Vehicular Cycling (VC) - How close to the curb will you move to let vehicle pass

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noisebeam
05-04-07, 04:32 PM
Lets assume 45mph multilane road, no intersections ahead, your right is bounded by a curb. You are traveling 20-25mph.

Driver behind has slowed to your speed and waiting courteously (no honkng, no tailgaiting, turn signal on)to pass. There is not another vehicle immediately behind them. Adjacent lane has moderate and continuous traffic flow.

Lane width is not wide enough to share without cooperation, but not so narrow that the passing vehicle needs to significantly move into adjacent lane. (Of course how much they do depends on how far right you move, that is why I use 'significantly' instead of defining vehicle and lane widths)

I know there are so many variables that it is really one of those 'have to be there', but I am thinking more generally - at 25mph will you put tire 18-20" from curb?

I general in this situation give myself 2-2.5' from curb, on the larger end usually. If a driver is cooperating, should I go closer?

To be clear: For a NOL there is no decision, passing vehicle needs full or substantial part of adjacent lane to pass. For a WOL (BL striped or not) there is always enough room to share even with safe clearance from curb. But what about those in-between lane widths?

Al

05-04-07, 04:54 PM
Lets assume 45mph multilane road, no intersections ahead, your right is bounded by a curb. You are traveling 20-25mph.

Driver behind has slowed to your speed and waiting courteously (no honkng, no tailgaiting, turn signal on)to pass. There is not another vehicle immediately behind them. Adjacent lane has moderate and continuous traffic flow.

Lane width is not wide enough to share without cooperation, but not so narrow that the passing vehicle needs to significantly move into adjacent lane. (Of course how much they do depends on how far right you move, that is why I use 'significantly' instead of defining vehicle and lane widths)

I know there are so many variables that it is really one of those 'have to be there', but I am thinking more generally - at 25mph will you put tire 18-20" from curb?

I general in this situation give myself 2-2.5' from curb, on the larger end usually. If a driver is cooperating, should I go closer?

To be clear: For a NOL there is no decision, passing vehicle needs full or substantial part of adjacent lane to pass. For a WOL (BL striped or not) there is always enough room to share even with safe clearance from curb. But what about those in-between lane widths?

Al First, since there's an adjacent lane I'm not going to be too understanding about slowing down and pulling over unless it's very congested and I'm holding up more than a couple of drivers who can't change lanes because of a steady stream in the adjacent lane. Passing me is there problem, not mine.

Having said that, the in-between lanes are tough, because in NOLs it's obvious why you're controlling the lane, in WOLs you don't have, but the in-between lanes you could look like a jerk.

So it's hard to give an answer in exact measurements, but the rule of thumb I use might stated as: just left of "too far right", where "too far right" is so far right that they are tempted to squeeze into the lane, erring on the side of being to the left of that sweet spot.

I emphasize that last part because that's the best way to make to it clear that you're not entertaining the idea of sharing. Whether that's necessary to communicate varies depending on the situation, doesn't it? As usual, the mirror is a great help in making such an assessment.

noisebeam
05-04-07, 05:03 PM
First, since there's an adjacent lane I'm not going to be too understanding about slowing down and pulling over unless it's very congested and I'm holding up more than a couple of drivers who can't change lanes because of a steady stream in the adjacent lane. Passing me is there problem, not mine.

Having said that, the in-between lanes are tough, because in NOLs it's obvious why you're controlling the lane, in WOLs you don't have, but the in-between lanes you could look like a jerk.

So it's hard to give an answer in exact measurements, but the rule of thumb I use might stated as: just left of "too far right", where "too far right" is so far right that they are tempted to squeeze into the lane, erring on the side of being to the left of that sweet spot.

I emphasize that last part because that's the best way to make to it clear that you're not entertaining the idea of sharing. Whether that's necessary to communicate varies depending on the situation, doesn't it? As usual, the mirror is a great help in making such an assessment.
I am assuming mirror use. I don't slow down at all in this situation.

I've never had a problem, I am just thinking about it and trying to articulate it in a way better than 'Ya gotta be there to know'

I too perhaps err to far left, that is part of what has me thinking about it right now, perhaps am I being too controlling when a bit more right will ease things up a bit?

I like having folks pass, not because I feel they should or that I am holding anyone up, but because then I more quickly eliminate one more thing to watch.

Al

05-04-07, 05:13 PM
I too perhaps err to far left, that is part of what has me thinking about it right now, perhaps am I being too controlling when a bit more right will ease things up a bit?
In a slightly different situation, I had the same thought the other day, and experimented with riding in the curb.

This is up a steep hill with 6 lanes of 50ish mph traffic. The outside lane width varies from NOL (long RTOL) at the bottom to almost WOL a third of the way up, to "in-between" over a bridge, to wide enough for a bike lane (and has a bike lane) for the last half or so. Along the way there is an offramp diverge and onramp converge to/from the right. The variations force you to think about, and work with, lane position a lot, and the high speed differentials (unless I'm pushing, I'm probably only going 5 or 6 mph) mean you have to do it quickly.

Anyway, on part of it I tried the gutter pan the other day, and it worked well for a short stretch, then I merged left when conditions changed.

But you probably don't have the hill factor much in Phoenix, eh?

Bekologist
05-04-07, 10:45 PM
I'm riding 25 MPH?

five feet from the curb.

nine miles an hour, uphill, considerably closer.

rando
05-04-07, 11:43 PM
depends on condition of the road and the gutter. I would go two feet maybe less depending.

LittleBigMan
05-04-07, 11:59 PM
How close to the curb will you move to let vehicle pass?
Why move over? Didn't they purchase enough horsepower to pass lil' ol' me?

If they can't pass me on their own, I can't help 'em. (don't know why these things have to be so complicated; should I carry a ruler?)

sggoodri
05-05-07, 11:12 PM
The gutter pans here are around 2' wide. If the roadway is flush with the gutter pan , and there is no ugly seam or gap, I may ride as close as 6" inches from the gutter pan at slow speeds. That puts my tires at least 2.5 feet from the curb. Otherwise I have a foot or two at least to the gutter pan.

But going 25 or more, I tend to stay at least 2' away from the gutter pan, so no less than 3'. Usually at such speeds I am near the right tire track and drivers must encroach into the next lane if it is a 12' lane. Any narrower than 12' and I am in the center of the lane.

joejack951
05-07-07, 10:31 PM
In a slightly different situation, I had the same thought the other day, and experimented with riding in the curb.

This is up a steep hill with 6 lanes of 50ish mph traffic. The outside lane width varies from NOL (long RTOL) at the bottom to almost WOL a third of the way up, to "in-between" over a bridge, to wide enough for a bike lane (and has a bike lane) for the last half or so. Along the way there is an offramp diverge and onramp converge to/from the right. The variations force you to think about, and work with, lane position a lot, and the high speed differentials (unless I'm pushing, I'm probably only going 5 or 6 mph) mean you have to do it quickly.

Anyway, on part of it I tried the gutter pan the other day, and it worked well for a short stretch, then I merged left when conditions changed.

But you probably don't have the hill factor much in Phoenix, eh?

I've been meaning to ask, how did you previously ride that section of road? What made you decide to try something else?

LCI_Brian
05-07-07, 11:06 PM
I ride similar roads as Al, but very rarely do his maneuver - mainly because of the chance that other motorists could catch up to the driver waiting behind me, meaning I would be stuck in or near the gutter if I let the first driver pass.

noisebeam
05-08-07, 09:49 AM
I ride similar roads as Al, but very rarely do his maneuver - mainly because of the chance that other motorists could catch up to the driver waiting behind me, meaning I would be stuck in or near the gutter if I let the first driver pass.
I've never done any maneuver that has resulted with me stuck in or near the gutter.
Al

joejack951
05-08-07, 11:54 AM
I've never done any maneuver that has resulted with me stuck in or near the gutter.
Al

I think Brian might be missing your point about no other drivers being behind the guy behind you. I will use a lot more compromising lane positions when I know it's just one car that needs to pass before I can move back to where I want to be. I don't consider those lane positions at all if there are more than whatever-safe-number-I've-decided-on number of cars behind me. A good example of this are situations where I am approaching a narrowing of the roadway and I had moved left early (or was already there) and a single faster car caught up to me. I'll gladly briefly move right to let them pass then get right back into the lane. If it was a train of cars, I'd probably make them all wait instead of trying to negotiate a quick merge after the first one or two passed me.

Since the question was how close to the curb I'd get, unless I'm stopped I probably wouldn't get any closer than a foot from the edge of the road assuming it had a decent edge. With a right angle curb or bad pavement (such as a 1"+ difference between the pavement and shoulder) I'll stick to something like 2 feet. All of this assumes that me moving over makes the lane shareable. If not, I'm not going anywhere.

Tom Stormcrowe
05-08-07, 03:35 PM
All I can say is it depends on the situation, traffic levels, whether there is an intersection coming up.....in short, there is no fixed answer.

invisiblehand
05-08-07, 05:29 PM
I'm riding 25 MPH?

five feet from the curb.

nine miles an hour, uphill, considerably closer.

Sounds like we are in the same track. Although I would keep an eye out for grates and such.

LCI_Brian
05-08-07, 05:41 PM
I think Brian might be missing your point about no other drivers being behind the guy behind you. I will use a lot more compromising lane positions when I know it's just one car that needs to pass before I can move back to where I want to be. I don't consider those lane positions at all if there are more than whatever-safe-number-I've-decided-on number of cars behind me. A good example of this are situations where I am approaching a narrowing of the roadway and I had moved left early (or was already there) and a single faster car caught up to me. I'll gladly briefly move right to let them pass then get right back into the lane. If it was a train of cars, I'd probably make them all wait instead of trying to negotiate a quick merge after the first one or two passed me.
Oh, I understood Al's point, and apologies to Al if I came off as judgmental. It's just I've been burned before when I've moved over to let someone pass (in the situation Al described), and then someone from the adjacent lane jumped into the gap and I couldn't re-establish lane control in time and got pinned near the gutter.

The times where I've had only one car behind me but with a continuous stream of traffic in the next lane have usually been due to poor planning by the approaching driver. I don't mind being a nice guy, but on the other hand I'm not going to be a doormat either just because a driver doesn't plan a lane change far enough in advance.

05-08-07, 05:48 PM
I've been meaning to ask, how did you previously ride that section of road? What made you decide to try something else? In the seven years I've been commuting along this route along this particular section I've tried it all. My usual approach is to use a typical lane sharing position a few feet to the right of passing traffic (this lane is wide enough to be safely shared in the section where I rode the curb one day a week or 2 ago). What made me decide to try the curb? Well, because of my focus on the new bike lanes on another stretch, and getting the city to widen them, I've been hyper aware of gutters. They claim 6 foot wide bike lanes including the 2' gutter pan, so I've been experimenting with the alleged ridability of gutter pans. Again, at 6 mph on an uphill, it's not bad.

05-08-07, 05:50 PM
I think Brian might be missing your point about no other drivers being behind the guy behind you. I will use a lot more compromising lane positions when I know it's just one car that needs to pass before I can move back to where I want to be. I don't consider those lane positions at all if there are more than whatever-safe-number-I've-decided-on number of cars behind me. A good example of this are situations where I am approaching a narrowing of the roadway and I had moved left early (or was already there) and a single faster car caught up to me. I'll gladly briefly move right to let them pass then get right back into the lane. If it was a train of cars, I'd probably make them all wait instead of trying to negotiate a quick merge after the first one or two passed me.

Since the question was how close to the curb I'd get, unless I'm stopped I probably wouldn't get any closer than a foot from the edge of the road assuming it had a decent edge. With a right angle curb or bad pavement (such as a 1"+ difference between the pavement and shoulder) I'll stick to something like 2 feet. All of this assumes that me moving over makes the lane shareable. If not, I'm not going anywhere. Once again, JJ speaks with the voice of VC experience, which I, for one, immediately recognize.

joejack951
05-08-07, 06:18 PM
Oh, I understood Al's point, and apologies to Al if I came off as judgmental. It's just I've been burned before when I've moved over to let someone pass (in the situation Al described), and then someone from the adjacent lane jumped into the gap and I couldn't re-establish lane control in time and got pinned near the gutter.

The times where I've had only one car behind me but with a continuous stream of traffic in the next lane have usually been due to poor planning by the approaching driver. I don't mind being a nice guy, but on the other hand I'm not going to be a doormat either just because a driver doesn't plan a lane change far enough in advance.

Ok, I misinterpretted your post. Thanks for clarifying.

sbhikes
05-09-07, 02:32 PM
It depends on the circumstances. I'll get into the gutter sometimes if that seems like the right thing to do, I'll even pull over and stop on some really hairy roads, but most of the time within a couple three feet of the edge is enough.

The Human Car
05-12-07, 06:57 PM
Al, you impress me as having enough smarts to figure this out on your own, you should only move as far over as you are comfortable with and I would be very reluctant to encourage you to do more than that.

pj7
05-12-07, 07:04 PM
It's all about give and take for me.
If the motorist behind me is giving me the due respect of another vehicle and staying behind me instead of buzzing me, then I'll go as far right as possible to allow that person to pass. Just today there was a lady behind me, must have been there for 300 feet or more. She was driving along at 25mph behind me in a 45mph zone. Granted, I don't know wether she was too scared to pass me or was just giving me respect, but I moved all the way to the right, had to keep my right pedal in the 12 o'clock position and just coasted alongside the curb so that she could pass. She waved at me and gave me a friendly "toot-toot" after she got in front of me.
I see no problem with doing this.

noisebeam
05-16-07, 10:25 AM
Al, you impress me as having enough smarts to figure this out on your own, you should only move as far over as you are comfortable with and I would be very reluctant to encourage you to do more than that.
We all have enough smarts to figure it out on ourselves and we all do primarily with great success.

It is one of those cycling experince things that just about everyone deals with - how to share lanes that vary in width and at what width (given your speed, motorist and traffic volumes) does one go from using full lane to sharing a lane.

I started this mainly for the discussion - interested in how to put into words the though process we all have gone thru on the road.

I wasn't looking for a specific answer, nor having a specific problem, just thought it would be nice to share thoughts instead of arguing about stuff.

Al

Tmax1
05-16-07, 10:55 AM
I'll ride as far to the right "as practicable" as stated in the Alabama Code. Mostly my rule of thumb is "handlebar width" to the curb, white line, edge, whatever.

As previous poster states, "whatever is comfortable" for you.

My 2 cents.

chipcom
05-16-07, 11:41 AM
IF (note the big if) I decide that I should move over to let this car pass in my lane, without having to merge into the next, I'll get as close to the curb as I need to. As long as there isn't a lot of debris, gravel, etc. I am quite confident in my riding skills to hold a line with my pedal only a few inches from the curb...indeed if I decide slowing down will get the feller around me and out of my hair faster, I might just coast, curb-side pedal up. It also isn't out of the question to jump the curb or use a driveway to take the sidewalk for a spell.