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Advocacy & Safety Cyclists should expect and demand safe accommodation on every public road, just as do all other users. Discuss your bicycle advocacy and safety concerns here.

View Poll Results: How often have you had to bail while taking the lane?
Never 42 67.74%
Very few times 16 25.81%
Somewhat often 3 4.84%
Very often 0 0%
Didn't bail in time and got hit 1 1.61%
Voters: 62. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-19-06, 09:07 PM   #1
AlmostTrick
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How often have you had to bail while taking the lane?

While riding anywhere in a normal traffic lane, where you are directly in the path of an overtaking vehicles line of travel for whatever reason, how often have you bailed or ditched because they were not slowing or showing any indication of changing lane position?
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Old 09-19-06, 09:38 PM   #2
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I've never bailed before.
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Old 09-19-06, 10:00 PM   #3
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Once about 15 years ago I was returning to Spokane from Pullman at night (about 75 miles of pitch-dark highway). I was on the shoulder, periodically overtaken by traffic, and I don't remember my precise equipment loadout, but I had reflectors on my panniers, certainly at least one feeble 0.6-watt generator-powered taillight, perhaps an equally-feeble battery-powered secondary taillight (classic Cateye 2-C type), and was monitoring overtaking traffic with my helmet mirror.

Lo and behold, here comes a group of cars, and one of them was going at reduced speed on the shoulder. It showed no signs of slowing down and there was nowhere for it to go, so I steered off the shoulder onto the gravel and it went on by at maybe 30mph.

+1 for helmet mirrors and guardian angels If I had the equipment then that I have now, methinks it wouldn't have mattered if I'd noticed the car or not.

I don't know if that qualifies, since I wasn't in a traffic lane per se, but that's the one I can think of.
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Old 09-19-06, 10:42 PM   #4
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I suppose it depends on what you mean by "bail". I take the lane completely when I use Commonwealth Avenue inbound to Boston in favorable conditions (traffic volume and speed). But there are sections where it gets to be a very rough surface and if cars are averaging 35 mph+ on that stretch and riding my ass I bail rather than maintain a 20-25 mph speed that I feel justifies my taking the lane there. I do that because it's too difficult to keep track of what's behind me and the potholes, pedestrians and cars pulling in and out of parking lots and intersections.
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Old 09-19-06, 11:53 PM   #5
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I think people in Atlanta drive aggressively towards bicyclists. Too often can you feel their side-view mirror practically brush your elbow. That was the only city where I had to bail because of somebody coming dangerously close.
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Old 09-20-06, 06:56 AM   #6
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i have never had a problem and i tend to ride in the lane whenever possible. i try to let traffic pass me if i can, but if i feel unsafe getting over further to the right, i won't do it. they can wait, or they can pass me... i have been passed WAY too close on several occasions, but i have never had to 'bail' or swerve out of the lane to avoid getting hit.
**knock on wood**. now that i said it....
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Old 09-20-06, 07:41 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlmostTrick
While riding anywhere in a normal traffic lane, where you are directly in the path of an overtaking vehicles line of travel for whatever reason, how often have you bailed or ditched because they were not slowing or showing any indication of changing lane position?
No. The only time I've had to ditch was when hugging the curb as a newbie, and I was squeezed into the gutter by a passing motorist.
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Old 09-20-06, 07:41 AM   #8
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Never. I have been pressured by tailgating motorists... and honked at (when another lane clearly existed), never bailed.
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Old 09-20-06, 07:51 AM   #9
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If you're taking the lane for a reason, then why would you 'bail' ??

I never take the lane at speed, only at intersections or construction zones.

jw
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Old 09-20-06, 08:01 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Wilke
If you're taking the lane for a reason, then why would you 'bail' ??

I never take the lane at speed, only at intersections or construction zones.

jw
Because if it appeared that a motorist coming up from behind was failing to slow or change lanes, for whatever reason, you might not want to be hit. Isn't this one reason we use mirrors? To verify?
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Old 09-20-06, 08:11 AM   #11
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I've had to bail when trying to make a left turn from a road with bad sight lines and speeders. I have had to bail when I was out in the lane and a beer truck decided I didn't belong there even though there was another lane he could use (and was headed for eventually anyway). I have had to bail when people have thrown their cars into reverse right in front of me. I have had to bail when semis with trailers have taken the turns too closely and nearly run me over with their rear axles.
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Old 09-20-06, 08:59 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbhikes
I've had to bail when trying to make a left turn from a road with bad sight lines and speeders. I have had to bail when I was out in the lane and a beer truck decided I didn't belong there even though there was another lane he could use (and was headed for eventually anyway). I have had to bail when people have thrown their cars into reverse right in front of me. I have had to bail when semis with trailers have taken the turns too closely and nearly run me over with their rear axles.
All that was due to taking a lane?
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Old 09-20-06, 09:47 AM   #13
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Only once that I remember, and I couldn't really bail. The guy didn't come from behind, he tooted his horn once and came over into my lane from the one next to me. He KNEW he was driving me over. I ended up on the white lane between that lane and a right turn only lane going onto a freeway, between traffic going 25+ mph.
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Old 09-20-06, 10:10 AM   #14
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Old 09-20-06, 10:12 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genec
Never. I have been pressured by tailgating motorists... and honked at (when another lane clearly existed), never bailed.
+1
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Old 09-20-06, 11:02 AM   #16
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I very rarely have to bail but it does happen occasionally. One time I was a narrow road (one lane per direction, double yellow line) near my house. The road is very hilly and in the valley between two of the hills is a railroad crossing. I am approaching the railroad crossing. There is a car approaching it from the opposite direction and a tractor trailer behind it. The car slows down to go over the tracks and the tractor trailer tries to pass it by moving over into my lane. My choice was pull off the road or go head-first into the tractor trailer. I chose door number one.
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Old 09-20-06, 11:35 AM   #17
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As defined in the opening post, never. Cars always slowed down and changed lanes at least partially. However, on a few occasions some of the overtaking motorists passed me too closely when I was taking the lane (intentional, usually combined with honks and foul language) and I had to move a bit to the right to maintain a safe distance between me and the overtaking car. Good thing there is lots of room to the right if you're taking the lane.
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Old 09-20-06, 12:07 PM   #18
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"Bailed?" I take the lane for about half of my commute on 4-lane roads. I don't have a mirror and I don't look back unless I am preparing to move laterally or I hear something unusual back there, like a siren or somebody honking repeatedly.

There is so much important stuff ahead of me to keep my attention, I don't think I would have time to look behind even if I did use a mirror, much less be able to detect a driver not slowing down.

-Steve Goodridge
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Old 09-20-06, 12:23 PM   #19
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I've you've had to bail when taking the lane, it would be useful to hear where you were in the lane before bailing.
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Old 09-20-06, 12:52 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LCI_Brian
I've you've had to bail when taking the lane, it would be useful to hear where you were in the lane before bailing.
Right smack dab in the middle of the right through lane. He was coming up behind slower vehicles in the left through lane. To my right was a right turn only lane that ended when it turned onto the freeway. I heard the honk, looked, and saw the Dodge pick-up coming right at me from my left rear as the guy was looking right at me. I was wearing my neon yellow jersey. The lanes are not much wider than a large vehicle, that's why I took the lane for about 100 yards. I ended up riding the white line between the through lane and the right turn lane while cars were going by on both sides.
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Old 09-22-06, 06:05 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Wilke
If you're taking the lane for a reason, then why would you 'bail' ??
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlmostTrick
Because if it appeared that a motorist coming up from behind was failing to slow or change lanes, for whatever reason, you might not want to be hit. Isn't this one reason we use mirrors? To verify?
But aren't you out there so they don't pass? Hold your ground !

If you're taking the lane 'just to be seen', then you're asking to be run over.

jw
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Old 09-22-06, 07:27 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genec
All that was due to taking a lane?
I don't think it was caused by taking the lane. The left turns were on blind corners. People came around the bend way too fast, scared the bejesus out of me so I baled. The beer truck was probably trying to teach me a lesson for being out in the lane, so yeah maybe that was caused by taking the lane. I happened to be in the center of the lane when someone threw their car into reverse. I don't think they saw me. The semi that almost ran me over with his rear wheels was passing me while I was on the side. I can't believe he even tried to pass me. There's not enough room for a geo metro to pass me where I was.
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Old 09-22-06, 09:53 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Wilke
But aren't you out there so they don't pass? Hold your ground !

If you're taking the lane 'just to be seen', then you're asking to be run over.

jw
What is "taking the lane just to be seen"? Either you're in the center of the lane or you're not, right?

I do hold my ground, and have never had to bail out yet. I'm always monitoring traffic behind me, and like to at least think that I'd be ready to bail if necessary to save my butt. It seems to me that especially on a high speed road, it would be very hard to bail in time even if you did notice a vehicle not slowing or changing lanes. The way some drivers race up, it would be a fine line between bailing when it wasn't really necessary, or holding your ground and being hit.

Do you think that because you're in the center of the lane it's impossible to be hit from behind? I don't.

Last edited by AlmostTrick; 09-23-06 at 09:46 PM.
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Old 09-23-06, 07:21 AM   #24
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I don't do this often, but I did just the other day. There was a lot of road construction at the intersection, and it just didn't look as safe to make the left as it did to use the crosswalks.
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Old 09-23-06, 07:46 AM   #25
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I had to huck up over the curb and ride up and over a plow pile of snow last winter after a motorist right hooke me..I was occupying the right lane and she right hooked me intentionally from the left lane of a 4 lane road! Glad I was on my MTB rather than my roadie! She went around me to pass me in the left lane and then hooked it into a drivewway and left me w/ nowhere to go but over the curb and over the pile of snow!
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