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Handling the Triple Play Squeeze...?

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Handling the Triple Play Squeeze...?

Old 06-17-16, 07:51 AM
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Handling the Triple Play Squeeze...?

Is there a standard protocol for handling the "triple play" squeeze situation where a driver is overtaking a biker on a two-lane road and a car is oncoming?

I call it the tripleplay because suddenly there are 3 road-users abreast, often 2 going fast, and not really enough room.

I would think the desired behavior is to have the overtaking driver wait until the oncoming driver is past then it can pass the biker. The biker has right of way being ahead.

At the same time, many ordinances encourage bikers to "stay to the right." This encourages drivers to pass them while staying in their lane -- thus squeezing the biker. They think "if I'm still in my lane then there's still room for an oncoming car to drive normally in their lane, too, or maybe just move over a skoosh."

These regs sometimes conflict w "take the lane" theory. But there are usually other regs that say "stay to right unless you feel you need the lane for safety" -- this gives "take the lane" its leverage legally.

But really it seems like "staying right-ish" is only useful in accommodating day-dreaming drivers -- makes a short swing easier. But really on faster 2 lane roads or whenever there is another lane maybe drivers should be moving over a complete lane?

Lately I've found myself, when riding rural 2 lane roads, taking the lane when there's an oncoming car. I don't want anyone to attempt the "triple play" on me.

I also notice that when I stay right-ish in my lane that overtaking cars will just assume right of way and will often FORCE THE ONCOMING CAR OFF THE ROAD and at least partially onto the shoulder. This is bad.

I've also been using the Grant Petersen Wobble with oncoming cars if I hear an overtaker coming up. I'll do a couple visually alerting "biker out of control" wobbles then take the lane. This really does seem to encourage an overtaking car to slow down and get ready to slow down even more to prevent the Tripleplay.

Well... is there any confident consensus on this scenario?
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Old 06-17-16, 08:03 AM
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Take the lane.
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Old 06-17-16, 08:10 AM
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Take the lane to discourage the pass. They may pass anyway and if there is a squeeze, at least you have the room you created on the right to bail and beyond if things get crazy. One big point is to watch your pinch points. Like if the guardrail closes in for a section of road... If there is a car coming up from both ways, you can pull over early to avoid the squeeze entirely.
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Old 06-17-16, 08:18 AM
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Old 06-17-16, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by JeffOYB View Post
Is there a standard protocol for handling the "triple play" squeeze situation where a driver is overtaking a biker on a two-lane road and a car is oncoming?
I still just want to know how it is that the imbeciles seem to always time it so that they're passing at the exact same time the only oncoming car for miles also gets there. Had it happen twice yesterday in places where there was no other oncoming traffic at all, so if they'd either sped up or slowed down to give it three seconds either way, it could have been a clean pass.
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Old 06-17-16, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by KD5NRH View Post
I still just want to know how it is that the imbeciles seem to always time it so that they're passing at the exact same time the only oncoming car for miles also gets there. Had it happen twice yesterday in places where there was no other oncoming traffic at all, so if they'd either sped up or slowed down to give it three seconds either way, it could have been a clean pass.
Yes, it is really bad magic. I often have this, too, on empty country roads. ...Two fast cars homing in to coincide right with me!
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Old 06-17-16, 09:33 AM
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All of us who ride have seen this many times, and it is always upsetting. For me, it brings up a larger issue regarding many motorists. It is the attitude that a car does not have to yield to anything. The scenario that I see most commonly (aside from being on my bike) is the two lane rural road where there is a delivery truck partially blocking a lane. The only time you can go around this obstruction is if it is safe to do so (obviously). You clearly don't want to endanger any people around the obstruction, such as a delivery person. But also, you cannot simply go around the obstruction if there is on-coming traffic. If there is on-coming traffic, you have to modulate your speed (ie. that big pedal on the left) or stop until there is no on-coming traffic. If you cause a crash, you will be cited for "failure to keep right".
We road riders see this on every ride. In fact, it is one of the visual cues I use when riding. When I see the on-coming car moving to their right, I know I'm about to be squeezed.
When I am driving, and I am the "on-coming traffic", and I anticipate a vehicle is going to take my right of way due to an obstruction in their lane, I will often move closer to the middle line to signal that I will not yield the right of way(while being prepared to yield to avoid a crash). I don't do this if there are vulnerable users involved.
The bottom line that motorists don't get is that there may be times when you are legally and morally obligated to slow down. It is a concept that is anathema to most motorists. If there is a bicycle up ahead, and a car approaching in the opposite direction, it's prudent to maintain your lane and slow down until you can safely overtake the obstruction.
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Old 06-17-16, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by JeffOYB View Post
Yes, it is really bad magic. I often have this, too, on empty country roads. ...Two fast cars homing in to coincide right with me!
It feels like a trillion to one shot to me. Three things at one point at that precise moment.
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Old 06-17-16, 10:07 AM
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If you are in front, take the lane.

If the driver is already passing you, hit the brakes so you're behind them when they meet up with the other car.
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Old 06-17-16, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by lostarchitect View Post
If the driver is already passing you, hit the brakes so you're behind them when they meet up with the other car.
Usually seems to happen on a climb. Dropping my entire 12mph won't help much then.
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Old 06-17-16, 10:52 AM
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You can take the lane, and hope to hold back a motorist... or just be smarter than either driver and simply slow down yourself, so that the 3 way squeeze doesn't occur.

If you are aware of it (and of course you are, as you are talking about it here), be proactive and simply do what never seems to occur to a motorist... just avoid the situation yourself. They won't think that way... drivers are too concerned with driving at or above the speed limit, and making phone calls.

You as a wise cyclist can see what is happening and can simply avoid it on your own. Yeah you have to slow down... but golly gee... those other folks just won't thing of something that simple, eh.
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Old 06-17-16, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
You can take the lane, and hope to hold back a motorist... or just be smarter than either driver and simply slow down yourself, so that the 3 way squeeze doesn't occur.

If you are aware of it (and of course you are, as you are talking about it here), be proactive and simply do what never seems to occur to a motorist... just avoid the situation yourself. They won't think that way... drivers are too concerned with driving at or above the speed limit, and making phone calls.

You as a wise cyclist can see what is happening and can simply avoid it on your own. Yeah you have to slow down... but golly gee... those other folks just won't thing of something that simple, eh.
unfortunately the overlap is usually wider than a brief change of speed will influence. one could stop and wait for the mess to sort out.
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Old 06-17-16, 11:07 AM
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No magic suggestions, but it's one reason I run a bright white front blinkie during the day. It alerts the oncoming driver to your presence and that vehicles oncoming to him may be moving toward his lane or may need room to move over when overtaking you.
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Old 06-17-16, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
No magic suggestions, but it's one reason I run a bright white front blinkie during the day. It alerts the oncoming driver to your presence and that vehicles oncoming to him may be moving toward his lane or may need room to move over when overtaking you.
Yeah but that means drivers have to add 1+1+1 and come up with a solution... rarely have I seen motorists make that connection. Hell, I've been in cars as a passenger and heard the driver exclaim "now what?" The answer is obvious, but they just don't see it. Somehow the whole idea of slowing down to accommodate a cyclist is just too "far out" of an idea for some drivers.

And yet it is sooo darn easy for them to do... just lift that right foot a bit... that's all it takes.
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Old 06-17-16, 11:26 AM
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To answer the OP's question, no, there is not a consensus on this scenario.

While taking the lane is always an option, I see it as kind of a "double or nothing" option. If the overtaking car respects your taking of the lane and stays back, great. If they don't, let's say for example that they haven't seen the oncoming car and they still try to pass you by moving over the center line, you've made the situation much worse. Yes, you have more room to bail, but you've also made the three abreast situation much more dangerous. The overtaking car will not have a safe place to go once they are alongside you with the oncoming car approaching.

Most of my rides are with a bike club and we often have ten to fifteen riders in a single line. When I ride sweep, I'm often confronted with this same situation. What I find is most effective is to use a hand signal to try to get the overtaking car to remain behind our group until it's safe for them to pass. In addition to the slow (or stop) signal, I actively keep moving my left hand in a kind of flutter motion to accentuate the slow down signal. It doesn't work 100% of the time but it almost always works.

Once the oncoming car has passed, I give the car behind us a friendly wave (as in thanks for waiting). This seems to build a positive rapport with drivers moreso, I expect, than taking the lane would.
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Old 06-17-16, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
You can take the lane, and hope to hold back a motorist... or just be smarter than either driver and simply slow down yourself, so that the 3 way squeeze doesn't occur.

If you are aware of it (and of course you are, as you are talking about it here), be proactive and simply do what never seems to occur to a motorist... just avoid the situation yourself. They won't think that way... drivers are too concerned with driving at or above the speed limit, and making phone calls.

You as a wise cyclist can see what is happening and can simply avoid it on your own. Yeah you have to slow down... but golly gee... those other folks just won't thing of something that simple, eh.
Or we could just ride a trainer in our basements.
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Old 06-17-16, 11:38 AM
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take the lane

if they try it still, 100% move your bike on front of them forcing them off the road for all i care, being passive in a situation like this will get you killed, its in the news on a regular basis
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Old 06-17-16, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by welshTerrier2 View Post
To answer the OP's question, no, there is not a consensus on this scenario.

While taking the lane is always an option, I see it as kind of a "double or nothing" option. If the overtaking car respects your taking of the lane and stays back, great. If they don't, let's say for example that they haven't seen the oncoming car and they still try to pass you by moving over the center line, you've made the situation much worse. Yes, you have more room to bail, but you've also made the three abreast situation much more dangerous. The overtaking car will not have a safe place to go once they are alongside you with the oncoming car approaching.
thats REALLY none of my problem, ive seen car hit other cars like that full on, while im 'next' to them, theyll live and its their own fault, i will not get myself cremated because some stupid **** doesnt know how to drive
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Old 06-17-16, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by italktocats View Post
thats REALLY none of my problem, ive seen car hit other cars like that full on, while im 'next' to them, theyll live and its their own fault, i will not get myself cremated because some stupid **** doesnt know how to drive
Whose problem is it if the overtaking car pulls right and hits you to avoid a head-on collision with another car?
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Old 06-17-16, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by italktocats View Post
take the lane

if they try it still, 100% move your bike on front of them forcing them off the road for all i care, being passive in a situation like this will get you killed, its in the news on a regular basis
I agree with your approach. The self-loathing cyclist wants us to defer to motor vehicles even more than we already do. If we were to do that, it actually makes the situation more dangerous for ourselves and others by implicitly validating bad driving. If you give up your rights, you no longer have rights. The focus here should be on educating motorists on how to drive safely around bicycles, not on how to cede even more rights to them. We already accept substantial risk when we hit the roads. This would not make it that much worse. It would be nice to have allies in law enforcement, too, but many LEOs are clueless to vehicular law as it applies to bicycles. No offense.
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Old 06-17-16, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Equinox View Post
Or we could just ride a trainer in our basements.
What! I tell to simply be smarter than motorists and you go hide in your basement?
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Old 06-17-16, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by italktocats View Post
take the lane

if they try it still, 100% move your bike on front of them forcing them off the road for all i care, being passive in a situation like this will get you killed, its in the news on a regular basis
Of course the other side of that move is the classic "the cyclist swerved" testimony as they scrape what is left of you off the highway. Of course the LEOs all nod their heads in agreement... "just another cyclist accident..."
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Old 06-17-16, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
Yeah but that means drivers have to add 1+1+1 and come up with a solution... ..
True, but I believe it better that they're aware of the situation than if they're not. If they don't know you're there, they have no chance of reacting appropriately.
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Old 06-17-16, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
True, but I believe it better that they're aware of the situation than if they're not. If they don't know you're there, they have no chance of reacting appropriately.
True... I just hate putting my faith in people that tend to be mesmerized by the line in the road...
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Old 06-17-16, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by JeffOYB View Post
Is there a standard protocol for handling the "triple play" squeeze situation where a driver is overtaking a biker on a two-lane road and a car is oncoming?

I call it the tripleplay because suddenly there are 3 road-users abreast, often 2 going fast, and not really enough room.

I would think the desired behavior is to have the overtaking driver wait until the oncoming driver is past then it can pass the biker. The biker has right of way being ahead.

At the same time, many ordinances encourage bikers to "stay to the right." This encourages drivers to pass them while staying in their lane -- thus squeezing the biker. They think "if I'm still in my lane then there's still room for an oncoming car to drive normally in their lane, too, or maybe just move over a skoosh."

These regs sometimes conflict w "take the lane" theory. But there are usually other regs that say "stay to right unless you feel you need the lane for safety" -- this gives "take the lane" its leverage legally.

But really it seems like "staying right-ish" is only useful in accommodating day-dreaming drivers -- makes a short swing easier. But really on faster 2 lane roads or whenever there is another lane maybe drivers should be moving over a complete lane?

Lately I've found myself, when riding rural 2 lane roads, taking the lane when there's an oncoming car. I don't want anyone to attempt the "triple play" on me.

I also notice that when I stay right-ish in my lane that overtaking cars will just assume right of way and will often FORCE THE ONCOMING CAR OFF THE ROAD and at least partially onto the shoulder. This is bad.

I've also been using the Grant Petersen Wobble with oncoming cars if I hear an overtaker coming up. I'll do a couple visually alerting "biker out of control" wobbles then take the lane. This really does seem to encourage an overtaking car to slow down and get ready to slow down even more to prevent the Tripleplay.

Well... is there any confident consensus on this scenario?
What I seem to encounter the most, particularly on two-lane residential roads are motorists who have to "race me" to the stop sign.

They often end up in the wrong lane facing traffic or potential traffic. So far, "knock on wood" the car sitting in the wrong lane hasn't been hit yet, but come the day that they do get hit, I'm sure that they're gonna try and put the blame on me for having "forced" them to try and pass me and thus ending up in the wrong lane.

The other phenomenon that I seem to encounter are motorists who again have to race me to a traffic/red light. These usually seem to be able to get ahead of me, but I usually end up right behind them a second or two later so that in reality they didn't really gain anything by "racing" me to the light.
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