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  1. #1
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    Vehicular Cycling Advice.

    So I had a little scare on the way home today. Most of my commute is on 4 lane avenues with bike lanes. At one point in each direction, I have to turn left, using 2-lane turn lanes. What I always do is to position myself in the outside turn lane so that faster traffic can use the inside lane, but I don't leave room for anyone to cut inside me in my lane. Today I did this and some crazy lady passed me on the outside as I was heading to the bike lane after completing my turn. She honked and me and flipped me the bird (or told me that I'm #1 ), then sped off. So my question is, is there a better way to execute that turn? Or should I just chalk the encounter up to experience and move on?

    Thanks,

    Nutfarmer

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    apocryphal sobriquet J.C. Koto's Avatar
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    If I'm reading this right, it sounds like the lady was out of control but you did what you could to stay safe since you're here to talk about it.

  3. #3
    Bicycle Commuter Bluish Green's Avatar
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    I haven't made that particular left turn movement myself. It sounds like you are doing everything correctly.

    The motorist sounds like some combination of aggressive/inexperienced/stupid/selfish/etc. They happen occasionally. She's lucky a cop didn't witness her maneuver. Glad you escaped without a crash. Stay safe.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Mr. Hairy Legs's Avatar
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    Get yourself an Airzound and honk back.

    I find some intersections are much safer and less stressful if I cross pedestrian style (i.e. go straight and wait for the light). Maybe this is one of them?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nutfarmer View Post
    So I had a little scare on the way home today. Most of my commute is on 4 lane avenues with bike lanes. At one point in each direction, I have to turn left, using 2-lane turn lanes. What I always do is to position myself in the outside turn lane so that faster traffic can use the inside lane, but I don't leave room for anyone to cut inside me in my lane. Today I did this and some crazy lady passed me on the outside as I was heading to the bike lane after completing my turn. She honked and me and flipped me the bird (or told me that I'm #1 ), then sped off. So my question is, is there a better way to execute that turn? Or should I just chalk the encounter up to experience and move on?

    Thanks,

    Nutfarmer
    How did she ever get between you and the bike lane?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by drturf View Post
    How did she ever get between you and the bike lane?
    There was no longer any oncoming traffic, so she swung out into the oncoming traffic lane to pass me before I could get to the bike lane--it's a big intersection.

  7. #7
    Senior Member mister's Avatar
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    I used to do the samething you do and had a similar encounter except the car to my left didn't turn in their lane and drifted into me. Thankfully I was able to pound her window and she jerked the other way and aside from a bruise and some choice four letter words nothing happened.

    I always take the right hand left turn lane and stay on the outside so I can "turn in my lane" too. So far, no crashes.
    Brilliant!

  8. #8
    Senior Member megalowmatt's Avatar
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    ^^^ this is what I do as well. It just seems more logical to swing wide through the intersection so I'm in the correct position to enter the bike lane after the intersection. I don't think I'd "take the lane" in any of my cases.

    There is still no excuse for a crazy move like passing you on the right during the turn though.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by megalowmatt View Post
    ^^^ this is what I do as well. It just seems more logical to swing wide through the intersection so I'm in the correct position to enter the bike lane after the intersection. I don't think I'd "take the lane" in any of my cases.

    There is still no excuse for a crazy move like passing you on the right during the turn though.
    I take the lane to avoid being pushed into oncoming traffic. My experience has been that if I leave room on the inside, motorists will push me out of the lane.

  10. #10
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    Pardon what may seem like a negative post, but you've been making this turn for how long? And you let one obviously rude person have you doubting yourself.

    While most drivers are actually pretty caring, there's a certain percentage who think they own the road, and anything that delays them by a few seconds is unacceptable. IMO, it has nothing to do with you being on a bike. These drivers are generally equal opportunity axholes, and resent besides cyclists, drivers who delay them while waiting to make a left turn, stop to pick up or let off passengers, garbage trucks and so on.

    If what you've been doing has been working, keep doing it and expect that every once in a while someone will feel that you're unreasonably rude by being between them and their destination.
    FB
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Pardon what may seem like a negative post, but you've been making this turn for how long? And you let one obviously rude person have you doubting yourself.

    While most drivers are actually pretty caring, there's a certain percentage who think they own the road, and anything that delays them by a few seconds is unacceptable. IMO, it has nothing to do with you being on a bike. These drivers are generally equal opportunity axholes, and resent besides cyclists, drivers who delay them while waiting to make a left turn, stop to pick up or let off passengers, garbage trucks and so on.

    If what you've been doing has been working, keep doing it and expect that every once in a while someone will feel that you're unreasonably rude by being between them and their destination.
    No reason to ask for pardon. I've been making that turn for at least three years with no problems. My wife is an exec for the DMV and told me that I had the right of way. I just wanted to be sure that I wasn't missing something.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Pardon what may seem like a negative post, but you've been making this turn for how long? And you let one obviously rude person have you doubting yourself.

    While most drivers are actually pretty caring, there's a certain percentage who think they own the road, and anything that delays them by a few seconds is unacceptable. IMO, it has nothing to do with you being on a bike. These drivers are generally equal opportunity axholes, and resent besides cyclists, drivers who delay them while waiting to make a left turn, stop to pick up or let off passengers, garbage trucks and so on.

    If what you've been doing has been working, keep doing it and expect that every once in a while someone will feel that you're unreasonably rude by being between them and their destination.
    I agree with this post 100%. I also commute on a 3 lane road with double lanes for left turn, making a 5 lane intersection (one way). I do things a little different now. After 2 years on the same road.

    If the light is green and I'm able to take the outer left lane (right left turning lane) I take the middle like you are doing.

    If the light is red I would position myself in the same outer left turning lane, in the middle of the car. As soon as the light turns green. I go all out taking the outer right as I turn on to the bike lane. I found that if a person is as describe above, he can pass me on the inside of the lane instead like they did to you.

    If I can't make the left turning lane I go pedestrian style to the other side and wait for the crossing sing.

    If the turning lanes are red and the crossing light is green and I'm able to make the left turning lanes, then I go straight to the opposite side of the intersection (middle) and wait for the light to turn green as I'm heading across half of the intersection.

    Legal? Maybe not. Safer? I think so!

  13. #13
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    I had exactly this situation happen once. It was really rattling - I was very upset, started to lose all faith in humanity, etc. I agree with the other posters that you were in the right. Some people just have an axe to grind, and you happened to be an easy target for this woman's aggression.

    I try to console myself by remembering that if they yell obscenities and/or throw things at me, at least they were paying enough attention to see me on the road.

  14. #14
    Senior Member CrankyOne's Avatar
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    I use to do exactly what you do and still do so occasionally. Each year in our metro there are over 150 incidents of cars in the left of the two turn lanes drifting in to the right lane while turning (and a handful of the person in the right turning too sharp and in to the left lane). About 99.9% of these result in dents and scratches to the cars involved, no fatalities that I'm aware of, and a few result in minor injuries. According to Allstate about half of these where an insurance claim is filed were not reported to police.

    Being on a bicycle in the right lane in any of these 'fender benders' would likely result in serious injury or death.

    I now almost always use crossings for executing such left turns.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nutfarmer View Post
    So I had a little scare on the way home today. Most of my commute is on 4 lane avenues with bike lanes. At one point in each direction, I have to turn left, using 2-lane turn lanes. What I always do is to position myself in the outside turn lane so that faster traffic can use the inside lane, but I don't leave room for anyone to cut inside me in my lane. Today I did this and some crazy lady passed me on the outside as I was heading to the bike lane after completing my turn. She honked and me and flipped me the bird (or told me that I'm #1 ), then sped off. So my question is, is there a better way to execute that turn? Or should I just chalk the encounter up to experience and move on?

    Thanks,

    Nutfarmer
    I saw this happen to a cyclist when I was walking and waiting for the light to change. In this case, the car wasn't even in the turn lane - they were in the go - straight lane, and turned left in front of the cyclist as the light turned green. The car and bike were both stopped at the light - no question that the driver saw the cyclist. The cyclist saw it coming, and let the driver go, but was like, REALLY?

    There are drivers out there that absolutely don't care if they hit you. It is scary. Glad you are OK.

  16. #16
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    There are rules, and lots of theories about how best to negotiate various intersections, and who has or should have the right of way.

    Regardless of the rules, you ride in the real world, and have to make adjustments an allowances for REALITY.

    Use your head, find the best lane position and be predictable as much as possible, however don't expect or depend on the same from those around you.
    Last edited by FBinNY; 01-05-14 at 12:53 PM.
    FB
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    “Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

    “One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

    WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.

  17. #17
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    All else, cross to the far side of the cross street, then you are in the right lane of that one .

    cross street light turns green.. Turn left, then..

    Bicycle... a vehicle--pedestrian, Hybrid . just by dismounting..


    In Sacramento (where nothing is actually sacred but money and power)
    She may be one of your members of the California Legislature,
    used to flipping off everyone that didnt pay, Up front, to put them in Office.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 01-06-14 at 12:48 PM.

  18. #18
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    I don't know enough about the particulars of that intersection and its traffic patterns to advise you about your circumstance, but there are a few left-turn opportunities in my city that I simply choose not to take: the combination of the traffic patterns, sight lines, and signal lengths makes them too hazardous to be worth it. Where it works to do so, I'll go a few blocks out of my way for a safer turn; where it doesn't, I take advantage of my ability to briefly, legally transform myself into a pedestrian and walk the bike through crosswalks to the side of the intersection I need to reach. It's a few minutes of delay to wait for the signals to allow me to cross the intersection both ways, but I'll take that over a near-death experience - or worse - any day.

  19. #19
    Senior Member CACycling's Avatar
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    I've got a couple of intersections that I frequent that are set up like this. A long as traffic is such I can get across to the #2 left turn lane, I take it. Sometimes crossing 3 lanes of 55MPH traffic isn't an option when there is heavy traffic so I just box the intersection.

  20. #20
    Senior Member alan s's Avatar
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    My recommendation is to swing extra wide yourself, slow down to let cars pass you on the inside of the turn, and then follow. While you may have the "right" to take the lane, it is much safer to have the turning traffic pass you before you get into the lane proper. I'll even trackstand or ride really slowly to let turning cars pass me before proceeding. Never give a car the opportunity to pass you on the right...a recipe for disaster.

  21. #21
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    You probably weren't doing anything wrong. Do whatever it takes to survive, and when people make boneheaded moves like this, try to forget it as soon as possible, for your mental sanity.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nutfarmer View Post
    I take the lane to avoid being pushed into oncoming traffic. My experience has been that if I leave room on the inside, motorists will push me out of the lane.
    This does not make sense. In North America traffic flows on the right. If you are pushed to the right by an impatient left turner cutting inside your arc, you would not, could not, wind up facing oncoming traffic. I'd think you'd have more trouble making it leftward across two traffic lanes to the first of the left turn lanes in the first place! That you can do that, means the car/bike culture in your area isn't all that awful. Given that, making the widest turn you possibly could would absolutely prevent a pass on the outside, and if someone passed on the inside, so what? FWIW.

    H

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
    This does not make sense. In North America traffic flows on the right. If you are pushed to the right by an impatient left turner cutting inside your arc, you would not, could not, wind up facing oncoming traffic. I'd think you'd have more trouble making it leftward across two traffic lanes to the first of the left turn lanes in the first place! That you can do that, means the car/bike culture in your area isn't all that awful. Given that, making the widest turn you possibly could would absolutely prevent a pass on the outside, and if someone passed on the inside, so what? FWIW.

    H
    The oncoming traffic is also turning left across the intersection in the opposite direction. If my arc is too wide, I'll be hit head on. Having said that, the lady who passed me was just in way too big a hurry. I made the same turn today, and the drivers behind me were patient and courteous.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Hairy Legs View Post
    Get yourself an Airzound and honk back.

    I find some intersections are much safer and less stressful if I cross pedestrian style (i.e. go straight and wait for the light). Maybe this is one of them?
    Just took delivery of a Hornit...nasty loud.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nutfarmer View Post
    The oncoming traffic is also turning left across the intersection in the opposite direction. If my arc is too wide, I'll be hit head on. Having said that, the lady who passed me was just in way too big a hurry. I made the same turn today, and the drivers behind me were patient and courteous.
    I see. So anyone cutting outside of a proper line, to the outside of the turn lane would definitely be in big trouble. You had to have been ridiculously close to the left of the right-hand turn lane to give a car that much room to pass you on the outside. Can you not see that? I get that the woman was rude and impatient, no doubt it will take awhile for the stars to line up exactly that way again. But it will, eventually. Unless you change your tactics. The weight of culture is on the side of the stupid, impatient cager that cut you off. Patient and courteous? Give me a break... you are in traffic! Don't hold up people on the way to their dinner or their extra-marital affairs or whatever else is none of your business. Don't force them to be patient and courteous and you can ride a very long time without having a problem. Or keep doing it your way and have a scare every now and then. Your choice.

    H

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