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Old 07-24-02, 10:46 AM   #1
Spire
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How far from the curb do you ride?

I usually ride about 2 feet away from the pavement and about 3-4 feet from parked cars. I was wondering how this would compare with other riders.
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Old 07-24-02, 11:09 AM   #2
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There aren't really any curbs out here. But when I lived in ontario I tried to stay within a ft. The reason being is there are too many stupid people on the road more than willing to nail a biker.
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Old 07-24-02, 11:14 AM   #3
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I usually ride about 3 feet to the right of vehicles in the traffic lane when I'm on city streets, if practical. State law (RCW 46.61.770) calls for riding as close as is safe to the right edge of the rightmost through lane (not the parking lane or turn lane), or as close as is safe to the left edge of the left through lane on a one-way street, except when preparing to make a turn, in which case one may take up whatever position is necessary after yielding to others. Very sensible laws... the cyclist is expected to be part of the traffic flow, not hiding in the parking lane wherever possible and popping out unexpectedly when he/she has to.

Since it's not "safe" to be trapped alongside a vehicle on an extended basis, I'll take up the whole lane if I'm keeping up with traffic, in order to prevent that situation from arising. As long as I signal, ride predictably, and don't try "taking cuts in line" up the right side of the road when my lane's traffic halts, people seem to tolerate this just fine.

In situations where there are parked vehicles to avoid, I try to plan way ahead. A sweep to the left that feels gradual to a cyclist is generally rather abrupt from the perspective of a motorist, so I try to spread it out over a couple hundred feet if I'm approaching an obstruction.

On the highway, I generally stay in the right half of the shoulder (our highways have very wide shoulders here). On county roads with no stripes on the shoulders, I ride perhaps 2 feet from the unobstructed edge of the pavement.

My helmet-mounted rearview mirror is invaluable in all of this.
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Old 07-24-02, 11:46 AM   #4
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Generally 3ft from parked cars, two feet otherwise but it depends on the road and traffic circumstances.

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Old 07-24-02, 12:26 PM   #5
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If it's on the flat I ride about 2ft from the kerb, but the golden rule I have is if I'm going downhill then the road is mine, there's no way I'm going downhill at speed and having cars trying to pass me, they can wait !
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Old 07-24-02, 01:26 PM   #6
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It really varies a lot for me. I usually pay closer attention to how much space is left in the lane for cars to pass, rather than how much space I'm taking up. This helps me travel a safe, straight line when the width of the lane changes, or when approaching parked cars. Also, if there is not enough room left in the lane for cars to pass safely without changing lanes, I am careful not to leave any doubt in their minds by moving out a bit further into the lane.

If I am approaching an intersection where traffic is slowed or stopped, I look back, then move to the center of the lane when it's safe. This way, I keep a space in the traffic queue, so no one will cut me off by turning suddenly in front of me.

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Old 07-24-02, 02:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Spire
I usually ride about 2 feet away from the pavement ....
Wouldn't that technically be in the ditch? Or are you hovering above it? Sorry, I'll behave now.
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Old 07-24-02, 02:36 PM   #8
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Analyzing my own riding today, I found I'm further from the passing cars than I said... three feet in tight downtown situations maybe, but more like five to eight feet on wide arterials unless there is a reason to be closer. Doh!
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Old 07-24-02, 03:27 PM   #9
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usually 3ft, but sometimes more.

Sometimes, as the road bends, the driving line moves away from the curb. I take the best line, rather than a fixed distance from the curb.

As I aproach a nearside junction I move out, whether I am turning or going straight past.

I usually veer out to pass parked cars from about 50yards before, to avoid a swerve.

Once I moved out to avoid pedestrians stepping into my path. A car behind me used the space to UNDERTAKE me down a hill, approaching a red light. Im careful now not to let them sneak past if its dangerous.
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Old 07-24-02, 05:31 PM   #10
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I ride about a metre out. That way I don't have to swerve out and in again when I pass roadside drains. It also means that cars have to make a conscious decision to pass me rather than squeezing past.

Another great reason for not riding too close to the curb is that that's where all the glass and tyre nasties hang out. Ride really close to the curb and you'll learn how to change tyres very well.
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Old 07-24-02, 07:20 PM   #11
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If there are parked cars present, I ride at least a door-width away from them. As I approach an augmented intersection with a near-turn-only lane, I move to the outer edge of the adjacent through lane, to avoid being hooked.
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Old 07-24-02, 09:11 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by MediaCreations
I ride about a metre out. That way I don't have to swerve out and in again when I pass roadside drains. It also means that cars have to make a conscious decision to pass me rather than squeezing past.

Another great reason for not riding too close to the curb is that that's where all the glass and tyre nasties hang out. Ride really close to the curb and you'll learn how to change tyres very well.
ditto.
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Old 07-25-02, 06:38 AM   #13
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Depends on the road conditions. I'll ride in the middle of the road if it's the only safe place.
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Old 07-25-02, 07:23 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bikes-N-Drums


Wouldn't that technically be in the ditch? Or are you hovering above it? Sorry, I'll behave now.
pavement = sidewalk

I'm usually cycling in a city where we do not have ditches!
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Old 07-30-02, 11:21 PM   #15
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but the golden rule I have is if I'm going downhill then the road is mine, there's no way I'm going downhill at speed and having cars trying to pass me, they can wait !
Absolutely! At speeds approaching 50kph+ the cars will have to wait until I have negotiated that section. At that speed no-one could legitimately say I am impeding traffic.

CHEERS.

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Old 07-30-02, 11:42 PM   #16
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The road conditions dictate how far I ride from the right side. Here in Beaverton, Oregon we sometimes have no bike lane, and a three-lane situation with the center lane pretty well dedicated to turning. It's marked with a solid yellow, but when that's there I ride further out then when I don't have a three-lane situation. I figure that to pass a car can go to the center if necessary without endangering either me or the car. In these situations, I ride about 3 feet away (~1 meter) from the curb or edge of the road (some places don't have curbs here either, but do have pretty deep ditches).

Yesterday, I had a situation where I was stopped at an intersection, and the roadway was two lane in front of me, with no bike lane. The light turned green, and I stayed put until the five cars had accelerated through the intersection. With them gone, I had no problem negotiating the road. It took a while for another car to come along, and I was beyond the narrow part by then.

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Old 07-31-02, 01:40 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by LittleBigMan
It really varies a lot for me. I usually pay closer attention to how much space is left in the lane for cars to pass, rather than how much space I'm taking up. This helps me travel a safe, straight line when the width of the lane changes, or when approaching parked cars. Also, if there is not enough room left in the lane for cars to pass safely without changing lanes, I am careful not to leave any doubt in their minds by moving out a bit further into the lane.

If I am approaching an intersection where traffic is slowed or stopped, I look back, then move to the center of the lane when it's safe. This way, I keep a space in the traffic queue, so no one will cut me off by turning suddenly in front of me.

:thumbup:
Me too. What he said.

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Old 07-31-02, 01:55 PM   #18
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Did anybody else notice the Tour riders riding in the gutter on Sunday? I guess they were trying to take advantage of the smooth concrete, maybe that is where they were picking up punctures. I try to stay as far to the right as possible. If there isn't any traffic, I move out a bit so that cars on side streets can see me. I was clipped by a side-view mirror for the first time the other day, that sucked.
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Old 07-31-02, 02:17 PM   #19
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I do a lot of riding in New York City. some streets have four lanes going one way, if I'm with a group of four or more riders we try to take the right lane single file, and about a car door length from the parked cars. this will keep us away people who kick their doors open and all the little nasty things rear the curb.
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Old 07-31-02, 02:30 PM   #20
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I ride just to the right of the center of the lane. The reason is to force automobiles to go to the trouble of going around me.

Without this aggressive positioning, drivers here will drive past you as if you are not sharing the lane with them. At least with our local drivers, if you bicycle in the gutter, you will end up dead in the gutter.

Many automobile drivers will take chances and try to squeeze between you and oncoming traffic even in tight situations. IF they misjudge, they take out the bicyclist on their right side rather than stopping or going into oncoming traffic.

It takes balls to ride out in traffic, but I believe it is safer than acting like a timid rat and ride in the gutter.
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