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Old 07-29-14, 01:39 PM   #1
Scooter123
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On Overtaking Strange Riders

Hi Folks,

As a road cyclist for many years, I've noticed a rather discourteous behavior that some riders are showing when overtaking an unknown rider.
Instead of yelling "On your left" or a greeting, the overtaking rider shouts "Hold your line!"

My guess is that they expect that the stranger will plow through any obstacle that might occur in their path so that he can pass efficiently. In one instance I noticed that the overtaking rider was stretched out on aero bars.

I am probably bothered by this behavior because I don't think the way these people do. If I am overtaking a strange rider I don't assume anything, including that they understand English. I call out "Passing on your left" or "On your left" well in advance, and give them at least two feet of space (usually more). NC law requires that last part. Then I wait until I'm well clear before moving right.

I wonder if these cyclists realize that announcing their presence courteously would get them what they want more effectively? Saying "Passing on your left" makes people aware that they're being overtaken, and most often they straighten up and move further right.

I'm not out to over-generalize this, I've only seen it happen a few times. I would like to avoid having this become the new normal.

Scott C.
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Old 07-29-14, 02:07 PM   #2
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As one of the recreational riders you might pass I can assure you I wouldn't know what the heck you were talking about if you said that. What line? Hold what?
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Old 07-29-14, 02:24 PM   #3
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I don't say anything until I'm right next to the other cyclist at which point I say "morning" or whatever other greeting is applicable. Sometimes I don't even say that much. However, in my car I always make sure to honk repeatedly before I pass other cars and I wave to each other driver I see on my 30 mile rush hour commute. My arm sure is tired by the time I get home!
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Old 07-29-14, 03:00 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Scooter123 View Post
I wonder if these cyclists realize that announcing their presence courteously would get them what they want more effectively? Saying "Passing on your left" makes people aware that they're being overtaken, and most often they straighten up and move further right.
The problem is that this isn't always the case. No matter what you say, some people will get spooked and swerve to the left. (Some path users are even confused by bells.) Expecting casual riders to understand "hold your line!" may be optimistic, but the intent is to say "stay where you are in the lane, I'll be past you in no time."
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Old 07-29-14, 03:04 PM   #5
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I stopped saying "on your left" or "passing left" when I realized that this caused about 80% of people to swerve to the left in front of me.

As long as they're not saying "get the **** out of the way" you should just be happy people are alerting you to their presence
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Old 07-29-14, 03:13 PM   #6
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So if I come up behind you, I see that you're holding your line and your head turn a bit when I shift gears or clack my brake lever so you know I'm there, I ding and pass without saying anything or acknowledging you, is that offensive?
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Old 07-29-14, 03:22 PM   #7
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Ride harder and you don't get passed.
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Old 07-29-14, 03:27 PM   #8
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[video]http://www.moviewavs.com/0093058674/MP3S/TV_Shows/Simpsons/jerk_ass.mp3[/video]
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Old 07-29-14, 03:29 PM   #9
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Hold the Line? Brings me back a ways...

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Old 07-29-14, 03:35 PM   #10
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The kind of rider who will veer left when you say "on your left" usually is terrified of the motor traffic lane so I will just watch for a gap in traffic, pull way into the lane, and go around. I usually will give a wave as I go by, just to disprove the stereotype.
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Old 07-29-14, 03:42 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by CharlyAlfaRomeo View Post
I stopped saying "on your left" or "passing left" when I realized that this caused about 80% of people to swerve to the left in front of me.
This is where I'm at. I'm a new rider, but quickly found out trying to be courteous and say "on your left" resulted in 1 out of 3 times the person getting so spooked they went any random direction. I just judge the situation and if I can get around them on the left with plenty of room without them getting spooked that has worked out better for me.

I have to say, a group of women walking on the trial is the absolute worse in my experience. They always walk abreast covering the entire width of the trail while they blabber. Then when I come up on them and say "on your left" they all proceed to dart in completely different directions all freaked out. It's like they can't fathom someone else also using the trail.
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Old 07-29-14, 03:48 PM   #12
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i keep it simple. just a "passing" is all they get. i'm a counter-puncher and react accordingly.

BTW, thanks for the video. i forgot about that one.
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Old 07-29-14, 03:51 PM   #13
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... I have to say, a group of women walking on the trial is the absolute worse in my experience. They always walk abreast covering the entire width of the trail while they blabber. ...
ohhhh my! you may have to pay dearly for THAT one.
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Old 07-29-14, 03:55 PM   #14
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Very possible! I know it sounds sexist, but it's been my honest experience.
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Old 07-29-14, 03:56 PM   #15
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Very possible! I know it sounds sexist, but it's been my honest experience.
sounds convincing... write it down, you may need it.
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Old 07-29-14, 04:08 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlyAlfaRomeo View Post
I stopped saying "on your left" or "passing left" when I realized that this caused about 80% of people to swerve to the left in front of me.

As long as they're not saying "get the **** out of the way" you should just be happy people are alerting you to their presence
This.

I never was in that much of a hurry. I tend to take a slight blow getting a bit of a draft (not a 2" off the wheel draft a 1-2 bike length draft). Then I get to decide what to do, which may be anything from a wide berth at a dead out sprint to minimize exposure to pulling along side and seeing if we might ride together for at least a while.

And if I am the better rider if have no problems having someone friendly follow my wheel and get all the physical advantage.
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Old 07-29-14, 05:26 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scooter123 View Post
As a road cyclist for many years, I've noticed a rather discourteous behavior that some riders are showing when overtaking an unknown rider...
I wasn't aware of any requirement for the operator of one vehicle to warn the operator of another vehicle before passing.

I've found that no warning at all is usually the most reliable; and only give a warning when the other cyclist is riding erratically. Better to jolt them out of their reverie after you're in front of them than to make them jump right into your path.
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Old 07-29-14, 08:27 PM   #18
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I play it by ear. Most of the time when I announce they just ignore me or can't hear me because of earphones. If there is plenty of room to pass I don't say anything. If they are totally blocking I just roll up and say excuse me and they usually let me through. My biggest problem is timing my pass with the oncoming traffic on the path. It seems like you always meet a big group with bikes and walkers coming from the opposite direction.
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Old 07-30-14, 05:46 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by CharlyAlfaRomeo View Post
I stopped saying "on your left" or "passing left" when I realized that this caused about 80% of people to swerve to the left in front of me.

As long as they're not saying "get the **** out of the way" you should just be happy people are alerting you to their presence
I hear this claimed from time to time, but in my experience it's bogus. We have large group rides that attract bicyclists of all levels of experience in central NC every year. I pass dozens of cyclists this way, and all but the youngest children do the right thing. If you're frequently seeing people veer into your path when you alert them, try doing it a little sooner and allowing them more space.

If we treat strangers on bicycles as potential obstacles instead of potential friends, it's rude behavior. It sends the wrong signal to new riders. We're better than that.
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Old 07-30-14, 06:00 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by spdracr39 View Post
I play it by ear. Most of the time when I announce they just ignore me or can't hear me because of earphones. If there is plenty of room to pass I don't say anything. If they are totally blocking I just roll up and say excuse me and they usually let me through. My biggest problem is timing my pass with the oncoming traffic on the path. It seems like you always meet a big group with bikes and walkers coming from the opposite direction.
That's what I think too. There is no good one-size-fits-all answer. Sometimes I "ding" my courtesy bell, sometimes I just sneak by, sometimes I talk to the folks that I'm passing.
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Old 07-30-14, 06:06 AM   #21
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"Hold your line" on the road sounds like boy racer talk.
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Old 07-30-14, 06:51 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Anthony.L View Post
This is where I'm at. I'm a new rider, but quickly found out trying to be courteous and say "on your left" resulted in 1 out of 3 times the person getting so spooked they went any random direction. I just judge the situation and if I can get around them on the left with plenty of room without them getting spooked that has worked out better for me.

I have to say, a group of women walking on the trial is the absolute worse in my experience. They always walk abreast covering the entire width of the trail while they blabber. Then when I come up on them and say "on your left" they all proceed to dart in completely different directions all freaked out. It's like they can't fathom someone else also using the trail.
For some reason this cracked me up. Like, spitting my coffee on my screen type of cracked up. Probably because I can relate. Usually at least a one or two of them have a stroller or a yappy dog on a long pink leash.
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Old 07-30-14, 06:52 AM   #23
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ohhhh my! you may have to pay dearly for THAT one.
I laughed pretty hard and I'm a girl. It's okay. It's funny because it's true.
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Old 07-30-14, 06:56 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scooter123 View Post
I hear this claimed from time to time, but in my experience it's bogus. We have large group rides that attract bicyclists of all levels of experience in central NC every year. I pass dozens of cyclists this way, and all but the youngest children do the right thing. If you're frequently seeing people veer into your path when you alert them, try doing it a little sooner and allowing them more space.

If we treat strangers on bicycles as potential obstacles instead of potential friends, it's rude behavior. It sends the wrong signal to new riders. We're better than that.
Try sneaking up on them real close, then say it in a loud urgent voice. You'll see.
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Old 07-30-14, 08:26 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
The kind of rider who will veer left when you say "on your left" usually is terrified of the motor traffic lane so I will just watch for a gap in traffic, pull way into the lane, and go around. I usually will give a wave as I go by, just to disprove the stereotype.
Makes good sense. I don't get the guys that feel the need to pass close enough to brush jerseys when riding on an empty country road. Hold your line? Dude, you have the whole lane and all the time you need to make the pass.
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