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Turning ...

Old 02-17-15, 08:55 AM
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Deontologist
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Turning ...

There's this turn I have to make on my commute. It involves me getting into a relatively busy street. What I'm unsure about is should I wait in the middle of the car lane waiting to make the left turn or should I wait on the bike lane for the left turn?

I feel that waiting in the car lane would just piss drivers off as I held up traffic. But waiting in the bike lane sometimes takes FOREVER.

What should I do?

The arrow depicts the path I want to take. Note that the dashed line indicates a two-way road. Often there is traffic going both ways.

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Old 02-17-15, 09:01 AM
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You should wait in the left turn lane to turn left. Either that or dismount and cross the road as a pedestrian.

It's not your job to not piss off car drivers. It's your job to stay safe and be predictable. The ONLY way to be predictable is to follow the traffic law. If you make up your own stuff then drivers will have no clue what you're about to do.

Besides, when turning left, you're not taking up any more time than a car turning left would. Anyone getting pissed at you is just being a jerk; they'd be totally fine with you taking up the same amount of time if you were in a big metal box.
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Old 02-17-15, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
Besides, when turning left, you're not taking up any more time than a car turning left would. Anyone getting pissed at you is just being a jerk; they'd be totally fine with you taking up the same amount of time if you were in a big metal box.
True. But that's exactly what a lot of people think. Bikers are secondary citizens. Also, it's hard to signal intent in the left lane. I like to keep my hands on the bars to get ready to go but again people behind me might not understand I need to turn left. Perhaps like you said I'll just cross as a pedestrian when it's busy. Unfortunately there's no crosswalk here either.
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Old 02-17-15, 09:14 AM
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When in Rome...

I'd act as a car and wait in the "car" lane to turn left. If you're worried about being conscientious, wait for your turn close to the center line so cars can still get around you to the right.

You may be surprised and have oncoming traffic stop to let you turn. As always, predictability and a "thank you" wave go a long way.
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Old 02-17-15, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Deontologist View Post
What I'm unsure about is should I wait in the middle of the car lane waiting to make the left turn or should I wait on the bike lane for the left turn?
It's a traffic lane, not a car lane. You're traffic, so you should use the left hand turn lane. When you're stopped it's the same as a motorcycle waiting to turn left. Leave your left arm out as another vehicle approaches to signal your intent. You should be able to return your hand to the handlebars in plenty of time when you see a gap in traffic.

Edit: When you start riding a bicycle for transportation the best thing to do is to stop worrying about what other people think. Whether it's your clothing decision, bike decision, or worrying that you'll make someone mad because you're following the laws instead of cowering on the edge of the road to stay out of the way.
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Old 02-17-15, 09:46 AM
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Act like a car. People will understand your intentions. I think being treated as a second class citizen because you are a cyclist isn't as prevalent as one may think.
I have a turn where I have to cut across 2 lanes of traffic to get in the turn lane. I just go when there is a gap and act exacetly like a car, even if that means taking the right lane for a few minutes before getting into the left and finally into the turn lane. I don't know what people think to themselves or to a passenger in the confines of their car, but outwardly I have never had a problem and even get motorists waving me over into their lane.
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Old 02-17-15, 11:33 AM
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+1 to everything said here, from a biker who makes a turn just like this every day.
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Old 02-17-15, 11:34 AM
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I am all for acting like a car. Take a left turn lane people understand. Ignoring the jerks takes practice.

As @spivonious said you will be surprised by oncoming traffic stops for you. But I always worry about the car stopping getting rear ended by an inattentive driver not expecting the stop. I've never seen it happen but I've seen and heard several squealing tires and avoidance maneuvers.
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Old 02-17-15, 12:20 PM
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I dislike that left turn, so close to the intersection, whether in a car or bike. If there's a light at that first right I'd be tempted to just wait on the signal to stop traffic, then go and sit in the lane if necessary.
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Old 02-17-15, 12:29 PM
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Do what is safest. It's not about showing cars you have a right to be in a lane or you should be treated equally. Getting to your destination without getting injured or killed is the ultimate goal here.

Your diagram provides so little information (number of lanes, lights, signs, traffic pattern, vehicle speeds, etc.) that any advice should be taken with a huge grain of salt. What do other bikes at intersection do, if any? Actual pictures or google map links would help.
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Old 02-17-15, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Deontologist View Post
There's this turn I have to make on my commute. It involves me getting into a relatively busy street. What I'm unsure about is should I wait in the middle of the car lane waiting to make the left turn or should I wait on the bike lane for the left turn?

I feel that waiting in the car lane would just piss drivers off as I held up traffic. But waiting in the bike lane sometimes takes FOREVER.

What should I do?

The arrow depicts the path I want to take. Note that the dashed line indicates a two-way road. Often there is traffic going both ways.
You need to be plunked in the center of the lane while waiting for your right turn, don't want people passing on your right or left to get exactly where you are trying to go to anyway, and then you can sit on the left of the travel lane while you wait for your left turn to open up. People can pass on your right while you sit and wait there, I guess.

edit:

Wait, are there bike lanes on all three of these intersecting streets? Is there a center turn lane for cars on any of them?
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Old 02-17-15, 02:14 PM
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I have a turn almost identical to that across a busy arterial road, on the route from my house to the grocery store, so it's a pretty common occurrence for me. Most of the time I just get out there in the left turn lane.
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Old 02-17-15, 03:17 PM
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Check your local laws, otherwise left of lane/left turn lane to turn left, just like a car.

- Andy
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Old 02-17-15, 10:40 PM
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I would claim the lane. I have a turn like that on my route to the gym, and I claim the lane 2/3's over to the left of the lane, and hold out my left arm to signal my intent. I've never even been honked at here surprisingly.
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Old 02-17-15, 11:40 PM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Do what is safest. It's not about showing cars you have a right to be in a lane or you should be treated equally. Getting to your destination without getting injured or killed is the ultimate goal here.

Your diagram provides so little information (number of lanes, lights, signs, traffic pattern, vehicle speeds, etc.) that any advice should be taken with a huge grain of salt. What do other bikes at intersection do, if any? Actual pictures or google map links would help.
I'm basically always the only biker at the intersection.

The speed is about 30-35 mph. I wouldn't want to get hit. Traffic tends to be mostly light so that I can wait at the stop sign long enough for a gap for me to make a turn without waiting. Sometimes however it's heavy and I either wait at the stop sign for an abnormally long time waiting for my opening or I venture into the lane and prep for a left turn.

My biggest fear is just getting sideswiped while waiting for a left turn.
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Old 02-18-15, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Deontologist View Post
My biggest fear is just getting sideswiped while waiting for a left turn.
Get a mirror if you don't all ready? I have this concern as well in several spots, however I plan to get a mirror.

- Andy
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Old 02-18-15, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by TransitBiker View Post
Get a mirror if you don't all ready? I have this concern as well in several spots, however I plan to get a mirror.

- Andy
A mirror won't keep you from getting hit if you are stopped in the middle of the road and cars are whizzing past you. I still have no idea what your intersection actually looks like, but from what I gather, you should wait for a gap in the traffic to make the right and then the left without stopping. I would not wait in the middle of a busy 2-lane road to take a left turn. Too many idiot drivers texting, applying makeup, eating or multitasking. A thousand cars could pass you without any problem, but the 1001th could put you in the hospital or worse.
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Old 02-18-15, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Deontologist View Post
My biggest fear is just getting sideswiped while waiting for a left turn.
That's why you take the lane. As stated above, about one third towards the turn and 2/3 between you and the curb. Make it obvious that traffic can't fit between you and the curb----then they won't try to "shoot the gap". If they think that they can save three seconds they will try.

Of course, making it obvious includes being visible. Lights, better lights and more lights. Some would include Hi-Vis clothing in that list.
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Old 02-18-15, 12:06 PM
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I'd ford into the traffic lane and wait to turn left right near the center line, as long as it's safe to do so, waving my hand signals like a semaphore/idiot so no one can mistake my intent.
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Old 02-18-15, 03:16 PM
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During heavy traffic, I'd cross like a pedestrian. Better yet, can you modify your route to cross at a light? The better part of valor is
discretion, in the which better part I have sav'd my life. Henry The Fourth, Part 1 Act 5, scene 4
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Old 02-18-15, 03:24 PM
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What cycling facilities are available?
Tough to judge from the sketch. Google maps screenshot (sattelite "on") or what intersection is it?

Generally, I agree with others (get in the lane, turn left like a car), but not in every case. But--I have a similar situation on my commute, and almost never do that because of the way the crosswalks and "urban trail" have been set up.
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Old 02-18-15, 08:29 PM
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Is there a light? I'd probably use the crosswalk, honestly. Otherwise, take the lane. Be predictable.
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Old 02-19-15, 12:16 AM
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I ride like I'm a car and obey the 'rules of the road' whenever I can. I try not to hold drivers up but take the right of way when it is the safest and correct thing to do. Drivers seem to understand my intentions better when I am not tentative about where I'm going and what I intend to do. More than once I've completed my standing-start left turn before the car behind me has even started to move. I try to be courteous & acknowledge others deference to my slower pace with a wave.

In the three years I've been car-free, there have been several instances of personal danger from distracted drivers, but --- I keep my head on a swivel and remember that a small but significant percentage of drivers are incompetent, arrogant, distracted or dumb and sometimes all of these.

Only had one road rager threaten me. When I pulled over to the curb to get away from him, he screeched his old Mercedes to a stop in the street, got out and came at me --- pepper spray, hard-toed bicycle shoes, 911 and a couple witnesses are your friend ;o)

Ride free,
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Old 02-19-15, 12:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Deontologist View Post
There's this turn I have to make on my commute. It involves me getting into a relatively busy street. What I'm unsure about is should I wait in the middle of the car lane waiting to make the left turn or should I wait on the bike lane for the left turn?
Left side of the car lane assuming there's a shoulder. Middle if there would not be room to safely pass.

I feel that waiting in the car lane would just piss drivers off as I held up traffic. But waiting in the bike lane sometimes takes FOREVER.

What should I do?
1. Act like other vehicles including cars. Without dedicated turn lanes use the leftmost for going left, rightmost for going right. That predictability helps their autopilot steer them around you where you're not headed.

2. Leave room encouraging them not to cut in front of you.

Going straight with no right turn lane stay right like other slow-moving traffic so they pass on the left, but not so far right you'll steer into traffic going around obstacles like gutter debris, storm drains, and opening car doors. With a right turn lane use the right side of the straight lane, so right turners go around you on the right and don't turn in front of you and people going straight pass on your left as in the no-turn lane case.

Turning left from a straight lane be on its left side so drivers going straight pass on your right not in front of you .

Turning left with turn lanes be on the right side of the rightmost turn lane - drivers going straight pass you on the right like other left-turning vehicles, left turning vehicles go inside you not in front of you.

Turning right from a straight lane be on its right side, and when using right turn lanes use the right shoulder of the rightmost.

3. Where there isn't room to go around you, occupy the lane so it's unambiguous.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 02-19-15 at 12:53 AM.
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Old 02-19-15, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
A mirror won't keep you from getting hit if you are stopped in the middle of the road and cars are whizzing past you. I still have no idea what your intersection actually looks like, but from what I gather, you should wait for a gap in the traffic to make the right and then the left without stopping. I would not wait in the middle of a busy 2-lane road to take a left turn. Too many idiot drivers texting, applying makeup, eating or multitasking. A thousand cars could pass you without any problem, but the 1001th could put you in the hospital or worse.
You don't say a mirror doesn't control the movement of other vehicles.... an astonishing claim sir!

Having missed the point i will spell it out for ya: You cannot get out of the way of something you can't see. With a mirror you can at least see if there is danger vs be oblivious.

Now back to our regularly scheduled thread.

- Andy
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