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Old 08-21-07, 12:05 PM   #1
San Rensho 
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Driving with cyclists safety in mind.

This is the scenario, I am driving on a narrow two lane road which is too narrow for a car and a bicycle to ride side by side in the same lane. Approaching me in the opposite direction is a cyclist, who is not taking the lane, but hugging the side of the road, closely followed by car that wants to pass him. There is a very good likelihood that if the driver tries to pass, he will go by me at the same time he is passing the cyclist.

If I move to my right, then I think I will only be encouraging the oncoming driver to make an unsafe pass of the bicyclist.

So should I just stay where I am in the lane, or is there something else I can do to discourage the oncoming driver from passing the cyclist.
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Old 08-21-07, 12:09 PM   #2
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Even when driving, holding your line is a good idea.
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Old 08-21-07, 12:17 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by San Rensho View Post
This is the scenario, I am driving on a narrow two lane road which is too narrow for a car and a bicycle to ride side by side in the same lane. Approaching me in the opposite direction is a cyclist, who is not taking the lane, but hugging the side of the road, closely followed by car that wants to pass him. There is a very good likelihood that if the driver tries to pass, he will go by me at the same time he is passing the cyclist.

If I move to my right, then I think I will only be encouraging the oncoming driver to make an unsafe pass of the bicyclist.

So should I just stay where I am in the lane, or is there something else I can do to discourage the oncoming driver from passing the cyclist.
Just a point i want to add....as a cyclist, I use my rear view mirror and and road savvy to avoid this situation whenever I can. I would either speed up or slow down so that the two vehicles and my bike are not in the same place at the same time. Not that it is always effective.


In general i would veer to the right as a driver, but not so far as to go 'off the road.' I would also slow down, and perhaps blink my lights, to slow down the other driver and make the whole situation more risk-averse.

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Old 08-21-07, 12:22 PM   #4
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Hold your line, or move left within your lane, to try to discourage him from passing the cyclist. If he starts to pass anyway, then move way right, even onto the shoulder, to let him do it as safely as possible. (Plus, if he sees you bail onto the shoulder in response to his move, it might occur to him that he screwed up and should have waited to pass when it was safe.)
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Old 08-21-07, 12:24 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by San Rensho View Post
This is the scenario, I am driving on a narrow two lane road which is too narrow for a car and a bicycle to ride side by side in the same lane. Approaching me in the opposite direction is a cyclist, who is not taking the lane, but hugging the side of the road, closely followed by car that wants to pass him. There is a very good likelihood that if the driver tries to pass, he will go by me at the same time he is passing the cyclist.

If I move to my right, then I think I will only be encouraging the oncoming driver to make an unsafe pass of the bicyclist.

So should I just stay where I am in the lane, or is there something else I can do to discourage the oncoming driver from passing the cyclist.
I see no harm in closing the gap between your car and the center stripe.
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Old 08-21-07, 12:28 PM   #6
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I was driving car in early darkness in outside lane of a two lane 35mph posted road at 35mph. A lit cyclist was ahead on curb side of medium-narrow lane. I merged quite early into inner lane to pass. In outside lane was a speeding car in the distance, that I only noticed appraoching very fast after I had merged. Their reaction on getting closer to me was to suddenly swerve into outside lane to pass. They were going about 55-60mph and I noted they passed cyclist with ~1ft of clearance.

It would have been safer for cyclist if I had stayed in outer lane, even if I passed cyclist with 2-3ft of space at 35mph (I would have held back though and not squeezed by). But I could not have known this at the time.

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Old 08-21-07, 12:32 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by San Rensho View Post
This is the scenario, I am driving on a narrow two lane road which is too narrow for a car and a bicycle to ride side by side in the same lane. Approaching me in the opposite direction is a cyclist, who is not taking the lane, but hugging the side of the road, closely followed by car that wants to pass him. There is a very good likelihood that if the driver tries to pass, he will go by me at the same time he is passing the cyclist.

If I move to my right, then I think I will only be encouraging the oncoming driver to make an unsafe pass of the bicyclist.

So should I just stay where I am in the lane, or is there something else I can do to discourage the oncoming driver from passing the cyclist.

why cant you just slow down? its only a few SECONDS out of your life.
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Old 08-21-07, 12:34 PM   #8
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why cant you just slow down? its only a few SECONDS out of your life.
That won't make any difference to the potential oncoming passer, if anything they will read it as a signal to pass cyclist (quickly and close to take advantage of the little extra space/time that makes it possible)
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Old 08-21-07, 12:44 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by divergence View Post
Hold your line, or move left within your lane, to try to discourage him from passing the cyclist. If he starts to pass anyway, then move way right, even onto the shoulder, to let him do it as safely as possible. (Plus, if he sees you bail onto the shoulder in response to his move, it might occur to him that he screwed up and should have waited to pass when it was safe.)
I think I agree with this.

In my experience, if you leave a gap for a motorist, he will immediately take it, and in this case, would encourage him to make an unsafe pass of the cyclist.

Obviously, if the cyclist just takes this lane, this will all be avoided because the driver is not going to chance going into my lane to pass and risk hitting me head on.
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Old 08-21-07, 12:55 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by divergence View Post
Hold your line, or move left within your lane, to try to discourage him from passing the cyclist. If he starts to pass anyway, then move way right, even onto the shoulder, to let him do it as safely as possible. (Plus, if he sees you bail onto the shoulder in response to his move, it might occur to him that he screwed up and should have waited to pass when it was safe.)
This is what I do as a motorist in this situation. As a cyclist in this scenario I hate it when the oncoming car moves far right early on. This only encourages an unsafe pass. Then, if I move left (to prevent it) they'll move even farther right. This can be a very awkward situation because to the driver of the vehicle following me it looks like the oncoming driver is being cooperative and I'm not. Hold your line!
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Old 08-21-07, 12:56 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noisebeam View Post
I was driving car in early darkness in outside lane of a two lane 35mph posted road at 35mph. A lit cyclist was ahead on curb side of medium-narrow lane. I merged quite early into inner lane to pass. In outside lane was a speeding car in the distance, that I only noticed appraoching very fast after I had merged. Their reaction on getting closer to me was to suddenly swerve into outside lane to pass. They were going about 55-60mph and I noted they passed cyclist with ~1ft of clearance.

It would have been safer for cyclist if I had stayed in outer lane, even if I passed cyclist with 2-3ft of space at 35mph (I would have held back though and not squeezed by). But I could not have known this at the time.

Al
I used to move over one lane when passing cyclists, but noticed that JAMs would take the right lane and do exactly what I would not have done. Now I simple slow down in the right lane when passing a cyclist and give them lots of room, just as I would like. Anybody that insists on going fast, goes into the left most lane. I shield the cyclist in this way.

I think in the OPs situation I would simply slow down so there would not be a squeeze play where the cyclist and autos all come together. The brakes work just as well to avoid "situations."
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Old 08-21-07, 12:59 PM   #12
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I used to move over one lane when passing cyclists, but noticed that JAMs would take the right lane and do exactly what I would not have done. Now I simple slow down in the right lane when passing a cyclist and give them lots of room, just as I would like. Anybody that insists on going fast, goes into the left most lane. I shield the cyclist in this way.
Yep. This is what I'd do from now on. At the time it seem the right thing to do to change to inside lane, road was basically empty (which is what encouraged this idiot drive at 60mph)

Of course if in this situation I don't move over and instead pass with 3' clearance while going over lane divider, I don't seem like I am being considerate to the cyclist.

Al
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Old 08-21-07, 01:15 PM   #13
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I used to move over one lane when passing cyclists, but noticed that JAMs would take the right lane and do exactly what I would not have done. Now I simple slow down in the right lane when passing a cyclist and give them lots of room, just as I would like. Anybody that insists on going fast, goes into the left most lane. I shield the cyclist in this way.
Per the OP, this thread is about a narrow 2-lane road. You seem to be talking about a multi-laner.

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I think in the OPs situation I would simply slow down so there would not be a squeeze play where the cyclist and autos all come together. The brakes work just as well to avoid "situations."
Slowing down can encourage the oncoming motorist to pass the oncoming cyclist.
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Old 08-21-07, 01:21 PM   #14
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Per the OP, this thread is about a narrow 2-lane road. You seem to be talking about a multi-laner.
The title of the thread is "Driving with cyclists safety in mind." so I viewed that as an open invite to discuss how to drive [a motor vehicle] with cyclist safety in mind.

San's example seemed to be getting suggestions, I offered a different scenario (a multilane road), which Gene commented on. Sorry for the confusion, stay vigillant.

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Old 08-21-07, 01:53 PM   #15
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Per the OP, this thread is about a narrow 2-lane road. You seem to be talking about a multi-laner.
I am... there are other situations in which we when we drive can "protect" a cyclist.

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Slowing down can encourage the oncoming motorist to pass the oncoming cyclist.
If there is room, I will encourage it... if not, I will hold my line. However the last thing I want is a squeeze play.
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Old 08-27-07, 09:05 AM   #16
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Hmm. This is slightly unrelated (except for the fact that it happened on Coral Gables roads), but I recall a case in where a hot-footed, white Ford Excursion attempted to pass me on one of the Gables' traditional, narrow, two-lane (one for each direction of traffic) roads, less then 50 feet from a stop sign ahead.

I had already moved out slightly farther into the center of the lane to discourage passing, but that didn't stop him/her (probably the latter - soccer moms are known for aggressive driving around here) from pulling out to pass (there was no oncoming traffic).

As the speed they were going - once they moved over - was no more then a few MPH faster then I, I chanced it: I put out the "stop" signal with my palm extended downwards, and moved farther left into the lane (pulling my hand back in, just in case of a close shave), shutting them off from making the pass. By then, there was no space to pull back in the lane either, so it worked - and worked well too, I might add.

I turned right immediately afterwards, so I didn't have time to find out more about their driving habits, although I did watch them at the stop sign after I turned. They didn't move for about 15 seconds - clear cross traffic and all. Either they were too pissed to continue, or stunned. Who knows?

Take care,

-Kurt

P.S.: Hope you don't mind me barging into your thread Aldo. Incidentally, in regards to your other post, I've seen some roundabout streets that still get some good traffic. I'll sometimes bring my dual-boinger Trek Y3 MTB down there sometimes, specifically to ride over the roundabout as if it were a continuous lane at 20mph. The mere case of a motorist watching this is usually enough to spook the crap out of them. It is entertaining if you have it timed right.
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Old 08-27-07, 09:24 AM   #17
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Slowing down can encourage the oncoming motorist to pass the oncoming cyclist.
At the same time, taking some speed off can allow everyone to react faster to the other two's moves. I don't think slowing, in conjuction with the other advice (i.e. holding your line until the other driver begins a pass) is that harmful and may in the end be helpful.
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Old 08-27-07, 09:42 AM   #18
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Well is seems pretty clear that the cyclist should take more of the lane. As far as San Rensho's car, there are some choices based on speed. First I would stop if this was a narrow, urban 25 mph street and possibly move to the left a bit. Otherwise business as usual. Since I live on a narrow street, with parking on both sides and no middle stripe this sends the slow down signal to the oncoming car, since if there is contact, it will be the driver of the moving vehicle who is at fault.
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Old 08-27-07, 11:33 AM   #19
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Hold your line, be ready to brake and move right if the other guy decides to pass OR slow and move right, giving the other guy the room to pass. Your call based on the situation at the time. There ain't no one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter answers when it comes to driving or cycling in traffic.
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Old 08-27-07, 03:49 PM   #20
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I'd hold your line, you can't control other drivers.
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