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  1. #1
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Giving in to pass pressure

    This is actually coming from the POV of a motorist...

    I live on a plateau. There's basically no way to get anywhere without going down steep roads. There's one road that winds its way down the hill. It's a 12% grade, two lane road with a shared center turning lane. I have ridden this road many times as a cyclist in both directions and when going down, I know there's no way you can hug the inside. Riding your brakes will overheat them too as this is a long downhill. I usually take the lane. The speed limit is 25MPH (mixed business/residential with blind curves). Today, I happen to be driving this road. I saw a cyclist in front of me and he was taking the lane. I had no problem with this and since the speed limit was only 25MPH it wasn't like he was holding up traffic. We were already moving at 30MPH. I was perferctly content to just sit back about 3 car lengths and give him room while pacing him. However he kept gesturing for me to pass. At first I ignored it but then he seemed pretty emphatic with his gesturing. Usually when I ride this same stretch, I will not motion for people to pass. It's too dangerous and there's really no reason to. One would have to pass using the center turning lane because he was in the middle of the lane. However, I also know how it is to have vehicles pacing you. Sometimes it makes you nervous. So rather than making the cyclist anymore nervous about me being back there, I decided to pass using the center shared turning lane. I'm not sure if I really did the right thing. What would you have done? As a cyclist or a motorist?

  2. #2
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    As a cyclist I would not have motioned to pass. I do wave people by when I'm going slower than the speed limit. If I'm going the speed limit I take the lane and it's just too bad if a driver wants to speed past because at that point the lane is mine and it would be unsafe for both of you.

    As a driver...I would probably be mad at the cyclist for encouraging as unsafe move. I probably would have backed off a little more because I wouldn't feel safe passing in the situation you described.

    To me I think the cyclist in this situation was in the wrong because the pass would have been dangerous. He/She should have been comfortable taking the lane and if they didn't like you pacing them they should have slowed down and pulled off so you could pass safely.

    Just my opinion...

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    If you were really only about 3 car lengths behind him, at 30 mph, I can see why he would have been nervous. (I suspect you were actually back a bit further). Anyway, rather than making a dodgy pass, I would have backed off to 6, then 10, then 20 -- however far it took for him to settle down and quit waving you around.

    My two pennies.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Cipher's Avatar
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    I know in our state a pass made using the center left/right turn lane is illegal and could get you a ticket. (A little food for thought)...
    Speed Kills...It kills those that don't have it!

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    山馬鹿 Spire's Avatar
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    I have to agree with MKRG. The cyclist should not have been motioning for an unsafe manouver. However, given that he/she did, the only think that I would recommend that you do, driving, is that you drop back a bit farther to clearly indication that you are not going to pass.
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  6. #6
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    In the mountains west of here I often motion for motorists to pass when I'm descending. Basically, if someone's sitting on my backwheel it annoys me, and I'd rather that they didn't. If the driver in that situation had no intention to pass, perhaps they should drop back a little further to make it clear. Maybe the cyclist figured that he was holding up traffic (although this may not necessarily have been the case).

    Having said that, "three car lengths" is probably a bit further away than the distance from which I would normally wave at someone to pass.
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  7. #7
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Cipher
    I know in our state a pass made using the center left/right turn lane is illegal and could get you a ticket. (A little food for thought)...
    I believe it's illegal here (Washington) too. In hindsight, I should not have passed. It was illegal (and cops do patrol there often because it's obviously a major speedtrap). Admittedly, there was little chance someone would have been in the center turn lane since along that stretch of road there was nowhere for anyone to turn left into in front of me. Regardless, I'll take the advice of the forum and drop back further next time.

  8. #8
    It didn't hurt that much. Ouch !'s Avatar
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    I also think the correct thing to do would have been to slow down and put some more space between yourself and the cyclist. Which should have relieved some of his worries.

    I have to be honest that when I'm going downhill, the road is mine, there's no way going fast downhill, looking out for potholes navigating bends etc. that I'll let a car pass me. So as a result I take up a strong position in the road to let the motorist know what going on. At the bottom of the hill I usually give the driver a thumbs up for not hassling me.
    It's something that works for me.
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  9. #9
    bac
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    Senior Member bac's Avatar
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    From a cyclist's perspective, in my area, this would not be an issue. The auto would have passed me - with or without me motioning him around. He also would have gunned the engine and most probably either flipped me off or he would have swerved toward me. I need to move to a more biker-friendly area.

    From a driver's perspective, I think that you did the right thing. Well, it's what I would have done @ least!

  10. #10
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    If you and the cyclist were already over the speed limit, the only proper response would be to increase your following distance. Speeding and using the center turn lane would be dangerous and illegal.
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  11. #11
    Gone DnvrFox's Avatar
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    I would suggest that any cyclist who motions any driver to pass assumes a certain amount of legal liability at the time of the motioning. If, per some chance, it turns out to not be safe (i.e., a vehicle suddenly entering the roadway from a
    hidden driveway), I would think that at the very least the cyclist assumes some share of the liability. I never motion anyone to pass - I leave it to the driver to judge when or when not they can pass.

    I know, I know, I am the liability laden, lawsuit bitten old codger on the forum!!
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  12. #12
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Originally posted by DnvrFox
    I would suggest that any cyclist who motions any driver to pass assumes a certain amount of legal liability at the time of the motioning.
    I'm not so sure I agree with that. It's ultimately the responsibility of the person doing the passing to make sure it's safe and legal to attempt the maneauver. I could have (should have) backed off and given the cyclist more room which might have relieved some of his concerns regardless of how much he wanted me to pass. I realise in hindsight that maybe it would have annoyed him but it was my responsibility to insure my driving was legal and safe. If I had gotten into an accident I would have been totally to blame.

  13. #13
    It's in my blood Pete Clark's Avatar
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    Originally posted by khuon
    We were already moving at 30MPH...However he kept gesturing for me to pass...So rather than making the cyclist anymore nervous about me being back there, I decided to pass using the center shared turning lane...What would you have done?
    They always taught me in driver's education to assess the situation for myself rather than obey other people's waves and signals. Road "sign language" comes in handy, but I always obey my own judgement first.

    I prefer motorists to pass me (on my bike) on the uphill at slower speeds, rather than on the downhill, forcing them to high speeds.

    Since this was a loooong downhill, perhaps your judgement was to protect the cyclist by passing him carefully. Yet I think John E.'s advice of backing off more might have done the trick even better?
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