either go one of the other ways out of Lewes or sit well out in the lane.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Why I'm getting a lollipop for my road bike
« Reply #19 on: September 11, 2018, 06:59:38 pm »
The most space I ever got was with a helium filled balloon attached to my rear rack. It bobbed around as I cycled and every driver kept out of its way.

I once found myself (in a car) behind a cyclist who had a helmet loosely attached to their backpack with some sort of bungee cord.  It was bouncing about all over the place, to similar effect.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Why I'm getting a lollipop for my road bike
« Reply #20 on: September 11, 2018, 07:04:21 pm »
Coincidentally, this popped up in my FB feed.
That's almost garden fork shaped.
You know, the fluorescent garden fork kind.
Isn't it?

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Why I'm getting a lollipop for my road bike
« Reply #21 on: September 11, 2018, 07:54:12 pm »
I once rolled down Anerley Hill from a physio session at Crystal Palace NSC with an metre-plus of polystyrene roller attach to the back of my bike.

At the lights by Anerley station a car still managed to hit it (just a nudge) trying (and failing) to park next to me. Cue driver studiously ignoring me. Honestly, there's no helping some of them.
!nataS pihsroW

Re: Why I'm getting a lollipop for my road bike
« Reply #22 on: September 11, 2018, 09:09:49 pm »
The most space I ever got was with a helium filled balloon attached to my rear rack. It bobbed around as I cycled and every driver kept out of its way.

We got an amazing amount of room, as well as waves and cheers, riding around with a loaded tandem with a "Just Married" balloon. Even in Slough at 10pm. It was very funny!
Quote from: Kim
^ This woman knows what she's talking about.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Why I'm getting a lollipop for my road bike
« Reply #23 on: September 11, 2018, 09:13:29 pm »
The most space I ever got was with a helium filled balloon attached to my rear rack. It bobbed around as I cycled and every driver kept out of its way.

We got an amazing amount of room, as well as waves and cheers, riding around with a loaded tandem with a "Just Married" balloon. Even in Slough at 10pm. It was very funny!

Imagine having to get married every time you want to ride through Slough, though...
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Why I'm getting a lollipop for my road bike
« Reply #24 on: September 11, 2018, 09:19:52 pm »
The most space I ever got was with a helium filled balloon attached to my rear rack. It bobbed around as I cycled and every driver kept out of its way.

We got an amazing amount of room, as well as waves and cheers, riding around with a loaded tandem with a "Just Married" balloon. Even in Slough at 10pm. It was very funny!

Imagine having to get married every time you want to ride through Slough, though...

It might be worth it.
Quote from: Kim
^ This woman knows what she's talking about.