leaving tomorrow for san francisco... when i train, i'm much more comfortable biking slightly to the left of the white line instead of in bike lanes or in shoulders. we agree to disagree, but i just feel like if i'm in a car's way, they will notice me and consciously make an effort to not hit me as they pass, but if i'm in the shoulder, i give them a "cushion" to somewhat ignore me, which opens the possibility of them inadvertently swerving/drifting into the shoulder or bike lane. what i would probably feel most comfortable doing is biking slightly to the left of the white line, and when i see a car behind me, let them pass. spring and kirkendall, authors of the pacific coast bible, suggest riding as far to the right as possible. your takes?
I agree with your assertive approach, for the most part. It works smoothly when drivers (both autos and cyclists) are aware, follow safety rules, and show courtesy. John Forrester has summed it up best in "Effective Cycling"; I've been riding by that philosophy long before I heard of him, and I've only been hit once
You've got to be flexible, one of the rules of the road for any vehicle is "The Right of Way cannot be claimed, it can only be yielded." For that reason, a mirror is essential. Claim the lane assertively until the RV approaching from behind demonstrates that they're not worried about your safety. But if there's a bike lane (on the road) or wide enough shoulder, it makes no sense to invite confrontation by riding in the 'fast' lane. Where there's no shoulder, you have every right to the lane.
As for the Pacific Coast, here's three observations to consider:
1) Motorists typically respect cycling tourers more than day-riders.
2) A motorist's treatment of a cyclists depends mostly on the actions of the last 2 or 3 he passed.
3) The PCH in the summers is chock-full of RV's. These guys are maneuvering a behemoth that they drive only once or twice year. Assume they have no clue where their right fender is.
To reinforce #1 and #2, I respond with a wave or salute when a driver shows safety and courtesy to me. As far as #3, I've got my eye on my mirror and I'm ready to bail.
Gilmour lugged steel, Bianchi Volpe, Bike Friday Pocket Rocket
My recollection of the route (I did VAncouver to San Diego in early '02) is that there are stretches of that hwy where there is essentially no pavement to the right of the white line. Make yourself visible and take the space you need to ride safely. Early mornings are by far the least traffic in the touristy areas. I think RV's have some sort of cut-off switch that prevents them from operating before 10.30 AM.
Giant OCR Touring, Raleigh Sport Comfort, Cannondale ST400, Cannondale Road Bike
And if you have a mirror take a look lower and see if they have left the steps to the RV out. They typically stick a foot or two out when they are in that position. For sure they can't see where the steps are.