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Old 03-06-07, 12:09 AM   #1
Prime Directive
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Right-biased at intersections?

First, I should note that I ride in a small city next to a major cycling area (Denver metro) with roads that wouldn't challenge the worst of you, but still....

I'm a fan of taking the lane, especially at intersections. I would feel uncomfortable being right-biased on a wide outside lane, and it would seem that I would be putting myself at risk for right hooks. I see that it can be done safely, but I've always just thought to get in line and not worry about it. Of course, I very rarely end up at an intersection behind more than two cars.

Anyway, I bring this up because I had my second all-time angry motorist encounter today. (The first was actually an aggressive driving incident, but today's was harmless.) I was simply cycling down a low-traffic, E-W, two-lane, moderately-wide road in the middle of the city (which is bordered by two main E-W arterials) and came to a stop [stop sign] at the intersection of one of only two heavily-used N-S roads in the city. A guy in a pickup behind me started honking and pointing to the right side of the road/sidewalk (unsure which). I looked back but decided to ignore him (my standard procedure). He then opened his door enough to pop his head up and start rambling on about where I belonged and getting out of the way. My response was only to tell him to read his driver's manual (feel free to post your lines). He took on an angrier tone in response to my brush off, but I couldn't make out his entire sentence. After that I proceeded through the intersection and he made his turn.

My question: Is there anything in Colorado law that would compel me to stay over to the right when approaching an intersection OR require me to move over whenever a car appeared behind me (or complained like this guy)?

I probably delayed the guy, at most, 30 seconds, but, because I prefer/need a larger gap in cross traffic before I could go, it was technically true that the guy could have proceeded with his (probably left) turn more quickly if I hadn't been there. Another thing to consider is that cars routinely share the same lane on these types of roads at intersections--one for straight-thru/left-turners, one for right-turners--even though they probably aren't supposed to. As a courtesy, I already make sure I am over to the right whenever I'm making a right turn so that I don't unnecessarily impede straight-thru/left-turning traffic.
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Old 03-06-07, 01:42 AM   #2
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For every motorist who bothers to say something, there are probably 10 who are thinking the same thing, but at least they're not saying anything.

Many people believe any cyclist who impedes a motorist is doing something wrong, period, end of story. We need to challenge that belief, but right now it's very prevalent, and the vast majority of cyclists who ride as if it is true are not helping our cause.

I don't know about CO law in particular, but certainly in CA and in most states the law is on your side. Whatever "cyclists must keep right" law your state may have, most have an exception for approaching intersections. So the law is in our side, but most people, including most cops and even most cyclists, often don't realize it.

Having said that, what's wrong with sharing a WOL between intersections?
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Old 03-06-07, 01:46 AM   #3
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I followed your CO law link, and it looks like CO does not have an explicit exception for approaching intersections (unless you're turning left):

Quote:
5) Any person riding a bicycle shall ride in the right-hand lane. When being overtaken by another vehicle, such person shall ride as close to the right-hand side as practicable. Where a paved shoulder suitable for bicycle riding is present, persons operating bicycles shall ride on the paved shoulder. These provisions shall apply, except under any of the following situations:
(a) When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction;
(b) When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway;
(c) When reasonably necessary to avoid hazardous conditions, including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, pedestrians, animals, or surface hazards.
In your state we must argue that it is not practicable to ride so far right in a lane at an intersection approach where you're going straight that it will invite right turners to right hook you. This reasoning is the basis for many states putting in an explicit exception for intersections. You can also argue subparagraph (c)... When reasonably necessary to avoid hazardous conditions, including, but not limited to ....
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Old 03-06-07, 02:08 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
what's wrong with sharing a WOL between intersections?
Around these parts, a WOL turns into a Right Turn Only lane about 50 yards or more before each intersection with a curb to the right, and when traffic is heavy, which is always, it is purt-near impossible to negotiate a lane change, then after the intersection the lane appears again. It's quite the phoenomenon.
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Old 03-06-07, 09:14 AM   #5
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I always ride near the center of the travel lane when approaching intersections, in order to avoid right hooks and limited visibility. I've had a couple of horn honks over it, but that's it.

The only times drivers have rolled down their windows and yelled at me for taking the center of the travel lane at an intersection is when there was a striped bike lane up to the stop line, and I wasn't in it.

Just ignore them.
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Old 03-06-07, 09:17 AM   #6
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Motorist vigilantism is wrong no matter whether you are in the wrong or in the right.
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Old 03-06-07, 09:38 AM   #7
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I've never had a motorist give me 'advise' that was beneficial for me. It's all been about them.

Would you listed to this guy? (situation: while rolling into a red light on a three same direction lane road he switched lanes from middle to outer and pulled in behind me, after all there were already three cars in middle lane and just me in outer, then after light turned green he tailgaited and it took all of 5 second for him to merge back to middle lane to easily get around me. I caught him 1mi later at next light and was waiting for the next green adjacent to him)

Ride on the sidewalk, man. Your holding up traffic (mp3)

Al
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Old 03-06-07, 09:48 AM   #8
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Whenever I'm in the right hand lane at a red light or stop sign waiting to go straight thru, and there is a motor vehicle behind me who wants to turn right, I ask myself, "If I were in a car, would he expect me to do anything other than wait until it's safe to proceed (or for a greenlight depending on the situation)?".

Sometimes I'll pull up enough to let them turn, sometimes I shift left a little more and signal them to squeeze by. Othertimes they drive over the curb to make their turn. The overwhelming majority of the time, they simply wait.
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Old 03-06-07, 09:58 AM   #9
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I very often left bias myself enough to let right turners pass on my right. About half won't pull up next to me, so, if they have their turn signal on, I point to the pavement next to me. Even then some won't pull up next to me to turn. I do it out of courtesy, not out of expectation.

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Old 03-06-07, 10:31 AM   #10
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I'm with Al, I'll pull up left biased at wide laned intersections so any driver wanting to turn right can go around.

This is of course, dependant on other unique in time situations at each intersection.

Why is it up to the BICYCLIST to "challenge" drivers' misunderstandings? Why can't SOCIETY reeducate drivers about cyclists' rights to the road as well. Like Al mentions, any upset driver makes it 'all about them' anyway, a cyclist 'in the way' is going to be 'in the way' regardless of any conversation you can have with them. like Mr. Head states above, for every driver that says something, there are probably 10 that are thinking the same thing.

States, municipalities, bike advocacy groups, cities could by and large do a MUCH better job at educating drivers 'en masse' that bikes are allowed to use the full lane, etc...

Last edited by Bekologist; 03-06-07 at 10:52 AM.
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Old 03-06-07, 01:23 PM   #11
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I'm with Al and Bekologist. So long as your safety is not compromised, what is wrong with making room for right-turners? It's considerate.

Quote:
cars routinely share the same lane on these types of roads at intersections--one for straight-thru/left-turners, one for right-turners--even though they probably aren't supposed to.
If cars routinely share, like you say, you are probably safer sticking closer to the left (at least in the center of the lane), leaving room on the right.

Quote:
As a courtesy, I already make sure I am over to the right whenever I'm making a right turn so that I don't unnecessarily impede straight-thru/left-turning traffic.
What is different between moving to the right when you are turning right and moving to the left when you are going straight/turning left?

Sounds like the guy beeped to get your attention, then pointed to indicate he was turning right. Why wouldn't you just get over? To prove a point that you aren't legally obligated to move over? What about common courtesy?

Putting up with a necessary delay to traffic is something everyone needs to just deal with. Just because someone delays you doesn't mean they are in the wrong. However, someone delaying you "just because" is pretty annoying.
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Old 03-07-07, 11:26 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
Having said that, what's wrong with sharing a WOL between intersections?
Nothing. I routinely ride over to the right (1-2 feet from the curb) between intersections, but always take the middle of the lane at intersections (or, whenever I remember, take a left or right bias depending on my upcoming maneuver).

Quote:
Originally Posted by zeytoun
What is different between moving to the right when you are turning right and moving to the left when you are going straight/turning left?
Nothing, IMO. Sometimes I just take the center regardless of destination, but whenever I think of it I will be left or right biased depending on my upcoming maneuver. However, it is possible (LINK, see "Red Light of Death", A and B) to cross an intersection alongside cars rather than in line with them. I assume the more experience cyclists here in the bigger cities do this all the time in bike lanes or through "lane splitting". I've never really understood how lane splitting or filtering up to the front works, and with a bike lane you might be taking the chance that the lane won't be continued on past the intersection (+ the right hook danger).

Quote:
Originally Posted by zeytoun
Sounds like the guy beeped to get your attention, then pointed to indicate he was turning right. Why wouldn't you just get over? To prove a point that you aren't legally obligated to move over? What about common courtesy?

Putting up with a necessary delay to traffic is something everyone needs to just deal with. Just because someone delays you doesn't mean they are in the wrong. However, someone delaying you "just because" is pretty annoying.
It certainly never occurred to me that he might be indicating where he wanted to turn. Usually that kind of pointing is intended to be a visual command to move over "where I belong", aka the edge of the road or sidewalk. That was reinforced in my mind by his verbal commands to do the same after I ignored his pointing.

Mainly I just wanted to know if Colorado law effectively, if not explicitly, supported my position that I should not have to move over or otherwise behave differently from an automobile at intersections. Was I discourteous to not give the intersection to the motorists behind me before making my maneuver? I don't think so, but you're free to disagree.
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