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  1. #1
    Senior Member hotbike's Avatar
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    Merging Traffic from the Right

    I was cycling Westbound on Forest Avenue. The intersection is at a low point in the road, so I had speed and momentum. Now I'm going uphill, and as I look to my right, there is a minivan, going about 50MPH. The driver blew his horn at me . But I moved about three feet to my right, to let him know I wanted the far right . He stopped or slowed down and let me move over. I waved my 22" square red flag at him, and waved him by on my left.

    Use this link if the map doesn't appear:
    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=e...=19&iwloc=addr

    I know the minivan was going fifty per, coming from around the blind curve, off of Skunks Misery Road (Beautiful name for a road , isn't it?).
    What's wrong is that there is a single green light for traffic from skunks Misery onto Forest Ave. The light is always green. I think the light sends the wrong message, it should be a blinking yellow light, or maybe a blinking red.

    I was also distracted on account of a car that had passed me just before my light turned green, and I passed him, and he passed me again (double pass) , but I wanted to maintain my momentum for the short hill climb.

    No big deal, he didn't come within 50 feet of me. I want some opinions on the stupid layout of this intersection.
    Last edited by hotbike; 03-28-08 at 04:28 PM. Reason: link doesn't work
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/sets/72157639939606343/

  2. #2
    Senior Member hotbike's Avatar
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    I was westbound, past the triangle island, and in the zebra stripes.

    There is a red arrow on the map where the minivan was.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/sets/72157639939606343/

  3. #3
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    If you were in the zebra stripes you were in the gore not in regular vehicular traffic lanes. You were not acting like a vehicle driver, and so should not have expected to be treated like one. In any case, the driver coming from the right in his own lane had no obligation to yield to you.

    As you continue west, the stripes separating the gore converge into one solid stripe. You should stay left of that stripe until it becomes dashed. Just prior to getting to that point, start looking back over your right shoulder and signaling if you need to negotiate, but the traffic merging in has the ROW. If they yield to you, great, move in. If not, let them go and negotiate with the next guy. That's how it works.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Alex's Avatar
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    I'm with you. I would not want to be between those two lanes but you have to be better off in the left lane until the turning traffic slows down or moves on. Just hope they don't merge into you.

  5. #5
    Senior Member hotbike's Avatar
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    I shouldn't have passed the car that passed me again.

    That caused a distraction, when normally I'm looking over my right shoulder to see if there is traffic merging.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/sets/72157639939606343/

  6. #6
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Irrespective of the zebra stripes, the road design is flawed and potentially dangerous. HH won't like my answer, but my solution with the minivan approaching at 50mph would have been to stop and wait in the zebra stripes, then cross when I got a nice healthy break in traffic. I would also complain vociferously in an attempt to get the road redesigned -- if enough folks complain, we may be able to start getting rid of some of these bike- and ped-hostile configurations.
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  7. #7
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John E View Post
    Irrespective of the zebra stripes, the road design is flawed and potentially dangerous. HH won't like my answer, but my solution with the minivan approaching at 50mph would have been to stop and wait in the zebra stripes, then cross when I got a nice healthy break in traffic. I would also complain vociferously in an attempt to get the road redesigned -- if enough folks complain, we may be able to start getting rid of some of these bike- and ped-hostile configurations.
    Actually, that's fine. If you want to get out of traffic and then back in, that's fine, as long as you are yielding properly when you get back in. I have no problem with that, and actually do it myself from time to time westbound LJVD where traffic from Gilman merges in from the right. My problem with the OP was expecting the minivan driver, who had the ROW, to yield to him.

  8. #8
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post
    Actually, that's fine. If you want to get out of traffic and then back in, that's fine, as long as you are yielding properly when you get back in. I have no problem with that, and actually do it myself from time to time westbound LJVD where traffic from Gilman merges in from the right.
    I hate that merge. Eastbound ain't no picnic, either.

    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post
    My problem with the OP was expecting the minivan driver, who had the ROW, to yield to him.
    Concur.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  9. #9
    Senior Member hotbike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head View Post
    Actually, that's fine. If you want to get out of traffic and then back in, that's fine, as long as you are yielding properly when you get back in. I have no problem with that, and actually do it myself from time to time westbound LJVD where traffic from Gilman merges in from the right. My problem with the OP was expecting the minivan driver, who had the ROW, to yield to him.
    There's another way to get through this intersection. I could make a right, and then an immediate left, and go around the North side of the triangle traffic island. But yesterday, I was moving fast on the downhill, and the light turned green just as I got to it. I was moving at or near the speed limit (30 MPH), and the minivan was doing considerably more.

    I agree with John E that the road design is flawed and potentially dangerous. Bicycles have to use the right most portion of the lane, but here traffic is merging from the right. I wanted to move right, to avoid being between the two WB lanes. The minivan driver wasn't expecting me. But I will give the driver credit, although he did honk, in less than two seconds, he applied the brakes and let me move right.

    I don't think the road will get redesigned, on account that the Lattingtown area is very upscale, and most of the bicycle traffic is immigrants.

    I also have to look out for cars moving into the right lane from my left, because drivers are preparing to make a right into the shopping center a short distance west of this intersection.

    So this was the first time someone honked at me in a while, and I just wanted to vent my frustration.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/sets/72157639939606343/

  10. #10
    www.chipsea.blogspot.com ChipSeal's Avatar
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    It looks to me like Forrest Road becomes a single narrow lane approaching Lattington Road from the east. If that is true, I would take the lane and remain in a controlling position until I was past the gore area, (Zebra stripes) then merging right as traffic permitted.

    I do not have the opinion that the intersection is a "flawed design". The "merging" lane actually becomes a new right lane, so there is no real conflict. Simply stay in the left lane until a sufficient gap appears to to merge right safely.

    My question is, how did you pass the car and how did he pass you? Did you pass him on the right, and was he stopped or slowing for the light? Why didn't you take the lane? It appears too narrow to safely share. Was the car you passed a narrow car like a Prius?
    Vehicular cycling techniques have not been tried and found difficult. They have been presumed difficult and not tried.

  11. #11
    Senior Member hotbike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChipSeal View Post
    It looks to me like Forrest Road becomes a single narrow lane approaching Lattington Road from the east. If that is true, I would take the lane and remain in a controlling position until I was past the gore area, (Zebra stripes) then merging right as traffic permitted.

    I do not have the opinion that the intersection is a "flawed design". The "merging" lane actually becomes a new right lane, so there is no real conflict. Simply stay in the left lane until a sufficient gap appears to to merge right safely.

    My question is, how did you pass the car and how did he pass you? Did you pass him on the right, and was he stopped or slowing for the light? Why didn't you take the lane? It appears too narrow to safely share. Was the car you passed a narrow car like a Prius?
    I was going Westbound. Eastbound is another matter. At that intersection, Forrest Avenue (four lanes) splits, eastbound, with the left lane signed "Lattingtown Road" and "left turn only". On the Eastbound side of the road, there is a right hand curve and for a short distance, there is no shoulder. When I go EB, I take the lane.

    Yesterday, when the minivan beeped his horn, I looked, and he was fifty feet behind me, and I chose to take the right lane, effectively blocking him. He stopped, and I waved my red highway flag once I was over to the right (north side, where the zebra stripes end). I was set up for cars passing on the left, with my rear view mirror and my red flag on the left side of my handlebars.

    His light , to clarify, was a single green arrow, pointing 45 deg. to the right, like a clock with the hour hand at 2:00PM. There is a sign before the curve on Lattingtown road with a picture of a traffic light.
    Going North on Lattingtown road there are yellow and black speed limit signs which say "20MPH" and "15MPH" but there are no speed limit signs approaching the intersection. But this guy was going 50MPH.
    I would assume that the speed limit is the same in both directions, and the sign must've got knocked down southbound.

    Anyway, I went back today with a pair of lopping shears, and I removed much of the vegetation from the northside of the intersection. That should improve visibility, both for the driver to see the bike and the cyclist to see the cars.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/sets/72157639939606343/

  12. #12
    Senior Member wheel's Avatar
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    just to say it you could detour at 14st and come down skunks if you really wanted to.

    However I would just take my lane till the dashes.
    IE turning left. I sometimes will be on a 7 lane road (can be with bike lanes also) and to get to the left lane need to merge and then stay in the middle lane (2) to let traffic pass me (on both sides). The ***** is traffic comming from behind me in my lane which merges over to lane (3) making it harder to get to (4).

  13. #13
    Senior Member hotbike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wheel View Post
    just to say it you could detour at 14st and come down skunks if you really wanted to...
    Although it looks easy from the map, there is a substantial hill. I fear my brakes would fail me going down 14th, and I wouldn't want to climb it coming the other way.
    Also, I'd have to ride Skunks through the S curve, which is 15 or 20 MPH , but the drivers go 50.

    As I said, I cleared some vegetation from the North side of Skunks Misery Road, so it should be safer now.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/sets/72157639939606343/

  14. #14
    Devilmaycare Cycling Fool Allister's Avatar
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    That intersection looks alright to me. I'd just stay in the left lane until I could safely move across into the right lane. I don't object to riding in striped zones like that if it's practicable, but in that case, I'd probably avoid it and take the whole lane. Using it just means to have to make 2 lane merges instead of one.
    If we learn from our mistakes, I must be a goddamn genius.

  15. #15
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotbike View Post

    I agree with John E that the road design is flawed and potentially dangerous. Bicycles have to use the right most portion of the lane, but here traffic is merging from the right. I wanted to move right, to avoid being between the two WB lanes. The minivan driver wasn't expecting me. But I will give the driver credit, although he did honk, in less than two seconds, he applied the brakes and let me move right.

    I don't think the road will get redesigned, on account that the Lattingtown area is very upscale, and most of the bicycle traffic is immigrants.

    I also have to look out for cars moving into the right lane from my left, because drivers are preparing to make a right into the shopping center a short distance west of this intersection.

    So this was the first time someone honked at me in a while, and I just wanted to vent my frustration.
    But what's interesting about this is that you are expressing your frustrations that I think are typical of cyclists, and based on some incorrect conceptions about what our rights and responsibilities are.

    Take your statement above that I've bolded: Bicycles have to use the right most portion of the lane.
    What I'm understanding from your posts is that you give this more weight than it needs to have.
    That is, yes, like all drivers of slow moving vehicles, cyclists are supposed to keep right, when safe and reasonable to do so. But if the lane is too narrow to be shared, there is no such responsibility. And if a lane is added on the right, there is no obligation to merge across it to the far right side as soon as possible. You still have to yield to faster traffic in that lane, and can stay in your lane, which now is no longer the rightmost lane, as long as it takes.

    Like most cyclists, it sounds like you're used to riding near the right edge almost all of the time, and feel uncomfortable when you find yourself anywhere else. Don't take this wrong, but if that's true, I think the best advice you can be given is, get over it.

    Think of yourself as a motorcyclist on a motorcycle with a low-powered organic engine. You have the same right to be in the road as any other driver, and have no more obligation to "keep right" than does any other driver of a slow moving vehicle. Take care and be safe.

  16. #16
    Senior Member hotbike's Avatar
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    What I said in the OP:
    "I was also distracted on account of a car that had passed me just before my light turned green, and I passed him, and he passed me again (double pass) , but I wanted to maintain my momentum for the short hill climb."

    Normally, I would've taken the lane, but on account of the JAM on my left, who couldn't get the idea that I was next in line after the pickup truck, I wanted to move right asap.

    I want to remind you, the traffic light is at a low point, and Forrest is uphill both East and West.

    The other motorists, the one from my left, had no consideration for me, even though I had put my left turn indicator on (which has three steady red LED's center and two blinking yellow LED's on each side.)

    The motorist who beeped , stopped. For all I know, he could've been beeping to alert the JAM on my left.

    Another factor is that there is a manhole cover in the center of the intersection, and I couldn't take the lane because I was going to the right of the manhole cover. If you delete the map from the satellite photo, you can see the manhole cover that I wanted to avoid. So I went to the right of the manhole cover, and the JAM got alongside me. Remember, I am still running carbide studded tires till the danger of frost has passed, and steel on steel has a very low coefecient of friction.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/sets/72157639939606343/

  17. #17
    Senior Member
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    I agree with Helmet Head on how to traverse this intersection. It is confusing though. In my experience, when a new lane opens up on the right, it is either turning lane or it eventually merges with the old right lane. If I was approaching this intersection for the first time, I would stay in the old right lane, assuming that the new right lane would turn or merge soon. However, this one doesn't turn or merge, which means that I should shift right.

  18. #18
    Senior Member hotbike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eli_Damon View Post
    I agree with Helmet Head on how to traverse this intersection. It is confusing though. In my experience, when a new lane opens up on the right, it is either turning lane or it eventually merges with the old right lane. If I was approaching this intersection for the first time, I would stay in the old right lane, assuming that the new right lane would turn or merge soon. However, this one doesn't turn or merge, which means that I should shift right.
    Yesterday, I tried something new. I went left two blocks before the intersection on Nassau Road , right on Titus Rd., then St. Andrews Lane, and left at Elliot Place.
    In all the years I've lived here, I never chose that routing before.
    You'd have to zoom out to see the route. It's actually the flattest way, with the least elevation gain.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/sets/72157639939606343/

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