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  1. #1
    Yabba-Dabba-Doo! AlmostTrick's Avatar
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    Nice Wide Shoulder, turns into Right Turn Only Lane(s).

    So I've been using the right main traffic lane instead. There are three lanes in each direction, 50+mph traffic. It's been going well, drivers change lanes or slow down as required, no real issues. Until yesterday, when a semi truck driver decided to use the shoulder to pass me, as did three or four following cars. It didn't seem safe, and I'm sure it's not legal.

    Using the RTOL when going straight isn't safe or legal either. Not sure what I will do.

    My work place is on this road, so there's no avoiding it. I'm only on it for a bit less than a mile. What would you do?

    Continue to take the right lane.
    Ride the shoulder RTOL.
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  2. #2
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    With 50mph+ traffic, I'd probably use the shoulder as long as I could, and then move over into the straight lane after signaling and making sure it's clear.

    I have one case on my commute route with a similar situation, but traffic is 40mph and the right-turn lane only exists for about 100' before a traffic light. If the light is green, I'll ride the line so that cars behind me know I'm going straight. If the light is red, I'll signal and move into the center of the straight lane and then move back over once I'm through the intersection.

    Here's my situation: https://www.google.com/maps/@40.1154...Zg!2e0!6m1!1e1

  3. #3
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    If it's a nicely paved shoulder I'd ride it. As for the RTOL, I'd work that the way I'd ride the beginning of a highway entry ramp or fork. Time a merge into the traffic and cross to the left side of the lane riding the dividing line between the RTOL and through lanes, so traffic could pass appropriately without crossing my path.

    Most of riding on busy roads isn't about laws or rights, but doing what works best. No matter what you do, there will always be times that traffic has to cross your line to turn. The well paved shoulder has you out of the main flow until that happens, whereas sticking to the road, has you in traffic full time.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member ro-monster's Avatar
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    Does Illinois have a FRAP law? If so, legality becomes a bit murky. One law says you must not go straight from a right turn lane. The other says you should stay to the right. Which one takes precedence?

    I usually make that choice based on the amount of traffic. At one point in my commute I usually opt to ride in the right turn lane because almost no one uses it, while the through lane carries substantial traffic. (There's also the beginning of a bike lane directly across the interesection, and it lines up with the right turn lane.) No matter which lane I take, I could conceivably be accused of riding illegally, though that's never happened.

    On the road pictured in the Google Maps link I would probably ride the right turn lane unless there were cars coming up to make the turn. I'd monitor my mirror and adjust my speed well in advance, so that I would not arrive at the intersection at the same time as any cars.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ro-monster View Post
    Does Illinois have a FRAP law? If so, legality becomes a bit murky. One law says you must not go straight from a right turn lane. The other says you should stay to the right. Which one takes precedence? ...
    Language varies, but just about all states with FRAP laws have exceptions that cover this. The FRAP position for the cyclist would become the right side of the rightmost Through lane, not the right side of a must turn lane.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    Obviously the solution is to post any legal question to the bikeforums.net advocacy-safety forum, which has the highest population of constitutional lawyers this side of Washington DC.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member ro-monster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Language varies, but just about all states with FRAP laws have exceptions that cover this. The FRAP position for the cyclist would become the right side of the rightmost Through lane, not the right side of a must turn lane.
    The California law doesn't say that. It says "as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway." You may leave that position where right turns are authorized, but the law doesn't say you must leave it.

    So the OP would probably need to look up the exact wording in his state.
    Last edited by ro-monster; 05-13-14 at 05:43 PM. Reason: Added stuff

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ro-monster View Post
    The California law doesn't say that. It says "as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway." You may leave that position where right turns are authorized, but the law doesn't say you must leave it.

    So the OP would probably need to look up the exact wording in his state.
    Common sense trumps the law (until/unless a cop makes it a legal issue). In any case, if the law offers discretion, that's better than rigid direction.
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    WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.

  9. #9
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    Operation on Roadway 21202. (a) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:
    (1) When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
    (2) When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
    (3) When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes) that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge, subject to the provisions of Section 21656. For purposes of this section, a "substandard width lane" is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.
    (4) When approaching a place where a right turn is authorized.
    (b) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway of a highway, which highway carries traffic in one direction only and has two or more marked traffic lanes, may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of that roadway as practicable.

    Amended Sec. 4, Ch. 674, Stats. 1996. Effective January 1, 1997.

    The first line says "operation on roadway". To me that means travel lane, not the berm , gutter or turning lanes. It is the expectation that vehicles will travel on the roadway (travel lane). Maybe not a great example for CA, but in my state of PA when they plow the roads in the winter they plow the roadway (travel lanes), this is where vehicles travel. I believe numbers 3 and 4 also tell you not to use the turning lane.

  10. #10
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by howsteepisit View Post
    Obviously the solution is to post any legal question to the bikeforums.net advocacy-safety forum, which has the highest population of constitutional lawyers this side of Washington DC.
    And even more pointless trolls with no desire to help others.
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  11. #11
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    There's a stretch of road I ride which is a main thoroughfare, strip malls on both sides, 5 lanes at some intersections, lots of RTOL situations. Parts of it have a barely acceptable shoulder to ride. Although posted at 35mph, people routinely do 40-45. There's one highway offramp which turns into it's own lane, putting riders in the middle of two lanes, those coming off the highway, before they slow down, are sometimes doing twice the exit ramp speed limit of 25mph.

    Where there are two lanes for through traffic, along with RTOL and LTOLs, I will usually take the right most through lane right tire track -- there's a whole other lane of traffic to effect a pass for drivers who think I'm in their way.

    Sometimes I'll remain FLAP in the RTOL until someone comes up behind me, or there's a break in traffic to the left. At which point, I'll merge left into the through lane.

    Most motorists are pretty good about it, but inevitably there's some confused jerk who passes me on the left to cut over to the RTOL because they are turning, when they could have made the lane change earlier as I was not even riding in the RTOL.

  12. #12
    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    And even more pointless trolls with no desire to help others.
    Really, what percentage of the legal advise on this forum do you estimate is accurate?
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  13. #13
    Yabba-Dabba-Doo! AlmostTrick's Avatar
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    My question wasn't "what is legal", as I know the laws… and what I'm presently doing is legal. And while following the law is not my ultimate concern here, it certainly does factor.

    Sometimes I do ride the shoulder because I feel it is a more advantageous option.

    But not if I soon will need to get back into the through lane, as is often the case here.

    Riding in the RTOL seems like a valid option until you get to the intersection/drive. Then you've created a conflict with cross traffic and you are the one in defiance of the law. (should anything happen)

    Legal or not, lane splitting is not an option for me. At 50+ MPH it is plain unsafe. Having traffic close on both sides leaves you no out. At least when the impatient drivers passed me using the shoulder, they were essentially a full lane away. Still too unpredictable for my comfort though.

    Getting hit from behind is low on my list of concerns here. I've been doing this route for nine years, event free. This road used to be 2 narrow lanes in each direction with zero shoulder. The farther into the lane I ride, (along with Hi-vis clothing and blinkies) the sooner traffic behind me changes lanes or slows down.

    Last fall they completed an "upgrade" to what it is now, 3 lanes in each direction with wide shoulder and RTOL’s. In some respects this made it nicer for cyclists, in others worse.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
    My question wasn't "what is legal", as I know the laws… and what I'm presently doing is legal. And while following the law is not my ultimate concern here, it certainly does factor....
    Please forgive me, I'm not attacking, but don't know what you're looking for.

    You asked what people would do, and were given legal opinions, and practical suggestions. Now you say you know what you're doing is legal, and that you've been doing it for years. So what's the problem?

    Short of coming out and rebuilding the road, with a cross-over overpass to avoid the RTOL there's not much anyone here can do for you. You have to use your own discretion, and pick the lane position and time to change it if necessary based on your best judgement. As you say, you've been doing this for years and it's working for you, so why change?
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    WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.

  15. #15
    Yabba-Dabba-Doo! AlmostTrick's Avatar
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    And I enjoy reading everyone's legal opinions and practical suggestions. No "problems". It's nice to hear what others do in, or think about, certain situations.

    I think of this more as opening a topic for discussion, not searching for some final resolution.
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  16. #16
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    I stay in the thru lane and use the RTOL as a bail out option.

  17. #17
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noisebeam View Post
    I stay in the thru lane and use the RTOL as a bail out option.
    I agree with this.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by noisebeam View Post
    I stay in the thru lane and use the RTOL as a bail out option.
    I do almost the opposite, and drift to the left side of the RTOL lane, then at an opportunity near the split, make the move to the thru lane. Not saying this is best or thar it's right in any sense, but my logic is that the turning traffic is already slowing, and IME tends to be more patient because they know I'll be out of their hair very soon.

    There's no question of law involved, and everybody has to use their own discretion and go with what works best for them.
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    WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.

  19. #19
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    I ask myself which cars I want riding my "back bumper" - the cars who don't expect to be slowed from their highway speeds, or the cars who are already slowing in anticipation of a right turn?

    I'd much prefer to slow the car that is already slowing anyway. I already own the shoulder. Not my fault they painted a right turn only lane on it.

  20. #20
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by howsteepisit View Post
    Really, what percentage of the legal advise on this forum do you estimate is accurate?
    Does not really matter, especially since you take exception with almost everything in A&S.

    Stating laws, case information and and illegal actions vs legal actions is quite different from court room legal advice.
    Few here have given court room legal advice while several have given spot on information about laws, case information and and illegal actions vs legal action.
    It has it's good and bad just like any other post.

    Why do you even come into A&S, since it offends you so often?
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  21. #21
    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    Does not really matter, especially since you take exception with almost everything in A&S.

    Stating laws, case information and and illegal actions vs legal actions is quite different from court room legal advice.
    Few here have given court room legal advice while several have given spot on information about laws, case information and and illegal actions vs legal action.
    It has it's good and bad just like any other post.

    Why do you even come into A&S, since it offends you so often?
    Why do you bother with me if I offend you so often?
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  22. #22
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by howsteepisit View Post
    Why do you bother with me if I offend you so often?
    Still trolling, eh.
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  23. #23
    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    It would appear that you think it bothers me that you call me a troll - it doesn't. Come up with a better insult to convince me to not state an opposing opinion.
    Last edited by howsteepisit; 05-14-14 at 11:55 PM. Reason: Grammer Correction
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  24. #24
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by howsteepisit View Post
    It would appear that you think it bothers me that you call me a troll - it doesn't come up with a better insult to convince me to not state an opposing opinion.
    OK, sure!
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  25. #25
    Yabba-Dabba-Doo! AlmostTrick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loky1179 View Post
    I ask myself which cars I want riding my "back bumper" - the cars who don't expect to be slowed from their highway speeds, or the cars who are already slowing in anticipation of a right turn?
    Bright socks/shoes, leg bands, pedal reflectors... along with the aforementioned assertive lane position. The sooner drivers detect pedal action, the sooner they KNOW you aren't going 50 mph. And the sooner they WILL take appropriate action. This has been my experience.

    Put another way, a car going 15-25 mph (without flashes on) is more likely to be hit from behind than a bicycle. THAT is unexpected.
    Last edited by AlmostTrick; 05-15-14 at 06:49 AM.
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