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To shoal or not to shoal...

Old 08-11-18, 09:18 AM
  #76  
clengman
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It's entirely possible to anticipate the light and get a quick jump while also watching cross traffic. I don't ever assume that just because I have the light that I'm safe to cross.

Once, about 20 years ago, I was hit by a speeding car while walking across the street, at a crosswalk, with a walk signal. I'm lucky to be alive. I looked for traffic before stepping into the intersection, but I was with a few friends and we were paying more attention to our conversation than we were to traffic. By the time we got to the middle of the 4-lane road, there was plenty of time for a car traveling 45 mph to travel from quite far away, and then straight through the red light. Apparently his mind was somewhere else entirely because he didn't even attempt to brake until after he had hit me.

So, additional benefits of moving to the front? Once I've checked and assessed the threats from cars stopped at the light, i can pay more attention to cross traffic. I also have a better view up and down the cross street than I would have if I was waiting behind several cars.
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Old 08-11-18, 09:23 AM
  #77  
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You beat me to it in regards being hit by cross traffic running reds. Just be as attentive as you would be as a car or pedestrian.

Regarding online attitudes:
Forums of any kind are not the place to gauge real sentiment, just observe how many topics like chain lube people argue endlessly and passionately over that in reality no one really cares about. I gauge reaction by what I experience on the road and that is mainly positive. I commute daily, ride on the weekends and bike tour for holidays and the experience is fairly consistent. I take that as a sign that it works as having people angry at me all the time only makes my ride suck emotionally and less safe and who wants that.

Are there jerks in cars or aggressive cyclists? You bet. But I suspect that has nothing to do with the bike itself and they would be tailgaters or road ragers regardless.

Last edited by Happy Feet; 08-11-18 at 09:35 AM.
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Old 08-11-18, 11:01 AM
  #78  
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Originally Posted by asmac View Post
I don't think it's rude if it speeds things up by allowing bikes to go two at a time and clear the intersection quicker as they all fall back into a single line afrap. It seem ridiculous to have 15 or 20 bikes line up in single file and proceed across the intersection one by one at the pace of the slowest member.
I see your point, that shoaling by a bunch of bikes might not be as disruptive to cars. I am thinking "rude" to the cyclist who is already there waiting at the front. There aren't enough cyclists where I ride to ever have those big masses of bikes shoaling up into the intersection, and I've only experienced 1 or 2 at a time. It's hard to see the point - what's wrong with stopping behind me or beside me?

Let's say that you're the first one, stopped at the light, and the 15 or 20 bikes all roll up and around you and stop in front of you. Would it be "rude" for you to shoal up past them again and get in front of all of them?
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Old 08-11-18, 12:13 PM
  #79  
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I know you did not ask me but that is one of the unique aspects of bicycle riding imo. On a bike you don't "own" the area around you in the same way a car does so there is no expectation that other cyclists will stop behind you in some sort of que. But that cuts both ways as I've said in that cyclists can also inhabit spaces and use the road in advantageous ways cars can't. Biking has some negatives (physical effort) but also positives (avoidance of gridlock delays).

In your scenario, if I were first I would stop in the most forward optimal pole position. If I knew I were a slower rider (as in encountering a group of road racer types) I would stay back a bit and let them have the headway or flag them up past me. Experienced riders understand yeilding position to faster riders and it would be dickish to delay faster riders just out of some "I'm here first" mentality.

Last edited by Happy Feet; 08-11-18 at 12:24 PM.
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Old 08-11-18, 12:37 PM
  #80  
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
I know you did not ask me but that is one of the unique aspects of bicycle riding imo. On a bike you don't "own" the area around you in the same way a car does so there is no expectation that other cyclists will stop behind you in some sort of que. But that cuts both ways as I've said in that cyclists can also inhabit spaces and use the road in advantageous ways cars can't. Biking has some negatives (physical effort) but also positives (avoidance of gridlock delays).

In your scenario, if I were first I would stop in the most forward optimal pole position. If I knew I were a slower rider (as in encountering a group of road racer types) I would stay back a bit and let them have the headway or flag them up past me. Experienced riders understand yeilding position to faster riders and it would be dickish to delay faster riders just out of some "I'm here first" mentality.
You don't own the area, but when you're at the stop line, or front of a bike box, it's not actually legal for someone to go beyond that so you do have a legitimate expectation that they should stop behind you.

In the case of slower cyclists impeding the faster, you have it backwards. In my experience. The faster cyclist is already there, the slower ones push past him out of the "I'm here second, but I'm entitled" mentality.
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Old 08-11-18, 01:08 PM
  #81  
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Maybe. I don't experience that too much though. I usually get slow riders like they are on a picnic, medium steady riders and speedsters. Of the three the slow ones do tend to be the hardest to negotiate because they don't seem to know how to ride predictably which may be part of that push past mentality. I'm fairly assertive though and have no problem pointing to or saying exactly where I expect them to stop if they are hedging me in. It helps that I am also fairly large and athletic and not to many people try to mess with me that way. The steady ones are easy peasy cause they know how to ride and the speedsters you just have to let go past because testosterone on a bike is impossible to deal with - no need to slow them down anyway.

I also have no expectations on what people are supposed to do. Riding for me is very organic and I just respond to what the road and drivers/riders offer me. Mostly it's an anticipation and early avoidance dance.

Last edited by Happy Feet; 08-11-18 at 01:12 PM.
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Old 08-12-18, 09:12 AM
  #82  
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Interestingly enough I saw filtering done wrong on my ride this morning. I suspect if the rider were a member here his comments would look like so many of yours.

I had just departed the MUP and was southbound on Bonnabel at W Esplanade. My light was red. I laid off the gas (stopped pedaling) so that I would come up on the rear of the cars in the queue. The young rider near me filtered to the front. The light turned green right as he got there so he had a little jump on the cars. This is a divided 4 lane 35 MPH road with a little used parking lane on each side. Hot shoes rode down the parking lane. As fate would have it, he arrived at a cluster of parked cars at the same time the autos he just filtered in front of did. Hot shoes pedaled through the door zone of the first parked car. I guess that made him uncomfortable, so he moved out into the lane of the accelerating car to his left. Accelerating car braked as did the few cars behind it. The left of the two travel lanes was occupied, so the drivers couldn't move over. Me, I remained about 100 yards behind the stupidity in my own safe reactionary bubble.

https://www.google.com/maps/@30.0137...7i13312!8i6656
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Old 08-12-18, 09:38 AM
  #83  
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Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
Interestingly enough I saw filtering done wrong on my ride this morning. I suspect if the rider were a member here his comments would look like so many of yours.

I had just departed the MUP and was southbound on Bonnabel at W Esplanade. My light was red. I laid off the gas (stopped pedaling) so that I would come up on the rear of the cars in the queue. The young rider near me filtered to the front. The light turned green right as he got there so he had a little jump on the cars. This is a divided 4 lane 35 MPH road with a little used parking lane on each side. Hot shoes rode down the parking lane. As fate would have it, he arrived at a cluster of parked cars at the same time the autos he just filtered in front of did. Hot shoes pedaled through the door zone of the first parked car. I guess that made him uncomfortable, so he moved out into the lane of the accelerating car to his left. Accelerating car braked as did the few cars behind it. The left of the two travel lanes was occupied, so the drivers couldn't move over. Me, I remained about 100 yards behind the stupidity in my own safe reactionary bubble.

https://www.google.com/maps/@30.0137...7i13312!8i6656
Are you saying that you don't ride in that parking lane, or when you do you don't move into the through lane? Where I ride there are no parking lanes - I'm trying to understand how it's different or worse for the filtering guy.

If we're worried about slowing the cars down behind us, I just want to point out that when I pass 30 cars stopped at a light instead of stopping behind them, that means there are another 30 cars that don't pass me later on, even if those 30 had to do it twice. Unless I get ahead of them and catch another green, in which case it could add up to a lot more than 30 cars.
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Old 08-12-18, 10:35 AM
  #84  
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Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
Interestingly enough I saw filtering done wrong on my ride this morning. I suspect if the rider were a member here his comments would look like so many of yours.

I had just departed the MUP and was southbound on Bonnabel at W Esplanade. My light was red. I laid off the gas (stopped pedaling) so that I would come up on the rear of the cars in the queue. The young rider near me filtered to the front. The light turned green right as he got there so he had a little jump on the cars. This is a divided 4 lane 35 MPH road with a little used parking lane on each side. Hot shoes rode down the parking lane. As fate would have it, he arrived at a cluster of parked cars at the same time the autos he just filtered in front of did. Hot shoes pedaled through the door zone of the first parked car. I guess that made him uncomfortable, so he moved out into the lane of the accelerating car to his left. Accelerating car braked as did the few cars behind it. The left of the two travel lanes was occupied, so the drivers couldn't move over. Me, I remained about 100 yards behind the stupidity in my own safe reactionary bubble.

https://www.google.com/maps/@30.0137...7i13312!8i6656
So you presumably rode alongside the same parking lane with parked cars in it.. how did cars from behind you, get around you? IOW, bikes are going to ride along that same stretch of road, with cars behind or to the left of them, all day/week long. What's the issue?
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Old 08-12-18, 10:54 AM
  #85  
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
So you presumably rode alongside the same parking lane with parked cars in it.. how did cars from behind you, get around you? IOW, bikes are going to ride along that same stretch of road, with cars behind or to the left of them, all day/week long. What's the issue?
The issue was that the cyclist didn't take his place in line like all the other road users. He went to the head of the line. That ultimately resulted in other motorists having to brake for him, where otherwise they would not have. That kind of behavior is inconsiderate. Butting in line is inconsiderate. If you are going to cut in line, don't do it if it is going to have any negative effect on anyone else. I am really surprised I have to explain that concept to you.
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Old 08-12-18, 11:22 AM
  #86  
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Well, perhaps he was a little clumsy or perhaps it was just an awkward situation; I don't know, I wasn't there - but seriously, ever experience having to slow down for any cars while driving on the road? Cars slow for cars all the time. Sometimes while riding a car does something weird in front of me and I have to slow for it. Sometimes the car has to slow for me. That's just the way it is and neither one of us is jerks.

But the disconnect for me is the assumption that the cyclist has a place in line they are supposed to occupy with all the other cars. A bike is not a car and not bound to remaining only in the travel lane. That's the benefit of riding a bike! If you want to ride just like a car, in a lane, bound by the rules of cars like that you have just chosen a very poor, slow, exhausting method of commuting in traffic. I cycle commute partly because I like bikes, the fitness and because I really enjoy the freedom of movement it allows. When I drive I am constantly thinking "If I were on a bike I could just easily ride around all this congestion" instead of sitting there in a line idling.

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Old 08-12-18, 11:47 AM
  #87  
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Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
The issue was that the cyclist didn't take his place in line like all the other road users. He went to the head of the line. That ultimately resulted in other motorists having to brake for him, where otherwise they would not have. That kind of behavior is inconsiderate. Butting in line is inconsiderate. If you are going to cut in line, don't do it if it is going to have any negative effect on anyone else. I am really surprised I have to explain that concept to you.
hmm.. so let's imagine slightly different scenario. There's already a bike way up at the intersection waiting at a red light when you arrive. He's hanging in the far right of the road lane or even the parking lane. Do you join him? You don't know if he got to that light before or after the first car did. Or do you take the lane a few cars back, and only slow down the cars that line up behind you, and never move into the parking lane to let them by?
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Old 08-12-18, 11:59 AM
  #88  
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I am going to do what I did today. Wait my turn in line then use the parking lane where practicable to let motorists by.
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Old 08-12-18, 01:10 PM
  #89  
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post

But the disconnect for me is the assumption that the cyclist has a place in line they are supposed to occupy with all the other cars. A bike is not a car and not bound to remaining only in the travel lane. That's the benefit of riding a bike! If you want to ride just like a car, in a lane, bound by the rules of cars like that you have just chosen a very poor, slow, exhausting method of commuting in traffic. I cycle commute partly because I like bikes, the fitness and because I really enjoy the freedom of movement it allows. When I drive I am constantly thinking "If I were on a bike I could just easily ride around all this congestion" instead of sitting there in a line idling.
You are preaching to the choir here. I take full advantage of a bike being on the bike. On my ride this morning, I rode the wrong way on a divided 4 lane, slow rolled a number of stop signs and didn't signal but one of my turns. What I don't do is let my noncompliance with the law burden another road user. Based on my communication with a LOT of motorists, that cyclist's behavior creates more animosity than anything else. All for what? So he could be 100 yards ahead of me, ride through a door zone, then enter traffic in a way that necessitated the motorists slowing.
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Old 08-12-18, 06:06 PM
  #90  
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Ok.. What I think may be lost in online talks sometimes is the subtlety of what is being expressed. I would like to think that, if we could ride together on my commute one would see that its possible to filter up and take advantage of shoulders etc... in a way that helps the flow as much as hinders it. I know I do myself no favours peeing off drivers because I commute the same route with them every day and would have to deal with their retribution if I did.
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Old 08-12-18, 06:15 PM
  #91  
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
Ok.. What I think may be lost in online talks sometimes is the subtlety of what is being expressed. I would like to think that, if we could ride together on my commute one would see that its possible to filter up and take advantage of shoulders etc... in a way that helps the flow as much as hinders it. I know I do myself no favours peeing off drivers because I commute the same route with them every day and would have to deal with their retribution if I did.
I really like that post. I do think things get lost in online communication that could get sorted out in short order if we were sitting around BSing. I will filter to the front at times. It is not my default action. There needs to be an ideal set of circumstances for me to do it.
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Old 08-12-18, 06:21 PM
  #92  
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One can always filter to the front, and then choose to either move, don't move, or when to move as makes sense after a light change. I don't see the point of waiting rearward from an intersection ever.
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Old 08-13-18, 12:14 PM
  #93  
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
I see your point, that shoaling by a bunch of bikes might not be as disruptive to cars. I am thinking "rude" to the cyclist who is already there waiting at the front. There aren't enough cyclists where I ride to ever have those big masses of bikes shoaling up into the intersection, and I've only experienced 1 or 2 at a time. It's hard to see the point - what's wrong with stopping behind me or beside me?

Let's say that you're the first one, stopped at the light, and the 15 or 20 bikes all roll up and around you and stop in front of you. Would it be "rude" for you to shoal up past them again and get in front of all of them?

Whether I line up with you, behind you, or ahead of you is going to depend on where I think the safest point for me to be when the light changes, nothing personal. If you're too far back for me to be confident that it's not in the cars' blind spot, I'm going ahead of you. If there's plenty of room, I may go aside you if I think we won't be getting in each other's way, and we'll sort out who's going faster when the light changes. If you're up far enough, and there's room, I have no problem going behind. If I need to pass further up the road, I will pick a time to do it safely and courteously..

Most times, I find courtesy and safety tend to coincide, but I absolutely will not defer to a person who hangs back unsafely. And this may sound like I'm bragging, but it's very rare for me to find myself at a light with people who accelerate as fast as I do, so I'm generally not worried about getting in the way of the person behind me. I only mention that because i think people need to factor in their strengths and weaknesses as a rider when selecting a strategy. If I was wobbly and slow, I would definitely not want to be at the head of the line for safety reasons.
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Old 08-13-18, 12:19 PM
  #94  
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Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
I really like that post. I do think things get lost in online communication that could get sorted out in short order if we were sitting around BSing. I will filter to the front at times. It is not my default action. There needs to be an ideal set of circumstances for me to do it.

Absolutely agree that there needs to be situational awareness and adaptability. There are definitely situations where I hang back, but if I do, I take the lane. I will not proceed from somewhere I know is in at least one car's blind spot.
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Old 08-13-18, 12:35 PM
  #95  
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wow "shoaling" looks dangerous. Cars from cross streets are flying right in front of you. You never know if one of them will veer right and hit you. I would always hang back a several feet just in case.

Remember, don't assume others will always follow the rules!
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Old 08-13-18, 12:54 PM
  #96  
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I just want to say, I think that a lot of people here who are in favor of showing good "etiquette" to cars has never lived/commuted in a city like San Francisco or NYC.
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Old 08-13-18, 07:46 PM
  #97  
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Originally Posted by Stormy Archer View Post
I just want to say, I think that a lot of people here who are in favor of showing good "etiquette" to cars has never lived/commuted in a city like San Francisco or NYC.
I live in des moines ia. It takes no more than 20min to get from somewhere in the metro to anywhere else. Well thats 15years ago...i guess its now 25min max.

point is, my urban riding is obviously different from NYC or sf.
I ride in downtown Chicago a couple times a year and basically break all traffic rules. It's a harmonious chaos and very noticably different for sure. I have a blast each time, but much prefer the closer rule following that goes on here.
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Old 08-14-18, 03:32 AM
  #98  
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
I live in des moines ia. It takes no more than 20min to get from somewhere in the metro to anywhere else. Well thats 15years ago...i guess its now 25min max.

point is, my urban riding is obviously different from NYC or sf.
I ride in downtown Chicago a couple times a year and basically break all traffic rules. It's a harmonious chaos and very noticably different for sure. I have a blast each time, but much prefer the closer rule following that goes on here.
Yeah, that's how it feels most of the time here!!

Another thing to put it in perspective is just how overpopulated these areas are, at least with cars. Rush hour for the highways here is like, 5 AM to 3 AM. There is literally standstill traffic at 2pm on a Tuesday, Sunday nights, etc. It's a PROBLEM. Also you tend to see a lot of rich people cars, and homeless people. And it just makes you think...
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