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  1. #1
    genec genec's Avatar
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    From Forester... Would you find this situation acceptable?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Forester
    (unnamed cyclist) is hiding behind the ambiguous phrase "continuous high-speed traffic." I will specify one particular level of "continuous high-speed traffic." I consider that a stream of several hundred vehicles traveling at 50 mph with headways of 2 seconds to be within unnamed cyclist's definition. Such streams of traffic frequently occur on freeways. And I will say that I know of no cyclist, riding on the level, who is capable of merging into such a stream. But I also say that such streams are almost non-existent on urban streets or normal rural highways. As long as there are gaps in the stream of urban traffic that are more than, say, 5 seconds or so, the cyclist may merge into such streams. He may even ride the lane line, as I have often done, with motor traffic overtaking on each side, until a gap comes along sufficient to negotiate a move across the lane. This does not require any extreme level of skill, no more skill than is required to qualify for driving a car, a level of skill that we expect of all normal adults. It is not particularly dangerous, either. Whether or not it requires courage is only a measure of the fearfulness of the cyclist, which is not within the proper province of traffic regulation or highway design.

    John Forester, MS, PE
    Bicycle Transportation Engineer
    7585 Church St.
    Lemon Grove, CA 91945-2306
    619-644-5481 www.johnforester.com
    The above was sent to a select group of cyclists on the local San Diego County Bike Coalition mail list.

    What do you think of Forester's comments about riding in 50MPH traffic?

    What about the aspect of riding on the lane line in streams of 50MPH traffic? Would you consider this "safe?"

  2. #2
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    that guy's a KOOK!

    he's going to pontificate splitting lanes in 50MPH traffic, waiting for a gap, as sufficient accomodation for riders on high speed, high traffic roads?

    someone needs to rebut that seriously delusional character. He still has credibility in the bicycling community? amazing....
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  3. #3
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    What do you think of Forester's comments about riding in 50MPH traffic?
    Nothing. It has the same value and credibility as any other Forester comment about cycling and is worth considering in that light.

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    50mph (80kph) traffic is not at freeway speed. It is arterial road speed.

    I ride in this type of traffic daily.

    I'm not sure I understand the question.

    Five seconds is a LONG gap in traffic, even at 90-100kph.


    Edit: sorry, we're refering to the reverse lane splitting thing. I wouldn't try that.

  5. #5
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    I am the "unnamed cyclist." My debates with Forester center on freeway-style high-speed freely-flowing merges and diverges, which I claim should be built only on freeways themselves, and never anywhere with bicycle, pedestrian, and/or mobility scooter traffic, such as across the mouths of freeway access ramps. I get tired to being told I don't belong on high-speed roads because I can't negotiate gaps, lane-split, etc.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member rando's Avatar
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    the only thing holding us back from cycling in 50 mph traffic is our fear! it's perfectly safe!
    Last edited by rando; 12-05-06 at 09:25 AM.
    "Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world". ~Grant Petersen

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  7. #7
    N_C
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    I see no problem with it. I ride on roadways that are 55 mph all the time in the spring & summer. There are areas where I ride on the shoulder if it is wide enough or in good enough shape. When I have to merge into the travel lane I check to see that it is safe, if vehicles are spaced far enough apart I merge into the lane. If I get the gut feeling or see that they are not I wait until they are.

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    Banned. galen_52657's Avatar
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    I don't see Forester's maneuver as being difficult. Once you are out in the lane the traffic will slow down. I have been in situations where there was an off ramp and I was being overtaken by cars on both sides, but I did not split the lane by riding the lane dividing line. I moved left into the right wheel track of the strait lane. Cars passed on my right in their off-ramp lane and cars passed on my left after changing at least partially into the opposing lane of traffic.

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    Indeed, I have no issue letting cars pass on both sides when the right lane is exiting, but to try to work my way over to the left one lane at a time with cars passing on both sides is a different scenario. Motorists would most likley have no idea what I was doing even if they were in a good mood.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    There are a lot of roads like that in northern San Jose. They have 45-50 mph speed limits, and are completely full most of the day, especially during commuting hours. It's hard to find a break in traffic, even one caused by a red light, because the drivers from the cross roads usually speed after their turn and catch up to the back of the pack. Most of these don't have an off ramp, but a dedicated right turn lane.

    I got stuck between lanes before when a pickup forced me over. The cars were only going 25-30, but there's no way I ever want to do that again.
    Silver Eagle Pilot

  11. #11
    BF's Level 12 Wizard SingingSabre's Avatar
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    Split lanes in 50MPH traffic?

    No, thanks.

    Forester is a nut and I feel sorry for those who idolize him.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bklyn
    Obviously, the guy's like a 12th level white wizard or something. His mere presence is a danger to mortals.

  12. #12
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John E
    I am the "unnamed cyclist." My debates with Forester center on freeway-style high-speed freely-flowing merges and diverges, which I claim should be built only on freeways themselves, and never anywhere with bicycle, pedestrian, and/or mobility scooter traffic, such as across the mouths of freeway access ramps. I get tired to being told I don't belong on high-speed roads because I can't negotiate gaps, lane-split, etc.
    John is the unnamed cyclist. I chose to remove his name as I had not discussed posting the comments from Forester with JohnE.

    I have not discussed posting this with Forester either... but he is already a public figure.

  13. #13
    Can't ride enough! Da Tinker's Avatar
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    Ride roads like this all the time. I don't intentionaly lane split, but am occasionally passed on both sides when towards the left side of the right lane as I work my way to the left lane or left turn lane. Five seconds is a big gap, even in 50 mph traffic. The only real problem I have is the impatient folks who will come around me on the left, even as I signal a left lane change. Depending on my mood, I either let them go or back them or back 'em down with my steely-eyed, alpha road user stare.
    Happiness begins with facing life with a smile & a wink.

  14. #14
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Da Tinker
    Depending on my mood, I either let them go or back them or back 'em down with my steely-eyed, alpha road user stare.
    Did you forget to add the appropriate smilie?

  15. #15
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    Riding lane lines really depends on the width of the lanes. In a normal 9-11 foot lane, I've tried riding lane lines especially near right turn only lanes and found it not only put me in a more dangerous spot with possibly close passes on both sides but also confused the heck out of everybody resulting in me blocking two lanes of traffic instead of just one sometimes. With a 12-13 foot lane, riding lane lines becomes much easier and a lot less confusing as both lanes have plenty of room to pass.

    A cyclist cannot merge into a 50mph steady stream of traffic but he can negotiate a gap and complete the merge. I do it on a daily basis with no riding on lane lines needed.

  16. #16
    CRIKEY!!!!!!! Cyclaholic's Avatar
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    I'm starting to get the distinct feeling that this Forrester guy thinks this stuff up while driving his SUV at 50mph. Either that or he's nuttier than a fruit cake.

    At least all doubt has been removed in my mind as to where I stand with Forrester.... about at the same place as ITLB
    There are 10 types of people in the world - the ones that can count in base 2, the ones that can't count in base 2, and the ones that didn't expect this to be in base 3.

  17. #17
    Senior Member LCI_Brian's Avatar
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    From Forester's other writings and seeing him in the "Effective Cycling" video, what he considers to be a shareable lane width is much narrower than what I consider to be shareable. When extended to the example above, it appears that he considers riding on the line to essentially be safely sharing with traffic on the left and traffic on the right. Personally, in this case, I would rather be in one lane or the other - even if it is just 6-12 inches on either side of the stripe. (Plus most of our lane lines here have raised pavement markers.)

  18. #18
    Isaias NoRacer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    The above was sent to a select group of cyclists on the local San Diego County Bike Coalition mail list.

    What do you think of Forester's comments about riding in 50MPH traffic?

    What about the aspect of riding on the lane line in streams of 50MPH traffic? Would you consider this "safe?"
    I've done it in 55 MPH traffic, here:



    That's the Route 24 / I-95 Interchange. I, and others, ride Route 24 (legal to bike) to get to Bel Air, Maryland from the eastside of Baltimore. Many of the right lanes are RTOL or acceleration/deceleration lanes. One could dodge in and out of the shoulder or if you're bold (some would say stupid) enough, ride the white lines left of the RTOLs w/55 +/- MPH traffic buzzing you on both sides (going straight or exiting/entering I-95).

    I see either method as having the same potential hazard risk.
    Last edited by NoRacer; 12-05-06 at 10:12 AM.
    2009 mileage = 14,738 miles; 2010 mileage = 15,234 miles; 2011 mileage = 17,344 miles; 2012 mileage = 11,414 miles; 2013 = 12,169

  19. #19
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LCI_Brian
    From Forester's other writings and seeing him in the "Effective Cycling" video, what he considers to be a shareable lane width is much narrower than what I consider to be shareable. When extended to the example above, it appears that he considers riding on the line to essentially be safely sharing with traffic on the left and traffic on the right. Personally, in this case, I would rather be in one lane or the other - even if it is just 6-12 inches on either side of the stripe. (Plus most of our lane lines here have raised pavement markers.)
    Good point about the raised pavement markers or Botts dots... hitting one of those can certainly cause a cyclist to veer off... pretty much the last thing you would want to do with streams of 50MPH traffic on either side of you.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Botts_dots

    Here's pic of Botts dots in action for those snowbound states that can't use the things as the plows will pop them right off the road.


  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoRacer
    I've done it in 55 MPH traffic, here:



    That's the Route 24 / I-95 Interchange. I, and others, ride Route 24 (legal to bike) to get to Bel Air, Maryland from the eastside of Baltimore. Many of the right lanes are RTOL or acceleration/deceleration lanes. One could dodge in and out of the shoulder or if you're bold (some would say stupid) enough, ride the white lines left of the RTOLs w/55 +/- MPH traffic buzzing you on both sides (going straight or exiting/entering I-95).

    I see either method as having the same potential hazard risk.
    I get off at that exit to visit my sister in Bel Air. I believe the road is three lanes wide at that point so why not just take the right lane and get rid of the ambiguity (or is that what you mean by "dodge in and out of the shoulder")? With the length of those RTOL and merge lanes, I would not consider it a "dodge" but then again, I'm not even sure of the meaning of what you wrote yet

    Also, I thought Maryland prohibited bikes on roads with speed limits over 50mph. Is Route 24 an exception? I've considered biking down from Wilmington sometime and I'll probably end up on that road for at least part of the ride.

    21-1205.1.
    (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, a person may not ride a bicycle or a motor scooter:
    (1) On any roadway where the posted maximum speed limit is more than 50 miles an hour; or


    But they do say "roadway" which I would assume then means you are allowed to still use the shoulder on those roads. But in the next section, they say you can leave the shoulder for certain reasons:

    (b) (1) Where there is a bike lane paved to a smooth surface or a shoulder paved to a smooth surface, a person operating a bicycle or a motor scooter shall use the bike lane or shoulder and may not ride on the roadway, except in the following situations:

    <snipped the other exceptions>

    (iv) When reasonably necessary to leave the bike lane or shoulder because the bike lane or shoulder is overlaid with a right turn lane, merge lane, or other marking that breaks the continuity of the bike lane or shoulder.


    So I guess it's a little ambiguous as to whether or not you can ride in the roadway on a 55mph road to avoid a RTOL in MD. Anyone care to comment?

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    Not to overdo this point, but "posted limit" and "speed of traffic" are NOT interchangeable terminology.

    More typically, cars are CLOSING ON ME at a speed difference nearing the posted limit.

  22. #22
    Senior Member sggoodri's Avatar
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    I ride on the rightmost edge of lanes of 45-55 mph traffic during my bike commute. Drivers usually slow down below that when they pass me. I am able to turn left on these roads by waiting for long gaps and moving to the centerline or left turn lane, or if the traffic is congested enough to be slow I can merge one lane at a time. Dense traffic at speed prevents me from turning left but usually that goes away if I wait a little while; a pedestrian-left is the last resort if I get to the intersection before I can get left.

    What I dislike most about my rides on 55 mph surface streets built like freeways is the free-flowing entrance lanes. Drivers entering the road at high speed behind me from these lanes are looking sideways and backward a lot for traffic with which they must merge, and may be less likely to see me ahead of them at slow speed.

  23. #23
    Senior Member sggoodri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec

    That would be a nice wide outside lane without the parked cars.

  24. #24
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joejack951
    So I guess it's a little ambiguous as to whether or not you can ride in the roadway on a 55mph road to avoid a RTOL in MD. Anyone care to comment?
    Also it didn't sound as if Forester was talking about splitting lanes between a turning and a straight through lane, but rather between two lanes both going straight through. What makes anyone think that the passing cars in either lane will slow down or swerve into another lane (possibly non existant) to give the lane splitter any additional space? Or that following drivers will not be suddenly surprised to find a cyclist (relatively) poking along between moving lanes of 50+ mph traffic; AND with no time to react safely.

  25. #25
    Isaias NoRacer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joejack951
    I get off at that exit to visit my sister in Bel Air. I believe the road is three lanes wide at that point so why not just take the right lane and get rid of the ambiguity (or is that what you mean by "dodge in and out of the shoulder")? With the length of those RTOL and merge lanes, I would not consider it a "dodge" but then again, I'm not even sure of the meaning of what you wrote yet
    The road is three lanes on each side, plus a shoulder. The right lane is a long RTOL broken by I-95 entrances and exits. The shoulders are to the right of the RTOLs and acceleration/deceleration lanes. These acc/dec lanes become the RTOLs. What I'm saying is that I ride the white line to the left of the RTOLs until I get past the interchange. After the interchange, I'm riding the shoulder.


    Quote Originally Posted by joejack951
    Also, I thought Maryland prohibited bikes on roads with speed limits over 50mph. Is Route 24 an exception? I've considered biking down from Wilmington sometime and I'll probably end up on that road for at least part of the ride.

    &#167; 21-1205.1.
    (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, a person may not ride a bicycle or a motor scooter:
    (1) On any roadway where the posted maximum speed limit is more than 50 miles an hour; or

    But they do say "roadway" which I would assume then means you are allowed to still use the shoulder on those roads. But in the next section, they say you can leave the shoulder for certain reasons:

    (b) (1) Where there is a bike lane paved to a smooth surface or a shoulder paved to a smooth surface, a person operating a bicycle or a motor scooter shall use the bike lane or shoulder and may not ride on the roadway, except in the following situations:

    <snipped the other exceptions>

    (iv) When reasonably necessary to leave the bike lane or shoulder because the bike lane or shoulder is overlaid with a right turn lane, merge lane, or other marking that breaks the continuity of the bike lane or shoulder.

    So I guess it's a little ambiguous as to whether or not you can ride in the roadway on a 55mph road to avoid a RTOL in MD. Anyone care to comment?
    Ambiguous, yes, until a cyclist gets run over, then you can be sure someone will say, "A bicycle shouldn't have been there anyway."

    BTW, discussion about bike/ped access across this interchange has been discussed here:

    http://www.baltimorespokes.org/artic...51027124721310
    Last edited by NoRacer; 12-05-06 at 12:21 PM.
    2009 mileage = 14,738 miles; 2010 mileage = 15,234 miles; 2011 mileage = 17,344 miles; 2012 mileage = 11,414 miles; 2013 = 12,169

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