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Old 11-23-09, 02:47 PM   #1
eerickson7
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Stoplight oneupmanship

The downtown area of my city features lots of one-way streets. Speed limit is 25mph and the traffic is light to extremely light almost all the time.

The problem I run into constantly is, I'm riding down a one-way with lights timed for 25mph. Motorists have this constant desire to gun it to pass me and pull back into my lane just ahead of me so they can stop at the next light. I come rolling up just as the light turns green and the guy who just passed me is usually sitting at the light and taking several seconds after the light turns to start going again.

Do you swing around them in the next lane over so as not to completely lose your momentum? Or do you stop behind the guy who just passed you, wait for him to proceed three seconds after the light turns green and eventually have to wait at a red light because you fall farther and farther behind the timing of the lights at each intersection?

I know waiting behind is safer, but it sure is frustrating. What do you do?
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Old 11-23-09, 02:57 PM   #2
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On mulitlane streets I often use the adjacent lane to the the left to pass if the outside lane is jammed and the middle or inner lane is free. If all lanes have slow traffic in them I wait behind the other vehicles.
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Old 11-23-09, 02:59 PM   #3
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The downtown area of my city features lots of one-way streets. Speed limit is 25mph and the traffic is light to extremely light almost all the time.

The problem I run into constantly is, I'm riding down a one-way with lights timed for 25mph. Motorists have this constant desire to gun it to pass me and pull back into my lane just ahead of me so they can stop at the next light. I come rolling up just as the light turns green and the guy who just passed me is usually sitting at the light and taking several seconds after the light turns to start going again.

Do you swing around them in the next lane over so as not to completely lose your momentum? Or do you stop behind the guy who just passed you, wait for him to proceed three seconds after the light turns green and eventually have to wait at a red light because you fall farther and farther behind the timing of the lights at each intersection?

I know waiting behind is safer, but it sure is frustrating. What do you do?
If you can take another lane and parallel that motorist, perhaps they may eventually "get it." (although I doubt it, as it seems "new car smell" has a mind numbiing effect)

Personally I have found that when some motorists insist on passing you to get right back into the right most lane, taking the next left lane over is a real good solution.

Oh I also have a horn.
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Old 11-23-09, 03:04 PM   #4
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Filter up next to him. Let him see you. Maybe he'll get it.
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Old 11-23-09, 03:10 PM   #5
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It is not about the other driver. Just focus on yourself being safe and efficient (and legal if you so desire as I do). Trying to 'show' someone else is a type of road rage.
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Old 11-23-09, 03:31 PM   #6
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It is not about the other driver. Just focus on yourself being safe and efficient (and legal if you so desire as I do). Trying to 'show' someone else is a type of road rage.
+ 1000

Given how easy just riding like we belong on the road pisses drivers off we don't need to give them anymore ammo. Concentrate on riding legally and safely and let Mr./Ms. Cager elevate their BP by "racing ahead" only to be stopped at the next stop light while we calmly come riding up behind them.
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Old 11-23-09, 03:38 PM   #7
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+ 1000

Given how easy just riding like we belong on the road pisses drivers off we don't need to give them anymore ammo. Concentrate on riding legally and safely and let Mr./Ms. Cager elevate their BP by "racing ahead" only to be stopped at the next stop light while we calmly come riding up behind them.
Wise words. As someone here said, perhaps genec?... "let trouble pass you by."
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Old 11-23-09, 03:44 PM   #8
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Wise words. As someone here said, perhaps genec?... "let trouble pass you by."
Thanks for the attribution... but it wasn't me... I too get easily frustrated by idiot motorists. I often feel I have been "training drivers" for well over 30 years and none of it has sunk in.
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Old 11-23-09, 03:51 PM   #9
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Just because you can see a green light doesn't mean you're entitled to go through it or deprived of your rights if you miss it. Wait your turn and go when it's safe.
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Old 11-23-09, 03:57 PM   #10
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Wise words. As someone here said, perhaps genec?... "let trouble pass you by."

Thank you mechBgon. Of course the hardest part of that advice is to resist the "knee jerk reaction" to flip said driver off or to yell/cuss at 'em.
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Old 11-23-09, 03:58 PM   #11
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Thanks for the attribution... but it wasn't me... I too get easily frustrated by idiot motorists. I often feel I have been "training drivers" for well over 30 years and none of it has sunk in.
And most of us feel that way Genec. As well as feeling that it would be more productive to talk to a brick wall.

Last edited by Digital_Cowboy; 11-23-09 at 04:06 PM.
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Old 11-23-09, 03:59 PM   #12
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If it is a one lane street I generally ride in the middle if there is a red light up ahead which I know I am timed for. Otherwise in your case I'd probably slow down and use it as training to get faster! If you go in the other lane they will just pass you on the other side - it is safer to slow down.
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Old 11-23-09, 04:56 PM   #13
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Pass him, then get in front of him and keep on riding. He'll get it eventually. This is a typical driver behavio, the "accelarate as hard as I can so that I can pass the cyclist and then slam the brakes on at the stop that is 50 feet ahead." IOne of the most annoying behaviors around.
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Old 11-23-09, 06:08 PM   #14
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I am a big fan of passing such idiots, but recognize that timing lights may put you in the path of the idiots that are running the red lights on the intersecting road. I wouldn't pass on a single lane road, what if the motorist is going left and failed to signal? Passing on the right is a good way to injecting yourself into a right hook that didn't have to happen. Definitely pass on the left.
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Old 11-23-09, 06:08 PM   #15
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Pass him, then get in front of him and keep on riding. He'll get it eventually. This is a typical driver behavio, the "accelarate as hard as I can so that I can pass the cyclist and then slam the brakes on at the stop that is 50 feet ahead." IOne of the most annoying behaviors around.
What I find worse than this is when a car overtakes you and then immediately has to pull in to give way to a car coming the other way (probably doesn't happen much in the states - we have quite a few narrow streets here where only 1 car can pass at a time). Most times I go round the car that pulled in and make them both wait for me - after that the car won't get past me as I'll ride more aggressively.
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Old 11-23-09, 06:43 PM   #16
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Thank you mechBgon. Of course the hardest part of that advice is to resist the "knee jerk reaction" to flip said driver off or to yell/cuss at 'em.
I'm afraid I don't always follow my own advice, though. When I'm at a red light in downtown traffic, I watch my rear using my helmet mirror. Sometimes you can just tell that the motorist who made the lane change and pulled up next to you is planning to pass and jump in front. And when the light turns green, they get a bit of a surprise... in the time it took to move their foot to the accelerator pedal, that #&%* cyclist has already made it halfway across the intersection, punched into his big ring, and is rapidly heading for 25mph+. Helps to stop about 4 feet back from the crosswalk, so I can clip in and be poised for launch.

Remember, nobody do that. OK?

Seriously though... if I'm getting belligerent or impatient behavior from a motorist, it's best to just let them go on ahead of me, where I can keep an eye on them. That applies to both riding and driving.
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Old 11-23-09, 07:43 PM   #17
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If you drop back a little farther, so that you're riding through at the middle of the light instead of just as it turns green, traffic should have cleared in front of you by the time you get there.
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Old 11-23-09, 07:52 PM   #18
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This morning I had some character gun it by me (close-ish, but not too bad) within 100 feet of a red light and then pull hard to the curb to prevent the re-pass. Except I wanted to make a right turn on the red...she was going straight.

I filtered by on the left and made the turn in front of her with nay a word and scarcely an exasperated glance.

If I had done that to overtake a car it would most probably result in a greater exchange of vocabulary.
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Old 11-23-09, 08:28 PM   #19
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I'm afraid I don't always follow my own advice, though. When I'm at a red light in downtown traffic, I watch my rear using my helmet mirror. Sometimes you can just tell that the motorist who made the lane change and pulled up next to you is planning to pass and jump in front. And when the light turns green, they get a bit of a surprise... in the time it took to move their foot to the accelerator pedal, that #&%* cyclist has already made it halfway across the intersection, punched into his big ring, and is rapidly heading for 25mph+. Helps to stop about 4 feet back from the crosswalk, so I can clip in and be poised for launch.

Remember, nobody do that. OK?

Seriously though... if I'm getting belligerent or impatient behavior from a motorist, it's best to just let them go on ahead of me, where I can keep an eye on them. That applies to both riding and driving.
Yeah, sadly we're all guilty of not taking our own advice. And I'm sure that we'll all agree that it's easier to give then to take advice.
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Old 11-23-09, 08:40 PM   #20
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With a speed limit of only 25, and with light traffic, I'd just take the other lane.

I do that sometimes on my route, where I am on a divided road (two lanes going in one direction, speed limit of 30 mph, routinely violated by drivers, however).

Most drivers are making a right turn on this stretch to get on a road that takes them downtown. So I just ride in the left lane so they don't have to pass me, then move over again.

Unconventional riding, but in these conditions it makes sense. Sounds like it would work for you, too.
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Old 11-23-09, 10:57 PM   #21
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The downtown area of my city features lots of one-way streets. Speed limit is 25mph and the traffic is light to extremely light almost all the time.

The problem I run into constantly is, I'm riding down a one-way with lights timed for 25mph. Motorists have this constant desire to gun it to pass me and pull back into my lane just ahead of me so they can stop at the next light. I come rolling up just as the light turns green and the guy who just passed me is usually sitting at the light and taking several seconds after the light turns to start going again.

Do you swing around them in the next lane over so as not to completely lose your momentum? Or do you stop behind the guy who just passed you, wait for him to proceed three seconds after the light turns green and eventually have to wait at a red light because you fall farther and farther behind the timing of the lights at each intersection?

I know waiting behind is safer, but it sure is frustrating. What do you do?
I will 'usually' wait behind them. But, If they happen to pass too close n' fast, I will pass them, before they can step on the gas again. Admittedly, That is a form of 'road rage' on my part. I just get frustrated with being treated like a second-class citizen by motorists.
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Old 11-24-09, 01:01 AM   #22
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Some of you guys are strange. Calling a legal pass of a car, some sort of road rage.

It might be one upping them, but it is by NO means road rage.

A U-lock to the mirror or window (other than self defense); now that is road rage.
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Old 11-24-09, 03:26 AM   #23
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What cyclists know, but drivers fail to realize, is that moving slower can be way more efficient when you're dealing w/traffic signals. Gun it, stop. Gun it, stop. It's really kind of stupid, but people do it all the time, even when they should be aware that the light just turned red.

I say "should be" because I am aware of this, and have no issue moving along at my own pace while the walk timer for cross traffic is ticking down.
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Old 11-24-09, 09:56 AM   #24
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Some of you guys are strange. Calling a legal pass of a car, some sort of road rage.

It might be one upping them, but it is by NO means road rage.
I know I'm strange, but when I was drafting my response I couldn't forget the cyclist in Madison that got flattened by the state legislator in his jeep. The cyclist clearly had the right of way, and the bus in the lane next to the cyclist was moving.
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Old 11-24-09, 10:30 AM   #25
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I was the one who mentioned road rage. Legally passing is of course not.

But I was responding to the idea expressed or hinted at by some of training motorists, showing them so the get it and the general tone of 'oneupsmanship' - doing that is a (mild) form of road rage.

But minding your own business and riding in a safe, predictable legal efficient way is not.

Even if the general actions (passing) you take as a cyclist are the same in response to silly motorist behavior, your mindset and 'tone' (expressions, looks, how close you pass, what you do after you pass) when you do it can be different which can lead to different results.
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