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Loaded horse trailer + narrow 2 lane road + bicylist = AAAARRRRRRRGGGG!!

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  • #21
    Welllll..... I hate how obnoxious this sounds, but I think the simplest solution might be to avoid going as fast as 45mph on a narrow hilly road with poor sight lines while towing a loaded horse trailer. You have to be in a position to respond safely to the unexpected, and 45 mph doesn't give you enough time if you can't see what's over the next hill or around the next curve. JMHO.


    • #22
      Originally posted by caballero View Post
      I don't have the time to disprove or prove what you say. However the funding works out does not change the fact that some vehicles are simply incompatible with motor traffic. Just because I pay taxes does not mean I should be allowed to drive a horse-drawn cart down I-75.
      The only reason you can't drive a horse drawn carriage down an designated (I) interstate is because Federal law prohibits it. Federal law also prohibits pedestrians, self propelled vehicles, farm equipment, dune buggies, 4-wheelers, and animals from being on the Interstates as well. It has nothing to do with taxes.

      Bicycles are considered vehicles, and thus are expected to obey the rules of the road. Whether a rider does, or not, is about the same percentage as motorists who blow through stop signs, lights, ignore signs, drive recklessly, etc.

      Bikes, scooters, motocycles, roller skates, skate boards, and pedestrians AND equestrians etc ALL have the right to use our national road system. It doesn't belong to the cars/trucks, or who is the biggest or can go the fastest. I rode my endurance horse down Rt 50 in Upperville one day - cantered down that highway at just a bit under the speed limit (25 mph) - totally freaked out the traffic behind me. I think they were scared to death to get too close so they were backed WAY off. Or maybe they were just fascinated. Not one person beeped or got annoyed. There is only one road through this town, no back roads, no shoulders, so I had to use it to get where I wanted to go. I pulled off the road several times, and smiled as I waved thank you to the drivers behind me as they passed. They all waved back, eyes wide, many smiling in wonder. My guy took it all in stride, even with the tractor trailer that ended up behind me. He just cantered along on the pavement in his lane, cool as a cucumber, at 18-21 mph.

      I could ride on the road because there are no laws prohibiting me from being there, and I ensured I was close, but not exceeding, the posted speed limit. The fact that I was on an animal should make no difference. Now, would I take my pair and carriage on that road? Doubt it. My ponies just don't travel fast enough (they trot at about 8 mph) and it wouldn't be fair to the traffic behind me.

      Would I ride my road bike on that road to get from point A to B? You bet. I can go the speed of the traffic (25 mph) and have every right, as a recognized lawful vehicle, to use any road in the US that is not specifically banned, without harrassment. It doesn't matter how fast YOUR car can go or how "incompatable" you think your car is with other people/vehicles - the law says the roads are shared. They aren't owned by the cars/trucks.

      Originally posted by caballero View Post
      So does that mean that I can buy a second car and just go drive it without a license plate and insurance? That's exactly what people who have a car and a bicycle do.

      Logic fail.
      Of course you can buy a second car and drive it without a license plate or insurance. You can drive it all over your private property without a care in the world. Take it out on the public road, however, and you'll risking the ire of the local police...or deputies...or are here to uphold the law and ensure those gas hogs are regulated for the safety of all of us out there on the roads as well.

      At one time all horses and carriages were taxed. That fell by the wayside when cars overtook carriage traffic, and the local governments went after that greater population to fund the government coffers. If the time ever comes that bikes outnumber cars, I wouldn't be surprised if they got regulated as well. But since they are viewed more as a recreational conveyance - similar to how the horse, and now the carriage, is viewed - they will remain under the tax radar.

      SharonA - love your philosophy. More people should adopt it.
      Last edited by gothedistance; Feb. 4, 2013, 09:48 PM.


      • Original Poster

        Yes you are correct it WAS my fault as I acknowledged in the initial post. I am not anti-biker by any means: my husband was an Iron Man triathlete and used to log hundreds of miles a week on his bike. However, this was in Dallas where the roads are wide and accommodating to all vehicles. He no longer rides here in NC simply because the roads are just not all that safe--2 friends of ours were hit and thankfully survived. I will admit getting my horses home and fed in the late afternoon was foremost on my mind so I was ill-prepared to execute an evasive action as I should have been. Point taken.
        I simply postulate that just because you CAN legally ride a bike on a busy 2 lane state highway late one winter afternoon, it is perhaps a choice with possibly dire consequences


        • #24
          I am both a rider and a cyclist. I haul horses several times a week, and cyclists are a huge problem on several of the twisty, 2 lane, high speed limit (35-50 mph) roads that I routinely haul on. As someone who cycles, hacks horses, and also jogs on roads, I am very understanding of cyclists. HOWEVER, when I am on the road on a horse, bicycle, or on foot, I am very careful to get out of the way of car traffic, and stay off roads such as the ones described above entirely unless there is a generous shoulder.

          My problem with the cyclists in my area is that often, when there is a shoulder, the cyclist WILL NOT move off the lane and onto the shoulder, even when my HORSE TRAILER is bearing down on him/her and I clearly have no safe way to go around. So as a result, I'm stuck going 15 mph (or less as I wait for the cyclist to climb a steep hill) for extended periods of time. I find it very discourteous and also unsafe.


          • #25
            Originally posted by MediaMD View Post
            My heart palpitations have ceased now, but had a nearly catastrophic event on a narrow country road this weekend: this 2 lane, hilly road is the only route between my farm and the trainer's barn that doesn't require trailering through busy city streets with a million stop lights. It is also apparently popular with cyclists.

            To forestall any provoked outrage from our cycling community here on COTH, yes, I understand you pay taxes and have "every right" to be on the road taking up a lane just like a car. However, physics have a way of messing up everyone's day.

            I'm hauling my 2 horse GN with both horses at the posted 45 mph speed limit and top a hill to find myself bearing down on a cyclist (no reflective gear or helmet--more of a recreational rider) and closing the gap in horrifyingly rapid fashion. I jam on the brakes and hear my horses whamming into their chest bars, and immediately try to go around him, only to be faced with oncoming traffic. I ended up in the middle of the road with about 4 ft of clearance between my rig and the cyclist and forcing the oncoming car to move on to the shoulder and we all squeezed past each other. It was absolutely terrifying.

            While I was technically at fault for the situation, I'm not sure how I could have handled things any differently. Any one else have this happen?
            Glad it turned out well, and glad your heart rate is now down to normal. Guess the only way you could handle things differently is to remember that you were already aware that non-motorized people also use this rural byway - probably for the same reason you do (avoid the city streets and endless stop lights) - and next time remind yourself to drive well under the speed limit. 35 will get you where you want to go only a minute or so later than 45, and with less gray hairs.

            Sometimes it helps to envision you yourself being the one traveling on the side of the road (on your horse) and having to deal with motor traffic that wants to go the speed limit. Drive how you wish the oncoming traffic would drive to keep you safe.

            As an avid cyclist, I'm well aware of what roads I consider "unsafe" for anyone on foot or in the saddle (bike or horse) and I avoid them. I prefer to enjoy the MUP, and 25 mph roads. I don't have a death wish to match my gorgeous sleek expensive road bike against the cadre of car driving moronic idiots out there on the 45 to 55 mph roads, with them pressing down on the gas pedal as if the road is their own personal Daytona 500.
            Last edited by gothedistance; Feb. 4, 2013, 10:18 PM.


            • #26
              Originally posted by technopony View Post
              My problem with the cyclists in my area is that often, when there is a shoulder, the cyclist WILL NOT move off the lane and onto the shoulder, even when my HORSE TRAILER is bearing down on him/her and I clearly have no safe way to go around. So as a result, I'm stuck going 15 mph (or less as I wait for the cyclist to climb a steep hill) for extended periods of time. I find it very discourteous and also unsafe.
              My absolute worse peeve is cyclyst whom I KNOW routinely ride our roads around here, who are chatting side by side in the middle of the road around a blind curve. Pulling a trailer and going below the speed limit, or driving a regular vehicle and going the speed limit or even a bit below, that's just asking to get hit, and I don't want to be the one to do it. I've lost count of the time I've slammed on the brakes to avoid some of those and I wasn't even doing the speed limit.

              Like everything else, it's the rotten apples that tend to spoil things for everyone. I used to bike on these roads up here, rode my bike in high school and college on the other side of town, and I get road riding, I get how obnoxious people in cars can be. I have to remind Mr JB that the cyclists have the right to use our roads, but I cuss right along with him at the ones who are being dweebs about it.
              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


              • #27
                Originally posted by JB View Post
                Horses shouldn't be ON the roads in the first place, though I honestly don't know the legality
                Haha, you know that narrow two lane road was originally made by and for horses, right? Your black SUV with tinted windows came along a little later and decided that anything that makes it drop below 60 while rushing to an emergency hair appointment is an inconvenience.


                • #28
                  I thought I would also address slow moving horse trailers. My trainer has a sign on the back of hers to the effect that "I am driving slowly for the safety of my horses as soon as I can I will pull over so that you can pass. Thank you for your patience."

                  That kind of attitude is important, and importantly, that's the law - slower moving vehicles MUST pull over for regular traffic, and should as soon as they can. I have often rumbled along behind a tractor barrelling down the road at 15 miles per hour who had many opportunities to pull over so I could pass and couldn't, and he should have, according to law.
                  My warmbloods have actually drunk mulled wine in the past. Not today though. A drunk warmblood is a surly warmblood. - WildandWickedWarmbloods


                  • #29
                    My husband was hit by a car while riding his bike two weeks ago. We are so incredibly fortunate that he is still with us and relatively uninjured. A woman passed them on the wrong side of a double yellow line and side swiped him. Safety goes both ways.
                    McDowell Racing Stables

                    Home Away From Home


                    • #30
                      I'm going to be in the unpopular crowd but I find that cyclists are generally really inconsiderate. They hog the road and simply will not pull over to let vehicles pass. When I'm hauling a trailer, its impossible to drive around them on some roads. Some riders struggle on the road and do that wobbling thing when they're going slow - how are you supposed to drive around that? And when theh ride three abreast and dont move over but maintajn their 5mph speed, or ride on the wrong side of the road -- and we are supposed to jacknife our trailers to miss hitting them when theyre riding like a moron? I'm not a fan of road bikers. At all. Ride in the road, fine, but don't be a jerk about it.


                      • #31
                        Our town passed a law a couple of years ago that limits groups of bicyclists to less than 10, or else they must apply for a special event permit. Bicyclists by state law cannot ride more than 2 abreast. The new bicycle law has helped but even so, I cringe many times when I encounter bicyclists while driving my horse trailer in our town. Our roads have no shoulders, are two lane, narrow and winding.

                        Last weekend I encountered two cyclists who were stopped and shooting the breeze in the right hand turn lane at a four way stop sign. The other lane was designated for traffic going straight only. I was driving my horse trailer and had to turn right. When I leaned out my window and nicely told the cyclists that they were blocking the turn lane and perhaps they didn't realize that horse trailers had a wide turning radius they were extremely rude and moved their bikes a couple of feet while STILL blocking the turn lane. They finally moved out of the efffing right of way after I not so nicely requested them AGAIN to do so.
                        I must admit that I was tempted to turn the damn trailer and let them figure out that standing in the turn lane isn't a very bright idea when a horse trailer is trying to get by.

                        I am sick and tired of their "we own the road" attitude.


                        • #32
                          Same problem here with groups of cyclists out for a social ride in groups on 2 lane narrow roads. I really loved the group who rode 3 or 4 abreast, and kept waving at me to just go around them. Let me think . . . 2 big horses in the trailer, winding road? Don't think so. They got REALLY mad that I wouldn't go around.

                          I am happy to share the road, to sit back and wait, but it would be very nice if the cyclists would recognize that we simply cannot zip around them, going into the other lane and back again quickly. They must know that.


                          • #33
                            I completely understand, OP. Out here we have super windy, hilly roads that are popular with cyclists. One in particular isn't safe for two vehicles to pass each other going opposite ways, let alone try to navigate around a cyclist. No bike lane, and NO visibility. If you have a trailer, you are forced to cross the center line thanks to having literally NO shoulder. I have come across cyclists on that road every time I'm on it (and I hate driving it even in our little Mazda) and wonder how insane they must be. There are plenty of hilly roads for a great workout that aren't so dangerous for both parties.

                            What bothers me, like most of the other posters, is when they ride in groups and don't move over *IF* they can. Several years ago when I was still living at home, in a horse-friendly town outside of the nearest city, there was a cycling event. There was a big trail head in the area that was frequented by riders every weekend. A horse trailer was passing the group who was riding 3-4 abreast, when one cyclist bumped another and a woman fell directly into the trailer's path. She did not survive, and it was a horrible, horrible accident that could have been prevented.

                            I have to hack out on roads as well, thankfully most of them are back roads, but still. The key to running/cycling/riding on roads is awareness for everyone and everything, and it *should* be common sense that if the size of the road is barely big enough for two vehicles, perhaps it is not the best road to risk your life on. Cycle vs. vehicle never ends well.
                            runnjump86 Instagram

                            Horse Junkies United guest blogger


                            • #34
                              You are meant (at least here) to drive at a speed at which you can safely stop in half the clear road ahead of you. If you come across an obstacle (that is moving in the same direction as you, nonetheless), and have to brake hard to avoid hitting it, my thought is that you were travelling too fast

                              Doesn't matter what the speed limit is. Drive defensively.

                              [As you have already acknowledged, etc. Was just surprised that some replies seem to indicate a presumed "right" to whizz around blind corners as if the road will always be 100% clear!]


                              • #35
                                Originally posted by Laurierace View Post
                                My husband was hit by a car while riding his bike two weeks ago. We are so incredibly fortunate that he is still with us and relatively uninjured. A woman passed them on the wrong side of a double yellow line and side swiped him. Safety goes both ways.
                                <<Hugs>> So glad your hubby is OK.


                                • #36
                                  I'm going to be in the unpopular crowd but I find that drivers pulling horse trailers are generally really inconsiderate. They hog the road and simply will not pull over to let vehicles pass. It's impossible to drive around them on some roads. Some horse trailers drivers struggle on the road and do that wobbling thing when they're going slow - how are you supposed to drive around that? And when they straddle both lanes and don't move over but maintain their pokey speed, or blast past like Mario Andretti, or ride on the wrong side of the road -- and we are supposed to jacknife our cars or throw our bikes into a ditch to miss being creamed by them when they're driving like a moron? I'm not a fan of people driving horse trailers. At all. Most horse trailers don't fit on country roads. They are built for big roads, not narrow ones, so they take up the entire lane and 99% of the time can't even ride in their lane safely without taking up some of the oncoming lane as well. They are worse than semis because the idiots that drive them haven't a clue that they need to drive SLOWER and with much greater care. They should only drive on big roads where their trailers fit and where they don't present a danger to everyone else using the road.

                                  Sure, the law says you can drive your horse trailer on the roads, fine, but don't be a jerk about it.

                                  Wow. Just a small change in words really does provide some perspective, doesn't it? Makes me with my 20' LQ gooseneck on my twisty turny back country roads look a bit closer in the mirror, too. Thankfully, I don't have this "motorist entitlement" thing going on (as evidenced by some posters here). Unless I'm rushing to a hospital with a life threatening injury - in which case I should be in an ambulance that has right-of-way by law - I'm happy to share the road, and wait for slower vehicles to reach a point in the road where I can safely pass.
                                  Last edited by gothedistance; Feb. 5, 2013, 06:17 AM.


                                  • #37
                                    Also consider what you can find traveling on the roads here in MD/VA and any other place you have foxhunting. You will find the hunt traveling down the road. When I hunted in NOVA it was not unusual for us to be on a road. I can tell you my horse and I have stood on the road and blocked traffic because the hounds were crossing the road or because the hunt was crossing the road.

                                    The roads are not just for the people who want to drive cars and trucks. The people that complain about cyclists don't recognize the positive economic impact they have. There were multiple country stores in Loudoun county that were very nike friendly and did great business on the weekends from them.
                                    A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.


                                    • #38
                                      Originally posted by tangledweb View Post
                                      Haha, you know that narrow two lane road was originally made by and for horses, right? Your black SUV with tinted windows came along a little later and decided that anything that makes it drop below 60 while rushing to an emergency hair appointment is an inconvenience.
                                      Uhh, no, really?

                                      Horses are not the norm on the vast majority of roads today. Cars going even just the speed limit of 50-55 ARE the norm. It should terrify anyone to ride ON the road these days. It should be almost as terrifying to ride right on the white line when there is a 6" "shoulder" which leads to a 2'-3' ditch.

                                      At least on many of the roads around where we live, horses can ride on a very wide shoulder and are only subject to people banging on the sides and throwing things at them (and thankfully that is rare). Sometimes I even see them tied to the hitching post at a nearby diner
                                      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                                      • #39
                                        Swapping "horse trailer" for "cyclist" isn't reasonable. Since when do cars and trailers, which have horizontal width, "wobble" when going slowly? Since when are trailers not made to fit on country roads? They are built just like every other normal vehicle out there - they HAVE to fit on the publicly maintained roads.

                                        Pull over? Where? A 5 mile stretch of 2 lane road with maybe another 2 lane road intersecting it, and no shoulder? Where do you suggest "we" pull over? Or perhaps we can slow to a gradual stop, pull "over" 6" on the "shoulder", let the 5 cars behind us pass, then slowly ramp back up to 45mph while pissing off the next 5 cars who have now piled up behind us?
                                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                                        • #40
                                          The reason slow vehicles or any other are not permitted in expressways is because there is a speed limit, 45 m/h, that makes them illegal on those higher speed highways.

                                          We have side roads parallel to the expressway and cyclist all the time on them.
                                          Some are sensible and stay on the edge, some go in groups and even cross the middle line and they are a hazard to all, themselves and those driving.

                                          Sadly, in the past year, two cyclists were killed, both riding all over the highway in groups, one at dawn, one at dusk, when they are extremely hard to see anyway.

                                          The drivers that hit them were not driving that fast and said they could see the group, but missed the one cyclist out on the edge, in the middle of the road, the sun in their eyes.

                                          That was terrible for all, the ones dead and the ones that hit them.

                                          I think we can't be careful enough.