For National Bike Month in the United States, which begins today, I ran out and bought a new GoPro Hero2 camera to record my bike rides.
The video shows what usually happens on my typical evening commute, which is…. not much. I ride my bike. There are no near hits, no road rage, no blood in the streets.
I don’t run stop signs or red lights or cut off any pedestrians, either.
You can see a touch of risky behavior towards the end when I filter to the right of stopped traffic in downtown San Jose, but even in this case nothing happens, and I’m moving slowly enough to respond in case something does happen.
The point is, I can control the level of risk on my bike. If I queue up behind traffic in downtown, I can eliminate the chance of hooks and doorings almost completely. I can completely avoid all traffic along SJC Airport by riding on the Guadalupe River Trail instead.
Ray LaHood on Why I Ride.
I was on last weekend’s episode of the Spokesmen Cycling Roundtable podcast, where we talked about that Berkeley hit and run, rumble strips, and London Minicabs.
Bike Hugger says Bike To Work.
Urban Velo on bike commute videos from New Zealand.
And a cute bike to work promotion from Hungary.
In the first half of the video (0:18 – 0:48), you are generally riding along the side of the lane, even though there are multiple lanes and little traffic. Now I know we all have our styles of riding and reasoning behind it, but in my experience, that type of riding is when drivers try to squeeze by, “sharing” the lane. Most of my close calls happened when I used to ride that way. Now I legally take the lane on multilane roads like that, as I’m never impeding traffic because they can easily pass. It’s a very rare occasion that drivers try to squeeze by closely. I don’t get honked at any more frequently than when I used to ride along the side (though in either case, honking/yelling was still very infrequent here). Give it a try and you might be surprised how much more pleasant riding can be in traffic when you aren’t focused as much on how closely the cars are passing you. Short story, don’t ride as if you are inviting them to cut you off – take the lane.
I know it looks like I’m riding on the fog line, but believe it or not I’m a good 3 to 4 feet out into the lane. The 170 degree wide angle view skews the perspective significantly.
Ah, good point. I remember someone said once my seat was too low from a GoPro video and I realized my knee was in the most skewed part of the video and it looked terrible even though I knew my seat was in the right spot…
I thought the new GoPros were better at eliminating that curve. I know they have a few different angle options, so maybe I was misled by their marketing videos.
• No doubt you edited out the parts where you ran every STOP sign at 40mph, but if this was SFGate you’d have a few hundred comments about that anyhow.
I have pulled my folding bicycle out of the closet where I’ve been keeping it all winter and will be attempting the bike commute for the first time this year, got to try for bike month, right? I hope my commute is an uneventful as your video – might convince me to start doing it every day.
Funny I was thinking the same thing at first… then I looked again and you were in the right tire track. So you found the confident cycling/traffic skills 101 class to be useful?
Yeah, no doubt.
There’s an old video of me cycling up El Camino Real on Youtube. There’s no evidence of me running stop signs and lights, and yet I delete hater comments directed to me about that very topic all of the time.
I guess . Probably more a case of monkey-see, monkey do for me.
Good luck, Jess.