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  1. #1
    My bicycle is fixed Brian Sorrell's Avatar
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    Splitting Lanes?

    When I approach a traffic light to make a left turn, my tendency is to ride around the cars on their right to get to the head of the pack. I do this because I like to get a jump on the traffic in the turn.

    Lane splitting on motorcycles is legal in CA, and so I imagine that the same applies to a bicycle. But beyond the legality of it, what do others think of positioning yourself at the head of the line at a traffic light? Or is it better or more acceptable to keep your place in line?

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    One speed: FAST ! fordfasterr's Avatar
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    I somehow always end up in the front..... lol
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  3. #3
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    I keep my place in line. If you want to be considered traffic, you gotta share the misery of other traffic. There are plenty of other ways to take advantage of being on a bicycle that aren't, in essence, flipping off the other users of the road.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  4. #4
    Non Tribuo Anus Rodentum and off to the next adventure (RIP) Stacey's Avatar
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    C'mon Chipcom tell the truth... you don't lane split coz yer arse hits both the mirrors.

  5. #5
    My bicycle is fixed Brian Sorrell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom
    I keep my place in line. If you want to be considered traffic, you gotta share the misery of other traffic. There are plenty of other ways to take advantage of being on a bicycle that aren't, in essence, flipping off the other users of the road.
    That's what I've been thinking. I keep preaching the "if you want to be considered traffic" line, then I recognized over the weekend that splitting lanes like I've been doing might not be such a good example to set in traffic, and is a practice that sets me apart from traffic. Perhaps I've been thoughtless and wrong Furthermore, I thought that it might not be entirely safe considering that the cars are not likely expecting it.

  6. #6
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    I've tried to adopt the policy of using the same standards as other lane sharing. If there is enough room that I wouldn't mind the car passing me in the same lane, I don't feel bad about moving up. If I wouldn't want them to pass me with the same space I don't pass.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    I always consider the turn and the road after it. If I can swing wide in the turn and stay to the right so cars can pass me after that, then I'm not cutting the line in the sense of taking someone else's place. If that is the case I filter to the front.

  8. #8
    Senior Member maddyfish's Avatar
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    I do it when it enhances my safety, such as at a long line of traffic at a stop light. The last place I want to be is at the end of the line. Then I'd be the first one rear ended. By the way, it is illegal here in Ky. I do it anyway on both bike and motorcycle. Probably the only instance that I ignore traffic law.

  9. #9
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    For motorcycles, filtering at stoplights is accepted and expected practice pretty much everywhere in the world except the 49 US states that aren't California. Traffic engineers generally agree that filtering and lane-splitting *reduce* congestion, by reducing the amount of roadway space that motorcycles consume -- every motorcycle that filters to the front at a red is one more car that can make it through on the next green cycle.

    I happily filter on my bicycle. (I'd do it on my motorcycle as well, if I didn't think it would mean getting ticketed regularly.) I don't think it constitutes anything like "flipping off" other road users. Are motorists flipping me off when they pass me? Filtering is the same situation, but with the roles reversed.

    I can understand sharing the misery when avoiding it would mean heaping undue misery on others. But I don't think that's the case here.
    Last edited by YoungerNow; 08-07-06 at 05:29 PM.

  10. #10
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    It's not about sharing the misery, it's about being part of it rather than outside of it.

    The same people who filter to the front are also the ones who typically keep to the right outside radius of the left turn to allow motorists to pass them while they're still in the intersection. Not me, I take my place in line, then just follow the car in front of me, controlling the lane at least through the turn, and only pulling aside after completing the left turn and being on the new street and having the car in front of me pulling away from me.

    Usually, if there were any cyclists who filtered to the front, I pass them before I even move aside.

  11. #11
    genec genec's Avatar
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    It's situational for me... If I am in a position in traffic that allows me to flow with the next green light... I stay right where I am... behind motor vehicles. (Although I usually end up in front anyway... by timing my approach)

    If on the other hand I am coming up to a long long line of motor vehicles... I will try to filter forward when and where I can. Usually I am lucky and can just move forward in a Bike Lane. But there are times when BL do not exist, and the motor traffic is so backed up that I might be looking at a 20 minute wait. Then I work my way forward slowly and get out of there as soon as I can.

    No point in "driving" a skinny vehicle if you can't take advantage now and then.

  12. #12
    Senior Member maddyfish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec

    No point in "driving" a skinny vehicle if you can't take advantage now and then.
    I agree. Cars certainly take full advantage of being big. We should take advantage of being small.

  13. #13
    Two H's!!! TWO!!!!! chephy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Sorrell
    When I approach a traffic light to make a left turn, my tendency is to ride around the cars on their right to get to the head of the pack. I do this because I like to get a jump on the traffic in the turn.

    Lane splitting on motorcycles is legal in CA, and so I imagine that the same applies to a bicycle. But beyond the legality of it, what do others think of positioning yourself at the head of the line at a traffic light? Or is it better or more acceptable to keep your place in line?
    Um, for one if lane splitting is illegal, cars shouldn't ever be passing you in the same lane, right? But they do all the time, right?

    Having said that, I usually wait for my place in line. This shows respect and, hopefully, gains respect. It just feels right, feels vehicular in the best sense of the word. I am not just trying to go where there are no cars, I am actually acting like traffic and, one hopes, am getting recognized as a fellow road user with all the rights blah blah... Not to mention that I don't like to play "I pass you - you pass me" game with the drivers ahead for the next n blocks. There are exceptions to that rule: I will, for example, usually pass the a**holes who accelerate just to get ahead of me before the red light/stop sign. I will also pass if I see a bunch of right-turners, but in that case I'll pass on the left. Or if they are all turning left - I'll pass on the right if there is room.

  14. #14
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    I do not (and will not) filter while cycling. I can see where it would benifit a motorcyclist, but the slower acceleration rate of a cyclist (at the front of a pack of left-turning cagers) is recipie for trouble.

    You'll only find me at the front if I so happen to be the first there.

    -Kurt

  15. #15
    Two H's!!! TWO!!!!! chephy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    But there are times when BL do not exist, and the motor traffic is so backed up that I might be looking at a 20 minute wait. Then I work my way forward slowly and get out of there as soon as I can.
    Oh, that's quite different. In this case there will be no "pass you - pass me" game: the cars I pass are stuck hopelessly behind, you're not impeding them by passing anyway. So in that case, yeah, I'd work my way forward too. In really tight spots, I might just get off and walk.

  16. #16
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chephy
    Oh, that's quite different. In this case there will be no "pass you - pass me" game: the cars I pass are stuck hopelessly behind, you're not impeding them by passing anyway. So in that case, yeah, I'd work my way forward too. In really tight spots, I might just get off and walk.
    Funny... I played that pass you pass me game a little while back with a cyclist, while I was driving. I was on my way to an open water swim spot to do a mile, and this guy happened to be cycling the same route... and beat me.

    He was flying in places that I crawl when I ride (up a large hill on a freeway ramp, for instance), but overall he was faster than my car in rush hour traffic. Was simply amazing... and quite an encouraging example.

    When cycling though I don't usually get into the pass you pass me game as most of the motor traffic on my commute route moves at 45MPH or so. I can usually stay with the motorists for a light or two, then they are gone... so I don't worry about any "games" that might arise from "leapfrogging."

  17. #17
    My bicycle is fixed Brian Sorrell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cudak888
    I do not (and will not) filter while cycling. I can see where it would benifit a motorcyclist, but the slower acceleration rate of a cyclist (at the front of a pack of left-turning cagers) is recipie for trouble.
    I only split lanes / filter because I know that I can beat the cars off the line and across the intersections, so I feel safer in some weird way. In fact, the final sprint of my morning commute is straight across a busy road at a traffic light, into a residential area with a 25 mph speed limit. My daily challenge, for a while, was to beat the cars off the line and get to 25 before they did. It usually works, but sometimes you get a cager with happy feet who must feel bad getting beat by a commuting rig with panniers

  18. #18
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stacey
    C'mon Chipcom tell the truth... you don't lane split coz yer arse hits both the mirrors.
    Busted!
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  19. #19
    Old fart redden's Avatar
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    Been splitting lanes on a motorcycle for 34 years, it's as natural as breathing on the both types of 2 wheelers. In that time, 1 accident caused by a Florida driver, minor injury resulted.

  20. #20
    Senior Member TrevorInSoCal's Avatar
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    I humbly submit that splitting is safer in many situations. Sitting in stopped, or stopping traffic in a line of cars you're likely to get crunched if the person behind you (or the person behind them) is not paying attention. You're a lot less likely to get crunched if you're between the lanes of slow/stopped traffic.

    Not to mention I encounter a few lights on my commute where sitting in traffic would mean waiting through two or more light cycles. F*** that. Lanesplitting is not illegal in CA where I do 99.99% of my cycling, so I'm going to take advantage of the maneuverability and compactness of my bicycle when and where I can. I generally don't split all the way to the front. I'll move up to anywhere from 1 to 3 cars back and let cars run "interference" for me through the intersection to keep something big and heavy between me and any potential red-light runners. Then I'll sprint or nearly sprint after the light changes and merge over into the gap behind the 2nd or 3rd car in line; signaling while doing so. If you're matching their speed, and they don't have to slow down for you, drivers (except for the jerks, and there's no pleasing them), are generally ok with you merging back over to the right after or while clearing the intersection.

    I'd also submit that it's probably based somewhat on riding style. If you're willing to stand on it and exert yourself for a a couple hundred feet you can outpace traffic from stop and smoothly merge over. If you prefer not to exert yourself while commuting, or don't have the fitness to sprint for a couple hundred feet after every red light then it's probably best to wait in line. Even then, I'd still probably move far enough ahead to avoid sitting through multiple lights.

  21. #21
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    situational, but cars split lanes with me, i will split lanes with cars. i even pass cars at speed on multi lane roads by splitting lanes when appropriate.....

    at stops, because i know i will be faster off the stop, first thru the intersection and likely first in line for the next light in urban situations, i will split lanes and take 'pole position' for much of the stop and go traffic riding so typical of 25-35, signed and signaled, city block riding.

    i wonder how long a riders like helemt head or chipcoms' commute takes when traffic is really backed up and they decide to wait behind the cars all the time????

    jeesh boys, pass the cars, pass the cars, pass the cars
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  22. #22
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    I generally filter at lights, if it will give me an advantage. The exception is large trucks (and some SUV's). Most of the cycling fatalities in TO involve a cyclist being dragged under the rear wheels of a truck. I try not to pass them, or let them pass me (when I feel there's not enough room for both of us in the lane).

    I'll filter past a line of cars waiting at a light, with parked cars in the right lane - but I'll go slowly so that I can stop if someone decides to give me the door prize.

    I won't filter to the right of a cager signalling a right turn - I'll go to the left. We call people who pass right turning cars "statistics" here

  23. #23
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist
    situational, but cars split lanes with me, i will split lanes with cars.
    Agreed. It's situational based on the safety of the maneuver. I generally stay in line, but you bet I'll filter past a traffic jam.

    My speed has absolutely nothing to do with how quickly they get where they are going, as long as I don't hold them up. After all, I don't get mad at motorists because they are faster than I am, why should they get mad when I'm the one who's faster?

    And generally speaking, nobody gets mad at me for filtering, if I don't hold up the queue. Heck, they probably wish they could do it.
    No worries

  24. #24
    Shut Up and Ride MyPC8MyBrain's Avatar
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    Filter to the front.. that's why you're riding a bike. I have one spot I filter past 25 cars between the straight and right turn lane. I call that section "Dances with Mirrors". Option2 in that zone is wait 3 lights, and that ain't gonna happen.

    Where cars have an opportunity to turn right, you have to be really really careful if you are filtering on the right, lest you can get right hooked.

    I have one stop sign that I blast every day too.. I guess I'm a freakin' renegade non-conformist. Or just a cyclist. hmmmm

  25. #25
    hmm..
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    Quote Originally Posted by YoungerNow
    For motorcycles, filtering at stoplights is accepted and expected practice pretty much everywhere in the world except the 49 US states that aren't California. Traffic engineers generally agree that filtering and lane-splitting *reduce* congestion, by reducing the amount of roadway space that motorcycles consume -- every motorcycle that filters to the front at a red is one more car that can make it through on the next green cycle.
    +1, this guy gets it.

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