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Filtering on the LEFT!

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Filtering on the LEFT!

Old 07-12-07, 09:30 AM
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CliftonGK1
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Filtering on the LEFT!

Last night my fiancee and I went out to dinner. As we're stopped on a one-way street at a light in a left-turn or go-straight lane (we were going straight) a guy filtered up on our left. We didn't say anything to him, and I thought "maybe he's going to make the left turn here." Nope. He was going straight, too.
It's unbelievable to me, that someone would think this was a good or safe move. An unattentive (or irritated) driver making a left might have hooked him when the light turned. Heck, as it was, we waited him out for a half a block so we could safely make the left into the restaurant lot.
The road becomes a forked "left turn only" and "go straight only" set of lanes a few blocks up, and I watched as he drifted from the left edge of the left-turn lane over to the left edge of the go-straight lanes, in front of traffic. Hopefully he made it to where ever it was he was headed.
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Old 07-12-07, 09:35 AM
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To be honest, I've been guilty of it before, but even as I'm doing it, all I'm thinking is "Man this is stupid, I hope no one turns into me"
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Old 07-12-07, 09:49 AM
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Maybe he's a relatively inexperienced biker? I know I've had some moments where all I was thinking was "I shouldn't be over here, I shouldn't be over here" but there's not much I could do except keep going.
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Old 07-12-07, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by gharding
Maybe he's a relatively inexperienced biker?
I know it's silly to think that appearance somehow equates to experience, but this was a 30-40 something guy on a well kept older touring-ish bike with racks and a single Ortleib rear pannier. He had a rear view mirror, a fair amount of reflecties, and a couple of nice rear blinkies. Around here, that's pretty typical of the long-time commuters.
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Old 07-12-07, 10:22 AM
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I ride on the left side of one-way streets all the time, but I never filter.
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Old 07-12-07, 10:37 AM
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I think we've all had times where we've ended up somewhere we shouldn't be while riding in traffic. One wrong turn on a familiar route can really mess you up. He may have been a bad cyclist, but he may have just been a little lost, too.
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Old 07-12-07, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by jeff-o
I ride on the left side of one-way streets all the time, but I never filter.
This is a high traffic one-way street with quite a few cross-streets, parking lots, and alleyways. Lots of people making left turns. I always stick to the right side until I need to make a left. It's sometimes tough to get a break across 2 lanes of traffic, but it's do-able.

This is the intersection
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Old 07-12-07, 11:46 AM
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Where are all the "don't pass on the right" people now?

In one thread people are talking about how filtering on the right is illegal, now we've got one where filtering on the left is dangerous.

Personally, I don't have a problem with it, not on a one-way street.
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Old 07-12-07, 12:00 PM
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We have bike lanes in downtown Minneapolis that are on the left side of one way streets. You have no choice to but to find yourself in situations such as you describe, daily. You are always filtering (in the bike lane) up alongside traffic on their left. So you have to be super careful at intersections. Cars turn across the lane all the time, you need to be aggressive, and defensive at the same time.

It's not ideal, but to me it's all part of it, no big thing.
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Old 07-12-07, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by CliftonGK1
As it was, we waited him out for a half a block so we could safely make the left into the restaurant lot.
That's called sharing the road. Sorry it was so tough for you.
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Old 07-12-07, 12:21 PM
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I travel on a 4-lane one way downtown, which has fairly heavy traffic at my commute times (Adelaide - used to ride on Richmond a lot too when I came west to work)... I must admit I don't think I filter on the left, but I do filter through - sometimes I'm in the centre-left lane, so that I'm in the through-traffic and not snarled up in the left turners... This is my slowest part of the commute, too, there are still remnants of old streetcar tracks too, which change my lane choices - I end up taking the lane and just riding on a lot of the time due to it being a hassle to keep darting in and out of the left-most lane (I eventually do need that left lane to turn) as it is a LTOL on some blocks. A guy got pissed with me last night because I slowed right down to head over this huge grate with my loaded roadie, no way I wanted my back wheel slammed into that, regardless of their honking.

I don't really mind it, but people need to be aware and responsible with their choices. If you're going to filter, make sure you're aware of what's going on behind you (the off-the-line racers can sometimes really mess you up if you're splitting a lane, etc.)
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Old 07-12-07, 12:59 PM
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I filter where there is room. I've been passed by a bus who decided to stop and let on passengers just seconds before he got to the stop. Had he waited behind me for another 4-5 seconds I wouldn't have had to pass him on the left.

When turning left at multi lane intersections I'll make a wide turn letting the cars cut the corner and go on their way (they cut the corner anyway).
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Old 07-12-07, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Joker
That's called sharing the road. Sorry it was so tough for you.
Wow, way to be a condescending prick. Hat's off to ya.

I wasn't complaining about waiting a half a block to make a turn. My original post was questioning the safety of filtering on the left. While it is legal according to the RCW (RCW 46.61.770) to ride on the left side of a marked multiple lane one-way street, my curiosity was chiefly to see what sort of responses other commuters would give regarding their own experience with such situations. I'm glad you stepped up to the plate with such an insightful statement.
I ride this stretch of road quite often, and I stick to the right because there are fewer turn options heading that way. Especially since turn signals seem to be optional equipment on vehicles in Redmond, it's difficult to anticipate a driver's intentions at an intersection. A no-signal left hook is a high probability on that stretch of road.
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Old 07-12-07, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by CliftonGK1
It's unbelievable to me, that someone would think this was a good or safe move. An unattentive (or irritated) driver making a left might have hooked him when the light turned.
And if he was on the right, an inattentive driver making a right turn might have hooked him. On a one-way street it makes basically no difference what side you're on. I prefer the right because that's what all of my reflexes are trained for by now, but if the left is safer for whatever reason, I'll go with the left. I've done it one Richmond and Adelaide (Toronto's major 1-way streets, four lanes in each direction) when the rightmost lane had cars parked in it, and the lane next to it had streetcar tracks.

Originally Posted by JeffS
Where are all the "don't pass on the right" people now?
To be fair the laws and common sense all say that you don't pass anyone on the right except for left-turners.
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Old 07-12-07, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by chephy
And if he was on the right, an inattentive driver making a right turn might have hooked him. On a one-way street it makes basically no difference what side you're on.
This is very true. However, I'd bet that most drivers don't know it's legal for a cyclist to ride on the left side of a multi-lane one way, and would never even consider looking there (not only at an intersection, but also while just driving down the road.)
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Old 07-12-07, 01:53 PM
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That's why when I filter on the left or right (depending on the street and the condition of the pavement and any number of variables), I make it my responsibility to know where the cars are. I don't trust any car to see me.
What he did was legal. And why the hell were you in a car, anyway? (That comment, like Mr. Joker's, I believe, was sarcastic.)
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Old 07-12-07, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by CliftonGK1
This is very true. However, I'd bet that most drivers don't know it's legal for a cyclist to ride on the left side of a multi-lane one way, and would never even consider looking there (not only at an intersection, but also while just driving down the road.)
Don't we have numerous threads on here suggesting that most(?) drivers don't know it's legal for a cyclist to ride anywhere on the road?

There are no one-way streets on any of my usual routes, but I'd probably use the left as well. You're right in front of the drivers of overtaking vehicles, so I would think it should be easier for them to judge passing distance on that side, even for the big wide SUVs.
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Old 07-12-07, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by CliftonGK1
Especially since turn signals seem to be optional equipment on vehicles in Redmond
You must have a lot of BMW drivers there. Around here I've noticed that they are either
a) too good to tell YOU what they're doing
b) the turn signal stalk was a $10,000 option on their 3 series so they opted for letherette interior instead thus they couldn't signal even if they wanted to.
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Old 07-12-07, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by CliftonGK1
I know it's silly to think that appearance somehow equates to experience, but this was a 30-40 something guy on a well kept older touring-ish bike with racks and a single Ortleib rear pannier. He had a rear view mirror, a fair amount of reflecties, and a couple of nice rear blinkies. Around here, that's pretty typical of the long-time commuters.
Sounds similar to my deck out, and I have almost NO road riding experience. I had next to ZERO before I moved here and now only have about 1 month of commuting under my belt.
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Old 07-12-07, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Bklyn
And why the hell were you in a car, anyway?
Bwaha! I was actually expecting this one a lot sooner.
Answer: Fiancee doesn't walk so good. We drive when we're out together. (And to be honest, I just think her car is cool.)
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Old 07-12-07, 03:53 PM
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Not a big deal if he can get the attention of the forward car or make enough space between them.
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Old 07-12-07, 05:01 PM
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I split traffic all of the time because I can and it's legal in California. BFD

Filtering is such a ghey term.
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Old 07-12-07, 08:34 PM
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I've filtered on the left for no better reason than that cars had stopped where they blocked me from filtering anywhere else.

Count me in as one of the folks who think that the left side is about as dangerous as the right side-- filtering anywhere requires you to be extremely careful about turning traffic.
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Old 07-12-07, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by chephy
To be fair the laws and common sense all say that you don't pass anyone on the right except for left-turners.
Start a poll and I'll bet your "common sense" comes closer to a 50/50 split.

To test the situation, get two cyclists to go down a slow-moving city street. Have both of them pass one car at the same time, one on each side. Ask the driver which one bothered them the most... my money is on the one that passed on the left.

From my own daily rides, when traffic gets below 20 (slower than me) a fairly high percentage of drivers move left in their lane to give me more room. Maybe I've just ridden the roads long enough now to get them trained
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Old 07-12-07, 09:41 PM
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It does seem odd, but I see the point about it being a one-way street. But it could also be that he was confused. I once found myself riding near the center line of a busy two lane road for over 1/4 mile, because I wanted to be prepared for a left turn but wasn't sure where it was, so I ended up moving left too soon and couldn't get back over until I found it. It was kind of scary, and I could tell the motorists were pretty annoyed at me, with some reason. Fortunately, I got through it unscathed.

Maybe this guy also was looking for a street onto which he would be turning left, but wasn't sure where it was.
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