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Old 07-26-07, 06:09 PM   #1
Jerseysbest
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Should I feel bad?

I was going for a long, but nice and easy ride today when I came to a pretty busy intersection and wanted to make a left turn.

So, since it is pretty busy, traffic is backed up a fair amount and moving slowly so it is not too difficult to move over to the left turn lane, as shown in the cute little graphic I made.

In the left turn lane, I was behind the 4th or so car, with a car closing in behind me. The light was about to change, so I didn't want to unclip from my peddles; I maintained some distance between me and the car in front and keep rolling. But, the car in front didn't make it in time for the green arrow, and opposing traffic started coming.

And still, opposing traffic had a big break coming in it so, again, I didn't want to unclip, I pulled up alongside the car in front of me and timed it just right so as the break in opposing traffic came, the car beside me and I would both enter the intersection at the same time and make the left turn side by side, again, as shown in the little graphic.

Unfortunately, this luxury car was populated with two past-their-prime women who both freaked out. Then as they turn on the street with a 25 mph speed limit, they drive, based on my computer, about 20mph. Then they decide they want to turn right, no signal of course, and I also was doing about 20mph which means I'm right behind them on the right. And as they turn, they mindfully slow down to a crawl in front of me, both giving me that, "oh my gosh" look.

Was I riding too aggressive? When I ride, I have two main goals; one being my safety and the other being as little impedance to traffic as possible.
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Old 07-26-07, 06:46 PM   #2
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I take it that your path is the dotted black line?
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Old 07-26-07, 08:11 PM   #3
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I prefer to go through intersections holding my own place in line rather than placing myself beside a car. As you have just given a great example of, you never know what they're going to do. Plus you surprised them. I think that unpredictability in traffic just leads to equally unpredictable responses, increasing the danger.

I think you would do better in your goal of safety to take your own place going through intersections, for the sake of predictability and visibilty. As to holding up cars, you can probably not hold up cars behind you too much if you are not stopped more than 4 or 5 cars from the head of the line, and I think they don't mind so much if they see you obeying the law and being predictable. I think unpredictability aggrevates motorists more than a few seconds being held up, for the most part.

The way I look at is, if I weren't here on my bike, I'd be here in my car, taking up the same amount of space or more. Not that they realize that, but I know it's true...
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Old 07-26-07, 08:17 PM   #4
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I have a similar situation, and I've been thinking about doing it, but I've decided against it simply because I figure somebody will do something like that. So you've convinced me for sure not to try it.

In theory, there's no reason why you shouldn't, assuming people have any sense, but they don't.
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Old 07-26-07, 08:37 PM   #5
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I usually wait behind the car. What you did is fine, but I'm always worried people will turn into the far right lane and right at that moment a car from on coming traffic will also try to make a right, sandwiching me.
Nice graphic.
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Old 07-26-07, 08:42 PM   #6
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"Should I feel bad?" NO absolutely not. You should have unclipped, but don't feel bad about any action that doesn't get you hurt.
Your priorities should be:
1. Your own safety
2. Others' safety
3. Your equipment's safety

Don't give any thought at all to being a traffic impedamce. Do you worry about impeding traffic when you are driving a car, you are stopped waiting to turn left, and cars stack up behind you? You shouldn't then, and you shouldn't worry about it on your bike.
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Old 07-26-07, 11:46 PM   #7
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I think you sort of blew it; though you were not totally erratic and not the least bit idiotic, you were unpredictable, which confirmed some motorists' opinion that bicyclists only follow rules when they feel like it. You should have waited your turn. I wouldn't dwell on it, though. All of us have made tactical mistakes, and motorists seem to do so at least as often as cyclists do.
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Old 07-27-07, 12:55 AM   #8
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Don't feel bad, but do realize the added risk you take when double turning with motorist.

Plus, you should either get over the aversion to unclipping or learn to track stand.
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Old 07-27-07, 04:49 AM   #9
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Plus, you should either get over the aversion to unclipping or learn to track stand.
Noticed that two (times). Completely changes the sentence "When I ride, I have two main goals; one being my safety and the other being as little impedance to traffic as possible." to "When I ride I have one main goal: to not unclip." Another option would be to ditch the clipless and get platform pedals. Sorry Jerseysbest, but it's tough love here in the A&S forum.
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Old 07-27-07, 05:37 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
Don't feel bad, but do realize the added risk you take when double turning with motorist.

Plus, you should either get over the aversion to unclipping or learn to track stand.
Or use pedals that don't cause you such anguish at intersections or lead to unsafe cycling maneuvers.
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Old 07-27-07, 06:44 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by JohnBrooking View Post
I prefer to go through intersections holding my own place in line rather than placing myself beside a car. As you have just given a great example of, you never know what they're going to do. Plus you surprised them. I think that unpredictability in traffic just leads to equally unpredictable responses, increasing the danger.

I think you would do better in your goal of safety to take your own place going through intersections, for the sake of predictability and visibilty. As to holding up cars, you can probably not hold up cars behind you too much if you are not stopped more than 4 or 5 cars from the head of the line, and I think they don't mind so much if they see you obeying the law and being predictable. I think unpredictability aggrevates motorists more than a few seconds being held up, for the most part.

The way I look at is, if I weren't here on my bike, I'd be here in my car, taking up the same amount of space or more. Not that they realize that, but I know it's true...
+1 ... Exactly! You are supposed to be following the same rules of the road as a car. I'm sure you wouldn't have pulled that same maneuver if you were driving a car. You were unpredictable and are lucky you are alive to write about it. Your 2nd stated goal I believe is wrong "When I ride, I have two main goals; one being my safety and the other being as little impedance to traffic as possible." Remember, you ARE TRAFFIC.
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Old 07-28-07, 02:17 PM   #12
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Thanks for all the responses.

I don't have too much of an aversion to unclipping, just when traffic starts, it can be hard to clip in and get going fast, but that kinda plays along with me not wanting to hold up traffic. If I took that extra few seconds to clip in from a stand still and go, I just feel like a nuisance blocking traffic. But I'm starting to get over that, although I am very comfortable riding in traffic.

I usually try to be as predictable as possible when I'm riding in traffic and cars are passing me, like maintaining a certain distance from the edge of the road, taking into account sewer grates so I'm not swerving when they come. I guess riding next to a car in the left turn lane was pushing it. I don't get much interaction with other bikers too much so its nice to hear some opinions on it.

And I probably won't be changing to platforms on this bike as its my dedicated road bike; my commuter bike does have platforms because its ridden in a lot of stop and go traffic.
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Old 07-28-07, 07:59 PM   #13
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I often do this for half the intersection to use the turning vehichle as a shield against someone running the red from the left, then I fall in behind the turning vehichle or just complete a wide turn and continue along the shoulder. Of course it helps tremendously if you're familiar with the roads and know exactly what the road that you're turning into is like.

I worded my response as if I ride on the right although we drive on the left hand side here because the principle is the same.
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