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Paiyili 10-14-05 05:21 PM


Originally Posted by timmhaan
were you and your friend riding abreast along the road or single file?

My friend was riding slightly behind me and a bit to my left. I was pretty much centered on the white line. Wider than single file, but not abreast.

will dehne 10-14-05 06:04 PM


Originally Posted by Paiyili
A friend and I were riding our hybrids in this ride......... Needless to say, a lot of them are passing us. Some, however, seem to think it's a race and are passing with only an inch or two of space.

Someone else asked this question. You did not reply.
Were you riding two abreast with your friend?
If yes, and if it is a limited width path, "on your left" means that one of you should go single file. A lot of bikers would be upset if you do not move right under these conditions.
I bike almost exclusive on trails. This issue is important if you go fast. Of course, you can forget all this if kids are around. Many seem not to know where right or left is.
Ditto for bikers who ride once or twice a year. And bikers and hikers with dogs.
The basic rule is that the faster biker must beware. :(

Speed_Racer 10-14-05 10:56 PM

In my experience saying "on your left" sometimes makes the person you trying to pass move to the left and in my way. That is why I got a bell, people know what is coming when they hear that bell. Having a bell/horn is even the law in some states.

Lion Steve 10-15-05 03:49 AM

On the bike paths here, there are signs posted to "keep to the right", and also, to announce yourself when passing. I believe that the "keep to the right" part would certainly make the whole process easier, but people seem have a hard time with this. Cyclists, walkers, and others like to stay abreast the line of travel to gab at each other, mindless to their surroundings.

I think that when they are to the left, in violation of the rules, then they have an obligation to move to the right when a person wants to pass to their left.

wildjim 10-15-05 04:33 AM

The problem is the confrontational mannerism within people.

Anger and aggression will return anger and aggression.

Just be courteous and take only the space you need and let others have the space they require.

Seek only to help others go their way in peace and they will respond the same.

pgoat 05-21-13 10:52 AM

I'm reviving this b/c I have issues all the time on bike paths while commuting (I'm in NYC, and the increasing bike lanes in the last few years have drawn many more riders out on their bikes).

I do club rides on the weekends (road bike, spandex, the whole shebang) and I do know the need to go out and hammer. But when I am in the city, rush hour commuting, near peds, etc. I slow it down and try to yield when required, be polite whenever I can and generally try to be safe.

I am constantly being assaulted by really aggressive riders on crowded paths. I am not even talking about the total newbies who stop suddenly to answer their cells, or decide to make an unannounced u-turn, and so forth. I mean the folks who pass me as I'm going through a short but tight s-bend (where they cannot see oncoming riders), or sit on my wheel unannounced as I pass someone ahead of me on their left, then sneak around my right as I am attempting to moveback over (One guy hit my handlebars in the rain and dumped me doing this).

This morning I got onto the very narrow two-direction MUP of a fairly short bridge and as I was going up the on ramp there were three joggers running abreast (they basically blocked the entire path). I decided to give them a few seconds till they got going up the straightway along the ramp - it's short, and at most this might take 10 seconds. I moved up to within maybe ten feet of them we were going maybe 5 mph or less...After maybe five seconds I heard a rickety bike coming up behind me so I started moving up and to my left to announce "on your left" and wait for at least one runner to move (there was no way to pass otherwise). As I did I heard "on your left" behind me and basically the rider was running into me at the same time.

She basically told me I needed to watch where I was going...I told her she was behind me, so she needed to watch, it wasn't my job to look behind me...she said she had said "on your Left', added a curse word for good measure. Here's my question - am I going crazy? Do you Pass someone who's obviously trying to get around a serious obstacle themselves? This happens all the time. I'm glad more people are riding but it's getting ridiculous. Do I just need to move someplace with fewer people?

pgoat 05-21-13 10:55 AM


Originally Posted by wildjim (Post 1687599)
The problem is the confrontational mannerism within people.

Anger and aggression will return anger and aggression.

Just be courteous and take only the space you need and let others have the space they require.

Seek only to help others go their way in peace and they will respond the same.

I tried very hard to think good thoughts and let it go...I didn't respond to her curse. She passed me haughtily on my right at the end of the bridge - I let that go. But talk about ruining your morning ride...When I look at things like the situation in OK today after the Tornado, I realize this is extremely small potatoes. But still.

FBinNY 05-21-13 10:58 AM

In most (probably all, but I leave room for exceptions) states the rules on "right of way" all place the burden on the passing vehicle. That means that whoever is being passed has absolute right of way (except for emergency vehicles) until the pass is complete. It's up to the passing vehicle, be it bicycle, car or truck, to pass safely, with adequate room, or wait until there's room to do so.

"Passing on your left" is a courtesy, and maybe a reminder not to move left suddenly, but imposes no burden to move over on the one being passed, unless the passing bike is a cop or EMT with flashing light and siren on.

volosong 05-21-13 01:27 PM

Riding the local river bike trail last year, I come up upon a little youngster pedaling his tiny 100mm cranks fast enough that he must have been very close to the all-time cadence record. Of course, we slow down for little tykes like that due to their unpredictable nature. Pacing behind him at his speed for a few moments to see what he was really doing, I called out, "On your left". He then realized that someone was behind him and started nervously swerving about the path, not knowing what to do. I took the opportunity to hold a little education/instruction time and told him that when I called out such a phrase, that I intended to pass him on his left side and for him to just continue riding, straight as he can, and it was my responsibility to pass him safely. Told him that he has as much right to be on the bike path as I do. It's best to teach them young, with consideration and respect, and not as a jerk.

pgoat 05-22-13 07:56 AM

well said.

I do worry about the best way to do outreach and education. There are ways (one group here holds classes, for example) but not everyone is going to know about or take advantage of them.

Incidental teaching like volosong posted about is wonderful; unfortunately in the case like mine the other morning, one or both parties are too belligerent in the moment to allow for that. I really am hoping after that young woman calmed down she realized she may have been at fault to any degree. I know I tried to think whether I should have just let her go by but that would have been a major jam-up - there literally was nowhere for her to go in that situation...the bottom line was, it was an inconvenience she was unwilling to put up with.

Another worry I have along these lines is that from what I can gather a lot of new riders (I know some people personally, well enough to know they just got their first bike) go out there with a very aggressive and very myopic view - every incident is everyone else's fault, they are blameless, etc. When I first started bike commuting in NYC I was in my mid 30s and had already been bike commuting in the suburbs for 15 years. But I recognized this was new turf with different laws, more people, etc etc. And I approached it with a level of humility and respect...that included watching other riders, and trying to follow the example of those who seemed assertive, but safe. Even if I saw someone riding skillfully and fast, and felt I wanted to be doing likewise, I didn't rush it, figuring I needed to get my footing solid first. Whatever fears I had were gone in a week or two, I felt fully comfortable after a year or so and became more assertive after a few years, gradually increasing speed, etc.

kookaburra1701 05-22-13 01:20 PM


Originally Posted by FLBandit (Post 1681545)
To me it just means someone is there. I just hold my line.

+1 - I mean, I'm not exactly slaloming down the path anyways, but if I hear a bell, "heads up"/ "on your left"/any other indication someone is overtaking me, I am extra conscientious about holding my line until they've passed. It seems to me that unless you're part of a group that's taking up 3/4 of the path, moving in any direction suddenly isn't wise when being passed.

Dunbar 05-22-13 03:51 PM


Originally Posted by pgoat (Post 15649923)
Here's my question - am I going crazy? Do you Pass someone who's obviously trying to get around a serious obstacle themselves? This happens all the time. I'm glad more people are riding but it's getting ridiculous. Do I just need to move someplace with fewer people?

When I'm on a bike path I do a shoulder check before I pull out to pass bikes or people. I would use my Take-A-Look mirror but I take it off on the path. I virtually never see someone behind me but one time I caught a guy who had snuck into my draft. I sat up and had to hit the brakes to avoid hitting the rider I was about to pass. The rider behind me apologized profusely. I honestly stopped caring what cars or riders are supposed to do and just ride defensively. If you stop looking at everything as a confrontation your rides will be more enjoyable IMO.

noisebeam 05-22-13 04:05 PM

I've never been in a position where I can't pass with at least the same distance passing motor vehicles provide, usually more. Motorists don't need to announce passing and neither do I.

digibud 05-23-13 03:30 PM

I once came upon a family on a MUP. I called out "on your left" and startled them. They were all on bikes. The mother called for all the kids (three kids) to move over to their right. They struggled to do so (one was probably only 5 yrs old) and I began to pass them. However, I know kids...and I passed really, really slowly and just as I got nearly abreast of them the youngest one made a hard left turn right in front of me. I had to brake hard and stop dead with him no more than a foot from my tire. The mother screamed and almost fell as she tried to do something. She apologized profusely and it was all good. I tried to encourage her to teach the kids to always ride on the right side....
Later that day my wife was forced off the path by two adults, one of which did the same thing the 5 year old kid did but that totally caught he off guard. I wasn't nearly so polite to those two people.

Spld cyclist 05-23-13 03:39 PM


Originally Posted by townandcountry (Post 1681688)
You did the right thing. My experience with "on your left", however, is the person being passed moves to the left, for some weird reason. I've started saying "passing" and haven't had any mindless space cadets move in front. If that doesn't get their attention, I'll yell (really loud) "passing on your left" as I'm about to go by slowly.

+1. I started saying just "passing" recently. I hang back and let the person being passed make whatever move they make (moving left, right, or holding their line) before I pass.

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