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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 01-21-07, 01:13 PM   #1
JeffS
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Curb pedal strike fear - heavy traffic - what to do?

I commute in heavy traffic and am a little concerned about pedal strike on the curb while trying to pass cars on the right - I've never ridden fixed, but have been wanting to start.

Most days it wouldn't be a huge issue, but if I leave work at just the right time traffic is a nightmare. Last Friday traffic was at a standstill and I passed several hundred cars in the first couple miles of the trip. Lanes are narrow and cars were often right at the edge of pavement, forcing me to coast by while avoiding mirrors.

I'm not sure how I would have gotten home on a fixed bike. There is no alternate route to this initial stretch. Sitting in line behind the cars is the "safe" option, but totally unappealing. This is a five lane (four plus turn) road. What do you guys do in this situation? - wait for traffic to clear? split the lanes? sit in line?
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Old 01-21-07, 01:18 PM   #2
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yea if the traffic is at a stand still you could go in between cars if theres enough room and if not you could hop up on the curb until the traffic thins out a bit if you cant get by
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Old 01-21-07, 01:18 PM   #3
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If I'm feeling saucy I just weave through lanes that have the best clearance. If I'm tired, or just not feeling good, I'll wait in line, or at least until an opening comes.
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Old 01-21-07, 01:22 PM   #4
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Bunny hop up the nearest curb... pass cars on the left... choose a different route... roll with the shortest crank arms you can get.. that's about all I can think of for now. The first one would probably be the best option but I can't bunny hop on a fixie myself, and not very well at all on a freewheel (I take both wheels up at once and get about an inch in height, as opposed to the "real" method where the front wheel comes up first.).
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Old 01-21-07, 01:24 PM   #5
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If you want to creep up on the right of traffic stopped close to the curb you can always ride slow enough that a pedal strike will not be a big deal.
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Old 01-21-07, 01:28 PM   #6
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it is better to go between the cars because they can see you better that way they often don't see you or are looking for something going fast on the right..

be seen be safe be fast
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Old 01-21-07, 01:55 PM   #7
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werd act like a moto psycho
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Old 01-21-07, 02:07 PM   #8
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Pass on the left. Aside from being too crowded by the curb, you run a greater risk of getting doored, or having someone turn into your path if you are passing on the right.

When going through standing traffic like that when in doubt I go out to the left, then swing back in to the right (space allowing) when the traffic starts to move around me. If traffic is moving the same speed as you, take the lane. Right in the middle of the lane is the safest place to be if you are not impeding traffic.
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Old 01-21-07, 03:54 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by mattface
Pass on the left. Aside from being too crowded by the curb, you run a greater risk of getting doored, or having someone turn into your path if you are passing on the right.

When going through standing traffic like that when in doubt I go out to the left, then swing back in to the right (space allowing) when the traffic starts to move around me. If traffic is moving the same speed as you, take the lane. Right in the middle of the lane is the safest place to be if you are not impeding traffic.
I prefer this too. Although we're supposed to stay on the right because we're slower, when it comes to high traffic we're much faster and probably should pass on the left. It's still considered illegal though...
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Old 01-21-07, 04:02 PM   #10
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in ca the law is you are a motorcycle behave as such
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Old 01-21-07, 04:28 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by JeffS
split the lanes?
hells yeah
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Old 01-21-07, 07:03 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by blickblocks
Although we're supposed to stay on the right because we're slower, when it comes to high traffic we're much faster and probably should pass on the left. It's still considered illegal though...
Hmm... You should check your local laws.

Here in Illinois, this situation is specifically addressed in our state law; passing on the left is clearly allowed when cars are slower than you, or when something like a curb is in your way.

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Originally Posted by Illinois Sec. 11-1505. Position of bicycles and motorized pedal cycles on roadwaysóRiding on roadways and bicycle paths.
(a) Any person operating a bicycle or motorized pedal cycle upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under the following situations: 1. When overtaking and passing another bicycle, motorized pedal cycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction; or 2. When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway; or 3. When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, bicycles, motorized pedal cycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge. For purposes of this subsection, a "substandard width lane" means a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle or motorized pedal cycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane. (b) Any person operating a bicycle or motorized pedal cycle upon a one-way highway with two or more marked traffic lanes may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of such roadway as practicable.
No guarantee that motorists will get it, though.
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Old 01-21-07, 07:10 PM   #13
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burden has it right. the law is essentially identical here in vancouver. it's never illegal for a cyclist to act as a motor vehicle when conditions warrant it.
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Old 01-21-07, 09:36 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by burden
Hmm... You should check your local laws.

Here in Illinois, this situation is specifically addressed in our state law; passing on the left is clearly allowed when cars are slower than you, or when something like a curb is in your way.



No guarantee that motorists will get it, though.

so this is a bit off topic, but i was just checking the ontario law about this recently after having a cabbie that buzzed me tell me to "stay to the right!"

anyway, i really have an issue with the whole "as close as practical" part. like have an issue to the point that i'm having day dreams of writing letters to city councillors and stuff. 'cuz the motorists don't get it. it's not in the law to change lanes to pass bikes, which (imho) is just an accident waiting to happen.

they see us 'weaving around' and think "hey, they're a pro! they're used to cars, so i'll just cut around them and they won't care". but *i* care! if traffic is stopped i have no problem splitting the lane and laughing merrily as i zoom by. however, if i've taken the lane, back the eff off. it's physics really: cars are big and heavy, i'm little and squishy.

/rant
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Old 01-21-07, 11:20 PM   #15
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Thanks guys. I tend to be an aggressive rider, as I was an aggressive driver before that. I guess I'll just need to revise my riding style some.

It really is just this one stretch of about two miles that I'm worried about. No sidewalks, narrow lanes, and uphill. I'll start riding it without coasting until I decide what to do about a fixed bike.
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Old 01-22-07, 12:52 AM   #16
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i would just split the lane if it's a two lane road. that's what i usually do if there is no room on the right. but i usually split the lane because a lot of people don't signal right turns, and i'm not willing to take that chance. i usually move over to the right after passing through a light, and if traffic starts moving while i'm filtering i move over to the right in a gap when it's available.
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Old 01-22-07, 06:37 AM   #17
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i almost always pass on to the left of the rightmost lane. people don't signal their right turns.

if there's one lane i have to try and guess what the driver's doing. if they're doing anything suspicious i wait. doesn't win me any races, but my commute's not a race.

basically always assume the driver will make the dumbest move available to them.
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Old 01-22-07, 08:28 AM   #18
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get a freewheel. coast with leg up over the curve, problem solved.
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Old 01-22-07, 10:37 AM   #19
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get a freewheel. coast with leg up over the curve, problem solved.
That leaves you awfully close to cars and the curb. If it works for you, great. Personally, I'm mcuh more comfortable splitting the lanes in slow traffic.
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Old 01-22-07, 10:52 AM   #20
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If its real tight I sometimes just go real slow and unlick my right foot so I can put it down if needed.
I like to split traffic on the left better but sometimes its just too sketchy so I resort to the unclip technique
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