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Old 12-29-06, 05:38 PM   #1
acorn54 
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parked cars

john forrester says to ride away from parked cars and into the lane of traffic
question-where i live parked cars go on for quite a long distance if i go into the traffic lane isn't that a violation of new york state law? i think i remember reading where one can take to the traffic lane with a bike only temporarily.
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Old 12-29-06, 06:19 PM   #2
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Section 1234. Riding on roadways, shoulders, bicycle lanes and bicycle paths.
(a) Upon all roadways, any bicycle shall be driven either on a usable bicycle lane or, if a usable bicycle lane has not been provided, near the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway or upon a usable right- hand shoulder in such a manner as to prevent undue interference with the flow of traffic except when preparing for a left turn or when reasonably necessary to avoid conditions that would make it unsafe to continue along near the right-hand curb or edge. Conditions to be taken into consideration include, but are not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards or traffic lanes too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side-by-side within the lane.
It says nothing about being able to take the lane only temporarily.

Note also that the "roadway" is the traveled portion of the road, the travel lanes. A parking lane is not part of the roadway.
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Old 12-29-06, 06:34 PM   #3
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John Forester is not the only one who advocates clearing parked cars by at least one meter, just as you expect passing cars to give you that much berth. Don't be a door ornament!
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Old 12-29-06, 06:41 PM   #4
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Ride outside the door zone for as far as there are parked cars. This is legal and safer than riding in the door zone. If this puts you in the normal path of automobile traffic, car drivers will just change lanes to pass. If they do pass you too closely on a frequent basis, you may need to ride farther into the lane in order to make it more clear that they need to change lanes.

If the road has only one lane in your direction of travel and cars cannot pass you by changing lanes, it is courteous (and in some states legally required) to pull off the road to let traffic pass if more than a few cars are backed up. However, most urban streets are wide enough that this isn't a problem.
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Old 12-29-06, 06:55 PM   #5
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contacted the local police precint about takine control of road lane and he said it just isn't done and that i would probably get killed
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Old 12-29-06, 07:26 PM   #6
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Well, you can't ride through solid objects so what else are you going to do?
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Old 12-29-06, 07:36 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by acorn54
contacted the local police precint about takine control of road lane and he said it just isn't done and that i would probably get killed
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An ignorant cop that does not understand cycling safety!
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Old 12-29-06, 08:56 PM   #8
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Most states require you to ride as far to the right as practicable. I buy the idea that it is not practicable to ride within three feet of cars much of the time.
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Old 12-29-06, 09:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sggoodri
If the road has only one lane in your direction of travel and cars cannot pass you by changing lanes, it is courteous (and in some states legally required) to pull off the road to let traffic pass if more than a few cars are backed up. However, most urban streets are wide enough that this isn't a problem.
Instead of completely stopping, you can also slow considerably (below 10mph, maybe jogging pace) and move closer to the parked cars to allow backed up traffic to pass. Be prepared to stop and don't allow yourself to speed up just because you start to feel comfortable next to the parked cars. This might save a little time on your part and allow you to let backed up traffic by faster. On city streets though, speeds tend to be slow enough that you might not back up traffic at all. I don't ride downtown much but the times I've been in Philly, like last night, it's about 50/50 cars slowing me down and vice versa.

To the cop who told you you'd get killed taking the lane, I'm not sure how to even respond to such ignorance. Midblock collisions (excluding doorings) in the city seem to be about the rarest collisions in the world of cycling. I've never heard of one on this forum and haven't read of any deaths happening mid-block on a city street. Keeping far off to the right plays a substantial role in the majority of city road bike/car collisions on the other hand.
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Old 12-29-06, 09:21 PM   #10
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+1 on that cop not understanding cycling safety. Sounds to me like he's just mouthing the same assumption that almost every other non-cyclist citizen has, that you're crazy to ride in traffic. Untrue. Many of us have ridden in traffic daily for years without serious incident, including streets with parked cars. And avoiding the "door zone" is a basic principle of every bike safety course.

Regarding the traffic law DC Commuter quoted (DC, that is NY law, right?): I think the parts about "except ... when reasonably necessary to avoid conditions that would make it unsafe" and the inclusion of "fixed objects" in that list of considerations is your answer. Also the part about narrow lanes, which it probably what the street becomes if you ride a proper distance from the parked cars. I do agree with ssgoodri that it is basic courtesy to pull over for a bit if a long line builds up behind you, although that probably won't happen all the time. Also, the faster you can ride, the less you'll hold them up and the happier everyone is!
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Old 12-30-06, 01:52 AM   #11
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Use the entire lane if you need it, to (1) stay out of the door zone and (2) make it clear to vehicles behind that you're not offering to share the lane with them so they'll need to change lanes to pass.

Here's the only tricky part: How big a gap between parked cars will you ride across while holding your line? Remember, if you shift right to let traffic pass, you'll need to move left again to pass the next parked car coming up ahead. Shifting right into too short a gap then shifting left again is the same as weaving in and out, and every time you weave out you're moving from a place where you've been invisible.

If you move right, will the traffic behind have enough space to accelerate and pass you? Will you find yourself boxed in behind the next parked car? I will ride across a rather long gap between parked cars without shifting right, because I don't want to impose the disruption in flow of shifting left again very soon.
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Old 12-30-06, 02:11 AM   #12
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If there is a gap between parked cars I move into what would be the door zone if there were parked cars, but I dont move right into the parking space. I also dont make sudden swerves.
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Old 12-30-06, 02:21 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by AndrewP
If there is a gap between parked cars I move into what would be the door zone if there were parked cars, but I dont move right into the parking space. I also dont make sudden swerves.
definitely. I never thought much about how close I was to the curb as long as I had space to ride. until riding behind a girl who was swerving in and out to stay as close as possible to the curb. Presumably she thought it was safer not to be in the road whenever possible, but if I'd been in a car it would have been scarily easy to not see her until she was decorating the bumper. Since then I choose my line and stick with it. better to be visible all the time and not surprise anyone than feel a little more secure.
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Old 12-30-06, 12:17 PM   #14
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Through downtown Encinitas, Coast Highway 101 is a 4-lane road with a posted speed limit of 30mph / 50kph. Some of the on-street parking is diagonal; the rest is parallel-to-the-curb. If parked cars are present, I generally simply take the center of the right lane, getting honked an average of 3 times per year. If an entire block is devoid of parked cars, I merge gradually into the parking zone, then signal and merge smoothly and gradually back into the traffic lane.

Although I originally opposed the "pedestrian-friendly" bump-outs at the intersections and midblock(!), I now actually like them, since they reinforce to motorists that I cannot realistically cruise down the parking zone and must therefore ride farther from the curb than they might otherwise prefer.
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