The Dance on Video

For tonight’s Daily City Panel Series, Cyclists and Pedestrians in Orlando, I prepared this video to illustrate a post I wrote in 2008— Smart Moves: You Lead the Dance.

Mighk gave an excellent presentation on the history of the roadway and how our beliefs about it were changed in the motor age. He challenged the audience to offer ideas for how we can change them back to create a more humane transportation system. Here is a PDF of Mighk’s presentation.

Angie shared stories and insights about what it means to use bikes as a family, and how bike transportation has changed her perspective of the most mundane errands… namely that they are so much easier and more enjoyable now than they were by car!

The audience was engaged and full of terrific questions, observations and insights. It was a very enjoyable evening! Thanks so much to Mark Baratelli and the Daily City for arranging these community discussions and inviting us!

34 replies
  1. rodney
    rodney says:

    What a wonderful thing….Leading the Dance! My travels have been much more enjoyable ever since learning to lead.

    One day, I will be able to help guide others to lead their own dance(s). Thank you Keri for compiling such a wonderful exhibition of skill and confidence.

  2. danc
    danc says:

    Wonderful! Thank you Keri and the rest of the Dance company: Lisa, Rodney, Angie and Bianca.

    I also need to also thank the hundreds of other road users who accepted your invitation.

  3. Kevin Love
    Kevin Love says:

    Lovely video. Thank you so much for making and using it.

    One comment on riding style. When signaling a left turn, one should maintain lane position until actually beginning the turn. Moving to the left side of the lane before beginning the turn invites car drivers to try to squeeze by and pass far too closely on the right.

  4. Steve A
    Steve A says:

    Cycling should be highly illegal in places where cyclists wear shorts and sunglasses in February, and where there are palm trees waving in the background. As a matter of fact, such places should be used to store nuclear waste and toxic chemicals. Signed, “Mr Grumpy”

  5. James
    James says:

    Very nice video Keri, but so disappointing. Unless I’m blind, I didn’t see a single rider wearing a third eye on their helmet. A helmet may save you in an accident, but the mirror on it can prevent the accident. The ability to see what is going on behind you without taking your eyes off the road is the most important safety feature. At least it is for me. I wouldn’t drive a car without a rear view-mirror, why would I get on a bike without one on the helmet?
    You talk about safety, but you seem to miss the point.

    • Mighk
      Mighk says:

      I’ve been using helmet- or sunglass-mounted mirrors since about 1978, so I certainly appreciate their value. But their value is much more for convenience than safety for the competent and assertive roadway cyclist. I’ve ridden without them too, and like others have said, you just look over your shoulder.

      The mirror is much more important if one rides along the edge; if you’re about to get squeezed you need some warning so you can either run off the road or otherwise prepare for it. If you control the lane you don’t worry about getting squeezed.

      That said, I wonder why some bicyclists disdain mirrors. Would one drive a motorcycle without one?

      • Keri
        Keri says:

        Sometimes I wonder if it’s just an equal and opposite reaction to the shrill absolutism of people who insist you have to have a mirror.

        I don’t get why people get so worked up (on either side) about what is a personal choice of equipment.

        I find a mirror helps me set up a merge on a busy road (You can see Angie doing this in the video on 436, then she makes an excellent shoulder-check before moving left). I probably ride without a mirror more often than with, I’m comfortable either way. I was not using a mirror at 0:38 when I stopped the Honda from passing me. The lack of a mirror didn’t hinder my situational awareness.

    • rodney
      rodney says:

      Hey, what about my bar end mirror? There is a good 15 seconds of it in the video, and I can be observed adjusting it to aid my lane change. FWIW, the video does cut off my “look back” as I negotiated my lane change once out of the shopping center.

  6. David
    David says:

    Bicycles allways come with a buit-in rear view mirror: it’s called “turn your head back”.

    Very nice video, by the way.

  7. Robin Frisella
    Robin Frisella says:

    My experience with rear view mirrors on the bike is that they show so little of what’s really happening behind you. Nothing beats the look behind, which I learned to master so well in the Road 1 class (thanks Keri and Lisa).

    Great video.

  8. Kelly Dowman
    Kelly Dowman says:

    Re the mirror: I don’t use one, I turn my head. The question was posed, would you ride a motorcycle without one? My answer is no, but I do ride a bike without one. The difference? No motor to drown out the sound of oncoming traffic! On my bike, I can hear quite clearly and easily when a car is approaching from the rear. Seeing them in a rear-view mirror is redundant. Inside of a car, or on a motorcycle, you are denied the use of your sense of hearing to locate traffic, thus the need of a mirror.

  9. danc
    danc says:

    @Mighk’s thanks for sharing the presentation. excellent and thought provoking. I tried reading “Fighting Traffic” but it was a struggle and the Nancy Pearl rule (if 50 pages if doesn’t catch you, give up) won.

  10. R A N T W I C K
    R A N T W I C K says:

    1 – I’ve been awful busy lately, sorry I’m late to the party praising this video. I think it is very very good; the kind of thing I want to show to my non-cycling or “cycling is dangerous” friends.

    2 – I used to love and rely heavily on my mirror, and Mighk is correct, I rode more to the right back then. It also tempted me not to shoulder check. That shoulder check communicates so much without taking a hand off the bars… I often overdo my shoulder checks as a method of signalling cars before giving my hand signal and it works really well.

  11. Lyle
    Lyle says:

    Wow. Really well-made! @Kevin: FWIW, I’ve never had a motorist pass too closely on my right under those circumstances. I think they can judge passing distances on *their* side of their vehicle better than on the passenger side.

  12. Laura M
    Laura M says:

    I’ve never ridden with a mirror, thought it’s something I have considered buying as part of my equipment. I’d still do a shoulder check. I do a shoulder check even when I use a mirror in my car. I’ve been telling our son, who’s a new driver, to also do a shoulder check when he’s driving. There are too many blind spots not to.

    I have a question though about signaling motorists about turning. I notice that in many of your videos, a lot of people still signal a right turn with their left arm bent at a right angle. I was under the impression that technique was developed for motorists to signal a right turn since obviously they can’t use their right arm to do so. I signal with my right arm straight out when turning right. Is one preferred over the other?

    • Keri
      Keri says:

      I do a shoulder check even when I use a mirror in my car.

      Me too!

      I use the straight right arm because I think it is more intuitive to the motorists. Some don’t have any idea what the left-arm version means… they think I’m waving at them or something.

      You are correct that the signal came from the fact that a driver sits on the left side of a car. Also, a motorcyclist (without blinkers on the bike) must use the left hand to signal because the throttle is in the right hand.

      One thing I learned in the LEBA class that I had never considered. On American bikes, the front brake is in your left hand. So, if you’re signaling with your right and suddenly need to brake, you could find yourself in a pitch-over. That’s why you see the police using the left-arm version of the right turn signal.

  13. Cheryl Longinotti
    Cheryl Longinotti says:

    I’d love to show this to cycling students. Is there anyway to download the video?

    • Keri
      Keri says:

      Cheryl, if you email me keribird at spamfence dot net (or via the contact form) We can figure out how to get you an offline copy to show your students.

  14. Keri
    Keri says:

    Thanks Mark!

    And everyone, for all the kind compliments and for sharing the video. I’m pleased it has resonated so well 🙂

  15. Chris
    Chris says:

    Rear view mirrors do not make you safer or less safe. Part of the negotiation process a cyclist must go through requires that you look the driver in the eye. Signals and mirrors only help you decribe to others what you want to do. You will find that most drivers are more cooperative when you turn your head and look at them before signalling. Rear view mirrors don’t do that. Yes, I use a mirror, but I always turn my head and look back before signalling and making any lateral movement in the road.
    BTW, I will be making a request for a copy of the video. I like the fact that it shows riders in several different kinds of traffic.

    • Serge Issakov
      Serge Issakov says:

      I agree with Chris that a mirror glance is no substitute for an actual look back with a turn of the head. However, what a mirror enables you to do is efficiently monitor the situation behind you as it unfolds. This is especially useful for defusing potential road rage situations before they start.

      It’s amazing how effective looking back at someone can be to keep them from getting upset. I believe this is because what makes them most upset is not that you’re in their way, but that you seem to be oblivious to being in their way. If you make it clear that you’re not oblivious, then they won’t be upset with you for being oblivious. They might still be perplexed, but not upset. The mirror enables you to know when to look back.

  16. Jim baross
    Jim baross says:

    Dancing as lead partner is a great/useful concept. I used to refer to herding the other traffic by my positioning and actions. This is more useful.

  17. lucinda and jessica
    lucinda and jessica says:

    We think your video is useful for our website about bike safety.. We were thinking if we can use the video Please.
    Also we will mention your name and your hard work. Email me back please?

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] woman shows how to ride with confidence in traffic in this “music video” called “Bicycling in traffic is a dance YOU must lead.” Category: Uncategorized […]

  2. […] to Keri Caffrey over at Commute Orlando for making this excellent […]

  3. […] by WebMaster on 7 March 2010, 8:08 pmFrom Orlando Florida – This video is right on!Bicycling in traffic is a dance you must leadIt is a little over 5 minutes long and well worth your time.  Thank Byron for recommending it. […]

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