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Vehicular Cycling (VC) No other subject has polarized the A&S members like VC has. Here's a place to share, debate, and educate.

View Poll Results: In my experience (see OP) of riding with more and less use of assertive lane control:
I am treated better by motorists when I am MORE assertive with lane control. 27 58.70%
I am treated better by motorists when I am LESS assertive with lane control. 2 4.35%
I am treated about the same by motorists regardless of my assertiveness with lane control. 14 30.43%
Other 3 6.52%
Voters: 46. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-13-07, 02:16 PM   #1
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The VC Pardox?

THERE ARE NO RIGHT ANSWERS TO THIS QUESTION!

If at some point in your life you adopted a riding style that is significantly more assertive with respect to where and how often you use lane control ("taking the lane") than a riding style that you used prior to that, and you have significant experience with both, do you find any change in how motorist treat you? Better? Worse? About the same?
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Old 03-13-07, 02:18 PM   #2
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They treat me worse but pass me safer.
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Old 03-13-07, 02:21 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Bikepacker67
They treat me worse but pass me safer.
What about motorists up ahead in front of you, like those waiting to turn into the road, or to cross it? Do they treat you better or worse depending on where you're riding?
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Old 03-13-07, 02:32 PM   #4
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Far better
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Old 03-13-07, 02:34 PM   #5
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where's the "I am treated WORSE by drivers when I am more assertive with lane control" poll anwser?

and VC "pardox"? is that like a Geisel "Lorax"? or one of the Star Bellied Sneetches?

There's two posters here already that suggest WORSE treatment via more assertive lane control...... interesting....
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Old 03-13-07, 02:40 PM   #6
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In certain roadway situations, I could ride in a non-assertive manner and receive less honks than I would riding in an assertive manner (past parked cars or intersections). This is the only downside (if one can consider a few ignorant honks a downside) to using an assertive lane position. I could go on and on about the upsides but I don't feel it's necessary (but I will if requested ).
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Old 03-13-07, 02:54 PM   #7
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I did not vote in the poll, but here are my experiences:

1. While "taking the lane" in a downtown metro area where traffic is likely to be slow, I feel safer and have gotten little harassment from motorists.

2. When riding 2 abreast and "taking the lane" on higher speed roads or thouroughfares with two lanes of travel in each direction I have not received much hassle.

3. The most trouble I have, and the most angry responses from motorists occur in the following circumstances when "taking the lane"

a. High volume, higher speed roads (35 +) used by motorist commuters during rush hour that link the suburbs to downtown when I am riding alone.

b. Riding on one-lane per direction roads by myself
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Old 03-13-07, 03:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bekologist
where's the "I am treated WORSE by drivers when I am more assertive with lane control" poll anwser?

and VC "pardox"? is that like a Geisel "Lorax"? or one of the Star Bellied Sneetches?

There's two posters here already that suggest WORSE treatment via more assertive lane control...... interesting....
Sorry, i thought "I am treated better when I am less assertive" covered that, but I can see that they're not necessarily flipsides of the same coin. Pretty close, but not quite. My bad.
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Old 03-13-07, 03:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skanking biker
I did not vote in the poll, but here are my experiences:

1. While "taking the lane" in a downtown metro area where traffic is likely to be slow, I feel safer and have gotten little harassment from motorists.

2. When riding 2 abreast and "taking the lane" on higher speed roads or thouroughfares with two lanes of travel in each direction I have not received much hassle.

3. The most trouble I have, and the most angry responses from motorists occur in the following circumstances when "taking the lane"

a. High volume, higher speed roads (35 +) used by motorist commuters during rush hour that link the suburbs to downtown when I am riding alone.

b. Riding on one-lane per direction roads by myself
Interesting how most people seem to be exclusively thinking in terms of passing motorists when they read this question, and I was mostly thinking about treatment from those ahead - potential crossing traffic.
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Old 03-13-07, 04:57 PM   #10
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being that I've made it thru every intersection with oncoming traffic so far REGARDLESS of my road position, I'd have to say it really doesn't matter. Ride a little more, mr. head, and it would become apparent WHY the respondents are thinking this way.

The reason more of us are considering overtaking traffic- overtaking situations is where drivers really like to show their bicyclist discrimination.

oncoming, turning traffic, there's very little 'better' or 'worse' treatment dependant on your road position. They either ignore you and cut you off, or they don't. it's rare the drivers "Buzz" a bike in a turning manuvuer.

Have I described the 'premptive yield' where, in some scenarios, a cyclist aims DIRECTLY for the driver of oncoming, turning traffic? VERY useful at night.

Last edited by Bekologist; 03-13-07 at 05:02 PM.
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Old 03-13-07, 05:16 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Bekologist
being that I've made it thru every intersection with oncoming traffic so far REGARDLESS of my road position, I'd have to say it really doesn't matter. Ride a little more, mr. head, and it would become apparent WHY the respondents are thinking this way.

The reason more of us are considering overtaking traffic- overtaking situations is where drivers really like to show their bicyclist discrimination.

oncoming, turning traffic, there's very little 'better' or 'worse' treatment dependant on your road position. They either ignore you and cut you off, or they don't. it's rare the drivers "Buzz" a bike in a turning manuvuer.

Have I described the 'premptive yield' where, in some scenarios, a cyclist aims DIRECTLY for the driver of oncoming, turning traffic? VERY useful at night.

My main problem--and fear---is that I cannot see what is going on behind me at every moment simultaneously watching what is happening in front of me. At least with oncoming traffic I can see where they are going, and can sometimes anticipate their movements by looking at the drivers. However, even though I routinely try to check my rear and know how/what is back there---it is certainly not practical to look back continuously so you can keep an eye on every single car in the long commute parade that will pass you. What is truly scary is that I can be as visible as I want and take the lane and I have no way to know what the JAM behind me is doing. For all I know it is a woman putting on makeup, or a man shaving, or a busines exec trying to read his paper/blackberry and drive at the same time. These people could easily smack into me while not paying attention and i would have no forewarning. WHile I certainly always look behind me when turning, approaching an intersection, etc. it is simply not possible or safe to continually check my rear when I am being passed by every car doing 35 +. In these instances I do try and "get out of their way" and ride as close to the curb as I can, but then I have an additional problem when there is an obstacle in the gutter. SO in the end i tend to avoid these spots. I would certainly appreciate any advice without condemnation or insults as to how to remedy this situation.
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Old 03-13-07, 05:21 PM   #12
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Skanking biker, do you have a rear-view mirror of some kind? I hate glancing behind all the time, and found a mirror really helps increase awareness.
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Old 03-13-07, 05:22 PM   #13
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I'll admit it... I am treated by motorists better when I am assertive with lane control... but those that take exception to that assertiveness are just as assertive back. (becomes an alpha dog fight)
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Old 03-13-07, 05:32 PM   #14
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I had one such scenario just yesterday afternoon, Gene. some JAM decided to close pass/squeeze brush right up to a stopsign. With me faster off the stop, my attempts to then wave him by resulted in him catching up and slowing, mouthing obscenities at me thru the window as he slowed

- then the JAM patented "force biker into parked cars squeeze manuvuer"- all for being assertive in traffic and doing a polite 'wave 'em by'. I slowed, and banged high heaven out of the sidepanel of his van.

fool tried that move a little bit too close to home- I know where he lives and parks.

yep. its all fun and games out there.
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Old 03-13-07, 05:36 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by zeytoun
Skanking biker, do you have a rear-view mirror of some kind? I hate glancing behind all the time, and found a mirror really helps increase awareness.

I've got a helmet mirror and I do not like it
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Old 03-13-07, 05:42 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Bekologist
I had one such scenario just yesterday afternoon, Gene. some JAM decided to close pass/squeeze brush right up to a stopsign. With me faster off the stop, my attempts to then wave him by resulted in him catching up and slowing, mouthing obscenities at me thru the window as he slowed

- then the JAM patented "force biker into parked cars squeeze manuvuer"- all for being assertive in traffic and doing a polite 'wave 'em by'. I slowed, and banged high heaven out of the sidepanel of his van.

fool tried that move a little bit too close to home- I know where he lives and parks.

yep. its all fun and games out there.

The big problem for which I cannot find a solution is the 4 lane divided road (2 in each direction) separated by a median with few intersecting sidestreets. During times of high volume traffic "taking" the right lane results in holding up an entire column of traffic for miles. Vehicles can't get around me because there is solid traffic in the left lane. They try and run me off the road, and I have nowhere to go because of the curb bordering the right lane and small space between the border of the right lane and the curb. If a sidewalk was available i might consider using it in this circumstance, but there is no sidewalk. Essentially, there is no way for me to safely use a road like this.
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Old 03-13-07, 06:28 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bekologist
being that I've made it thru every intersection with oncoming traffic so far REGARDLESS of my road position, I'd have to say it really doesn't matter.
...
oncoming, turning traffic, there's very little 'better' or 'worse' treatment dependant on your road position. They either ignore you and cut you off, or they don't. it's rare the drivers "Buzz" a bike in a turning manuvuer.
That's opposite of my experience.

I used to get people turning in front of me, near right hooks etc. fairly often when I rode less assertively. Now that I ride much more assertively, those types of "turning conflicts" virtually never happen.

Quote:
Ride a little more, mr. head, and it would become apparent WHY the respondents are thinking this way.
Please do not take your argument to a personal level. Thanks.

Quote:
The reason more of us are considering overtaking traffic- overtaking situations is where drivers really like to show their bicyclist discrimination.
Well, I'm not talking about taking the lane where there is no good reason to do so. But at intersections and their approaches, in narrow lanes, when fsdt is not present, etc. Darn. I blew it by not clarifying this.

Quote:
Have I described the 'premptive yield' where, in some scenarios, a cyclist aims DIRECTLY for the driver of oncoming, turning traffic? VERY useful at night.
Why would you do change your road position like that if you've "made it thru every intersection with oncoming traffic so far REGARDLESS of [your] road position, [and you'd] have to say [road position] really doesn't matter?"
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Old 03-13-07, 06:30 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skanking biker
The big problem for which I cannot find a solution is the 4 lane divided road (2 in each direction) separated by a median with few intersecting sidestreets. During times of high volume traffic "taking" the right lane results in holding up an entire column of traffic for miles. Vehicles can't get around me because there is solid traffic in the left lane. They try and run me off the road, and I have nowhere to go because of the curb bordering the right lane and small space between the border of the right lane and the curb. If a sidewalk was available i might consider using it in this circumstance, but there is no sidewalk. Essentially, there is no way for me to safely use a road like this.
That sucks. Can you give us road name and nearest intersection to check it out on google maps?
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Old 03-13-07, 06:31 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skanking biker
During times of high volume traffic "taking" the right lane results in holding up an entire column of traffic for miles. Vehicles can't get around me because there is solid traffic in the left lane.
Perhaps you exaggerate ('miles'?) a bit for effect? Yes some vehicles will be delayed waiting to pass, but only momentairily.
My experience with such roads is that when traffic is moving 30-50mph there are enough gaps so a driver coming up behind cyclist can with proper planning merge left into one of those gaps with minimal delay, or at worst wait 15-30s for a gap and then merge (as long as they keep a good distance to allow them to accelerate into gap smoothly)
When gaps are minimal, I find traffic is near bumper to bumper and moving slower than average cyclist, so the cyclist is not impeding any one, everyone is impeding each other. That is when I get tempted to go on sidewalk, when traffic is 15mph and solid for miles.
There are of course some roads with close packed and fast traffic, here adding an addtional travel lane is what is needed for all users.

Al
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Old 03-13-07, 07:03 PM   #20
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adding an addtional travel lane is what is needed for all users.l
I agree, but that is hard to do when people protest adding other lanes on the grounds that it will increase vehicular traffic and increase urban sprawl.


An example of the "type" of road to which I am referring is when I was living in Madison, Wisconsin----John Nolan Drive leading up to the isthmus. Thankfully there is a MUP running parellel with the road that can be used, but that won't do any good for those who won't ride on facilities designated for bike travel. Another example from when I lived in Madison would be University Ave outside the campus area. In the campus are, University has a nice bike lane but as you move towards the outskirts the lane disappears and when running out to the suburbs like Middleton, there is no way you could ride that road during rush hour----granted, there are MUPS within a few miles that a cyclist could use to detuour around. I'm just citing these examples to illustrate my point that I simply do not feel safe on roads like these. These are the two clearest examples that come to mind offhand.

Oh--back where my folks live in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, the main drag through town is a 40 mph divided hwy--2 lanes each direction---Howell Avenue, that DOES indeed run for miles and there is no parrellel sidewalk or MUP. I am completely screwed if I need to run to a grocery store or barber, etc. or other business that is located on this main drag and try and ride down this drag. Its worse in this case because in addition to your normal commuting JAMS, you have to deal with A-hole teenagers driving their mommy's escalade. --Again, I can try and compensate by going a few miles out of the way to the next parallel road and then cutting over---but I still would need to use that road at some point. A road where I cannot compensate at all is Ryan Road--State HWY 32--(which coincidentally intersects with Howell) and runs west for miles in areas without sidewalks and curbs.---here the speed fluctuates 45-55.

I find roads like these to be a big problem in areas where the streets are not laid out in a grid or in suburban areas where there may be relatively large open areas between subdivisions.

Another problem I often face is the hill problem. Lets assume there is sufficient space on a 4 lane divided highway for vehciles approaching you from behind to pass on the left. How do you compensate for the JAM that pulls onto the road on the other side of the hill (and doesn't see you because you just crested the hill) and rapidly accelerates downward?
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Old 03-13-07, 07:14 PM   #21
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Thankfully there is a MUP running parellel with the road that can be used, but that won't do any good for those who won't ride on facilities designated for bike travel.
Do you know anyone "who won't ride on facilities designated for bike travel."?
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Old 03-13-07, 07:18 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by skanking biker
Thankfully there is a MUP running parellel with the road that can be used
Well maintained (plowed, cleared of leaves) and wide (supports passing and/or opposing direction use) MUP adjacent to longer intersectionless roads are an excellent bicycle facility. I'd use it if I had such a situation.

Al
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Old 03-13-07, 07:36 PM   #23
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Do you know anyone "who won't ride on facilities designated for bike travel."?

I have seen posts here where some have made comments to the effect that using facilities designated for bike travel encourages the idea that cyclists shouldn't use the roads.
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Old 03-13-07, 07:36 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by noisebeam
Well maintained (plowed, cleared of leaves) and wide (supports passing and/or opposing direction use) MUP adjacent to longer intersectionless roads are an excellent bicycle facility. I'd use it if I had such a situation.

Al
I agree
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Old 03-13-07, 08:53 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by skanking biker
I have seen posts here where some have made comments to the effect that using facilities designated for bike travel encourages the idea that cyclists shouldn't use the roads.
I've been told by professional transportation planners at public meetings that they expect bikers and peds to use the government's special places for those classes instead of the roads. I've also read what Michael Farrell (Transportation Planner II, MWCOG) wrote on the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP) listserver:
Quote:
... if you could get cyclists to take the lane, ... you would cause a lot of traffic congestion.
If you want cyclists to ... not block motor vehicle traffic, put in the bike lane.
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