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  1. #1
    Domestic Domestique UnsafeAlpine's Avatar
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    When you take the lane, where do you ride?

    I'm trying a little experiment. I've ridden a little longer than a month on a 1.25 mile long stretch of road that has no other option than to take the lane. I've been riding in the center or center left for about the first month. I did this, as suggested, to be as conspicuous as possible. I have a decent understanding of how much it irks motorists from the frequency of honking and the birds flying out the windows.

    Last week, I wondered what would happen if I rode center right or right track. Would the frequency of very angry drivers decrease and/or would I see an increase of "fly-bys," those motorists who don't change lanes?

    I had 2 fly-bys while taking center or center left and about 1.5 honks a day. So far, after a week of exploring this new option, I've gone down to about .5 honks a day but within a week, I've had one fly-by.

    What have you all noticed in terms of where you ride? When you take the lane, where do you ride and why?

    (Of course, this is generally where you ride. I understand that moving around in the lane is necessary depending on road conditions.)

  2. #2
    genec genec's Avatar
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    I ride right tire track when there is no other location... But even then I have seen some close passes... and this is on roads with more than one lane.

    I find the right tire track is generally clean, has no oil and allows me to be predictable.

  3. #3
    cZa
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    Right tire track. If i'm moving at a good speed or about to turn left I go with the left tire track.

  4. #4
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UnsafeAlpine View Post

    What have you all noticed in terms of where you ride? When you take the lane, where do you ride and why?

    (Of course, this is generally where you ride. I understand that moving around in the lane is necessary depending on road conditions.)
    I was riding for 7+ years approx. 3' from the road edge/white line in a 10' wide lane on a 4-lane 55mph road. This section has moderately busy traffic and after a time I had almost no problems, mostly due to my high mount rear light array. I kept my eye on my mirror but only had two or three instances where I actually changed positions due to what I saw in the mirror. (The shoulder is unrideable except for emergencies due to the use of river rock, though I used it on rare occasions as the best of two bad choices in extreme foggy, night time conditions).

    I changed job locations recently and no longer ride on such a road and barely deal with traffic anymore. Can't say I miss it.
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  5. #5
    Que CERA, CERA jefferee's Avatar
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    I usually ride in the right tire track.

    That's far enough toward the center of the lane that drivers need to change lanes to pass.
    It's also reasonably free of debris and oil, and gives me enough emergency maneuvering space to the right.
    Quote Originally Posted by MajorMantra View Post
    Cycling (taken to the typical roadie extreme) causes you to cough up your own soul as every fibre of your worthless being sings in choral agony. Once you embrace the pain everything is dandy.

  6. #6
    steel lover
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    Quote Originally Posted by jefferee View Post
    I usually ride in the right tire track.

    That's far enough toward the center of the lane that drivers need to change lanes to pass.
    It's also reasonably free of debris and oil, and gives me enough emergency maneuvering space to the right.
    This. Although, I still get close calls every now and then... which cause me to ride left tire track the rest of the ride. I NEVER ride to the right of the right tire unless it is REALLY wide.... that's just asking for fly-bys.

    I have a friend who rides to the left of the left tire track. Pretty close to the line... but not on it. Drivers slow down quite a bit, many get pissed, some will wait awhile before passing (even though they have their own lane), and I get really nervous just watching him. As a driver, I wouldn't feel comfortable passing at any speed with him there... heck... I keep an eye on cars if they are to the side of the lane.
    No lugs, no care.

  7. #7
    Yabba-Dabba-Doo! AlmostTrick's Avatar
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    I float according to conditions. When there is no traffic behind me I like left of center. This makes it obvious earlier to any approaching vehicles that they will need to change lanes or slow down. The sooner drivers figure this out, the sooner they'll make their move is my experience, making traffic flow smoother for everyone. Once they start merging over I float a little right to be more visible to those in the left lane who may be tailgating and thinking the right lane is open for them to move into.

    I get honked at about once every other ride. Almost without exception, every honker passes me safely. I actually think they are doing me a favor; since their honks may force a non attentive driver to snap to attention.
    Last edited by AlmostTrick; 02-15-10 at 01:59 PM.
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  8. #8
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    Drivers don't really think about their response, they just respond. If you're far enough left that they obviously have to cross the lane line to pass that's usually sufficient to move them over far enough. If your too far left I think it's taken as a challenge/blatant obstruction by many drivers and the naturally hot headed ones will overreact.

    Humans while driving are sorta stupid binary processors. They either try and stay firmly in the lane, or move widely out to pass. They either accept the little cycle pylon or it irks em off. There's no logic, just response. Think training an intelligent dog, be calm and assertive, but no poking with sticks.

  9. #9
    Senior Member hshearer's Avatar
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    Is it too late to attach a poll to this?

    I ride in the center, which I find is best for preventing unsafe passing. By using my mirror, I can always move right if it feels like someone is going to try to buzz me for spite. Riding in the left tire track seems to piss people off more, because it's obvious that you're doing it on purpose (of all things!). As long as there's not room to pass on the inside, that's fine, but if there's a chance they could pass you on the inside, a few will try. That's why I like center.

  10. #10
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    I take the center of a narrow lane or the right tire track of a wider one. On a sharably wide lane with a good outer margin, I position myself farther rightward, as though I were in a marked bike lane.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  11. #11
    cZa
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    I take the left tire track when taking the lane to keep people from passing. Thats what I have been told from a motorcycling stand point that it keeps people from trying to pass and do to the convex there is less oil build up. when riding i stick to the right but if i am taking a lane i go left tire track. so thats my logic anyway. But i very rarely take a lane.

  12. #12
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    Right tire track; on side streets, basically a single-lane, close to (but not directly IN) the center. Anywhere else invites getting buzzed.

  13. #13
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    I ride left tire track, or perhaps just to the rightof it. On the section of country two-lane I travel, I ride there, but when there is a dotted yellow and no oncoming traffic I move to the right tire track and wave traffic around.
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  14. #14
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    I ride in what I think of as the outside motorcycle lane - around a third of the way into the lane. I do get out of the way when I can though, with my mirror. On roads with more cover (like lots of trees hanging over etc), or if it's later, I'll go into the center.

  15. #15
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    right shoulder
    sometimes right track
    left track when I want to keep them from passing
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  16. #16
    Senior Member SlimAgainSoon's Avatar
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    Mostly right tire track, sometimes center, rarely left.

  17. #17
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    it really depends on my speed relative to the other traffic. if i am within 5mph of the prevailing speed of traffic, i don't really care to be anywhere except to be close to the left edge of the lane.


    yesterday on maui d i was doing close to 40mph with a tailwind, i was moving in and out of the lane but there was a quite ample shoulder.

    if the lane is narrow and the speed differential is great, only so far to the right as is safe. i don't care about the birds and the honkers much. i have sometimes stopped in the lane to ask if they need assistance.

    THAT pisses the motorists off.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  18. #18
    Randomhead
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    I use the right tire track. If I am further over, even the people that totally change lanes are closer than I really like. If I'm taking the lane because I'm worried about cross traffic, I usually take the left tire track. That makes me more visible and potentially gives me more room to avoid an accident. I usually only do this when I'm going downhill and there is little chance of being overtaken.

  19. #19
    Refrigerator Raider Hater fordmanvt's Avatar
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    I've found that for the most part once your far enough right to force them to cross the center line with left side tires, they prefer to give as much room as possible. However, as traffic gets heavy, I do move more to the left.

  20. #20
    CRIKEY!!!!!!! Cyclaholic's Avatar
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    I ride about 1/2 lane width away from the left hand edge of the road.

  21. #21
    Domestic Domestique UnsafeAlpine's Avatar
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    I think I got the riding in the inside tire lane from riding motorcycles. I like to have that ability to move around if needed and to be right in the line of sight but the right tire track definitely seems to be getting less people angry when I bicycle, so I think I'll keep that up.

  22. #22
    Yabba-Dabba-Doo! AlmostTrick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    yesterday on maui d i was doing close to 40mph with a tailwind, i was moving in and out of the lane but there was a quite ample shoulder.
    DLLP even with an ample shoulder? HH would be proud.
    Have Bike, Will Travel

  23. #23
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    It's kind of weird that people seem to be reluctant to change lanes, even when there's no reason in the world not to do so.

    Even when driving a car, I've been turning right into a driveway, turn signal on, on a rural road where there's absolutely nothing on the road except the driveway I'm turning into so no chance I'm going to turn left instead or something, no oncoming traffic and a mile visibility in daylight, and people will still slow down to a crawl behind me instead of changing lanes and proceeding around.

    Weird.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  24. #24
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    itsjustme - I agree. the most baffling is on the highway. I can be in the center lane doing 70 which could be perfect for the traffic. faster than the right lane and slower than the left lane but then someone comes up on my tail and refuses to pass me even though they want to go the speed of the cars in the left lane. if i pull into the right lane they wiz past me even if its been 15 minutes that they were following me. get back in the center lane cuz that's the right lane for my speed. they could have passed me at the speed they wanted to travel at a long time ago ... I usually chalk it up to their vision; fear of the left lane or the way they were taught to drive. someone must have passed on their bad habit, you know?
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  25. #25
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    Right tire track. Occasional central, if there are no issues with pavement bulging or grease spots there.

    Motorists pass at the same average distance regardless of where I ride on the road. They only completely change lanes if I ride on the left side of the lane, which means they are passing at the same distance, but in a different lane... which means very little from my standpoint, since the most aggressive motorists have non-existent lane discipline.

    On the arterial roads I ride, I have found that a leftward position increases the risk of right passes and general motorist aggression, and seems to have been a key factor in the times I was (physically) pushed over to the right.

    When traffic is light, on the other hand, anywhere in the traveled portion of the lane is fine, as motorists move over well ahead of time.

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