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Old 04-13-08, 08:29 AM   #1
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Slow moving vehicles

Think about when you have been in a car and you came upon a farm tractor pulling a disc 12 feet wide. The tractor is moving about 14 miles per hour, maybe. You are/were moving at 35 to 50 miles per hour. How long was it before you thought, "Why is he on the road when I am trying to get to someplace?" You probably expect the driver to pull over and let you pass as soon as possible, and most farmers do just that. You could say a farm tractor has the same rights and the same rules on the road as an automobile. Cyclists are fond of saying they have the same rights and the same rules on the road as an automobile, yet many would be appalled if anyone suggested they ought pull over to let traffic pass. Why are our expectations different when our perspective changes? If farm tractors should routinely pull over, should cyclists not do the same?
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Old 04-13-08, 08:43 AM   #2
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Think about when you have been in a car and you came upon a farm tractor pulling a disc 12 feet wide ...Cyclists are fond of saying they have the same rights and the same rules on the road as an automobile, yet many would be appalled if anyone suggested they ought pull over to let traffic pass. Why are our expectations different when our perspective changes? If farm tractors should routinely pull over, should cyclists not do the same?
I could be wrong but I doubt that many of the zealous "same rights and the same rules" cyclists practice their dogma when cycling by themselves in areas where it is common to come upon a farm tractor pulling a disc 12 feet wide.
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Old 04-13-08, 08:43 AM   #3
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I wait until it's safe to pass, no matter how long that takes. I don't expect nor require them to pull over, but appreciate it and give a wave of thanks if they do.

Were you expecting hypocrisy?
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Old 04-13-08, 09:08 AM   #4
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Last time I came upon a tractor in the road, I was on my bicycle. I dialed it up to 400 watts and droped the tractor.

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Old 04-13-08, 09:10 AM   #5
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I have no issue with pulling over to allow faster traffic to pass if there is currently no easy way for them to pass and no easy passing zone coming up. This can mean either lots of oncoming traffic and no passing lane, or a very winding road and heavy traffic piling up behind me. I will not pull over simply because someone gets behind me and has no way to pass at the moment.

Cyclists are much easier to see around and can easily give up half of the same direction lane when needed to allow a faster pass. Aside from slow moving motor cyclists, no other vehicle I've ever come across has this advantage.
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Old 04-13-08, 09:39 AM   #6
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On rural roads, I don't expect tractors to move out of my way immediately. Sometimes it can be miles before they find a safe and convenient place to move over. A delay of 30-60 seconds would certainly be nothing at all to complain about, and I don't think I have ever held up other traffic for more than 30-60 seconds. 30-60 second delays are just part of riding and driving in traffic.
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Old 04-13-08, 09:58 AM   #7
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I've put on a bit of weight in the last year or two, but, 12' wide?!!

In reality, how many roads, even rural ones, are so narrow that a driver would be held up for more than a few seconds? Of course, if a rider is going to hold another road user up for an unreasonable length of time, then common courtesy, let alone the law, would indicate that you should pull over. But, I suspect such occasions are relatively few and far between.

A friend of mine, cycing in Vosges mountains in eastern France, was riding up a long and pretty steep and narrow mountin road with several cars "held up" behind him and nowhere to pull in because the side of the road was a sheer rock face and there was a fairly steady stream of cars coming down the hill. After about 5 minutes of frequent look-behinds, he came to a picnic area and pulled in, as did the first following car. The driver's comment? "Ca va, mon ami? Vous etes anglais?" On being asked how he knew, he replied, in excellent English, "Because you looked worried about holding us up - this is France mon ami. the cyclist is respected, especially in the high mountains".

So being held up is a social construct, not a breach of a driver's absolute human rights.
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Old 04-13-08, 10:12 AM   #8
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Ive lived in two rural places that had lots of tractors, Vermont and LAncaster Co. Pa(Amish Country),
and no ever expected a tractor to pull over. The tourists, yups and NYers might get angry
that they didnt pull over, but no one expected them to.
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Old 04-13-08, 10:15 AM   #9
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This comparison again?

I quite often ride one of my bikes to and from work, golf, fishing, errands, etc. I quite often drive a tractor at work. I often switch between tractors during the day, depending on what I need to accomplish. There is no valid comparison. Tractors and bicycles, cars too, are governed by the same overall rules, but each has rules specific unto itself that does not apply to the other.

A tractor is much more stable moving over bumpy or loose surfaces, and much less likely to crash due to irregular surface features or debris.

Even a small tractor is much bigger than a bicycle and much more likely to be conspicuous to motorists, regardless of road position.

On a bike, I often do pull off the road and use a paved shoulder or bike lane to extend the courtesy of ease of passing to faster vehicles approaching from the rear, if I have the available infrastructure to utilize in this manner, and if I deem it is safe for me to do so.

Other cyclists that I see, which are rare in this area, never leave the paved shoulder or bike lane, not even when that is the much more hazardous road position for them to be in. When they don't have these facilities they ride in any lane, including oncoming, in which they don't currently have another vehicle approaching. When other vehicles are approaching from both directions they ride completely off the road. This riding style is usually undertaken by people on exclusive mountain bikes. Exclusive because they are available only at Wal-Mart. Just a few weeks ago a man on a bike got hit trying to execute this riding style.

When I'm driving, I expect a slower moving vehicle ahead of me to maintain their line, or at least stay in their lane. I can slow until it's safe to pass, and then execute a safe pass. It doesn't hurt.

Much better for a cyclist to be conspicuous and predictable than swerve all over, or even off, the road, trying to get out of the way.
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Old 04-13-08, 10:20 AM   #10
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Think about when you have been in a car and you came upon a farm tractor pulling a disc 12 feet wide. The tractor is moving about 14 miles per hour, maybe. You are/were moving at 35 to 50 miles per hour. How long was it before you thought, "Why is he on the road when I am trying to get to someplace?" You probably expect the driver to pull over and let you pass as soon as possible, and most farmers do just that. You could say a farm tractor has the same rights and the same rules on the road as an automobile. Cyclists are fond of saying they have the same rights and the same rules on the road as an automobile, yet many would be appalled if anyone suggested they ought pull over to let traffic pass. Why are our expectations different when our perspective changes? If farm tractors should routinely pull over, should cyclists not do the same?

Just like the tractor driver, I pull over when it is safe to do so.

The tractor driver is not going to pull over if there is a sheer drop to the side or a large pond full of water, and most likely they will wait until there is a wide spot on the road.

Well by the same token I am not likely to pull over if I am on a mountain grade and there is a sheer drop, or if there is no place to pull over such as a narrow road without a shoulder or a shoulder or roadside full of glass and other potential harmful stuff.

Motorists are generally patient waiting for the tractor to pull over, why can't they treat cyclists the same way.

The big problem is the perception of safety... motorists may have no idea that I am avoiding glass, grease and cracks in the road that can grab my wheel or even the potential of opening car doors... motorists look at the road ahead and see what they can drive on and just assume it is good enough for everyone else.

So the motorists' perception of a "safe street" is not the same as a cyclists.
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Old 04-13-08, 12:51 PM   #11
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Typically, there is some part of vehicle law that requires the slow-moving vehicle to pull over as soon as practical when some blocking condition is met. In Indiana it's when 3 or more vehicles line up behind you.

"9-21-5-7. Motor vehicles driven at slow speed impeding or
blocking traffic.--A person may not drive a motor vehicle at a
slow speed that impedes or blocks the normal and reasonable
movement of traffic, except when reduced speed is necessary for
safe operation or in compliance with the law. A person who is
driving at a slow speed so that three (3) or more other vehicles
are blocked and cannot pass on the left around the vehicle shall
give right-of-way to the other vehicles by pulling off to the
right of the right lane at the earliest opportunity and allowing
the blocked vehicles to pass."

In this case, the interesting question also arises . . .does this section apply exclusively to motor vehicles given the way it is written, and thus HPVs are not required to unblock the lane?
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Old 04-13-08, 01:20 PM   #12
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I grew up in Walworth county Wisconsin, more cows than people in the county and came across tractors on the road all the time. They didn't move over to let cars pass and cars didn't expect them to. You waited behind them and passed when you could. If it was a manure spreader, you made sure you waited a good distance behind to avoid getting sprayed with *****. They were on the road a short time, usually going from one field to another, and really an extremely minor inconvenience.

Just like a bike in front of a car, a tractor in front of a car usually took less than 30 seconds out of your precious life to negotiate.
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Old 04-13-08, 01:34 PM   #13
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I don't think the comparison between tractors (likely in rural or semi-rural areas) and cyclists necessarily holds up... it's somewhat dependent on where the cyclists are, urban, suburban, rural?

I'm not suggesting drivers shouldn't remain patient when encountering cyclists in an urban setting, they should, but I can understand frustration when driving in an environment already chock-full of stumbling blocks before the impatient and harried.
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Old 04-13-08, 01:58 PM   #14
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Think about when you have been in a car and you came upon a farm tractor pulling a disc 12 feet wide. The tractor is moving about 14 miles per hour, maybe. You are/were moving at 35 to 50 miles per hour. How long was it before you thought, "Why is he on the road when I am trying to get to someplace?" You probably expect the driver to pull over and let you pass as soon as possible, and most farmers do just that. You could say a farm tractor has the same rights and the same rules on the road as an automobile. Cyclists are fond of saying they have the same rights and the same rules on the road as an automobile, yet many would be appalled if anyone suggested they ought pull over to let traffic pass. Why are our expectations different when our perspective changes? If farm tractors should routinely pull over, should cyclists not do the same?
Why do you leave your home at a time, such that a short 60 second delay causes you to be late to your destination.

Do you also get angry at every 60 second red light you have to stop at?

I bet you are also annoyed by pedestrians that want to cross the road and end up slowing you down.


Critical Mass aside. Seriously, how many here have actually been delayed more than 60 seconds by a cyclist or group of cyclist. And even then, most of that time just means you wait for a shorter period of time at the next red light.

Back in the 60-70's, driving in the Rockies; hippies in VW buses delayed motorist far more than any tractor or cyclist. No one was trying to ban them from the road or expecting them to drive into the ditch to get out of others way.

Last edited by CB HI; 04-13-08 at 02:14 PM.
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Old 04-13-08, 02:48 PM   #15
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Why do you leave your home at a time, such that a short 60 second delay causes you to be late to your destination.

Do you also get angry at every 60 second red light you have to stop at?

I bet you are also annoyed by pedestrians that want to cross the road and end up slowing you down.


Critical Mass aside. Seriously, how many here have actually been delayed more than 60 seconds by a cyclist or group of cyclist. And even then, most of that time just means you wait for a shorter period of time at the next red light.

Back in the 60-70's, driving in the Rockies; hippies in VW buses delayed motorist far more than any tractor or cyclist. No one was trying to ban them from the road or expecting them to drive into the ditch to get out of others way.
More than 10 minutes going up King's Mountain in Woodside, Ca. No safe place to pass.
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Old 04-13-08, 03:16 PM   #16
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More than 10 minutes going up King's Mountain in Woodside, Ca. No safe place to pass.
Ten-minute delays are par for the course on narrow, winding country and mountain roads. If you don't plan on ten-minute delays here and there on those kind of roads, it's all on you. I've been stuck behind farm equipment for more than ten minutes. In the mountains, I've been stuck behind RV's slowly plodding uphill.

Of course, as a cyclist, I'd do my best to let other traffic by, but I wouldn't take any risks to accommodate motorists who didn't leave themselves enough time to deal with one of the realities of driving on winding, narrow roads.
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Old 04-13-08, 06:29 PM   #17
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More than 10 minutes going up King's Mountain in Woodside, Ca. No safe place to pass.
Too bad then you'll have to wait. What makes people think they have a right to go as fast as they can everywhere they go anyway?
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Old 04-13-08, 06:33 PM   #18
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Too bad then you'll have to wait. What makes people think they have a right to go as fast as they can everywhere they go anyway?
Sounds like he did (very) patiently wait.
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Old 04-13-08, 06:34 PM   #19
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Think about when you have been in a car and you came upon a farm tractor pulling a disc 12 feet wide. The tractor is moving about 14 miles per hour, maybe. You are/were moving at 35 to 50 miles per hour. How long was it before you thought, "Why is he on the road when I am trying to get to someplace?" You probably expect the driver to pull over and let you pass as soon as possible, and most farmers do just that. You could say a farm tractor has the same rights and the same rules on the road as an automobile. Cyclists are fond of saying they have the same rights and the same rules on the road as an automobile, yet many would be appalled if anyone suggested they ought pull over to let traffic pass. Why are our expectations different when our perspective changes? If farm tractors should routinely pull over, should cyclists not do the same?

I always get out of the way for a car, unless it is unsafe to do so. It only takes a second or 2 to let a car pass, when the car would be delayed longer than that if I didn't move for it.
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Old 04-13-08, 06:43 PM   #20
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Sounds like he did (very) patiently wait.
Especially behind the guy going 12-13 mph !! Most are managing about 7 mph. This happens going up Mt Eden Rd to that archery range, also. The funny thing is, I can tell by the body language of the cyclists that they think I should pass them, but it's not safe on that road.
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Old 04-13-08, 06:45 PM   #21
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Actually, not a day goes by when I don't pull over to let car traffic by. I also wait for lights, take my turn at four-way stops, and don't split lanes. I always assert my right to be on the road along with everyone else, and sometimes "take the lane" when I think it's safer, but I see no reason to be a d**k about it. And I'm willing to bet that most experienced cyclists do the same thing.

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Old 04-13-08, 06:50 PM   #22
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30-60 second delays are just part of riding and driving in traffic.
I wish more people would remember this.
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Old 04-13-08, 08:03 PM   #23
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Personally, I have no problem pulling over to let faster traffic pass, doesn't matter what I'm on/in at the time, pulling a heavy trailer, some just plain slow vehicle, (my old 1946 willys jeep had a TOP speed of 50mph, cruised nicely at 45) or on the bicycle. If some impatient azzbite is behind me , I'd rather get him in front of me where he's easier to watch.

It's not a matter of having the right of way, it's simply common courtesy.

And finding a safe place where you can let someone by is a LOT safer than having them choose the time and place, when someone is wearing 3000lbs of chevrolet armor they don't have the same opinion of 'safe' as someone on a 20lb bicycle does

Up here, most tractor drivers will slide over to the side and let traffic by, again it's just courtesy.

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Old 04-13-08, 08:47 PM   #24
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There is a building materials company (gravel, etc.) on my work commute that regularly uses a street sweeper to keep the road in front of the entrances clean. The driver goes about 8-10 mph and never moves over for cars (or bikes ). Waiting a few seconds to pass is never a big deal, and shouldn't be when the hold up is from a bike either.
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Old 04-14-08, 08:11 AM   #25
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Think about when you have been in a car and you came upon a farm tractor pulling a disc 12 feet wide. The tractor is moving about 14 miles per hour, maybe. You are/were moving at 35 to 50 miles per hour. How long was it before you thought, "Why is he on the road when I am trying to get to someplace?" You probably expect the driver to pull over and let you pass as soon as possible, and most farmers do just that. You could say a farm tractor has the same rights and the same rules on the road as an automobile. Cyclists are fond of saying they have the same rights and the same rules on the road as an automobile, yet many would be appalled if anyone suggested they ought pull over to let traffic pass. Why are our expectations different when our perspective changes? If farm tractors should routinely pull over, should cyclists not do the same?
actually, they wouldn't pull over here in NJ... and to let you know further, the road that I am talking about is a 2 lane road with "no passing" lines for good stretches of the road... so what does that do to your argument?...

oh and I do pull off, if there is traffic stuck behind me... but one answer is of course to have either wider lanes so that cars can get by or wide shoulders so that a cyclist can get off safely when necessary...

Last edited by e0richt; 04-14-08 at 08:16 AM. Reason: additional info
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