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Old 05-01-07, 04:33 PM   #1
noisebeam
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Positioning question when RTOL present

There is an intersection with a RTOL, no bike lanes, narrow lanes only, I am traveling thru.

I line up behind thru cars in rightmost thru lane.

Sometimes I am the last vehicle just about where the RTOL begins.

I find this a concerning postion. I normally watch appraoching vehicles in mirror and note them slowing - if they don't I am prepared to take evasive action. However if there is a fair amount of RTing traffic, drivers may approach very fast and make a last second swerve into the car width opening for the RTOL, narrowly missing my rear tire.

I do not like this position as I can not tell if drivers see me or not. The alternative is to filter foward using RTOL which blocks the heavily used RTOL aside from not following RotR. Another alternative is to stop 1.5 car lengths back from last car in line to block the RTOL opening, also an 'awkward' position.

Any thoughts? I left bias in this case which gives the most clearance, but I still feel less able to manage the situation vs. when there is no RTOL opening and simply lining up with vehicles, where the slowing of approaching vehicles is consistent.

(I ask that debate about alternate facilities not be discussed here)

Al
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Old 05-01-07, 04:44 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noisebeam
There is an intersection with a RTOL, no bike lanes, narrow lanes only, I am traveling thru.

I line up behind thru cars in rightmost thru lane.

Sometimes I am the last vehicle just about where the RTOL begins.

I find this a concerning postion. I normally watch appraoching vehicles in mirror and note them slowing - if they don't I am prepared to take evasive action. However if there is a fair amount of RTing traffic, drivers may approach very fast and make a last second swerve into the car width opening for the RTOL, narrowly missing my rear tire.

I do not like this position as I can not tell if drivers see me or not. The alternative is to filter foward using RTOL which blocks the heavily used RTOL aside from not following RotR. Another alternative is to stop 1.5 car lengths back from last car in line to block the RTOL opening, also an 'awkward' position.

Any thoughts? I left bias in this case which gives the most clearance, but I still feel less able to manage the situation vs. when there is no RTOL opening and simply lining up with vehicles, where the slowing of approaching vehicles is consistent.

(I ask that debate about alternate facilities not be discussed here)

Al
  1. What, no video?
  2. What street are you on, what is the cross street, and what direction are you headed? Google maps link?
  3. How many through lanes in your direction?
  4. If more than one through lane in your direction, can you filter forward on the left?
  5. Can you filter forward on the right, in the RTOL, and then cut-in behind one of the cars in line, thus getting out of the RTOL (with a smile and wave to the driver you're cutting in front of, of course)?
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Old 05-01-07, 04:47 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by noisebeam
There is an intersection with a RTOL, no bike lanes, narrow lanes only, I am traveling thru.

I line up behind thru cars in rightmost thru lane.

Sometimes I am the last vehicle just about where the RTOL begins.

I find this a concerning postion. I normally watch appraoching vehicles in mirror and note them slowing - if they don't I am prepared to take evasive action. However if there is a fair amount of RTing traffic, drivers may approach very fast and make a last second swerve into the car width opening for the RTOL, narrowly missing my rear tire.

I do not like this position as I can not tell if drivers see me or not. The alternative is to filter foward using RTOL which blocks the heavily used RTOL aside from not following RotR. Another alternative is to stop 1.5 car lengths back from last car in line to block the RTOL opening, also an 'awkward' position.

Any thoughts? I left bias in this case which gives the most clearance, but I still feel less able to manage the situation vs. when there is no RTOL opening and simply lining up with vehicles, where the slowing of approaching vehicles is consistent.

(I ask that debate about alternate facilities not be discussed here)

Al
I understand your problem. It occurs only when you are waiting just at the point where the RTOL starts, or where the line of waiting straight-through vehicles extends back to where there is only a very short (or call it narrow) opening into the RTOL. I think that were I to arrive at that situation, I would line up on the left-hand side of the straight-through lane, giving as much room as possible for the right-turning traffic to enter their lane.
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Old 05-01-07, 04:48 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by John Forester
I understand your problem. It occurs only when you are waiting just at the point where the RTOL starts, or where the line of waiting straight-through vehicles extends back to where there is only a very short (or call it narrow) opening into the RTOL. I think that were I to arrive at that situation, I would line up on the left-hand side of the straight-through lane, giving as much room as possible for the right-turning traffic to enter their lane.
I concur.
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Old 05-01-07, 04:50 PM   #5
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I have no desire to filter forward. Once the light turns green I will easily make the light and motor vehicle traffic will quickly be up to 45mph. Negotiating back into lane can be a bit difficult.

I can give video if I search my CDRs. I get in this potential position perhaps 1/20 times. I've posted video of this very intersection with different situations than this one.

Two same thru direction lanes, a LTO and RTO lane too.

There is a twist in that this road has a BL that ends just before the RTOL.

Al
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Old 05-01-07, 04:52 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by John Forester
I understand your problem. It occurs only when you are waiting just at the point where the RTOL starts, or where the line of waiting straight-through vehicles extends back to where there is only a very short (or call it narrow) opening into the RTOL. I think that were I to arrive at that situation, I would line up on the left-hand side of the straight-through lane, giving as much room as possible for the right-turning traffic to enter their lane.
Thanks John, this is indeed the situation I was describing. What you suggest is currently what I do (bias left in thru lane) as I noted in my original post. It is nice to have agreement from both yourself and Chipcom that this may be the best approach.

However even when biasing left I find it disconcerting to see vehicles approach faster than they normally do if stopping behind me. No longer is there is the behavioral clue that I have been noted and responded to.

Al
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Old 05-01-07, 05:21 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by noisebeam
Thanks John, this is indeed the situation I was describing. What you suggest is currently what I do (bias left in thru lane) as I noted in my original post. It is nice to have agreement from both yourself and Chipcom that this may be the best approach.

However even when biasing left I find it disconcerting to see vehicles approach faster than they normally do if stopping behind me. No longer is there is the behavioral clue that I have been noted and responded to.

Al
How long does this uncomfortable period last? The next through driver will stop behind you, and he will slow down first, right?
During a typical uncomfortable period, how many from-behind zoomers cut over into the RTOL?

What if a car was where you are? Two cars? At some point, the ability to cut over into the RTOL would be blocked off, right?

Can you move back and center, say, in order to cause such a block yourself? That would cause even the right-turners to have to slow down, no?
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Old 05-01-07, 05:38 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Helmet Head
How long does this uncomfortable period last? The next through driver will stop behind you, and he will slow down first, right?
During a typical uncomfortable period, how many from-behind zoomers cut over into the RTOL?

What if a car was where you are? Two cars? At some point, the ability to cut over into the RTOL would be blocked off, right?

Can you move back and center, say, in order to cause such a block yourself? That would cause even the right-turners to have to slow down, no?
Between 1-5 cars will go into RTOL before a thru car stops behind me.
Yes moving back to block is possible, but not what I want to do. I might as well go into RTOL and block them the same.

Really this is a minor issue, more about thoughtful discussion about fine tuning methods vs. gaining significant benefits.

Al
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Old 05-01-07, 05:50 PM   #9
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Al, you can get a little more room by going left, as mentioned, but angling the bike so that your rear end is centerish. This provides a bit more space, a wider visibility profile, allows you to easily monitor the approaching traffic without using the mirror and the ability to push-off up the left-hand side of the car in front of you if you feel the need to bail, (leave your front tire facing forward as if you are going to move around and filter up the left lane line).
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Old 05-01-07, 05:56 PM   #10
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Al,

Is the issue that cars are racing to cut you off to get into the RTOL while you are slowing down to stop in the through lane? Or that they are approaching a little too fast from behind to cut over into the RTOL while you are already stopped in the through lane?

If it's the latter, I would suggest tacks.
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Old 05-01-07, 06:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noisebeam
Between 1-5 cars will go into RTOL before a thru car stops behind me.
Yes moving back to block is possible, but not what I want to do. I might as well go into RTOL and block them the same.

Really this is a minor issue, more about thoughtful discussion about fine tuning methods vs. gaining significant benefits.

Al
Gotchya, and I am talking about fine tuning.

Here's a fine tuner: stay back and right to block to cause them to slow, then move forward and left when they're close to let them by.
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Old 05-01-07, 06:41 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by zeytoun
If it's the latter, I would suggest tacks.
Fits nicely on a rear rack.
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Old 05-01-07, 06:47 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chipcom
Al, you can get a little more room by going left, as mentioned, but angling the bike so that your rear end is centerish. This provides a bit more space, a wider visibility profile, allows you to easily monitor the approaching traffic without using the mirror and the ability to push-off up the left-hand side of the car in front of you if you feel the need to bail, (leave your front tire facing forward as if you are going to move around and filter up the left lane line).
Thanks Chip, thats kinda what I do, maybe not angled as much as you suggest, but pointing to the space between the two thru lanes as my 'escape' path.

Unless there are new ideas I think this is over, I achieved two results that I like:
1. Feedback that the left bias is a good approach
2. That others recognise this as a unique situation

And a third unintended but great result - having folks who like to argue come together with helpful thoughts and agreement.

Al
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Old 05-01-07, 06:49 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Helmet Head
Here's a fine tuner: stay back and right to block to cause them to slow, then move forward and left when they're close to let them by.
That works for the first, and better if they are already close, but there can be others later.

Thanks - I am not dismissive, just commenting

Al
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Old 05-01-07, 07:08 PM   #15
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Only think I can say is just do what you are doing, stopping and waiting in the left side of the through lane. You could also give approaching cars the slow/stop hand signal if the cars appear to be speeding toward you and look for turn signals (not that many drivers use them any more.....).

I think you will just have to hope a strait-through car stops and blocks for you as soon as possible.
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Old 05-01-07, 07:24 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noisebeam
And a third unintended but great result - having folks who like to argue come together with helpful thoughts and agreement.
Easy to do when we stick to talking about riding without getting all the politics and dogma involved.
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Old 05-01-07, 07:57 PM   #17
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Seems to me that as disconcerting as it may seem that people are coming up quickly with no indication of slowing, that there is your indication that they are headed for the right turn lane.
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Old 05-02-07, 07:40 AM   #18
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Seems to me that as disconcerting as it may seem that people are coming up quickly with no indication of slowing, that there is your indication that they are headed for the right turn lane.
Sounds like the drivers in that area are no better at using turn signals or giving idications of what their intentions are than the drivers in my area are.

We have an intersection in our area, where a through street dead ends into an industrial area within a block. At the intersection the drivers from the through lane will turn right 98% of the time, but very seldom use their turn signals. The local drivers from the cross lane are so used to the other drivers turning right without signaling {and very few going straight through** that they assume everyone is turning even without signals. It is very hard to go straight through without someone pulling out in front of you. This is mostly because of the lack of using signals, but also a problem of familiarity of this particular intersection.

Sorry didn't me to get side tracked, but feel part of your uncomfortable feeling is not knowing the drivers intentions. Turn right or go straight into you!
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Old 05-02-07, 08:02 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by John Forester
I understand your problem. It occurs only when you are waiting just at the point where the RTOL starts, or where the line of waiting straight-through vehicles extends back to where there is only a very short (or call it narrow) opening into the RTOL. I think that were I to arrive at that situation, I would line up on the left-hand side of the straight-through lane, giving as much room as possible for the right-turning traffic to enter their lane.
1+

That's how I do it.
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Old 05-02-07, 09:33 AM   #20
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Seems to me that as disconcerting as it may seem that people are coming up quickly with no indication of slowing, that there is your indication that they are headed for the right turn lane.
Now look who is thinking hardcore VC!
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Old 05-02-07, 09:44 AM   #21
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Now look who is thinking hardcore VC!
Wouldn't the right attitude be that one should not assume what another driver is doing and instead take full reponsibility for ones safety?

I can do this when waiting in back of a normal line of traffic, noting the approaching vehicles slowing. If one doesn't I can take evasive action. However in this case one can not be certain if the driver has not seen the stopped traffic or is instead turning.

People do get rear ended waiting stopped at lights. Just last week a co-worker in the office next to me was stopped in line for a fairly long period of time. (A police car was stopped next to them in adjacent lane.) A driver (on cell phone) plowed into them at over 45mph, pushing them into several cars ahead. Airbags, crumple zones and such resulted in reduced injuries, even though the rear bumper was deep within the trunk of the car against the rear seat.

Al
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Old 05-02-07, 10:48 AM   #22
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You could avoid that intesection (I hate that option), you could also carry an old hairdryer and turn around and pretend to be taking down their speeds with RADAR, you could carry a bullhorn and tell them to "SLOW THE F--- DOWN!"

What about threading on the left hands side? (I know, not necessarily a good idea... I do it on 25mph roads with backed-up right lanes and clear left lanes sometimes, and time the light so I can always find a nice gap to merge back into...)

These are just random ideas, i still like the left side of the through lane, angled, idea the best. Maybe detach your head light, and point it straight in the faster drivers' eyes.
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Old 05-02-07, 10:50 AM   #23
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Once again.... Left biased in rightmost thru lane is what I always have done and what I will continue to do.

Al
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Old 05-02-07, 11:09 AM   #24
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Wouldn't the right attitude be that one should not assume what another driver is doing and instead take full reponsibility for ones safety?

Al
Just the fact that you are uncomfortable in the situation in your OP indicates that you have cyclist inferiority phobia.
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Old 05-02-07, 11:25 AM   #25
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Just the fact that you are uncomfortable in the situation in your OP indicates that you have cyclist inferiority phobia.
I get the same feeling when in the same position in my SUV. Seriously.
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