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  1. #1
    johnliu@earthlink.net jyl's Avatar
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    Do You Split Lanes?

    Do you split lanes?

    I almost never do. I mostly practice "vehicular cycling", a term I just heard, meaning that I try to ride as if I'm a car or motorcycle, the main exception being that when safe I hug the right to let cars pass.

    But I realized that there is one place where I routinely split lanes. It is here

    http://maps.google.com/maps?q=google...gl=us&t=h&z=20

    See that back up of seven vehicles driving west (left) and trying to make the left turn from W/B NE Halsey onto S/B NE 39th? That is a slight uphill.

    I can line up behind the 9th or 10th car, stop and go up the grade, clipping and unclipping, then try to keep up with the cars as they accelerate through the intersection and turn left.

    Or, I can split the lane, arrive at the intersection sitting on the line between the left turning lane and the two right turning lanes, then when the light turns I can go straight, out of the way of the left-turning cars, and make a wide left turn as the cars stream by on the inside. That is what I do, all the time.

    Does that make sense to you? What would you do? Are there times when you split lanes?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member loneviking61's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jyl View Post
    Do you split lanes?

    I almost never do. I mostly practice "vehicular cycling", a term I just heard, meaning that I try to ride as if I'm a car or motorcycle, the main exception being that when safe I hug the right to let cars pass.

    But I realized that there is one place where I routinely split lanes. It is here

    http://maps.google.com/maps?q=google...gl=us&t=h&z=20

    See that back up of seven vehicles driving west (left) and trying to make the left turn from W/B NE Halsey onto S/B NE 39th? That is a slight uphill.

    I can line up behind the 9th or 10th car, stop and go up the grade, clipping and unclipping, then try to keep up with the cars as they accelerate through the intersection and turn left.

    Or, I can split the lane, arrive at the intersection sitting on the line between the left turning lane and the two right turning lanes, then when the light turns I can go straight, out of the way of the left-turning cars, and make a wide left turn as the cars stream by on the inside. That is what I do, all the time.

    Does that make sense to you? What would you do? Are there times when you split lanes?
    That's the way I do it. I think the lane splitting rule has to pretty much be ignored at intersections. After all, if you have an intersection where there are three lanes with one turning left, one going straight and one turning right with proper bike striping the bike lane is going to be between the right turn lane and the lane going straight. That's a lane split!

  3. #3
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    I believe here in Seattle it's not legal, however I will on a rare occasion do it if cars are completely stopped with a long line and it's visibly safe for me to go on ahead at a slow speed to the right, assuming the middle/forward moving lane has no cars or moving slowly enough where I can be considered a vehicle. I want to give as little reasons to motorists to hate or want to run me over!

  4. #4
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    Almost never.

    We usually have bicycle turning lanes in front of the stopped traffic, so often there's no need to split.
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  5. #5
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    If by "lane splitting" you mean passing stationary vehicles within the same lane then it's something I do any time I've got space. It's expected here in the UK, a lot of the time we have a designated area at traffic lights so that cyclists can get to the front of the queue for when the lights change (although many people seem to think the big green space with a bicycle painted on it is intended for the idiot in his Porsche Cayenne to get a bit closer to the lights).

    If there are regular traffic lights, temporary lights for roadworks, or just a lot of traffic moving slowly, you always see cyclists and motorcyclists passing lines of stationary or slow moving vehicles over here. Every once in a while someone will position their car to make it difficult to get past them, and at times like that you see cyclists just going around them. More often than not at times like that I've had people shuffle their car slightly to make it easier for me to get past, when circumstances permit.

    The main thing you need to be careful of in my experience is the passenger who is waiting to be dropped off and figures they might as well jump out here because the car is stopped anyway, rather than in 100 yards where they had originally wanted to be dropped off. It's also good to watch indicators as sometimes if there's a line of traffic approaching a red light someone part way down will turn into a driveway or some such, rather than turning at the lights.
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  6. #6
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    I lane-split daily. If I wanted to sit in traffic behind cars, I would drive to work.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Astrozombie's Avatar
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    One time I was coming up to the front at a red light and this firetruck blasted its horn right next to me as I lane split

  8. #8
    tougher than a boiled owl droy45's Avatar
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    Personally I have never done lane splitting. I just don't dare too at least yet anyway. I try to be just like a car but I always move out of the way as soon as possible after making any left turn. I don't mind waiting in traffic, it helps me catch my breath and rest a little. I think I have gained some respect from motorists this way as the regulars see me every morning doing the same thing. I haven't had any trouble with motorists yet doing it this way. We do not have bike lanes here and very few cyclists, as a matter of fact I'm the only one as far as I can tell and I'm commuting at rush hour. I think the general public is too lazy to pedal bikes. They don't know what their missing.
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  9. #9
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Never. I even hate bicycle lanes that allow it. They are good places to get right hooked.
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  10. #10
    20+mph Commuter JoeyBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jyl View Post
    Do you split lanes?
    Oh Hell to the Yes. Cars waste a lot of space on roads. I use any/all of those available spaces whenever possible.
    "For all we know his skills may be excellent, allowing him to ride like an idiot without actually being one." - FBinNY

  11. #11
    LET'S ROLL 1nterceptor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jyl View Post
    Do you split lanes?
    Yes.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Jkf__aUQpE

  12. #12
    Senior Member Slaninar's Avatar
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    Wherever, whenever...

    Just try to keep it safe: slow, cautious, looking inside car cabins for people going for the doors, wheels turning etc. It is illegal in my country, but cops don't chase bicycles and motorcycles, so you can do it - just when you get hit, it's your fault.
    Evviva il comunismo e la libertÓ.

  13. #13
    20+mph Commuter JoeyBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slaninar View Post
    ...when you get hit, it's your fault.


    Please....IF you get hit is the proper nomenclature.
    "For all we know his skills may be excellent, allowing him to ride like an idiot without actually being one." - FBinNY

  14. #14
    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    Some times. Most often it as a dangerous thing to do, and I have a high regard for my own life. There are some instances where it is safe and preferred. I almost always split the "lane" between through traffic, and those turning right. I get annoyed at those who think they need to push the walk button when the cars in the through lane have already tripped the parallel switch activated by street sensors. That puts them in the way, and impedes the flow, of cars turning right, and produces more bike haters.
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  15. #15
    Senior Member AusTexMurf's Avatar
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    Funny that the conversations, vocabulary even, are in many ways similar in Portland and Austin. Yes, vehicular cycling is a term I have been hearing more and more frequently around here. Interesting enough, it's pretty much what I have been doing for the past 20 years to stay alive as a bicycle commuter in car traffic. Anyway, I use my own judgement and there are a few places in my city where I do split lanes because I think it is safer, particularly when a large % of the car traffic is turning both left and right at a given intersection, exactly as you have shown. Some of our newest bike lanes now actually purposefully split the motorist lanes, so that cyclists are shielded from the right hook maneuver, as mentioned above. Living in Austin and Portland, cycling progressive cities by US standards, gives us a few different experiences than in some other areas of the US (and Texas). At first the new bike lanes in the middle of traffic made me nervous, a bit. Now I use them all of the time to get through problematic intersections. I will use one of these new traffic splitting bike lanes today, because I need to go to the hardware store. Not sure if the new lane systems are on google, yet. I will try to post an aerial view of the bike lanes I am referring to, if google maps have been updated since.

    Nope. No update on google maps or images. I will try to take some pics of examples of the new traffic lane splitting bike lanes (hopefully of me carrying a new toilet seat on my bike through this intersection, how fancy is that ?), which are only found at strange intersections where a high percentage of the auto traffic turns left and right.
    Last edited by AusTexMurf; 02-21-13 at 08:59 AM.

  16. #16
    Senior Member FenderTL5's Avatar
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    Rarely.

    The only time I've done it is when downtown traffic resembles that of the video posted above.. typically in my commute that's only during a couple of high touristy, roads closed event weeks. I split lanes, even popped over to the sidewalk for a half block to manuever around the dead stop of cars.
    That said, on a typical day, there's no need on my route.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member Slaninar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post


    Please....IF you get hit is the proper nomenclature.
    Unfortunately it is inevitable if you ride long enough I believe.


    Quote Originally Posted by CommuteCommando View Post
    I almost always split the "lane" between through traffic, and those turning right.

    In the city I live in, drivers get VERY annoyed when they see a bicycle riding in any lane. If that line is not the rightmost line, they go berserk. However illogical it may seem, it is nicer to ride in the lane for turning right (blocking cars wanting to turn right), then to move to the lane for going straight.

    It is also near impossible here to turn left in any bigger street.


    Having said all this, most drivers are nice. 90% don't know you're supposed to be there, but only about 10% are rude (with about 1 in a thousand trying to bully you off the road, or get out of the car and beat you).
    Evviva il comunismo e la libertÓ.

  18. #18
    20+mph Commuter JoeyBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slaninar View Post
    Unfortunately it is inevitable if you ride long enough I believe.
    I ride like an "@$$" as defined in the A&S Forum. Started at 15, now 55, car free since 1989 and car-light before that. Biked to every corner of the USofA from New Orleans and then some. No telling how many tens of thousands of city miles I have logged. Still...never been hit. That is three lifetimes of cycling for most people. It is possible. A lot of focus and a little luck goes a long way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Slaninar View Post
    However illogical it may seem, it is nicer to ride in the lane for turning right (blocking cars wanting to turn right), then to move to the lane for going straight.
    I do neither. I split the lane between the right-turning vehicles and the cars in the adjacent lane to my left. When I get up front (assuming I have to stop at the red) I just STAY on the line I just split. Cars can file past me all day to make their right turn and the cars to my left don't feel like I broke in front of them. When the light turns green I just sprint up to speed and merge in with the cars to my left if necessary - which is EASY now that everyone is staring at their phones when the light turns green leaving huge gaps between each car.

    Unlike your community, motorists in mine will not tolerate a cyclist blocking the turn lane. Horns will blow, blowhards will yell. I actually think it is mindless and rude to block the right turn lane on a bike. On the other hand, splitting lanes is culturally accepted and expected. Sometimes, when cars in the right lane don't turn right, both lanes of auto traffic just split past me until I can catch a gap to move further right.

    Best course of action is to just run the red if possible and leave ALL of that mayhem behind forever. This is also culturally expected of cyclists in New Orleans.
    Last edited by JoeyBike; 02-21-13 at 09:10 AM.
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  19. #19
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
    just run the red
    No!



    It actually states that running the red is in second place for causing accidents. In addition, it sets a horrible precedent for children.

    €100 fine.
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  20. #20
    20+mph Commuter JoeyBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
    No! It actually states that running the red is in second place for causing accidents. In addition, it sets a horrible precedent for children.
    Free your mind and the rest will follow. - En Vogue
    "For all we know his skills may be excellent, allowing him to ride like an idiot without actually being one." - FBinNY

  21. #21
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
    Free your mind and the rest will follow. - En Vogue
    Your time will come, statistically speaking, that is.
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  22. #22
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    Lane splitting is legal in CA, although they recently limited to a 40mph limit on lane splitting. To many accidents with motorcycles lane splitting at 80mph on highways.

    Edit: 40mph meaning you can lane split at 10mph above background traffic speeds of at most 30mph. Imagine doing that on a bicycle in moving traffic!

  23. #23
    20+mph Commuter JoeyBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
    Your time will come, statistically speaking, that is.
    Too late for that. Started when I was 15, this April I am 55. Car free since 1989. Biked to every corner of the USA and commute through Hell daily otherwise. Untold tens of thousands of cycling miles. I do whatever I want with due caution. It's not that hard.

    Statistically speaking, if I got creamed tomorrow, I still won. Preach to someone who doesn't know any better.
    "For all we know his skills may be excellent, allowing him to ride like an idiot without actually being one." - FBinNY

  24. #24
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jyl View Post
    Does that make sense to you? What would you do? Are there times when you split lanes?
    I'd split the lane in that situation. In fact, there's a place on my daily commute at NE 28th and Main in Hillsboro where I routinely do exactly what you describe here and for the same reason.

    If there are only three or four cars at the light I'll get in line behind them, but if it's more than that I split. I have a bike lane immediately after the left turn and the right turn lane is quite wide, so I feel pretty safe doing this. I could always split, but like you I like to be vehicular when I can. My justification for splitting is that it makes the overall flow of traffic through the intersection better.

    Four cars is about the point where I can't keep up when the line of cars does it's "wait, wait, wait, hard acceleration" routine and still be able to safely make the turn when I get there. I figure if I'm in the traffic lane too far back I'll reduce the number of vehicle that make it through the light each cycle, and most drivers are grumpy enough without that. Besides, on this road the cars have no qualms about squeezing past me if I let them (though I generally try not to), so in a way I am behaving like a car.

  25. #25
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
    Too late for that. Started when I was 15, this April I am 55. Car free since 1989. Biked to every corner of the USA and commute through Hell daily otherwise. I do whatever I want with due caution. It's not that hard.

    Statistically speaking, if I got creamed tomorrow, I still won. Preach to someone who doesn't know any better.
    Technically, you will have lost, because you ended up in the "wrong" column (Injured/Deceased).

    Here, we have one-way streets where bikes ride against traffic. Why? Because, it shown statically shown that it reduced accidents in a residential areas versus having cyclists riding in the same direction. I believe in hard data with sample sizes of hundreds of thousands. I don't acknowledge anecdotal information.

    However, I do encourage you to keep up the "tough-guy act" as it is moderately entertaining and BF could use some entertainment when that crazy guy isn't around (fietsbob).
    Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S)
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