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Warning an overtaking car not to overtake

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Warning an overtaking car not to overtake

Old 05-09-13, 12:42 PM
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the_tool_man
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Warning an overtaking car not to overtake

Hi all:

I've been riding forever, and commuting for a few years now, almost entirely on suburban and rural two-lane roads. In my experience, nearly every car that overtakes me gives me plenty of room by crossing the centerline of the road (sometimes entirely). I prefer this to being buzzed, but it presents a different problem. My local terrain is typically a series of small hills. So, I frequently find myself approaching the top of a hill as a car is overtaking me from behind. I used to cringe at the thought of someone passing me on the wrong side of the road as they crest a hill, only to collide head-on with a car coming the opposite direction. Of course, most motorists know better than to pass there (especially considering the ever-present double-yellow line), but it only takes one, right?

Then one day, I was driving in my car somewhere and overtook a cyclist on a hill. I had no intention of passing him until I knew it was clear, but he didn't know that. He extended his left arm out and rearward with his palm open toward me, fingers down and splayed. Whether it was this signal, his posture or other nonverbal, I immediately understood he wanted me to slow and follow him until we crested the hill. This took maybe 10-15 seconds, at which point we could both see there was no oncoming traffic. He dropped his arm, and I was on my way.

I've started doing this "wait to pass" gesture, myself. I have to say it seems to work pretty well. So far, I haven't had anyone pass me while doing this. I've also found that my position on the bike is a bit higher than most cars, giving me advanced warning of oncoming traffic that I can communicate to the car driver while he's still "behind" the hill. I'm sure the guy I saw and I aren't the only ones who do this. But I've never seen it taught anywhere. So I thought I'd share my experience.

Good idea or not?
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Old 05-09-13, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by the_tool_man View Post
Hi all:

I've been riding forever, and commuting for a few years now, almost entirely on suburban and rural two-lane roads. In my experience, nearly every car that overtakes me gives me plenty of room by crossing the centerline of the road (sometimes entirely). I prefer this to being buzzed, but it presents a different problem. My local terrain is typically a series of small hills. So, I frequently find myself approaching the top of a hill as a car is overtaking me from behind. I used to cringe at the thought of someone passing me on the wrong side of the road as they crest a hill, only to collide head-on with a car coming the opposite direction. Of course, most motorists know better than to pass there (especially considering the ever-present double-yellow line), but it only takes one, right?

Then one day, I was driving in my car somewhere and overtook a cyclist on a hill. I had no intention of passing him until I knew it was clear, but he didn't know that. He extended his left arm out and rearward with his palm open toward me, fingers down and splayed. Whether it was this signal, his posture or other nonverbal, I immediately understood he wanted me to slow and follow him until we crested the hill. This took maybe 10-15 seconds, at which point we could both see there was no oncoming traffic. He dropped his arm, and I was on my way.

I've started doing this "wait to pass" gesture, myself. I have to say it seems to work pretty well. So far, I haven't had anyone pass me while doing this. I've also found that my position on the bike is a bit higher than most cars, giving me advanced warning of oncoming traffic that I can communicate to the car driver while he's still "behind" the hill. I'm sure the guy I saw and I aren't the only ones who do this. But I've never seen it taught anywhere. So I thought I'd share my experience.

Good idea or not?
When you can "take on" the motorists one at a time... and deal with them one at a time... I tend to think communicating in this manner is a very "good neighbor" type of thing. I have done just this on long tours... from the "wait" to a hardy "forward ho wave on" when it is safe to go. Some motorists will ignore you... to their peril, but that is their choice. Others will thank you with a nod or wave.

I also do something like this when I can when commuting... letting motorists know my intentions (beyond the standard turn signals).

Again whether a driver will ignore you or not is up to them.
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Old 05-09-13, 12:56 PM
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I do that exact thing. I am sure most drivers have no clue what I am signaling or why but I do it anyway. There have been a few incidents with lawn tractors, dogs, and even a cow in the road that I could see and cars behind could not.

I have the same fear of a head on but more afraid that the car passing me will juke back over (like the TDF press car), and nail me instead of hitting the oncoming car.

It amazes me how many people will do an instant bad pass with no line of site and without even slowing.
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Old 05-09-13, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by the_tool_man View Post
Hi all:

I've been riding forever, and commuting for a few years now, almost entirely on suburban and rural two-lane roads. In my experience, nearly every car that overtakes me gives me plenty of room by crossing the centerline of the road (sometimes entirely). I prefer this to being buzzed, but it presents a different problem. My local terrain is typically a series of small hills. So, I frequently find myself approaching the top of a hill as a car is overtaking me from behind. I used to cringe at the thought of someone passing me on the wrong side of the road as they crest a hill, only to collide head-on with a car coming the opposite direction. Of course, most motorists know better than to pass there (especially considering the ever-present double-yellow line), but it only takes one, right?

Then one day, I was driving in my car somewhere and overtook a cyclist on a hill. I had no intention of passing him until I knew it was clear, but he didn't know that. He extended his left arm out and rearward with his palm open toward me, fingers down and splayed. Whether it was this signal, his posture or other nonverbal, I immediately understood he wanted me to slow and follow him until we crested the hill. This took maybe 10-15 seconds, at which point we could both see there was no oncoming traffic. He dropped his arm, and I was on my way.

I've started doing this "wait to pass" gesture, myself. I have to say it seems to work pretty well. So far, I haven't had anyone pass me while doing this. I've also found that my position on the bike is a bit higher than most cars, giving me advanced warning of oncoming traffic that I can communicate to the car driver while he's still "behind" the hill. I'm sure the guy I saw and I aren't the only ones who do this. But I've never seen it taught anywhere. So I thought I'd share my experience.

Good idea or not?
The hold back signal has long been used, probably from the 1930s.
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Old 05-09-13, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
...to a hardy "forward ho wave on" when it is safe to go...
I've done the "go ahead" wave, too. But I've reconsidered that one. I think if I wave them on and someone pulls out ahead of them, causing a wreck, I might be considered at fault.
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Old 05-09-13, 01:12 PM
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I use the hold back and go ahead gestures all the time. I think it's a good practice.
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Old 05-09-13, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by the_tool_man View Post
I've done the "go ahead" wave, too. But I've reconsidered that one. I think if I wave them on and someone pulls out ahead of them, causing a wreck, I might be considered at fault.
A driver should treat such a signal as you are OK with being passed. They have to decide that it's safe for them to pass.

What I do is hold my left arm down and wave my hand forward. The idea is that it is sort of ambiguous (since it is not like the normal "pass me" signal).
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Old 05-09-13, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by John Forester View Post
The hold back signal has long been used, probably from the 1930s.

Ah, but it is likely never used by (sic) 'effective cyclists', who have been taught by the Forester trademark technique to ride to never affect other traffic, to ride just inside the lane, and to not remove hands from the bars at even slow speeds to signal motorists out of fear of crashing.

The trained (sic) 'effective' cyclists most likely don't use the 'hold back' signal. Fear, dontchyknow.

That being said, the hold-em-back technique seems quite well understood, and generally well received if a rider is considerate about controlling the lane. I find sometimes even a small shift to the left has the similar affect at stopping a pass with overtaking traffic. the hand hold back is in addition to a strong enough lateral lane position. away from 'just inside the lane' for instance.

I can't remember when i didn't use this technique, maybe back in the 1970's when i was younger?

I just rolled a 120 mile sub240 bikepacking trip on state highways and backroads, people by and large still 'get it' when it comes to the 'hold back' hand signal.

Last edited by Bekologist; 05-09-13 at 01:49 PM.
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Old 05-09-13, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
I use the hold back and go ahead gestures all the time. I think it's a good practice.
I'd add that when giving the go ahead signal it is also good practice to soft pedal. Helps everyone as the less time the car is passing you the lest time for something to go wrong.
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Old 05-09-13, 01:46 PM
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the only people that have ever followed my hand signals to hold on were police. Everyone else takes it as a point of pride that there is nothing around the corner that I can see that they can't, and then they find out differently. I always wondered if signalling a left turn would help

As Keith99 says above, I stop pedaling if I want someone to pass. Seems to work with just about everyone
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Old 05-09-13, 01:52 PM
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I've used both signals for decades. Most alert and sane drivers understand the "hold" or "do not pass" signal and will wait.

There are plenty who won't wait, or don't get it, of course. They seriously scare me. So do the cyclists who ignore the same signal to pass me and nearly take out the peds in the crosswalk that I could see and they couldn't, or wouldn't.
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Old 05-09-13, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen
the only people that have ever followed my hand signals to hold on were police. Everyone else takes it as a point of pride that there is nothing around the corner that I can see that they can't, and then they find out differently.
might not be far enough out, when you need to hold them back. i've never seen you ride, but that doesn't sound like everyone else's experiences with the hold em back signal.

here's a couple of photos i just took on this latest trip to showcase the lane position phenomenon;

a hold back hand with an assertive lane position as in this first photo often provides enough signal to prevent unsafe passing, and is more courteous than simply hanging in the middle of the lane for no good reason discernible from behind the windshield.

the hold back hand position in conjunction with the (sic) effective cyclists' lane rule of 'just inside the lane' position will be significantly less effective.
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Old 05-09-13, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
. . .the only people that have ever followed my hand signals to hold on were police. Everyone else takes it as a point of pride. . .
We live in a nation of micro-cultures, when it comes to cycling environments.
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Old 05-09-13, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post

the hold back hand position in conjunction with the (sic) effective cyclists' lane rule of 'just inside the lane' position will be significantly less effective.
Looks more like the standard road positioning of the Western Creeper Gutterbunny, to me. Maybe your slideshow is mixed up?
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Old 05-09-13, 02:07 PM
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no, that's stock (sic) 'effective cycling' technique as per the "Cyclists lane rule" for narrow roads. "Cyclists lane rule: just inside the lane on narrow roads".

I understand why you can't believe it, because the 'effective' cycling advice contained within is so appalling it approaches disbelief. nonetheless, that's the way its written.

you have a copy of the book, look it up.

- i should add, if they even dare to take a hand off the bars to signal to cars for fear of crashing! keeping the hands firmly on the bars instead of signalling, for fear of crashing, is another published 'technique' of the (sic) 'effective cyclist'.

It's odd to see the 'hold-em-back' signal talked about by an author convinced hands off the bars to signal is unsafe, and signaling motorists hardly necessary besides.

Since an (sic) 'effective' cyclist rides to the greatest extent to 'never affect other traffic', who needs hand signals?

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Old 05-09-13, 02:22 PM
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I don't stop pedaling. On a two-lane road, I let motorists' know, they will have to pass at their own peril. Because I won't let them blindly push me into a parked vehicle, or off the road. On a four-lane road, I let them know, to get in the passing lane.
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Old 05-09-13, 02:27 PM
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take the lane when needed to discourage passing, throwing a hold em back hand signal helps to make it clearer.
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Old 05-09-13, 02:44 PM
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Guess I live in one of the bad cycling microcultures then. I hear the op on not wanting a passing car to head on another while passing. it seems to enrage 50% of the drivers when I use a hand signal to not pass while in town. For those who do not just go around on a double yellow blind spot and wait till its safe there is always the flooring it once past, as if to make up for lost time.
Oh, and when taking the lane and get passed on a blind curve or hill anyway, experience has taught me to get the hell to the right. When they dive back over they don't even remember your there!

Another thing that is pretty dangerous around here is to make a left turn signal when in the lane. About seven times now the car behind me has simply gone around, cutting me off as I turn, and twice directly into oncoming traffic that I was waiting for. All I can figure it that they think I am waving them by.

To be sort of fair to the drivers here, I may be one of the very few cyclists they have ever really encountered until the last few years, as there are now at least two others in the area who ride when its nice.
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Old 05-09-13, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by shipwreck View Post
To be sort of fair to the drivers here, I may be one of the very few cyclists they have ever really encountered until the last few years, as there are now at least two others in the area who ride when its nice.
Sheesh. It's been a long time since I've had to ride in an environment like that, but I sure remember how much it sucks.

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Old 05-09-13, 03:12 PM
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I live in NW Arkansas, but I am sure(know) that there are worse places. We do have amazing roads to ride here though, its beautiful in the hills.

Guess I should be more precise. There are not a lot of "vehicular" cyclists here. I may be one of the only guys who rides in the lane itself, and even I pull a gutter bunny on many stretches.
There are a few roadys, and sometimes I am in their number as well. Almost all of them I have seen are white line riders. Its simply safer that way. One guy moved here a few years ago from New Mexico, and after a month stopped riding his road bike because he said the drivers were to dangerous.
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Old 05-09-13, 03:18 PM
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I'm not convinced motorists pass closer using this lane position.

Of course, if its safe to do so, i'll ride closer to the edge as motorists approach. This is simple courtesy.

if you're at the edge of the road or 'just inside the lane' at all times, the motorists are going to be close passing you anyway.

I wouldn't worry about those of us with different experiences in this technique across the country. i used to ride the florida panhandle, not quite rural arkansas, but close!

The typical southern highways of two narrow lanes and every increasing amounts of fast, distracted traffic, are not so enjoyable, that's fo sure!
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Old 05-09-13, 03:24 PM
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I've been directing traffic behind me as far back as I remember (40+years). I use the hand down stop or wait signal, and when it's safe to pass I switch to a waving or rotating "pass now" signal. For the most part motorists appreciate the effort to share the road and only a tiny few pass anyway.

We tend to be very protective of our road rights (and should be) but at the same time need to accept that we're slow moving vehicles, like a farm tractor or construction vehicle, and do our part to make the roads safer for everybody.
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Old 05-09-13, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by the_tool_man View Post
Hi all: I've been riding forever, and commuting for a few years now, almost entirely on suburban and rural two-lane roads. In my experience, nearly every car that overtakes me gives me plenty of room by crossing the centerline of the road (sometimes entirely). I prefer this to being buzzed, but it presents a different problem. My local terrain is typically a series of small hills. So, I frequently find myself approaching the top of a hill as a car is overtaking me from behind. I used to cringe at the thought of someone passing me on the wrong side of the road as they crest a hill, only to collide head-on with a car coming the opposite direction. Of course, most motorists know better than to pass there (especially considering the ever-present double-yellow line), but it only takes one, right?

Then one day, I was driving in my car somewhere and overtook a cyclist on a hill. I had no intention of passing him until I knew it was clear, but he didn't know that. He extended his left arm out and rearward with his palm open toward me, fingers down and splayed. Whether it was this signal, his posture or other nonverbal, I immediately understood he wanted me to slow and follow him until we crested the hill. This took maybe 10-15 seconds, at which point we could both see there was no oncoming traffic. He dropped his arm, and I was on my way.

I've started doing this "wait to pass" gesture, myself. I have to say it seems to work pretty well. So far, I haven't had anyone pass me while doing this. I've also found that my position on the bike is a bit higher than most cars, giving me advanced warning of oncoming traffic that I can communicate to the car driver while he's still "behind" the hill. I'm sure the guy I saw and I aren't the only ones who do this. But I've never seen it taught anywhere. So I thought I'd share my experience.

Good idea or not?
I have been using this same "slow, please wait to pass me" signal, exactly as you describe it, for over 45 years. It almost always works as you describe it. If it is needed for the car to slow substantially and it does slow, then I will usually move closer to the center of the lane while contining the signal.

I would add that as soon as you see that the road is clear for passing, you should give the "please pass me now" signal which is normally done with the elbow in a bit closer, fingers together but thumb out and two circular vertical passes with the hand, pausing at the upper front of the circle. Sort of like tossing two snowballs in a row. After this signal, I return the hand to the bars and proceed to pedal forward in the outer 1/4 of the lane leaving it to the car driver to proceed around me or not.

A big part of imparting confidence in the car people that you know what you are doing and are a part of the traffic steam, is to be able to continue to pedal in a nice straight line while signalling with little or no wobbling.

Would be interesting to hear from others on these topics.
/K
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Old 05-09-13, 04:47 PM
  #24  
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On the roads around here, the lanes are wide enough to share. I still will signal "hold back" if I hear or see a car approaching and I don't think the overtaking car can see it.

Some people don't take the hint though. I once had an idiot in a sports car pass me wide on a blind hill, and a large pickup truck crested the hill. He whipped it back and nearly went in the ditch, and fishtailed for several hundred feet before regaining control (this was on a gravel road), spraying gravel all over. I just shook my head and kept going.
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Old 05-09-13, 05:34 PM
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imi
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Warning an overtaking car not to overtake

Anyone got a picture of this "hold back" signal?
Unless I'm missing something, this is not used in England or Europe.

Similarly, the bent downward left arm to signal a right turn is not used over here.
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