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Old 09-27-09, 07:32 AM   #1
doorunrun
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New to VC; passing cars in left turn lane

I can't seem to find this topic explained to my satisfaction in previous threads. If it's been beaten to death, or is so painfully obvious, forgive me.

So, let's say I'm riding along and I want to make a left turn. And up ahead there's a left hand turn lane. And, in the left turn lane there's a line of maybe 5-7 cars. Would VC dictate I pull up behind the 7th car, take the whole lane, and wait my turn?

To me, there are situations where I feel comfortable moving (lane splitting?) to the front of the turn lane where I'm going to be passing stopped cars on my left and (sometimes) right.

Thanks for all the help!
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Old 09-27-09, 07:52 AM   #2
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A left turn movement is one of those locations where drivers are prone to drifting laterally in the lane. I wouldn't recommend getting beside traffic in the same lane for the turn no matter how wide the lane. I would get into the center of the lane behind the other stopped cars.

There is a very long uphill stretch of dual left turn only lanes on my commute where I must turn left. I ride the right side of the rightmost left turn only lane while approaching the intersection so that faster drivers may pass in the wide LTO lane, but before I reach the queue or intersection I merge into the center of the lane.
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Old 09-27-09, 09:19 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by doorunrun View Post
I can't seem to find this topic explained to my satisfaction in previous threads. If it's been beaten to death, or is so painfully obvious, forgive me.

So, let's say I'm riding along and I want to make a left turn. And up ahead there's a left hand turn lane. And, in the left turn lane there's a line of maybe 5-7 cars. Would VC dictate I pull up behind the 7th car, take the whole lane, and wait my turn?

To me, there are situations where I feel comfortable moving (lane splitting?) to the front of the turn lane where I'm going to be passing stopped cars on my left and (sometimes) right.

Thanks for all the help!
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Old 09-27-09, 02:28 PM   #4
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I'll Take a Shot at This

Don't turn left. Stay right. Cross the intersection, pause and then go with your green the direction you want to go. No risk. It's just like a left turn lane across 4 lanes of traffic in a car with bad acceleration. Find another way. Live.
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Old 09-28-09, 08:34 AM   #5
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A left turn movement is one of those locations where drivers are prone to drifting laterally in the lane. I wouldn't recommend getting beside traffic in the same lane for the turn no matter how wide the lane. I would get into the center of the lane behind the other stopped cars.

There is a very long uphill stretch of dual left turn only lanes on my commute where I must turn left. I ride the right side of the rightmost left turn only lane while approaching the intersection so that faster drivers may pass in the wide LTO lane, but before I reach the queue or intersection I merge into the center of the lane.
Exactly what I do. Add'l reasons: why pass cars that are going to pass you again once the light changes?

Acting like any other vehicle, that is, getting in line and waiting in the center of the lane, gives plenty of time for the cars behind you to see you are there. Also, they IMO respect cyclists who are acting like vehicles and waiting their turns like the motorists have to do.
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Old 09-28-09, 08:55 AM   #6
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And, in the left turn lane there's a line of maybe 5-7 cars. Would VC dictate I pull up behind the 7th car, take the whole lane, and wait my turn?
Yep

Quote:
Originally Posted by doorunrun View Post
To me, there are situations where I feel comfortable moving (lane splitting?) to the front of the turn lane where I'm going to be passing stopped cars on my left and (sometimes) right.

Thanks for all the help!
Sure ... there are times when the trade off between strict compliance and speed is good enough to warrant filetering up. On my commute to DC, I pass through the intersection of Lynn St and Wilson Blvd and make that very choice often. I'm cycling east downhill towards the intersection. At times the backup to make the left turn can be much more than 5-7 cars you mention. If there is a lot to do that day I'll ride down the center lane and either filter to the middle of the island on the east-side of Lynn St or if the light changes accordingly, I will make the left turn onto Lynn St.

Now I know this intersection well. It turns out that there are almost always pedestrians waiting to cross Wilson Blvd as well as crossing Lynn St. So cars rarely make a right on red there. Moreover, Lynn St is quite wide and the outside lane is very wide. There is lots of room to maneuver.

Mind you, this maneuver is almost certainly illegal. They do ticket cars performing such a maneuver. Also, one should be careful for a car changing its mind and heading straight.
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Old 09-28-09, 09:15 AM   #7
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... there are times when the trade off between strict compliance and speed is good enough to warrant filetering up. ...
On one of my regular routes I come to a 'T' intersection. I'm on a little used two lane road where I want to turn left onto a very busy 4 lane, 50 mph road. Sometimes, when it's very busy, I turn left early and head up on the wide bike lane, going the wrong way, on the left side of the road for 100 yards. This is admittedly a bad idea.

I've stopped doing it because afterwards I have to wear sack cloth and ashes.
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Old 09-28-09, 09:30 AM   #8
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are the cars impeding YOUR use of the lane? would you be stopped for more than one signal? is there room to filter on the right of the left turning traffic? can you stay appraised of moving vehicles parallel you in a turning manuever?

if so, go.


its all very dependent on traffic conditions. here in seattle they placed a left turn pocket bikelane to expedite bike filtering to the front of what is often a significant backup of traffic at one intersection. pretty snazzy, very VC
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Old 09-28-09, 10:10 AM   #9
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...here in seattle they placed a left turn pocket bikelane to expedite bike filtering to the front of what is often a significant backup of traffic at one intersection. pretty snazzy, very VC
'Snazzy' if you like to trade the 4' or 5' clearance from cars that you have in the 'car' left hand turn lane for the skinny bike lane that gives you less than 3' on either side. This treatment is a wonderful example of how bike lanes can make things worse from a safety perspective. Granted, this example may facilitate bicycle travel around the left turn and be helpful if there is a long line of cars in the 'car' turn lane, in terms of time. But it certainly does not make things safer for the cyclist.
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Old 09-28-09, 06:37 PM   #10
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Thanks for the comments so far. I think a key point to all of this is to act predictably. I feel comfortable easing up in the right hand side of LTO lane when the light ahead is red to to both the through and turning traffic. I'm still new at all this and yes negotiating a bike out into traffic can be a thing of beauty. I'm quite comfortable about pulling out in front of traffic closing in behind you. I still need plenty of space before I'll move into the lane.

I can only imagine how a little Piper Cub pilot feels flying into National Airport or Dulles. Those of you commuting into downtown Mega-Metrolopolis really have your hands full. I'm in a small college town most car/drivers put up with a lot of stupid, sorry, unaware, bicyclists. Yes, there are a lot of stupid, uh, unaware drivers as well. Right now, the toughest time is getting around campus between classes. The bikes, pedestrians, busses, cars.........oh, the humanity!

The nice thing about sticking to the same route is knowing what to expect and working out better ways to get through it. We always learn from our mistakes and hopefully get to walk away from them.
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Old 09-28-09, 06:45 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by thehick View Post
Don't turn left. Stay right. Cross the intersection, pause and then go with your green the direction you want to go. No risk. It's just like a left turn lane across 4 lanes of traffic in a car with bad acceleration. Find another way. Live.
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Old 09-30-09, 02:19 PM   #12
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+1 I had the same reaction.
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Old 09-30-09, 02:34 PM   #13
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it's actually called a 'Copenhagen left'. look it up

http://www.copenhagenize.com/2008/12...-movement.html

Last edited by randya; 09-30-09 at 02:38 PM.
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Old 09-30-09, 02:42 PM   #14
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it's actually called a 'Copenhagen left'. look it up

http://www.copenhagenize.com/2008/12...-movement.html
Whatever it is, it was poorly described. I can only guess it is a maneuver I've executed many times in various vehicles when the left turn is congested. You simply go straight and turn left at the next [less crowded] intersection and another left, then right onto the road you originally wanted to turn left on. Can save lots of time and make you think you are smarter than the lemmings lined up to turn left.
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Old 09-30-09, 02:46 PM   #15
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Whatever it is, it was poorly described. I can only guess it is a maneuver I've executed many times in various vehicles when the left turn is congested. You simply go straight and turn left at the next [less crowded] intersection and another left, then right onto the road you originally wanted to turn left on. Can save lots of time and make you think you are smarter than the lemmings lined up to turn left.
incorrect
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Old 09-30-09, 03:28 PM   #16
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incorrect
you are fond of 'incorrect' and 'fail.' These are not arguments. They are reflexive oppositional comments devoid of reasoning. They may be of value to the deluded, but not to any one else.
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Old 09-30-09, 03:31 PM   #17
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it's actually called a 'Copenhagen left'. look it up

http://www.copenhagenize.com/2008/12...-movement.html
I understand what you meant, I just think it's a lame suggestion.
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Old 09-30-09, 03:44 PM   #18
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QEKTZyQmwk

Fast forward to 4:14 for a description of thehick's turning strategy. Of course, since it's a crosswalk, you should walk across. Not VC, but safer in some situations, especially for people who have difficulty keeping up with traffic. Apologies for the old video, but it's all I could remember at moment's notice.
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Old 09-30-09, 05:55 PM   #19
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QEKTZyQmwk

Fast forward to 4:14 for a description of thehick's turning strategy. Of course, since it's a crosswalk, you should walk across. Not VC, but safer in some situations, especially for people who have difficulty keeping up with traffic. Apologies for the old video, but it's all I could remember at moment's notice.
Very amusing. Really enjoyed it. Reminded me of a grade school movie that was out of date when shown back then.

One of the problems with the video, particularly the left hand turn advice at 4:4, is that it demonstrates an illegal turn. IF a cyclist is so intimidated by riding like a vehicle in traffic, then fine. He can ride across the intersection, then stop and DISMOUNT, and WALK the bike across like a pedestrian, not ride across the cross walk on the bike. You're either a vehicle or a pedestrian holding a bike. The law and common sense and safety do not favor the combination.
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Old 09-30-09, 07:01 PM   #20
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there is nothing illegal about riding in a cross walk; all Oregon law says about is that you must yield to pedestrians and ride at a walking speed
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Old 09-30-09, 07:41 PM   #21
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there is nothing illegal about riding in a cross walk; all Oregon law says about is that you must yield to pedestrians and ride at a walking speed
Whether or not it is illegal, it's certainly not very VC. Stop being a pu$$y and get in the turn lane like a car.
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Old 09-30-09, 08:10 PM   #22
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Whether or not it is illegal, it's certainly not very VC. Stop being a pu$$y and get in the turn lane like a car.
Exactly! BTW, I never said it was illegal, to ride a bicycle in a crosswalk. I said it was 'contrary to law.' This is a distinction I don't expect randya to appreciate. One can operate contrary to law without committing a crime. To have the protection of the law, one must be operating not contrary to it. Here's an example of a legal case where a bicyclist was injured while riding in a bike lane. He was not violating a statute, yet he lost his case because he was operating his bicycle 'contrary to law.

"138 Wn. App. 290
BORROMEO v. SHEA
156 P.3d 946 (WA 2007)

....
1 This case raises another question about rules of the road for drivers and bicyclists. Here, the bicyclist was riding in a bike lane, but in the direction opposed to the flow of traffic. He was injured when he was hit by a car turning onto the roadway from a parking lot. The jury found the driver not negligent."

The law is murky when it comes to people riding bikes in crosswalks. The law gives special protection to pedestrians in crosswalks and that protection fully applies to cyclists walking their bikes. But a cyclist who is riding on the road and suddenly crosses the street in a crosswalk while riding, not only takes his life in his hands because he is acting in a way motorists may not predict, he also may not have the protection of the law in a civil suit. Jurisdictions may differ and juries certainly will.
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Old 09-30-09, 08:15 PM   #23
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That Copenhagen left turn seems to be a good option if there is no left turn lane on a busy street. You won't catch me stopped in the left lane, waiting for a break in traffic, on a busy street.

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Old 09-30-09, 08:19 PM   #24
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there is nothing illegal about riding in a cross walk; all Oregon law says about is that you must yield to pedestrians and ride at a walking speed
As I said, jurisdictions may differ. But even your example, if accurate, states the cyclist must ride at 'walking speed.' Right. A cyclist is going to ride at 'walking speed.' Not likely. And if injured, as the plaintiff, she will have the burden of proving she was riding at walking speed. Most cyclists would not be inclined to believe her if she made such a claim.

Und said it best, Whether or not it is illegal, it's certainly not very VC. Stop being a pu$$y and get in the turn lane like a car."
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Old 09-30-09, 09:31 PM   #25
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Und said it best, Whether or not it is illegal, it's certainly not very VC. Stop being a pu$$y and get in the turn lane like a car."
how very accommodating of you. Maybe I should report you and umd to the mods for insulting other members, just like your mentor John Forester is prone to do. on second though, I think I'll just let you guys own it. inconsiderate roadies rule!



btw - still can't figure out what a 'Copenhagen left' is, can you? Here's a little hint - it's got nothing at all to do with either going around the block or using the crosswalk.

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