Jump to content

Where did "Ride Against Traffic" ever get started?


MickinMD
 Share

Recommended Posts

When I was a kid in the '50's and '60's, I remember being told I was supposed to ride my bike along the side of the road going against traffic.

Of course, that's not only wrong, it's unsafe.

But I still often see guys on bikes traveling against traffic even when it's safer to cycle on the other side of the road. I'm guessing they think they're supposed to ride against traffic.

Today, I was turning left onto a road with a bunch of cars and a couple big trucks in front of me going in the same direction as me. Along the far (right) side of the cars ahead of me, a cyclist was riding against traffic toward me, hidden from my view by the tall freight truck in front of me.  He reached the intersection and came into my view just as I was in the middle of turning left. He didn't see any car in the intersection because I was hidden by that same tall truck from his view.  I turned sharply left - lucky no cars were coming toward me on my left. I saw a look of surprise on the cyclist's face and he managed to avoid a collision with me or the car behind me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As a kid in the 60's and 70's, I was taught to ride with traffic. Agreed, it probably comes from the walk against traffic advice. It drives me nuts when I see a "wrong-sider" go by. Sometimes I'll tell them they're on the wrong side, but it does no good. A co-worker of mine says he rides against traffic, even though I've tried to school him otherwise. He likes being able to see the cars coming at him and feels safer on that side. Is it just a false sense of security? Do more people on bikes get hit from the wrong side of the street that on the right side?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As a kid, I was taught not to ride on the road.  Bicycles are for sidewalks. :)  That said, I can see someones desire to see oncoming traffic much like pedestrians.  There is a sense of well being in seeing your potential threats.  It is wrong and is not something I do but I get it. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We rode against traffic growing up in the 70s. We avoided getting plowed over by dozens of Oldsmobuicks by seeing them coming and dodging them. After having a truck mirror brush my arm while riding with the traffic a few years back, I refuse to ride on the roads anymore. I'm just not comfortable leaving my life in the hands of texting suv drivers driving up behind me.  

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I see this often..and almost creamed a kid because he was riding against the traffic....Some of it I think comes from folks who were told to ride against the traffic  raising kids ...without checking the laws that they last looked at when they got a drivers license at age 16 :whistle:  Some of it is just plain stoopid

  • Awesome 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We were taught in the early 70s to ride with traffic. Convincing us kids was easy because then we were on the road just like grownups! Granted, in our little town of 400 people, traffic wasn't heavy and the adults gave us room on the gravel streets....

I have a couple people who say they want to see the traffic coming even when I explain that motorists find this dangerous and unnerving. But to no avail. I have encountered some who met me going the wrong way. When I tell them they are on the wrong side, I'm just a grumpy old guy on a bike to them.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I grew up in the country.  Mostly gravel roads.  We pretty much rode where we wanted.  Seeing a car, ever, was unusual.  I can't remember ever having conversations regarding what side to ride on.  As we got older we ventured on the paved roads and into a few small towns.  I can tell you my memories of riding always include riding with traffic.  When WoKzoo decided to ride a bit several years ago it was a process to convince her that riding against traffic was a bad idea.

And as for encountering others on the road riding on the wrong side - I will not get over for them.  I go as far right as I'm comfortable and let them move into the traffic if necessary.  Add a friendly hello and away I go but I'm not moving left for them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting to hear the different perspectives.  We were always taught to ride with traffic.  I remember as a kid in the 70's having "Bike Rodeos" at school were there was fun events and local motor cops taught traffic safety.

As  a runner many of us ran against traffic to see oncoming cars.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Riding against traffic because you can see it is stupid.  Just before you see the car hit you, realize that you have effectively increased the speed of the collision by 2X the speed of the bike.  Also realize that you are many more times likely to GET hit because you will have to make manuevers contrary to safe movement of traffic, causing you to cross traffic and be unpredictable to cars.  It doesn't take too many miles of trying it both ways before realizing with traffic is SO much easier.

Round these parts, the penalty for riding a bike on the wrong side of the road is up to 4 days in the hoosegow.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 minutes ago, 12string said:

Riding against traffic because you can see it is stupid.  Just before you see the car hit you, realize that you have effectively increased the speed of the collision by 2X the speed of the bike.  Also realize that you are many more times likely to GET hit because you will have to make manuevers contrary to safe movement of traffic, causing you to cross traffic and be unpredictable to cars.  It doesn't take too many miles of trying it both ways before realizing with traffic is SO much easier.

Round these parts, the penalty for riding a bike on the wrong side of the road is up to 4 days in the hoosegow.

Three hots and a cot. I'm in.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, 12string said:

Riding against traffic because you can see it is stupid.  Just before you see the car hit you, realize that you have effectively increased the speed of the collision by 2X the speed of the bike.  Also realize that you are many more times likely to GET hit because you will have to make manuevers contrary to safe movement of traffic, causing you to cross traffic and be unpredictable to cars.  It doesn't take too many miles of trying it both ways before realizing with traffic is SO much easier.

Round these parts, the penalty for riding a bike on the wrong side of the road is up to 4 days in the hoosegow.

Unfortunately, around here it's too often death.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 years later...
1 hour ago, Thaddeus Kosciuszko said:

Your efforts to churn out 50,000 posts and to culminate that effort by posting especially meaningless drivel in a years-old dredge thread exemplifies the highest standards of this Forum!

No one could have done it better!  I bow to you...

Agreed.  Your meaningless drivel knows no bounds. 

  • Like 2
  • Awesome 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 7 months later...
On 8/6/2021 at 9:06 AM, Kzoo said:

Agreed.  Your meaningless drivel knows no bounds. 

Excellent!  And here I am back again because I used the word hoosegow elsewhere and I came here to search for it and ask aboot its etymology. I will now take care of that in a new thread.  Ahhh, life is good. :D

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 10/11/2017 at 7:13 AM, Wilbur said:

As a kid, I was taught not to ride on the road.  Bicycles are for sidewalks. :)  That said, I can see someones desire to see oncoming traffic much like pedestrians.  There is a sense of well being in seeing your potential threats.  It is wrong and is not something I do but I get it. 

One of my first experiences in my new town as a 7th grader was to be chastised by a cop for riding on the sidewalk.  One of those memories that will always be with me.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 10/11/2017 at 12:35 PM, donkpow said:

I saw a guy riding on the wrong side of the road in a bike lane. He looked like he was hung over and was not wearing a helmet. I said in muted tones as I passed, "Wrong way, dude."

You should have very politely told him: “Hey asshole, get on your own side of the road you big dummy”.

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 10/11/2017 at 3:58 AM, shotgun said:

As a kid in the 60's and 70's, I was taught to ride with traffic. Agreed, it probably comes from the walk against traffic advice. It drives me nuts when I see a "wrong-sider" go by. Sometimes I'll tell them they're on the wrong side, but it does no good. A co-worker of mine says he rides against traffic, even though I've tried to school him otherwise. He likes being able to see the cars coming at him and feels safer on that side. Is it just a false sense of security? Do more people on bikes get hit from the wrong side of the street that on the right side?

In the early 1970’s We used to have bike rodeo’s at my elementary school were traffic cops would give safety lessons & set up a fun course with cones on the playground.  It was a big thing that we all looked forward too.  We were always taught to ride with traffic by the traffic cops doing the rodeo.

However there are a few places where I avoid riding on the road and do sometimes ride a short distance on the sidewalk against traffic.  I go slowly & am ever watch full as I know drivers are looking left, not right and are likely not to see me coming.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 10/11/2017 at 8:10 AM, donkpow said:

I have the most awesome flashing daylight taillight ever invented. You would not believe the consideration I receive from motorists.

When I ride at night I have enough flashing lights that cars pull over thinking that I am an emergency vehicle. No joke.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

33 minutes ago, JerrySTL said:

When I ride at night I have enough flashing lights that cars pull over thinking that I am an emergency vehicle. No joke.

I’ve had the same thing happen when I would ride home from work at midnight. The deer not so much.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, JerrySTL said:

When I ride at night I have enough flashing lights that cars pull over thinking that I am an emergency vehicle. No joke.

I used to ride in a vest with two vertical rows of flashing red Led lights. Cars would move completely out of the lane to pass.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...