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Old 09-15-06, 02:31 PM   #1
DCCommuter
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Riding to the left on one-way streets

In a recent discussion in the commuter forum on defensive cycling techniques, a number of posters mentioned riding on the left hand side of one way streets as a safety measure. The reasons given make sense: greater visibility, larger passing differences as drivers are better able to gauge distances when they are closer, and less chance of getting hooked as people tend to be more careful when turning left than right. But I've never seen this mentioned before. Any thoughts on the practice?

(Readers living in countries where they drive on the left can switch right for left above.)
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Old 09-15-06, 02:39 PM   #2
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In midtown Sac there are a few streets that are one-way with bike lanes on both the left and right sides of the motor lanes. I've never had a problem on the left side, but it still feels weird. I guess I'm just not used to having cars pass me on my right.

And if you use a mirror, it'll be on the wrong side.
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Old 09-15-06, 02:55 PM   #3
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What about potential conflict with contraflow bicyclists, who are more likely to ride on their respective right side of the road? In a downtown area, one can simply yell at and intimidate them , but I regularly bike, walk, and jog (not simultaneously) on a one-way street which hugs the edge of the continent, and we get bicyclists and pedestrians going both directions.

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Old 09-15-06, 09:00 PM   #4
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On the streets round here I just naturally head to the right lane. It just feels natural and drivers seem to expect me to be there. Besides on many of the streets here, the right lane is wider than the others and I can get where I am going with minimum disruption to other traffic.
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Old 09-16-06, 11:42 AM   #5
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Some of the one way streets in NYC have left hand bike lanes. I found it very scarry riding. The drivers don't seem to see (or respect) us any better, and I can't see anything in my left handlebar mounted mirror.
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Old 09-16-06, 11:51 AM   #6
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Quote:
In midtown Sac there are a few streets that are one-way with bike lanes on both the left and right sides of the motor lanes. I've never had a problem on the left side, but it still feels weird. I guess I'm just not used to having cars pass me on my right.
I love those left-hand bike lanes. I find those converted two-lane one way streets to have bike lanes that are less scary than any other bike lanes in town, for some reason, maybe because they seem to be a little wider? (I live north of J Street, and over here I will choose a no bike lane street over one with bike lanes, because the bike lanes are pretty much exactly door width and there isn't much traffic anyway so you might as well take the lane.)

Those left-hand bike lanes have really made downtown/midtown cycling a lot easier for me, because I am too slow to take the lane on the one-way streets, but the one-ways are really easier for navigating downtown. I expected to see a lot of wrong-way cyclists in the left-hand lanes, but I haven't seen one so far.
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Old 09-16-06, 12:56 PM   #7
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I ride on one way streets all the time. I use what ever half of which ever lane I need to get to where I am going. I am allowed one half of the travel lane. Most of the one way streets in my town are at least 3 travel lanes wide. Cars have no problem getting around me.
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Old 09-16-06, 01:28 PM   #8
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The only one way streets around here are downtown. Traffic downtown is slow enough that I always take a lane. So, I ride in whichever lane I feel like it (Or need to be, depending on destination), and have never had a problem.
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Old 09-16-06, 02:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCCommuter
In a recent discussion in the commuter forum on defensive cycling techniques, a number of posters mentioned riding on the left hand side of one way streets as a safety measure. The reasons given make sense: greater visibility, larger passing differences as drivers are better able to gauge distances when they are closer, and less chance of getting hooked as people tend to be more careful when turning left than right. But I've never seen this mentioned before. Any thoughts on the practice?
This is legal where I live, and I do it a lot. In the end, I think it's a win-win for everyone. I'm in a safer position because I don't need to change an entire streetful of lanes from right to left and vice versa when I have to make a turn and the motorists like me not having to do that as well. I never thought about motorists being more careful when making lefts, but that makes sense.
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Old 09-16-06, 03:26 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by bmclaughlin807
The only one way streets around here are downtown. Traffic downtown is slow enough that I always take a lane. So, I ride in whichever lane I feel like it (Or need to be, depending on destination), and have never had a problem.

Same here. Traffic actually moves so slowly through our downtown that many cyclists have an easy time maintaining those speeds.
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Old 09-16-06, 05:57 PM   #11
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I only ride on the left side of a one-way street when I'm preparing to turn left. I don't trust people on the passenger side to look before swinging open their doors, letting the dogs loose, or popping a surfboard out of a trunk at me.
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Old 09-16-06, 06:29 PM   #12
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Passenger side?
Oh, that's what that is for!
Everyone drives one to a car around here
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