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Old 02-18-14, 09:15 PM   #26
hueyhoolihan
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Originally Posted by Giant Doofus View Post
Not trying to be argumentative here, just trying to understand: I'm not clear about what it means that lane splitting is illegal. Cars split the lane with me all the time when they pass me while I ride along on the right side of the lane. How is it different if I do the same when they are stopped at a light or stalled in traffic?

By the way: I *don't* filter, but this is largely because I'm still fairly new to bike commuting and lack confidence.
i really don't want to get into a definition discussion, but here in sunny CA, i think it only refers to splitting between two other vehicles. IOW, going between two cars, or motorcycles, or a car and a motorcycle.

but, forums being what they are... let the nitpicking begin.

if the bike is on the far right or, less likely, far left, there is no lane splitting, you are just a plain vanilla nuisance.
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Old 02-18-14, 09:18 PM   #27
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Am I missing something here? The whole point of riding a bike is to pass cars stuck in traffic. No way I'm going to be a "nice guy" and wait in line. They'll all just pass me later anyway, if they can. I plead ignorance of the law, so don't go telling me it's illegal where I ride.
If that's supposed to be a joke, I think I'm missing something here.

If not, hey, who would have expected such attitude from DC? Shocking!
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Old 02-18-14, 09:43 PM   #28
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I'm speaking specifically to the manuever I did in the video I made. I think this is a good discussion to have but let's not let it degrade into an argument. I'm open to any opinions about this.

For what it's worth there is an "alternate route" I sometimes take to avoid that intersection but only if safe. We are the ones who know our routes best and our comfort/safety zones.
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Old 02-18-14, 09:43 PM   #29
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Around here, filtering on the right is expected behaviour so long as it isn't screwing up traffic. It mostly boils down to common sense, which, thanks to the Internet, is in grave danger of becoming extinct.

My rule of thumb is that cycling should help to relieve traffic congestion, not contribute to it.

Regarding the video posted, that looks like the logical thing to do in that situation. I'm not going to occupy a 12-foot wide lane with my 2-foot wide bike when I don't have to.

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Old 02-18-14, 09:52 PM   #30
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Hmmm...stimulating discussion. I do what I do (see previous post in this thread) because it seems like the safest way to handle certain intersections and seems to work very well with the drivers on my usual commute.

I can see where following any one policy about filtering might be dangerous, though, as all situations are different.
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Old 02-18-14, 10:10 PM   #31
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Rarely, but I'd do this when it's clear for crossing the thru lanes, which are stopped here until the turn phase anyway. Good timing Matt.

Otherwise, yet more of the same nonsense BS. For a BICYCLE this is NOT lane splitting, filtering maybe, it's just plain old FRAP/FLAP. By a decent width right turn lane, I wouldn't even consider NOT riding the line. With a double right turnout, we are forced to be in the side of the inside lane.
I suppose the OP situation would be Lane splitting for a MOTORCYCLE, otherwise it mostly refers to riding between 2 lanes going in the SAME direction, ie NOT involving a single TURN lane. Except for messengers in congested places like NY or passing buses it makes little sense on a bicycle.

I'd have ZERO expectations of LEO bothering me about this turn lane ANYWHERE. "Lane sneak", my eye.
Cyclists are NOT DRIVERS, no matter what John Forrester or anybody else thinks.

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Old 02-18-14, 11:17 PM   #32
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Here's my answer: it depends.
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Old 02-18-14, 11:35 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Giant Doofus View Post
Not trying to be argumentative here, just trying to understand: I'm not clear about what it means that lane splitting is illegal. Cars split the lane with me all the time when they pass me while I ride along on the right side of the lane. How is it different if I do the same when they are stopped at a light or stalled in traffic?

By the way: I *don't* filter, but this is largely because I'm still fairly new to bike commuting and lack confidence.
"Lane splitting" applies more to motorcycles than bicycles. In my state it is specifically illegal to ride a motorcycle between cars that are stopped. Bicycles are a gray area but, again for my state, cars are to pass a bicycle with 3 feet of distance between the car and the bicycle. If a car doesn't have 3' to safely pass, they aren't supposed to. It doesn't always work that way but they can be cited for it.

Personally, I feel that is a pretty good rule and I wouldn't pass a car without 3' feet between me, the car and a curb (for example). That keeps me safe. Filtering to the front of a line of cars isn't about confidence nor lack thereof. It's about situational awareness. Passing a line of cars on the right opens you to a car turning in front of you (aka a "right hook"). Passing cars on the left puts you in a situation where the car could turn left. Either maneuver puts the bicycle in places where the driver doesn't expect other road users. If you don't believe me, ask yourself how you would feel as a driver if another driver tried to pass you on the right to get to the head of the line or did a double left turn in a single left turn lane?
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Old 02-18-14, 11:40 PM   #34
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Am I missing something here? The whole point of riding a bike is to pass cars stuck in traffic. No way I'm going to be a "nice guy" and wait in line. They'll all just pass me later anyway, if they can. I plead ignorance of the law, so don't go telling me it's illegal where I ride.
The way I look at it isn't that I'm being a "nice guy". Why would I want to be passed by the same cars over and over again? The absolute best place to be is the last vehicle to go through a light. I get the benefit of an open road.
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Old 02-19-14, 06:15 AM   #35
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Not on my native giant suburban arteries. I have done in cities where the traffic expects it. I have done on my motorcycle, too.
I kinda have the same feeling. Living in São Paulo, Brazil, traffic is gridlocked most of the day, so filtering is expected by both bicycles and motorcycles.
A couple weeks ago we rode 200km into the country, to a small city, and drivers there seemed to be a lot less friendlier (honking, getting too close) when we filtered through traffic into an intersection.

Even on my daily commute I don't filter all the time. If traffic is slowly moving, above 25kph (that's about 15mph for you metric impaired ) i tend to stay behind a car, just for feeling safer. If traffic is above 35kph, I stay on the right lane.

Last edited by chjcb77; 02-19-14 at 06:17 AM. Reason: not enough coffee.
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Old 02-19-14, 06:57 AM   #36
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Here in England I'll decide whether to pass stationary traffic based on road conditions.

Sometimes it's possible to pass cars waiting at a junction with plenty of space. Sometimes it isn't. If I can't complete my manoeuvre safely (meaning both that I can do it without risking my own safety, and I can do it without pinging everyone's wing mirrors) then I'll stay back at whatever point seems safest. If there's a honking great truck in front of me I'll consider whether I can get past it and far enough in front of it that I can be seen, before it starts to move.

I'll also consider road conditions, how many cars are ahead of me, that kind of thing. If getting to the front means I wait for one cycle of the lights rather than multiple cycles I'll be keener to get to the front. If there's only one car ahead of me and the road is sufficiently narrow that it would be a hassle for it to pass me again, and fast enough that it would want to pass, there's nothing to gain for me so I'll stay back.

A few roads around here have 20mph limits which means that as long as they aren't hilly I can keep pace with traffic anyway, so it's not as if I'm holding anyone up.
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Old 02-19-14, 09:05 AM   #37
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I have a similar left turn in my commute, and I used to do this daily. The approach was slightly uphill, so if I joined the turn lane, I'd slow it down to nothing** and drivers would start trying to murder me.

I've since taken to crossing straight through intersection, stopping cold and awaiting a break in the two straight lanes to turn. It works for me and my turn. If it didn't, I'd totally go back to filtering.

**In the estimation of a masshole driver
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Old 02-19-14, 09:10 AM   #38
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If it's only 2-3 cars I don't, if it's a longer line I will.
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Old 02-19-14, 09:23 AM   #39
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I'll filter if it would NOT mean the same cars would have to pass me again. I'm not going to make people pass me over and over. One situation specifically (happens in a couple places on my commute) is when 2 travel lanes become a straight and a right turn only lane. The other side of the intersection has 2 travel lanes. I filter up between the 2 lanes so that the cars right of me turn right, I go straight across to the right lane on the other side, and the straight lane cars (which was the left lane before the intersection) go straight and remain in the left lane on the other side of the intersection. Works great and I have no problems there.

*edit* like this here, if there are several cars both going straight and turning right, I will filter up between and go straight across to the right lane on the other side.

http://goo.gl/maps/YhysC
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Old 02-19-14, 09:40 AM   #40
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"Lane splitting" applies more to motorcycles than bicycles. In my state it is specifically illegal to ride a motorcycle between cars that are stopped. Bicycles are a gray area but, again for my state, cars are to pass a bicycle with 3 feet of distance between the car and the bicycle. If a car doesn't have 3' to safely pass, they aren't supposed to. It doesn't always work that way but they can be cited for it.

Personally, I feel that is a pretty good rule and I wouldn't pass a car without 3' feet between me, the car and a curb (for example). That keeps me safe. Filtering to the front of a line of cars isn't about confidence nor lack thereof. It's about situational awareness. Passing a line of cars on the right opens you to a car turning in front of you (aka a "right hook"). Passing cars on the left puts you in a situation where the car could turn left. Either maneuver puts the bicycle in places where the driver doesn't expect other road users. If you don't believe me, ask yourself how you would feel as a driver if another driver tried to pass you on the right to get to the head of the line or did a double left turn in a single left turn lane?
I agree. I wouldn't filter if it meant squeezing between two lines of traffic in a way that brought me within three feet of another vehicle. On the other hand, there's a spot near my home where traffic often backs up from the light for nearly a quarter mile. The rightmost lane is plenty wide for cars to pass me while sharing the lane when traffic is flowing. I don't see any reason, then, why I shouldn't keep moving ahead in that same lane when the cars get stuck. But maybe that's not how the term filtering is being used here.

One other thought: You asked about how I would feel if another car did this. Cars kind of do this too if someone wants to make a right turn on red and there is enough room to squeeze into the lane next to the car waiting to go straight through the light. No one seems to mind.
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Old 02-19-14, 09:57 AM   #41
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100% depends on the situation. In that video, I would filter if I could. I know drivers get more annoyed if they miss the light because I'm taking too long to accelerate through it. When that could add 5-10 minutes to someones trip in, people don't like that. I feel like a lot of people don't buffer that kind of time, and that would make them late for work. I'll get up next to the first or second car, make the turn and tuck in.

If it's a light that I'm going straight at, sometimes I will, if it's a sketchy intersection, I'll get in the front of all traffic. If it's a light where I'm gonna miss the cycle because of 50 cars in front of me? Filtering. If it's two cars? nah.
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Old 02-19-14, 09:58 AM   #42
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Sometimes I WANT the light to turn red as an excuse to take a breather.
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Old 02-19-14, 11:19 AM   #43
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No I don't. I suppose I would if traffic were stopped for more than a few seconds but other than that, I just wait behind.
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Old 02-19-14, 11:51 AM   #44
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I would most likely do what the OP did in the same situation. The second alternative would be to go straight through the intersection on the right, and then wait for the next light to turn left, similar to what a pedestrian would do. I don't see any reason to get into the left turn lane and possibly hold up traffic.

In other areas it's different. If I'm in a downtown area and there is room to filter, but not much room for a car to pass safely, I take the lane and wait in line. This is one spot I regularly wait in traffic: http://goo.gl/maps/IvlGB In rush hour I may have to wait through a cycle or two of the red light, but I don't like to pass cars and then hold them up because there is no space for them to pass me again. In this particular case I'm never holding up traffic because I can match the speed of the cars, but I still take the lane and wait in line with the cars 99% of the time.

So, for me, it all depends on if I am going to be holding up traffic before or after the light.
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Old 02-19-14, 12:18 PM   #45
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One other thought: You asked about how I would feel if another car did this. Cars kind of do this too if someone wants to make a right turn on red and there is enough room to squeeze into the lane next to the car waiting to go straight through the light. No one seems to mind.
I think you are misunderstanding my point. When making a right turn in a car or on a bike, moving to the right and proceeding to the light is a perfectly acceptable practice. But if a car driver were to move to the right to the head of the line then jump out in front of the line to proceed straight, how do you think the other drivers would react? If a car were to drive up the right side of a line of cars waiting to turn left and then turn left in front of the line, how would the other drivers react? Road rage would be a mild reaction.
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Old 02-19-14, 12:36 PM   #46
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I cycled through this intersection near Destin FL last summer, having to turn left onto Scenic 98: http://goo.gl/maps/oZuy4

Because the traffic there is VERY, VERY heavy, I opted to go to the light, go through, and then turn and wait to cross left. I didn't want to try to get over into the turn lane and wait with cars because the marked left turn lane is, no joke, 1,000+ feet long. And when straight ahead traffic has a green, the left turn has a red. You can't turn left and yield when straight traffic is going, which makes the wait times to turn left VERY long sometimes.

When I'm down there again in June I may try the OP's method, if there's a break in traffic such that I can get over towards the left lane.
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Old 02-19-14, 12:37 PM   #47
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Am I not understanding something here? Cutting between two lanes of cars to get to the front of the left turn lane is illegal in my state (Illinois), incredibly rude to drivers and entirely unsafe. What possible justification is there for this behavior? We are to follow the same rules as cars. Period.
I'm all about my safety #1 , my convenience #2 , the convenience of others #3 . When traffic is backed up I move to the front of the line and get thru the intersection. For example there's a four lane highway on my way home where cars are often backed up 15 cars in all lanes. I want to turn left. I go between the lanes of stopped cars and move to the red light. My position is just to the right of the left-most car, waiting for the turn signal. When the light turns green I go and swing a wide left turn so I'm not in the track that the cars want to follow. This puts me on the far right hand side of the road I want to turn on and out of the way of traffic.

What's the alternative? Sit in the left turn lane? Hell no. I'll be sitting behind a long line of cars when the light turns - and now more have stopped behind me. The cars will get moving faster than I can, so now I'll be holding up traffic as everybody heads for the light. The waiting drivers are anxious and frustrated and prone to pass me unsafely trying to make it to the light.

I don't know whether it is legal or not. What I do know is that it's safer, less stressful, I get home faster, and so does everybody else.

I'm also not against running the red light if I get up there and can safely do so. It's all about moving forward (while doing so safely). The more I do that, the more I'm out of the way of people driving behind me.
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Old 02-19-14, 01:40 PM   #48
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Cutting between two lanes of cars to get to the front of the left turn lane is illegal in my state (Illinois)
A ridiculous and discriminatory law. Cyclists do not need 10-14 feet of separation to pass another vehicle safely!

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We are to follow the same rules as cars. Period.
Have you ever seen a person driving an SUV on a MUP while diddling with their radio? I haven't. I violate motorists-centric discriminatory and/or unsafe traffic statutes as often as I safely can. Moreover, I've been commuting by bike for many decades and have never even come close to being cited by LE (other than at a demo where I was being purposefully hostile).

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What possible justification is there for this behavior?
Getting from point A to point B efficiently and safely. IMO, it's safer overall to efficiently and safely filter than to sit sandwiched between motorvehicles breathing toxic, teratogenic and carcinogenic emissions.
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Old 02-19-14, 02:23 PM   #49
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Getting from point A to point B efficiently and safely. IMO, it's safer overall to efficiently and safely filter than to sit sandwiched between motorvehicles breathing toxic, teratogenic and carcinogenic emissions.
A bit hyperbolic, don't you think? If toxic, teratogenic or carcinogenic chemicals are there when you are sandwiched between motor vehicles, they are there when you are moving. On the other hand, modern motor vehicles (which means anything built after 1975) have catalytic converters that oxidize and greatly reduce the concentration of chemicals coming from car exhaust that fit into those categories.
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Old 02-19-14, 02:30 PM   #50
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OP - good vid - wutz your camera and mount?
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