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  1. #1
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    Passing other cylists

    This morning while I was waiting for the light to cycle at a very large intersection (intersection of two fast 2-lane roads, plus lots of turning lanes tacked on) another cyclist came up behind me. I said good morning and he commented on how cold it was (it was 3C this morning when I left the house, probably the coldest morning so far this fall). Anyway, I had been waiting there for quite a while since I got there just as it turned red in my direction. Just before the light changed for us he passed me (between me in the bike lane, and the car waiting beside me) so he could, you know, get clipped in and moving and halfway through the intersection before the light actually changed. Ok, I'm a girl, and I ride a smaller bike, and I don't have as much money to spend on gear as you. But geeze, you have no idea how fast I am since you caught up to me while I was stopped at a (really long) light. Anyway, since I don't like to play passing games, especially when I'm moving along beside traffic which is going way faster than me, I just stayed behind him in the bike lane. He was only going little slower than I would normally have gone, so it wasn't really worth the effort of trying to pass him. I followed him for about 2 km until I merged over to make a left off the main road.

    I only started commuting by bike in July; I'm a cycling newbie. But I've done the 27 km round trip almost every day so far in August, September, and now October. I'm a lot stronger now that when I started. When I pass people I only do it if I've caught up to them on the road, I'm obviously faster than them, and it's safe to pass. I would never pass someone at an intersection if I didn't know how fast they were going to be.

    So, more experience bike commuters, could you please enlighten me as to the proper etiquette in situations like this?

    I know, I know, I should just ignore it and not let it bother me.

    On a funnier note, I finally fell off my bike on Wednesday night (for the first time since I got it at the end of June). I think it's because I bought eggs at the grocery store and tied them onto the top of my bag on my rack so they wouldn't get crushed inside my bag. Of course I fell, and two of the eggs broke. *lol* Curb 1, Judy 0. Pretty funny really. I have some road rash on both my knees, and a small patch on my chin. I made my husband take a picture when I got home with all the blood running down my legs. Real pretty. And I look like such a dork with all my cycling stuff on. The camera's at home, so I can't post the picture. Oh well. I may post it next week when we get back home from the long weekend (Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!).

  2. #2
    Bike Junkie aadhils's Avatar
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    I don't do this, but it seems that the typical pass is to always pass on the left, and scream 'on your left' at them. (I do pass on the left though)...

  3. #3
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    It sounds to me like a race was declared somewhere in there.

    Next type re-pass and drop the guy like a bad habit

    </bad advice>

  4. #4
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    In general I think it's rude to pass someone if you can't hold a faster pace than they can. But passing people at lights is a little tricky -- of course you don't know how fast they are, but you also don't want to be stuck behind someone slow if you can help it.

    Personally, I will usually make gross generalizations based on the type of bike the person is riding, clothing, etc, and base my decision on that.

    However, if I do pass someone (whether at a light or on the road), I do my damndest to stay ahead of them -- it's not only polite, it's a matter of pride at that point. ;-)

  5. #5
    Senior Member Hoshnasi's Avatar
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    Well first off when someone passes you and they continue to ride a relatively nice pace, Good for you! Free drafting!

    Secondly, if you want to pass make a statement like "on the left" and go for it. Be smooth and try and wait for a break in the auto traffic.

  6. #6
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    The proper etiquette is for you to pass him again as soon as possible, as fast as possible, while coasting, and using one hand to adjust your helmet straps or something.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by sotirios
    The proper etiquette is for you to pass him again as soon as possible, as fast as possible, while coasting, and using one hand to adjust your helmet straps or something.
    LOL. I'll keep an eye out for him and do that next time.

  8. #8
    Good day to ride ekimeno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sotirios
    The proper etiquette is for you to pass him again as soon as possible, as fast as possible, while coasting, and using one hand to adjust your helmet straps or something.
    Ha! I noticed a guy every morning playing overtaking games on the road - always on the drops of his road bike in an aero position. He's always shooting off at the lights and being very serious. This morning I decided to stay on his back wheel to see how fast he really was...started off going about 25mph from the lights, then slowing down to about 20mph.

    I laughed - his aim seemed to be just about getting ahead of everyone, but couldn't keep it up. I drafted him at 20mph for about 5 mins, then at the next set of lights I dropped him and he stayed dropped! All in good fun.

  9. #9
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    I think people worry too much about perceived "etiquette." If you're faster than him, pass. Preferably, as the above poster mentioned, while looking very relaxed. Perhaps scratching your ass while taking a gulp of water from your bottle, while checking your Polar monitor. Or something. LOL.
    My bicycle commuting blog: lop

  10. #10
    Daily Rider hairlessbill's Avatar
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    This happens to me a lot here on my commutes. I will get to the light first and then a bunch of riders will pile up next to me or wherever. When the light turns green there's a mad sprint for the crossing. This is just a bike path crossing the street but you'd think it was the last 100 meters of the Tour De France.

    I usually just let everyone get ahead of me - I'm just getting to/from work. It still annoys me; I was at the intersection first so why do I end up last or behind someone who got there after me? If I get there behind someone else then I wait for them to clip in and get started ahead of me. I try to maintain the 'order' that was started when we lined up. Never works but I feel better about not being such a type-A as your typical Boulder rider. So we play accordian game around here as we hit each make the next light in some random order and the whole madness starts over again.

    Oh yes, when I do pass everyone up the hill I make sure to sit straight up, whistle while I pass them, fix my helmet, and pedal like we're riding the flats. And I usually say 'Hi' too.

  11. #11
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    Yup. Say hi while eating a sandwich.

    I also let them pass. No need to read much into this. If I pass them later, I pass them later. This takes too much thinking.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Novakane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JudyO
    When I pass people I only do it if I've caught up to them on the road, I'm obviously faster than them, and it's safe to pass. I would never pass someone at an intersection if I didn't know how fast they were going to be.
    Someone did a similar move on me last week. There was a winding bit of MUP that crossed at the edge of an intersection. As I slowed to check for traffic before crossing, they blew past me on the left while I was rolling through.

    My solution was to draft them for the next 5km and then dropped them when it was safe to pass.

  13. #13
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    I may be in the minority here but I believe what he did was not actually passing but in fact cutting you off. If he arrived behind you at a light then he should have stayed behind you until both of you were moving and if he felt he was moving too slowly and could be going faster, then initiated a safe pass by signalling (visually and verbally) and then overtaking you on the left. For your part, etiquette would dictate that you could also do the same to him but that's at your discretion since you have already stated that you didn't feel too bothered by the pace and that it didn't seem worth the effort to pass him.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
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  14. #14
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    That actually makes sense.
    Especially, considering that I usually stay in line.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by khuon
    I may be in the minority here but I believe what he did was not actually passing but in fact cutting you off. If he arrived behind you at a light then he should have stayed behind you until both of you were moving and if he felt he was moving too slowly and could be going faster, then initiated a safe pass by signalling (visually and verbally) and then overtaking you on the left.
    That's what's bugging me about it. I felt like I was cut off at the intersection (although I wasn't actually moving yet when he went around me, since the light was still red in our direction). I would have stayed back behind him if I'd come to the intersection behind him, then passed him if I felt he was too slow once we were actually moving. That's what I usually do, and what I expect of others. Oh well.

    When I moved over to turn left the light was also red. He noodled around in the right lane, bike lane, and part of the other intersection doing little circles so he wouldn't have to unclip. He was about halfway across the intersection when the light actually turned green for him.

  16. #16
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    One situation in which I will always pass someone at a light is if they are stopped right next to the lead car (or even further back). That's prime right-hook territory, and there's no way I'm going to stop there. Especially not behind someone whose speed and riding style are completely unknown to me (i.e. they could do a slow, wobbly start, leaving me boxed in with a car turning right).

    When I filter to the front in traffic, I always get ahead of the first car -- at least far enough that I know they can see me. I think it's the only safe way to do it.

    Now if you have a crowd of cyclists assembled at a light, you can't all be in front of the first car, but as long as the first people are forward enough to be visible, I would think the whole pack is safe. Around here, though, I usually only see 1-2 other riders at a light.

  17. #17
    Crankenstein bmclaughlin807's Avatar
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    I have one a$$monkey in particular that pisses me off... if I'm running about 10 minutes later than normal, I'll catch him on a really wide, straight road. He's going about 17 mph, I pull into the traffic lane, and pass him, usually at about 19-20 mph, and keep up my pace... About a half mile down the road I almost always hit a red light, and here he comes flying past me and runs the red light to get ahead of me again. (He speeds up to pace me EVERY time I pass him, and follows me a little ways back)

    So this continues for about 3 or 4 miles, him passing me every time I stop for a red light or stop sign, until our paths split and we go different directions.

    One time I stopped at a stop sign at a T intersection... after the stop sign, you cross and get onto a bike path where the other road WOULD be if there was one... I accelerate towards the cut in the sidewalk to get up onto the path, and he comes flying across the street running the stop sign and nearly collides with me as we head for the same cut in the sidewalk.

    ARGH!
    "There is no greater wonder than the way the face and character of a woman fit so perfectly in a man's mind, and stay there, and he could never tell you why. It just seems it was the thing he most wanted." Robert Louis Stevenson

  18. #18
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    I think he cut you off too.

    People on the bike path here tend to line up at intersections in the order they arrive. I don't pass people after intersections until by the time I'm up to full speed they're still going slower than me.

    There are people who stop at intersections even though they have the right of way and wait for cars to I don't know stop and flash their lights or something. I am more aggressive than that, or should I say I appreciate keeping traffic flowing. Maybe this should go in the confessions thread... but anyway, I still don't pass them mid x-walk or whatever even when they're doing that!

  19. #19
    Senior Member Novakane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JudyO
    That's what's bugging me about it. I felt like I was cut off at the intersection (although I wasn't actually moving yet when he went around me, since the light was still red in our direction). I would have stayed back behind him if I'd come to the intersection behind him, then passed him if I felt he was too slow once we were actually moving. That's what I usually do, and what I expect of others. Oh well.

    When I moved over to turn left the light was also red. He noodled around in the right lane, bike lane, and part of the other intersection doing little circles so he wouldn't have to unclip. He was about halfway across the intersection when the light actually turned green for him.
    If one where to do this with a car, it'd be a dangerous situation - passing in an intersection is illegal in most places, AFAIK. Riding circles at an intersection doesn't sound too safe either. Seems like the kinda person to stay away from - an accident waiting to happen.

  20. #20
    Infamous Member chipcom's Avatar
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    OK this guy was one of them morons who can't stand to unclip and assumes he's the fastest thing on the road. No biggie, don't sweat it. Personally, if I am sitting at a light with other riders, I feel it's good manners to let them start first. You can always pass them if you need to, but you also have the opportunity for some riding company and/or conversation with them if you ain't in such a danged hurry. Another perk of this approach is if the other rider happens to be of the opposite sex...the view from behind might be worth appreciating for a few moments at least.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  21. #21
    Good day to ride ekimeno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmclaughlin807
    About a half mile down the road I almost always hit a red light, and here he comes flying past me and runs the red light to get ahead of me again.
    Yeah, I hate it when other cyclists don't obey the rules of the road. I've tried talking to them if I catch them to let them know that all they're achieving is an increasingly negative view by many car drivers. This usually results in them telling me to f-off. Fair enough - I know I'm not a cop amd I don't have any business telling you where you went wrong, but damn it, I feel responsible for all cyclists and I'll stand on my soap box if I want to!

    Rant over...

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by DataJunkie
    Yup. Say hi while eating a sandwich.

    I also let them pass. No need to read much into this. If I pass them later, I pass them later. This takes too much thinking.
    I agree. I go my pace. If it's faster than yours, then you're getting passed. If not, then I'll be behind you. Pretty simple. My wife on the other hand... Ugghhh... I'll be behind her and we'll have our nice steady pace. We pull up to someone and she'll stay behind them at a slower pace.. That's when I ask her if she's waiting for an invitation.. She's just not aggresive enough or is it I'm too aggresive???

  23. #23
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    I make a left at a very large intersection on my commute. Left hand turn lane (of 3 lanes my way, 2 lanes opposing) onto a 2-lane each direction cross street. There's a guy that I've encountered a few times who never waits for the green turn arrow. Instead, he'll wait for a break in the opposing traffic, cut across into the corner parking lot, hit the sidewalk until there's a break in the oncoming traffic (since he's on the sidewalk riding against traffic,) cut halfway across the road and ride the center-lane left-turn median until a break in the right lanes opens up, and then shoot across to the curb-side lane.
    I know he cuts into the lot for the MUP entrance, but I've not managed to catch him yet to tell him he's giving all of us a bad name by riding like his evening commute is a scene from Quicksilver.
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  24. #24
    Yabba-Dabba-Doo! AlmostTrick's Avatar
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    You people are lucky. I wish I had someone to pass or be passed by on my commute.
    Have Bike, Will Travel

  25. #25
    RacingBear UmneyDurak's Avatar
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    I don't think he passed you. He just started earlier then you. Personally I don't have a problem with it.
    I have a funny story. I was ridding to work today, and was going over this overpass. Just taking it easy. It really is just a bump on the road compared to the climbs I usually do. Anyway I pass this guy on a mountain bike riding on a sidewalk (I was on the road). Get to the top, next thing I know he passes me pedaling his little heart out. Passed me, slows down, and keeps taking glances behind at me. On "descent" I had to apply breaks not to pass him. Where would be the fun in that? On the flat picked up speed to about 25, when I passed him I just did a bunny hop for fun and gigles. Anyway I got a kick out of it.
    I see hills.... Bring them on!!!
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