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Was I in the wrong? (VC puzzler)

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Was I in the wrong? (VC puzzler)

Old 06-13-06, 07:57 AM
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Was I in the wrong? (VC puzzler)

During my normal morning commute today, I was on a major road (45+ mph). It has 2 lanes in either direction, plus a center turn lane. This arterial has NOL (gutter and curb, with storm drains). As usual, I took the right lane; I figure people can easily pass me in the left lane, and I'm only on this road for about .5 miles. After that, I make a right turn onto another similar road. There's a right-turn lane for this purpose.

This morning a driver passed me in the left lane as we approached the stopped traffic waiting to get into the right turn lane, then changed into the right lane in front of me. Although it was a little tight, there was room for him to fit in. Then--and this surprised/confused me--he moved over a little to the left to let me by!

I didn't take him up on his "offer". I've nearly been right-hooked on this road before, and even if I had passed him, I would have had to pass another dozen or so cars on the right, just so I could wait at the light anyway. I stayed in the middle of the right lane behind him, signalling a right turn.

Here's the topper. The light changed and I stayed behind him through the turn. Once we made the turn, he pulled alongside me with his window down and started telling me that I should have passed him. I had trouble hearing him (we were travelling at least 15 mph), but I clearly heard him say, "I know! I ride too!"

First question: Should I have taken him up on his offer to pass him on the right? If so, why? If not, was my reasoning correct?

Second question (and this one is rhetorical): What kind of "cyclist" would squeeze into that space when driving in the first place??? Aren't you much more cautious around your fellow cyclists when you're driving?
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Old 06-13-06, 08:22 AM
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You did the right thing.
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Old 06-13-06, 08:31 AM
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Welcome to the 1% of cyclists club.
The other 99% don't get it.
You did good.
Maybe he'll think about squeezing through in the gutter pan next time. Maybe.
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Old 06-13-06, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Bikepacker67
You did the right thing.
Tend to agree. Just because some one else rides, doesn't mean they really know how to ride in traffic. There are some classic examples here even in this forum.
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Old 06-13-06, 09:00 AM
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You handled that situation correctly, making a right from an NOL onto an NOL, in a manner that you felt was the safest, as a vehicle.

I think drivers that claim to be cyclists and point out cycling techniques to cyclists on the road are nearly always lying.
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Old 06-13-06, 09:03 AM
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You handled it correctly. In general, the bicycling laws allow/require you to take a full lane for safety's sake, and that is what you did.
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Old 06-13-06, 09:11 AM
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Yep you did the right thing. Here's a cookie...
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Old 06-13-06, 09:12 AM
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why you waited behind a dozen cars to turn right at a signalled intersection is a little VC to the extremeeeme, dude....but if you want to be stuck in traffic on your bicycle, go right ahead. safety often dictates. you never pass lines of stopped traffic or lane share in the face of traffic congestion?

if you felt safety dictated you stay behind the line of cars, all well and good. if you let cars slow you down to make a statement about vehicular parity, i laugh in your general direction...


you're in the %1 percent club i guess, congratulations, your ersatz medallion is in the mailbag.....
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Old 06-13-06, 09:13 AM
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On the Forum drivers of autos are bashed all time for not knowing cyclists rights. We need to realize that a lot of riders don't know the correct way to ride either.

Just last night D. and I were going for a ride. As we approached a residential 4 way we had no stop. A young woman on a bike comes from the left on the right side of her street. She blows the stop and at that point you can see the Ipod and head phones. She turns left and starts riding in the left lane (the wrong way into traffic) there is a parked car ahead of her so she swings further toward the center and there is a car coming at her. D and I having watched this are already on the brakes and going toward the right curb so the car has an place to go. D is just ahead of me and points to her own head and does the spin of the hand to signal crazy and then points to the woman. When the cars goes by D. yells to the car that idiot is not with us. The drivers window is down and says thanks for pulling over for him and waves. When I go by the woman (she is still in the wrong lane) I yell to her to not ride on left side into traffic. The woman’s Ipod was so loud that she couldn’t even hear me or know I was there. I really yelled load “hey” she then looked over shocked to find someone else on the road.

Don’t get me wrong but at some point you just wonder. Like MN former Governor said “We have laws that state the date when you can put an icehouse (for ice fishing) on a lake and the date when you have to have it removed.” He then paused ….and added. “Do we need this law? Isn’t it just Darwin thinning the herd if you aren’t smart enough to know the ice is unsafe and you fall through?

A few bad drivers of both bikes and cars make it an up hill battle for all of us. Educate Educate Educate our cyclists and motorists.

Okay morning rant is ending…Cheers.

Last edited by Dusk; 06-13-06 at 09:25 AM.
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Old 06-13-06, 09:24 AM
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My rule is that I don't pass in the lane if I wouldn't want to get passed. If we're both moving at walking speed I have no problem being passed or passing in a narrow lane.
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Old 06-13-06, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Bekologist
why you waited behind a dozen cars to turn right at a signalled intersection is a little VC to the extremeeeme, dude....but if you want to be stuck in traffic on your bicycle, go right ahead. safety often dictates. you never pass lines of stopped traffic or lane share in the face of traffic congestion?

if you felt safety dictated you stay behind the line of cars, all well and good. if you let cars slow you down to make a statement about vehicular parity, i laugh in your general direction...


you're in the %1 percent club i guess, congratulations, your ersatz medallion is in the mailbag.....

Not VC in the extreme... consider that the narrow lane was not really wide enough to share, but the one motorist made extra room... whould all the other motorists have given way just like that, or was the rider going to have to filter forward in the gutter pan?

I think what the OP did was quite right.
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Old 06-13-06, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Dusk
On the Forum drivers of autos are bashed all time for not knowing cyclists rights. We need to realize that a lot of riders don't know the correct way to ride either.

Just last night D. and I were going for a ride. As we approached a residential 4 way we had no stop. A young woman on a bike comes from the left on the right side of her street. She blows the stop and at that point you can see the Ipod and head phones. She turns left and starts riding in the left lane (the wrong way into traffic) there is a parked car ahead of her so she swings further toward the center and there is a car coming at her. D and I having watched this are already on the brakes and going toward the right curb so the car has an place to go. D is just ahead of me and points to her own head and does the spin of the hand to signal crazy and then points to the woman. When the cars goes by D. yells to the car that idiot is not with us. The drivers window is down and says thanks for pulling over for him and waves. When I go by the woman (she is still in the wrong lane) I yell to her to not ride on left side into traffic. The woman’s Ipod was so loud that she couldn’t even hear me or know I was there. I really yelled load “hey” she then looked over shocked to find someone else on the road.

Don’t get me wrong but at some point you just wonder. Like MN former Governor said “We have laws that state the date when you can put an icehouse (for ice fishing) on a lake and the date when you have to have it removed.” He then paused ….and added. “Do we need this law? Isn’t it just Darwin thinning the herd if you aren’t smart enough to know the ice is unsafe and you fall through?

A few bad drivers of both bikes and cars make it an up hill battle for all of us. Educate Educate Educate our cyclists and motorists.

Okay morning rant is ending…Cheers.
Like the clueless cycling idiot a couple weeks ago that passed all the traffic, including me on my bike, on the left side of a left turn lane. Just as he got to the light I yelled loudly "don't run it." He did. And right while he was mid street, the light turned green. The first motorist pulled out and stopped right at the cyclist... who at that moment was eating humble pie for being an idiot.

The cyclist sheepishly made it over to the other corner... and I rode past telling him... "stay on the right, and wait your turn at the light." He responded with a feeble: "ok."
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Old 06-13-06, 11:41 AM
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I would have stayed behind the driver as well.

Out of 11 respondents so far, that's 10 to 1 in favor of not squeezing by on the right, or 91%.
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Old 06-13-06, 11:41 AM
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Yeah, OP was correct.

Originally Posted by Dusk
Don’t get me wrong but at some point you just wonder. Like MN former Governor said “We have laws that state the date when you can put an icehouse (for ice fishing) on a lake and the date when you have to have it removed.” He then paused ….and added. “Do we need this law? Isn’t it just Darwin thinning the herd if you aren’t smart enough to know the ice is unsafe and you fall through?
I'm all for Darwinism, but that theory isn't going to fish out that house from the bottom of the lake...
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Old 06-13-06, 11:44 AM
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Me no likey the right. I concur with the OP.
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Old 06-13-06, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Bekologist
why you waited behind a dozen cars to turn right at a signalled intersection is a little VC to the extremeeeme, dude....but if you want to be stuck in traffic on your bicycle, go right ahead. safety often dictates. you never pass lines of stopped traffic or lane share in the face of traffic congestion?

if you felt safety dictated you stay behind the line of cars, all well and good. if you let cars slow you down to make a statement about vehicular parity, i laugh in your general direction...


you're in the %1 percent club i guess, congratulations, your ersatz medallion is in the mailbag.....
Your naive trust of cagers touches me. Just because one guy is nice doesn't mean the rest will be. It's like somebody letting you in to make a left turn...doesn't mean all the traffic in the other lanes will be just as thoughtful.
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Old 06-13-06, 12:11 PM
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You were in the wrong because you didn't do what some guy driving a car wanted you to do. People in cars get to tell people on bikes what to do, and they get to express their displeasure at us if we don't do what they want. They even get to kill us if they fee like it. Don't you know these rules? I thought everybody did.

Seriously, though, if some guy in a car is trying to get me to do something I don't want to do, I usually have to resort to grand sweeping gestures of the "no YOU first, I insist"-type. Sometimes I even have to stop and dismount in some circumstances.

I think he was just trying to go out of his way not to right-hook you, a thing that once you get off your bike and get back into your car you find incredibly easy to do, even when the bike rider is riding VC.
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Old 06-13-06, 03:07 PM
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I agree, too. The only reason I'm bothering to tell you so is that a similar thing happened to me this morning, minus the yelling, fortunately. A woman passed me just before we both stopped for a light, and was still over near the center when we stopped, like she expected that I would pass her on the right. But she had her right turn signal on, so I knew I had to resist. When we started moving, I waited for her to turn right, continued on my way straight, and looked back to see that the person behind me had also turned right. Not one, but TWO potential right-hooks avoided by taking the lane, YES!!

A minute later, waiting to turn left from a side street onto a major street, a car approaching from my right on the far side stopped and tried to wave me through, and made a hands-raised "why don't you go" gesture when I didn't. In return, I pointed out to her the car that was approaching from my left, showing no sign of stopping. After he passed, I did turn, since she was still waiting for me. Whatever.

It was the morning of bonehead motorists.
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Old 06-13-06, 03:18 PM
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While we're discussing motorists interactions with expectations to pass on the right, about a month ago on my way to work two guys in the same car were really upset at me taking the lane on a short stretch of road between lights (it's rare that I don't catch any motorists who pass me at the next light). When they had the oppurtunity to pass they of course did and 15 seconds later I'm pulling up behind them at the light. At this point, the passenger cracks his door open (in preparation for a dooring attempt I assume) as he watches for me to try and pass on the right. Sweet, huh?
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Old 06-13-06, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Itsjustb
First question: Should I have taken him up on his offer to pass him on the right? If so, why? If not, was my reasoning correct?

Second question (and this one is rhetorical): What kind of "cyclist" would squeeze into that space when driving in the first place??? Aren't you much more cautious around your fellow cyclists when you're driving?
No. Yes.

An idiot. Yes.
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Old 06-13-06, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Bekologist
why you waited behind a dozen cars to turn right at a signalled intersection is a little VC to the extremeeeme, dude....but if you want to be stuck in traffic on your bicycle, go right ahead. safety often dictates. you never pass lines of stopped traffic or lane share in the face of traffic congestion?

if you felt safety dictated you stay behind the line of cars, all well and good. if you let cars slow you down to make a statement about vehicular parity, i laugh in your general direction...


you're in the %1 percent club i guess, congratulations, your ersatz medallion is in the mailbag.....
A little harsh, Bek. But I have a similar situation except without the turn lane, and I actually hop on the sidewalk, cut through a grassy lawn, then hop down the curb on the others side. All VC no-nos. But there is barely any traffic turning right and a big long backup.
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Old 06-13-06, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by billh
But I have a similar situation except without the turn lane, and I actually hop on the sidewalk, cut through a grassy lawn, then hop down the curb on the others side. All VC no-nos. But there is barely any traffic turning right and a big long backup
VC is a methodology for riding on roads. VC has nothing to say about what you do off the roads, whether you're mountain biking, on the sidewalk, or whatever. What you describe is not a VC no-no, as long as you exit and enter the road visibly and predictably.
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Old 06-13-06, 08:55 PM
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depending on the cars' "STACK" at the intersection,

i'll ride left and filter past cars at a signalled right hand if i can take a turn on red. or in the right hand side, I have no general issues about filtering past traffic if it is safe and reasonable to do so.

to me it was unclear if it was a narrow or shareable right hand turn lane. using the left hand side of the right hand turn lane, and also splitting the right edge of the thrulane and and the right lane doesn't bother me as if it looks reasonable to do so safely.

like i said, if you stayed behind because you considered it safer to do so, more power to you. i do this on every commute. i also filter in congested urban backups and use my bike to my advantage to split shareable lanes.

at stopped traffic lights, I generally GET TO DICTATE my lane sharing. less of it relies on the cars behind me. less of the lane sharing gets determined by the gas huffer, and more of the lane sharing decision is made by me.


Cars split shareable lanes with me, i split shareable lanes with cars.

Last edited by Bekologist; 06-14-06 at 07:58 AM.
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Old 06-13-06, 09:29 PM
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Woo hoo! Splitting lanes! I'm there with that, too.

A city optimized for VC cycling only is a city that would be boring to ride a bike in. If you can't santimoniously blow by a bunch of cars stuck in traffic, what fun is it to ride a bike?
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Old 06-14-06, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Bekologist
depending on the cars' "STACK" at the intersection...


...Cars split shareable lanes with me, i split shareable lanes with cars.
Me too, quite reasonable.

Riding in traffic is always such a judgement call, you have to feel your way around based on experience. You can't just define riding in narrow methodological terms all the time. Sometimes you have to wing it.
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