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Old 12-06-11, 11:37 AM   #1
mrund3rd09
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biking etiquette

I know you should always be as cautious as you can be at all times, but I'm talking about who should do what. I'm speaking as both a biker as well as a driver.

when a commuter bikes on a sidewalk on the let side of the street, he crosses into the intersection, and there are cars wanting to make turns. Who has the right of way? What if the car is pulling out into the street? a car pulling from the street from the opposing direction (turning right)... a car pulling from the street going in the same direction (left turn).
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Old 12-06-11, 11:39 AM   #2
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Is there a way to make a schematic or a basic picture of the situation your are trying to describe? It is kinda hard to understand what exactly you are talking about.
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Old 12-06-11, 11:56 AM   #3
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Old 12-06-11, 11:56 AM   #4
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red is biker.

blue is car.

describe who has right of way in each situation A B and C please

thanks


noted: I will take caution in approaching busy intersections, because some drivers are idiots. But it would be nice to clear this up
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Old 12-06-11, 12:11 PM   #5
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If you're not riding on the road, you are essentially a wheeled pedestrian, and should stop and give way at every side road you cross, including when using MUPs unless markings/signs specifically give you right of way. Far better to ride on the road, with traffic, where you should be. Then the rules of the road are clear.

http://bicyclesafe.com/
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Old 12-06-11, 12:13 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by mrund3rd09 View Post
red is biker.

blue is car.

describe who has right of way in each situation A B and C please

thanks


noted: I will take caution in approaching busy intersections, because some drivers are idiots. But it would be nice to clear this up
In most states sidewalk riding is illegal. In most where it is allowed when entering the street at a crosswalk the bike rider is required to dismount and walk the bike across the street.
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Old 12-06-11, 12:19 PM   #7
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I would agree with those above, a cyclist on the sidewalk is a pedestrian. A problem with riding on the sidewalk is that a pedestrian goes about 3 mph which is essentially motionless as far as automobiles are concerned. When a motorist turns into a driveway or a parking lot, they do not need to check very far down the sidewalk. Even a slow cyclist can easily go 3 to 5 times that fast. Motorists are unlikely to look that far down the sidewalk which can lead to cyclists plowing into the car as it moves across the sidewalk. Sidewalk riding can be problematic for reasons like this.
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Old 12-06-11, 12:52 PM   #8
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I would agree with those above, a cyclist on the sidewalk is a pedestrian. A problem with riding on the sidewalk is that a pedestrian goes about 3 mph which is essentially motionless as far as automobiles are concerned. When a motorist turns into a driveway or a parking lot, they do not need to check very far down the sidewalk. Even a slow cyclist can easily go 3 to 5 times that fast. Motorists are unlikely to look that far down the sidewalk which can lead to cyclists plowing into the car as it moves across the sidewalk. Sidewalk riding can be problematic for reasons like this.
What if Ben Johnson were hurtling down that same sidewalk though? Should you be running on the road as soon as you are above a minimum speed?
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Old 12-06-11, 02:04 PM   #9
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i would say, as a cyclist, cars ALWAYS have the right of way, no matter what, because they are bigger and hurt you more than you hurt them.

that said...once you get used to riding with traffic, and have good skills, it doesn't matter so much...

http://www.digave.com/videos/#top
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Old 12-06-11, 02:42 PM   #10
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I'd say it's a gray area and depends on the specific laws that apply in your state. In Michigan, pedestrians have the right of way in all marked and unmarked crosswalks. (An unmarked crosswalk is one that is implied by an intersection.) But bicycles have all the rights and responsibilities as vehicles, which means they're not supposed to be in a crosswalk. Also, more often than not the cyclist is crossing against the 'walk' light, which is the same as running a red light. Other than that, though, I guess it's down to the 'last chance of avoidance' principle regardless of who is supposed to have the right of way.

In this hypothetical, is the cyclist of the motorist supposed to be the 'good guy?' That is, being the one trying to do the right thing...
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Old 12-06-11, 02:55 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by mrund3rd09 View Post
I know you should always be as cautious as you can be at all times, but I'm talking about who should do what. I'm speaking as both a biker as well as a driver.

when a commuter bikes on a sidewalk on the let side of the street, he crosses into the intersection, and there are cars wanting to make turns. Who has the right of way? What if the car is pulling out into the street? a car pulling from the street from the opposing direction (turning right)... a car pulling from the street going in the same direction (left turn).
It's not really clear. This is why you shouldn't be on the sidewalk.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 12-06-11, 06:20 PM   #12
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What's etiquette have to do with it?

It's not about rules, it's about survival. If you're riding on a sidewalk and approaching an intersection, you are going to enter traffic from a direction they're not expecting. The best thing for you to do in that situation is to yield to everybody.
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Old 12-06-11, 07:38 PM   #13
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It's not really clear. This is why you shouldn't be on the sidewalk.
That's why you shouldn't be on the sidewalk riding in an unsafe manner. Sidewalk riding is as dangerous or as safe as you choose to make it. Of course, safe and fast are frequently mutually exclusive regards sidewalk riding.
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Old 12-06-11, 07:50 PM   #14
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Seems to me the op needs to decide whether to be a cyclist or a pedestrian with a bike.
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Old 12-06-11, 07:54 PM   #15
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I hit a cyclist once who was doing exactly what you described. Worst moment of my life. Fortunately he wasn't hurt, nor was his child who was in a kid seat on the back of the bike.

Even though the cyclist was entirely at fault for a) riding on the sidewalk, and b) riding against traffic, the cop felt so bad for the cyclist that he ticketed me for failure to yield.

I cringe now every time I see someone riding like this. It's just a matter of time until they're hit.
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Old 12-06-11, 08:00 PM   #16
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I hit a cyclist once who was doing exactly what you described. Worst moment of my life. Fortunately he wasn't hurt, nor was his child who was in a kid seat on the back of the bike.

Even though the cyclist was entirely at fault for a) riding on the sidewalk, and b) riding against traffic, the cop felt so bad for the cyclist that he ticketed me for failure to yield.

I cringe now every time I see someone riding like this. It's just a matter of time until they're hit.
That sucks.. I had to dodge a sidewalk cyclist coming blind off the sidewalk on a 4 way when I had no stop and right of way as I was turning... but yeah this happens a lot I think.
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Old 12-06-11, 08:29 PM   #17
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What's etiquette have to do with it?

It's not about rules, it's about survival. If you're riding on a sidewalk and approaching an intersection, you are going to enter traffic from a direction they're not expecting. The best thing for you to do in that situation is to yield to everybody.
This is why cycling on the sidewalk is unsafe, despite the fact that being further away from those scary cars makes you feel safer. Motorists scan the sidewalk for objects going at pedestrian speeds. Which means they look at the curb to see if one is going to step off at the last instant. A bike on an interception course and speed is outside of the scan and doesn't get seen. Which is as you'd expect, since bicycles are vehicles and should be in the road. Sidewalk riding is only safe if the cyclist never enters an intersection. Which is pretty hard to accomplish, considering every driveway is an intersection.

I'm still not clear if the OP was the cyclist, or the motorist.
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Old 12-06-11, 08:30 PM   #18
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I hit a cyclist once who was doing exactly what you described. Worst moment of my life. Fortunately he wasn't hurt, nor was his child who was in a kid seat on the back of the bike.

Even though the cyclist was entirely at fault for a) riding on the sidewalk, and b) riding against traffic, the cop felt so bad for the cyclist that he ticketed me for failure to yield.

I cringe now every time I see someone riding like this. It's just a matter of time until they're hit.
I got hit in such a situation back when I was 12 or 13 years old. Even then I had the sense to realize that I was the one who was at fault.
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Old 12-07-11, 08:54 AM   #19
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So the general consensus is that it's safer to ride on the road than on the sidewalk?

I can't tell you how many times I've been honked for riding on the road. I don't have a good figure on how fast I ride, but I'm definitely not that slow.
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Old 12-07-11, 09:17 AM   #20
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Well if you ride like the old guy on "Laugh In" and weave all over the place I might honk at you too. Yes, I think it is much safer and correct to ride in the street, with the flow of traffic as far to curb as is safe. Not in the gutter but the road.

There are some minor exceptions I might make. In my town there is one narrow stretch of very heavily traveled road and the surface condition is just awful. I have used the sidewalk there when it was clear of peds. Also the sidewalk is laid as almost an extension or apron of the street.
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Old 12-07-11, 09:21 AM   #21
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What if Ben Johnson were hurtling down that same sidewalk though? Should you be running on the road as soon as you are above a minimum speed?
In that case Ben would be acting like an idiot, especially if he were to race through an intersection without (or against) a pedestrian signal without looking.
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Old 12-07-11, 09:28 AM   #22
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So the general consensus is that it's safer to ride on the road than on the sidewalk?
My experience is that I'm more visible and safer when I ride as part of the traffic on a street or road. For endless arguments (not discussions, really, nobody's listening), see the Advocacy forum. (See also Effective Cycling.)

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I can't tell you how many times I've been honked for riding on the road. I don't have a good figure on how fast I ride, but I'm definitely not that slow.
Being honked at is part of being in traffic, either on a bike or in a car, IME. But you shouldn't do something stupid just because you're surrounded by stupid people. Especially when it places you in a more dangerous situation, like the original post for example.
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Old 12-07-11, 10:08 AM   #23
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Riding safely means both riding predictably and visibly. The most common cause of car/bike accidents isn't a rear-end, it's a "sorry mate, I didn't see ya." Hugging the curb is usually counter-productive; drivers see you better if you're 'in their face,' even if they don't like it. My general rules, to which there are always exceptions, are:
1. Always ride in a straight line - no dodging in and out of parking lanes.
2. Act like a car. Obey traffic laws and signal your intents; otherwise you're making up your own rules as you go; and drivers don't know what those rules are.
3. I need, and take, about 1.5 feet between my wheel and any rough/broken pavement/sewer grates, or curbing.
4. I need, and take, 4-6 feet between parallel-parked cars along the curb and me. Getting doored can be fatal!
5. I need at least 3 feet clearance between me and passing cars.
6. Allowing for the room I need, if there isn't enough room left for cars to safely share the lane with me, I will move to the left far enough to force cars to change lanes before passing me. As a general rule, if you leave enough room for a car to pass you in your lane with 1 inch of clearance, someone WILL do it.
7. I don't like bike lanes, but I will use them if they are clean and smooth, if they don't put me in the 'door prize' zone, and if traffic is heavy enough that I would otherwise cause an obstruction. The problem with bike lanes is, as with sidewalks, they take you out of the drivers' direct line of sight.
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Old 12-07-11, 11:35 AM   #24
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Riding safely means both riding predictably and visibly.
This is what it all boils down to. Traffic laws and rules exist to impose a sense of order and, therefore, predictability on a situation that would otherwise be lethally chaotic. The only things that make it work at all are the participants being predictable and visible. When either of those fail, someone invariably gets hurt or killed.

Sidewalk riding, especially in the wrong direction, is asking for trouble, IMO. Visibility and predictability both suffer.
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Old 12-07-11, 01:05 PM   #25
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So the general consensus is that it's safer to ride on the road than on the sidewalk?
Yes. Local laws vary but in many places it's illegal too (with exceptions made for young children).
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