Patriotic jersey & drivers

In a fairly recent podcast I believe it was @ambermalika and @IvyAudrain who said that they never got buzzed by cars while wearing a jersey with the stars & stripes on it and in fact were given more room than normal when cars were passing. Well I found an old Primal jersey in my drawer that had a stars and stripes design on it so I decided to put it to the test.

All I can say is my experience (n=1) backs up with what was said on the podcast. Cars gave me a very wide berth, more than usual, and cars that were forced to wait behind me to pass on 2 lane roads, passed with plenty of room and without needing to rev out their little 4 banger. Not once did I have anything that was say less than 6 feet and cars were stopping at intersections to let me pass when they easily had plenty of time to pull out in front of me.

More testing is needed and I’m checking out some new Primal red, white & blue offerings!

Prior to this I had also been employing the waving at cars behind and passing that was also mentioned on the podcast. I have a Varia radar so it’s easy for me to give a little wave to cars coming up behind and a bigger wave as they pass if I’ve held them up. That seemed to work pretty well but not as good as the flag jersey by itself.


I have had the same experience. Especially in rural areas. Downtown city I try to wear blue.

Here’s a tip I do when I’m on a road with no bike lane:

When a car is approaching stay 4-5ft away from the gutter, as they get closer move to the far right of the road. This increases visibility, and makes the driver happier that you are giving them lots of respect and room to pass.

When people get respect and love, they will give it back. Spread the love people.


For sure this would work in some of the conservative areas where I most commonly get buzzed or coal rolled.

American flag says “I’m one of you!” to the largely conservative, anti-cycling, F-250 drivers who love to coal roll.

Not sure why I hadn’t thought of doing this! Perfect protection. Googling stars and stripes attire now. Maybe a big eagle too :wink:


n=1, This doesn’t work in rural red areas where I ride outside the Seattle area. Looking at you, Arlington, Snohomish, and Monroe. If anything the love and wave and smile gets you a nasty look or a honk because the guys in the F250 (or Dodge Ram of any model) assume that cyclists and guys in trucks can’t possibly be friends, so they think you’re mocking them when you wave.


This is pretty much what I do as well. Easy to do with the Varia. Plus I give a little wave (hand still on bar but extend fingers) just before they over take me.

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As a counterpoint I ride occasionally in the hills of TN and have been met with nothing but friendly waves, and people have been very accommodating when I stop at markets. When I get the f250 rolling coal in my face, it’s usually a function of age. Either way, I’d rather take a diesel truck throwing some exhaust at me than a rural dog intent on ripping me in half for coming down their road. Maybe I need to wear a dog jersey or something.


To be honest, this is kinda scary. I am not American (but did live in the US for a while) and have nothing against wearing the flag. But the thought of being in danger unless you are openly displaying your patriotism seems very wrong.


Wow. Absolutely true. What a weird thing. All that patriotism thing seems to take the wrong turn.


Same experience for me in rural areas. Totally not trying to look like JW

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Great idea. I always worry about riding gravel and other rides in rural areas as I am black and have had some unnerving situations.

Anyone know who makes these jerseys?


Uff, that adds another layer of complexity and sadness.


It’s not the show of patriotism that provides safety. Clarifying here: it’s the fact that none of the politically left-leaning folks in the Seattle are going to wear an American Flag, and the only folks who DO choose to display the flag are conservatives. It’s definitely not that conservatives require one to display a show of patriotism lest you abandon your safety. It’s that cyclists are generally a strongly anti-conservative group in many parts of the Seattle area, on average, and so there is a feeling among conservatives that cyclists harbor ill feelings towards them.

The areas I mentioned are somewhat conservative outcroppings of a largely left-leaning area.

This behavior probably wouldn’t be present in areas where it’s assumed that any of the cyclists are conservative. My time in North Carolina, TN, AZ, and UT has been worlds different than in the conservative pockets of western WA, just north of Seattle. I have spent roughly the same amount of time riding in each locale, for reference.

And I have spoken with Washington State conservatives who have admitted to hating cyclists on the road and would bet money that they’d agree with my sentiments here. It’s not that they love patriotism. It’s that they don’t see the danger in harassing a faceless liberal on a bike on a road they feel like they shouldn’t be riding on.

100% agree. When I’ve ridden in more broadly conservative areas, the treatment like I am “the enemy” is much less harsh if it exists at all. In TN, you’re totally right, it was usually 18-20somthing males in cheap vehicles doing the buzzing.

Utah, though in a conservative area, was one of the friendliest places on the planet to ride, for Michelle and I. Arizona’s pretty good too, though by comparison to Arlington, WA, anything is joy. Okay, no that’s not true. Louisiana was rough. We were public enemy number 1 on my one day in Louisiana. Even a cop pulled us over to tell us to get off the road there. lol.

Irony… I drive a big diesel motorhome and have tested the same wave and smile on identical-looking trucks and get loads of happy waves from similar F-250-type folks (full disclosure, I’ll probably buy an F-250 as next vehicle) who treat me and Michelle like we’re public nuisances when we’re on the bike.

That’s probably further evidence that it’s not about the patriotism, but the fact that these folks who will endanger cyclists’ just view them as “not one of us.” Not a good reason… obv, so please just take this as clarification!

@darrellcraig, Commenting here in case it’s helpful in any way. My wife and I have had far less negative experience in the rural gravel areas in the aforementioned locales where our treatment on paved roads has been dangerous. I think something about being off the paved roads (insert “my taxes paid for this road”) and generally being closer in physical proximity on gravel has actually made the treatment of my wife and I, much better on narrow forested gravel roads. Something about being able to see the whites of someone’s eyes is disarming, I think, but I am not black, so can’t speak specifically to that experience. Based on some of the angry toothless folks I’ve had fun encounters with on the road, truthfully, I suspect that in some of those areas where half the population views cyclists as a public nuisance that shouldn’t be on the paved roads…I’d get even more frequent buzzes with dually tires and beater trucks if I were black. Totally hazarding a guess here.

Related anecdote: in those conservative areas in WA, if Michelle wears pink or otherwise makes it more obvious that she is a woman, she is generally treated more safely. Fewer close calls for sure. If I’m solo or if I’m obscuring the view of the driver to see that Michelle is indeed a woman (I’m 6’1 210 and often drafting her due to fitness discrepancy), we get buzzed more than ever because now we’re definitely just a couple liberal recreational cyclists blocking the road during rush hour and are therefore public enemy number one.

As always, this is my n=1. :wink: I hope it provides useful context.


Whilst taking part in RAAM in 2004, I always found I got a lot more room when I was wearing a Union Jack (British) jersey than if I wasn’t. I remember at the time we thought this was probably because it is one of the few other friendly flags American’s recognise.


Horrible, just horrible - how deep is this country and society divided that even a hobby can make you a political enemy. And how far has it come that a car driver would seriously threaten the safety of a cyclist just by assuming that the cyclist is maybe a voter of a different party. This is just scary and sad.


So, only the “left-leaning folks” are law abiding citizens, as the US Flag Code clearly prohibits the use of the flag as wearing apparel (4 U.S. Code § 8 (d)) or any part of the flag as costume or athletic uniform (4 U.S. Code § 8 (j)). :wink:


They just disregard Title 18 U.S. Code § 700

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Primal has a lot of options.

Sadly there seems to be a very strong intersection between right wing politics and anti-cyclist sentiment. Or at least that’s certainly my experience in the UK. Amazing how the culture wars that have become so pervasive in Western democracies can extend to something like recreational cycling.


Rightly so, as the Flag Protection Act has been invalidated 31 years ago by SCOTUS (United States v. Eichman, 496 U.S. 310 (1990)).


Well this took an odd political turn I didn’t intend. For the record I’m in SC in a mixed political area and have been buzzed likely by both party members. Almost always by the younger crowd who are in a rush for no reason.

I think this goes beyond party and it’s more psychological, avoiding hitting your counties flag.