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  1. #1
    Commuter JohnBrooking's Avatar
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    Question Waiting to turn left, how close to double-yellow?

    Here's a nuance that I haven't quite settled for myself. Waiting to make a left turn from a fairly busy average-width two-lane road, 3-5' shoulders, no curbs, average car speed 30-35 MPH, onto a residential street, unsignalized intersection. I signal and merge to the middle of the road so I'm close to the double-yellow line. Worst case, I have to stop there to wait for oncoming traffic to clear and there are more cars approaching from behind.

    Obviously the cars behind me, if they pass at all, will pass on my right, and they do. (In one spot in particular, it is wide enough for cars to pass even other waiting cars on the right, and they do.) My uncertainty is exactly where laterally to stop and wait. I don't want to be too close to the double-yellow and the opposing cars, because you need a certain margin for error, but at the same time I feel pretty vulnerable being too far away from the double-yellow, possibly preventing cars from passing me on the right, or requiring that they take me into account pretty far in advance to avoid hitting me. (I always dress brightly and use lights at night, and sometimes but not always hi-viz clothing during the day.) Leaving less margin for error to my right, I guess you could say.

    Specific questions: About how far to the right of the double-yellow do you stop in this situation? (Or, if the double-yellow breaks for the intersection, think of where it would be if it continued through.) And how concerned should I be about getting hit from behind if I'm too far away from the double-yellow position, into the lane? Is it just a matter of getting over the paranoia, like taking the lane in other situations? I guess I feel more vulnerable "taking the lane" here because here I'm not moving, so the net overtaking speed is higher.
    Quote Originally Posted by MadfiNch on Commuting forum
    What's the point of a bike if you can only ride it on weekends, and you can't even carry anything with you?!
    Portland Maine Bicycle Commuting Meetup

  2. #2
    www.chipsea.blogspot.com ChipSeal's Avatar
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    Centered in the lane, just as any other vehicle would.
    Vehicular cycling techniques have not been tried and found difficult. They have been presumed difficult and not tried.

  3. #3
    Senior Member juggleaddict's Avatar
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    i agree with chipseal here, i take the middle of the lane,

    a car would be stopped as well, if it's at night, have a blinky . . . but i guess that's common sense

    i don't like cars trying to squeeze by me on the right when i'm stopped, i like my head, and hate getting hit by mirrors.

  4. #4
    Spark of the Divine Fire
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    I'm mostly worried about being plenty visible in a situation like that. I want to be in the middle of the lane, because if I'm in a "subtle" position, like scooted over so as to be unobtrusive, I worry they won't see me.

    If there's plenty of room, though, in fact my tendency is to ride about an arm's length from the edge. That's where I find myself to be most comfortable. That's means about a yard from the centerline of my bike to the yellow line.

    Angela
    Rides: 2008 Raleigh Detour 4.5 (Ivy) and 2006 Trek Sole Ride 100 (Lurch)
    Wife to: 2007 Raleigh Mohave 2.0 (22")
    Mom to: 2006 Trek 7200 (25"!), 2008 Raleigh Venture 3.0 (22"), 2007 Raleigh Mohave 2.0 (16"), and a little tiny Allycat Shadow trail-a-bike & PV Glider balance bike :)

  5. #5
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    If there is literally a double strip in the center, then I make sure that the rear of the bike is sticking out towards the center. Most of the arterials around here though, have some a median with some substantive width. Wide enough for the bike to easily fit in the center at an angle.

  6. #6
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Improve your long range traffic readling skills , get comfortable with 'the early crossover' & also get better at shooting the gap. you can slow down oncoming traffic with an early hang prior to accelerating across the lane...hopefully, with a little heads up planning you wont have to ever stop in the middle of the lane.

    standing where in the road is situation dependent, sometimes you can be close to the doubleyellow and let cars pass, sometimes you've got stop in the lane and slow traffic down - one car stops, everyone else stops behind them, no big deal.

    being more high viz during the day is a great idea, john- are you using daylight-visible safety lights?
    Last edited by Bekologist; 09-11-08 at 09:24 AM.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  7. #7
    smatte
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    Act like a car, usually get treated like a car. Signal early and often, take the middle lane. If you are too far left drivers will see that as an invitation to pass on your right.

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    they pass me across double yellow at the turn anyway

  9. #9
    20+mph Commuter JoeyBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnBrooking View Post
    Here's a nuance that I haven't quite settled for myself. I signal and merge to the middle of the road so I'm close to the double-yellow line. Worst case, I have to stop there to wait for oncoming traffic to clear and there are more cars approaching from behind.
    Don't stop. Go past your intersection. At the first opportunity, swing a U-turn and go back to your turn and make a right.
    "For all we know his skills may be excellent, allowing him to ride like an idiot without actually being one." - FBinNY

  10. #10
    Senior Member gcottay's Avatar
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    During the day, in a similar situation, with a long line of oncoming traffic and a lane wide enough for sharing, I merge to the left taking the middle of the lane. If a stop will be necessary, though, I move to the right edge of the center line. Taking the lane and may well be better, but I like giving drivers a small break. I even hear "Thank you" often enough that it's not a total shock.
    George
    Laissez les bon temps rouler

  11. #11
    uke
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    it's easy if you let it. uke's Avatar
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    I stop on the double yellow. Oncoming traffic usually drives slowly on the approach. Cars can pass me on the right. I turn left when clear.

    JesseDuncan:I just love how "cars will be forced to cross the double yellow lines on dangerous limited visibility roads".

    I don't want to have a head on but oh god, I HAVE to fling myself into oncoming traffic to pass, theres no alternative!!!

  12. #12
    LCI #1853
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    If making a left turn from a left lane, you want to be in the left third of that lane. Depending on the lane width, in a narrow lane (too narrow to share side-by-side with a car and still keep about a 3-foot separation) position yourself in the center to control it. As far as how close to the intersection itself, you to be just behind the stop line, if there is one, or move forward to where you can make your turn and get quickly into your new lane when oncoming traffic clears. If there's a traffic light, it's probably safer to do the former so as to avoid getting caught out in the middle of the intersection when the signal changes.

  13. #13
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    I prefer the center of the lane. Lane placement best communicates your intentions to motorists. Anything else may leave motorists wondering what you are doing, turning, waiting to move into the flow of traffic, taking a break from pedaling... Unless you have turn signals and brake lights most modern motorists have no clue what you are going to do. Many young drivers have no clue what hand signals are or how/why they war used because their ride came with brake lights and often unused turn signals.

  14. #14
    1973 Sekine dogbreathpnw's Avatar
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    I vote for the left third of the lane. If you're too far to the left, an approaching motorist might be confused by your positioning. Also, you know how cars pass you too closely on the *left* if you're too far to the *right*? You could end up with that same annoyance in reverse, but without the benefit of your mirror to see them doing it.

    I avoid the grease strip right in the middle; it has traction issues as well as it gets you dirty. Sit right in the left wheel track.

    Note, finally, that leaving the roadway (esp. the shoulder) to pass a vehicle on the right is illegal in most states. (Think: there could be bicycles and pedestrians on that shoulder.) That being said, I don't have an issue with people doing it if they do it slowly and cautiously. Positioning yourself assertively in the lane *strongly* encourages motorists to proceed with caution.
    When was the last time a bicyclist fell asleep at the wheel and killed a family of four? It's the motorists that are the problem.

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    you must be a nut

    You're honestly asking where to stop in a roadway!! NO-WHERE!! Time it right and just cross when you can. Go past and come back. Get off and walk across. Try watching Police Videos on TV and you'll see cars with flashing lights being whacked. You are committing suicide by waiting in the middle. What if an oncoming decides to pass. Even tho it's a double yellow, they might. Bang. You're a gonner again.

    Swallow that pride. Live to ride another day.

  16. #16
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Those of you that say "stop in the middle of the lane" must never have been passed on the left...

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