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To shoal or not to shoal...

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Old 08-09-18, 01:05 PM
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mstateglfr
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Originally Posted by Stormy Archer View Post
Yeah, I think there are situations in which it makes at least more sense. Rush hour on Page street in SF for example, the street is a bikeway (no bike lane but the little white bike painted on the street). The bike traffic seems like a lot of commuters who live nearby, often with kids etc and it always greatly outnumbers the motor traffic at certain times. Compared to Haight a block over, there is a crosswalk in most intersections and pedestrians don't even look before they cross the street a lot of the time. It's simply so much more the pedestrians street, not the cars.

The cars seem to accept their place behind bikes pretty often in many areas in SF. In my opinion, they can just slow down!!! They have airbags and can get on the highway and they're not pedaling, who really cares about how fast they get there.
Since I both ride and drive the streets all around me, I care how fast I get somewhere. Pretty sure the drivers care how fast they get somewhere too.
As mentioned already, there needs to be a cooperation between all forms of transportation on roads. Having one group not care about the rest leads to frustration and that can then lead to anger which isnt good for anyone.

Its completely unreasonable to claim that cars can use the highways so therefore if they use city streets they should expect to creep along and accept it because who cares how fast they get somewhere. The cars should follow the speed limit when appropriate and slow down the rest of the time. With a lot of bicycles, that would be a time to slow down, but the cyclists should be aware and make an effort to reduce how much they negatively impact the rest of those using the same streets.
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Old 08-09-18, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by clengman View Post
What do you think?

https://slate.com/business/2018/08/i...the-light.html

Personally, I wouldn't do it to another cyclist, but I will absolutely move up ahead of cars IF the road is wide enough for them to pass me again once I'm through the intersection.

If you care to look, there's a pretty contentious comments thread attached to that article. Fun stuff!
Just realized I never replied to the original post.

- i hadnt heard the term 'shoaling' before. Not totally sure why thats what this action is called. Is it because a group of cyclists will sometimes gather? I guess that could make sense, but when its just 1 cyclists doing it and not a group, the term then really doesnt work. Is it based on the geographic term?

- I like your view- its OK to do IF the road is wide enough after the intersection for cars to easily pass you again. That is a fantastic approach.
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Old 08-09-18, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
I ride in traffic around town a lot. Sometimes I ride up to the front of a line of cars and sometimes I wait back in line with the cars. Its totally dependent on where I am going, what type of stop it is, etc.
- If its a 4 way stop, i will ride up to the front and proceed thru the intersection when the car next to me goes. This reduces my wait time and the wait time of any cars that would have otherwise been behind me.
- If its a stoplight and I am going to turn right shortly after riding thru the intersection, then ill jump up to the front of the line so I can get thru the intersection and turn right off the road before (m)any cars pass me.
- If its a stoplight and I am going straight on that road, Ill often times stay back and wait my turn. If I would pass 8 cars to get to the front of the line, then thats just 8 more cars that will need to pass me within a few hundred yards after the stoplight. Me going to the front isn't helping me or the cars.

While I agree that I am not a car, that doesnt mean I shouldnt follow rules that apply to safety when on the road. Cycling is obviously different from driving a car, but safety rules should be followed by all on the road to help ensure predictability. On roads- when predictability decreases, fear increases and safety suffers.
Weaving in and out of slowing traffic, going up on curbs when its convenient to be a pedestrian crossing, and blowing red lights when the rest of traffic is stopped all leads to a decrease in predictability and safety.

I think a lot comes down to what you consider anticipating traffic. Sure, i can anticipate traffic and jump ahead and thru traffic as a result, but then I become unpredictable to the rest of traffic because they cant anticipate what I am going to do.
Most of this I agree with. Cycling is very dependent on the situation. What I take offense to is the sentiment that it is somehow obnoxious to advance to the head of the line. Any more obnoxious than slowing all the traffic down and taking the lane by riding at bicycle speeds? I don't think so. I also don't agree with aggressive ninja riding up on curbs etc... as that is very unpredictable.

Something I also don't get. If one waits in line with cars and takes the lane through the intersection (slowly) what happens then? Do the cars behind also not need to pass the cyclist after having to also drive behind them while taking the lane or does the cyclist expect to just take the lane the whole way? How does waiting in the line reduce the need for cars to pass the cyclist down the road? It would appear to me that a cyclist who is used to morphing with the flow would be easier to pass than one who only sees themselves as a pseudo car. When do those cyclists feel it is safe enough for the cars behind to pass?

Where I live there usually seems to be a good compromise of road/shoulder to allow bikes to move with the flow of traffic but not directly in it and I sense that drivers appreciate a rider who confidently works those spaces in a way that allows both to travel. What I also sense is that drivers really don't appreciate bikes taking the whole lane when they could just as easily make use of a shoulder. I am both daily bike commuter and driver so I know how it feels on both sides of the equation.

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Old 08-09-18, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post


Something I also don't get. If one waits in line with cars and takes the lane through the intersection (slowly) what happens then? Do the cars behind also not need to pass the cyclist after having to also drive behind them while taking the lane or does the cyclist expect to just take the lane the whole way? How does waiting in the line reduce the need for cars to pass the cyclist down the road? It would appear to me that a cyclist who is used to morphing with the flow would be easier to pass than one who only sees themselves as a pseudo car. When do those cyclists feel it is safe enough for the cars behind to pass?


Any cars behind a cyclist anywhere will always have to navigate a pass, but hopefully only once. This only works if cyclists don't leapfrog to the front of the line at the intersection. Cars will line up behind the cyclist and then navigate the pass when the light changes (they were going to have to do this regardless of whether or not the cyclist goes all the way to the front of the line). Once a driver passes a given cyclist once, that should be the end of it. However, if that cyclist leapfrogs ahead of the diver at a stoplight, that driver, who just passed the cyclist a moment before, will have to pass that same cyclist again when the light changes.


When does a cyclist yield the lane to cars? When the gutter is free of debris, parked cars, and open doors ... and when being there won't cause a problem for right-turners. If going straight at an intersection, I line up behind cars going straight, but usually behind their right wheel. This keeps me out of the way of anyone wanting to turn right on red. Any cars that line up behind me can usually pass before crossing the intersection. If it is really busy, and the line of cars is long, they will pass as soon as they catch up to me. I don't block traffic, I don't impinge on right-turners, and I don't make cars pass me more than once. It is not really complicated at all.
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Old 08-09-18, 05:46 PM
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All of your ideas revolve around the notion that you can accelerate and travel at the same speed as cars which, except in congested traffic, you can't do. All the lining up behind the right wheel to avoid left turns etc... falls apart at that point.

So a car passes me more than once. There's no rule that states you only have to pass one person one time. But, because I don't create an obstruction by taking the lane and accelerating and traveling through the intersections slowly it's not really a big deal. I don't get upset when I pass the same car more than once in stop and go traffic. Who cares? The motorist may see me moving up the line at an intersection but they also see me clear it quickly and merge right to let them continue on unobstructed. It's a win win most times. Way better than to sit in a lane pretending to be a car that tops out at 20km/h and making them wait behind me.

Your reference to the cluttered gutter suggests you subscribe to the VC philosophy which, as you can tell, I am diametrically opposed to. Every video I've ever seen advocating it shows cyclists being obstructive on principle.

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Old 08-10-18, 07:02 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
All of your ideas revolve around the notion that you can accelerate and travel at the same speed as cars which, except in congested traffic, you can't do. All the lining up behind the right wheel to avoid left turns etc... falls apart at that point.

So a car passes me more than once. There's no rule that states you only have to pass one person one time. But, because I don't create an obstruction by taking the lane and accelerating and traveling through the intersections slowly it's not really a big deal. I don't get upset when I pass the same car more than once in stop and go traffic. Who cares? The motorist may see me moving up the line at an intersection but they also see me clear it quickly and merge right to let them continue on unobstructed. It's a win win most times. Way better than to sit in a lane pretending to be a car that tops out at 20km/h and making them wait behind me.

Your reference to the cluttered gutter suggests you subscribe to the VC philosophy which, as you can tell, I am diametrically opposed to. Every video I've ever seen advocating it shows cyclists being obstructive on principle.
so you go to the front of the line at an intersection. If you donít cross on red, then you are creating an obstruction for more cars than I am (working under you assumption that I am obstruction, which Iím not...)

by law, cyclists are granted as much of the road as needed to be safe. A cyclist should not ride in a door zone, through glass, or over broken pavement... this does not mean that a cyclist is an obstruction on principle.
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Old 08-10-18, 08:37 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by Caliper View Post
+1. On the rare times I ride on roads with traffic, I'll behave like a car at a traffic intersection and wait in line also. There aren't any bike lanes where I ride so can't answer how I'd treat that situation. I can see pulling to the front of a bike lane though, assuming the bike lane carries through the intersection.
Agreed. This came up in a non-bike forum, and when someone said he waited as he "didn't see the need to make people pass him more than once" he got a lot of favourable replies (one person said he was living proof that not all heroes wear capes). It's just the nice thing to do.

If there is a bike lane, I definitely go to the front (or behind any cyclists stopped there). It's a separate lane. How is that any different than cars going forward as far as possible in their lane on a multi-lane street?
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Old 08-10-18, 08:49 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
I ride in traffic around town a lot. Sometimes I ride up to the front of a line of cars and sometimes I wait back in line with the cars. Its totally dependent on where I am going, what type of stop it is, etc.
- If its a 4 way stop, i will ride up to the front and proceed thru the intersection when the car next to me goes. This reduces my wait time and the wait time of any cars that would have otherwise been behind me.
- If its a stoplight and I am going to turn right shortly after riding thru the intersection, then ill jump up to the front of the line so I can get thru the intersection and turn right off the road before (m)any cars pass me.
- If its a stoplight and I am going straight on that road, Ill often times stay back and wait my turn. If I would pass 8 cars to get to the front of the line, then thats just 8 more cars that will need to pass me within a few hundred yards after the stoplight. Me going to the front isnt helping me or the cars.

While I agree that I am not a car, that doesnt mean I shouldnt follow rules that apply to safety when on the road. Cycling is obviously different from driving a car, but safety rules should be followed by all on the road to help ensure predictability. On roads- when predictability decreases, fear increases and safety suffers.
Weaving in and out of slowing traffic, going up on curbs when its convenient to be a pedestrian crossing, and blowing red lights when the rest of traffic is stopped all leads to a decrease in predictability and safety.

I think a lot comes down to what you consider anticipating traffic. Sure, i can anticipate traffic and jump ahead and thru traffic as a result, but then I become unpredictable to the rest of traffic because they cant anticipate what I am going to do.
Good post. This is pretty much what I tend to do. I'm not buying the logic that going to the front helps other drivers out. That's just causing more cars to have to pass you (and therefore, more interactions with traffic).
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Old 08-10-18, 08:52 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
Most of this I agree with. Cycling is very dependent on the situation. What I take offense to is the sentiment that it is somehow obnoxious to advance to the head of the line. Any more obnoxious than slowing all the traffic down and taking the lane by riding at bicycle speeds? I don't think so. I also don't agree with aggressive ninja riding up on curbs etc... as that is very unpredictable.

Something I also don't get. If one waits in line with cars and takes the lane through the intersection (slowly) what happens then? Do the cars behind also not need to pass the cyclist after having to also drive behind them while taking the lane or does the cyclist expect to just take the lane the whole way? How does waiting in the line reduce the need for cars to pass the cyclist down the road? It would appear to me that a cyclist who is used to morphing with the flow would be easier to pass than one who only sees themselves as a pseudo car. When do those cyclists feel it is safe enough for the cars behind to pass?

Where I live there usually seems to be a good compromise of road/shoulder to allow bikes to move with the flow of traffic but not directly in it and I sense that drivers appreciate a rider who confidently works those spaces in a way that allows both to travel. What I also sense is that drivers really don't appreciate bikes taking the whole lane when they could just as easily make use of a shoulder. I am both daily bike commuter and driver so I know how it feels on both sides of the equation.
Who said anything about taking the lane? Wait in line, then stay to the right once traffic starts moving so cars can pass.
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Old 08-10-18, 08:54 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Stormy Archer View Post
I didn't say I don't care about cars, I said I don't care about them getting to their destination on time!
I do. I want to do my very best to set the stage for harmonious traffic flow.
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Old 08-10-18, 09:10 AM
  #36  
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I thought that "shoaling" is moving past other bicycles that are already stopped at the intersection, a practice that I feel is rude, and sometimes dangerous. I wish that kind of shoaling would stop.


Filtering to the front of a line of cars, when there is room and lots of traffic, I don't see a problem. It's no more an obstruction for the cars than they become an obstruction for the bike when they insist on passing again, but usually IME either they get away to a different stop-light cycle or the bike does and it's not a continuous leap-frog situation.
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Old 08-10-18, 09:13 AM
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Are those of you are filtering to the front staying outside the door zone? It's not uncommon at all for someone to let a passenger out curb side. I know the 3 foot rule applies to motor vehicles passing cars, but are you passing the cars at greater than 3 feet? If not, why not? When they pass you back do you expect them to pass at greater than 3 feet? ( I know laws vary by state, so I went with the most common.)

What percentage of motorists give turn signals? If a car at the front right hooks you, who is legally at fault in your jurisdiction.

Does your state law allow that right pass? I know in most jurisdictions it's illegal for motorists to do it, so unless your state laws specifically allow bicyclists to do it, you may be breaking the law.

If the autos that I would filter past will have move into an oncoming lane or drift into another lane in the same direction of travel to get past me at a safe passing distance, I absolutely won't filter. I don't in most cases anyway due to the above stated concerns. If there is a single cyclist action that creates the most animosity with motorists, I think it is filtering.

I was approaching a rail crossing one day and a train was coming across. The trains that come through are long and slow. Traffic builds up substantially. The road is a very narrow 35MPH road where autos cannot pass a cyclist without moving into the oncoming lane. And since traffic will be backed up on both sides of the train, that means passing won't be possible. Since the train is so long, motorists are often frustrated and haul A#% once the train clears. Whenever I get caught at that intersection, I move off the road, find a shade tree to rest under and wait for the traffic to clear. I watched two road bikers filter to the front one day while I was waiting. I didn't say anything to them, but if I ever see it again I will. That is selfish, wrong minded, unreasonable and creates tremendous animosity.
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Old 08-10-18, 09:23 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post

It is far safer to advance to the head of the line and cross and clear the intersection when the light initially turns green and all traffic is moving slow from a complete stop. When you act like a car and take the lane you usually move slower than the car in front of you, creating a gap that makes the opposing traffic think it can squeeze a left turn in between you and that car. Cars behind often try to accelerate past you and then make a right turn in front of you because you are moving too slow.
Yeah, I agree with this and I will usually filter to the front at a red light. Itís safer for me and gets me out of the intersection faster (where most collisions occur) and is less disruptive to the flow of traffic.

I am cautious about filtering up if I think the light is going to change though. In that situation I may just take a place in the traffic line and try to ride at the pace of traffic, watching cars in front of me to see if anyone is turning right (with or without a signal), and doing my best to prevent anyone from overtaking me from behind until Iím clear of the intersection.
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Old 08-10-18, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
Are those of you are filtering to the front staying outside the door zone? It's not uncommon at all for someone to let a passenger out curb side.
I have literally never seen that happen, but of course you would exercise caution. You watch the front wheels, and the occupants.

I know the 3 foot rule applies to motor vehicles passing cars, but are you passing the cars at greater than 3 feet? If not, why not?
That's really kind of a reach Paul. They are all stopped, you're going pretty slow, a 3-foot rule for the bike would be pointless. But generally, I'm not passing any more closely than many of them passed me.

What percentage of motorists give turn signals? If a car at the front right hooks you, who is legally at fault in your jurisdiction.
There is no right hook possible when the cars are stopped, and avoiding that potential right hook is one of the big advantages of filtering to the front. If the light happens to change on the way up, my own preference is to slide in behind a vehicle, preferably one that IS turning right. I'll go through behind him, and no one has been delayed.

Does your state law allow that right pass? I know in most jurisdictions it's illegal for motorists to do it,
It is not illegal for autos to pass on the right in through traffic lanes.
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Old 08-10-18, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
I have literally never seen that happen, but of course you would exercise caution. You watch the front wheels, and the occupants.



That's really kind of a reach Paul. They are all stopped, you're going pretty slow, a 3-foot rule for the bike would be pointless. But generally, I'm not passing any more closely than many of them passed me.



There is no right hook possible when the cars are stopped, and avoiding that potential right hook is one of the big advantages of filtering to the front. If the light happens to change on the way up, my own preference is to slide in behind a vehicle, preferably one that IS turning right. I'll go through behind him, and no one has been delayed.



It is not illegal for autos to pass on the right in through traffic lanes.

When the light turns green a right hook is most assuredly possible with the first car in line. That based on my watching the positioning of most bicyclists who do it.

I am going to put a spin on your words to give you the motorists perspective of what you do.

If the light happens to change on the way up, my own preference is to slide in and cut off the vehicle behind me. The person that is behind you will feel the same way anyone would when someone cuts in line in front of them. What happens when the spacing of the vehicles is such that you can't safely reenter the traffic pattern?

I don't see doors open curbside often, but it does indeed happen.

Us bicyclists do a whole hell of a lot of mental gymnastics to justify being in the middle of the lane, but happily relegate ourselves to the road's edge to filter to the front. What are the primary safety reasons we don't hug the curb?


For me this all boils down to a risk vs gain equation.
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Old 08-10-18, 10:42 AM
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Over the years I have read a number of reports of doors being opened curbside taking riders out. This is but one of many examples.

TheWashCycle: Doored Cyclist Ticketed at the Hospital
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Old 08-10-18, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
I have literally never seen that happen, but of course you would exercise caution. You watch the front wheels, and the occupants.



That's really kind of a reach Paul. They are all stopped, you're going pretty slow, a 3-foot rule for the bike would be pointless. But generally, I'm not passing any more closely than many of them passed me.



There is no right hook possible when the cars are stopped, and avoiding that potential right hook is one of the big advantages of filtering to the front. If the light happens to change on the way up, my own preference is to slide in behind a vehicle, preferably one that IS turning right. I'll go through behind him, and no one has been delayed.



It is not illegal for autos to pass on the right in through traffic lanes.



Disagree! The potential right hook is still there, just from behind so you don't see it coming.
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Old 08-10-18, 11:02 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by OBoile View Post
Who said anything about taking the lane? Wait in line, then stay to the right once traffic starts moving so cars can pass.
Someone seemed to say this here: To shoal or not to shoal...
What you're suggesting seems to increase likelihood, depending on how many cars back you are, and how many cars move from behind you, to in front of you, of getting right-hooked. Which is maybe reason the linked suggestion was to stay in the line of traffic.

This discussion seems to also be related to solo riders. When you're with a group of 6-10 riders?
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Old 08-10-18, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
Someone seemed to say this here: To shoal or not to shoal...
What you're suggesting seems to increase likelihood, depending on how many cars back you are, and how many cars move from behind you, to in front of you, of getting right-hooked. Which is maybe reason the linked suggestion was to stay in the line of traffic.
I don't see that said in your linked post.
If you're riding responsibly, it's highly unlikely you'll be "right hooked".
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Old 08-10-18, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
I thought that "shoaling" is moving past other bicycles that are already stopped at the intersection, a practice that I feel is rude, and sometimes dangerous. I wish that kind of shoaling would stop.
The video was mainly talking about that (and trying to justify it). I hope we can all agree that cutting in front of other cyclists is quite rude and shouldn't be done. I learned to line up in grade 1... not sure where others forgot this.
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Old 08-10-18, 11:12 AM
  #46  
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Some more reading on the topic.

https://bikeeastbay.org/Gridlock

Q&A: Filtering Up in Heavy Traffic - Virtuous Bicycle
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Old 08-10-18, 11:18 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by OBoile View Post
I don't see that said in your linked post.
If you're riding responsibly, it's highly unlikely you'll be "right hooked".


Good luck with that.

Seriously wrong-headed idea, IMO.
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Old 08-10-18, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by OBoile View Post
Good post. This is pretty much what I tend to do. I'm not buying the logic that going to the front helps other drivers out. That's just causing more cars to have to pass you (and therefore, more interactions with traffic).
You've got a huge fallacy in there which makes it pretty obvious why I view this utterly differently than you do. If I have been able to get to the intersection by passing cars that were ahead of me, that means that the road was wide enough that I could easily do that. If that is not the case, I am not going to try to pass them on the right because the time gained isn't worth the risk. What this means is that passing is not really much of an interaction, and therefore having to pass me twice imposes no cost on the driver whatsoever either the first time or the second. The only time I take the lane is when I have no safe lane on the right, and I know I'm obstructing the drivers behind me, and don't like it at all. Otherwise, I really don't care if they're offended by seeing me twice--it just isn't a concern that outweighs the benefit of getting in front of and to the right of the cars in the intersection so that I'm not in anyone's blind spot when it turns green. When it turns green, I find I'm usually actually a little faster than the cars for a few seconds, just enough to get through most intersections ahead of them. Cars really accellerate rather slowly at stoplights.
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Old 08-10-18, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by woodcraft View Post
Good luck with that.

Seriously wrong-headed idea, IMO.

Right. Staying back and to the right is almost certainly the most dangerous strategy I can imagine. It's definitely either front or take the lane, not "make sure you're going to get passed or crossed by someone who never really sees you".

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Old 08-10-18, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
You've got a huge fallacy in there which makes it pretty obvious why I view this utterly differently than you do. If I have been able to get to the intersection by passing cars that were ahead of me, that means that the road was wide enough that I could easily do that. If that is not the case, I am not going to try to pass them on the right because the time gained isn't worth the risk. What this means is that passing is not really much of an interaction, and therefore having to pass me twice imposes no cost on the driver whatsoever either the first time or the second. The only time I take the lane is when I have no safe lane on the right, and I know I'm obstructing the drivers behind me, and don't like it at all. Otherwise, I really don't care if they're offended by seeing me twice--it just isn't a concern that outweighs the benefit of getting in front of and to the right of the cars in the intersection so that I'm not in anyone's blind spot when it turns green. When it turns green, I find I'm usually actually a little faster than the cars for a few seconds, just enough to get through most intersections ahead of them. Cars really accellerate rather slowly at stoplights.
I can tell you: drivers feel differently.
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