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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: What's your cycling strategy on double yellow lined NOL roadways?
I obey the letter of the law and block anyone trying to pass because it's illegal. 1 2.44%
I only encourage passing when I feel it is safe to do so and attempt to block unsafe passes. 9 21.95%
I only encourage passing when I feel it is safe to do so but do not try to block unsafe passes. 21 51.22%
I stay at the right edge of the road and encourage everyone to pass. 9 21.95%
I do not cycle on any double yellow lined NOL roadways. 1 2.44%
I pull off the roadway for every faster moving vehicle to allow them to pass easily. 0 0%
Voters: 41. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 12-22-06, 06:47 PM   #1
joejack951
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Crossing a double yellow to pass

How do you feel about motorists crossing double yellow lines to pass you when you are going considerably below the speed limit? For reference, every state vehicle code that I know of (feel free to correct me if I've missed any) makes it illegal to pass another vehicle by crossing a double yellow line. You are only allowed to cross double yellows to pass obstructions/hazards that make it impossible to continue on the roadway without crossing the double yellow.

I'll add that where I live, almost everyone will pass me on a double yellow without much thought, including cops and myself when I drive and encounter cyclists. Most are reasonable and will pass when there are adequate sightlines and clear road; others not so much. I prefer to be passed even with a double yellow as otherwise I am obligated to pull over and let traffic go by. As I'm often on roads with no shoulder and at best a driveway on occassion, pulling over can be inconvenient whereas it's often very easy for me to be passed even though it's marked as a no passing zone (it's miuch easier to pass a vehicle going 20-30mph under the speed limit than only 5 mph under).

My vote is for the second option. I ride in a centered position and will issue a stop signal to those who try to pass when it's clearly unsafe. If someone seems hesistant to pass and I know that there are no easy passing areas up ahead, I will encourage them to do so by waving them around me even though I know's it technically illegal.

Last edited by joejack951; 12-22-06 at 07:13 PM.
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Old 12-23-06, 12:01 AM   #2
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Double yellows by design have to be placed to allow safe passing of all vehicles, even large ones that are hard to see around and moving near or at the speed limit. Therefore they are painted to allow extra space in order to error on the side of safety. Like JJ pointed out in his opening post, safely passing a small slow moving vehicle like a bike is much easier and often requires less space. I also voted #2.
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Old 12-23-06, 12:18 AM   #3
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I spent some time researching this, and came to the conclusion that in all of my local jurisdictions (DC, VA, MD) it is illegal to pass a bicycle on the double yellow. In fact, it is illegal to do so even if the lane is wide enough that it can be done without leaving the lane -- that's still passing, and it's illegal to pass any vehicle when there is a double yellow. I feel it is in the interest of cyclists to work to get the law changed to reflect common behavior.

The vast majority of drivers around here get it and wait for a chance and then go around. About one in thirty drivers absolutely refuses to pass under any conditions when there is a double yellow, and it drives me crazy. A slightly higher proportion will pass under any conditions, regardless of sightlines or the presence of oncoming vehicles, which I don't particularly like either. A handful try to pass without leaving the lane which isn't pleasant as well.
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Old 12-23-06, 02:17 AM   #4
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It doesn't take very long for a car to overtake a slow moving vehicle, so it generally doesn't bother me if someone does it on a double yellow. I think it's probably more dangerous to try to thwart a motorists efforts to pass than to allow the driver to choose when it's safe to pass.
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Old 12-23-06, 03:52 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick
Double yellows by design have to be placed to allow safe passing of all vehicles, even large ones that are hard to see around and moving near or at the speed limit. Therefore they are painted to allow extra space in order to error on the side of safety. Like JJ pointed out in his opening post, safely passing a small slow moving vehicle like a bike is much easier and often requires less space. I also voted #2.
I don't know what double lines you are talking about. Most of the double yellows around here are as wide as two double yellow stripes with, perhaps, twice as much space between them. No extra space for erring on the side of safety. They are just slightly wider than a single broken white line - both intended to divide the roadway lanes, each with its unique passing allowed/not allowed meaning.

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Old 12-23-06, 04:49 AM   #6
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I didn't vote. None of the options seem to really cover what I do or why.

No passing zones are laid out with regards to the sight lines for a certain stretch of road, for the average vehicle on that road to pass another at the speed limit.

On a NOL I ride no further to the right than the right tire track. Often my road position is between the right tire track and the center of the lane. This makes it obvious that a car cannot pass without, at least partially, changing lanes. In an NOL on a blind curve I will make my road position the left tire track or the center of the lane, depending on which way I'm traveling in relation to the curve (which side of the curve I'm on), to increase my sight lines and increase the distance at which I'm visible to drivers.

On a double yellow line I don't try to block anybody from passing per se, but I'm not changing my road position for them. They can pass when they can change lanes and pass, regardless of road striping.
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Old 12-23-06, 08:37 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by CommuterRun
I didn't vote. None of the options seem to really cover what I do or why.

No passing zones are laid out with regards to the sight lines for a certain stretch of road, for the average vehicle on that road to pass another at the speed limit.

On a NOL I ride no further to the right than the right tire track. Often my road position is between the right tire track and the center of the lane. This makes it obvious that a car cannot pass without, at least partially, changing lanes. In an NOL on a blind curve I will make my road position the left tire track or the center of the lane, depending on which way I'm traveling in relation to the curve (which side of the curve I'm on), to increase my sight lines and increase the distance at which I'm visible to drivers.

On a double yellow line I don't try to block anybody from passing per se, but I'm not changing my road position for them. They can pass when they can change lanes and pass, regardless of road striping.
I use much the same positioning as you and for the most part, expect drivers to make the decision as to when it's safe to pass and most do. I do catch a few starting to move into the left lane when I know it's unsafe in which case I issue a stop signal or wave them back into the right lane. What do you do in these situations? Do you just let them go or do you try to signal for them to slow down behind you? If you just let them go, I intended #3 to cover that style and if you signal for them to stop, that would be #2.

To be more clear about the options, when I say "encourage" I'm referring to two things. The encouraging that I normally have to do is turning around and waving someone around me who has chosen not to pass for whatever reason but I feel it is safe to do and would rather them just get it over with. The other type of encouraging is making subtle lane position changes which I will do for larger vehicles like school buses and trucks, or sometimes in combination with a wave around.

When I say "encourage passing when it is safe to do so" I mean that if someone slowed behind you and didn't want to pass but you felt it was safe, you'd encourage them to pass. In my experience the majority will just do it without encouragement but I do encourage all of those who don't when the time is right.

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Old 12-23-06, 08:47 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kemmer
It doesn't take very long for a car to overtake a slow moving vehicle, so it generally doesn't bother me if someone does it on a double yellow. I think it's probably more dangerous to try to thwart a motorists efforts to pass than to allow the driver to choose when it's safe to pass.
So say you are cresting a hill and you can see traffic coming but someone behind gets impatient, thinks it's clear (or doesn't care) and tries to pass. Will you do anything to try and stop them? If this doesn't happen to you then consider yourself lucky
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Old 12-23-06, 08:59 AM   #9
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I didn't vote. Most of the roads I ride are narrow laned so drivers have no choice but to cross the yellow to pass - in those cases I will ride a centerish position and signal for them to slow up if it isn't safe to pass, then yield right and wave them through when it is safe. Unsafe is any situtation where there is oncoming traffic or blind spots.

If there is a NOL, I simply stay right and allow them to pass, since there should be enough room to share the lane. If they feel they need to cross the yellow, that's their business, though I will be prepared to bail if conditions might cause them to do something stupid. If conditions require that I move further out in the lane, then I will act the same as if there was no NOL at all.
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Old 12-23-06, 09:13 AM   #10
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Chip, why doesn't option #2 fit your style?
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Old 12-23-06, 09:35 AM   #11
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Wow... I'm really surprised that so far, 14 out of 20 respondents picked 3 and 4, and allow unsafe passers to put their lives at risk.
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Old 12-23-06, 09:38 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by joejack951
Chip, why doesn't option #2 fit your style?
That would have been my choice, cept you designated the road as a NOL. If there is enough room to share the lane, I'm not predisposed to trying to control what the drivers are doing, unless I have taken the lane for my own safety reasons.
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Old 12-23-06, 09:54 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by chipcom
That would have been my choice, cept you designated the road as a NOL. If there is enough room to share the lane, I'm not predisposed to trying to control what the drivers are doing, unless I have taken the lane for my own safety reasons.
NOL: narrow outside lane, not wide enough to share. Is Santa bringing you new reading glasses this year?
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Old 12-23-06, 02:51 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by joejack951
NOL: narrow outside lane, not wide enough to share. Is Santa bringing you new reading glasses this year?

No, I consider a NOL a single travel lane with more space to the outside than is required to fit a vehicle, same with a WOL...just more space. If this is not the case, why not just call it a 'narrow lane' and leave the 'outside' out of the equation?
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Old 12-23-06, 03:20 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by joejack951
How do you feel about motorists crossing double yellow lines to pass you when you are going considerably below the speed limit? For reference, every state vehicle code that I know of (feel free to correct me if I've missed any) makes it illegal to pass another vehicle by crossing a double yellow line. You are only allowed to cross double yellows to pass obstructions/hazards that make it impossible to continue on the roadway without crossing the double yellow.

I'll add that where I live, almost everyone will pass me on a double yellow without much thought, including cops and myself when I drive and encounter cyclists. Most are reasonable and will pass when there are adequate sightlines and clear road; others not so much. I prefer to be passed even with a double yellow as otherwise I am obligated to pull over and let traffic go by. As I'm often on roads with no shoulder and at best a driveway on occassion, pulling over can be inconvenient whereas it's often very easy for me to be passed even though it's marked as a no passing zone (it's miuch easier to pass a vehicle going 20-30mph under the speed limit than only 5 mph under).

My vote is for the second option. I ride in a centered position and will issue a stop signal to those who try to pass when it's clearly unsafe. If someone seems hesistant to pass and I know that there are no easy passing areas up ahead, I will encourage them to do so by waving them around me even though I know's it technically illegal.
Your missing a couple of options, first you have the option to stop and let each vehicle pass, but you don't have the option to let several vehicles collect up, and then pull over and let them pass as a group. And you don't have the option to indicate an unsafe pass condition, if one exists.

Let me explain a scenario for the second one, I am cresting a hill or going around a curve, I see a semi coming along the other side, and indicate to a vehicle approaching behind me, to slow down, because it is unsafe to pass.
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Old 12-23-06, 03:41 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Carusoswi
I don't know what double lines you are talking about. Most of the double yellows around here are as wide as two double yellow stripes with, perhaps, twice as much space between them. No extra space for erring on the side of safety. They are just slightly wider than a single broken white line - both intended to divide the roadway lanes, each with its unique passing allowed/not allowed meaning.

Caruso
I was referring to the length of the yellow lines, not the width. In my experience they are usually laid out so the only sections where passing is allowed (no double yellow) is when sight lines are extremely good for a considerable distance, usually for much longer than necessary to safely pass a bike. That's why many consider it safe for motorists to sometimes pass bikes on the double yellow where there may not be enough space to pass a larger faster moving vehicle.

I don't understand all the "no votes" either. It seems like all choices are presented fairly well in the OP poll in my opinion.

Last edited by AlmostTrick; 12-23-06 at 03:47 PM.
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Old 12-23-06, 04:11 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chipcom
No, I consider a NOL a single travel lane with more space to the outside than is required to fit a vehicle, same with a WOL...just more space. If this is not the case, why not just call it a 'narrow lane' and leave the 'outside' out of the equation?
In the context of a single lane each way road, I guess it might make more sense to leave it at NL, for narrow lane. But I've seen many others use NOL to describe the only lane for traffic in that direction, which by default is the outside lane, so I just figured everyone would understand that acronym to mean the same thing. Does anyone else interpret NOL like Chip does?
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Old 12-23-06, 04:15 PM   #18
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The third choice for me!
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Old 12-23-06, 04:18 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Wogsterca
Your missing a couple of options, first you have the option to stop and let each vehicle pass, but you don't have the option to let several vehicles collect up, and then pull over and let them pass as a group. And you don't have the option to indicate an unsafe pass condition, if one exists.

Let me explain a scenario for the second one, I am cresting a hill or going around a curve, I see a semi coming along the other side, and indicate to a vehicle approaching behind me, to slow down, because it is unsafe to pass.
I wanted to limit the discussion to a basic overview of how one handles vehicles passing with a double yellow lined roadway. For every option where someone is cycling on a narrow laned roadway (is that better, Chip? ) and letting motorists make the decision to pass (not pulling over for every vehicle), there could be a situation where traffic backs up behind the cyclist and the cyclist is then faced with the decision to either wait it out and see if they can all pass or to pull over and let them all go by at once. Since it comes with the territory, I didn't feel the need to make it a seperate option.

I think option #2 covers the other scenario you point out. The cyclist does not attempt to stop all traffic from passing, even though technically illegal, but will signal/move left to deter passing when it is unsafe.

I realize that my selections could have used more clarification. I think this is my first poll ever so hopefully I'll learn from this first try
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Old 12-23-06, 04:21 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlmostTrick
I was referring to the length of the yellow lines, not the width. In my experience they are usually laid out so the only sections where passing is allowed (no double yellow) is when sight lines are extremely good for a considerable distance, usually for much longer than necessary to safely pass a bike. That's why many consider it safe for motorists to sometimes pass bikes on the double yellow where there may not be enough space to pass a larger faster moving vehicle.
Thanks for the clarification of your original post. I was hoping you'd respond as I was a little confused as well.
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Old 12-23-06, 05:40 PM   #21
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In that context, I voted 2. No offense to anyone, but anyone who would put themselves at risk by not taking as much control of a situation as possible, well I just don't know what you are thinking. Hugging the right and pretending you don't have a stake in 'traffic' isn't gonna make you safer. All it does is put YOU at more risk so the guy in the big steel cage can expose himself to less risk. You gotta have the lane and warn folks if it's unsafe to pass, merging right and waving them through when it is safe. You also gotta be ready to bail when a moron insists on blowing by.
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Old 12-23-06, 09:12 PM   #22
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I don't usually try to tell other road users how to drive unless they seem unsure of what to do about that bike in their way. I am not a lawyer but it seems to me that, in Oregon, a slow moving bike or other vehicle constitutes a condition which allows a following vehicle to pass on the left if it is safe to do so, as outlined in 3(b) below.

From the Oregon Revised Statutes:

" 811.420 Passing in no passing zone; exceptions; penalty. (1) A person commits the offense of passing in a no passing zone if the person drives a vehicle on the left side of a roadway in a no passing zone that has been established and designated to prohibit such movements by appropriate signs or markings posted on the roadway.

(2) The authority to establish and post no passing zones for purposes of this section is established under ORS 810.120.

(3) The provisions of this section do not apply under any of the following circumstances:

(a) When a driver turns left into or from an alley, intersection, private road or driveway.

(b) When an obstruction or condition exists making it necessary to drive to the left of the center of the roadway provided that a driver doing so shall yield the right of way to all vehicles traveling in the proper direction upon the unobstructed portion of the roadway within a distance that would constitute an immediate hazard.

(4) The offense described in this section, passing in a no passing zone, is a Class B traffic violation. [1983 c.338 §639; 1985 c.16 §316]"


In my opinion, trying to block a motor vehicle with a bike is a fool's game... trust no car.
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Old 12-23-06, 09:45 PM   #23
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I'll add that where I live, almost everyone will pass me on a double yellow without much thought, including cops and myself when I drive and encounter cyclists. Most are reasonable and will pass when there are adequate sightlines and clear road; others not so much.
Police officers I have spoken with here have told me that they would not cite a motorist for crossing a double yellow to pass a slower cyclist, provided it was done in a safe manner and there was no opposite direction traffic.
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Old 12-23-06, 10:05 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogbait
I don't usually try to tell other road users how to drive unless they seem unsure of what to do about that bike in their way. I am not a lawyer but it seems to me that, in Oregon, a slow moving bike or other vehicle constitutes a condition which allows a following vehicle to pass on the left if it is safe to do so, as outlined in 3(b) below.

From the Oregon Revised Statutes:

" 811.420 Passing in no passing zone; exceptions; penalty. (1) A person commits the offense of passing in a no passing zone if the person drives a vehicle on the left side of a roadway in a no passing zone that has been established and designated to prohibit such movements by appropriate signs or markings posted on the roadway.

(2) The authority to establish and post no passing zones for purposes of this section is established under ORS 810.120.

(3) The provisions of this section do not apply under any of the following circumstances:

(a) When a driver turns left into or from an alley, intersection, private road or driveway.

(b) When an obstruction or condition exists making it necessary to drive to the left of the center of the roadway provided that a driver doing so shall yield the right of way to all vehicles traveling in the proper direction upon the unobstructed portion of the roadway within a distance that would constitute an immediate hazard.

(4) The offense described in this section, passing in a no passing zone, is a Class B traffic violation. [1983 c.338 639; 1985 c.16 316]"


In my opinion, trying to block a motor vehicle with a bike is a fool's game... trust no car.
Where in that section does it list slow moving vehicles (bicycles or otherwise) as an exception? It only lists "obstructions" in the roadway as a valid reason to drive to the left of center on a roadway marked for no passing. A slow moving cyclist does not prevent faster moving traffic from continuing on the roadway; they just continue at a decreased speed.

And again, I could have been more clear with my options. When I say "block" I'm referring to using a centerish position in a narrow lane, issuing slow/stop hand signals, and possibly a slight move left to discourage an unsafe pass. By no means would I ever expect anybody to move onto the centerline or otherwise directly into the path of a passing vehicle to block a pass. Do you think using a centerish positioning to discourage unsafe passing is a "fool's game" or did you have another interpretation of my options?
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Old 12-23-06, 10:10 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LCI_Brian
Police officers I have spoken with here have told me that they would not cite a motorist for crossing a double yellow to pass a slower cyclist, provided it was done in a safe manner and there was no opposite direction traffic.
That seems very reasonable. I would hate to see someone ticketed for passing me safely over a double yellow. I would love for a police officer to be the oppsite direction traffic when someone pulls a boneheaded pass over a hill crest or around a blind curve, ignoring a slow/stop signal from me. That's one of the few things that still infuriates me out on the road simply because of just how irresponsible of a move it is, especially when I see kids in the backseat of the car after the pass.
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