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  1. #1
    Senior Member ChrisM2097's Avatar
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    Could I have handled this better?

    I was riding back to work from lunch on a 2-lane-in-each-direction road that has no bike lane, and several right-turn-only lanes.

    As I always do on this stretch (mile 1.7 to 2.25 in link above), I stayed in the middle of the #2 lane (second from left). This allows cars to pass on my left, if they're going straight, and pass on my right, if they're turning right. There were very few cars on this road today, so I certainly wasn't holding up any traffic.

    A couple of ladies followed me for a couple minutes, started honking, and then pulled up beside me and started telling me "Get in the Bike Lane!".
    I responded, "There is no bike lane."
    They told me, "You're in the middle of the road!"
    I simply said, "I know, because their is no bike lane."
    They finished by telling me, "Move to your right" then shook their heads and took off.

    How do/would you respond in a situation like this? I prefer to be polite and tactful, and try to take advantage of 'teaching moments', which can be difficult to do when you only have a few seconds for a discussion.
    Chris
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  2. #2
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisM2097 View Post
    I was riding back to work from lunch on a 2-lane-in-each-direction road that has no bike lane, and several right-turn-only lanes.

    As I always do on this stretch (mile 1.7 to 2.25 in link above), I stayed in the middle of the #2 lane (second from left). This allows cars to pass on my left, if they're going straight, and pass on my right, if they're turning right. There were very few cars on this road today, so I certainly wasn't holding up any traffic.

    A couple of ladies followed me for a couple minutes, started honking, and then pulled up beside me and started telling me "Get in the Bike Lane!".
    I responded, "There is no bike lane."
    They told me, "You're in the middle of the road!"
    I simply said, "I know, because their is no bike lane."
    They finished by telling me, "Move to your right" then shook their heads and took off.

    How do/would you respond in a situation like this? I prefer to be polite and tactful, and try to take advantage of 'teaching moments', which can be difficult to do when you only have a few seconds for a discussion.
    In the time you had, there was little you could do.

    In the future, make up a CA bike laws card and carry a few... just copy all the really pertainant bike laws onto a business card front and back and make sure you bold the part where it says "A person riding a bicycle or operating a pedicab upon a highway has all the rights and is subject to all the provisions applicable to the driver of a vehicle...."

    Have it ready to hand out.

    I have often thought a great T shirt to wear would have this simple statement:
    Google
    CVC21200

  3. #3
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    I think you did pretty well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisM2097 View Post
    ...
    I responded, "There is no bike lane."
    They told me, "You're in the middle of the road!"
    Reply: "Well, yes, I am, thanks for noticing and keeping me safe!"

  5. #5
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Smile and wave, boys. Smile and wave.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  6. #6
    Fat Guy on a Little Bike KonAaron Snake's Avatar
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    Sounds like you did fine. I have such a hard time with this stuff - the rational, reasonable, mature part of my brain knows that there is no win in arguing or fighting. They're not going to change their minds and what are you going to get out of a confrontation other than stress? If you yell or confront, you've immediately put them (and yourself) in fight or flight mode - you aren't teaching anything.

    The part of my brain that usually takes over is more aggressive and is offended by crappy behavior. This part of my brain wants justice and cries for action. I've gotten increasingly better at ignoring this part of my psyche, but I'm still firmly of the opinion that a large number of people are in need of a good swift kick to the head.

  7. #7
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisM2097 View Post
    I was riding back to work from lunch on a 2-lane-in-each-direction road that has no bike lane, and several right-turn-only lanes.

    As I always do on this stretch (mile 1.7 to 2.25 in link above), I stayed in the middle of the #2 lane (second from left). This allows cars to pass on my left, if they're going straight, and pass on my right, if they're turning right. There were very few cars on this road today, so I certainly wasn't holding up any traffic.

    A couple of ladies followed me for a couple minutes, started honking, and then pulled up beside me and started telling me "Get in the Bike Lane!".
    I responded, "There is no bike lane."
    They told me, "You're in the middle of the road!"
    I simply said, "I know, because their is no bike lane."
    They finished by telling me, "Move to your right" then shook their heads and took off.

    How do/would you respond in a situation like this? I prefer to be polite and tactful, and try to take advantage of 'teaching moments', which can be difficult to do when you only have a few seconds for a discussion.
    While I don't exactly know California traffic code, I would have told them, to re-read the traffic code and left it at that. If they continued to pester you, I would ignore it.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Essex's Avatar
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    You were nice about it and that's all you can hope for. I've tried educating in a similar circumstances. You need time, and more importantly a brain* that is willing to accept facts and make changes accordingly.

    * affective change : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attitude_change

  9. #9
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
    While I don't exactly know California traffic code, I would have told them, to re-read the traffic code and left it at that. If they continued to pester you, I would ignore it.
    Google CVC21200

  10. #10
    Senior Member ChrisM2097's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Google CVC21200
    http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21200.htm

    Laws Applicable to Bicycle Use: Peace Officer Exemption


    21200. (a) A person riding a bicycle or operating a pedicab upon a highway has all the rights and is subject to all the provisions applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this division, including, but not limited to, provisions concerning driving under the influence of alcoholic beverages or drugs, and by Division 10 (commencing with Section 20000), Section 27400, Division 16.7 (commencing with Section 39000), Division 17 (commencing with Section 40000.1), and Division 18 (commencing with Section 42000), except those provisions which by their very nature can have no application.

    (b) (1) A peace officer, as defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2 of the Penal Code, operating a bicycle during the course of his or her duties is exempt from the requirements of subdivision (a), except as those requirements relate to driving under the influence of alcoholic beverages or drugs, if the bicycle is being operated under any of the following circumstances:
    (A) In response to an emergency call.
    (B) While engaged in rescue operations.
    (C) In the immediate pursuit of an actual or suspected violator of the law.
    (2) This subdivision does not relieve a peace officer from the duty to operate a bicycle with due regard for the safety of all persons using the highway.

    Amended Sec. 3, Ch. 614, Stats. 2010. Effective January 1, 2011.
    The problem is most people won't understand it, or will mis-apply it. These people should simply read only the red portion, and ignore the rest. That's really all they need to know.
    Chris
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  11. #11
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    Smile and wave, boys. Smile and wave.

    It's really all you can do.

  12. #12
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisM2097 View Post
    http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21200.htm

    [h=4]

    The problem is most people won't understand it, or will mis-apply it. These people should simply read only the red portion, and ignore the rest. That's really all they need to know.
    I agree that the rest applies to other conditions... and it is too bad it all got rolled into the basic law.

    I have that line in bold print on the cards I carry.

    Most people will simply read "highway" and assume this doesn't apply to regular streets.

  13. #13
    Senior Member ChrisM2097's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    I agree that the rest applies to other conditions... and it is too bad it all got rolled into the basic law.

    I have that line in bold print on the cards I carry.

    Most people will simply read "highway" and assume this doesn't apply to regular streets.
    I was thinking the same thing, but was curious, and found this:

    360. "Highway" is a way or place of whatever nature, publicly maintained and open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel. Highway includes street.
    Chris
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  14. #14
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisM2097 View Post
    I was thinking the same thing, but was curious, and found this:
    Right, but you had to look for it... the general public won't.

    Hell the general public barely knows the laws governing motor vehicles... for the most part they just mimic others and rely on their own bad habits. The general public has to be remided of the laws they should know, all the time... hence we have to have signs like this at many many intersections.

    r10-15.gif

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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but if I understand your description correctly, it seems you're trying to be as fair as possible to all people on a relatively quiet road (ie not impede drivers who want to go straight and pass on your left and to not impede drivers who want to make the right hand turn by allowing them enough room to pass on your right). I'm basing this on this quote of yours:
    "I stayed in the middle of the #2 lane (second from left). This allows cars to pass on my left, if they're going straight, and pass on my right, if they're turning right."
    You don't say if you ride in the middle of lane #2 the whole way or move over from the shoulder at some point before the right turn. It sounds as though it's either the whole time or at least well before the intersection. I, personally, think this is kind of dangerous. You're encouraging cars to pass you on the right. You're also impeding cars in lane 2 who want to go straight (I know they could easily move over to lane 1 to pass, but we all know there are some drivers who will resent moving over no matter how empty lane 1 is).

    I, personally, stay over to the right and treat every intersection (4 way or right turn only) as a potential right hook situation. If I hear traffic approaching from behind, I try to discern if it's passing or slowing (you can usually hear the difference between a car that's maintaining speed vs one that's slowing). I'm also guaging the timing that we'll get to the intersection. In many cases, he'll pass me long before we get to the intersection or I'll get to the intersection before he reaches me. When I suspect a car behind me might be wanting to make the right, I look back and move slightly over - not necessarily at the same time - as I start taking over the lane, somewhat. I'm trying to communicate clearly to the driver that I'm there and I'm going straight - not turning right. This usually works.

    In my experience, the most dangerous "right hooks" are the ones where the right is not a 90 degree turn for the driver (as in a merge onto an onramp). It is those where drivers are most likely to try to beat you to the intersection. I have a couple of these on my commute. At these, I start hand signaling and looking behind me (in an exaggerated manner) long before I get to the onramp intersection - even if I don't hear anyone. I've learned from experience that drivers don't anticipate that a bicycle isn't going to be going onto the freeway but will be staying on the regular road. Some drivers seem oblivious to you, some seem to be lousy judges of your speed (ie they think they can beat you only to find out they misjudged it), and some seem to be just plain agreesive a**holes. Whatever the case may be, I am extra cautious at those types of intersections because the cars generally don't slow (because they don't have to because they're not making 90 degree turns). Just my 2 cents.

  16. #16
    Senior Member ChrisM2097's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ephin View Post
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but if I understand your description correctly, it seems you're trying to be as fair as possible to all people on a relatively quiet road (ie not impede drivers who want to go straight and pass on your left and to not impede drivers who want to make the right hand turn by allowing them enough room to pass on your right). I'm basing this on this quote of yours:
    "I stayed in the middle of the #2 lane (second from left). This allows cars to pass on my left, if they're going straight, and pass on my right, if they're turning right."
    You don't say if you ride in the middle of lane #2 the whole way or move over from the shoulder at some point before the right turn. It sounds as though it's either the whole time or at least well before the intersection. I, personally, think this is kind of dangerous. You're encouraging cars to pass you on the right. You're also impeding cars in lane 2 who want to go straight (I know they could easily move over to lane 1 to pass, but we all know there are some drivers who will resent moving over no matter how empty lane 1 is).

    I, personally, stay over to the right and treat every intersection (4 way or right turn only) as a potential right hook situation. If I hear traffic approaching from behind, I try to discern if it's passing or slowing (you can usually hear the difference between a car that's maintaining speed vs one that's slowing). I'm also guaging the timing that we'll get to the intersection. In many cases, he'll pass me long before we get to the intersection or I'll get to the intersection before he reaches me. When I suspect a car behind me might be wanting to make the right, I look back and move slightly over - not necessarily at the same time - as I start taking over the lane, somewhat. I'm trying to communicate clearly to the driver that I'm there and I'm going straight - not turning right. This usually works.

    In my experience, the most dangerous "right hooks" are the ones where the right is not a 90 degree turn for the driver (as in a merge onto an onramp). It is those where drivers are most likely to try to beat you to the intersection. I have a couple of these on my commute. At these, I start hand signaling and looking behind me (in an exaggerated manner) long before I get to the onramp intersection - even if I don't hear anyone. I've learned from experience that drivers don't anticipate that a bicycle isn't going to be going onto the freeway but will be staying on the regular road. Some drivers seem oblivious to you, some seem to be lousy judges of your speed (ie they think they can beat you only to find out they misjudged it), and some seem to be just plain agreesive a**holes. Whatever the case may be, I am extra cautious at those types of intersections because the cars generally don't slow (because they don't have to because they're not making 90 degree turns). Just my 2 cents.
    The road starts as 2-lane one-way. After the intersection, a third lane is added to the right - from merging traffic from another street. This third lane becomes a right-turn only, which is a freeway on-ramp at a clover-leaf intersection. ~80% of the traffic on this road gets into the right lane to get onto the freeway. It would certainly be more dangerous for me to be in, or to the right of the right lane.

    Here's how the road looks with me riding improperly several months ago - in the door zone, and filtering to the front of the line at the lights. I don't do this any more. I take the lane and stay in line. The traffic in this video is much lighter than typical.



    The conversation in the OP was at the location between 2:10 - 2:15 or so. From 2:20 to 2:50, the right lane is very wide, and I have no problem using the shoulder, but sometimes will still take the lane.
    Chris
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  17. #17
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    You can't handle it any better than you did. IMHO.

    If and when they gripe about it to an acquaintance who knows the laws they might find themselves being educated about it. I don't think that we can reasonably do anything but be firm and polite, as you were.

  18. #18
    incazzare. lostarchitect's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
    The part of my brain that usually takes over is more aggressive and is offended by crappy behavior. This part of my brain wants justice and cries for action. I've gotten increasingly better at ignoring this part of my psyche, but I'm still firmly of the opinion that a large number of people are in need of a good swift kick to the head.
    I really have to work on this, too. I'm really bad about shouting back or flipping the bird. It's not good, and I always feel like an idiot later when replaying the hundred ways the situation could have gotten very nasty for me.
    1964 JRJ (Bob Jackson), 1973 Wes Mason, 2000ish Colian (Colin Laing), 2013 Velo Orange Pass Hunter

  19. #19
    On your right
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    Hey Chris -- it seems like there could be 2 questions here: (1) how best to have handled the confrontation, and (2) was your lane position optimal? (Or, is their beef with you legitimate?)

    As to #1, seems like you handled it as gracefully as you could have. But then don't ask me - I have no experience with confrontations because fortunately they never happen to me.

    As to #2, my opinion is likely to be unpopular here. When I am on an uncrowded roadway, I do not ride far enough left for cars to pass me on the right, except when a right-turning vehicle slows behind me waiting to turn (then I move left). I think that riding in such a way that overcoming traffic is invited to pass you on the right is bad practice, even if legal.

    So had it been me, I think I might have been further right, perhaps in the right tire track of #2 lane or splitting between #2 and #1. When I saw that the approaching car was going to hold up and not going to change lanes, I'd pull right and let them by since there is plenty of room to the right. Probably not what other people here would advise.

    I think it helps to accept and be at peace with reality -- many older drivers like to stick in the right travel lane and go under the speed limit so they don't have to change lanes. A slower cyclist in the middle of the lane puts a kink in that whole plan. You can argue that they are incompetant, should not be driving, not your problem, etc. but if you have ample room to the right, why not be magnanamous, use it and let them pass as long as you are not risking a close pass?

  20. #20
    Senior Member ChrisM2097's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daves_Not_Here View Post
    Hey Chris -- it seems like there could be 2 questions here: (1) how best to have handled the confrontation, and (2) was your lane position optimal? (Or, is their beef with you legitimate?)

    As to #1, seems like you handled it as gracefully as you could have. But then don't ask me - I have no experience with confrontations because fortunately they never happen to me.

    As to #2, my opinion is likely to be unpopular here. When I am on an uncrowded roadway, I do not ride far enough left for cars to pass me on the right, except when a right-turning vehicle slows behind me waiting to turn (then I move left). I think that riding in such a way that overcoming traffic is invited to pass you on the right is bad practice, even if legal.

    So had it been me, I think I might have been further right, perhaps in the right tire track of #2 lane or splitting between #2 and #1. When I saw that the approaching car was going to hold up and not going to change lanes, I'd pull right and let them by since there is plenty of room to the right. Probably not what other people here would advise.

    I think it helps to accept and be at peace with reality -- many older drivers like to stick in the right travel lane and go under the speed limit so they don't have to change lanes. A slower cyclist in the middle of the lane puts a kink in that whole plan. You can argue that they are incompetant, should not be driving, not your problem, etc. but if you have ample room to the right, why not be magnanamous, use it and let them pass as long as you are not risking a close pass?
    My lane position was directly between tire tracks in the right lane. If these women were to pass me on the right, they would have been driving on the shoulder, and there would be no need, because this is a two-lane road, and they simply passed me on the left, like they should have...but they slowed down to my speed, rolled the windows down, and proceeded to tell me that I shouldn't be in the road.

    Typically on non-bike-lane roads, my lane position is just left of the right-tire track, in the right-most lane (unless that lane becomes a turn-only lane).
    Chris
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  21. #21
    On your right
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisM2097 View Post
    My lane position was directly between tire tracks in the right lane. If these women were to pass me on the right, they would have been driving on the shoulder, and there would be no need, because this is a two-lane road, and they simply passed me on the left, like they should have...but they slowed down to my speed, rolled the windows down, and proceeded to tell me that I shouldn't be in the road.

    Typically on non-bike-lane roads, my lane position is just left of the right-tire track, in the right-most lane (unless that lane becomes a turn-only lane).
    OK -- I misunderstood your road layout -- when you mentioned that cars can "pass on my right, if they're turning right", I thought that meant that you had a full car-width shoulder to your right that you could ride in if you chose to. Sounds like maybe you only had that extra width at intersections or right turn-outs? If that's the case, then I don't think what I wrote about #2 applies.

    I guess my general point is that when I find I am impeding traffic, I pull right (when safe) to facilitate a pass, whether I'm riding a bike or pulling a trailer up a mountain road. And in the case of elderly drivers who like to stay in the right lane, I'll do it even if they have an empty lane to their left. Again, probably not what most here would recommend.

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