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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 06-19-06, 08:31 AM   #1
joelda
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change lanes flashing sign

Here's what I want. You know those road construction lighted signs with the three arrows flashing in succession telling drivers the lane is closed and to move to the other lane? I want one of those to hang on my back while riding on two-laned, lightly trafficked streets. Why can't cars, when there is nobody in the left lane, change over to that lane when they see me hugging the curb in the right lane? Every morning I get cars flying past me 2 feet from my handlebar, when they could easily be in the left lane. It's not like they're wanting to make a right turn up ahead so they need to be in the right lane. It's not like traffic in the left lane is packed full so they can't get over. Rather, it's that they are *******s with no concern for bicyclists sharing the road. I guess I should stop hugging the curb and ride in center of the right lane, claiming my rightful place in the flow of traffic. Aaargh.
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Old 06-19-06, 10:18 AM   #2
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Part of the problem is hugging the curb. It makes it look like you're making room for them in the right lane. Try moving out into the lane so they have to change lane to pass.
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Old 06-19-06, 10:25 AM   #3
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I know. I feel "safer" hugging the curb, but that's actually less safe. The times I don't hug the curb, I need earplugs from all the honking and yelling. A couple weeks ago a huge, crazed-looking, leather draped guy on a motorcycle actually slowed down to berate me for riding in the far right lane, which turned into a turn right only lane, but not turning. The joys of the monday morning commute.
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Old 06-19-06, 10:54 AM   #4
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Ride in the center for visibility. Then when oncoming drivers sees you and slows (and there it not another car following them close) then move right and let them pass if safe, then after they pass move back to center
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Old 06-19-06, 12:11 PM   #5
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I also use up the whole lane (unless it's wide enough for me and a car), it's much safer than riding in the gutter. Keep a straight path and oncoming drivers will know that you're not gonna do something stupid like swerve in front of them, sometimes that helps them get up the balls to pass you in the left lane.
Right turn lanes are a tough call. Usually I try to stay in the right lane (in the center, and look back to make sure the drivers behind me know it) until about 20 or 30 feet from the turn, then move left into the "straight" lane when I can. Moving out of the right lane early is tough because usally all the faster-moving traffic is in the left lane as well as the traffic that's trying to pass you.
The Hells Angel might have been crazed but he was looking out for you. If you are hugging the right edge of a right turn lane as you approach a right turn (and not turning), you are just begging to be right hooked!
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Old 06-19-06, 12:17 PM   #6
Bob Ross
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joelda
Here's what I want. You know those road construction lighted signs with the three arrows flashing in succession telling drivers the lane is closed and to move to the other lane? I want one of those to hang on my back while riding on two-laned, lightly trafficked streets.
When I was a kid in the 1960's they used to sell "turn signals" for bicyclists: little battery-operated thing with 2 red arrows, one pointing in either direction, that you attached to your seatpost. Wired to a thumbswitch on the handlebars that allowed you to select Blinking Left Arrow or Blinking Right Arrow.

Find one of those at someone's garage sale and leave it permanently in Blinking Left Arrow mode.
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Old 06-19-06, 01:58 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Bob Ross
Find one of those at someone's garage sale and leave it permanently in Blinking Left Arrow mode.
Not to be a naysayer, but I think there's a good potential that would confuse the hell out of some drivers. If the original purpose of those lights are to act as a turn signal, how are they to know that you mean for them to interpret it as "pass me on the left" rather than "don't pass me on the left because I'm about to turn left"?

If two cars were to interpret this simultaneously in different ways, you could end up in a dangerous situation.

I live in a big town/small city and never get honked at when I ride steadily along in the center of my lane. If you're getting hell for it, it might be because there's more traffic and road rage where you are, or it might just be because of your riding technique. Body language is key for other cars to know what you're about to do when they're riding behind you, and if you ride confidently like you KNOW what you're doing is legal and the correct way to ride, they'll usually let you continue about your business.
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Old 06-19-06, 02:08 PM   #8
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a huge, crazed-looking, leather draped guy on a motorcycle actually slowed down to berate me for riding in the far right lane, which turned into a turn right only lane, but not turning.
The guy shouldn't have berated you, but he was right that you're supposed to use right-turn-only lanes for turning right. On a bicycle or motor vehicle, it's a bad idea to ride in the turn-only lane when you want to go straight. I usually right on the right side of the "go straight" lane or the left side of the turn-only lane, whichever lane has less traffic. Doing so discourages people from unsafely passing you on the left in order to turn right in front of you.
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Old 06-19-06, 02:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joelda
A couple weeks ago a huge, crazed-looking, leather draped guy on a motorcycle actually slowed down to berate me for riding in the far right lane, which turned into a turn right only lane, but not turning.
Well, he is right: if you are in a right-turn lane - you turn.
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Old 06-19-06, 02:25 PM   #10
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T shirt with a big arrow and words like this:

<-------
KEEP LEFT


Actually I sometimes wonder about the idiots drivers too.

I have been out on quiet Sunday mornings, doing a nice bike ride down the 6 lane boulevard... 3 lanes either way and I am in one... and taking the whole lane (what the heck no one else around...) and lo and behold the ONE motorist that does come along, gets all bent out of shape and honks at me. TWO, not one, but TWO empty lanes to the left that the idiot motorist could use, and noooo, they chose my lane, and then honk at me.

Guess I should have moved over to the left and given the idiot the far right lane....

He was obviously "slow." (in the head)
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Old 06-19-06, 02:51 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joelda
I know. I feel "safer" hugging the curb, but that's actually less safe.
Not necessarily so. Speed is always a factor. There are times when I am riding so much slower than the traffic which must pass me - when climbing a steep grade, for instance - that taking advantage of any available shoulder in order to create a defensive zone between me and them is the only sensible thing to do. If I am riding 5 mph and they're driving 50 mph, I'm staying out of their way if at all possible. Of course when I'm bombing down the other side at 30-35 mph I'm taking a lane.
Quote:
Originally Posted by noisebeam
Ride in the center for visibility. Then when oncoming drivers sees you and slows (and there it not another car following them close) then move right and let them pass if safe, then after they pass move back to center
Al
That is assuming all 'oncoming' (I assume you're referring to traffic approaching from the rear?) drivers see you. You need to know that alot of drivers simply aren't looking for something as small as a bicycle. I constantly scan the traffic behind me in my mirror. And I can often tell by changes in their speed, lane position, etc, when they've seen you. If it is obvious they don't see me, or that they just don't give a crap I'm there, I'm gettin' the hell out of the way. I'm not about to wind up in the hospital, or worse, just to be able to lecture someone on cyclist rights. And besides, it's sad in this day and age that there are still too many cops and traffic court judges that will agree with a motorist who says the cyclist should have just 'gotten out of the way'.

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