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  1. #1
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    Curb lane position approaching a red light, Toronto

    Hereís a situation Iím a little puzzled about. Iím riding on the curb lane. I approach an intersection when the light is red. If a car is ahead of me and signalling right, I get to the left side of the lane so I can proceed straight without being cut off by the car or blocking it. If the car ahead of me isnít signalling right, I continue to ride behind it but remaining on the right side of the lane as one normally bikes. Iím biking in a position that no auto is beside me but behind me so when I go straight, I wonít be cut off by any right-turner behind me.

    So what if Iím the first at the intersection as I approach the red light? Do remain on the right side but far enough in the centre to block any approaching cars from behind me from proceeding with their right turn? Or should I approach and stop at the left side of the lane to allow right-turners but risk riding with straight through traffic on my right side when I enter the intersection? Or do I stay in the middle and not anybody through? I got honked once when I blocked the curb lane.

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    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    I'd stay in the right position that keeps others from encroaching. Honking doesn't hurt Getting hit by a motor vehicle does. Keep in mind I've had people honk at me when I was driving and didn't "turn right on red" quickly enough for their impatience. I don't pay much attention to people honking because they are annoyed.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

  3. #3
    tsl
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    This is where I use my mirror. If the car behind me has the turn signal on, I slide left and pull a little extra forward so they can turn on red. I don't make a production out of it, but it's clear that I'm being courteous to them, doing something that legally I don't have to do. No turn signal? I stay right of center, maybe halfway to the curb.

    If they honk, they honk. Who cares? Would they honk a dump truck or a bus or even a motorcycle that was keeping them from turning on red? Says more about them being a bully driver than it says about me as a cyclist.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.óPeter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

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    Thanks for responding so quickly, folks. Actually the guy who honked also drove around me to turn right. It was one of those wide curb lanes that if one car inched forward and to the left, the car behind could squeeze through and make its turn.

    So I guess, in a case like that I could have stayed far right to let all the traffic through first, but that always starts another problem of merging back into traffic after crossing the street.

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    I find in Vancouver I base it on many factors; intersection, time of day, lane width, pedestrians, traffic, persons behavior. I tend to stay left of center to remain visible, but still block the turn option. If I deem it safe I will slide the left and wave a turner through. I have only have one yuppie pass on the right like a ...

    I am never sure what I should do in the following situation. Two car lanes and one bike lane at a stoplight. The opposite side (where I am going) has three car lanes and one bike lane. The two far left car lanes line up and the bike lane lines up with the third lane. (seems like another Metro Van infrastructure project where the guy in charge forgot the deadline and pulled hiss kids scribble off the wall for the layout) I always start in the right-most car lane and eventually work right to the bike lane. It is annoying though since I eventually merge left for a turn lane not to far along.

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    OP, Joeyduck,

    You'll know local traffic patterns and laws better than we will, but I would use the right lane to avoid right turning motorists (as you are), and don't worry about motorists that honk. My general experience is that if the light is red, many motorists will wait. If you are to the left, they can go right on red; if they are going straight and the lane is sharable, you can move the right after you clear the intersection.

    I've gotten lots of profanity for waiting at red lights, but only 2-3 that moved right to pass me (straight on red, they were so angry at finding a bicycle on the road instead of the sidewalk).

    I'd be just as careful approaching these intersections at green lights. Here we have quite a few bike lanes to the right of lanes marked for straight & right turning motorists (right turning motorists directed to the left of bicyclists going straight). In these intersections and certain shopping centers, I find motorists will cross the bike lane (painted arrows direct right hooks) so it is important to use the normal travel lane.

    I find it's important to make sure I'm far enough left, avoiding bike lanes where necessary. (I asked; the traffic engineers don't bicycle, and think bicyclists are required to stop and yield at every intersection).

  7. #7
    Senior Member Mr. Hairy Legs's Avatar
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    In this situation, I normally take the line between the two lanes to allow people to pass on the right, but before the light changes I move forward into the crosswalk and to the right to block any possible asshat move by somebody going straight. Of course, every intersection is different, so you just have to learn by trial and error and hopefully not get squished in the process.

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    I always pull to the far right at the light. I then wait for the green light, look behind me, and to the left. If all is clear, I veer to the left, and back into the bike lane, that's just to the right of traffic. I never attempt to second guess a driver's intentions or make a public statement about what's legally just in a cycling situation.

    At the end of the day, it's my meager weight against two or more tons of mass and a caged idiot!

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    take the lane in such a way as to inhibit a vehicle from coming up beside you. if someone comes up behind. look at them. if their right blinker is on move over to the left to give them room to make a turn, if a turn is permitted or not. if they don't have their blinker on, motion to them as if asking if they want to turn right, if they indicate that they do, whether by body language or by turning on the right blinker, move over to give them room. it's a conversation really. sounds complicated and tedious, but it's not. it's just the polite and proper thing to do. driver's love it. it show's that you are aware of the situation and are willing to do something about it.
    Last edited by hueyhoolihan; 06-10-14 at 08:34 PM.

  10. #10
    20+mph Commuter JoeyBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
    Do remain on the right side...Or should I approach and stop at the left side...Or do I stay in the middle...?
    None of the above.

    Run the light. Everybody wins.

    Too much cross traffic? Position yourself same as if you are on a motorcycle. Let 'em honk.
    "For all we know his skills may be excellent, allowing him to ride like an idiot without actually being one." - FBinNY

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    First, second or third at red hold your position just right of center in right lane if going straight or turning right, otherwise someone will get beside you and try to turn right by accelerating in front of you when light turns green.

  12. #12
    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeyduck View Post
    and one bike lane ... and one bike lane.
    What is this thing you speak of, "bike lane"?
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.óPeter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  13. #13
    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Hairy Legs View Post
    In this situation, I normally take the line between the two lanes to allow people to pass on the right ...
    I was going to say this, but it wasn't clear in the OP that there was a straight lane and a right turn lane. It just sounded like the lane was wide enough to allow a right turner to do so, but not an actual lane.

    If I was first to the intersection I'd probably plant myself in the left half of the lane, making sure people behind me knew I was there, but allowing drivers to turn right if they could. I'd keep an eye on the stop light and be prepared to ride hard off the line so I can put myself where I need to be after the intersection.

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    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    I stay in the middle. If a car pulls behind me I look back to see if they are signaling right, If they are, I move over to the left and let them go. More often than not. I just have to pull forward into the crosswalk if there are no pedestrians. This being southern California, there usually aren't.
    Freedom is free. It's included in democracy. Democracy is hard. It involves dealing rationally with people you disagree with.

  15. #15
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    If it is a laned street and you reach a stop light, you have two choices. Stay at the curb, or stop in the centre of the lane and (if you wish) try to make room for cars that want to turn right behind you.

    If it is a non-laned street and I am at a stop sign or light waiting for a chance to go straight or left, I usually position my enough from the curb that cars behind me who want to turn right can squeeze by on my right. However I've had a couple of scary experiences with cars on the cross street coming from my right who want to turn into my street. I may be in their blind spot and they suddenly swing straight at me, then look startled and brake or veer. Especially if they are rushing to turn in front of oncoming traffic.

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    I always take the lane at red lights and stop signs even if I might not otherwise take the lane on that road. It really does avoid misunderstandings. If someone still pulls up to my left anyway, it's a source of amusement. I don't filter anymore, not worth it in my experience. I prefer that cars be in front of me, not behind me
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    What is this thing you speak of, "bike lane"?
    It is this magical white line painted on the road. It is said to keep us safe. It is mythical like a unicorn. Many know of it, few have seen it.

    I actually think this is only road I actually use a bike lane on. It is really a nice road, wide, clear lines of sight, well timed light (for me) I can make it up the hill in the bike lane nearly as fast as the cars since they get stopped at the lights and I can keep it steady uphill. It is just this one funky intersection, then it just ends a few blocks later.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    This is where I use my mirror. If the car behind me has the turn signal on, I slide left and pull a little extra forward so they can turn on red. I don't make a production out of it, but it's clear that I'm being courteous to them, doing something that legally I don't have to do. No turn signal? I stay right of center, maybe halfway to the curb.

    If they honk, they honk. Who cares? Would they honk a dump truck or a bus or even a motorcycle that was keeping them from turning on red? Says more about them being a bully driver than it says about me as a cyclist.
    I second this. I lived in the GTA for eight years and although I didn't bike then, I saw more than my fair share of impatient drivers. They will cut you off if they can, so don't give em the chance, I say!

  19. #19
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    If I get to a red light first, I stop on the left side of center so that any right-turning vehicles have a chance to get around me. If a car is already there, I pull in behind them. If the car is signaling a right turn, I pull in behind them left of center.

    Forget about the honker. Some drivers do what they want without regard for others on the road.

    And yes, be aware of the situation cooker posted. I've had it happen too.
    Last edited by spivonious; 06-12-14 at 08:07 AM.

  20. #20
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spivonious View Post
    If I get to a red light first, I stop on the left side of center so that any right-turning vehicles have a chance to get around me. If a car is already there, I pull in behind them. If the car is signaling a right turn, I pull in behind them left of center.

    Forget about the honker. Some drivers do what they want without regard for others on the road.
    Quoted for truth.

    In addition, if there's a long line of cars, room or a lane on the right and the same on the far side, I'll sometimes filter to the front. I don't filter if there's no room for lane sharing though, or with only a few cars.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    This is where I use my mirror. If the car behind me has the turn signal on, I slide left and pull a little extra forward so they can turn on red. I don't make a production out of it, but it's clear that I'm being courteous to them, doing something that legally I don't have to do. No turn signal? I stay right of center, maybe halfway to the curb.

    If they honk, they honk. Who cares? Would they honk a dump truck or a bus or even a motorcycle that was keeping them from turning on red? Says more about them being a bully driver than it says about me as a cyclist.
    Yep. I figure my safety trumps their few seconds.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    I always take the lane at red lights and stop signs even if I might not otherwise take the lane on that road. It really does avoid misunderstandings. If someone still pulls up to my left anyway, it's a source of amusement. I don't filter anymore, not worth it in my experience. I prefer that cars be in front of me, not behind me
    +1

    I call this "Drivers Ed." The more of us who demonstrate this, the more drivers will "get it" that most of us are not comfortable with cars cutting across our path to turn right.
    Freedom is free. It's included in democracy. Democracy is hard. It involves dealing rationally with people you disagree with.

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