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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: Do you use the method described in blue in the OP when on roads with bike lanes?
Yes, I generally use the method described in the OP, for the reasons specified. 5 29.41%
Yes, I use the method described in the OP, but for substantially different reasons (see post). 1 5.88%
No, the method I use is similar, but different in a significant way (see post). 2 11.76%
No, the method I use is very different (see post). 9 52.94%
Voters: 17. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-05-06, 11:27 AM   #1
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Riding on roads with bike lanes

Definitions
Primary riding position: A "centerish" "lane controlling" position in the traffic lane somewhere between the left and right tracks.

Seconary riding position: About 3 feet to the right of faster overtaking traffic.

This is one method for riding on roads with bike lanes:

Even on roads with bike "lanes", ride out in the traffic lane in the primary riding position EXCEPT when faster traffic is present or is approaching (monitoring for which a mirror is very useful). When faster traffic is approaching, right shoulder check and merge right to a lateral position approximately 3' to the right of passing traffic (which may or may not be in the bike lane), until they have passed, and then left shoulder check and merge left back into the traffic lane again.

The behavior that results from doing this is similar to that practiced by other drivers of slow moving vehicles. For example, when riding my 1972 Honda Trail 70 at under 20 mph on steep streets, I generally ride in a visible/predictable/centerish position, but merge right to allow 35+ mph car drivers to pass when they're behind me, then merge back left when they've passed. This behavior is also consistent with how truck, tractor and other heavy equipment drivers sometimes temporarily merge right into shoulders to allow faster traffic to pass under certain conditions.

Obviously, on roads with constant busy traffic, a cyclist using this method would spend much of his time in the secondary riding position, which often means being in the bike lane. But, the entire time, monitoring to the rear periodically and frequently, looking for significantly large gaps in traffic. When (if) there is a gap, left shoulder check and merge left, until another need arises to merge right to allow approaching faster traffic to pass.

Surprisingly, most roads at most times don't have sufficiently constant traffic to render this technique moot, as some may think, even during commuting times (largely thanks to traffic signals). If one starts looking for significantly long gaps in same-direction traffic and using them, one may find they are much more prevalent and longer in duration than many might realize. So using the primary position per this method occurs quite regularly, even on relatively busy roads. The (huge) bonus of this method is that it automatically puts you in or near an excellent lateral position in terms of sight lines and conspicuity any time you encounter any kind of intersection, or if the lane narrows, or if you're on a 2-lane road to discourage oncoming traffic to pass in your lane, etc. A secondary bonus is that being in the primary rather than secondary position makes you more conspicuous to those approaching from behind, which in turns makes it less likely they they will be unaware of your presence as they overtake you (by which time you would be out of their path in the secondary position, if it's safe and reasonable to be there). Another secondary bonus for using this method is that you spend less time riding in rubble and debris.

When riding on roads with bike lanes, do you use the method above described in blue? If so, for the reasons specified, or for other reasons?

If not, what method do you use instead, and why?
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Old 10-05-06, 12:11 PM   #2
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From the "Using DLLP to avoid inadvertent drifts" thread...

Quote:
Originally Posted by SSP
Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
If the reason you ride [in the bike lane even in the absence of same direction faster traffic] is not because of an irrational fear "from the rear", then why don't you ride further left for all the benefits of doing so (which have little to do with overtaking traffic, and much to do with cross-traffic, avoiding debris, etc.)?
Because I believe that there are no "benefits of doing so".

Specifically:

1) It's clear to me from the behavior of overtaking drivers that with my current technique I'm both conspicuous and relevant to them. The vast majority shift left in the lane and/or cross over the centerline.

2) I already avoid the vast majority of road debris by riding where I do (based on my low rate of flats).

3) I think it's more important for my safety to be seen as "predictable". Weaving back and forth over the line makes me, IMO, less predictable to drivers.
No one is advocating weaving back and forth.

Quote:
4) The vast majority of cycling authorities, and the laws on the books in most states, recommend riding "as far right as practicable". Until you can change this body of common sense and law (something you're not even close to achieving despite thousands of words and hundreds of posts), I'll stick with the traditional techniques that have worked for decades.
Have you read the book Cyclecraft by John Franklin?

Quote:
5) The chances of an "inadvertent drift" overtaking collision are vanishingly small with or without DLLP. Since I use both a mirror, and a daylight flasher, I think my odds are even less...thus, your silly technique would be both more work, and superflous to my safety.
That's only a secondary reason. See the OP of this thread for primary reasons.
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Old 10-05-06, 12:34 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
From the "Using DLLP to avoid inadvertent drifts" thread...

No one is advocating weaving back and forth.

Have you read the book Cyclecraft by John Franklin?

That's only a secondary reason. See the OP of this thread for primary reasons.
With respect to the line demarcating the WOL/BL, your technique involves crossing it repeatedly. This can logically be noted as "weaving", and would certainly appear that way to the overtaking motorist.

re: secondary reasons
My safety is the primary reason I ride like I do...I'm every bit as safe as if I used DLLP, and feel no need to test your silly theories while I'm out on the road in traffic.
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Old 10-05-06, 12:36 PM   #4
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HH appears to have a deep-seated fear of not being noticed, both when he's out on the road, and here in BF. Thus his continual "weaving" and prolific posting (and here we have yet another "look at me" Wall of Words...sigh).
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Old 10-05-06, 12:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SSP
HH appears to have a deep-seated fear of not being noticed, both when he's out on the road, and here in BF. Thus his continual "weaving" and prolific posting (and here we have yet another "look at me" Wall of Words...sigh).
He does seem to need attention, now that you mention it. Hmmm...
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Obviously, the guy's like a 12th level white wizard or something. His mere presence is a danger to mortals.
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Old 10-05-06, 12:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SSP
This can logically be noted as "weaving", and would certainly appear that way to the overtaking motorist.
I don't think so. To the overtaking motorist it look like:
1. Oh, A cyclist in the lane ahead
2. Cool, cyclist (perhaps) saw me and moved over.

All they see is one merge to the right.

Al
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Old 10-05-06, 12:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noisebeam
I don't think so. To the overtaking motorist it look like:
1. Oh, A cyclist in the lane ahead
2. Cool, cyclist (perhaps) saw me and moved over.

All they see is one merge to the right.

Al
And then in their rearview mirror they'll see the cyclist moving back over into the primary travel lane.

And they'll shake their head and assume the cyclist is a weaving drunk because he's "all over the road" when there's a perfectly good WOL/BL available.
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Old 10-05-06, 01:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SSP
And then in their rearview mirror they'll see the cyclist moving back over into the primary travel lane.

And they'll shake their head and assume the cyclist is a weaving drunk because he's "all over the road" when there's a perfectly good WOL/BL available.
From the OP:

Quote:
This behavior is also consistent with how truck, tractor and other heavy equipment drivers sometimes temporarily merge right into shoulders to allow faster traffic to pass under certain conditions.
When someone sees a tractor or heavy equipment driver up ahead pull over into the shoulder to let him pass, and then sees in his rearview mirror the heavy equipment driver moving back over into the primary lane, do you think he'll shake his head and assume the heavy equipment driver is a weaving drunk because he's "all over the road" when there's a perfectly good WOL/shoulder available?

Do you have any experience operating slow moving vehicles other than bicycles?
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Old 10-05-06, 01:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
From the OP:


When someone sees a tractor or heavy equipment driver up ahead pull over into the shoulder to let him pass, and then sees in his rearview mirror the heavy equipment driver moving back over into the primary lane, do you think he'll shake his head and assume the heavy equipment driver is a weaving drunk because he's "all over the road" when there's a perfectly good WOL/shoulder available?

Do you have any experience operating slow moving vehicles other than bicycles?
A better analogy would be a little old lady who persists in driving in the fast lane on a freeway at 5 mph below the limit, and who only moves right when she notices a vehicle behind her, and then moves back over to the fast lane after that vehicle passes.

FWIW, I have seen farm equipment using WOL's when they're available and not weaving back and forth into the primary traffic lane.
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Old 10-05-06, 01:19 PM   #10
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The general rule of the road is travel in the rightmost lane unless passing slower moving or stopped vehicles.

As a cyclist, if there's a bike lane to the right, it's the rightmost lane available to me. Just because the lane isn't available to car drivers doesn't mean I shouldn't be using it.

I take the lane when there isn't safe room to pass, sightlines from intersections/laneways are poor for cross traffic, or if the edge of the road is otherwise dangerous/too rough to travel on.

Taking the middle of the lane when there's a perfectly usable lane to your right is just like people who pull onto a freeway and take the innermost lane just to avoid worrying about traffic from onramps and offramps, even though they're going 10 or 20 below the limit. It's aggravating to other drivers, which can cause dangerous situations.

Your suggestion that you pull to the right every time a car comes up behind means you've put yourself in a situation where you have to pay EXTRA attention to what's going on behind you, even though that's really only a danger at night when riding with no lights.

Drivers of farm equipment avoid the shoulder because of the rough ride, not so that they'll get noticed.

If you're that afraid of being missed, put on some extra blinky lights.
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Old 10-05-06, 01:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SSP
A better analogy would be a little old lady who persists in driving in the fast lane on a freeway at 5 mph below the limit, and who only moves right when she notices a vehicle behind her, and then moves back over to the fast lane after that vehicle passes.
No, that would not be a better analogy, because the alternative space she is using is part of the roadway where vehicular travel is expected, and where most cyclists ride to be out of the way is not.

Quote:
FWIW, I have seen farm equipment using WOL's when they're available and not weaving back and forth into the primary traffic lane.
It's not worth much. I too have seen farm equipment drivers using WOL's when they're available and not weaving back and forth into the primary traffic lane. Typically it's when there is a lot of traffic and there is no point in moving out of the shoulder. Same as per the OP for bicyclists:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
Obviously, on roads with constant busy traffic, a cyclist using this method would spend much of his time in the secondary riding position, which often means being in the bike lane.
Or on busy roads with WOLS or shoulders, it often means being in the shoulder or outside space of the WOL.

But, I've also seen farm equipment drivers and other slow moving vehicle drivers using WOL outside space on roads with lighter traffic, only when required to allow faster traffic to pass, and then moving left closer to the left stripe of the lane when that space is available again after faster traffic has passed.

I learned to drive in the mid 1970s in a 1971 VW van. My father taught me on coastal and hilly Highway 1 how to use the shoulder, temporarily, to allow faster traffic to pass on long grades where the van just couldn't maintain normal speeds. But, when they passed, I would move out of the shoulder and back into the lane. That's standard vehicular rules of the road for drivers of slow moving vehicles.

I've used similar methods when driving other slow moving vehicles, like rented moving vans, and the 1972 Honda Trail 70 I described in the OP.

Do you have any experience operating slow moving vehicles other than bicycles?
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Old 10-05-06, 01:36 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
No, that would not be a better analogy, because the alternative space she is using is part of the roadway where vehicular travel is expected, and where most cyclists ride to be out of the way is not.
For cyclists, the WOL/BL is part of the roadway, and is where cyclists are expected to travel (both by law and tradition).
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Old 10-05-06, 01:36 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinker
The general rule of the road is travel in the rightmost lane unless passing slower moving or stopped vehicles.
Agreed.

Quote:
As a cyclist, if there's a bike lane to the right, it's the rightmost lane available to me. Just because the lane isn't available to car drivers doesn't mean I shouldn't be using it.
That's assuming the bike "lane" is a true lane, and treated as such by all users of the road. I don't want to get bogged down on that topic, it's probably worth a thread of it's own, but let's just say we'll have to agree to disagree on that point.

Quote:
I take the lane when there isn't safe room to pass, sightlines from intersections/laneways are poor for cross traffic, or if the edge of the road is otherwise dangerous/too rough to travel on.
I'll just note that your choice of language here reveals how you yourself distinguish a real lane, which you describe riding in as "take the lane", from a bike "lane".

Quote:
Taking the middle of the lane when there's a perfectly usable lane to your right is just like people who pull onto a freeway and take the innermost lane just to avoid worrying about traffic from onramps and offramps, even though they're going 10 or 20 below the limit. It's aggravating to other drivers, which can cause dangerous situations.
Only when doing so while other same direction traffic is present, which the method described in the OP specifically avoids:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
When faster traffic is approaching, right shoulder check and merge right to a lateral position approximately 3' to the right of passing traffic (which may or may not be in the bike lane), until they have passed, and then left shoulder check and merge left back into the traffic lane again.
Quote:
Your suggestion that you pull to the right every time a car comes up behind means you've put yourself in a situation where you have to pay EXTRA attention to what's going on behind you, even though that's really only a danger at night when riding with no lights.
The danger is not from the cars behind you, but from cross traffic. Most car-bike collisions involve crossing behavior, and riding further left makes you less prone to such crashes:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
The (huge) bonus of this method is that it automatically puts you in or near an excellent lateral position in terms of sight lines and conspicuity any time you encounter any kind of intersection, or if the lane narrows, or if you're on a 2-lane road to discourage oncoming traffic to pass in your lane, etc.
Quote:
Drivers of farm equipment avoid the shoulder because of the rough ride, not so that they'll get noticed.
I don't eschew the shoulder or bike lane in order to get noticed either (though that is a secondary benefit).

Quote:
If you're that afraid of being missed, put on some extra blinky lights.
I'm not afraid of being missed, and certainly not by traffic from the rear, so the blinky light suggest is irrelevant. I simply seek to be treated like a vehicle driver, which requires me to act like one.

Last edited by Helmet Head; 10-05-06 at 02:46 PM.
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Old 10-05-06, 01:38 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SSP
For cyclists, the WOL/BL is part of the roadway, and is where cyclists are expected to travel (both by law and tradition).
If cyclists are expected to travel there, then why is the factor of a driver NOT expecting the cyclist to be there and "not seeing the cyclist" so common in bike-car crashes?
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Old 10-05-06, 01:49 PM   #15
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I ride outside of the bike lane by default because most of the bike lanes here have more debris than the travel lane.

I will use a clean-looking bike lane when there is substantial traffic overtaking, and them move back into the travel lane whent traffic clears, to avoid potentially unseen glass and avoid last-second swerving for visible hazards.

If the bike lane contains visible debris, I don't move into the bike lane when traffic arrives behind me, but ride on the line.
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Old 10-05-06, 01:51 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by sggoodri
I ride outside of the bike lane by default because most of the bike lanes here have more debris than the travel lane.

I will use a clean-looking bike lane when there is substantial traffic overtaking, and them move back into the travel lane whent traffic clears, to avoid potentially unseen glass and avoid last-second swerving for visible hazards.

If the bike lane contains visible debris, I don't move into the bike lane when traffic arrives behind me, but ride on the line.
Ya, my tires aren't for "sweeping," either.
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Old 10-05-06, 01:51 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
If cyclists are expected to travel there, then why is the factor of a driver NOT expecting the cyclist to be there and "not seeing the cyclist" so common in bike-car crashes?
I don't think it is...you've cherry-picked a few incidents in which the motorist claimed that.

Accidents happen for a variety of reasons (distraction, drugs, alcohol, sleep deprivation, etc.). In most all cases, the driver will assert that "I didn't see the cyclist"...all that means is that they f*cked up and weren't able to react in time.

And there's nothing to indicate that your DLLP techniques will improve cycling safety any more than standard, assertive VC riding techniques, mirrors, daylight flashers, etc.
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Old 10-05-06, 01:53 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sggoodri
I ride outside of the bike lane by default because most of the bike lanes here have more debris than the travel lane.

I will use a clean-looking bike lane when there is substantial traffic overtaking, and them move back into the travel lane whent traffic clears, to avoid potentially unseen glass and avoid last-second swerving for visible hazards.

If the bike lane contains visible debris, I don't move into the bike lane when traffic arrives behind me, but ride on the line.
Avoiding road hazards is a legitimate reason for riding outside of the BL. But HH's DLLP theory would have cyclists riding in the primary travel lane even if there's a perfectly clean 12' wide BL available.
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Old 10-05-06, 01:53 PM   #19
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Oooh goody! Another HH snit with a silly poll as a result.
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Old 10-05-06, 01:59 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SSP
Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
If cyclists are expected to travel there, then why is the factor of a driver NOT expecting the cyclist to be there and "not seeing the cyclist" so common in bike-car crashes?
I don't think it is...you've cherry-picked a few incidents in which the motorist claimed that.
The incidents I "cherry-picked" in the "bike lane deaths" thread, if that's what you're talking about, are all overtaking collisions, which is a very rare type of car-bike crash. The vast majority of car-bike crashes are due to crossing movements where the motorist not noticing the cyclist, or the motorist not noticing the cyclist until it's too late to avoid collision, is almost always a factor (because, if the motorist does notice the cyclist soon enough to avoid collision, then, unless he's a homocidal maniac, the collision is avoided).

That's why I say, the driver NOT expecting the cyclist to be there and "not seeing the cyclist" is so common a contributory factor in car-bike crashes. And that's why I disagree with your assertion that cyclists are expected to be in the bike lane or the outside part of a WOL. Maybe that's where many people want us to be, because that gets us out of their way, but they don't really expect us to be there - which is why they so often overlook us when we are there.
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Old 10-05-06, 02:07 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SSP
Quote:
Originally Posted by sggoodri
I ride outside of the bike lane by default because most of the bike lanes here have more debris than the travel lane.

I will use a clean-looking bike lane when there is substantial traffic overtaking, and them move back into the travel lane whent traffic clears, to avoid potentially unseen glass and avoid last-second swerving for visible hazards.

If the bike lane contains visible debris, I don't move into the bike lane when traffic arrives behind me, but ride on the line.
Avoiding road hazards is a legitimate reason for riding outside of the BL. But HH's DLLP theory would have cyclists riding in the primary travel lane even if there's a perfectly clean 12' wide BL available.
Note that Dr. Goodrich wrote, and then move back into the travel lane when traffic clears, to avoid potentially unseen glass and avoid last-second swerving for visible hazards.

That's DLLP. From the OP:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
[ride in the bike lane] until [faster traffic has] passed, and then left shoulder check and merge left back into the traffic lane again.
Same thing.
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Old 10-05-06, 02:08 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
That's why I say, the driver NOT expecting the cyclist to be there and "not seeing the cyclist" is so common a contributory factor in car-bike crashes. And that's why I disagree with your assertion that cyclists are expected to be in the bike lane or the outside part of a WOL. Maybe that's where many people want us to be, because that gets us out of their way, but they don't really expect us to be there - which is why they so often overlook us when we are there.
Are you on crack?

Are you saying that drivers "expect" us to be in the middle of the road?

FWIW, drivers often don't "expect" to encounter bikes because there's just not very many of us in this country.
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Old 10-05-06, 02:16 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
That's why I say, the driver NOT expecting the cyclist to be there and "not seeing the cyclist" is so common a contributory factor in car-bike crashes. And that's why I disagree with your assertion that cyclists are expected to be in the bike lane or the outside part of a WOL. Maybe that's where many people want us to be, because that gets us out of their way, but they don't really expect us to be there - which is why they so often overlook us when we are there.
Are you on crack?

Are you saying that drivers "expect" us to be in the middle of the road?
Are YOU on crack?

You asserted that drivers expect to see us in bike lanes. I explained (above) why they don't.
So you think that means I'm saying they do "expect" us to be in the middle of the road? Why would you leap to such an absurd conclusion simply because I countered YOUR assertion that they "expect" us to be in the bike lane?

Quote:
FWIW, drivers often don't "expect" to encounter bikes because there's just not very many of us in this country.
That's right. Now you're catching on. Most drivers don't expect us to be anywhere (note that if that's true, your previous assertion that they expect us to be in the bike lane cannot be true).

But when we are in the middle of the road, they are much more likely to notice us (even though, or perhaps even because, they don't expect us to be there), because that's where they tend to be paying most of their attention (including when they are about to turn into or across a road, which is when most car-bike collisions occur). They certainly pay much more attention to the middle of the road than the shoulder or bike lane.
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Old 10-05-06, 02:18 PM   #24
deanp
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With a true dedicated and marked bike lane I stay in it, barring debris. I think that is where cars expect to see me. I also don't ride with a mirror.
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Old 10-05-06, 02:21 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinker
The general rule of the road is travel in the rightmost lane unless passing slower moving or stopped vehicles.

As a cyclist, if there's a bike lane to the right, it's the rightmost lane available to me. Just because the lane isn't available to car drivers doesn't mean I shouldn't be using it.

I take the lane when there isn't safe room to pass, sightlines from intersections/laneways are poor for cross traffic, or if the edge of the road is otherwise dangerous/too rough to travel on.

Taking the middle of the lane when there's a perfectly usable lane to your right is just like people who pull onto a freeway and take the innermost lane just to avoid worrying about traffic from onramps and offramps, even though they're going 10 or 20 below the limit. It's aggravating to other drivers, which can cause dangerous situations.

Your suggestion that you pull to the right every time a car comes up behind means you've put yourself in a situation where you have to pay EXTRA attention to what's going on behind you, even though that's really only a danger at night when riding with no lights.

Drivers of farm equipment avoid the shoulder because of the rough ride, not so that they'll get noticed.

If you're that afraid of being missed, put on some extra blinky lights.
Note that HH didn't even bother to respond...he hates it when common sense blows away his pet wacky theories!
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