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  1. #1
    coitus non circum. Mars's Avatar
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    How far left are you?

    When you go to make a left hand turn on a busy street. Do you move over to the left far enough to let cars in your lane by? Now imagine that you are first at a traffic light waiting in the left hand lane for a green light. Ever had near misses or accidents with cars "cutting the corner" from the right as they turned left onto your street? (man that was hard to describe, hope I was clear).

  2. #2
    Senior Member skydive69's Avatar
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    I'm so right wing, that I only make right turns!
    www.brokennecktobrokenrecords.com

  3. #3
    Ride the Road Daily Commute's Avatar
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    Your post is perfectly clear. You need to take the entire lane when turning left because you can't safely share a lane with a turning car. If you don't feel up to that, stay to the right and ride straight across the intersection. Dismount, and walk your bike across the cross walk.

    As far as cars turning left in front of me while I wait at a red light, I make sure I stay behind the big white line that cars are supposed to stay behind. Sometimes, I'll wait a few feet farther back just to be safe. I haven't had any near misses doing that.

  4. #4
    coitus non circum. Mars's Avatar
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    Daily Commute:
    Totally agree with you about the bike lanes... You're a fan of Forester I presume?

  5. #5
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daily Commute
    ... If you don't feel up to that, stay to the right and ride straight across the intersection. Dismount, and walk your bike across the cross walk. ...
    The dismount-and-walk scenario is rarely necessary. Ride straight across, then stop, turn your bike 90 degrees in place, and position yourself to ride straight through the intersection in your new direction. If there is a right-turn-only lane, stop and reposition yourself before you reach it. I prefer doing this on prime arterials in fast, heavy traffic, rather than trying to negotiate a merge across 2 or 3 lanes. On slower streets or in light traffic, vehicular left turns are the preferred approach, and in this case I agree with simply taking a left-turn-only lane.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
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  6. #6
    Ride the Road Daily Commute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John E
    The dismount-and-walk scenario is rarely necessary. Ride straight across, then stop, turn your bike 90 degrees in place, and position yourself to ride straight through the intersection in your new direction. If there is a right-turn-only lane, stop and reposition yourself before you reach it. I prefer doing this on prime arterials in fast, heavy traffic, rather than trying to negotiate a merge across 2 or 3 lanes. On slower streets or in light traffic, vehicular left turns are the preferred approach, and in this case I agree with simply taking a left-turn-only lane.
    I completely agree that the cross-walk scenerio is rarely needed. But it's safer than trying to share a lane with a turning car. And if a given cyclist does not feel up to crossing over to and taking control of a left turn lane, then the cross walk is the least bad alternative. Note, I did not say "best" alternative.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mars
    Daily Commute:
    Totally agree with you about the bike lanes... You're a fan of Forester I presume?
    I agree with a lot of what Forester says, but he's not the god some make him out to be. Forester is mostly right about bike lanes being poorly designed and bad for cyclists. He's also right about cyclists faring best when we act and are treated like drivers of other vehicles. His objections to shared bike paths go too far (I think some shared bike paths can work). Some of his bike maintenance ideas are just plain wacky (drill holes in your bottom bracket to add grease). He can also be obnoxious in the way he presents his ideas.
    Last edited by Daily Commute; 12-04-04 at 03:51 PM.

  7. #7
    By-Tor...or the Snow Dog? hi565's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mars
    When you go to make a left hand turn on a busy street. Do you move over to the left far enough to let cars in your lane by? Now imagine that you are first at a traffic light waiting in the left hand lane for a green light. Ever had near misses or accidents with cars "cutting the corner" from the right as they turned left onto your street? (man that was hard to describe, hope I was clear).
    When i first saw this thread, a teenager comment popped up (if your a guy you would know) then i read it that changed
    ----------------------------------------------------------

  8. #8
    Just riding andygates's Avatar
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    Oh hell, I have to wrap my brain around you guys riding on the wacky side of the road! Here goes:

    "When you go to make a left hand turn on a busy street. Do you move over to the left far enough to let cars in your lane by?"

    I'd either take the lane or, if it was wide enough, move right over so that cars can undertake me while I wait for the turn to become clear.

    "Now imagine that you are first at a traffic light waiting in the left hand lane for a green light. Ever had near misses or accidents with cars "cutting the corner""

    No. If I'm first at a traffic light, I *always* take the lane. If the driver behind me doesn't like it, that's his tough. Let them beep and rev - I don't like it, but I'm not going to endanger myself for some cager's convenience.

    Forester's good, so is Franklin, and this is standard practice for other two-wheelers too - it's what motorcyclists do.

  9. #9
    cab horn
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    You fail to mention whether or not this is a dedicated left turn lane, or just a straight through and through lane.

    Big difference.

  10. #10
    Ride the Road Daily Commute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator
    You fail to mention whether or not this is a dedicated left turn lane, or just a straight through and through lane.

    Big difference.
    What's the difference? In either case, I'd take the lane.

  11. #11
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    You take the lane.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  12. #12
    Senior Member GeezerGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skydive69
    I'm so right wing, that I only make right turns!
    Three rights make a left. Think about that, think really hard.

  13. #13
    Chairman of the Bored catatonic's Avatar
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    I go as far left as I can, just because it allows the driver to pass on the right (although illegal, better than having them hanging off my backside), and also reduces the chance I get ticketed by a cop and having to go through the whole court crap.

    As far as safety...I actually feel safer jsut taking the left side of the lane for left turns...I guess I worry about my six too much, but after that time some jackhole "love tapped" the back wheel of my mtn bike (wasnt paying attention, he apoligzed and all that even though I didn't fall)...I learned to really keep track of what's behind me.

  14. #14
    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daily Commute
    What's the difference? In either case, I'd take the lane.
    I'll pretend I didn't see that. Are you going to take the lane on a one lane 80kph road signalling to turn left?

  15. #15
    lurker
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator
    I'll pretend I didn't see that. Are you going to take the lane on a one lane 80kph road signalling to turn left?

    Why wouldn't you? What is your alternative?

  16. #16
    Ride the Road Daily Commute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator
    I'll pretend I didn't see that. Are you going to take the lane on a one lane 80kph road signalling to turn left?
    I have done it on a road with a 45 mph/72kph limit (traffic going 50 mph/80kph). It's safer than turning from the right edge.

  17. #17
    . . . rosebud . . . Diggy18's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator
    I'll pretend I didn't see that. Are you going to take the lane on a one lane 80kph road signalling to turn left?
    LOL, you didn't pretend hard enough!

    I have the same concerns as Mars.

    Yes, I have had near misses with cars turning left onto my street as I waited to go. This happens to me on smaller roads without any white line. Then the drivers usually seem peeved that I am forcing them to take a wider turn, but they would have to do this if I were an automobile so I don't feel guilty. Nevertheless, if I get hit, who cares who feels guilty.

    For the turns, if there's a dedicated left-turn lane then it's easy and I just take the lane. No problems.

    No separate left-turn - hmmm. I hate these and don't feel safe at all waiting in the lane for a break in the opposing traffic. The cars coming behind me just do not expect to see a small-profile bike dead-stopped in the middle of the lane. And even if they do see me in time, there's the danger that they might try to pass me on the right as the opposing traffic is moving by me on my left. Not a good situation.

    So I go straight by these places and look for a better place to turn, or pull off to the right shoulder of the road and look for a break in traffic in both directions.
    "There'll be time for complacency when I'm six feet under. "

  18. #18
    @#$% cars
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    If it's a left turn lane, I take the lane, dead center. If I'm making a left at an intersection with no designated left turn lane, I move pretty far to the left to allow cars to go by easily on the right. I also leave my left arm up as much as I can so the driver-barely-paying-attention, as is all too common these days, has a chance to see what I'm doing there.

    Wear yellow, orange or day=glo green!

  19. #19
    semifreddo amartuerer 'nother's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hubs
    If it's a left turn lane, I take the lane, dead center. If I'm making a left at an intersection with no designated left turn lane, I move pretty far to the left to allow cars to go by easily on the right. I also leave my left arm up as much as I can so the driver-barely-paying-attention, as is all too common these days, has a chance to see what I'm doing there.

    Wear yellow, orange or day=glo green!
    Hmmmm, this whole thread sounds vaguely familiar, I'm sure DC will agree And speaking of that, I agree, if you can -- safely -- take the lane and make the turn, definitely. Just so we're clear on that.

    My comment about familiarity part refers to the "Ground Rules" thread, where some (including myself) have stated concerns about the act of safely taking the lane where there is a lot of fast moving traffic. In the end it will always be for you to judge what you consider "safe" in context, but my rule of thumb on that is, if it would be a challenge in a _car_, I definitely wouldn't attempt it on a bike. For example, moving leftward from the right side of a normal lane, or into a full lane from bike lane, with heavy traffic moving 2-3 times faster than you. Understanding that "heavy" is relative.

    I'm skeptical about day-glo and associated trinkets. While I wouldn't discourage them, I think they give a false sense of security because their mere presence doesn't improve the drivers' perceptions of your (intended) actions. A kind of group mentality settles in, like "well, those other cars passed that bike, I'm late for work and I'm sure I can squeak by, too". That's when you see the close calls. I witness one at least once a week on a road I travel both in a car and on my bike. The other evening, I saw a guy fully decked out with 3 or 4 blinky tail-light things on his bike, clothing, etc., reflectors all over, etc., and still came within inches of being hit as he tried to move leftward in traffic, people just trying to squeeze one more past. I doubt he was aware how close he came to getting nailed but judging by the amount of nose-dive on the car that slammed on his brakes just beside/behind him, it was a pretty dangerous situation, not just for the cyclist (fortunately I was well back from that car because I'm always looking for cyclists and saw this unfolding).

    The problem in traffic is that you don't have the same capabilities as a car, even if you may have the same rights and responsibilities. You *aren't* a car. You can't accelerate your way out of a close gap in traffic, and even though you can probably brake faster, you don't have large taillights that indicate your actions effectively (good opportunity for inventors, perhaps: turn signals and brake lights?!).

  20. #20
    Right calf grease tattoo Alphie's Avatar
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    The lefts I take are almost always with the benefit of a turn lane. Which I sit in the middle of, until after the turn when I move to the right. Getting _into_ the left lane can sometimes be challenging.

    The most interesting place I have to take a lane is when I turn left out of my workplace. I am immediately in a road with 2 forward lanes, which turn into a left turn only, middle travel, and right turn only lane at the first light, which is at the top of a short but steep uphill. I have to be in the middle lane, which can be a little nerve wracking considering the traffic that comes barreling around a curve behind the intersection.
    Without deviation from the norm, 'progress' is not possible.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by hubs
    If it's a left turn lane, I take the lane, dead center. If I'm making a left at an intersection with no designated left turn lane, I move pretty far to the left to allow cars to go by easily on the right.
    Ditto, that's pretty much what I do here. I ride through a combination of left turn lanes and left/straight combo lanes.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by hubs
    If it's a left turn lane, I take the lane, dead center.
    I don't understand why this is safer than staying to the right in the left turn lane and allowing cars to pass on my left as I make the turn. Is it to prevent depth perception challenged drivers from wacking me with their right side mirrors?

    The left turn lane I use the most has no opposite direction left turn lane, meaning there is no one making a left from the other direction leading to a head on collision with me while tracking wide through a left turn. I guess on tighter streets I'd take command of my lane.

  23. #23
    Senior Member
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    If its a multi-lane road with heavy traffic, I will move to the LH lane early, when there is a gap in the traffic. I will proceed in the LH lane until there is a gap in the traffic in the opposite direction and then cross. If I havent reached the target cross street I will go on the side walk (provided there is the usual lack of peds). If I reach the target cross street before there is a gap in the oncoming traffic, I will stop in the middle of the road.

  24. #24
    Ride the Road Daily Commute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_wmn
    I don't understand why this is safer than staying to the right in the left turn lane and allowing cars to pass on my left as I make the turn. Is it to prevent depth perception challenged drivers from wacking me with their right side mirrors? . . . .
    Partly, yes. There is rarely a defined left turn arc, so I don't want to give a car the opportunity to sideswipe me. The cars can wait their turn.

  25. #25
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Very easy.

    If I am the first at a left turn I take the right side of the left turn lane (on the place the right car tire would be) so that no car would be able to try and share the lane. This also gives some addtional room for left turning cars coming from your right clipping you (although I think that worry is over stated)

    If I am not the first at a left turn I take the left side of the lane (on the place the left car tire would be). This lets me see around the cars in front of me so I know if there is any oncoming traffic.

    Al

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