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  1. #1
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    Acceptable for cyclists to pass others on right?

    I am trying to figure out if it is acceptable for cyclists to pass other cyclists on the right.


    My wife and I were on our tandem northbound on PCH near Huntington Beach this past weekend. We were accelerating from a light and were about 100 ft or so from the light when a small group of about 8 cyclists start to pass on the left. We were in the middle-right of the "bike" lane and we began to move more to the right to allow the riders more room when a couple riders of this group passed us on the right, at the same time we were being passed on the left. The group didn't pass us with any great speed either, I was able to get a good look of disbelief at the riders passing on the right while holding my line. I wanted to yell at these riders due to what I believed was discourteous and unsafe conduct.

    But now I want to know if I was in the wrong or is it acceptable to ever pass other cyclists on the right?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member igoyippy4skippy's Avatar
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    I would say not acceptable. You pass on the left so you don't spook the rider in front of you and they swerve into traffic. A cyclist coming upon another cyclist can see if there is room to move to left to pass the person ahead of them. It really doesn't work the other way around and not really cool for you to be boxed in like that.
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    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    If people pass you on the right it's because you left a big hole there, and probably looked like you were going to force them over if they passed on the left.

    And never try to get out of the way-- if they're behind you they can see you better than you can see them. Ride a straight line at constant speed and they'll get around.
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  4. #4
    Tony V
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    We always pass each other on the right here in OZ.(he he)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony V View Post
    We always pass each other on the right here in OZ.(he he)
    Do you pedal in the reverse direction down there?
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  6. #6
    This town needs an enema.
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    They shouldn't have passed on the right, IMHO...gap or no gap. I move toward the right when a group passes me as well and it's only been a problem once (also happened in HB) nearly causing an accident for me and a couple members of the group.
    Last edited by cradduck; 08-07-08 at 02:22 PM.

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    I'm an expert at passing, I get passed all the time, but I think it's just wrong to pass on the Right in most circumstances, someone could easily turn into you because they don't expect you to be there...

  8. #8
    Senior Member LCI_Brian's Avatar
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    A group passing on both the left and right at the same time is a bad thing. A group once did that to me at speed. I held my line and was OK, but would have been easy for a noob in my place to be spooked and crash.

  9. #9
    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaguar27 View Post
    someone could easily turn into you because they don't expect you to be there...
    People should look around more, too...
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    Regardless of whether it is acceptable or not, you should check behind you before moving to the right.

  11. #11
    Eternal NooB threeflys's Avatar
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    If someone in the group said "on your left", as they should have, then the person being would be expected to possibly move right as a courtesy. The people passing on the right would have been totally in the wrong had there been a collision. At least that's my .02 As a cyclist, why would you put yourself in danger, you don't the skill of the cyclist you're passing. They may just be a squid and swerve right into you...
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  12. #12
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    Passing as a group to a person's left and right is a no-no imo.

    However, I've passed people on the right a few times and I said "on your right" on those occasions. Most people will move towards the right when they have people coming up behind them, but not everyone does that and it's not always safe to pass on the left if they're riding near the left edge of the bike lane.

  13. #13
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    Only if the intent is signalled and acknowledged well in advance. Generally you should only pass, for safety reasons, on the left. But I have had on occasions an opening on the right. I will call out "OK to pass right?!" and if I get back an "OK" or a wave, then I will. All must be done with safety in mind.

    I understand the concern but I have had the same problem, especailly on busy streets with riders hugging the traffic line making it unsafe for me to go out into traffic to pass. Riders who do that (and I tend to do that as I like to ride away from the curb where there is debris) should expect people to pass on the right. It's not fair to make riders go out around into traffic.
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    Senior Member sojourn's Avatar
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    I was passed a couple of times on the right and the resulting accident potential was/is enormous (PCH ride, riders came out of nowhere and startled me on two separate occasions)!
    My opinion (based on common sense) is that between cyclists NO passing on the right should occur outside of a "bailout" situation.
    Anyone passing on the right side, regardless of the rationalized justification, that results is an accident/incident is at fault and should be held responsible outside of the "bailout" scenario. It's a selfish UNSAFE move.......

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    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    If you're riding in a straight line and paying attention it shouldn't matter what side someone passes on. Really.

    If you're wiggling all over I'm going to wait until you zig one way and then pass on the other side, probably unannounced, because people tend to go in the direction one calls out, and wiggle more when they hear something than they were already.

    If you're making it really difficult I'll pull up behind you and say "Hi" then clearly state in a full sentence which side I'm going to pass on.
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    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    In races there's no rule about passing on the right or left. Some people are more used to that than others. The riders who passed you may have done so because they felt comfortable with your riding (i.e. you were
    holding your line well) and treated you as one of the group. But it's probably not that good an idea.

    In road riding one should pass on the left because that's what people expect.

    If you are getting passed on the right often then you are probably riding too far to the left, or not paying attention to what's coming up behind you. It's always good to keep an eye out behind for riders who are catching you and move over to the right to let them by.

    I often see riders who crowd the left side of the shoulder, even when it's plenty wide for two bikes. Or they even take the entire lane on climbs and ride next to the centerline. That means that a rider who wants to pass on the left has to go out into traffic, or cross the centerline, to pass. Sometimes it's safer to just pass on the right, although you have to take into account that if the rider you are passing is clueless enough to be making you pass on the right in the first place, they are probably going to be startled when you pass and there is a good chance that they'll move to the right. So you have to leave some extra clearance.

  18. #18
    Dagger Boy Extort's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bitingduck View Post
    If you're making it really difficult I'll pull up behind you and say "Hi" then clearly state in a full sentence which side I'm going to pass on.
    Always pass on the left after signaling and stating your intentions.

    If you are making it difficult for me to pass on the left. I will wait until there is an opening on the right, scoot up next to you and kick you into traffic for being a putz!

    the aforementioned sentence is not really how I would act, but is how I sometimes feel I should act.
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  19. #19
    umd
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    It sounds like what happened to you was lame and the guys passing you were just being careless. That said, is it ever acceptable? I haven't read the rest of the responses, but f-it. If someone is ahead of you and you say something (e.g. passing, on your left, move the f-over, etc.) and they don't give you room on the left, then go right and don't lose sleep over it.

  20. #20
    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    Sometimes it's safer to just pass on the right, although you have to take into account that if the rider you are passing is clueless enough to be making you pass on the right in the first place, they are probably going to be startled when you pass and there is a good chance that they'll move to the right. So you have to leave some extra clearance.
    And they're going to be just as startled when you announce which side you're passing on.

    I prefer them to already be behind me when they get startled.

    I spend a lot of time watching how people ride and predicting what they're going to do when they don't want me to know their intentions, so it's usually pretty easy to shoot past wiggly people without any chance of contact.

    And I really don't care which side of me you pass on, or even if you bump me while doing it (but I won't bump you while passing).
    Last edited by bitingduck; 08-07-08 at 12:50 PM.
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  21. #21
    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Extort View Post
    Always pass on the left after signaling and stating your intentions.
    Come ride with me in Montreal some time-- you'd need a tape recorder repeating "a gauche" over and over. And then you'd run into some anglophone who doesn't know enough french to even understand that.
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  22. #22
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chimivee View Post
    Do you pedal in the reverse direction down there?
    And also, their toilet water flush in a clockwise direction.

  23. #23
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Whenever I see riders approaching, I veer to the right as a courtesy. I don't leave them room on the right.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by bitingduck View Post
    If people pass you on the right it's because you left a big hole there,.
    That big hole is called "the door zone", "taking the lane" and "avoiding gutters".

  25. #25
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roadfix View Post
    And also, their toilet water flush in a clockwise direction.
    The toilet water flushes which ever way the toilet designer pointed the openings. It's the drain whirlpool that goes in the opposite direction in the southern hemisphere.

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