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-   -   Do You "Filter"? (http://www.bikeforums.net/commuting/934704-do-you-filter.html)

megalowmatt 02-18-14 02:40 PM

Do You "Filter"?
 
This topic comes up within threads every so often. It seems some "filter" and some feel strongly about not filtering but rather falling in behind cars that are already stopped at a light and following them through the intersection.

I am including a video I made of what I guess my definition is for clarification. It also includes how I begin & end left turns, which is probably another conversation in itself.

Take a look at the video if you have time and let's discuss!


bhop 02-18-14 02:47 PM

Depends on the other side of the intersection, but generally yes. Not always though.

tjspiel 02-18-14 02:47 PM

I filter at certain intersections but not like what's shown in the video (well... not often like that). To be fair though, there isn't really a place on my normal commute where I'd encounter such a long wait to make a left turn.

I'll often filter at this particular intersection where the light going my way is ridiculously short, there's no left turn lane, and I'm going straight.

I don't like the idea of sitting behind 5 cars through an entire cycle because the front two are turning left and the rest can't get by. In that case I filter on the right, not between two lanes of cars. I do so very cautiously because I know the drivers aren't expecting me there.

Darth Lefty 02-18-14 02:54 PM

Not on my native giant suburban arteries. I have done in cities where the traffic expects it. I have done on my motorcycle, too.

spivonious 02-18-14 02:55 PM

I think it depends on the context. I filter up on the right if I'm going straight and there's a long line of cars waiting at a red light. I never pass on the right in the intersection, and for turns I act like a car. If I'm going right, I signal my intent, take the right turn lane, if one exists, and make the turn. For left turns, I signal left, move into the left turn lane or left side of the straight lane when safe and make my turn.

Generally, filtering is illegal in PA. It's explicitly denied for motorcycles, and allowed on bicycles only through a gray area in the law that makes it okay if the road is wide enough for two vehicles side-by-side. So drivers definitely aren't expecting it. I find I get generally better behavior from motorists when I take my place in line.

If I have to sit behind cars for a little bit, that's not a big deal. I ride because it's enjoyable and gets me outside, not so that I can cheat traffic jams. :)

acidfast7 02-18-14 03:08 PM

1 Attachment(s)
of course, the street even tells you to filter!

http://bikeforums.net/attachment.php...hmentid=364870

megalowmatt 02-18-14 03:15 PM

In California "lane splitting" is legal. I don't consider it cheating - In the video I passed 10 cars lined up for the arrow. If I was that far back (assuming I didn't filter) and once the traffic got up to speed I wouldn't feel comfortable in the line.

acidfast7 02-18-14 03:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by megalowmatt (Post 16506713)
In California "lane splitting" is legal. I don't consider it cheating - In the video I passed 10 cars lined up for the arrow. If I was that far back (assuming I didn't filter) and once the traffic got up to speed I wouldn't feel comfortable in the line.

It really depends for me. I'm still not really used to which way the traffic is coming yet ... the traffic patterns do weird things sometimes with roundabouts, so I drive conservatively around traffic except it's not safe to do so.

Papa Tom 02-18-14 03:28 PM

I typically filter, except when I'm in a turn lane. At a four-way intersection with several lanes in each direction, I find that it makes drivers more comfortable to see me and know exactly when I am out of their way.

When I am in a turn lane, I generally fall to the back of the line and go with the flow of traffic. If I am first in line, I illustrate the turn I am going to make for the driver behind me, then I wave him/her safely past me as I am in the process of turning. It seems to work well, and typically generates smiles and waves - rather than curses and middle fingers - from motorists.

Squeeze 02-18-14 03:54 PM

Personally, I'd cut through a neighborhood or take a trail or whatever would let me avoid that intersection, but I just wanted to say it looks like you were FLYING through there. I don't know if I can even pedal a bike that fast, let alone in traffic where any one of those people you passed on the right could change their mind and suddenly change lanes to go straight instead of waiting behind a dozen cars to turn left.

Not being critical of anything you did at all...just amazed at the speed.

Medic Zero 02-18-14 04:21 PM

Depends. Sometimes I filter, sometimes I don't. Usually if it is just 2 or 3 cars in front of me, I'll wait my turn. If it's more than that I usually filter forward, but since I work nights and so am on a "reverse commute", I don't have to deal with this issue very often. I did daily before I moved recently though.

jyl 02-18-14 04:25 PM

There is an intersection I go through often, where the lanes either turn left or right but cannot go straight (T-intersection), I ride between the lanes and wait right at the front, then take a wide turn that is far from the cars' natural turning path. It works fine.

Otherwise, I don't filter. BUT If I encountered many intersections like the one shown, with a dozen cars backed up in the left turn lane, then I probably would do as the OP does - whether it is the best idea I don't know, but my patience is probably not up to inching forward through 2 or 3 signal cycles, and I think it is unsafe to be sandwiched between bumpers for too long.

Aunt Roady 02-18-14 05:02 PM

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.

megalowmatt 02-18-14 05:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Aunt Roady (Post 16506994)
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.

It's legal here but you bring up a good point as to why I wanted to open it up for discussion. I mentioned it earlier (and I'm not trying to belabor it) but *I* feel as if I were, say between cars 5 & 6 of that turn lane it would upset drivers more because I wouldn't be able to get up to speed fast enough and they would probably miss the light because of me and I don't feel comfortable between a couple cars heading towards the light.

Quote:

Originally Posted by jyl (Post 16506903)
...I think it is unsafe to be sandwiched between bumpers for too long.

This is my general thought.

cyccommute 02-18-14 05:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Aunt Roady (Post 16506994)
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.

California is the only state in the US where it is legal to lane split if you can do it safely. There are a few state that don't have specific prohibitions against it but they have rules that effectively make it illegal. My state prohibits it entirely.

Personally, I never lane split on the right and would never even contemplate lane splitting a left turn. I don't filter on the right because why would I want to make a line of cars pass me every time we come to an intersection. If I'm queued up behind the last car in line when I got there, I can control the cars as they move across the intersection behind me. If I'm off to the right at an intersection, cars can try to squeeze past me which forces me into a curb. It's not worth the seconds I'd save.

I would never, ever filter on a left turn. Drivers don't usually expect someone on their right hand side when making a left turn. They aren't even looking for someone on their right. If they swing wide on a corner, a bicycle on the right is easily hidden from them and could very quickly find themselves trapped between a car and anything on the side of the road.

I also hate bike lanes that encourage filtering. Those kinds of lanes sucker you into situations where you can be trapped between a turning car and the curb (or a parked car). I almost got suckered by one this weekend.

hueyhoolihan 02-18-14 05:38 PM

if the left turn lane was backed up as far as that, that's pretty much what i would do. it's awkward, but the alternative is to either get in line with all the other cars and maybe be a nuisance. or probably safer and less of a nuisance for all concerned would be to stop at the corner and use the cross walk when the opportunity arose. but, hey!, who's gonna do that! although i have done it on occasion...

1nterceptor 02-18-14 05:44 PM

"Do You "Filter"?"

Yes, New York City tradition. :)

[h=2]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0slPlNDxBi0&list=UUHyRS8bRu6zPoymgKaIoDLA[/h]

Buzzatronic 02-18-14 05:51 PM

Depends on the situation. In the video I would have filtered like the rider did since the road they were turning to had enough room to keep traffic flowing well after they turned.

For me I typically consider a few things in priority order.

1. Is it safer for me at the front of the line or in line with cars. (Does being at the front make me more visible to possible intersection issues?)
2. Will filtering improve traffic flow (i.e. me sitting behind 8 cars at a light that is on a 8% incline is not helping improve traffic flow).
3. If I want to filter but there is no room for cars to pass after the light, can I do the speed limit until there is safe room to pass?

Each intersection is different and on a single ride I'll filter and not filter depending on the situation. Drivers hate when you do it tho since they consider it "cheating". I actually had one driver roll down their window in the pouring rain to ask me what they thought was a damning question. She said "If you guys want to be allowed to ride in the road, why don't you follow the rules of the road?". I responded with a calm and rational explanation about visability (my safety) and how sitting in traffic and creating gaps between cars due to acceleration differences can actually slow down traffic. I summarized with "I want to get through the intersection safely, and as fast as possible to get out of your way." We ended the conversation with her saying "See, now I understand ... that makes sense." Whether she was being sarcastic or not is unknown. :)

Giant Doofus 02-18-14 06:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cyccommute (Post 16507098)
California is the only state in the US where it is legal to lane split if you can do it safely. There are a few state that don't have specific prohibitions against it but they have rules that effectively make it illegal. My state prohibits it entirely.

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.

rhm 02-18-14 07:05 PM

Depends on the situation. I ride differently in NYC than I do in NJ, and on LI it's different yet. Different roads call for different strategies.

CbadRider 02-18-14 07:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by megalowmatt (Post 16507045)
It's legal here but you bring up a good point as to why I wanted to open it up for discussion. I mentioned it earlier (and I'm not trying to belabor it) but *I* feel as if I were, say between cars 5 & 6 of that turn lane it would upset drivers more because I wouldn't be able to get up to speed fast enough and they would probably miss the light because of me and I don't feel comfortable between a couple cars heading towards the light.


I do the same thing. If it's one or two cars ahead of me, I can get up enough speed so that cars behind me won't miss the light. Any more and I filter to the front.

Lane splitting is so common in CA that I doubt any regular drivers here are surprised by it.

megalowmatt 02-18-14 07:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CbadRider (Post 16507349)
.....Lane splitting is so common in CA that I doubt any regular drivers here are surprised by it.

This is exactly what I was going to post. You can't be on a backed up or even slow freeway around here without motorcyclists whizzing by between you and the car next to you. To my knowledge I've never ticked anybody off doing that - it's expected. I understand where it's not legal how people would get mad though.

Good discussion so far!

gregjones 02-18-14 07:44 PM

I'm sure I would, if there was ever a need. There was a wreck the other day at the four lane crossing. Everyone cut through the corner parking lot to get to the exit for the shopping center. I ended up behind four cars at the left turn lane.

I hate traffic jams.

alan s 02-18-14 08:08 PM

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.

peterw_diy 02-18-14 09:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cyccommute (Post 16507098)
California is the only state in the US where it is legal to lane split if you can do it safely. There are a few state that don't have specific prohibitions against it but they have rules that effectively make it illegal.

I suppose that may depend on what you mean by "splitting", but filtering is legal in Virginia ("A person riding a bicycle ... may overtake and pass another vehicle on either the left or right side, staying in the same lane as the overtaken vehicle, or changing to a different lane, or riding off the roadway as necessary to pass with safety."), and even the maneuver in the video seems legal ("A person riding a bicycle ... shall not travel between two lanes of traffic moving in the same direction, except where one lane is a separate turn lane or a mandatory turn lane.")

http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp...0+cod+46.2-907


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