General Cycling Discussion - Making left turns on busy four ways
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Amir R. Pakdel
05-11-02, 11:18 AM
This is noob of me, but I dunno how to make left turns on busy four ways...
I doubt many bikers would risk sprinting to the left turn lane with cars going 70KPH.
So do you just stop and pass to the other side like pedestrians?
05-11-02, 12:38 PM
I have a couple of these on my deaily commute, and I approach them situationally. If I can get left, I do. Obviously, it's foolish to merge right in front of a vehicle that's going much faster than you; you wouldn't do that in a car, either. (This assumes the presence of a left turn lane; I would never turn left from a thru lane even if it was legal unless I could clearly see there was no traffic in either direction.)
If traffic density prevents me from merging left safely, I simply stop at the cross street, turn to face the traffic light, and become thru traffic on the cross street. No big deal.
Amir R. Pakdel
05-11-02, 02:02 PM
I just wanted to make sure cause i'm a noob on the roads.
05-11-02, 05:14 PM
The pedestrian option is always available, i.e., pull off the road and walk your bike in the crosswalks, obeying the traffic signals.
I do it this way:
Look back. Signal left. Look back again, waiting for a motorist to yield (eye contact helps.) If a motorist yields, I merge in front of that motorist, who becomes my "blocker." Repeat for each lane as necesary. Always wait for motorist assistance.
Don't jump into this without experience. First, build your confidence in getting motorists to cooperate with you in smaller maneuvers.
If traffic speeds and patterns (platoons and breaks) permit, I use the left-turn lane. Otherwise, I ride straight ahead through the intersection and stop a bit short of the far side. If traffic lanes approaching from my right include a right-turn-only lane, I stop just short of it. I lift the wheels of the bike, orient it to face in my new desired direction of travel, and proceed straight ahead through the intersection as traffic and controls permit. This is also a great timesaver if you know that you will get a straight-ahead green light in your current direction, and then in your new direction, before you receive a left-turn arrow.
The additional complication is that some left-turn arrows cannot be triggered by bicycles. You could get stranded for quite awhile, depending on traffic patterns and traffic signal responses.
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