How fast is too fast?

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deronmoped
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How fast is too fast?

I have been getting used to riding my stock Gaint Lafree around and have found myself going too fast sometimes. Before I had a Pedelec I used to ride my bicycle on the sidewalks just to keep away from traffic. With the extra speed I now find it's too fast to be on the sidewalk. Even on the street I find myself in situations where I'm going too fast. I guess I'm still trying to maneuver like I'm on a regular unpowered bike.

What have you guys noticed?

Also, how fast do you really want to go on something that has no suspension? Here in San Diego the streets are made out of a special material that we pay extra taxes for, they are called "pot holes". I swear I spend more time watching the street for pot holes then I do on the traffic around me. Surprised I have not wasted any rims yet.

Deron.

LinkOfHyrule
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Re: How fast is too fast?

I'm gearing my next bike for ~35. But I'm a speed whore. Also, we have smooth roads :D.

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davew
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Re: How fast is too fast?

I'm happy if my rides top out at 30 mph. Colorado does a pretty good job of maintaining it's roads so potholes are not an issue. Sand is so I'd be nuts to go more than about 15mph until spring comes.

"we must be the change we wish to see in the world"

IbeRKT
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Re: How fast is too fast?

How fast is too fast? - Depends on how good your breaks are.

Anything that is too fast for you to stop quickly (without crashing or flipping over the handlebars) is too fast.

So if you feel the need for speed better upgrade your breaks first!

deronmoped
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Re: How fast is too fast?

That is a good idea, although they are good, I have not really done any testing to see if my brakes will stop me quick enough. Hopefully there will be no breaks in my future or arms or legs :)

Yeah, sand can be a killer, I remember almost crashing going around a turn with sand on it. Watch out for the lines on the road too, can be very slippery.

35 is pretty dam fast, I wonder why it feels so much faster on a bicycle then on a motorcycle.

Deron.

LinkOfHyrule
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Re: How fast is too fast?

Probably due to less suspension and it weighing far less than a motorcycle. If you're on a BMX, you might be a little closer to the road, too.

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ArcticFox
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Re: How fast is too fast?

35mph is a nice speed. Of course when that moron sped past me only to cut me off and make a right turn into his driveway at the last minute... I couldn't grab the brakes fast enough, and I don't think I could've stopped fast enough anyway. So speeding around at that speed was a lot of fun up until that point.

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deronmoped
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Re: How fast is too fast?

I had the same thing happen to me, but it was a taxi driver that decided to turn in front of me. I was on the look out for it, so I already had my hands on the brakes.

What kills me is the guy knew I was there and cut me off anyways.

Deron.

LinkOfHyrule
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Re: How fast is too fast?

Dude, I have that happen all the time on my non-motorized (yet) bike. Pisses me off every time.

Here's another one:

I'm biking home from school. I come to an intersection. It's my turn to cross the crosswalk, and the turn lane is empty. This dumb$#!+ thinks it's clever to jut out into the damn crosswalk when he can't see most of it. I hit the brakes so hard I did an endo into his car. What really pissed me off was that he had the balls to look at me like it was MY fault (why don't we have an angry smiley? I could use one right here).

Freakily enough, one of my friends told me the next day at school, "Dude, were you okay after you hit that guy?"

Hey, anybody know where I can get some big capacitors for my wire-exploding EMP bomb }:)?

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astar
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Re: How fast is too fast?

When you were cut off, were you riding on a road at a speed much slower than the speed limit? Just trying to understand what is safe and what is not and why.

ZEV 7100 Alpine
Fort Collins, CO

LinkOfHyrule
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Re: How fast is too fast?

I wasn't on a motorized bike, but I think I cruise at around 18-20mph when pedaling.

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Alias
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Re: How fast is too fast?

LinkofHyrule

Hey, anybody know where I can get some big capacitors for my wire-exploding EMP bomb

Hmmm leme know if you find any !!! }:)

spinningmagnets
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Re: How fast is too fast?

There is no such thing as having too much acceleration or top-speed capability. When a car is about to hit you (sadly, causing the driver to slam on their brakes and drop their cell-phone and frappachino, permanently staining their carpet) you will be glad for every Watt of turbo-burst you have.

How fast to actually travel at?

The speed at which you are comfortable hitting something is a good starting point...

ArcticFox
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Re: How fast is too fast?

Hey, anybody know where I can get some big capacitors for my wire-exploding EMP bomb }:)?

http://www.4hv.org/

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Alias
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Re: How fast is too fast?

Thanks for the site, checked it out interesting! ;)

PJD
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Re: How fast is too fast?

"I used to ride my bicycle on the sidewalks just to keep away from traffic."

I think bicyclists should reserve sidewalks for walking. When you ride on a sidewalk, you are relinquishing your legal right to the street.

In my town some critical mass riders once had to sustain billy clubs, pepper spray and a taxpayer-provided evening in the Allegheny County Hilton asserting that right. It is the nature of cops to be very selective in whose rights they protect, particularly if they're on overtime.

On the other hand, with rights come responsibilities, and I do get irritated at all the bicyclists who blithely run through red traffic lights and stop signs like they aren't even there.

davew
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Re: How fast is too fast?

I think bicyclists should reserve sidewalks for walking. When you ride on a sidewalk, you are relinquishing your legal right to the street.

In principle I agree with you, but in practice I'm just the opposite. To get to work I have a lousy selection of through streets all of which are 40mph+ with no bike lanes or shoulders. This is my life we are talking about here. I'm on the roads about 300 days each year. All it takes is one inattentive driver and I'm road pizza. On the other hand if I use 100 yards of sidewalk in my neighborhood and about 1/2 mile of sidewalk over by the mall I can get the rest of the 3 miles on low-speed, secondary roads with lots of room for cars and bikes.

I understand I am rationalizing an illegal behavior. I'm okay with this. I also understand that if I'm inattentive I could kill a pedestrian. Fortunately I encounter a pedestrian about once a month and I am always slow and careful. In the mean time I am doing everything I can to see that more bike paths are built around town -- with some success.

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reikiman
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Re: How fast is too fast?

Yes, by riding an unprotected vehicle (bicycle, scooter, heck even just walking) you're putting yourself in a danger. I agree there's a need to take back the streets from the car drivers but at the same time doing so means putting your body on a bicycle in the middle of the street and... ah... let's just say that I've already had two ambulance rides to an emergency room strapped to a backboard. I have vowed to not have a third such ride in this lifetime.

Something which shocks me in terms of "sidewalks for legs, street for wheels" thinking is, where do people riding mobility scooters go?

I live a block from a residential retirement home, which means I have a lot of older folk walking around the neighborhood. And some of these are in mobility scooters ... Apparently there is some screwball law which requires these people in mobility scooters to be on the street rather than on the sidewalk. Whatever the reason the people in mobility scooters are always on the street, not on the sidewalk. Gulp.

Alias
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Re: How fast is too fast?

reikiman wrote

Apparently there is some screwball law which requires these people in mobility scooters to be on the street rather than on the sidewalk.

Certain other types of slow moving motorized vehicles (such as wheelchairs, scooters and golf carts) may legally operate on public roads, adjust your speed accordingly. (Found in CA dmv)

Operation of Motorized Scooters: Bicycle Lanes
21229. (a) Whenever a class II bicycle lane has been established on a roadway, any person operating a motorized scooter upon the roadway shall ride within the bicycle lane, except that the person may move out of the lane under any of the following situations:

(1) When overtaking and passing another vehicle or pedestrian within the lane or when about to enter the lane if the overtaking and passing cannot be done safely within the lane.

(2) When preparing for a left turn, the operator shall stop and dismount as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or right edge of the roadway and complete the turn by crossing the roadway on foot, subject to the restrictions placed on pedestrians in Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 21950).

(3) When reasonably necessary to leave the bicycle lane to avoid debris or other hazardous conditions.

(4) When approaching a place where a right turn is authorized.

(b) No person operating a motorized scooter shall leave a bicycle lane until the movement can be made with reasonable safety and then only after giving an appropriate signal in the manner provided in Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 22100) in the event that any vehicle may be affected by the movement.

Added Sec. 5, Ch. 722, Stats. 1999. Effective January 1, 2000.

LinkOfHyrule
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Re: How fast is too fast?

I usually have to switch between the street and sidewalk a lot. Frankly, I'm scared as hell on the sidewalk anymore. There are so many driveways here that it's practically suicide to do anything over 20 on them. You can't see many of the cars that are pulling out until you're a dozen feet away. I almost nailed a guy pulling out of an apartment complex two days ago. I swerved and clipped his front. I felt it hit the pedals. I wasn't even going that fast.

The street is almost as bad. Lots of cars lined up along the side of the road. Sometimes they block driveways completely. Crazy-ass drivers don't help any either.

I just have to judge whether it's safer to use the sidewalk or street for a given situation.

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Alias
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Re: How fast is too fast?

LinkOfHyrule wrote

Frankly, I'm scared as hell on the sidewalk anymore. There are so many driveways here that it's practically suicide to do anything over 20 on them. You can't see many of the cars that are pulling out until you're a dozen feet away.

I'd have to say that it's pretty much the same over here in the Bay Area. A lot of folks are in a hurry
and don't take the time to pay attention to small details that are in plain view of them and that's how
a lot of accidents happen. People drive pretty darn crazy around here "crazy California drivers".
Sometimes I get so irritated especially the ones who talk on their cell phones without a headset!
California made a law for new underage drivers that say; you may not use a hand held device or with a
headset while driving. If you are an adult you are only allowed to use a headset while driving.
But do ya think people are gonna follow this especially minors? No I think not
People drive in parking lots like it's a freeway! That I don't understand, in a hurry to get last in line in the check-out lane????
Did the guy pulling out of the apartment complex even see you coming ahead of time?
Driveways are definetly insane this is why you have folks like caltrans squishing everything and every community
together oh I just love the fancy apartment homes right next to the freeways that are worth about $300,000 or more!
(being sarcastic) I just love California :sick:

PJD
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Re: How fast is too fast?

Something which shocks me in terms of "sidewalks for legs, street for wheels" thinking is, where do people riding mobility scooters go?

Well, that's a bit of a red herring. Obviously, means of mobility for people who physically cannot walk should be, and are, allowed on sidewalks.

I guess we are talking about different situations. The bicycles-on-sidewalks problems I'm referring to is in urban areas where the sidewalks are heavily used and a reasonably fit rider can easily keep up with and pass, the slow traffic, and is as safe on the street as a motorcyclist would be.

PJD
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Re: How fast is too fast?

There are so many driveways here that it's practically suicide to do anything over 20 on them.

Pedestrians face the same problems, a walker has the right of way as a car at driveway cuts, stop signs, and, or course traffic lights. In the city, everyone knows this, but in the burbs , the very idea of walking (and bicycling to a good extent) is subversive and subject to suspicion.

deronmoped
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Re: How fast is too fast?

I'm always thinking of ways of staying safe.

1) Narrow street will have me up on the sidewalk.

2) Alleys are usually free of any traffic.

3) I plan my route, even if I have to go farther, to avoid traffic.

4) Just because the cross traffic has a red light or a stop sign, does not mean they will not run it and run you over.

5) A green light means, look to see if it's clear then go, a lot of people leave out the first step.

6) Someone sitting in their car means they are about to open their door right in front of you.

7) People with kids or dogs means slow down, if they are not already in the way, you can bet they sure will be when you get there.

8 Always look twice, I'm always surprised on how some cars just seem to blend in with the background.

Deron.

cerewa
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Re: How fast is too fast?

I live a block from a residential retirement home, which means I have a lot of older folk walking around the neighborhood. And some of these are in mobility scooters ... Apparently there is some screwball law which requires these people in mobility scooters to be on the street rather than on the sidewalk. Whatever the reason the people in mobility scooters are always on the street, not on the sidewalk. Gulp.

It may not be legality that keeps them on the street but practicality. These things can't jump curbs and even an inch or two of vertical jump to get on/stay on the sidewalk (badly-made curb cuts or uneven sidewalks) may jolt the scooter enough to risk breaking it.

LinkOfHyrule
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Re: How fast is too fast?

"Did the guy pulling out of the apartment complex even see you coming ahead of time?"

I doubt it. The building comes right out into the sidewalk. You can't see anything until you're a few paces away. Even going slow is risky, due to the sheer amount of spots like that and the number of people that come and go from them. Some of driveways themselves you can't even spot until it's too late to do much.

I can't believe the way some people roll out of these things. The guy who I clipped obviously wasn't going to stop to look around. :O

It's dangerous to be pulling into the street from one, too. People line up hundreds of cars on either side, and you can't really see what's coming until you're almost out into the street.

"Sometimes I get so irritated especially the ones who talk on their cell phones without a headset!"

I've seen much worse. Makeup, messing with crap in the backseat, eating...

"3) I plan my route, even if I have to go farther, to avoid traffic."

That's what I do. The traffic is terrible here (too many people). Part of my route to work isn't even on the street. I ride along a set of train tracks for a mile or so. It's much safer than the street if you go slow. But, you'd better be a pretty good biker to do more than 20 or so down that bumpy, rocky trail. Good to get some excitement on my way to work }:).

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ruprek
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Re: How fast is too fast?

How fast is too fast? When the debris you used to avoid become the debris you just ran over. Anything over 35 mph and I start thinking about cheap, out of balance tires, axle nut torque, and hoping to not end up in a video clip on NothingToxic.com. And that's another thing, what's with the idiots that think its cute to honk as they speed by? And if you get a glimpse of them they're having the best chuckle fest ever. That is until you put that speed to use and catch up to them and they all get this stupid quizzical look like - did that scare you?. One last tidbit. I use a small magnetic flasher when I ride at night. I'm sure it's probably illegal cause its a little star that flashed red, white and blue. There cheap to buy and they're maybe between 1/2 -3/4 of and inch across. I just let it stick to the frame below my light. This little gizmo is a witch. I have not had anybody even come close to pulling out since I've been using it. Before, people you think and hope see you might pull out a little more before stopping or even do a slow pullout until you pass. Not anymore. It's amazing how motorists are tuned into anything with red and blue flashing lights. I don't look like a cop, but everyone's reaction is to stop and assess. I haven't had anyone pull off the highway and I don't think I am causing more problems for motorists by having it. It takes a lot of the guesswork on what they are going to do. They stay put until I'm past them. It's amazing! I'm going to try it with different colors so I don't have the police impounding my impostor electric policesicle.

Ian
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Re: How fast is too fast?

Yes its weird how some drivers honk at a cyclist or others have the window down and shout something as they go by. I found it unsettling the first couple times. Now I figure its nothing personal, probably party-goers or got their own emotional problems, but I do have a finger at the ready to keep my sense of dignity intact.

My view on e-bike speed is shall we say "matured" by the roadside memorium to a local cycle enthusiast I pass a lot, who got killed last year. His family put a bike frame by the side of the road with flowers where he was killed. the road itself is a 55mph but has a wide seperate pull in lane that cyclists regularly use so reasonably safe most of the time, and rare to see any kind of accident on it. It was the biker's fault 100%, not the driver. she was in total trauma, just making her way. he crossed the road aiming on a left turn, without looking hard enough, and Bam. He was in his forties, had been cycling for many years (not e-bike)

Anyways, this kind of thing just makes me very conservative on the e-bike, avoid cars as much as possible and roads without clear lines of passage for bikes, and choose pavement wherever possible with great courtesy to walking folks and any police person who happen to be in my way, writing a ticket up for some poor unsuspecting driver. (!) It is more a psychological thing for most bikers I would think, as conditions are rarely ideal and some choices you have to make are always gonna be the lesser of two not so good ones, so I try to make sure I am never on the bike with a time deadline, emotional futz, bad weather, or sense of rush that might just lead to a poor decision or lack of foresight.

For bikes and especially e-bikes I believe 20mph top speed is ample most of the time. 15mph is a nice clip too, especially on uphill grade. 7 to 15mph in urban or pavement, chill out and keep safe, remember you are still on a bike and an e-bike is just a bike with assist, nothing more. on a clear open road with no traffic and a smooth bike lane, on a route I know, I might touch 25mph temporarily. but even then, you could come across something on the pavement, like a piece of old tire or fragments of glass etc.

So for the people who are into e-bike speed and acceleration through upping the power of their motors and batteries, I can understand it, there will always be the speedsters in any category of personal travel. However, if I were considering legislation on public safety or a codebook for the DMV around the year 2030, an e-bike would be from 5mph to 20mph; e-scooter for 20 to 35mph top speeds bracket, an e-motorbike for up to 50mph; an e-car for up to to 75mph, personal e-copter with gravitation assist from 75mph to 125mph; and a gravlev underground train system in vacuum tunnel powered by di-lithium for 125mph to 2000mph!!

cerewa
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Re: How fast is too fast?

"Too fast" is anything that is way outside of the speed range you're accustomed to. I just changed the gearing on my bike and it means I have to be more careful to brake in order to slow down when I get in tight spots. Without the motor (or with the motor geared low) I was able to ride my bike more like I usually do, slowly passing cars that are stuck in traffic, etc. With the extra speed I have now (top speed around 30mph) I've gotta make sure to SLOW DOWN to the speeds I would go before I added the motor, in order to pass.

jdh2550_1
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Re: How fast is too fast?

Can we define "too slow" instead?

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LinkOfHyrule
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Re: How fast is too fast?

"Can we define "too slow" instead?"

Too slow (adj): any speed that isn't a thrill or downright terror

See also: snail, snowbird, less than 72V

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