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Old 11-16-12, 07:54 PM   #1
vol
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Problem of taking the lane

Heeding the suggestion of many to take the lane, I did several times, but each time a car would come up from behind almost swiping me and squeeze past to get in front of me, sometimes with a honk, as if saying: "Get away! You don't belong here!" It was pretty dangerous. If I were riding on the side as far away from the cars as possible, the cars would not bother me. So to those for taking the lane, haven't you had the same experience and how do you deal with it?
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Old 11-16-12, 08:20 PM   #2
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If the cars can pass you safely if you're to the right, then don't take the lane. I reserve taking the lane for those roads with a very narrow or non-existent shoulder.
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Old 11-16-12, 08:26 PM   #3
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Heeding the suggestion of many to take the lane, I did several times, but each time a car would come up from behind almost swiping me and squeeze past to get in front of me, sometimes with a honk, as if saying: "Get away! You don't belong here!" It was pretty dangerous. If I were riding on the side as far away from the cars as possible, the cars would not bother me. So to those for taking the lane, haven't you had the same experience and how do you deal with it?
Five things:

1. All motorists', that are not also cyclists', are idiots behind the wheel.

2. Every motorist that is not also a cyclist will undoubtedly honk to get a cyclist out of their way.

3. When they honk, it is obvious, they are honking to get you out of their way, don't give up the lane.

4. When you are stopped at a red light, and suddenly are honked at when you looked away from the traffic light only to realize it just turned green, thank them. Because motorists' make the same mistake of not paying attention to the traffic light.

5. There is nothing stopping a motor vehicle from passing you. But you do not need to acquiesce the lane, for the motorist to pass you.

Last edited by Chris516; 11-17-12 at 03:13 AM.
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Old 11-16-12, 08:45 PM   #4
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The OP is obviously a troll. We all know that riding around in the middle of traffic is panacea and has never caused any problems for anybody, ever.
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Old 11-16-12, 09:14 PM   #5
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The OP is obviously a troll. We all know that riding around in the middle of traffic is panacea and has never caused any problems for anybody, ever.
These words must be from one of the drivers I referred to. Your days are numbered as shown in your name.

To the other sane and well-meaninged members who replied: today this happened to me while I was riding on the left-most lane of a (quite wide) one-way street because I was going to make left turn.

Last edited by vol; 11-16-12 at 09:17 PM.
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Old 11-16-12, 09:18 PM   #6
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... how do you deal with it?
The way I deal with it is to honk a few times and if they don't get out of the way, run 'em over.

Oh, you mean when I'm cycling? Take the lane, are you crazy? I ride on the sidewalk where I belong. If I have to ride in the street, I ride on the left facing traffic. As long as I wear my helmet, I know I'm good.

(wait for it .....)

Last edited by Daves_Not_Here; 11-17-12 at 12:15 AM. Reason: Had to add the bit about the helmet
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Old 11-16-12, 09:42 PM   #7
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Ah....humor, where would we be without it?
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Old 11-16-12, 09:56 PM   #8
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I think the drivers simply couldn't accept the fact that a bicycle with such a narrow body should take the whole lane. The lane is of the width of a vehicle, "not meant for a single bike to occupy", they think.
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Old 11-16-12, 09:59 PM   #9
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These words must be from one of the drivers I referred to. Your days are numbered as shown in your name.

To the other sane and well-meaninged members who replied: today this happened to me while I was riding on the left-most lane of a (quite wide) one-way street because I was going to make left turn.
So, seriously: you were blocking traffic on your bicycle and are genuinely surprised that folks got upset about it?
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Old 11-16-12, 10:05 PM   #10
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I'd like to raise the point about a slow moving tractor blocking the road and compare that situation to a slow moving cyclist blocking the road. Which is wrong or right, are both wrong? Should a motorist behind a slow moving tractor just honk and ram the tractor?
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Old 11-16-12, 10:48 PM   #11
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I think the drivers simply couldn't accept the fact that a bicycle with such a narrow body should take the whole lane. The lane is of the width of a vehicle, "not meant for a single bike to occupy", they think.
I don't know how it is by you, but around here solo cyclists almost never take the lane, no matter how crappy the conditions. The lane could be 9 feet wide with a crumbly edge with giant pot holes, they'll still ride right right on the edge, leaving no bailout and inviting dangerous passes. Narrow lane with blind curve or hill? Yup, straddle the edge so they don't slow down or upset the mighty motorist.

I blame this behavior for the motorist mindset you noted above. We teach them where we should be. When most cyclists ride the edge or the sidewalk that's where they will think we should be. Is this really any surprise?

I notice that when I take the lane motorists treat me with care, even the few who honk or yell. Close calls are few and far between. Isn't that the goal?
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Old 11-17-12, 01:20 AM   #12
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No, every time I take the lane it goes okay. The occasional idiot, but frankly those guys are idiots all round, often angering other motorists as much as they do me. Certainly I prefer to have a nice bike lane or shoulder.
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Old 11-17-12, 01:36 AM   #13
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If there isn't a good shoulder on the right, I take enough of the lane so cars realize that have to pass me and not "squeeze" by. If I have a good shoulder that is well marked, I ride in the shoulder. I've had the most trouble with the squeezers who tend to force me out of the lane. When we are on the tandem, my wife (stoker) signals potential squeezers to get over.
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Old 11-17-12, 02:19 AM   #14
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Taking the lane is a lot like Communism, it looks good on paper but doesn't work out so well in real life. On occasions when I do take the lane it is for specific circumstances. For example; if I need to get into the left turn lane and traffic is heavy I will wait for a break in traffic, move into the center of the lane, and then transition into the turn lane. Riding around in the middle of the road all the time is not something that works for me. After having tried it out I view it as a tactic rather than a riding style. What works for me is cruising along 3 feet or so from the curb or right edge of the road. This leaves cars room to slow down and move around without having to get completely in the oncoming lane to do so. **** my rights, I just want to get where I'm going in peace and get home alive.
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Old 11-17-12, 03:17 AM   #15
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So, seriously: you were blocking traffic on your bicycle and are genuinely surprised that folks got upset about it?
Taking the lane, is not blocking traffic. But if that is how you see it, you should get off the road.
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Old 11-17-12, 04:01 AM   #16
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Taking the lane is a lot like Communism, it looks good on paper but doesn't work out so well in real life. On occasions when I do take the lane it is for specific circumstances. For example; if I need to get into the left turn lane and traffic is heavy I will wait for a break in traffic, move into the center of the lane, and then transition into the turn lane. Riding around in the middle of the road all the time is not something that works for me. After having tried it out I view it as a tactic rather than a riding style. What works for me is cruising along 3 feet or so from the curb or right edge of the road. This leaves cars room to slow down and move around without having to get completely in the oncoming lane to do so. **** my rights, I just want to get where I'm going in peace and get home alive.
1. Taking the lane, is both a tactic, and a riding style

2. Taking the lane, probably won't work for you

3. Since you don't care about your rights, stay off the road. Instead of motorists' telling you to get off the road, you can have pedestrians telling you to get off the sidewalk.

The majority of cars will probably not slow down for you, to pass you.
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Old 11-17-12, 05:55 AM   #17
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I took the lane yesterday at Manhattan's Upper East side as a tactical manuever... not to get killed. I was going 22-25 mph in the single lane road which is pretty fast for NYC's typical stop-and-go traffic. Upon signaling to make a right turn a yellow taxi starts honking me to move over 100-150 feet ahead of the intersection covered with slippery steel plates. I wave the guy to back off as I make the turn. He accelerates behind me, tries to cut me off at the intersection missing my right leg by a inches. We both come to dead a dead stop on Lexington Ave. I am pissed off as all get out and make him roll his window down.

The doofus had no idea that bikes can take a lane, did not comprehend that I was making a turn signal with my hand, did not seem to understand the signal to back off either. What I am saying here is that taking the lane is as good as the other driver being informed enough to know signals, and that a car vs. a bicycle event is typically a no win for the cyclist.
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Old 11-17-12, 06:22 AM   #18
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I think the drivers simply couldn't accept the fact that a bicycle with such a narrow body should take the whole lane. The lane is of the width of a vehicle, "not meant for a single bike to occupy", they think.

Real cyclists eat a lot to grow our fat asses which helps to take the lane more efficiently. Eat more and your problem will go away!
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Old 11-17-12, 08:07 AM   #19
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I took the lane yesterday at Manhattan's Upper East side as a tactical manuever... not to get killed. I was going 22-25 mph in the single lane road which is pretty fast for NYC's typical stop-and-go traffic. Upon signaling to make a right turn a yellow taxi starts honking me to move over 100-150 feet ahead of the intersection covered with slippery steel plates. I wave the guy to back off as I make the turn. He accelerates behind me, tries to cut me off at the intersection missing my right leg by a inches. We both come to dead a dead stop on Lexington Ave. I am pissed off as all get out and make him roll his window down.

The doofus had no idea that bikes can take a lane, did not comprehend that I was making a turn signal with my hand, did not seem to understand the signal to back off either. What I am saying here is that taking the lane is as good as the other driver being informed enough to know signals, and that a car vs. a bicycle event is typically a no win for the cyclist.
Did you signal right turn by pulling your left hand up? In my experience showing right signal with right hand works better. A lot of drivers forget/get confused by the left hand up signal.
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Old 11-17-12, 08:08 AM   #20
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I don't always take the lane. If the road is wide enough, has a clear shoulder or bike lane, I ride off to the side or in the bike lane.
On the downtown, city streets, I take the lane without concern.

I have one stretch of roadway where I now take the lane. This is learned behavior. The only time I've been brushed (contact) was on this stretch of road when I was trying to keep right. I had my mirror hit twice. Since taking the lane, I've been yelled at twice, honked at three or four times but not hit and not threatened by the close pass (on coming traffic prevents passing).
The crazy part: In the afternoons, which is when all of the incidents mentioned have happened; I'm only on this portion of road for thirty seconds - literally thirty seconds then I make a turn into a neighborhood. I've timed it on three different occasions in my car, it takes 15-19 seconds to travel the same route in a car at the typical motorized speed.
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Old 11-17-12, 08:35 AM   #21
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Taking the lane is a lot like Communism, it looks good on paper but doesn't work out so well in real life. On occasions when I do take the lane it is for specific circumstances. For example; if I need to get into the left turn lane and traffic is heavy I will wait for a break in traffic, move into the center of the lane, and then transition into the turn lane. Riding around in the middle of the road all the time is not something that works for me. After having tried it out I view it as a tactic rather than a riding style. What works for me is cruising along 3 feet or so from the curb or right edge of the road. This leaves cars room to slow down and move around without having to get completely in the oncoming lane to do so. **** my rights, I just want to get where I'm going in peace and get home alive.
Isn't that "taking the lane", cruising 3 feet from the edge? That's where I am every morning on the one high-speed dense traffic portion. I consider it "taking the lane" because cars have to at least partially enter the second lane to pass. Like you, I don't think there's any point in getting over any further into the lane.
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Old 11-17-12, 08:48 AM   #22
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Heeding the suggestion of many to take the lane, I did several times, but each time a car would come up from behind almost swiping me and squeeze past to get in front of me, sometimes with a honk, as if saying: "Get away! You don't belong here!" It was pretty dangerous. If I were riding on the side as far away from the cars as possible, the cars would not bother me. So to those for taking the lane, haven't you had the same experience and how do you deal with it?
If space permits I keep far enough left to let cars get past me while still leaving a buffer in case I need it to avoid a close pass. If there isn't enough space for a car to safely pass I move further into the lane to make it clear - it discourages them from passing and gives me more of a buffer in case they do something truly stupid.

If I'm about to do something slow and obstructive (like climb a steep hill on a single track road) and there are cars behind me I'll pull over and let them go first. I don't have any specific obligation to do so, it just seems like being an ass to do anything else. Likewise if I'm on a long narrow road where it's not safe to pass me and I come to a passing place, I'll typically pull in and let any traffic get past.

If I'm in a place where passing isn't safe and someone harasses me (using the horn may be an aggressive "get out of the way", or it could be intended as an informative "coming up behind", so a horn alone isn't something I'd necessarily count as harassment.) I've often responded by slowing down. That said I usually ride in more populated areas so if they did try anything silly it would be in front of multiple witnesses and undoubtedly a CCTV camera or six.
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Old 11-17-12, 09:55 AM   #23
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Did you signal right turn by pulling your left hand up? In my experience showing right signal with right hand works better. A lot of drivers forget/get confused by the left hand up signal.
Cheers. Left hand. In this case I signaled the standard way ahead of the turn and kept it that way until I needed to use two hands to make the turn. I did this so there was no mistaking my intent. Sometimes I use the latter.

In this particular scenario the taxi driver wasn't fluent in conversational English and he didn't seem to comprehend that bikes can occupy a lane. I used modified sign language to express danger, intent - and I think he finally understood not to overtake bikes. He was not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

In NYC - a prevalent mindset is about turf. I imagine the driver didn't want to wait the extra 2-3 seconds needed for my safe turn. NYC during the holidays is especially dangerous and the streets yesterday near Bloomingdale's & Central Park were choked with traffic. And drivers especially aggressive. It does bite as a cyclist sometimes.
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Old 11-17-12, 10:18 AM   #24
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We cannot "take" or "give" a lane but we can, by our riding position, provide information to other road users. Riding far right we are saying "Come on through. There's room enough for both of us here." Riding lane center or a bit left we are saying "There's not enough room for both of us here." In my experience most road users respond to the positional information. A few do not.
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Old 11-17-12, 10:18 AM   #25
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Taking the lane is a lot like Communism, it looks good on paper but doesn't work out so well in real life. On occasions when I do take the lane it is for specific circumstances. For example; if I need to get into the left turn lane and traffic is heavy I will wait for a break in traffic, move into the center of the lane, and then transition into the turn lane. Riding around in the middle of the road all the time is not something that works for me. After having tried it out I view it as a tactic rather than a riding style. What works for me is cruising along 3 feet or so from the curb or right edge of the road. This leaves cars room to slow down and move around without having to get completely in the oncoming lane to do so. **** my rights, I just want to get where I'm going in peace and get home alive.
What you're describing is I think what most people mean when they say they 'take the lane'.
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