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-   -   “Must Pass Cyclist” Motorist Mentality – Do cyclists encourage it? (https://www.bikeforums.net/advocacy-safety/1012697-must-pass-cyclist-motorist-mentality-do-cyclists-encourage.html)

AlmostTrick 06-08-15 01:03 PM

“Must Pass Cyclist” Motorist Mentality – Do cyclists encourage it?
 
Most cyclists are aware of this phenomenon. This is the urge many/most motorists have that practically forces them to get ahead of any cyclist in front of them ASAP. Blind curves, hills, stop signs just ahead, oncoming traffic and more… matters little many times.

My theory is that cyclist behavior at least partially promotes this mentality. Here’s why…

In practically every area I’ve ridden in or been to, almost all cyclists ride as far out of the way as possible. Curb or gutter hugging, riding in door zones or on scrappy unsafe shoulders and sidewalks, etc., seems to be the rule. Stay out of the way of the large and powerful motor vehicles by any means possible to ensure safety, seems to be the thought process behind this behavior. It can seem wise on the surface, but it can also encourage overtaking when it would not be safe to do so.

When motorists consistently observe this cyclist behavior, it is what they become accustomed to. Cyclists always stay, or move out of their way. Having to slow and wait behind a cyclist for even a few seconds can really can be quite foreign to them. Maybe it’s different in your area, but this is what I see.

I question if this common “Staying Out of the Way” tactic doesn’t promote the common “Motorist Must Pass Cyclist” mentality.

Maybe if more cyclists were a little more assertive (especially in narrow lanes and other situations that call for it) it would help dispel the Motorist Must Pass mentality, and lead to safer, more comfortable road interactions for everyone.

Darth Lefty 06-08-15 01:08 PM

I don't think it matters whether it's a cyclist in this situation. I know many people who drive as though if they're not passing then they're not winning.

kickstart 06-08-15 01:43 PM


Originally Posted by Darth Lefty (Post 17876000)
I don't think it matters whether it's a cyclist in this situation. I know many people who drive as though if they're not passing then they're not winning.

Exactly that,
Cyclists are typically slower than other vehicles which means that most other road users will want to pass them, that's just the way it works when there are variations in speed. Unfortunately this apparently leads to a persecution complex or feeling of inferiority for a few people. Heck, I knew someone who got mad at people who didn't walk up escalators because they were holding them up.
Its important to remember that for most people driving is just something that stands in the way of their destination. Where as for cyclists the journey is most often just as important as the destination, therefore there's a conflict from the get go even without the difference in speed.

B. Carfree 06-08-15 02:48 PM

I agree with the OP. People riding too far to the right, either out of a lack of understanding of safety or an ignorance of the law, likely does encourage aggressive overtaking. I have invested a lot of time and effort convincing a small fraction of the people who ride down the short main drag of my quirky neighborhood to move out of the door zone (it's actually marked with sharrows) and it appears to me that the motorists are behaving in a less-aggressive manner this year compared to years past.

mozad655 06-08-15 03:20 PM

I agree 100 % that some cyclists encourage dangerous overtakings, but I disagree with you 100% as for how they do that. In my experience the problem is NOT cyclist who ride on the far right. They are the solution and example for everyone to follow. The problem are cyclists who block the road by riding in the middle of a lane at a speed way under the speed limit. This to me is just asking for trouble and a recipe for disaster. Blocking the road as a cyclist or motorist for that matter, will undoubtly lead to dangerous overtakings. People have no choice but to take risks if someone is blocking the road.

It is as if some cyclists think they are entitled to the center of a lane but without the responsibilities, as if the speed limits of the road do not apply to them, just because their vehicle is slow in nature. Ridiculous. In Denmark every road has speed limits. When you ride in the center of a lane you have to be within +/- 10 km/h of that guideline, otherwise you have to be as far right as humanly possible. So as a safety rule of thumb, I always ride on the far right on any road. I take pride in respecting motorists and I can sence a mutual respect when they see that I'm trying to make it easy for them to overtake. Most of them cross the middle line even though I have made enough room for them. On the other hand, if I decide to be confrontational and block the road, not only will they overtake me, they will do it at a much higher speed and much closer to me.

unterhausen 06-08-15 03:25 PM

I'm not sure about the OP's thesis, but I ride further into the lane when I think it's unwise to pass. Works for me

RR3 06-08-15 03:28 PM


Originally Posted by mozad655 (Post 17876511)
Blocking the road as a cyclist or motorist for that matter, will undoubtly lead to dangerous overtakings. People have no choice but to take risks if someone is blocking the road.

Motorists do not have the right to endanger my life; this is the crux of the matter.

If the roadway or conditions do not permit a safe pass, the motorist must wait.

Here is a concrete example from the other day. On a narrow, pot hole strewn country road that descended to one lane bridge, I had no choice but to take the lane. Yes, I blocked the idiot motorist behind me and yes they honked (I just waved). The cost to them was 20-30 seconds of their life. Allowing them to pass there might have cost me my entire life.

kickstart 06-08-15 03:46 PM

As usual we're seeing the two extremes here......the motorists does because the cyclists does because the motorists does because the cyclists does because........

If everyone, yes, even including cyclists, were willing the share on an equitable basis in a pragmatic manner most of our problems would go away. Unfortunately there are rotten apples in every barrel.

mozad655 06-08-15 03:47 PM


Originally Posted by RR3 (Post 17876547)
Motorists do not have the right to endanger my life; this is the crux of the matter.

Noone is endagering your life. You are endangering your own life by blocking the road. This provokes dangerous and desperate overtakings. 2+2=4.


Originally Posted by RR3 (Post 17876547)
If the roadway or conditions do not permit a safe pass, the motorist must wait.

And they will when they see that there is not enough room. But your certainly not helping the problem by blocking the road and making that assesment for them. They are driving, they know their vehicles and they have the full angle. Blocking the road is never the solution. Always ride on the far right.


Originally Posted by RR3 (Post 17876547)
Here is a concrete example from the other day. On a narrow, pot hole strewn country road that descended to one lane bridge, I had no choice but to take the lane. Yes, I blocked the idiot motorist behind me and yes they honked (I just waved). The cost to them was 20-30 seconds of their life. Allowing them to pass there might have cost me my entire life.

The fact that they honked at you suggests that there was enough room for both of you. You were blocking the road and they honked. It is understandable. What if it was a motorcycle behind you? Blocking the road is never acceptable. If there is very little room then you should still ride on the far right and they will see that there is no room. But if your expecting a 2 meter gap, then maybe this is the problem..

Cyclosaurus 06-08-15 03:53 PM


Originally Posted by mozad655 (Post 17876511)
The problem are cyclists who block the road by riding in the middle of a lane at a speed way under the speed limit. This to me is just asking for trouble and a recipe for disaster. Blocking the road as a cyclist or motorist for that matter, will undoubtly lead to dangerous overtakings. People have no choice but to take risks if someone is blocking the road.

1. I very rarely see cyclists taking the lane. I rarely do myself. It seems really hard to fathom how taking the lane could really be "the problem" when it is so infrequent in actual practice.

2. People do have a choice when a cyclist is in the lane. The most obvious one is to be patient.

Cyclosaurus 06-08-15 03:57 PM


Originally Posted by mozad655 (Post 17876616)
Noone is endagering your life. You are endangering your own life by blocking the road. This provokes dangerous and desperate overtakings. 2+2=4.

This is called blaming the victim. Like when a woman is raped because she was "asking for it" by wearing a skirt.


Originally Posted by mozad655 (Post 17876616)
And they will when they see that there is not enough room. But your certainly not helping the problem by blocking the road and making that assesment for them. They are driving, they know their vehicles and they have the full angle. Blocking the road is never the solution. Always ride on the far right.

This is not safe nor legally required.


Originally Posted by mozad655 (Post 17876616)
The fact that they honked at you suggests that there was enough room for both of you. You were blocking the road and they honked. It is understandable. What if it was a motorcycle behind you? Blocking the road is never acceptable. If there is very little room then you should still ride on the far right and they will see that there is no room. But if your expecting a 2 meter gap, then maybe this is the problem..

So...motorists who make irrational and dangerous passes at speed should be the best judge of whether there's enough room to safely share the road with a cyclist? It's funny that you say that cyclists aren't capable of making the assessment about whether taking the lane is appropriate but a road-raged driver is.

mozad655 06-08-15 04:04 PM


Originally Posted by Cyclosaurus (Post 17876636)
1. I very rarely see cyclists taking the lane. I rarely do myself. It seems really hard to fathom how taking the lane could really be "the problem" when it is so infrequent in actual practice.

2. People do have a choice when a cyclist is in the lane. The most obvious one is to be patient.

1. I agree that it is very rare seeing a cyclist taking the lane. Fortunately most cyclists ride on the far right as close to the curb as possible, thus making room for faster vehicles on the road. The problem of dangerous overtakings is as infrequent as cyclists who block the road.

2. Driving behind a slow road block for possibly miles after mile, is beyond patience. We are not talking about 10-50 meters here. The cyclist should not be blocking the road to begin with. Traffic cannot stop when someone is blocking the road.

mozad655 06-08-15 04:11 PM


Originally Posted by Cyclosaurus (Post 17876653)
This is called blaming the victim. Like when a woman is raped because she was "asking for it" by wearing a skirt.

Your not a victim just because your vehicle is delicate and your life is more threatened in case of an accident. This is the nature of your vehicle. It does not automatically make you a victim.


Originally Posted by Cyclosaurus (Post 17876653)
This is not safe nor legally required.

It is the safest option and in my part of the world blocking the road is against the law for any vehicle. A cyclist is not above the law.



Originally Posted by Cyclosaurus (Post 17876653)
So...motorists who make irrational and dangerous passes at speed should be the best judge of whether there's enough room to safely share the road with a cyclist? It's funny that you say that cyclists aren't capable of making the assessment about whether taking the lane is appropriate but a road-raged driver is.

Cyclists who make irrational and dangerous road blocks are more unqualified to make assesment of where a car can fit in or can't. Just because your the one injured in case of an accident, does not give you the right to make decisions on behalf of other road users, by blocking the road. Again, this is the nature of your vehicle and if you can't live with the increased danger, then you shoudn't ride at all. It certainly doesn't give you more rights over other road users.

Cyclosaurus 06-08-15 04:15 PM


Originally Posted by mozad655 (Post 17876680)
1. I agree that it is very rare seeing a cyclist taking the lane. Fortunately most cyclists ride on the far right as close to the curb as possible, thus making room for faster vehicles on the road. The problem of dangerous overtakings is as infrequent as cyclists who block the road.

Regardless of lane position, I get at least a couple of close passes on every commute and the occasional screaming, honking, or truly aggressive/threatening move. So by my own experience, dangerous overtakings are a lot more frequent than cyclists taking the lane for extended time.

2. Driving behind a slow road block for possibly miles after mile, is beyond patience. We are not talking about 10-50 meters here. The cyclist should not be blocking the road to begin with. Traffic cannot stop when someone is blocking the road.[/QUOTE]

Just to be clear, it doesn't stop, though it may slow. Your choice of words betrays a bit of bias. Nevertheless, I have never seen this phenomenon. Have you actually witnessed this?

Cyclosaurus 06-08-15 04:20 PM


Originally Posted by mozad655 (Post 17876703)
Your not a victim just because your vehicle is delicate and your life is more threatened in case of an accident. This is the nature of your vehicle. It does not automatically make you a victim.

When a driver recklessly endangers a much smaller, lighter, slower cyclist or pedestrian, what do you call it?



Originally Posted by mozad655 (Post 17876703)
It is the safest option and in my part of the world blocking the road is against the law for any vehicle. A cyclist is not above the law.


Cyclists who make irrational and dangerous road blocks are more unqualified to make assesment of where a car can fit in or can't. Just because your the one injured in case of an accident, does not give you the right to make decisions on behalf of other road users, by blocking the road. Again, this is the nature of your vehicle and if you can't live with the increased danger, then you shoudn't ride at all.

So-called "road blocks" aren't dangerous until a driver does something illegal, stupid, and reckless.


Originally Posted by mozad655 (Post 17876703)
It certainly doesn't give you more rights over other road users.

Yet here you are strenuously arguing that drivers have more rights than cyclists to use the road.

Chris516 06-08-15 04:21 PM


Originally Posted by AlmostTrick (Post 17875984)
Most cyclists are aware of this phenomenon. This is the urge many/most motorists have that practically forces them to get ahead of any cyclist in front of them ASAP. Blind curves, hills, stop signs just ahead, oncoming traffic and more… matters little many times.

My theory is that cyclist behavior at least partially promotes this mentality. Here’s why…

In practically every area I’ve ridden in or been to, almost all cyclists ride as far out of the way as possible. Curb or gutter hugging, riding in door zones or on scrappy unsafe shoulders and sidewalks, etc., seems to be the rule. Stay out of the way of the large and powerful motor vehicles by any means possible to ensure safety, seems to be the thought process behind this behavior. It can seem wise on the surface, but it can also encourage overtaking when it would not be safe to do so.

When motorists consistently observe this cyclist behavior, it is what they become accustomed to. Cyclists always stay, or move out of their way. Having to slow and wait behind a cyclist for even a few seconds can really can be quite foreign to them. Maybe it’s different in your area, but this is what I see.

I question if this common “Staying Out of the Way” tactic doesn’t promote the common “Motorist Must Pass Cyclist” mentality.

Maybe if more cyclists were a little more assertive (especially in narrow lanes and other situations that call for it) it would help dispel the Motorist Must Pass mentality, and lead to safer, more comfortable road interactions for everyone.

I have felt this way for a long time. Because, I have seen it dozens of times.

vatdim 06-08-15 04:38 PM


Originally Posted by mozad655 (Post 17876680)
1. I agree that it is very rare seeing a cyclist taking the lane. Fortunately most cyclists ride on the far right as close to the curb as possible, thus making room for faster vehicles on the road. The problem of dangerous overtakings is as infrequent as cyclists who block the road.

You provide some very questionable opinions here and pose them as facts which they definitely are not. In most civilized countries where sharing the road between various types of road vehicles is the norm (as opposed to roads for motor vehicles being segregated from bike paths), the general consensus is that riding towards the very far right (in right-hand traffic) is actually much more dangerous than taking the lane when that becomes necessary. Being both a cyclist and a driver, I can vouch for this 100%. As a driver, whenever a cyclist has taken the lane, I can spot them immediately and moderate my speed and distance in such a way as not to go anywhere close to them, as well as be able to pass them safely when the opportunity arises. However, it has happened to me to closely follow traffic in a somewhat congested setting only to find myself passing a completely invisible cyclist riding in the gutter at probably a 0.5m distance. I never had the chance to see him since by riding so much further to the right, he was practically encouraging all the traffic in my own lane to pass him like he's some sort of stationary object. In such cases I always find myself praying that the guy won't suddenly hit a pothole or lose balance. And in such cases I do really hurry up and try to get in front as fast as possible since I don't want to take the risk of being the one to hit that guy who is wobbling left and right just an arm's length from me.

To sum it up, yes, OP is right. Cyclists do encourage dangerous passing by assuming such a weak road position. As long as you are using the road, you should behave like a driver of a vehicle and do what other drivers expect from any other vehicle.

RR3 06-08-15 04:55 PM


Originally Posted by mozad655 (Post 17876616)
Noone is endagering your life. You are endangering your own life by blocking the road. This provokes dangerous and desperate overtakings. 2+2=4.



And they will when they see that there is not enough room. But your certainly not helping the problem by blocking the road and making that assesment for them. They are driving, they know their vehicles and they have the full angle. Blocking the road is never the solution. Always ride on the far right.



The fact that they honked at you suggests that there was enough room for both of you. You were blocking the road and they honked. It is understandable. What if it was a motorcycle behind you? Blocking the road is never acceptable. If there is very little room then you should still ride on the far right and they will see that there is no room. But if your expecting a 2 meter gap, then maybe this is the problem..

Ok. You are right. I should have stopped and removed myself from the roadway.

You were not there and you are telling me there was enough room to pass? One of us is an idiot. I won't be responding to this thread.

ItsJustMe 06-08-15 07:17 PM

In many parts of my route, I'm going the same speed as traffic and maintaining the same spacing as the other vehicles on the road.

However, some drivers simply can't wrap their heads around a bicycle that's going the same speed as the cars in front of it. I've wound up with cars halfway out of the lane stopped to my left behind a car stopped in front of us many times. I've wound up at a stop sign in the middle of the lane with a car half-passed me to my left - though in those cases it's not that big a deal if there's no oncoming traffic because car drivers always blow stop signs anyway so they're gone soon enough.

Even though I'm going the same speed as the car in front of me, they try to pass anyway.

It's certainly not the case that an overtaking driver will wait if they see that there is not enough room. I have someone pass me for no good reason at least once or twice a week. They wind up driving beside me because I was already as close to the car in front of me as they can get; there was no reason to pass me other than "it's a bicycle - you have to pass bicycles, always, every time, there's no decision to be made, bicycle, pass it."

CB HI 06-08-15 07:27 PM


Originally Posted by mozad655 (Post 17876511)
I agree 100 % that some cyclists encourage dangerous overtakings, but I disagree with you 100% as for how they do that. In my experience the problem is NOT cyclist who ride on the far right. They are the solution and example for everyone to follow. The problem are cyclists who block the road by riding in the middle of a lane at a speed way under the speed limit. This to me is just asking for trouble and a recipe for disaster. Blocking the road as a cyclist or motorist for that matter, will undoubtly lead to dangerous overtakings. People have no choice but to take risks if someone is blocking the road.

It is as if some cyclists think they are entitled to the center of a lane but without the responsibilities, as if the speed limits of the road do not apply to them, just because their vehicle is slow in nature. Ridiculous. In Denmark every road has speed limits. When you ride in the center of a lane you have to be within +/- 10 km/h of that guideline, otherwise you have to be as far right as humanly possible. So as a safety rule of thumb, I always ride on the far right on any road. I take pride in respecting motorists and I can sence a mutual respect when they see that I'm trying to make it easy for them to overtake. Most of them cross the middle line even though I have made enough room for them. On the other hand, if I decide to be confrontational and block the road, not only will they overtake me, they will do it at a much higher speed and much closer to me.

With such foolish thinking as this, I can see why they had to build bike lanes for you to be able to ride a simple vehicle as a bicycle.

AlmostTrick 06-08-15 07:42 PM

Many two lane roads (one in each direction) are simply not wide enough to safely fit a car and bike in the same lane. This means that no matter where the cyclist positions himself, a motorist overtaking him/her must cross the center line at least a bit. If there is oncoming traffic, (seen or unseen) it can quickly become a dangerous situation for everyone. Every state in the US has wording in their vehicle code allowing for a cyclist to take the lane in this, and many other situations.

The fact that so many cyclists fail to take a legal lane position that would help protect them and other road users, including motorists(!), is what this thread is about. Also how this cyclist behavior helps propagate the "Must Pass Cyclists" mindset.

cruiserhead 06-08-15 07:42 PM

The onus of responsible passing is not on the cyclist. Don't place it there.

Driving a 3000lb + vehicle is a responsibility. You pass when it's safe to do so.
Yielding to slower traffic, pedestrians or anything else is a responsibility of driving.

Slowing slightly for a cyclist does not add any significant time to any trip.

The same logic is why motorists run red lights. The onus is not on the cyclist.

Thank goodness cities in the USA agree and are developing great bike plans and laws that work for everyone, instead of treating cyclists as second class citizens that feel like they are risking life and limb.
Cycling as transportation is now being encouraged, which is great. Driver ignorance is a dramatic problem, but it will eventually swing the other way as more bike-centric planning works into the landscape.

Cyril 06-08-15 07:52 PM


Originally Posted by mozad655 (Post 17876511)
... In Denmark every road has speed limits. When you ride in the center of a lane you have to be within +/- 10 km/h of that guideline, otherwise you have to be as far right as humanly possible.

In Canada, too, every road has speed limits. But is it really true in Denmark you are allowed to drive 10 kph under or over that limit? Eg., On a road marked 50 kph you are allowed to drive at 40kph ( no slower!) and up to 60 kph (no faster!)? This is much different than what we in North America are used to where a speed limit is an actual limit. One may not go faster than the posted limit , but on most roads one may go slower.
Also, we cyclists in Canada are not required to ride as far right " humanly possible", but are required to ride as far right as "practicable"...there's a difference. AND we are allowed to take the lane if we ( cyclists ) deem it best for our own safety.

AlmostTrick 06-08-15 07:58 PM


Originally Posted by AlmostTrick (Post 17875984)
Most cyclists are aware of this phenomenon. This is the urge many/most motorists have that practically forces them to get ahead of any cyclist in front of them ASAP. Blind curves, hills, stop signs just ahead, oncoming traffic and more… matters little many times.


Originally Posted by mozad655 (Post 17876511)
People have no choice but to take risks if someone is blocking the road.

By "people" mozad clearly means people operating motor vehicles. I'm glad to see that he/she recognizes the Must Pass Cyclist phenomenon in the same way I do.

jon c. 06-08-15 08:23 PM


Originally Posted by vatdim (Post 17876809)
... the general consensus is that riding towards the very far right (in right-hand traffic) is actually much more dangerous than taking the lane when that becomes necessary. Being both a cyclist and a driver, I can vouch for this 100%. As a driver, whenever a cyclist has taken the lane, I can spot them immediately and moderate my speed and distance in such a way as not to go anywhere close to them, as well as be able to pass them safely when the opportunity arises.

That's very true on the rural roads around here. Cyclists hugging the right tend to disappear in the shadows of the trees, whereas they're much easier to spot from a distance in the center of the road. On roads with a lot of turns and small hills, you'll generally see the cyclist in the lane from a distance that allows you to prepare for the fact that he may be just around the turn. You don't know the cyclist hugging the right exists until you come around the turn.


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