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Old 06-09-11, 12:16 PM   #1
Thalia
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Am I Doing Left Turns Wrong?

I'm riding in a city, mostly on the quieter (but still heavily trafficked) streets with frequent stop signs. I feel that now, after a couple of months of riding most of my local errands and so forth, I have a pretty good handle on how to behave on the road -- except for one situation that seems to distress motorists no end.

I'll come up on a four-way stop where i need to make a left turn. Both streets will have one lane in each direction. What I've been doing in this situation is moving to the left of my lane when no one is behind me so that I'm over by the yellow line, signaling the turn, then turning when I have right of way. However, when I've moved left, I sometimes get honked at by opposing traffic.

Should I move to the center of the lane instead of the left? I guess I'm used to moving into left-turn pockets, and so moving to the left seems like the polite thing to do -- my intention to turn is made even more clear, and I'm not blocking anyone behing me who wants to turn right. But should I stay in the center of the lane anyway? That is what I'd be doing in a car, I guess, when there's not a left-turn pocket ... and it seems to confuse and/or scare drivers passing me going the other way.
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Old 06-09-11, 12:21 PM   #2
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Maybe the drivers just aren't used to a cyclist actually stopping for a stop sign.

What you are doing, especially the signalling part, sounds OK to me. You don't think they are merely telling you to hurry up and clear the intersection?
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Old 06-09-11, 12:23 PM   #3
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No, it's when I'm on the last few yards of approach to the intersection -- I move over before I actually need to stop.
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Old 06-09-11, 12:51 PM   #4
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They may think you're going to continue into their lane. It sounds fine to me. I usually stay in the center of the lane because I feel like I'm more visible there.
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Old 06-09-11, 03:51 PM   #5
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I agree with the above - when opposing traffic sees you swerve torwards the center line they are afraid you will cross into their lane. There are a lot of squirrely riders out there. I ususally take the center of my lane for turning left.
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Old 06-09-11, 04:15 PM   #6
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I do the same thing. Never been honked at. I say screw 'em and keep doing what you're doing.
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Old 06-09-11, 04:33 PM   #7
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If it's only one lane going your direction, why move left? Keep in the center to discourage cars from trying to squeeze to your right. This likely won't confuse the oncoming drivers.
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Old 06-09-11, 04:50 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by scroca View Post
If it's only one lane going your direction, why move left? Keep in the center to discourage cars from trying to squeeze to your right. This likely won't confuse the oncoming drivers.
What I'm about to describe is a different situation from the one in the OP:

When I am turning left at a red light and I'm first at the line I move all the way to the left so a possible right turning auto can squeeze by. Often I need their metal to trigger the frikken sensor...

But yes when you can claim a lane legally you should do so.
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Old 06-09-11, 06:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
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If it's only one lane going your direction, why move left? Keep in the center to discourage cars from trying to squeeze to your right. This likely won't confuse the oncoming drivers.
"One lane" may still be plenty wide to share, especially at nearing-a-stop-sign speeds. Having a straight-through car going at the same time you're turning left is an extra incentive for cross traffic to not try to crowd through during your turn.
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Old 06-11-11, 07:45 PM   #10
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When turning left and no turn lane, I generally take the left tire track. If someone can squeeze around me for a right turn, more power to them, but more importantly no other left turners cut me off and oncoming cars don't worry that I'm too close to them.
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Old 06-11-11, 08:08 PM   #11
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When turning left and no turn lane, I generally take the left tire track. If someone can squeeze around me for a right turn, more power to them, but more importantly no other left turners cut me off and oncoming cars don't worry that I'm too close to them.
This is much better said than my previous post. +1

The only other observation I have is this:

On my regular ride there is a particular intersection I have to deal with these nice little old ladies, invariably in Mercedes or Lexus autos. They will be turning left where I'm intendind to go straight forward. They will have a protected left turn signal that they ignore and try to wave me through. They will hold up any number of other vehicles while they contest their right to yield to me which I refuse on grounds of personal safety.

I want them to make their turn and get out of my life.

Or throw money.

For which I have and will again caper about for in an intersection. But that's OT.
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Old 06-11-11, 09:04 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
When turning left and no turn lane, I generally take the left tire track. If someone can squeeze around me for a right turn, more power to them, but more importantly no other left turners cut me off and oncoming cars don't worry that I'm too close to them.
Bingo. Well, I usually take the center of the lane in this situation. Never been honked at for this.
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Old 06-19-11, 10:21 PM   #13
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I don't think some drivers know what a hand signal is -- they might just think you are riding in the middle of the road. I have had the same thing happen to me.
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Old 06-19-11, 10:26 PM   #14
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Your signaling anyway, so take the center and find out if it improves the situation. Give it a try
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