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There's a Car Behind You!

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There's a Car Behind You!

Old 11-03-17, 06:08 PM
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AlmostTrick
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There's a Car Behind You!

I was riding home from work today on my regular route. Narrow two lane road with zero shoulder where I always maintain a near center lane position whenever there is oncoming traffic or a blind curve/hill. I do this to help prevent a motorist squeeze play, and with over 2000 rides on this route my technique has proven to work well.

Today there was a cyclist in the oncoming lane, with a car coming up behind him. Since there was also a car behind me, I held the lane. As he was about to pass by me, the other cyclist yelled "THERE'S A CAR BEHIND YOU!"

Like I didn't know? Or that I needed to get out of the way? ...My guess based on his tone.

I replied "I see him" and continued on course.

Both drivers waited patiently for the few seconds it took and then safely passed each of us. No squeeze play, no dangerous maneuvers, and no yelling or honking.

Apparently, since he was ridding glued to the fog line, the oncoming cyclist assumed other cyclists should always do the same? And that others aren't aware of traffic behind them?

I ride with a mirror and ALWAYS know what's going on behind me. In some situations I choose to maintain my lane position deliberately for safety and/or practical reasons. I wish more cyclists would understand this.
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Old 11-03-17, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
I was riding home from work today on my regular route. Narrow two lane road with zero shoulder where I always maintain a near center lane position whenever there is oncoming traffic or a blind curve/hill. I do this to help prevent a motorist squeeze play, and with over 2000 rides on this route my technique has proven to work well.

Today there was a cyclist in the oncoming lane, with a car coming up behind him. Since there was also a car behind me, I held the lane. As he was about to pass by me, the other cyclist yelled "THERE'S A CAR BEHIND YOU!"

Like I didn't know? Or that I needed to get out of the way? ...My guess based on his tone.

I replied "I see him" and continued on course.

Both drivers waited patiently for the few seconds it took and then safely passed each of us. No squeeze play, no dangerous maneuvers, and no yelling or honking.

Apparently, since he was ridding glued to the fog line, the oncoming cyclist assumed other cyclists should always do the same? And that others aren't aware of traffic behind them?

I ride with a mirror and ALWAYS know what's going on behind me. In some situations I choose to maintain my lane position deliberately for safety and/or practical reasons. I wish more cyclists would understand this.
It appears to me you are doing it right.
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Old 11-03-17, 06:52 PM
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I usually ride in the middle of my lane with no traffic so I can be better seen by approaching traffic. (No shoulders here either) As a car approaches from behind, I move over to the right to allow plenty of room to pass. The exception is when a car slows behind me and appears to be contemplating passing between me and oncoming traffic. Then I will take the lane and as soon as the oncoming traffic passes I move right again. Another time I take the lane is when approaching intersections. There are exceptions to any of this of course. No one rule applies all the time. Most motorists around here are courteous though it amazes me the numbers that will pass me in blind curves fully in the left lane, or move over almost completely in the left lane to pass with oncoming traffic approaching. I've seen the oncoming traffic have to stop or even forced to move off the road. Blows my mind how many can't wait 15 seconds to pass.
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Old 11-03-17, 06:57 PM
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I think you did the right thing.

I also think the other cyclist was probably just trying to be nice. From your story it sounds like he doesn't know you, and he couldn't tell whether you know what you are doing or not.
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Old 11-03-17, 08:34 PM
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AlmostTrick, the other cyclist is the type that comes into forums and blames you and I for all the motorist hate. They just do not get safe cycling and refuse to learn.
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Old 11-04-17, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
AlmostTrick, the other cyclist is the type that comes into forums and blames you and I for all the motorist hate. They just do not get safe cycling and refuse to learn.
Ever see a group of say 4 to 5 cyclists, riding the sidwalk, glued to the door zone, otherwise, just clinging to the far right narrowest possible area... and try to explain to them their "rights to the road" as cyclists?

I'm talking folks that have nice bikes, appear prepared for a nice ride, and appear otherwise competent... except for clinging to the right.

I have seen and tried to talk to folks about this "far right as possible" approach, only to see the horror and confusion on their faces...
"oh no, roads are for cars..."

Folks like these are "drivers" out for a weekend ride... maintaining their "motorist mentality."

It's a nice day, they get together to "do a bike ride" but are clueless with regard to the rules of the road for cyclists.

I have seen this first hand... family and friends that know I am a cyclist, offer, "come over for the weekend, bring your bike, we'll go for a ride..." Only you find out, they don't stop for stop signs, they stick to sidewalks, and parking lots, they hug the curb, all to get to some bike path, as their goal.

These are folks that are not regular riders, and still maintain that riding style they learned as kids, and feel is how cyclists should act now. To them, the mere thought of riding in the street is akin to "playing with fire." (Never mind that fire is useful for heat and cooking). Only "racer types" ride a bike like "that..." "those guys are crazy," they say. (always "those guys...")

Where do you even start... especially when they are family or friends... it's like you want to do an intervention, but realize, in their "driver minds," you are one of "those guys."
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Old 11-04-17, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
Folks like these are "drivers" out for a weekend ride... maintaining their "motorist mentality."
I've also met weekend riders that maintain a pedestrian mentality.

Where I live there are some roads without sidewalks where pedestrians walk on the shoulder or even share the road sometimes.

But I've met people on bicycles who insisted they had to ride against the flow of traffic so that they could see incoming cars
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Old 11-04-17, 07:45 AM
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Several years ago at a bike show, a displayer showed off a new type of hi- tech bike that included a rear warning. It would tell the rider when a car was behind you.

I asked what the rider was expected to do when he (or she) got that notification? To get the * out of the way? To get bullied off the road by a device?

Wouldn't it be better for the device to flash that notification to the car that's following too closely?
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Old 11-04-17, 07:57 AM
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How does one "reach" these folks... they are willing to ride... it's not as if they are allergic to exercise. But they cling to driver/ped mentality.

I had a coworker who was a tri-athlete... would not ride his bike to work... only rode in special group rides on weekends.

How does one "get across" to these folks the notion that "bikes belong?"

Many years ago, I had the state rules for cyclists tacked to the outside of my office cube... it amazed me how many folks came by and said they had no idea bikes could be on the roads "with cars."
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Old 11-04-17, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
Several years ago at a bike show, a displayer showed off a new type of hi- tech bike that included a rear warning. It would tell the rider when a car was behind you.

I asked what the rider was expected to do when he (or she) got that notification? To get the * out of the way? To get bullied off the road by a device?

Wouldn't it be better for the device to flash that notification to the car that's following too closely?
That's just hilarious... as if one would not, at a minimum, hear a car behind you.
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Old 11-04-17, 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post

It's a nice day, they get together to "do a bike ride" but are clueless with regard to the rules of the road for cyclists.

"
in New Jersey, the law specifically states:

"39:4-14.2, 39:4-10.11 Operating Regulations.
Every person riding a bicycle on a roadway shall ride as near to the right roadside as practicable exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction. A bicyclist may move left under any of the following conditions: 1) To make a left turn from a left turn lane or pocket; 2) To avoid debris, drains, or other hazardous conditions on the right; 3) To pass a slower moving vehicle; 4) To occupy any available lane when traveling at the same speed as other traffic; 5) To travel no more than two abreast when traffic is not impeded, but otherwise ride in single file. Every person riding a bicycle shall ride in the same direction as vehicular traffic.

In New Jersey, the law states a bicyclist must obey all state and local automobile driving laws. A parent may be held responsible for the childís violation of any traffic law."

As I understand this means that taking the lane is illegal. I'm not saying that it is not the safe thing to do at times, but nonetheless it is illegal
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Old 11-04-17, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
How does one "reach" these folks... they are willing to ride... it's not as if they are allergic to exercise. But they cling to driver/ped mentality.
...
Ironically, they are subtly acknowledging that their own bad driving is what's keeping them cycling off-road.

This is why I repeatedly call for at least 8 hours of in-traffic bicycling experience as a requirement to get a driver's licence. This would not only get your other coworkers to learn that bicycles belong on the road but to drive better.

But currently, the prevailing sentiment is that bad driving is the acceptable norm for everybody else to accommodate and work around.
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Old 11-04-17, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by coney462 View Post
in New Jersey, the law specifically states:

"39:4-14.2, 39:4-10.11 Operating Regulations.
Every person riding a bicycle on a roadway shall ride as near to the right roadside as practicable exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction. A bicyclist may move left under any of the following conditions: 1) To make a left turn from a left turn lane or pocket; 2) To avoid debris, drains, or other hazardous conditions on the right; 3) To pass a slower moving vehicle; 4) To occupy any available lane when traveling at the same speed as other traffic; 5) To travel no more than two abreast when traffic is not impeded, but otherwise ride in single file. Every person riding a bicycle shall ride in the same direction as vehicular traffic.

In New Jersey, the law states a bicyclist must obey all state and local automobile driving laws. A parent may be held responsible for the child’s violation of any traffic law."

As I understand this means that taking the lane is illegal. I'm not saying that it is not the safe thing to do at times, but nonetheless it is illegal
Your understanding is wrong... and the exceptions are listed right in the law you cited.

First is the term "Practicable."

Practicable means "feasible" as well as "usable," and it cannot be applied to persons. Practical has at least six meanings, including the sense "capable of being put into effect, useful," wherein the confusion with practicable arises. But there is a subtle distinction between these words that is worth keeping.
The second exception is that you are allowed to avoid hazards... such as gutters, drains, opening car doors, trash and debris and even poor sight lines that render you invisible to other traffic.

Just avoiding those hazards, plus right turn areas... you are NOT forced to the curb.
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Old 11-04-17, 12:25 PM
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The cyclists who post here are the small minority of everybody out there who rides bikes. Most people are casual riders who bought their bikes at a big box store or at a yard sale--they don't spend many hundreds of dollars on their bikes or gear (most of their "gear" is usually just a helmet). They are casual riders. Does anyone believe that granny, on the way to the store for a loaf of bread on her 1 speed cruiser, is really going to "take the lane" on any busy street? No, most of them would ride in a bike lane if the street wasn't too busy but it's highly unlikely that any of them would assert their right to the road and in any way challenge any motor vehicle.
Yet they are cyclists just the same as the rest of us even though some look down their noses at them as being ignorant. So ride however you want to ride, take whatever chances you want to take, but let's not judge people just because they don't ride like we tell them they should ride.
I know that I am responsible for my own safety in how I choose to ride and it has kept me safe for nearly 60 years now.
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Old 11-04-17, 12:25 PM
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There are just times we have to take the lane. Ever since Hurricane Irma there's tons of debris left on the side of the roads waiting for the city to pick it up; they've got most of it, but still some piles here and there. I've been taking the lane a lot lately, even on the shouderless routes with fast moving traffic -- I just make sure to give a hand signal well before I get to the pile.

And like the OP, I'm using my mirror a lot to make sure when the best time is to take the lane and know when someone's being an ******* behind me, but luckily I don't experience that much around here.
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Old 11-04-17, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by coney462 View Post
in New Jersey, the law specifically states:

"39:4-14.2, 39:4-10.11 Operating Regulations.
Every person riding a bicycle on a roadway shall ride as near to the right roadside as practicable exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction. A bicyclist may move left under any of the following conditions: 1) To make a left turn from a left turn lane or pocket; 2) To avoid debris, drains, or other hazardous conditions on the right; 3) To pass a slower moving vehicle; 4) To occupy any available lane when traveling at the same speed as other traffic; 5) To travel no more than two abreast when traffic is not impeded, but otherwise ride in single file. Every person riding a bicycle shall ride in the same direction as vehicular traffic.

In New Jersey, the law states a bicyclist must obey all state and local automobile driving laws. A parent may be held responsible for the childís violation of any traffic law."

As I understand this means that taking the lane is illegal. I'm not saying that it is not the safe thing to do at times, but nonetheless it is illegal
Your state law is written basically the same as mine; it's not illegal to take the lane, it says so right in the excerpt you posted.

How do understand it to be illegal?




.
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Old 11-04-17, 12:33 PM
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Cyclists place is generally to the right side of the roadway . Taking the lane is acceptable if there is an obstruction or hazard or preparing to make a left turn . To always take the lane because you are afraid of close passes is not right , lawful , or sensible . If you do this you are making yourself a greater obstacle to traffic and creating animosity against cyclists using the roadway in general . The approaching cyclist was telling you that you should be on the right side of the roadway not to be confused with to the right of the roadway and assuming one knows the correct definition of roadway as opposed to right of way . If everyone makes their own rules up as they go we have chaos . The reason for the rules we have is because they make the most sense to keep everyone safe. If a car is approaching from the rear , a cyclist should be within 18 inches of the white line on the edge of the roadway or the edge of the pavement where there is no white line . The overtaking motorist should be no closer than 3 feet of the cyclist but does not have to move completely into the oncoming traffic lane as they would when passing another motor vehicle .
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Old 11-04-17, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
I was riding home from work today on my regular route. Narrow two lane road with zero shoulder where I always maintain a near center lane position whenever there is oncoming traffic or a blind curve/hill. I do this to help prevent a motorist squeeze play, and with over 2000 rides on this route my technique has proven to work well.

Today there was a cyclist in the oncoming lane, with a car coming up behind him. Since there was also a car behind me, I held the lane. As he was about to pass by me, the other cyclist yelled "THERE'S A CAR BEHIND YOU!"

Like I didn't know? Or that I needed to get out of the way? ...My guess based on his tone.

I replied "I see him" and continued on course.

Both drivers waited patiently for the few seconds it took and then safely passed each of us. No squeeze play, no dangerous maneuvers, and no yelling or honking.

Apparently, since he was ridding glued to the fog line, the oncoming cyclist assumed other cyclists should always do the same? And that others aren't aware of traffic behind them?

I ride with a mirror and ALWAYS know what's going on behind me. In some situations I choose to maintain my lane position deliberately for safety and/or practical reasons. I wish more cyclists would understand this.
I agree with your approach. Getting squeezed is dangerous. Donít worry too much about what others think. Iím conservative when it comes to safety and try to avoid being in those situations (I will ride extra distance to take a safer route if possible) but at times you have no choice but to take a narrow road.
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Old 11-04-17, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
Several years ago at a bike show, a displayer showed off a new type of hi- tech bike that included a rear warning. It would tell the rider when a car was behind you.

I asked what the rider was expected to do when he (or she) got that notification? To get the * out of the way? To get bullied off the road by a device?

Wouldn't it be better for the device to flash that notification to the car that's following too closely?
Yes. Donít get bullied especially if itís only a temporary short wait for the car driver. I like the idea of the flashers...
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Old 11-04-17, 12:44 PM
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Practicable doesn't mean possible. It includes a degree of reasonable safety and efficiency under the circumstances. In many situations, including that described by the OP, as far right as practicable is the center of the lane.
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Old 11-04-17, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
Today there was a cyclist in the oncoming lane, with a car coming up behind him. Since there was also a car behind me, I held the lane. As he was about to pass by me, the other cyclist yelled "THERE'S A CAR BEHIND YOU!"

Like I didn't know? Or that I needed to get out of the way? ...
Bottom line: A stranger yelled something at a bicyclist that made no sense to the bicyclist! With a bonus feature, two bicyclists simultaneously saw each other riding differently than each other.
Who wudda thunk it?
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Old 11-04-17, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by atitagain View Post
Cyclists place is generally to the right side of the roadway . Taking the lane is acceptable if there is an obstruction or hazard or preparing to make a left turn . To always take the lane because you are afraid of close passes is not right , lawful , or sensible . If you do this you are making yourself a greater obstacle to traffic and creating animosity against cyclists using the roadway in general . The approaching cyclist was telling you that you should be on the right side of the roadway not to be confused with to the right of the roadway and assuming one knows the correct definition of roadway as opposed to right of way . If everyone makes their own rules up as they go we have chaos . The reason for the rules we have is because they make the most sense to keep everyone safe. If a car is approaching from the rear , a cyclist should be within 18 inches of the white line on the edge of the roadway or the edge of the pavement where there is no white line . The overtaking motorist should be no closer than 3 feet of the cyclist but does not have to move completely into the oncoming traffic lane as they would when passing another motor vehicle .
Good grief, you claim that people making up their own rules leads to dangerous chaos and then you go on to both misunderstand one of the most simple aspects of the rules of the road and to make up some of your own.

Practicable has long been understood to permit (even encourage) cyclists to take the lane when hugging the fog line would mean that a passing motorist who stayed in the same lane would pass dangerously closely. This has also been long understood to permit taking the lane in lanes up to fourteen feet wide because of simple arithmetic (two feet of cyclist, eight feet of vehicle, four foot safe passing distance).

That said, if you want to gutter hug, feel free to do so; you don't need my blessing but you have it. If you happen to only ride where the motorists are unusually careful when passing and you're lucky, that might work out for you. The rest of us will continue to assess the situation in light of the law as written and take the lane when we deem it necessary or beneficial due to lane widths, sight lines, pavement conditions and other factors.
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Old 11-04-17, 05:48 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by atitagain View Post
If a car is approaching from the rear , a cyclist should be within 18 inches of the white line on the edge of the roadway or the edge of the pavement where there is no white line . The overtaking motorist should be no closer than 3 feet of the cyclist but does not have to move completely into the oncoming traffic lane as they would when passing another motor vehicle .
I've taken the trouble to check your state law on this subject, You can find it on the Alabike website: https://www.alabike.org/images/ALCode_AlaBike_2010.pdf

Nowhere does it mention the 18" rule. Perhaps you could cite your source in the legislation?
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Old 11-04-17, 06:36 PM
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There's a difference between being safe and being unnecessarily inconsiderate. Take the lane when you feel it's necessary due to the dangerous situation and when you don't, don't. I shouldn't have to cross the double yellow at all to pass two bicyclists on my motorcycle, after patiently following for several minutes waiting for them to show some small sort of consideration for the other traffic also on the road. These guys want to shake their fist at me about their 'rights' as bicyclists. I have the right to shout horrible things about your character, how bout we both be considerate, you can not hog the road unnecessarily and I won't tell you what a self-centered prick you are who is offended that I go about my life in his world.
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Old 11-04-17, 08:26 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Roycerson View Post
There's a difference between being safe and being unnecessarily inconsiderate. Take the lane when you feel it's necessary due to the dangerous situation and when you don't, don't. I shouldn't have to cross the double yellow at all to pass two bicyclists on my motorcycle, after patiently following for several minutes waiting for them to show some small sort of consideration for the other traffic also on the road. These guys want to shake their fist at me about their 'rights' as bicyclists. I have the right to shout horrible things about your character, how bout we both be considerate, you can not hog the road unnecessarily and I won't tell you what a self-centered prick you are who is offended that I go about my life in his world.
exactly from a spirit of compassion comes cooperation ; from a spirit of fear comes aggression . Wrestle with a pig and you both get dirty but only the pig likes it .
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