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Old 04-13-12, 06:22 AM   #1
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Why taking the lane can be safer than hugging the shoulder.

I hope this helps 50+ Cyclist overcome any fear of using the middle part of the lane as needed;

Be sure to use the animation in the middle of the page.

http://cyclingsavvy.org/hows-my-driving/
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Old 04-13-12, 06:31 AM   #2
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Nice piece, it's common sense to you and I, but I expect a lot of resistance

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Old 04-13-12, 07:55 AM   #3
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Nice piece, it's common sense to you and I, but I expect a lot of resistance
What he said!
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Old 04-13-12, 08:25 AM   #4
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I think a lot of it depends on where you ride. City, yes take up the lane. Country road with one lane going your direction, you might think about taking up the lane but moving over to allow someone to pass so they don't have to cross into oncoming traffic. I think folks that push this agenda are city people that are only thinking "one way".....the city way.
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Old 04-13-12, 08:26 AM   #5
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I think when to hug right and when to take the lane is pretty context related. Not trying to start an argument, but I don't think you can really defend a general rule that always applies. But the animation did do a good job of showing situations when taking the lane would be a good idea.
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Old 04-13-12, 08:46 AM   #6
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I think a lot of it depends on where you ride. City, yes take up the lane. Country road with one lane going your direction, you might think about taking up the lane but moving over to allow someone to pass so they don't have to cross into oncoming traffic. I think folks that push this agenda are city people that are only thinking "one way".....the city way.
Incorrect....way incorrect.

Over my 40+ years of riding in traffic, I have been in pretty much every environment you can think of...urban, suburban, exburban, rural, etc. Indeed, where I live and ride now is a combination of all of the above.

Here is a rule of thumb that is pretty much common sense - if the lane is wide enough to share safely, share it...otherwise you own it. You simply cannot prevent a passing vehicle from crossing into the next lane on a narrow country road if there isn't room to safely share the lane.

That said, that does not mean that you do not move as far right as safely possible to allow passing traffic to pass a bit easier...again, plain old common sense - and common courtesy.
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Old 04-13-12, 09:05 AM   #7
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Riding a bike is an art form... People get in trouble when they start trying to make into an exact science. Taking the lane or not taking the lane depends on a lot of factors. One has to have good instincts as to when to take the lane or not take the lane. (my two cents...)
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Old 04-13-12, 09:10 AM   #8
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I can think of several rural roads where if you "take the lane" you will die. Semi's, migrant crew buses, etc. doing 55-60 won't even see you before impact. Yeah, take the lane should be applied in context to the roads and traffic.
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Old 04-13-12, 09:21 AM   #9
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I can think of several rural roads where if you "take the lane" you will die. Semi's, migrant crew buses, etc. doing 55-60 won't even see you before impact. Yeah, take the lane should be applied in context to the roads and traffic.
Oh my, how have I survived on those roads all of these years? Oh crap. Did I miss a memo? AM I DEAD?
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Old 04-13-12, 09:22 AM   #10
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Pennsylvania just passed new legislation that requires motorist to give cyclist four feet when passing. In many rural areas the average total lane width is between 26' & 36' (http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications...9032/index.cfm). The average car width is about 6'. So, if we divide the road width for two lanes we get between 13' and 18'; take out the car's width and we have 7' and 12'. Now subtract the 4' required and you have 3' and 8'. Next, let's assume that the average cyclist's profile is 2'. We're now down to 1' and 6' of road left. Hence, even if you are "hugging" the road as a cyclist, there are lots of roads where the driver must cross the center line to pass. Given this, I would suggest that you are indeed safer, even on rural roads if the driver knows he or she can't "sneak by" in the same lane as the cyclist. Finally, I don't know how the roads are where you live, but in Pennsylvania many of the roads have shoulders that have started to deteriorate quite badly, are filled with other hazards, and would be unsafe for a cyclist. So, while for some it feels counter-intuitive, I agree that taking as much of the lane as needed to be safe makes complete sense. I find it interesting that in parts of Pennsylvania where horse and buggy are still in use, drivers have become accustomed to passing slower moving vehicle without the vehement attitudes so often projected onto cyclists. I think frequent exposure to their presence helps condition drivers over time.
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Old 04-13-12, 09:45 AM   #11
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Move to A&S. Where are the mods?
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Old 04-13-12, 11:07 AM   #12
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Incorrect....way incorrect.

Over my 40+ years of riding in traffic, I have been in pretty much every environment you can think of...urban, suburban, exburban, rural, etc. Indeed, where I live and ride now is a combination of all of the above.

Here is a rule of thumb that is pretty much common sense - if the lane is wide enough to share safely, share it...otherwise you own it. You simply cannot prevent a passing vehicle from crossing into the next lane on a narrow country road if there isn't room to safely share the lane.

That said, that does not mean that you do not move as far right as safely possible to allow passing traffic to pass a bit easier...again, plain old common sense - and common courtesy.
Uh. Isn't that what I said?
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Old 04-13-12, 11:19 AM   #13
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Uh. Isn't that what I said?
While I can’t speak for him, I wonder if he was reacting to your very last line in that post. You do have a tendency to include inflammatory remarks somewhere in many of your posts, and currently living in a very densely populated area, I recognize it would be easy to be offended by that last line.
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Old 04-13-12, 11:34 AM   #14
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In VA, if the lane isn't wide enough for a cyclist and a car to share safely, the cyclist is to take the middle of the lane.
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Old 04-13-12, 11:54 AM   #15
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Uh. Isn't that what I said?
Nope, you included this wacky notion of moving over so they wouldn't have to cross into the other lane...which is pretty much impossible on many roads with narrow lane widths, country and city. Besides, the key is your safety, not the paint on the road.
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Old 04-13-12, 11:58 AM   #16
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In my annual WI trip (22nd coming up) we encounter lots. One day while doing support for the group I was standing at an easy-to-miss turn to alert the kids and adults (half way down a steep hill). A 60+ lady pulled her vehicle up to where I was standing (actually blocking the oncoming lane) and insisted I instruct the bikes to get off the road immediately. She informed me she would have to run over them if they didn't get out of her way -and that doing so would be her only option.

Point I'm making... being in the right isn't always being safe. Lots of morons out there who would prefer to run you over. When I get a line of traffic coming up behind me in a difficult spot I will sometimes just pull off the road and wait.
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Old 04-13-12, 12:49 PM   #17
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Recently, I was right-crossed at an intersection on a four-lane road with a shoulder. Typically, I ride in the right had lane and cars pass in the left hand lane. I noticed a car approaching from the rear, and it did not pass. I took the shoulder, and the car immediately right-crossed me at the intersection. I was able to brake sufficiently to avoid a collision. As I have reviewed this situation, I think it would make sense to take the lane unless the car was approaching at a high rate of speed.

If have have a line behind me on a two-lane road with no shoulder, I'll pull over and stop as dbg mentioned above. I try to put myself in the driver's seat of the vehicles behind me. I don't enjoy being delayed by slow drivers, and I do not want to be the source of a delay.
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Old 04-13-12, 01:47 PM   #18
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I always take the lane if it can't safely be shared. Because if you leave just enough room for a car to pass you with one inch to spare, it's for certain one will do it. I will move to the right and 'be courteous' when it's practical, but I won't place myself in even more danger just for someone else's convenience.
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Old 04-13-12, 02:05 PM   #19
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When I ride my motorcycle by myself I usually ride in the drivers side wheel track. When I ride my bicycle over most roads I ride in the passenger side wheel track. The wheel tracks are the cleanest part of the road with the least debris. On rural roads if there is a good paved shoulder I will often ride on that.
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Old 04-13-12, 02:15 PM   #20
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Oh my, how have I survived on those roads all of these years? Oh crap. Did I miss a memo? AM I DEAD?
Nope, you did most of it (like I did) long before cell phone distracted drivers started driving fast and blind on roadways.

The tours I did in the late '80s and early '90s were a piece of cake compared to the roads today with fast distracted motorists driving big SUVs... heck the national speed limit was 55MPH in many places until the late 80's and wasn't fully repealed until the mid '90s... Roads I used to take had 40MPH speed limits then, and have 65MPH speed limits (regularly violated) today. Roads I toured on in Texas had 50 MPH speed limits and are 75 today...

It's no wonder we have lived this long. Ya wanna take the lane today on a 75MPH country road... and along comes a cell phone user... good luck.

The video has some valid points, but I chuckle at a couple things... first they change the lane widths between the first vid and the second "experienced user" vid, second they DECLARE 3 foot rules, which is NOT the case everywhere.

But ya gotta do what you gotta do. There IS a time and place to take the lane... now someone please tell motorists.
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Old 04-13-12, 02:19 PM   #21
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First and foremost make your presence known--don't minimize it--you have the right to be on the road let it be known if necessary!

That is for California where I do most of my riding, but it is a constant struggle because safety is still number one, and there will be no matter what incompetent, ignorant, impatient, and devious drivers (I have better choice words)--so watch out!

On country roads it is nerve racking at times because again some incompetent, ignorant, impatient, and devious drivers will sometimes buzz you! That is dangerous particularly rearview mirrors at our head height!

Wear bright clothe, use bright flashing lights and reflective tape--drivers will have one less excuse in case of an accident! That make you look bigger or imposing as well!
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Old 04-13-12, 02:19 PM   #22
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Move to A&S. Where are the mods?
No, don't move to A&S, keep it here where more experienced folk can discuss this... also folks here tend to be a bit more sensible in their debates. Let it ride.
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Old 04-13-12, 02:29 PM   #23
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Semi's, migrant crew buses, etc. doing 55-60 won't even see you before impact.
Then you better make yourself more visible, it can be done.
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Old 04-13-12, 02:38 PM   #24
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Then you better make yourself more visible, it can be done.
Making yourself more visible only works if the driver is actually looking. Since motorists have been known to hit things as large as slow moving trash trucks, there is evidence that a cyclist can be easily overlooked. It takes more than visibility, it also takes keeping an eye on the mirror and having a bail out plan. It is hardly the "stress free" situation that the video states. At a minimum, you will likely have to put up with angry honking motorists.
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Old 04-13-12, 02:48 PM   #25
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there is evidence that a cyclist can be easily overlooked.
hi-vis clothing and a daytime visible tail light...I would be very hard to overlook. Never the less, I do monitor traffic and have a bail out plan, that's common sense, right?
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