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Old 05-14-07, 08:27 AM   #1
bhtooefr
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Was I a JAM?

Note that nothing bad happened, no collisions, not even close, no negative reactions from the cyclists, etc., etc.

I'm just wondering what everyone's opinion of the situation is. (I know, dangerous to ask for everyone's opinion in A&S. )

Road is a 55 MPH two-lane (one lane each way) state route, in a very rural area. Time was 9 AM - after most people have already left the area to make it to work on time, so traffic was low. Visibility was perfect.

Cyclist is riding on the white line, with a trailer. This is up a long hill, and I was at the beginning of the hill - meaning that there was plenty of room to safely pass. The centerline was a double yellow, however.

Rather than take the lane, when the cyclist saw me coming, he or she got onto the edge of the road (over the white line,) and I passed.

There was another cyclist further down the road, with a heavily loaded bike, in a similar situation.

I'm not sure about the legality of the pass (I have heard that there are some laws about passing slow moving vehicles in a no passing zone being legal, mainly for when you get stuck behind a ~20 MPH tractor... but cyclists don't show SMV signs, obviously,) but that's not what concerns me as much as whether the pass was the correct response safety-wise.
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Old 05-14-07, 10:00 AM   #2
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IMO it was OK. You probably were slightly over to the left of the lane anyway.
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Old 05-14-07, 10:39 AM   #3
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To clarify, I did go about half-way over into the left hand lane for both cyclists, to give the cyclist plenty of room. (Width of pavement between the white line and gravel is about a foot at best.) I could see far enough ahead to see that I was in no danger to do that.
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Old 05-14-07, 10:46 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhtooefr
To clarify, I did go about half-way over into the left hand lane for both cyclists, to give the cyclist plenty of room. (Width of pavement between the white line and gravel is about a foot at best.) I could see far enough ahead to see that I was in no danger to do that.
It's technically against the law to pass another vehicle by crossing a double yellow line but in practice, I've been passed by cops and had cops witness others pass me by crossing double yellows. The double yellows were striped assuming much higher speeds than a cyclist is normally going. It would be more of an inconvenience for the cyclist to follow him for a while until he had a good spot to pull over (which would be following the letter of the law) not to mention slowing you way down for a while too.

As long as people are reasonable with their passes and/or listen to my communication about when and when not to pass, I have no issue being passed in no passing zones. Otherwise, I'd be pulling over 5-10 times per commute to let backed up traffic by. It can get dangerous when people are unreasonable but it doesn't sound at all like you were unreasonable.
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Old 05-14-07, 10:58 AM   #5
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Well, as I mentioned in the original post, I have heard that there is a law relating to slow moving vehicles - that is, farm vehicles - and double yellow line passing being legal, but I'm not at all certain about that.

I was mainly wondering about whether that was the correct safe response, regardless of the law, and that was exactly what I was thinking.

I have noticed cyclists more while driving, since starting to cycle myself...

(Now, if you want a JAM story from a week ago... try taking the lane in a redneck area on a 55 MPH US route. Some guy in his pickup truck towing a boat was bearing down on me, horn blaring. And, I had no choice but to take the lane, as there was a left turn coming up. At least I was only on that road for a few hundred feet. But, I did pull completely off the road for this nut...)
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Old 05-14-07, 11:03 AM   #6
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Sounds like a safe, practical, and reasonable pass to me. Most police officers won't care if you squeeze over double-yellow lines in the interest of providing greater "safety cushion" for cyclists and pedestrians.
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Old 05-14-07, 11:03 AM   #7
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I just found this in a list of changes to the Ohio Revised Code's bicycle laws, effective 2006-09-21.

4511.31 Hazardous Zones
Allows for the crossing of a double yellow line in instances when drivers are approaching a slower vehicle (bicycles, horse-drawn buggies, farm vehicles, etc.) proceeding at less than half of the posted speed, as long as the faster vehicle is capable of passing without exceeding the speed limit and as long as there is sufficient clear space in which to do so.

In other words, my pass was completely legal.
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Old 05-14-07, 12:07 PM   #8
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The double yellows were striped assuming much higher speeds than a cyclist is normally going.
+1. Provided you (the passing car driver) have visibility.
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Old 05-14-07, 02:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joejack951
It's technically against the law to pass another vehicle by crossing a double yellow line .
Depends where you live
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Old 05-14-07, 02:12 PM   #10
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Well, are you asking whether you were a jackass or whether you broke the law? Two different questions.

Personally, I think that it was a reasonable and safe way to pass. If all drivers acted reasonably and safely, there'd be no need for traffic laws.
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Old 05-14-07, 02:14 PM   #11
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I was asking whether I was a jackass, mainly.

Now I know that I wasn't, so it's all good.
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Old 05-14-07, 05:51 PM   #12
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Technically illegal, but I've seen cops do it.
It's a law that is absurd when interpreted too literally in such circumstances. Everyone knows it. The alternative is to write in certain exceptions, and would probably be too complicated; a mess. Better to make it technically illegal, and let people bend it using their own judgement.
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Old 05-14-07, 05:59 PM   #13
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If you have a clear sight line, passed the cyclist with at least 3 feet of space and did not endanger oncoming traffic; then you were OK in my book and most likely under your state law.
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Old 05-14-07, 06:04 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by CB HI
If you have a clear sight line, passed the cyclist with at least 3 feet of space and did not endanger oncoming traffic; then you were OK in my book and most likely under your state law.
I concur
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Old 05-14-07, 06:10 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sgtsmile
Depends where you live
Where is it legal?
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Old 05-14-07, 07:27 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhtooefr
...but that's not what concerns me as much as whether the pass was the correct response safety-wise.
My advice, forget about painted lines, including double-yellows. Give the cyclist (and trailer, you never know who's in there!) twice as much room as you think they need.

You'll like yourself for it...a lot.

Good on yer for the post!
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Old 05-14-07, 08:32 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhtooefr
I just found this in a list of changes to the Ohio Revised Code's bicycle laws, effective 2006-09-21.

4511.31 Hazardous Zones
Allows for the crossing of a double yellow line in instances when drivers are approaching a slower vehicle (bicycles, horse-drawn buggies, farm vehicles, etc.) proceeding at less than half of the posted speed, as long as the faster vehicle is capable of passing without exceeding the speed limit and as long as there is sufficient clear space in which to do so.

In other words, my pass was completely legal.
Regardless of legality you certainly were not a JAM. The cyclist was signalling to you to pass and you gave plenty of room. As long as it wasn't done in an area where you might have to pull back in quickly and risk striking the cyclist to avoid a car coming the other way I see no moral dilemma.
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Old 05-15-07, 10:15 PM   #18
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Can somebody please tell me what a jam is?

The search function doesn't really help here.

The urban dictionary has SEVERAL listings for jam, most of which definitely do NOT have anything to do with bicycling.

I took a brief break from the forums while caring for my wife and our newborn and am just catching up, never heard of that term until tuning back in post-childbirth.
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Old 05-15-07, 10:43 PM   #19
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Jacka$$ motorist
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Old 05-16-07, 04:29 AM   #20
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Jacka$$ motorist
Thank you, it makes perfect sense now. I knew it was something-motorist..
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Old 05-16-07, 09:41 PM   #21
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In California, the overriding law is that you must drive safely under prevailing conditions.

I suppose that leaves a lot of lattitude for interpretation, but if cop sees you 'following the rules' but determines you are driving unsafely, he can and will ticket you. Another example is driving the posted speed limit in fog or a hailstorm (for instance.)

I think the sense intended to be imparted is that lines, signs, even stoplights and all the rest are guideposts. Under most normal circumstances they are, of course, the rule. But safety overrides everything.

So, squeeze the yellow line, or even cross over it if you need to maintain a safe distance (and there's no oncoming.)


BTW: I'm currently in Delhi, India. Bicycles are an accepted part of the traffic, but not in the sense that you might think. It takes nerves of steel and reflexes of a mongoose to drive, ride, or walk the roads in India.

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Old 05-16-07, 09:55 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joejack951
Where is it legal?
I was told recently by a police officer (who is also a cyclist, a National Examiner for the CAN-BIKE program - someone who can train CAN-BIKE instructors and in short someone who's much more knowledgeable about rules of the road than your average clueless cop) that in Ontario any lines in the road that are not accompanied by signs (e.g. "No Passing") are merely guidelines. So for example it is perfectly legal to ride on the wrong side of the road if there is no oncoming traffic (unless there is a median which technically turns the street into two one-way streets or something like that).

So I doubt crossing the yellow line to pass another vehicle is always illegal. You might be surprised. Even the fact that the cops might ticket you for it doesn't mean anything (plenty of cops will ticket you for biking in the middle of a lane ).
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Old 05-17-07, 08:29 AM   #23
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That's not being a JAM at all. I get passed on double yellows all the time and most of the time, it causes no problems for anybody. Now if someone decides to be a fool and pass with 1" of clearance, or pass when there's obviously oncoming traffic dangerously nearby, then swerve back into the right lane, that's another story.
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Old 05-17-07, 09:50 AM   #24
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I always cross the double yellow at least part-way when passing a cyclist if our half of the road has less than 14' of good pavement, whether they hug the edge or not.
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