Commuting - a traffic wwyd?
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06-16-06, 05:48 PM
Turning right onto a higher speed motorway with 3 lanes going my direction. Obviously I am in the right lane, but soon need to turn left.
There is traffic behind me in the far left lane - where I need to be. Should I switch to the middle lane and then get over, or should I wait until all lanes are clear before I move, assuming this will happen eventually?
Stupid question to y'all I bet, but I'm a brand new commuter and trying to learn how to keep myself the most safe.
06-16-06, 06:00 PM
If the left turn you have to make is an interesction with a stop light, consider taking the right instead and make a quick U turn, then wait for the light to cross. If that crossroad has lighter traffic, it may be easier.
two solutions when you're lefting...use the crosswalk as a ped (either mounted or dis-) or merge. Personally, if the way is clear now, I merge into the left, regardless of what's coming up from behind, b/c more often than not you'll be ready to turn before traffic behind you catches you up. Whatever you do, though, do it deliberately and visibly...no sudden darts across two lanes of traffic to take drivers by surprise. It's they're problem if they're not paying attention...until it becomes your problem.
06-16-06, 06:58 PM
I like idea number 1 (make a right, do a U, cross the street) only because it seems that quite a few people in cars freeze up when they see someone on a bike in traffic, especially in a left-turn situation. They will do things like come to a stop where they shouldn't in some misguided notion of being polite, or something. I believe that a biker is perfectly within his rights to drive on the road just like a car, and I used to, but I have backed off from that a bit in the interest of self-preservation.
06-16-06, 07:15 PM
Also make sure you have first-class visibility such as a neon-yellow/lime outer layer (an ANSI safety vest like highway workers use, or a neon cycling jacket). People are generally not going to run you down if they can avoid it, but they need to be able to see you with sufficient lead time to assess the situation and plan their response. Along with that, make your arm signals really snappy and unmistakable, not these feeble half-hearted "look I'm timidly pointing at the ground to my left for 1.5 seconds" ones.
If you'll be doing this in darkness then I'd vote for the ANSI safety vest plus a Cateye LD-1000 or NiteRider rear "blinkie" (and I'd use this day or night if it were me), reflectors, reflective tape on your cranks and rims, reflective legbands, and a flare launcher*. Plus any & all other equipment that your state/province laws require.
From your description, it sounds like you're going to have some occasions where you have to resort to the pedestrian mode or the right-turn-&-U-turn method. Keep those options as Plan B, and you won't have to make the left merge if it's looking dicey. :)
*just kidding... although hmmm, a flare launcher, I wonder if that's legally allowed... :):):)
06-16-06, 07:27 PM
no pedestrian walk/light, and no stoplight either. Just a 40-45mph roadway with 3 lanes. I think I got my answer - go ahead and merge before traffic. I just wasn't sure since I figure cars aren't normally looking for bikes in the middle lanes.
06-16-06, 07:36 PM
They aren't so be visible, use hand signals and make sure they have time to slow down for you. Basically, apply the same rules you'd use if you were driving your car only in 1st gear.
06-16-06, 07:58 PM
My commute home has something like that - an uphill climb, around a gentle curve - 2 through lanes plus a LTO lane - I need to make a Left turn at the top of the hill, end of the curve. Speed limit on the road is 45.
If traffic is clear, I try to merge over to the far left, at the begining of the curve - where I am still visable, and then follow a straight line which puts me in the right side of the LTOL. If there isn't a break in traffic at the appropriate point, I ride straight across the intersection, and hit the pedestrian crossing button (there is a sensor in the cross street which will not recognize my bike) then ride across when the pedestrian crossing light turns green.
If traffic is too crazy or you don't feel comfortable, consider riding to the nearest ped crossing. That or wait for a break in traffic (in one or both) and cross like a ped.
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