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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: Do you agree with the statement in the OP?
Yes, I agree with the statement in the OP. 3 42.86%
Yes, I mostly agree with the statement in the OP, but I have minor clarification (see post). 1 14.29%
No, I generally do not agree with the statement in the OP (see post). 0 0%
The statement in the OP does not make sense to me. See my post for why. 1 14.29%
Other. See my post. 2 28.57%
Voters: 7. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-22-07, 02:34 PM   #1
Helmet Head
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VC position on bike lanes

There seems to be much confusion about the Vehicular Cycling position on bike lanes. This is exemplified by a recent post in another thread:

Quote:
And yet, you insist that I ride in a bike lane when it is available, and not test your concepts outside the bike lane. But you want me to be outside the bike lane much further away from an intersection. Interesting...
The purpose of this thread is to try address some of that confusion. Whether you agree or disagree with this description of the VC position on bike lanes, please vote in the poll accordingly, and explain why you disagree (if you disagree) in a post.

To ride vehicularly, you decide where you ride independent of the presence of the bike lane stripe according to the two fundamental VC principles of lane positioning:
  1. Speed positioning. Between intersections, when faster same direction traffic is present, and it is safe and reasonable to do so, right about 3' to the right of traffic.
  2. Destination positioning. At intersections and their approaches, choose your position based on your destination, including moving left of the space normally used for right turns by vehicle drivers if you're going straight.
Note that these basic VC principles apply equally whether bike lane stripes are present or not.


Also, please note that the following comments, which is what seems to confuse some folks, apply to the corresponding VC principles.
  1. If about 3' to the right of traffic happens to put you to the right of a bike lane stripe (in the bike lane), so be it. If not, that's fine too. You should not decide to avoid space that is appropriate to ride in per the speed positioning principle above simply because that space is demarcated as a bike lane. If the bike lane is too narrow for your speed (i.e., riding 3' to the right of traffic puts you too close to the curb for that speed), or is full of debris or other hazards, or you're preparing for a left turn, or it is unsafe or unreasonable to ride in the bike lane for some other reason, then, yes, by all means, get the heck out of it. But to avoid riding in space simply because that space is demarcated as a bike lane is not VC.
  2. If a curbside bike lane is present as you approach an intersection where you are going straight, applying the destination positioning principle generally means moving left out of the bike lane as you approach that intersection. If a curbside bike lane is present as you approach an intersection where you are turning left, applying the destination positioning principle generally means moving left out of the bike lane well before you reach the intersection, so that you have plenty of time and distance to merge left for the turn, which often requires the need to negotiate for Right of Way with faster traffic as you merge left.
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Old 05-22-07, 02:48 PM   #2
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I voted agree, but there is one minor clarification. I will not ride in a position if it puts me just inside (to the left of) the bike lane or any other stripe. Instead I will use the right tire track, so there is no confusion as to what lane I am in.

Al
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Old 05-22-07, 03:25 PM   #3
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Another HeadPoll....

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Old 05-22-07, 04:43 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head
There seems to be much confusion...
The only confusion is that which VC-ists create to conceal their political agenda. Next you'll be telling us that VC is nothing more than riding in traffic according to the rules of the road.

In advertising, the tactic VC-ists use is called 'bait and switch'.
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Old 05-22-07, 05:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noisebeam
I voted agree, but there is one minor clarification. I will not ride in a position if it puts me just inside (to the left of) the bike lane or any other stripe. Instead I will use the right tire track, so there is no confusion as to what lane I am in.

Al
I second this statement. Aside from brief moments where I've moved right to let someone pass and they've also moved left leaving a huge gap between us (in which case I don't bother moving all the way out of the lane and sometimes end up on the stripe), I do not ride on or right near lane stripes.
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Old 05-22-07, 05:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randya
Another HeadPoll....

I never vote in Helmet Head polls.
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Old 05-22-07, 06:46 PM   #7
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I voted other - only because I hate to click the "see poll results" button all the time.
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Old 05-22-07, 09:34 PM   #8
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yes, vehicular cyclists can ride in bike lanes. a bike lane is a vehicular lane for bike traffic.

vehicular cyclists can advocate for bike infrastructure in communities, including bike lanes.
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Old 05-22-07, 10:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRA
The only confusion is that which VC-ists create to conceal their political agenda. Next you'll be telling us that VC is nothing more than riding in traffic according to the rules of the road.

In advertising, the tactic VC-ists use is called 'bait and switch'.
VC is nothing more than riding in traffic according to the rules of the road.

There. Now you can die happy.
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Old 05-22-07, 10:49 PM   #10
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I mostly agree.

The 3 foot rule for speed positioning sucks, or maybe I misunderstand it.

For example, what about a narrow outer lane? You can't ride to the right of traffic in a NOL because there's no space. I ride in the middle of the lane and usually motorists give me 3 or more feet when they pull into the inner lane to overtake me.

EDIT> Like Emily Latella said, "Never mind." I see the question was meant to be specific to bike lanes, so NOL is irrelevant.
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Old 05-22-07, 10:53 PM   #11
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i find traffic positioning based on overtaking traffic behind you- this 3 foot to the right of- H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S. absolutely hilarious.
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Old 05-23-07, 12:00 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
I mostly agree.

The 3 foot rule for speed positioning sucks, or maybe I misunderstand it.

For example, what about a narrow outer lane? You can't ride to the right of traffic in a NOL because there's no space. I ride in the middle of the lane and usually motorists give me 3 or more feet when they pull into the inner lane to overtake me.

EDIT> Like Emily Latella said, "Never mind." I see the question was meant to be specific to bike lanes, so NOL is irrelevant.
The 3 foot rule only applies when it is safe and reasonable, which of course rules out any lane that is too narrow to be safely shared side-by-side with a car, in which case (among others) you take the lane.

But on a road with standard width bike lanes of at least 4' in width, there is almost always sufficient room to ride about 3' to the right of traffic; sometimes that position is to the left of the stripe.

Consider a 12 foot lane with 6' wide traffic traveling one foot to the right of the lane stripe to their left. 1 + 6 + 3 = 10 feet, which means the cyclist needs to track about 11 feet to the right of the lane stripe, which puts him 1 foot to the left of a bike lane stripe assume a typical 12 foot lane adjacent to a bike lane.


Lx-----------BBBBB
Axccccccbbb++LIIII
Nxccccccbbb++-KKKK
Exccccccbbb++SEEEE
-xccccccbbb++TLLLL
Sxccccccbbb++RAAAA
Tx-----------INNNN
Rx-----------PEEEE
Ix-----------E
Px
Ex

KEY:
x 1' buffer
bbb = 3' buffer
cccccc = 6' wide car
++ 2' wide bike/cyclsit
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Old 05-23-07, 12:03 AM   #13
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that's funny. a bicyclist determing their position by the cars overtaking them. did you read that in a book?
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Old 05-23-07, 04:43 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmet Head

Lx-----------BBBBB
Axccccccbbb++LIIII
Nxccccccbbb++-KKKK
Exccccccbbb++SEEEE
-xccccccbbb++TLLLL
Sxccccccbbb++RAAAA
Tx-----------INNNN
Rx-----------PEEEE
Ix-----------E
Px
Ex

KEY:
x 1' buffer
bbb = 3' buffer
cccccc = 6' wide car
++ 2' wide bike/cyclsit

You have WAAAAY too much time on your hands - go play with your child!
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