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Consequences & Incidentals for Safe Passing Space law?

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Consequences & Incidentals for Safe Passing Space law?

Old 06-17-16, 07:40 AM
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Consequences & Incidentals for Safe Passing Space law?

Are there any unintended consequences for Safe Passing Space laws?

What about riders going up alongside long lines of traffic jam cars to a stop light. Do the passed cars then all have to move over to another lane?

I note with this practice that cars usually do slide over and around bikers at least a couple feet as they repass them. Such bike behavior is more consistent with an acceptance of "I'm off a bit to the side here and we can both share this lane."

I've seen various feet-numbers for these laws -- 3, 5, 7.

I'd think the goal is to get drivers to change lanes completely when the space is there. If the space isn't completely open then is "lane splitting" going to be an accepted point of training?

I'd think the goal is to get drivers to share the space amongst themselves w/o infringing on Vulnerable Users.

The various footages would seem to relate to US lane-widths. Are our lanes fairly consistent in width number? Is there a standard?

I've ridden in Europe and on other small unmarked country lanes. They aren't 2 full lane widths wide but cars can easily share the road and pass each other. Then they drive on the crown until they meet another vehicle. In short, lanes are actually quite wide.

It seems like drivers need to be educated about how wide their vehicles are compared to the lane width then be confident about squeezing left in their lane to give a biker more room. If there are 2 lanes -- even including the oncoming lane -- then perhaps they should be encouraged to "push" other drivers over some while always giving "unimpingable" space to Vulnerable Users. The training should be: always squeeze drivers before squeezing a Vulnerable User. This would be a huge change for US drivers but I think they're ready for it since it makes total sense and puts value on human life. ...It's far better to have two car mirrors come close to each other than to squeeze a biker.

Will all new "safe passing space" law come with HUGE initiatives in retraining drivers about how easy it can be for cars to move over? How huge their excess space is?

This might also come with consequences for SUV/pickup drivers: they do NOT get any extra space for their larger vehicles. By buying wider they only buy themselves more delays. No other user has to make room for them. ...They don't get wider parking spaces, they get fewer options. Same w passing. Are there plans in place to increase such education and PR?
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Old 06-17-16, 10:47 AM
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What?! Are you bored? The difference is width between a small sports-car and a semi-tractor trailer is probably less than two feet. Those are the extremes of vehicle width regularly encountered. The main arguments are between FRAP cyclists and "take the lane" cyclists. Drivers mostly know what they have to do.
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Old 06-17-16, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
What?! Are you bored? The difference is width between a small sports-car and a semi-tractor trailer is probably less than two feet.
1st generation Miata MX-5 (NA) width is 65.9 inches, excluding mirrors.
4th generation MX-5 (ND) width is 68.1 inches, excluding mirrors.

Commercial vehicle width max is 102.36 inches, excluding mirrors.

Math left as an exercise to the reader. (Hint, > 2 feet, excluding mirrors. *INCLUDING* mirrors, well, the mirrors on the MX-5 are small and barely protrude outside the belt line. The mirrors on a commercial vehicle extend significantly outside 102.36 inches.)

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Old 06-17-16, 02:18 PM
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Puzzled by these car measurement replies. ...Most cars have room to move over in a lane. Or they can inpinge on a lane to their left and any car there can move over a bit. Typically the free space to the left of a biker is simply not at all filled by vehicles that need to give each other room. They have TONS of excess space.

Anyway, my main concern was about the very common practice of riding up past and alongside a dozen vehicles traffic jammed at a stop light to wait right at the light. Will those cars then have to pass the biker with the 5 feet? Often on an urban commute the rolling up alongside then passing back routine will happen several times. Will the new 5 feet (or so) laws mess up the semi smooth functioning of this kind of traffic pattern? The "passing then getting passed back" scenario seems to reliably give about 2-3 ft of passing clearance. In urban rush hour traffic this doesn't seem too close -- and lets the bikes kind of ride their own "slot" to the right.
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Old 06-17-16, 02:28 PM
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Where are these 5' (7'??) passing laws being considered? AFAIK 3' passing laws are common, and, IMO adequate. And yes, a car passed by a filtering cyclist with possibly less than 6" of space will, and must, when actively overtaking the same cyclist later on, provide at least 3' of passing clearance. Is that really difficult to fathom? What is your position? That cyclists should not filter forward? Good luck with that. I wouldn't get anywhere if I started towards a fresh green from six car lengths back. I might make it through, I might not. Certainly on the second cycle... rinse, repeat. I've got a term for cyclists that handicap their own efforts through slavish observation of the letter of various laws: martyrs. Cycling martyrs. I choose not to be one. YMMV.
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Old 06-17-16, 05:20 PM
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I tend to agree that in many cases lanes are sufficiently wide, but the average pickup/SUV driver lacks the ability to competently manage lane position. My hypothesis is that they see their safety purely lies in their greater mass, so no need to develop precise handing skills.

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Old 06-17-16, 11:15 PM
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Originally Posted by JeffOYB View Post
Are there any unintended consequences for Safe Passing Space laws?

What about riders going up alongside long lines of traffic jam cars to a stop light. Do the passed cars then all have to move over to another lane?
I would say no in that case.
Originally Posted by JeffOYB View Post
I note with this practice that cars usually do slide over and around bikers at least a couple feet as they repass them. Such bike behavior is more consistent with an acceptance of "I'm off a bit to the side here and we can both share this lane."
Yes
Originally Posted by JeffOYB View Post
I've seen various feet-numbers for these laws -- 3, 5, 7.
Do you mean the close-passing laws?
Originally Posted by JeffOYB View Post
I'd think the goal is to get drivers to change lanes completely when the space is there. If the space isn't completely open then is "lane splitting" going to be an accepted point of training?
Yes, That should be the goal.
Originally Posted by JeffOYB View Post
I'd think the goal is to get drivers to share the space amongst themselves w/o infringing on Vulnerable Users.
That too.
Originally Posted by JeffOYB View Post
The various footages would seem to relate to US lane-widths. Are our lanes fairly consistent in width number? Is there a standard?
Yes
Originally Posted by JeffOYB View Post
I've ridden in Europe and on other small unmarked country lanes. They aren't 2 full lane widths wide but cars can easily share the road and pass each other. Then they drive on the crown until they meet another vehicle. In short, lanes are actually quite wide.
Oh
Originally Posted by JeffOYB View Post
It seems like drivers need to be educated about how wide their vehicles are compared to the lane width then be confident about squeezing left in their lane to give a biker more room. If there are 2 lanes -- even including the oncoming lane -- then perhaps they should be encouraged to "push" other drivers over some while always giving "unimpingable" space to Vulnerable Users. The training should be: always squeeze drivers before squeezing a Vulnerable User. This would be a huge change for US drivers but I think they're ready for it since it makes total sense and puts value on human life. ...It's far better to have two car mirrors come close to each other than to squeeze a biker.
That goes without saying.
Originally Posted by JeffOYB View Post
Will all new "safe passing space" law come with HUGE initiatives in retraining drivers about how easy it can be for cars to move over? How huge their excess space is?
I would hope that would be case.
Originally Posted by JeffOYB View Post
This might also come with consequences for SUV/pickup drivers: they do NOT get any extra space for their larger vehicles. By buying wider they only buy themselves more delays. No other user has to make room for them. ...They don't get wider parking spaces, they get fewer options. Same w passing. Are there plans in place to increase such education and PR?
That is very true.
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Old 06-18-16, 07:40 AM
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Maybe a side effect of these laws will be greater awareness of lane space, vehicle width and problems associated w that.

Like, "Hey, my truck is less helpful than I thought!" Really, before these laws it's likely that SUV buyers assumed only positives from their purchase: lanes are wide enough so let's go big! There was no well publicized need to give space to other users: squeeze em if ya want.

But I do sense inevitable frustration from drivers unless I'm missing something obvious in these laws. Our proposed, upcoming law in Michigan is 5-feet passing. How will this affect the "pass back" drivers after I pass a long line at a light? They will RESENT giving me the 5 feet after I squeeze past a dozen of them. I don't need the 5 feet in that situation. I *do* appreciate the 5 feet in any HIGHER SPEED scenario. Do these laws have a simple way to handle that? "Give 5 feet when passing fast?" I can't quite see it. Help?
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Old 06-18-16, 07:43 AM
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PS: I just read a neat tour report of biking in Mexico City: total chaos, no law, no lane markings at all -- complete respect for bikers and the many other slower users. "Macho" does not apply against slower users. All the faster users squeeze themselves out and around any slower users. That is, the vehicles squeezed and forced each other around w/o menacing slow users. ...It's just an expanse of pavement to them and they use it all wildly and creatively. The writers were riding in day and night and appreciated the "courtesy amid the chaos."

PPS: The USA sense of macho has always included "cowardly victimizing of the weak." There could be an easy campaign against that, to expose the cowardly evil of startling, squeezing, buzzing, honking, hassling those who are weaker.
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Old 06-18-16, 08:12 AM
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I don't think most driver are aware of new changes to the laws, unless there is going to be testing periodically for DL renewals I wouldn't expect much to change. Many if not most people who drive badly don't do so because they no better but because they don't care.
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Old 06-18-16, 02:01 PM
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It seems like drivers need to be educated about how wide their vehicles are
amen
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Old 06-19-16, 04:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
Where are these 5' (7'??) passing laws being considered? AFAIK 3' passing laws are common, and, IMO adequate.
Oregon's law is wide enough that a cyclist can't fall over into traffic.

ORS 811.065 - Unsafe passing of person operating bicycle - 2013 Oregon Revised Statutes
For the purposes of this paragraph, a safe distance means a distance that is sufficient to prevent contact with the person operating the bicycle if the person were to fall into the drivers lane of traffic.
I can only imagine the person writing the law hadn't ridden a bicycle since they were 5 years old.

Nonetheless, it would give a rider about 5 feet from the wheels.

There is a huge difference between a 6' wide vehicle, and an 8' wide vehicle. Those extra 2 feet make up the lions share of a "safe passing distance". Plus I always get uncomfortable around long vehicles, and ones with wide trailers (sometimes trailers wider than the towing vehicle).

It is nice when a vehicle will pass a bicycle by moving 100% into the oncoming traffic lane, but ONLY WHEN THERE IS ADEQUATE VISIBILITY. I'd much prefer a close, but safe pass when cresting a hill or going around a blind corner to an unsafe pass that would put other road users in danger.
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Old 06-20-16, 12:31 AM
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Originally Posted by dksix View Post
I don't think most driver are aware of new changes to the laws, unless there is going to be testing periodically for DL renewals I wouldn't expect much to change. Many if not most people who drive badly don't do so because they no better but because they don't care.
It is astounding.

In 2010 the 3ft. passing law, went into affect.

In 2012 the state put up signs stating cyclists' right to 'take the lane'.

But some motorists' just don't get it.
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Old 06-20-16, 12:45 AM
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Originally Posted by JeffOYB View Post
They will RESENT giving me the 5 feet after I squeeze past a dozen of them. I don't need the 5 feet in that situation. I *do* appreciate the 5 feet in any HIGHER SPEED scenario. Do these laws have a simple way to handle that? "Give 5 feet when passing fast?" I can't quite see it. Help?
California's nominal '3 Foot' law does have such a loophole clause. If you can't give 3' of clearance you can pass slowly at a distance that is 'safe'. Neither the passing speed nor the minimum safe distance are specified. So really the new law doesn't differ much from the old one that had no mention of a 3' passing distance and just said to pass at a safe distance. But there has been publicity about the 3' distance in the new law so it might improve driver awareness.
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Old 06-20-16, 10:41 AM
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i like the idea of not giving specifics but adding info about slower passing, etc. -- to adapt to various conditions.

Probably these laws in general need to be backed up by "harrassment of vulnerable user is a crime" verbiage.

A bit like "reckless driving" where it's up to an officer to call it as they see it or as it's reported to them. rather than any need to get out a tape measure. reliance on complete specifics is not part of quite a bit of law. judgement is often involved -- and works fine. often there's no need for a "his word against my word" situation -- more bikers have onboard cams and very often a criminal will confess to a cop because, well, they're a criminal and they're stupid and ignorant and a ticket is just one path for education.

like, if a biker says "a person with this plate passed an inch away from me going superfast then swerved in front of me and honked for a minute and shook his fist and brandished a baseball bat." ...when the cop goes to interview the criminal they won't say "i didn't do anything" then clam up, they usually say "he deserved it! i swerved at him because he made me mad!" -- self incrimination happens as a rule.

when law and media piles on to shame these few drivers they change. yes, and positive PR is out there as well saying "hey, we're all in this together, mellow out, hassling people just isn't right and we won't put up w it."
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