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Old 11-07-08, 06:14 PM   #1
thirdin77
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how to handle this overpass?

This is it.

Background- I'm on a stiff road bike and am wearing road shoes with external cleats so walking is slippery an awkward.

I'm traveling from west to east so I have the wind at my back. This overpass often gets congested so traffic often is slowed to a crawl but when released by the nearest stoplight, will resume its speed of roughly 35mph. It's stop & go.

This overpass has no shoulder or bike lane so that my options as I understand them are:
(1) get on the sidewalk and use the crosswalks to traverse the fast-moving entering and exiting HW101. Possible but slippery and akward in road shoes with large external cleats.
(2) merge from the expiring shoulder into the (far right) entrance/exit lane and ride that over the overpass until the shoulder resumes
(3) take the middle lane to avoid the entering/exiting traffic in the right hand lane but risk greater exposure to faster (35mph-) traffic.

What I did today-
approached the overpass and saw that traffic was congested and slow-moving. I was confidend and merged from the expiring shoulder to the right hand entrance/exit lane. Then there was an opening in the middle lane so I merged into it, only to run out of gear- I think I was in my 39x12- and probably impede the people behind as I had one or two cars on my right pass me. At that point, mercifully, the shoulder resumed and I jumped into it. And out of the middle of the road. This all happened at about 2:30 so visibility was good.

I have very mixed feelings about what I did. I know that confidence and assertiveness are important but I don't want to impede traffic or be seen as reckless or, perhaps, just stupid in what I am doing. That part of the city tends to be lower income which means that road cycling is not part of the culture and I think people tolerate me there because they're just too surprised to react with anything but caution and accommodation.

Give me your thoughts. Should I just start using the sidewalk from now on?
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Old 11-07-08, 06:24 PM   #2
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Give me your thoughts. Should I just start using the sidewalk from now on?
I would if I ever tried to cross that on a bicycle.
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Old 11-07-08, 06:27 PM   #3
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A lot depends on speed differentials, to me.

I had a similar scenario on my commute, but on a slight downhill, so I was able to go pretty fast.

When I first started riding it, I would hang out in the right lane, and negotiate with drivers coming off the clover, and then negotiate with drivers merging right onto the clover by monitoring them in my mirror. It was kind of hairy.

I was turning left about where your point B would be, so I eventually started taking this route in the left lane (it was a 2-laner). It was a little intimidating at first, but it turned out to be the smoothest and safest behavior. Much less hairy.

So, as long as you can keep the speed differentials to a minimum, you might find that the middle lane, while intimidating, might be the safest and smoothest. Just keep well-lit, avoid the blind spot of any cars coming off the off-ramp, and stick the middle of that lane, if you do option 3.

Also, if you do it when traffic is heavy and slower, option 3 becomes an even better option.

Last edited by zeytoun; 11-07-08 at 06:31 PM.
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Old 11-07-08, 06:27 PM   #4
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Geared or fixed?

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Old 11-07-08, 06:32 PM   #5
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Geared or fixed?

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geared, it looks like.
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Old 11-07-08, 06:32 PM   #6
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Also, if you do it when traffic is heavy and slower, option 3 becomes an even better option.
Ugh, my judgement when approaching the overpass was that traffic was slow enough for me to take the lane and then traffic sped up, because the stoplight at the bottom of the overpass probably turned green and released traffic.
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Old 11-07-08, 06:37 PM   #7
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geared, it looks like.
Yeah, I've got brifters with a triple and a 12-25 cassette and I was in my middle ring. It didn't occur to me to change rings but doing so is so slow that I wouldn't want to and though I believe my front derailleur is set up properly, the very thought of dropping the chain then & there is heart-stopping.

Last edited by thirdin77; 11-07-08 at 06:38 PM. Reason: -
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Old 11-07-08, 08:11 PM   #8
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Uke always says "I would use the sidewalk" or "YOU should use the sidewalk".

Either take the center lane and control it OR when the shoulder runs out, merge into the left side of the entrance exit lane and ride in the left tire track.

Which ever works best for you.

PS "That part of the city tends to be lower income which means that road cycling is not part of the culture and I think people tolerate me there because they're just too surprised to react with anything but caution and accommodation." What is that all about. I lived a couple of blocks from there in 1982-1984, started cycle commuting there and never had any problems riding VC from San Jose to Moffett.
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Old 11-07-08, 08:45 PM   #9
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Yuk, they put one of these in on my commute. I tried it for awhile but the traffic entering and exiting was just too hairy for my liking. I found an alternate overpass with no entrances/exits, just straight across. I take it you don't have an alternate crossing available?
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Old 11-07-08, 08:57 PM   #10
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I have something similar to your overpass.
Two lanes each direction. 45 mph speed limit.
No shoulder, only curbs.
I use a Dinotte Tail Light.
I take the center of the curb lane. I tried the right tire track but would get buzzed.
Traffic gets so wild after 4:30 PM, that I won't ride there.
Take the side walk if you have too.
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Old 11-07-08, 09:01 PM   #11
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If you're spinning out a 39x12, that's hardly undue delay for the guy behind you. I hope.
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Old 11-07-08, 09:29 PM   #12
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Hmmm...speaking as a League Certified Instructor, and guessing from the picture you provided...

It looks like you have a shoulder but you can't stay on it unless you want to get on the freeway. So, I would probably signal somewhere slightly before where the lane changes color and climb into the motor vehicle lane. Then, make a second signal and climb into the "rightmost lane that serves your destination" and assert the lane to prevent dangerous buzzing from motorists. When the shoulder resumes, I would signal a right turn and climb onto it.

Yes, I know, you are slower than a car. However, you have a right to use the lane at a speed appropriate for your vehicle.. Your responsibility is to make your lane changes safely, giving other vehicles adequate warning of your intentions. It is also your responsibility to move to the right when it is safe to do so, allowing other vehicles use of the lane.
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Old 11-07-08, 09:32 PM   #13
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Uke always says "I would use the sidewalk" or "YOU should use the sidewalk".
Not always. Here's my handy guide:

Quote:
You've got to do the risk assessment. For me, it's pretty simple. When possible, I'll use the MUP. When impossible, I'll use the road. If I don't feel safe on the road, I'll use the sidewalk. If I don't feel safe on the sidewalk (or one isn't available), I'll use the car. Whenever I'm on the bike and not on the MUP or campus, I use lights, front and back. One of my main rules is to never use the road unless I'm willing to use at least half of the lane. Basically, you have to decide what you're willing to do and not do. You've only got one life. Don't die for someone else's principles.
When given the choice between a road and the sidewalk, I'll almost always take the road--it's wider, faster, smoother, and more visible. But if I don't feel comfortable using at least half (preferably all) of a road lane, I'll either use the sidewalk or drive. The overpass above is not something I'd ever consider trying to share (nevermind take) a lane on, which leaves the sidewalk and the car. As I said, I'm not riding for martyrdom.
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Old 11-08-08, 02:38 PM   #14
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Not always. Here's my handy guide:



When given the choice between a road and the sidewalk, I'll almost always take the road--it's wider, faster, smoother, and more visible. But if I don't feel comfortable using at least half (preferably all) of a road lane, I'll either use the sidewalk or drive. The overpass above is not something I'd ever consider trying to share (nevermind take) a lane on, which leaves the sidewalk and the car. As I said, I'm not riding for martyrdom.
But in what post have you ever recommended a BF member take the lane?
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Old 11-08-08, 11:55 PM   #15
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I deal with similar intersections by taking the left side of the right lane. Cars can go by to get on the highway, but you also avoid irritating people in the middle lane and merging back over.
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Old 11-09-08, 08:28 AM   #16
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Riding on the sidewalk precludes destination-appropriate lateral positioning, making the right-hook situation even worse. (As one who spends as much time jogging/walking as cycling, I can readily attest that freeway interchanges are even scarier for pedestrians than for cyclists.) My first choice is to find a good alternate route, but otherwise the only real solution is to get out there in the lane, so that your position and intentions are easily discerned. A rearview mirror really does help (preaching by a recent convert ).
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Old 11-09-08, 02:07 PM   #17
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A rearview mirror really does help (preaching by a recent convert ).
(preaching from an old time convert here).
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Old 11-09-08, 08:11 PM   #18
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you said traffic is going at roughly 35mph, take the lane or nearly the lane. When you get to the no shoulder part either split the lanes riding on the white dash-ed line or move over to the right until you are on the edge of the overpass. I'd go with the former option though, because I don't want to have to deal with merging in and then merging out of that lane. It does not look like a difficult overpass to get over.
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Old 11-09-08, 08:23 PM   #19
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But in what post have you ever recommended a BF member take the lane?
About as often as I recommend taking the sidewalk (scroll down).

Last edited by uke; 11-09-08 at 08:26 PM.
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Old 11-09-08, 08:25 PM   #20
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When you get to the no shoulder part either split the lanes riding on the white dash-ed line
Ouch, that is a quick way to get sideswiped, splitting lanes.
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Old 11-09-08, 08:34 PM   #21
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About as often as I recommend taking the sidewalk (scroll down).
Nice try, seems your post was 20 minutes after my comment.

Not mention you only tell him "you have to be willing to take at least half of the lane".

The road that was being discussed, really requires taking the full lane to prevent close passes.
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Old 11-09-08, 08:58 PM   #22
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Nice try, seems your post was 20 minutes after my comment.
This is about as good as proof gets that you're arguing for the sake of arguing. My post in that thread was written 2 days ago.
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Old 11-09-08, 09:08 PM   #23
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This is about as good as proof gets that you're arguing for the sake of arguing. My post in that thread was written 2 days ago.
And my comment was 2 days ago. 20 minutes before your post.

Sure you did not make that post just to try and prove me wrong?

Last edited by CB HI; 11-09-08 at 09:12 PM.
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Old 11-09-08, 09:11 PM   #24
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^ Have fun with your delusions.
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Old 11-09-08, 09:30 PM   #25
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Does the sidewalk have a high enough railing to stop you from going over the side if you have to dodge a meandering pedestrian or if a gust of wind unexpectedly blows you against it?
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