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  1. #1
    holyrollin' FlatTop's Avatar
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    Filtering forward at a stop...opinions?

    I've been thinking a lot about my riding habits and observance of traffic rules of late. One thing that I do is ride towards the front of the line at a stop sign or red light. I don't do this at a flashing red or flashing yellow signal, or at a yield sign.

    My rationale:
    I'm not impeding other traffic by proceeding forward on the side of the lane or the shoulder. Unless I take the lane in order to make a left turn, I'm not taking up room in the queue, not holding up other traffic.

    Every car waiting while I filter my way up gets a chance to look at me. Their minds may register my presence or not, but I've given them notice that there's a cyclist in the lane.

    I've limited my potential danger zone to the first car in line and oncoming traffic.


    I welcome pertinent comments and critique.

  2. #2
    No one carries the DogBoy
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    I don't like to do it. If I move to the right to filter up, I'm no longer in the lane, and its difficult to get back into the lane when its time to go. I don't like going at the same time as a car because I'm not sure if the car will turn right or go straight/left and I don't want to be hit. Staying in the traffic queue means my spot is reserved, and when its my turn to go, I am the focus of the other cars on the road...hence I don't get hit.

  3. #3
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    Let's not forget that it makes the drivers that already safely passed you, PASS YOU AGAIN.

    I think it's rude.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikepacker67
    Let's not forget that it makes the drivers that already safely passed you, PASS YOU AGAIN.

    I think it's rude.
    This is why I don't do it to large vehicles that have a hard time getting around cyclists safely, and I try to consider how easy it will be for vehicles to overtake me after they and I leave the stop sign or traffic light.

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    I do not do it unless there is a seperate right turn lane, then I move up in that lane (leaving room for people to make a right turn, or if there is a designated bike lane. Other than that, I fall in line.

  6. #6
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikepacker67
    Let's not forget that it makes the drivers that already safely passed you, PASS YOU AGAIN.

    I think it's rude.
    +1 You want respect from motorists, sometimes you gotta share their misery and show that you are one of them, another user of the road, not some alien trying to share their turf only when it's convenient to you.
    "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

  7. #7
    holyrollin' FlatTop's Avatar
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    I've just noticed there's another current thread on this topic,
    Splitting Lanes?
    it wasn't my intention to clog up A&S with duplicate threads, I assumed that "lane splitting" meant travelling on the lane divisions, not inside the lanes.

    In my particular situation, taking the lane as a car would is risky bordering on suicidal. In my part of the state motorists are aggressive, territorial to the point of mania, and I survive by not being in the center of the lane.

    I mention these points not to discount the opinions others have already expressed, but to further explain my motives and to try to refine this discussion down to how to better handle stops.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by desmo13
    I do not do it unless there is a seperate right turn lane, then I move up in that lane (leaving room for people to make a right turn, or if there is a designated bike lane. Other than that, I fall in line.
    Do you do this in a right turn only lane then go straight? If you do it is as bad as what the OP does. If you're going to get into a turn only lane then turn or do not get into that lane. Stay in the straight through lane & do not filter up. Like others have said if we are to be legal vehicles of the roadways we need to behave as such. In most of not all communites filtering up like this is a violation of the traffic code.

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    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikepacker67
    Let's not forget that it makes the drivers that already safely passed you, PASS YOU AGAIN.

    I think it's rude.
    +1 to this and to chipcom's viewpoint. Respect is a two-way street

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    you should never do this.

    Many people have been killed doing this because when the light turns green and if the first driver turns right they will run right over you.

    You cant rely on them using their turn signal.

    It seems to me that most cyclists do this but I think its rude and dangerous....just like most cyclists behavior.

  11. #11
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    My recommendation and practice depend on several factors, including the presence of absence of a bike lane or rideable shoulder on the far side of the intersection, the number of car queued at the stoplight, and the amount of space for right-turners to "lane-split" with through motorists. Absolutely never pass a car on the right/outside without making sure the driver is not going to turn, or even simply merge or ease rightward.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom
    +1 You want respect from motorists, sometimes you gotta share their misery and show that you are one of them, another user of the road, not some alien trying to share their turf only when it's convenient to you.
    Exactly why this is very situational for me... and why I don't do it unless there is long line of cars all waiting that probably will not go until I am long gone.

    It was that way this morning... with a double line of traffic backed up the hill... it only made sense to filter forward, knowing that the motorists in the back were not going to pass me, ever.

  13. #13
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    On my trike, I can't filter forward because there isn't enough room to do so. Besides, I also agree that it's not fair. If I expect to be treated like a car, then I should at least act like one.
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    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    FlatTop - several of your statements indicate a lack of confidence about being assertive in traffic. This lack of confidence may or may not be well founded, but it is ultimately the underlying issue here. You write as if you feel you have an obligation to stay out of the way of cars, and this approach allows you to do that.

    Most of the reasons to not do what you do have been outlined already. In response to your reasoning, most cyclists who believe traffic in their area is too "aggressive" to allow for assertive cyclists to use the full lane when safe and reasonable to do so feel that their particular area is particularly aggressive or something. In most cases, they are mistaken. Maybe you're a real exception (where exactly do you live?), but I seriously doubt it.

    I suggest the following resources:

  15. #15
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    I do it to avoid breathing exhaust fumes.

  16. #16
    holyrollin' FlatTop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    FlatTop - several of your statements indicate a lack of confidence about being assertive in traffic. This lack of confidence may or may not be well founded, but it is ultimately the underlying issue here. You write as if you feel you have an obligation to stay out of the way of cars, and this approach allows you to do that.
    You've made an accurate assessment of my confidence in riding in traffic as a vehicle. My fellow roadusers would be surprised to learn that a bicycle is a vehicle, let alone one which is entitled to share the lane. I'm not prepared to be the guinea pig who is run over to educate them. I feel I have an obligation, yes...to my family.


    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    Most of the reasons to not do what you do have been outlined already. In response to your reasoning, most cyclists who believe traffic in their area is too "aggressive" to allow for assertive cyclists to use the full lane when safe and reasonable to do so feel that their particular area is particularly aggressive or something. In most cases, they are mistaken. Maybe you're a real exception (where exactly do you live?), but I seriously doubt it.
    I live in central New Jersey, perhaps the least bike-friendly state in the Union.

    Thank you for the list of resources, and to all of the posters to this thread for their replies. I will go to the library tomorrow in search of a couple of the references, and to do a bit of heavy thinking about my riding.

  17. #17
    No-Pants Island bbonnn's Avatar
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    Filtering is one of those things that totally depends on the situation. Barging in front of other cars, making them pass you again, risking a right hook, and wrestling with them for lane positioning after you cut in line are not some of my favorite things. But if you have a wide outer lane, then, yeah, filtering makes sense if you're careful to watch for right-turners. Better than sucking exhaust, like the man says.

    There are intersections around here where there's a right-turn-only lane, a straight-through lane, and a left-turn-only lane. Once you cross the intersection, another lane is added on the right of the street. In those situations, yeah, I filter up (I wait at the curb, where there's about 3 feet of no man's land between the curb and the straight-through lane - no right turns from there). Kind of like the OP's situation -- if a car doesn't have to change lanes to pass me, I think it's fair game to filter. I don't think this kind of setup is common in other parts of the country through.

  18. #18
    Senior Member divineAndbright's Avatar
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    I typically go up to the front if there are only a few cars to pass and if its a wide enough road. There have been times I stayed in line behind one or two cars where I normally wouldnt cause there wasnt comfortable room. I always stay in line if im behind a larger pack, as I'd feel weird about going by that many waiting cars.

    Never actually ever put much thought into this part of cycling before, guess I just go by instinct.


    As far as "taking the lane" goes, I never heard of such a thing until a few months ago maybe. I could understand it being done in a city area, cause a bicycle can be as just as fast as a car. Doing it on higher speed roads though, I kinda see it as bad manners, or at least I wouldnt do it, as I'm not the kinda person who likes to piss people off, or be in the way. I saw someone doing that for the first time a month ago or so in my town, he was a tourer passing through, going down the middle of a really busy 2 lane per side road, overloaded bicycle and all, I thought it was cool in a way, like a "haha dont like me here? well youre gonna have to run me down cause I aint moving!"

    I also found it funny because 98% of the people I see riding a bicycle in my area are riding on the sidewalk, and bam finally I see someone else on the road, only going right down the middle of it!
    Last edited by divineAndbright; 08-09-06 at 08:12 PM.

  19. #19
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlatTop
    You've made an accurate assessment of my confidence in riding in traffic as a vehicle.
    Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.


    My fellow roadusers would be surprised to learn that a bicycle is a vehicle, let alone one which is entitled to share the lane.
    Yes, my fellow road users are the same, when asked questions about cyclist rights directly. But here's the kicker: when you're on the road, if you act like you're not entitled to share the road, then you're practically guaranteed to be treated like you're not entitled. But, if you act like you are entitled, then you're treated accordingly as well. It's quite incredible, really. So, you see, it's a chicken-egg problem; a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you believe they believe you're not entitled, then you will tend to act like you're not entitled, and they will treat you like you're not entitled, thus proving your own (mis) perception to yourself, making it that much less likely for you to try to act like you are entitled. And if you don't act like you are entitled, then you never give yourself the opportunity to experience being treated like you're entitled.

    It is true that every once in a while, no matter how we act, we all encounter a particularly aggressive driver who feels it is his or her "duty" to teach us a lesson - the lesson that we don't belong riding in the street. However, I have found that I encounter even this type of driver much less often when I act assertively (not aggressively! there is a BIG difference!) then when I act like I'm not entitled.

    In a post it is not possible to convey all of the information provided in the references I left with you earlier. But please keep your mind open, particularly to the fundamental concepts and principles in Forester's Effective Cycling. Remember that we all agree on trying to be safe, to meet our obligations to our families... The issue is whether our natural intuition guides us into riding in a manner that enhances, or hinders, our actual (not perceived) safety.


    I'm not prepared to be the guinea pig who is run over to educate them. I feel I have an obligation, yes...to my family.
    I have a wife, a 6 year old child, an elderly mom, a sister, and extended family. I feel I have an obligation to them, and to myself, to be as safe as I can out there. However, I do not equate being safe with staying out of the way of same-direction traffic, which is a relatively minor threat when riding in traffic. The much more significant threat is from cross traffic, and I ride accordingly. That often means taking a more conspicuous lane position, much further left than most cyclists tend to ride, especially at intersections and their approaches.

    Vehicular cycling is certainly not about being "the guinea pig who is run over to educate them". For example, I would never advocate cutting in front of someone who has not explicitly yielded the right-of-way to you. Much of riding in traffic is about communication and coooperation. It's about requesting the right-of-way (including learning how to do that quickly and effectively), and then using it when it is explicitly yielded to you. It's about adopting the attitude that most motorists are friendly and cooperative, and that it is our job to seek them out. But you have to believe that they at least might treat like you're entitled for you to bother to try to act like you're entitled, and that's just a leap of faith. But in no way am I suggesting that you blindly believe in them. I'm suggesting you believe in them only enough to inquire, for example, if you may merge further left. Again, the resources cited earlier go into much more detail.

    Good luck and have fun!
    Last edited by Helmet Head; 08-09-06 at 08:35 PM.

  20. #20
    Senior Member kb0tnv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.



    Yes, my fellow road users are the same, when asked questions about cyclist rights directly. But here's the kicker. When you're on the road, if you act like you're not entitled to share the road, then you're practically guaranteed to be treated like you're not entitled. But, if you act like you are entitled, then you're treated according as well. It's quite incredible, really. So, you see, it's a chicken-egg problem; a self-fulfiling prophecy. If you believe they believe you're not entitled, then you will tend to act like you're not entitled, and they will treat you like you're not entitled, thus proving your own (mis) perception to yourself, making it that much less likely for you to try to act like you are entitled.

    It is true that every once in a while, no matter how we act, we all encounter a particularly aggressive driver who feels it is his or her "duty" to teach us a lesson - the lesson that we don't belong riding in the street. However, I have found that I encounter even this type of driver much less often when I act assertively then when I act like I'm not entitled.

    In a post it is not possible to convey all of the information provided in the references I left with you earlier. But please keep your mind open, particular to the fundamental concepts and principles in Forester's Effective Cycling. Remember that we all agree on trying to be safe, to meet our obligations to our familes... The issue is whether our natural intuition guides us into riding in a manner that enhances, or hinders, our actual (not perceived) safety.



    I have a wife, a 6 year old child, an elderly mom, a sister, and extended family. I feel I have an obligation to them, and to myself, to be as safe as I can out there. However, I do not equate being safe with staying out of the way of same-direction traffic, which is a relatively minor threat when riding in traffic. The much more significant threat is from cross traffic, and I ride accordingly. That often means taking a more conspicuous lane position, much further left than most cyclists tend to ride, especially at intersections and their approaches.

    Vehicular cycling is certainly not about being "the guinea pig who is run over to educate them". For example, I would never advocate cutting in front of someone who has not explicitly yielded the right-of-way to you. Much of riding in traffic is about communication and coooperation. It's about requesting the right-of-way (including learning how to do that quickly and effectively), and then using it when it is explicitly yielded to you. It's about adopting the attitude that most motorists are friendly and cooperative, and that it is our job to seek them out.

    Good luck and have fun!
    Very well stated!

    Not much more that I can add. Except I have made some errors trying to filter and one of them almost got me hit! I think it is much safer to either take the lane or stay to the right of a vehicle that has seen you. If you filter forward those people already probably forgot you. You must wait your turn like everyone else. Intersections are like 80% of all bike / car fatalties I have read. Just because you are a smaller vehicle doesn't mean you can cheat and move ahead right next to them on the right. You don't see motorcyclists "generally" doing such a thing. It is hard to not want to "cheat" or try to get through quicker. But in every case I found it much safer and saner to keep you place in line. To get respect you must give respect.

    Keep Cycling!
    "Work to Eat, Eat to Live, Live to Bike, Bike to Work"

  21. #21
    Crankenstein bmclaughlin807's Avatar
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    I usually filter up along the right, and stop next to the foremost car if it's a straight through only lane, or just behind the front car if they can make a right turn.

    I would NOT do this if I had to take the lane on the far side of the intersection, as you're right, it wouldn't be fair to the drivers, but if there's enough room for them and for me, then it doesn't seem any different to me than when they passed me (IF they did...) earlier... different vehicles, different speeds.

    If there's a right turn lane, I travel on the line between the right turn lane and the straight through lane.

    I do always slow WAY down... to about 5 mph ... ESPECIALLY if I'm passing between two lanes of stopped cars. I want to be able to stop in a big hurry if someone suddenly decides they aren't in the right lane, or if someone opens a car door and jumps out.

    I only take the lane in a couple spots on my regular commute... The roads I've chosen are fairly lightly used, and for the most part plenty wide. (They just widened one part where I used to take the lane... added almost 3 feet of shoulder! Pretty sure they're going to paint it as a bike lane. )
    "There is no greater wonder than the way the face and character of a woman fit so perfectly in a man's mind, and stay there, and he could never tell you why. It just seems it was the thing he most wanted." Robert Louis Stevenson

  22. #22
    Senior Member gwhalin's Avatar
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    I filter to the front when I can and move out in front of the front car. I feel safer up there where they can see me. Plus, I can generally outpace the cars when the light changes being in city traffic. Being rude or not never enters my mind. I bike the way I do to keep myself safe in NYC traffic. Being in front of cars where they can see me is always safer. I do generally try to move back to the right shortly after the intersection, but even that is not always a realistic option given traffic/parking conditions and speed of traffic (on my morning commute, I generally bike faster than the cars are able to go).

  23. #23
    staring at the mountains superdex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmclaughlin807
    I usually filter up along the right, and stop next to the foremost car if it's a straight through only lane, or just behind the front car if they can make a right turn.
    we're lucky to live in a pretty cyclist-friendly area, where seeing a bike on the road is more the norm than the exception. Not that I rely on that, but I pretty much always filter up --all the way up-- at a red light. Like bmc, I do really slowly, and I'll even pull in front of the first car, still on the right, but far enough ahead that I'm seen. I did encounter a situation today when I didn't filter all the way up, and that was where some construction cones completely blocked the shoulder. I filtered as far as I could, then hung out. The nice person in the car behind me gave me a good twenty feet. This city amazes me still.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom
    +1 You want respect from motorists, sometimes you gotta share their misery and show that you are one of them, another user of the road, not some alien trying to share their turf only when it's convenient to you.
    Yup. Although I have to add. If it is highly unlikely they'll be passing me (downtown traffic *ahem*) I will not hesitate to filter to the front at all.

    Other times, yes I wait in line like everyone else so that they don't have to pass me twice. Rude? Maybe. Not courteous - definitley.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  25. #25
    Crankenstein bmclaughlin807's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by superdex
    we're lucky to live in a pretty cyclist-friendly area, where seeing a bike on the road is more the norm than the exception. Not that I rely on that, but I pretty much always filter up --all the way up-- at a red light. Like bmc, I do really slowly, and I'll even pull in front of the first car, still on the right, but far enough ahead that I'm seen. I did encounter a situation today when I didn't filter all the way up, and that was where some construction cones completely blocked the shoulder. I filtered as far as I could, then hung out. The nice person in the car behind me gave me a good twenty feet. This city amazes me still.
    I don't pull up farther than the front door, or at MOST the front wheel... Plenty to get myself out just slightly ahead of the car, and plenty far forward for the driver to see me. (I always look at them, and nod when they look at me... make sure they know I'm there)

    I'd never come around on the side and pull in front of them... Just seems rude to me.

    But yes, 99.9% of the drivers around here are great, if they're aware that you're there. I've had a few instances where someone just plain didn't notice me, but those are few and far between.

    And of course, you always get the one person out of 1000 or so that thinks it's his/her job to 'teach you a lesson'... THOSE are the ones you have to look out for.

    On the way to work in the morning, I have to pass one bad intersection... 6th Avenue and Union st... I'm going North, and stay to the right (To the right of the right turn lane) till I'm almost across, then signal, and cross over to the other side .... (It's just not safe to squeeze in between the lanes... They're too narrow, especially with traffic changing lanes) EVERY morning when I signal, the car coming behind me slows way down so I can cross in front of them. I always give them a little wave.
    "There is no greater wonder than the way the face and character of a woman fit so perfectly in a man's mind, and stay there, and he could never tell you why. It just seems it was the thing he most wanted." Robert Louis Stevenson

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