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Moving yields in the parking lane...?

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Moving yields in the parking lane...?

Old 05-07-10, 05:45 PM
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Seattle Forrest
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Moving yields in the parking lane...?

Sorry for starting so many threads lately to ask probably basic questions. I hope that's not too annoying. But this is a situation I run into more often than any need to "filter" at lights, and again I'm sure I can learn from the group's wisdom. What I'm wondering is how often people yield to let cars pass, and under what circumstances?

I "take" the full lane pretty often; when I don't, I ride 3.5 feet from the parked cars, putting me into the side of the travel lane, which usually isn't very wide because there's a parking lane. Then someone passes me with 9 inches to spare, and I move into the center of the lane to avoid more risky passes. I prefer "back roads" through residential neighborhoods when I can take them, where this isn't an issue, but sometimes you need to take the arterials.

When there's a long-enough opening in the parking lane, I pull to the right, and ride in the park lane, to let cars pass. It's polite, and I'd rather have them in front of me than behind. But what usually happens is there won't be a break in traffic when I need to get back in the travel lane, and it's not uncommon for cars to close gaps to keep me out of their way. Then I feel like a chump for giving up my place to begin with. I know the answer isn't to get off the road every time a car wants to go faster - if cycling was that inconvenient, no one would do it.

Do other people do this? Do you expect to stop when you let cars by, and then start moving from zero when you see an opening? Or, do you hold your place in the moving lanes, but move over as much as practical and stop pedaling, to try and get cars to pass you while you move, and not give up your space? Maybe there's another option I'm not thinking of?
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Old 05-07-10, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Sorry for starting so many threads lately to ask probably basic questions. I hope that's not too annoying. But this is a situation I run into more often than any need to "filter" at lights, and again I'm sure I can learn from the group's wisdom. What I'm wondering is how often people yield to let cars pass, and under what circumstances?

I "take" the full lane pretty often; when I don't, I ride 3.5 feet from the parked cars, putting me into the side of the travel lane, which usually isn't very wide because there's a parking lane. Then someone passes me with 9 inches to spare, and I move into the center of the lane to avoid more risky passes. I prefer "back roads" through residential neighborhoods when I can take them, where this isn't an issue, but sometimes you need to take the arterials.

When there's a long-enough opening in the parking lane, I pull to the right, and ride in the park lane, to let cars pass. It's polite, and I'd rather have them in front of me than behind. But what usually happens is there won't be a break in traffic when I need to get back in the travel lane, and it's not uncommon for cars to close gaps to keep me out of their way. Then I feel like a chump for giving up my place to begin with. I know the answer isn't to get off the road every time a car wants to go faster - if cycling was that inconvenient, no one would do it.

Do other people do this? Do you expect to stop when you let cars by, and then start moving from zero when you see an opening? Or, do you hold your place in the moving lanes, but move over as much as practical and stop pedaling, to try and get cars to pass you while you move, and not give up your space? Maybe there's another option I'm not thinking of?
No, frankly I don't do this for the very reason you have mentioned. Motorists tend not to give way when you try to pull back out... they feel you can ride in door zones. Also being over to the right like that, they may not see you... which can be a safety hazard.

I hold my line if these spots open up mid block. Of course I don't want to be a discourteous either, so I tend to do this only when there is another lane that motorists can pull into to go around me. If there is no other lane, I make a point to allow motorists to pass me at the stops.
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Old 05-07-10, 06:14 PM
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Once you give up, you'll have to yield to the cars in the travel lane. If you feel the need to take the lane, don't give it up until you KNOW you no longer need it. Jumping in and out of the travel lane will only cause problems.

I generally only take the lane in the city where you could only drive 20 mph anyway. Everywhere else there is enough room or reduced traffic so it's not an issue.
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Old 05-07-10, 06:33 PM
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I used to have a commuting route that had this very situation. And initially I did handle it the same way you do, Seattle. Pulling into gaps in the parking lane to allow faster traffic to pass. And I ran into the very same problems.

Then I realized that I was best off and safer if I stayed in the right tire track of the right lane. Motorists can pass when they can pass.
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Old 05-07-10, 08:14 PM
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There's a route downtown for utility rides that I take about 1x/month anymore, I've done that for a long time; there's not enough traffic OR parking to make it an issue, and this is what's considered a "secondary artery". I like it for that reason -- good access to downtown, easy to negotiate traffic.

I do it mainly because I know I can't maintain 20mph on my MTB (my only ride).
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Old 05-07-10, 08:27 PM
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The parking lane is usually just like the worst of bike lanes, full of debris and poorly patched utility cuts, plus the side slope of any crowned road surface gets steeper the closer you are to the curb. and then there are all the new curb extensions PDX is building - parking preservers, I like to call them.

I avoid the parking lane at almost all times, regardless of how few cars are in it, and using them to allow faster traffic to pass is way down on my list of why I would ride in one.

almost every state has published guidelines for cyclists that say you should maintain your line outside the door zone, and not weave in and out of parked cars.
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Old 05-07-10, 09:21 PM
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I do it all the time here and never have any problems getting back in line when I reach the end of the clearing. I ride pretty fast though.. as fast as my legs will take me anyway. Plus there will always be a gap in traffic here eventually thanks to the amount of traffic lights.

edit: What sudo bike typed below my post is exactly the same thing I do. Works great for me.

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Old 05-07-10, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Do other people do this? Do you expect to stop when you let cars by, and then start moving from zero when you see an opening? Or, do you hold your place in the moving lanes, but move over as much as practical and stop pedaling, to try and get cars to pass you while you move, and not give up your space? Maybe there's another option I'm not thinking of?
It depends...

If there's only a few hundred feet or some other puny distance between parked cars - no. Weaving in and out seems unsafe to me. However if there's a fairly long stretch, I ride in the parking lane. Doesn't hold me up any, and helps traffic flow better, so sure. When I start to approach the next parked car, even with a good ways still to go, I do a shoulder check. If I see traffic approaching, but judge I have enough time to safely merge, then I'll merge back in (with a big cushion still to go until that parked car comes up). If traffic is approaching and I feel I DON'T have time to merge in safely, then I back off and pedal really slowly so I can merge in behind the block of cars without needing to actually stop at the parked car (in theory). Obviously if there is no traffic when I check, I'll merge back in.

This seems to work out for me 95% of the time. I can think of only very few occasions I've ever had to actually come to a full stop to merge back in.
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Old 05-07-10, 11:06 PM
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Originally Posted by sudo bike View Post
It depends...

If there's only a few hundred feet or some other puny distance between parked cars - no. Weaving in and out seems unsafe to me. However if there's a fairly long stretch, I ride in the parking lane. Doesn't hold me up any, and helps traffic flow better, so sure. When I start to approach the next parked car, even with a good ways still to go, I do a shoulder check. If I see traffic approaching, but judge I have enough time to safely merge, then I'll merge back in (with a big cushion still to go until that parked car comes up). If traffic is approaching and I feel I DON'T have time to merge in safely, then I back off and pedal really slowly so I can merge in behind the block of cars without needing to actually stop at the parked car (in theory). Obviously if there is no traffic when I check, I'll merge back in.

This seems to work out for me 95% of the time. I can think of only very few occasions I've ever had to actually come to a full stop to merge back in.
This is very much how I handle the situation, a lot of jumping in and out of the parking lane is dangerous because of visibility issues. I stick to the "left tire track" in the parking lane rather than further to the right where I can't be seen as easily. Every road, rider and traffic situation is different so you have to develop your own judgement as to what works best for you.
Don't hesitate to ask any questions you might have, if anyone gets annoyed that is their problem. Just don't expect a consensus on any question short of "Do you like to ride bikes?"
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Old 05-08-10, 06:28 AM
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It depends...

I don't do it (generally) if I'm travelling close to the speed of "normal" traffic. I think it can be more helpful to drivers if the cyclist tracks a straighter path than "weaving" in-and-out because the cyclist is harder to predict when weaving. If I'm using the parking lane, I also tend to move out into the traffic lane fairly early.
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Old 05-08-10, 08:12 AM
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So far my general rule is if cars are having a hard time passing me for 30-60 seconds I look for a pace I can safely pull off. At most this means 3 pull offs in 10 miles (no more then a 2 minute delay in total for me.) Likewise in areas with continual traffic diarrhea I will not pull off (tried it once and three traffic lights latter I still could not get back in. My delay has to be near equal to the delay I am causing.)
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Old 05-08-10, 06:08 PM
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I do pretty much as others have suggested:
1) Hold the travel lane if gaps are small.
2) When in the parking lane, hold the left tire track.

I love riding in a bike lane when someone in a parked car opens the door, so that overtaking motorists can clearly see why I need to left-bias my position.
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Old 05-08-10, 08:13 PM
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I agree with other opinions here. Once you leave the lane, you have forfeited the right to the lane, and if you come to a parked car and have solid traffic to your left, you have to stop and wait to merge in the same as if you were coming to the road from a driveway or intersection.

That said, I've moved over myself, but I only do it when there's hardly any traffic and there's quite a lot of space in the parking lane, so there's really zero chance that I'll be stuck over there or that anything will happen. If there's solid traffic, I don't move out of the lane, and how far over I move depends on the situation (lane width, parked cars, distance from doors)
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Old 05-09-10, 11:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Sorry for starting so many threads lately to ask probably basic questions. I hope that's not too annoying. But this is a situation I run into more often than any need to "filter" at lights, and again I'm sure I can learn from the group's wisdom. What I'm wondering is how often people yield to let cars pass, and under what circumstances?

I "take" the full lane pretty often; when I don't, I ride 3.5 feet from the parked cars, putting me into the side of the travel lane, which usually isn't very wide because there's a parking lane. Then someone passes me with 9 inches to spare, and I move into the center of the lane to avoid more risky passes. I prefer "back roads" through residential neighborhoods when I can take them, where this isn't an issue, but sometimes you need to take the arterials.

When there's a long-enough opening in the parking lane, I pull to the right, and ride in the park lane, to let cars pass. It's polite, and I'd rather have them in front of me than behind. But what usually happens is there won't be a break in traffic when I need to get back in the travel lane, and it's not uncommon for cars to close gaps to keep me out of their way. Then I feel like a chump for giving up my place to begin with. I know the answer isn't to get off the road every time a car wants to go faster - if cycling was that inconvenient, no one would do it.

Do other people do this? Do you expect to stop when you let cars by, and then start moving from zero when you see an opening? Or, do you hold your place in the moving lanes, but move over as much as practical and stop pedaling, to try and get cars to pass you while you move, and not give up your space? Maybe there's another option I'm not thinking of?
Here in Japan, this is never ever an issue. You can just merge back in with little to no trouble in almost all circumstances. (There are usually not parking lanes on the side of roads, but often so many people parked in the [left here in Japan] lane to make it feel like a parking lane.
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Old 05-10-10, 09:44 AM
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A mirror can greatly help monitor the rear traffic flow so you know when you need to move back or if you should have even moved over in the first place.
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Old 05-10-10, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by randya View Post
almost every state has published guidelines for cyclists that say you should maintain your line outside the door zone, and not weave in and out of parked cars.
I agree about not weaving. All that's going to do, is make a bad situation worse; being predictable helps me not get hit, and I want to jump back into traffic rarely. It seems like if I'll ever get hit in this type of situation, it's while I'm changing lanes ... so I want to do as little of that as possible. So in general I only move into the parking lane when either it's wide open ( 100 yards of empty space? ), or there are several car lengths of empty parking lane, and only one car behind me, on a one-lane road.n

Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
I don't do it (generally) if I'm travelling close to the speed of "normal" traffic. I think it can be more helpful to drivers if the cyclist tracks a straighter path than "weaving" in-and-out because the cyclist is harder to predict when weaving. If I'm using the parking lane, I also tend to move out into the traffic lane fairly early.
Usually I'm moving pretty close to the speed of traffic. Roads with 35 mph speed limits are really fast, in my cycling experience. I'm usually within 5 mph of the cars I ride with, and occasionally I'm moving faster because of traffic. But ... cars are terribly impatient. I can't count how often someone will pass me, just to make a right turn 1/5 of a block ahead. I think it's more about showing who's "king of the road" than actually having to wait a few more seconds ... so I do want people who might be getting annoyed to pass me and find something else they don't like.

But, pulling out of the roadway to let people go by has been bothering me, and it seems like other cyclists do this, but only rarely, when the conditions are just right. I'm going to keep that in mind, and will try to feel less pressure to get out of the way when the situation isn't ideal for yielding.
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Old 05-10-10, 11:23 AM
  #17  
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In the city, I RARELY, virtually NEVER pull so far right on roads with intermittent parking that i can't continue riding past the next parked car without lane negotiation.

I always ride so as to clear the next parked car. move rightish, but don't get out of your intended lane of travel! of course, travelling up steep hills, etc there is more leeway for a temporary yield, esp if hauling groceries or a commuter load, like humping books and a half rack over phinney ridge or capitol hill.

if you have left the traffic stream, and need to return, get good with the left hand "I'm going HERE" signal and the 'tailing bumper swerve' -used also as a right hook preventative- so as to be able to regain the lane with emphatic effectiveness. A mirror is nice too in case you aren't using one.
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Old 05-10-10, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by The Human Car View Post
My delay has to be near equal to the delay I am causing.)
I think this is the best metric for weighing when to pull off. It's similar to the unconscious calculation you do when deciding whether to wait and hold the door open for the next person behind you. If it takes you longer than the time you save for them, you must really like them.
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Old 05-10-10, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
In the city, I RARELY, virtually NEVER pull so far right on roads with intermittent parking that i can't continue riding past the next parked car without lane negotiation.

I always ride so as to clear the next parked car. move rightish, but don't get out of your intended lane of travel! of course, travelling up steep hills, etc there is more leeway for a temporary yield, esp if hauling groceries or a commuter load, like humping books and a half rack over phinney ridge or capitol hill.

if you have left the traffic stream, and need to return, get good with the left hand "I'm going HERE" signal and the 'tailing bumper swerve' -used also as a right hook preventative- so as to be able to regain the lane with emphatic effectiveness. A mirror is nice too in case you aren't using one.
Funny you mentioned hills as a good hill is probably the only place that I might pull out of the way... knowing that I am doing like 8MPH and motor traffic is whizzing by at 35MPH or more. I generally figure that by the time I get to the top, I am so close to a standstill anyway that I will just wait (and breath hard) until a good gap comes along.

But mind you, that is the only place I might consider giving up my ROW.

Sggoodri and THC both have it about right in the post above (18).

Otherwise, the ROW is mine and no way I am giving it up.
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Old 05-10-10, 02:13 PM
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The uphill direction of a steep hill is one place it makes sense to me to install a bike lane, sort of as a slow moving vehicle / passing lane, as a courtesy.

However, most cities make the mistake of coupling a bike lane on a steep uphill with a corresponding bike lane in the opposite direction on the downhill side, where a bike lane isn't needed and is actually a hazard to cyclists.
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Old 05-10-10, 02:20 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by randya View Post
The uphill direction of a steep hill is one place it makes sense to me to install a bike lane, sort of as a slow moving vehicle / passing lane, as a courtesy.

However, most cities make the mistake of coupling a bike lane on a steep uphill with a corresponding bike lane in the opposite direction on the downhill side, where a bike lane isn't needed and is actually a hazard to cyclists.
OMG, what make road crews and traffic engineers actually think about real bicycle use??? Yikes, what a concept! Who knows what that might lead to... non-door zone bikes lanes?!!?
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Old 05-10-10, 02:42 PM
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Believe it or not, up one particular hill on the morning commute is one of the places where I run into this trouble the most. I'm struggling to keep the bike going at about 12 mph, and the cars want to do 35. Half of the hill is a multi-lane one way street, and then it changes to a single lane in each direction. I don't feel very bad about holding my lane when there are two others for auto use, but after the change, I'm a lot more likely to move over and let a few cars pass. Unfortunately, with the road narrowing, the amount of open space in the parking lane drops from 100 yards at a time, to a few car lengths. I feel compelled to let them pass, but then I wind up behind a parked car, waiting to get back into the lane, and merge up hill from a dead stop.

Sggoodri probably has it right in message #18.
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Old 05-10-10, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
But, pulling out of the roadway to let people go by has been bothering me, and it seems like other cyclists do this, but only rarely, when the conditions are just right. I'm going to keep that in mind, and will try to feel less pressure to get out of the way when the situation isn't ideal for yielding.
Makes sense. Sometimes, you can do it so that you aren't inconvenienced, the drivers don't have to wait, and things are safe.

Riding in traffic is a subtle skill. It takes a lot of practice.

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Old 05-10-10, 03:01 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
Otherwise, the ROW is mine and no way I am giving it up.
An inscription for your tombstone!

(Always yield ROW to avoid a collision.)
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Old 05-10-10, 04:08 PM
  #25  
genec
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
An inscription for your tombstone!

(Always yield ROW to avoid a collision.)
OK I took it a bit far... "All hail to ROW!"

In reality I really only mean that as long as I am in that position on the road I probably won't give it up... knowing that by giving it up, it is highly unlikely that I can gain it back.

And yes, indeed, the ultimate rule is avoid collisions.
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