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Advocacy & Safety Cyclists should expect and demand safe accommodation on every public road, just as do all other users. Discuss your bicycle advocacy and safety concerns here.

View Poll Results: Agree this is a stupid thing for cyclists to do?
Agree 28 73.68%
Disagree - Ride wherever I want! You're too slow! 10 26.32%
Voters: 38. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-31-08, 10:15 AM   #1
baidhseagal
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Cyclists passing other cyclists on the right

I searched around for topics related to this but couldn't find any. Apologies if this has been brought up before. Over the past couple of months I've been passed twice on the RIGHT by speed crazy cyclists while commuting to and from work in Toronto.

For the most part I cycle at least 1m out from the curb and 1m out from parked cars. I feel this puts me in a safer spot in the road. If a car is approaching from behind I maintain this distance until they are maybe 3 to 5 m back and then I move right a bit (if I can) to try and both give them space, and visually indicate to them through my drift that I am well aware of them and the fact that they want to pass. Usually this works no problem. However, within the past couple of months I have been passed on the right by cyclists whipping along at some insane clip without a bell ring or a courtesy 'Hey - I'm on your right!' called out. I wouldnt say I'm a slow cyclist, but I dont try to hammer speed out on every little stretch of bust urban roadway either. And as for me, I wouldnt dream of passing anyone on their right the same way I wouldnt pass on the shoulder in a car!

Has this ever happened to anyone else, and do you feel that its as dangerous as I think it is? My worry is that I'm not expecting anyone on my right and I'm not going to look that way before I drift in if I have to suddenly. Hitting another cyclist on a busy roadway and then being thrown into traffic as a result of the mashing of our pedals, wheels and bikes is not my idea of fun!

Can I improve my riding style to combat this? Or do I just have to put up with other insane cyclists? Do I have to ride right up against the curb to force people to pass on the left? Agree that this is something cyclists shouldn't do? Disagree and ride wherever there's an open space?
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Old 10-31-08, 10:28 AM   #2
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It happens. I don't think there's much you can do about it though. Certainly don't ride along the curb just to discourage people from doing it.

I do think it's good manners to pass on the left though. People generally don't expect to be passed on the right, and if someone buzzes me on the right, I'll generally be a little irritated by that.
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Old 10-31-08, 10:30 AM   #3
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passing on the right is an insane practice in any vehicle, but even worse for cyclists riding in traffic since it puts you squarely in the magic door-zone. right-passing should stay on the velodrome where it belongs.
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Old 10-31-08, 10:37 AM   #4
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Passing on the right is legal for vehicles in the state of Maryland. I grew up with it. It's no big deal.

I didn't vote.
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Old 10-31-08, 11:04 AM   #5
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I usually pass on the left, but if the right is available, sure. Just this morning I passed a car on the right that was waiting to turn left.
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Old 10-31-08, 11:09 AM   #6
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I usually pass on the left, but if the right is available, sure. Just this morning I passed a car on the right that was waiting to turn left.
i think he's talking about passing other cyclists.
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Old 10-31-08, 11:22 AM   #7
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The only time I consider it appropriate to pass a cyclist on the right is when the other cyclist is at the left edge of the road, in the process of, or preparing to make a left hand turn. Otherwise, verboten!

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Old 10-31-08, 11:45 AM   #8
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I've done it. It was on the shoulder of a Hwy. There was a loaded tourer riding to the left 1/2 of the shoulder. I pulled up behind... dinged my little bell, called out "Hey! Passing........ hello?!" No response, so i zipped by on the right. I dunno if they were listening to an iPod or what, but they were startled when i squirted by.
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Old 10-31-08, 11:49 AM   #9
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I've done it.... BUT only when our compared speeds and terrain make it perfectly safe, never a right side buzz though.
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Old 10-31-08, 12:38 PM   #10
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The only time I consider it appropriate to pass a cyclist on the right is when the other cyclist is at the left edge of the road, in the process of, or preparing to make a left hand turn. Otherwise, verboten!
Even in England and Australia? Germany, sure!
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Old 10-31-08, 12:53 PM   #11
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Even in England and Australia? Germany, sure!
Whoops! Good catch there

-Kurt
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Old 10-31-08, 01:04 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by baidhseagal View Post
My worry is that I'm not expecting anyone on my right and I'm not going to look that way before I drift in if I have to suddenly.
Whether it is right or wrong to pass on the right and/or to pass without giving warning is irrelevant.
A competent cyclist (or driver for that matter) would:

1. Be aware of his/her surroundings so that another vehicle coming up from behind to pass would not be a surprise.

2. Give a head check before changing his/her position on the road
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Old 10-31-08, 01:06 PM   #13
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a rear view mirror helps minimize suprises from bicycles or other vehicles overtaking.

i've been passed on the right by motorists who felt my lane position was far enough out to allow that maneuver.....
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Old 10-31-08, 01:07 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
Whether it is right or wrong to pass on the right and/or to pass without giving warning, a smart cyclist (or driver for that matter) would:

1. Be aware of his/her surroundings so that another vehicle coming up from behind to pass would not be a surprise.

2. Give a head check before changing his/her position on the road
The converse to that is you can never assume the person riding in front of you is totally aware of his/her surroundings, and thus passing on the left when possible is better since passing on the right is less expected. You may catch the unaware cyclist off guard.
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Old 10-31-08, 01:11 PM   #15
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I don't mind where they pass just as long as they call out left/right


one silent ninja tried to pass on the right.
The reason there was so much space was due to the hazzards on the road.
He bounced banged and fell down while passing on the right.
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Old 10-31-08, 01:13 PM   #16
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I pass on the left whenever praticable. There are times though, e.g. when there's a slow, weaving cyclist too far to the traffic on the left, that passing on the right just makes sense (to me).

I wouldn't ever intentionally buzz them though, no matter the side I'm passing on.
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Old 10-31-08, 01:19 PM   #17
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one silent ninja tried to pass on the right.
The reason there was so much space was due to the hazzards on the road.
He bounced banged and fell down while passing on the right.
Huh?

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Old 10-31-08, 01:33 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by apricissimus View Post
The converse to that is you can never assume the person riding in front of you is totally aware of his/her surroundings
and this is the essence of how to be safe in traffic: to realize that the only person's behaviour you can control is your own.

when you're in front, shoulder check before you move
when you're behind, signal before you pass

easy.
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Old 10-31-08, 05:40 PM   #19
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i dont think this was poll worthy, you are setting up a severe straw man here. I have passed on the right although seldom. usually it is when im encountering a slow moving, fairly oblivious cyclist. I am by no means a "speed demon" but if my 18mph clip is considerably more rapid than yours and you leave me little room to pass on the left, i will take the only reasonable option available. unless it puts me in the door zone.
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Old 10-31-08, 06:50 PM   #20
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Old 10-31-08, 07:42 PM   #21
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The converse to that is you can never assume the person riding in front of you is totally aware of his/her surroundings, and thus passing on the left when possible is better since passing on the right is less expected. You may catch the unaware cyclist off guard.
That goes without saying...it is always the responsibility of the passer to pass safely (and legally).

BUT, your safety is ultimately your own responsibility...thus not doing your own due diligence because you expect others to do theirs is a recipe to have a bad day. Always be aware of what is going on around you and plan for Murphy.
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Old 10-31-08, 07:49 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by baidhseagal View Post
Has this ever happened to anyone else, and do you feel that its as dangerous as I think it is? My worry is that I'm not expecting anyone on my right and I'm not going to look that way before I drift in if I have to suddenly. Hitting another cyclist on a busy roadway and then being thrown into traffic as a result of the mashing of our pedals, wheels and bikes is not my idea of fun!

Can I improve my riding style to combat this? Or do I just have to put up with other insane cyclists? Do I have to ride right up against the curb to force people to pass on the left? Agree that this is something cyclists shouldn't do? Disagree and ride wherever there's an open space?

I've had cars do it.

Other cyclists? Nope.

And it doesn't seem like the best idea.
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Old 11-02-08, 06:03 AM   #23
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Thanks for the opinions!

Thanks everyone - I appreciate all your opinions on this topic! I still think the passing on the right thing is not something I would do (well....), but I can understand now that there are occasions when someone might want to do that. I think what I'll try and do now, is when I'm approached from another cyclist from behind, I'll be more aware of my right side, making sure I'm tucked in enough so that passing on the right isn't the best option and giving them ample space on the left to go round. And I'll remember to look right when I go right!

There's so much to look out for out there!

thanks again and Safe, happy trails to you all...
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Old 11-02-08, 08:35 AM   #24
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The flip side is that if you don't want people to pass on your right, you need to leave them room on the left. It's just like driving a car; don't drive slow in the "fast" lane.

The only time this has actually come up for me is on some of these charity rides, where you've got two or more full lanes clogged with cyclists, and the only way around someone is scoot up on the right, where it's clear, or work your way two lanes over through the other cyclists and ride in the oncoming lanes to pass.
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Old 11-02-08, 09:11 AM   #25
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The converse to that is you can never assume the person riding in front of you is totally aware of his/her surroundings, and thus passing on the left when possible is better since passing on the right is less expected. You may catch the unaware cyclist off guard.
The one thing I have noticd more and more recently is that the vast majority of cyclists no longer bother to shoulder check. I approach countless cyclists every day from behind and it seems they are lost in their own little world. As a result, even passing on the left---as I always do---has to be done with a wide margin to avoid startling them, especially if they are weaving or wobbling. The bell is often ineffective as it seems most cyclists are wearing headphones for their iPods and simply don't hear.

Curiously, just yesterday, while in a wide bike lane, I watched a cyclist approaching me from the rear in my mirror and then suddenly he wasn't there and glancing to my right, found him only inches off my rear wheel on my right just as we were passing parked cars and there simply wasn't enough room for him to pass. When we passed the parked cars, I inched over to the right to encourage him to pass on the left and he did, blowing through a red light and weaving around crossing pedestrians. Even after that, however, I passed him a few blocks later---on the left, of course and it made me wonder what he was in such a hurry for, trying to pass me on the right and blowing the red, just to have me pass him again a few blocks later? Didn't seem worth the risk to me.
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