Check out this animation to see all the hazards a bicycle driver faces when trying to stay to the right.
Check out this animation to see all the hazards a bicycle driver faces when trying to stay to the right.
Great video! Thanks for the post.
When I started riding over 40 years ago it quickly became evident if I rode too far to the right many people would do a dangerous same-lane pass. Generally I ride about three feet in on a 12-foot lane. How about others?
That's THEIR one side of the story. Where the hell is the OTHER side of the story.
Fahy bridge incidents, Murfeesborough hit and run, countless other VC lane splatters.
Cars following too close to others = do not see cyclist and cannot swerve far enough to miss them.
I even reported a county school bus last week, for laying on his horn trying to get me out of his way. The bus driver was trying to pass me on a curve, where someone had been driving too fast and ran over the embankment, stopping on the northbound track of a major MUT(Multi-Use Track) line.
Last edited by Chris516; 09-27-12 at 07:35 PM.
I think the true savvy cyclist rides right when practicable and moves left to prevent the problems shown in the animation. If passing in the same lane is unsafe, move left to force cars to go into the other lane. When coming up to an intersection, move left to show other traffic that you're there and planning on going straight.
Riding in the middle of the lane all of the time just makes motorists angry and more likely to take out their anger on other cyclists.
Last edited by spivonious; 09-28-12 at 11:10 AM.
Very cool and educational animation.
BTW, this is the 5,245th rehash of a topic for which an entire leper colony of a subforum was established.
This only delays the passing driver when the next lane is occupied, which is not all of the time. So you have to weigh the risk -- frequent close passes versus occasionally delaying a driver.
Finally, you can "take the lane" without being a prick about it, by acknowledging drivers and pulling off when you can to allow queued up traffic to pass, just like you do when you tow a trailer up a mountain road. I'd surmise that for every BF'er that postures how they obstinately block angry honking drivers, not "letting" or "allowing" cars to pass, and "forcing" cars to change lanes, there are thousands of cyclists out there who ride in the lane courteously and without drama.
Last edited by Daves_Not_Here; 09-28-12 at 08:58 PM.
The most dangerous drivers, by the way, are those who are distracted one way or the other. Most of us try to navigate a car with caution, and yet make mistakes, and on very rare occasions these mistakes will be dangerous, but I honestly don't think that the majority of accidents are cause by the cautious-but-still-human drivers. It's the distracted asshats that are most likely to hit cyclists, and they're exactly the people who'll never notice you however much you take the lane.
Personally, each version matches about 80 to 90 percent of my personal experiences of riding in an urban environment. Riding in the style of the first version, I may get motorists who will still move to the left as far as they can, and riding in the style of the second version, it fails to show the tailgating motorist.
http://www.helmets.org/walkerstudy.htm which provides some links to related articles including http://www.helmets.org/walkerchartsrev2b.pdf , in which Dan Guttierez analyses the data and takes minor issue with chart layouts (he feels by truncating the Y axis, small effects are made to appear larger).
He also notes that "The other point to be made is that if Dr. Walker had positioned himself further left still, say 7 feet from the curb (in a 12 foot lane), he would have observed lane change behavior from passing motorists, and the passing distances would have been larger than the numbers he measures at lateral positions closer to the curb." That was my question as I looked at the charts -- how was passing clearance measured when a motorist moved over a complete lane and left the cyclist completely alone in his lane -- was that data point even measured and included?
The reason I even raise the question is I'm trying to reconcile the apparent results against my own personal experience -- when riding further left, it seems that drivers more often change lanes completely. And, I've only been buzzed when I was hugging the curb. Of course, this only anecdotal and not statistically significant.
Finally, I agree with you that distracted drivers are dangerous, but I disagree that they will "never" notice you no matter where you ride. I think the less you blend in on the right, the more likely a distracted driver will wake up and pay attention. This is only my personal opinion -- I don't have scientific studies to back it up.
The animation is a good tool but doesn't tell the whole story. There is indeed a time and a place to "take the lane" and ride as the animation suggests is the correct way to ride. There is also indeed a time and a place to ride to the far right preferably on the shoulder on the other side of the white line.
What personally annoys me the most as far as riding position is "continuous white line riders" those being the bicyclists who seem to think that the white line on the right hand side of the road is a four inch wide bike lane and that is where they ride under almost all riding conditions and then gripe and complain about all the close "screamer" passes that cagers make on them.To my mind based upon my experience in most situations riding in the lane in the right tire track or to the right of the white line on the shoulder edge is a better choice then riding on the white line. Riding on the white line in most situations is like hanging a big sign on your back that says "Please make a close high speed pass on me and kill me by cracking my head open with your mirror." Actually hanging such a sign on your back while riding that way might actually be safer then riding that way without it since it would at least make motorists aware of the potential danger to you by this situation.
There is a time and a place for almost every lane position. Me personally:
----- On 45+ mph roadways with a ride-able shoulder edge I ride on the shoulder to the right of the white line and treat the shoulder as my own private bike lane and position myself within that lane according to conditions at hand which includes taking a far left position in my lane (the shoulder edge) when approaching an major intersection where "right hooking", "exit left cross T-bone-ing", and/or "entry T-bone-ing" are hazards since it improves my visibility. If I need to exit my lane (the shoulder edge) and switch to the next lane to the left I treat it just like any other lane change yielding to traffic already in the lane I intend to merge into (S.M.O.G. = Signal, Mirror, look Over shoulder, Go). To my mind and style of riding this is FRAP riding.
----- On 25 mph or less roadways (posted speed limit not actual traffic speed = if they want to speed and get annoyed at me because I am riding the speed limit or just barely under it its their problem not mine so they can just %*$^ shove it where ^&^*%* !#%@ ) I always take the lane regardless of whether there is a ride-able shoulder edge or a bike lane or a bike side-path or adjacent MUP or sidewalk anything else for that matter. I position myself in that lane as conditions merit usually riding on the left edge of the right side tire track beaten into the pavement but occasionally switching to dead middle of the lane or the left tire track as necessary under the conditions at hand. To my mind and style of riding this is VC riding.
----- I avoid riding on roadways with an average motor vehicle traffic speed greater then 45 mph that do not have a ride-able shoulder edge especially if then are narrow, whindy, and/or have heavy vehicular traffic. If I do have to ride on such a road to reach my destination since there is no other better route then I will take the lane riding in the right side tire track and pull over and let traffic pass if it starts to back up behind me when I reach a good pull out spot. Sometimes I will even ride a side-path or adjacent MUP instead of such a road although I generally consider riding them to be more hazardous then riding most roads but these roads are an exception to that generality.
----- On roads with with a ride-able shoulder edge or bike lane to the right and posted speed limits greater then 25mph but where the average speed of motor vehicle traffic is 45 mph or less I will either ride as I have previously outlined above VC or FRAP (on the shoulder or in the bike lane) as I believe is best for the conditions at hand at that time. I will not hesitate to ride roads without ride-able shoulders or bike lanes in this speed range VC style as I have previously outlined above.
----- The only time I am a "white line rider" is when I ride the white line in-between the straight through lane and the right hand turn lane at a major intersection on a high speed highway that otherwise has a ride-able shoulder edge or bike-lane to the right that I am riding FRAP style as I have previously outlined above. I will ride that white line or just to the right or left of it depending on immediate conditions just to pass straight through that intersection and will continue on my way riding on the shoulder or bike lane to the right after passing through the intersection. Why the idiots who designed most of the bike lanes I have seen almost always route the bike lane to the right of the right hand turn lane for straight through bike traffic is beyond my comprehension.
Last edited by turbo1889; 09-29-12 at 06:04 PM.
I remember a few close shaves back in the days (late 70's, I think) when Copenhagen streets had a lot fewer bike paths. I also remember seeing how VC-style left turns killed two people right in front of me. And before the cycle path "revolution", the fight for space had become almost intolerable. I dare not think how it would be now, with a lot more traffic, both cars and bikes. The thing is, for a European city, we have a very high percentage of car commuters, as the sprawl is of almost American dimensions and the public transport is woefully inadequate.
I guess - judging from the stories I read here - that cyclists are generally more accepted by the drivers than in, say, the USA or GB. Still, every political move to improve conditions for cyclists is met with furious opposition by the car lobby which is (strangely) powerfull. And the "letters to the editor" or comments on divers blogs and Facebook, are exactly as vengefull and semipsychopathic as those you know from the USA.
Sounds like your area is more similar to the USA than I had realized.
Here is what I think could be a key difference -- you mentioned have not had close calls since the 70's. My experience is that in the USA, if you are on narrow road and you are riding within a foot of the edge, you are going to get frequently buzzed by drivers who "share" the lane with you. The buzzes happen when the driver neither slows nor pulls left partially out of the lane. And when that lane is narrow, there isn't much clearance available on either side. So this again is the rationale for controlling the lane, which by now you've heard here ad nauseum I realize.
macabre.Originally Posted by john forester
On this side of the Atlantic, RIP Bruce Rosar. A skilled and renowned bicycle driver, nonetheless killed executing a left turn in NC. And i wasn't there so i can't describe the crash other than what I've read of it.
As to the relentlessly fearmongering yet totally worthless video, i have one comment -
I find it hilarious how some bicycle drivers think a extremely wide, out-of-compliance-with-national-highway-safety-standards 22 foot wide outside lanes effectively mitigates traffic conflict issues at intersections for bicyclists.
Judging by the video, the suggested infrastructure 'improvement' lauded by bicycle drivers -pavement width and nothing more specific - EXACERBATES traffic conflicts.
Last edited by Bekologist; 10-03-12 at 04:38 AM.