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    Take the lane analogy

    I notice a lot of 'take-the-lane' detractors insist you are a sitting duck. I thought of an analogy last night that explains why this is not true. Consider when road crews block off a lane to do repair work. Do cars ever run directly into them? I don't think it happens often. Now add your mirror and situational awareness and you can see how the odds of being struck are nearly ZERO. It doesn't matter if you are going 5 mph on a 45 mph road... Any speed, any road it should not matter.

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    pedalphile
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    First off, road side workers do get whacked from time to time. Also, these road crews have cones, signs, dudes waving flags, bigazz orange dump trucks and flashers.

    So, if you are trying to draw an analogy, regarding the visibility of each, well, all I can say is, you suck at drawing.

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    Drivers usually try to avoid hitting anything in theur path, even if it is only a paper bag. Visibility helps.

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    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewP View Post
    Drivers usually try to avoid hitting anything in theur path, even if it is only a paper bag. Visibility helps.

    Im moving to Canada !!

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    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by duke_of_hazard View Post
    I notice a lot of 'take-the-lane' detractors insist you are a sitting duck. I thought of an analogy last night that explains why this is not true. Consider when road crews block off a lane to do repair work. Do cars ever run directly into them? I don't think it happens often. Now add your mirror and situational awareness and you can see how the odds of being struck are nearly ZERO. It doesn't matter if you are going 5 mph on a 45 mph road... Any speed, any road it should not matter.
    It happens often enough that California has had "cone zone" campaigns that emphasize slowing down and driving carefully when you see road crews.
    http://www.slowfortheconezone.com/
    http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/conezone/

    Every year more than 1000 people die in work zone crashes and more than 40,000 are injured.

    More Highway workers are killed each year than Police and Firefighters combined.
    The most common collision type is the rear end collision.

    Now that said... I DO take the lane, but only when there is no other choice.

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    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    I DO take the lane, but only when there is no other choice.
    I too think the analogy doesn't fit.

    But I am curious Gene. If you are cycling on a lightly used residential street with no paint, do you ride roughly 'lane' centerish or close to the curb? What if there is no paint except for a centerline and enough space for a motor vehicle to pass if you ride a few feet from curb?

    Al

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    pedalphile
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    Can't speak for gene, but, as a rule, on lightly used roads, lined or otherwise, I tend to move closer to the center of the road or wherever the pavement is best. It is safer there.

    Riding along the shoulder of an empty road increases the chance of flats or an animal running out in front of you.

    I also ride everywhere with my helmet mounted mirror so I can get the hell out of the way when something faster than me is approaching from the rear.

    There really is no proper place to ride, imo. There is however a proper place to ride for a particular circumstance.

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    Senior Member sharkey00's Avatar
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    The analogy is not bad but the conclusion is. There is always a significant chance of being hit on the road including when you take the lane. Typically the largest problem I have is cars trying to pass at inappropriate times creating dangerous situations.

    It may be safer to take the lane but that does not make it safe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sharkey00 View Post
    The analogy is not bad but the conclusion is. There is always a significant chance of being hit on the road including when you take the lane. Typically the largest problem I have is cars trying to pass at inappropriate times creating dangerous situations.

    It may be safer to take the lane but that does not make it safe.
    I assume you mean not safe for the drivers? If so , I agree completely. I see too many people overtake me at totally inappropriate times.

  10. #10
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    I don't see 'take the lane=sitting duck" so much as

    "take the lane=lame accommodation"

    Expectations every cyclist or potential cyclist should just "take the lane" on any and every road without added considerations for bicycling is totally inadequate when seriously considering bicycles as transportation on public rights of way in this country.

    Street grids across urban areas can be better optimized for bicycle travel by adding infrastructure and/ or road enhancements along high use cooridors. Neighborhood low speed and low ADT roads likely need little or no remediation for effective considerations of bike travel. Limited access high speed roadways, rural highways and freeways can be optimized for on-road bike travel with sound bike lane or shoulder policies.

    Narrow lane planning demanding bicyclists simplistically 'take the lane' does not solve the problems of traffic congestion, speed differential, aggressive motorists, traffic adverse cyclists, or significant numbers of bikes.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 03-12-09 at 11:46 AM.

  11. #11
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noisebeam View Post
    I too think the analogy doesn't fit.

    But I am curious Gene. If you are cycling on a lightly used residential street with no paint, do you ride roughly 'lane' centerish or close to the curb? What if there is no paint except for a centerline and enough space for a motor vehicle to pass if you ride a few feet from curb?

    Al
    I ride "centerish" in the lane... around here there are cars parked along the curbs. One thing I do avoid is dead center in a lane, as that is where the grease spot usually is... and my motorcycle training taught me that is a bad place. So "centerish" to me is generally to the right of center, in the right tire track, or just slightly to the left of the right tire track.

    But to be honest, even in quiet residential neighborhoods I would ride "centerish" in the lane. In fact I practice HH dynamic lane positioning on such roads... it just makes sense to ride "wide" as too many people zoom around corners in the neighborhoods they think they know. I may pull over for a motorist on such a neighborhood street, if I wasn't expecting to go straight at the next intersection or turn left. I also ride centerish on country roads that have minimal shoulders. (have always toured this way)

    But as soon as I leave a neighborhood, I ride on arterial roads; the lowest speed limit is 35MPH for the closest east-west road, and it is lined with parked cars. I take the lane, in the right tire track. There are two lanes, motorists must use the left most lane. Further down this road, the road becomes three lanes, I ride centered in the right lane due to parked cars and lots and lots of business driveways.

    When I go north-south, the 45MPH arterial road (which changes to 50MPH) has a bike lane, which I use most of the time... except for obstructions or areas where the BL is just poorly designed.

    When I get to the 50 and 55 MPH arterial roads, again they have BL, so I ride in the BL, unless it is blocked, then I take a lane. But in the BL, I am not taking the lane.

    I avoid riding any closer to the curb than about 3 feet, at all times. Usually in BL, I am just to the right of the stripe. I have never seen a residential street where there is room enough for me to ride off the curb and a car can also pass within the lane. Usually motorists pull to the left into the unoccupied on coming lane to pass me. A street wide enough for me and a car side by side to share would be a residential street of about 28 or more feet wide with no cars parked on the street or about 42 feet wide with cars lining the street. And if cars line the street, I need at least 5 feet distance from those cars.

    Unless there is a BL, my default position is the right tire track. But I have no fear of BL. (some have touted BL as "deadly") I just keep my head on a swivel and watch to not be trapped in a BL... at intersections, primarily.

    I don't find any of this unnecessary. Would you?

    I generally don't even think about it... I just do it.

  12. #12
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    I too prefer to have a wide outside lane (but with no striping) vs. a narrow one on higher speed roads. I will still use the full lane in many cases, but prefer to have the extra space to utilize to facilitate shared lane passing when appropriate and at my discretion.

  13. #13
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    I ride centerish in the lane... around here there are cars parked along the curbs. One thing I do avoid is dead center in a lane, as that is where the grease spot usually is... and my motorcycle training taught me that is a bad place.

    But to be honest, even in quiet residential neighborhoods I would ride centerish in the lane. In fact I practice HH dynamic lane positioning on such roads... it just makes sense to ride "wide" as too many people zoom around corners in the neighborhoods they think they know. I may pull over for a motorist on such a neighborhood street, if I wasn't expecting to go straight at the next intersection or turn left. I also ride centerish on country roads that have minimal shoulders. (have always toured this way)
    Fine as I expected, I wanted to clarify what you said previous which is that you "DO take the lane, but only when there is no other choice." Apparently this statement was not correct as you do have a choice not to in the example you noted above.
    Here is a wide residential street:
    http://www.bikeforums.net/attachment...0&d=1168376094

  14. #14
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trekker pete View Post
    Can't speak for gene, but, as a rule, on lightly used roads, lined or otherwise, I tend to move closer to the center of the road or wherever the pavement is best. It is safer there.

    Riding along the shoulder of an empty road increases the chance of flats or an animal running out in front of you.

    I also ride everywhere with my helmet mounted mirror so I can get the hell out of the way when something faster than me is approaching from the rear.

    There really is no proper place to ride, imo. There is however a proper place to ride for a particular circumstance.
    Agreed!

    What I don't do is ride centered (or rightish of center) when a wide lane or decent shoulder or BL exists... unless I have no other choice. I do not chose to "make a statement" about sharing the road.

    But I have no qualms about signaling and using whatever space I need.

    Some cyclists ride well out of the BL and only move over when traffic approaches. I don't do that, except on lonely country roads.

  15. #15
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    What I don't do is ride centered (or rightish of center) when a wide lane or decent shoulder or BL exists... unless I have no other choice. I do not chose to "make a statement" about sharing the road.

    ...except on lonely country roads.
    Why do you 'make a statement' to nobody on these lonely country roads?

  16. #16
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noisebeam View Post
    Fine as I expected, I wanted to clarify what you said previous which is that you "DO take the lane, but only when there is no other choice." Apparently this statement was not correct as you do have a choice not to in the example you noted above.
    Here is a wide residential street:
    http://www.bikeforums.net/attachment...0&d=1168376094
    Doesn't look wide to me... and is it a street I have ever traveled? Or would?

    The street pic below is typical of my neighborhood and many older San Diego neighborhoods (the area where I live).
    Attached Images Attached Images

  17. #17
    Yabba-Dabba-Doo! AlmostTrick's Avatar
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    It's not just about traffic from behind. I notice much better treatment from cross traffic, and the sightlines are better, when I'm more centered in the lane. Basically, I'm almost always "taking the lane" unless faster same direction traffic approaches me from behind AND there is enough room for me to safely move into. No bike lanes here, mostly standard width or narrow lanes.
    Have Bike, Will Travel

  18. #18
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Doesn't look wide to me... and is it a street I have ever traveled? Or would?

    The street pic below is typical of my neighborhood and many older San Diego neighborhoods (the area where I live).
    The road I showed was as wide as the one you just did. There were just no cars parked on the one I showed, although they sometimes do legally park curbside on that road.
    On the road you pictured I'd ride centered between the parked cars and the double yellow and if there was a driver following and a long gap between parked cars (there appears one a bit down the right side) move over so I was riding where the driver position of the parked car would be. Assuming no other hazards making moving over unwise.
    Al

  19. #19
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noisebeam View Post
    Why do you 'make a statement' to nobody on these lonely country roads?
    I want to be seen on the these roads, and generally around here in CA there are no shoulders... I do not want to try to ride on the fog line.

    In Oregon, the country roads had nice wide shoulders with BL. But as soon as that road crossed into CA, the shoulders disappear.

    In northern AZ where I did a bit of touring 2 years ago, the roadways had nice wide shoulders... and pretty good sightlines.

    A lot of CA country roads look like the road pic shown below. (I have ridden this road hundreds and hundreds of times)
    Attached Images Attached Images

  20. #20
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noisebeam View Post
    The road I showed was as wide as the one you just did. There were just no cars parked on the one I showed, although they sometimes do legally park curbside on that road.
    On the road you pictured I'd ride centered between the parked cars and the double yellow and if there was a driver following and a long gap between parked cars (there appears one a bit down the right side) move over so I was riding where the driver position of the parked car would be. Assuming no other hazards making moving over unwise.
    Al
    And here, there are almost always cars parked on the roads.

    EDIT: Opps let me clarify... I have never lived where the residential streets were wide and empty. I know such streets exist, but I have never lived in and around such neighborhoods.

    My last house was new in 1984 and in a new neighborhood; everyone had a two car garage and street parking was discouraged. The street was quite narrow none the less.

    So really, I do not know the "luxury" of wide, empty residential streets.
    Last edited by genec; 03-12-09 at 12:24 PM.

  21. #21
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    And here, there are almost always cars parked on the roads.
    I don't see any parked cars on the right side of the road you pictured after the cluster of four.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewP View Post
    Drivers usually try to avoid hitting anything in their path, even if it is only a paper bag. Visibility helps.
    A perceptual limitation tends to make slow/not-moving things less noticeable. (This is what allows cop cars to hide in plain site.) Being a much slower object where a driver is accustomed not to expect such things (ie, in the middle of the lane) tends to be unsafe.

    This limitation is worse with larger differences in speed (because higher differences mean less time to process and react).

    While it isn't common, even things like cop cars in the lane even with flashers going get run into. Visibility helps but it isn't enough.

    Always "taking the lane" isn't "sharing the road" because it is not cooperating with the other road users.

  23. #23
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noisebeam View Post
    I don't see any parked cars on the right side of the road you pictured after the cluster of four.
    Yeah, so a static google image taken sometime in mid day perhaps 2 years ago is the perfect decision maker for my cycling at or near early morning or after 5PM when I am likely commuting...

    Pllleeeeease. There are times when the street in front of my house is empty, including my driveway... Usually around noon or so everyday. It never looks like that before 8 AM or after 5PM... the times I leave and return.

    *********************************************

    (funny side note to the comments above... the google image of my house shows my wife getting in the car and getting ready to leave, at one particular distance and zoom level... surly, you don't believe that is the case "most of the time."

    Further side note... I have been out of work for the last 10 days or so, and I have noticed that main arterial road going east and west is darn quiet at or around 10:00 AM every day... nice ride. But during rush hour... parked cars line the street, and traffic is nearly bumper to bumper and moving fast)

  24. #24
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Gene i am not wanting to argue, just clarify that at those (even if rare) times when relatively quiet street have wide lanes, do you ride centerish or 3' from the curb. As you know the decision is based on the conditions at the time - so a google image shows a time so the decision only applies at the time the image was taken, not for every moment afterward even if parking/traffic changes.

  25. #25
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    A perceptual limitation tends to make slow/not-moving things less noticeable. (This is what allows cop cars to hide in plain site.) Being a much slower object where a driver is accustomed not to expect such things (ie, in the middle of the lane) tends to be unsafe.

    This limitation is worse with larger differences in speed (because higher differences mean less time to process and react).

    While it isn't common, even things like cop cars in the lane even with flashers going get run into. Visibility helps but it isn't enough.

    Always "taking the lane" isn't "sharing the road" because it is not cooperating with the other road users.
    Very much agreed... Exactly the points made in the book:
    "Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)" by Tom Vanderbilt.

    This is an excellent read and I highly recommend it. It is a fun read as well... this is not a boring tome of a book.

    Tom Vanderbilt discusses this perceptual limitation issue extensively as the reason that people plow into construction sites on the roadway and such obvious things as large stopped garbage trucks... never mind, slow cyclists. We have a hard time dealing with objects with differential speeds over 20MPH... humans just were not designed that way. Heck, even John Forester mentions that differential speeds of over 15 MPH make it difficult for cyclists to negotiate with motorists.

    This is not an unknown phenomena... and yet we continually deny it as cyclists taking the lane on high speed roadways.

    There was a thread here not long ago talking about the Tom Vanderbilt book:
    Traffic. Why We Drive The Way We Do.

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