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To shoal or not to shoal...

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Old 08-03-18, 03:27 PM
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clengman
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To shoal or not to shoal...

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!
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Old 08-03-18, 03:46 PM
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Blocking a pedestrian path is a jerk move. Pull farther up off it or sit behind and get ready to sprint
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Old 08-03-18, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by GrainBrain View Post
Blocking a pedestrian path is a jerk move. Pull farther up off it or sit behind and get ready to sprint
I agree. If I move up, I inhabit the space between the stop line and crosswalk. Then I try to anticipate the light.
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Old 08-03-18, 03:55 PM
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Where I'm living, it's complicated by the "Pittsburgh Left." Cars waiting to make a left turn expect to be allowed to turn first even when there's no left turn arrow.
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Old 08-03-18, 05:25 PM
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sure beats dealing with 4 wide & each having pet(s) on an extended leash crossing all over the place at a stop light...
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Old 08-05-18, 06:00 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!
Yeah, it is obnoxious. Stay in the line of traffic (behind cars that approached the intersection first). Why move ahead of cars that will then just need to pass again? They passed you once, asking them to pass repeatedly is just asking for trouble.
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Old 08-07-18, 02:16 AM
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Originally Posted by chicagogal View Post
Yeah, it is obnoxious. Stay in the line of traffic (behind cars that approached the intersection first). Why move ahead of cars that will then just need to pass again? They passed you once, asking them to pass repeatedly is just asking for trouble.
​​​​

If you're in a bike lane do you merge into traffic at every stop? Or does this apply only when you've taken a full lane?
I'm genuinely curious...also riding in Chicago and trying to stay safe and not viewed as obnoxious!
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Old 08-07-18, 03:33 AM
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Originally Posted by chicagogal View Post
Yeah, it is obnoxious. Stay in the line of traffic (behind cars that approached the intersection first). Why move ahead of cars that will then just need to pass again? They passed you once, asking them to pass repeatedly is just asking for trouble.
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.
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Old 08-07-18, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by chicagogal View Post
Yeah, it is obnoxious. Stay in the line of traffic (behind cars that approached the intersection first). Why move ahead of cars that will then just need to pass again? They passed you once, asking them to pass repeatedly is just asking for trouble.
+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.

Originally Posted by Stormy Archer View Post
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.
Not caring about other road users is how cyclists end up injured or worse. If we are to expect motorists to make allowances for the particulars of bike transportation, we should also make allowances for the particulars of car transportation. I'd suggest just not being a jerk to other humans; I find it means that fewer people are jerks to me.
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Old 08-08-18, 02:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Caliper View Post
Not caring about other road users is how cyclists end up injured or worse. If we are to expect motorists to make allowances for the particulars of bike transportation, we should also make allowances for the particulars of car transportation. I'd suggest just not being a jerk to other humans; I find it means that fewer people are jerks to me.
I didn't say I don't care about cars, I said I don't care about them getting to their destination on time!
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Old 08-08-18, 06:42 AM
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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!
So, the flipside: "I didn't say I don't care about cyclists, I said I don't care if they have to ride on the sidewalks and dismount to cross every intersection!" Sharing goes both ways.
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Old 08-08-18, 09:31 AM
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A motorized four wheeled vehicle is likely to be more lethal during a collision than a bicycle.
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Old 08-08-18, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by chicagogal View Post
Yeah, it is obnoxious. Stay in the line of traffic (behind cars that approached the intersection first). Why move ahead of cars that will then just need to pass again? They passed you once, asking them to pass repeatedly is just asking for trouble.
Originally Posted by RustyGates View Post
​​​​

If you're in a bike lane do you merge into traffic at every stop? Or does this apply only when you've taken a full lane?
I'm genuinely curious...also riding in Chicago and trying to stay safe and not viewed as obnoxious!
I've spent a long time as a 'vulnerable road user,' first moto, now velo, and, given the option (enough time on the red, and enough space to do so, I get up to the front.
By being up at the front, every one in the first row of traffic knows that there's a bike about to cross the intersection. At most of the intersections where i do this, bikes are not common, and I'm solo, so i want to make my presence known to other traffic around me. On all but the largest (6+ lane) intersections, i can usually make it across before the first car goes to pass, so i'm not getting 'pinched' betweeen cars on my left and the curb on my right.

If i'm taking a place in line, then i hold up how ever many cars are behind me, and may prevent drivers farther down the line from making it through the intersection who would have, if i'd been at the front of the line.
Starting from a stop, we're all doing 0 mph. I might only be able to get my bike to 17~ by the time i'm across the intersection, but most cars aren't going much faster than that by that point, either. I may hold up the first car, but not by much, and then we're back on the 'road' and i'm getting passed as normal.

If i'm 4 or 5 cars back from the light, by the time the car ahead of me reaches the intersection he's probably going much faster than i am, and opening up a gap between me and him. Not only am i holding up traffic behind me, but that gap also encourages cross-turning traffic to try to get through. If i'm hidden by the car ahead of me, they may not see me.
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Old 08-08-18, 10:05 AM
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You mean there is a name for it?

If there are a bunch of cyclists and pedestrians, I'm fine with holding back.

Most of the intersections I stop at have no other bikes or pedestrians. I tend to pull as far forward as possible to get out of any blind spot a car next to me might have, and to be visible through the windshield.

If a pedestrian should happen by, I'll embarrassingly move out of the way.

If I do happen to pass a cyclist at the intersection, I'll be moving fast enough that they'll be dropped before I am across the intersection.
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Old 08-08-18, 10:05 AM
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In my view, it's best for everybody's sake -- cyclists and drivers -- for cyclists to get the hell out of intersections, on our terms, ASAP. Getting in front of the cars, then bolting across when the light changes and it's safe to go, basically separates car and bike traffic. Also, being in front of the lane that's going through the intersection allows drivers to make right turns without worrying about me.

Since I'm not a fast rider, I don't care if another cyclist pulls ahead of me.
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Old 08-08-18, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Caliper View Post
So, the flipside: "I didn't say I don't care about cyclists, I said I don't care if they have to ride on the sidewalks and dismount to cross every intersection!" Sharing goes both ways.
Ok, but riding on the sidewalk is inherently dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians. The only drawback of cars going slower is that they're going slower.
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Old 08-08-18, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by RustyGates View Post
​​​​

If you're in a bike lane do you merge into traffic at every stop? Or does this apply only when you've taken a full lane?
I'm genuinely curious...also riding in Chicago and trying to stay safe and not viewed as obnoxious!
If a bike lane extends all the way to a cross walk, then I use it (but be careful not to block cars that are turning right on red). However, my experience in much of Chicago is that bike lanes rarely continue to the crosswalk, so the expectation is to merge with traffic (ie, stop behind cars that are ahead of you and planning to go straight through the intersection if you are also planning to go straight through).
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Old 08-09-18, 09:45 AM
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My philosophy with cars: I use my best judgement to keep myself visible, particularly in intersections. I also try not to be a nuisance. Sometimes that involves riding to the front at a light. Sometimes I take my lane.

My philosophy with pedestrians: Don't be a jerk. I don't block crosswalks. I don't buzz people crossing at intersections. I try to be courteous on MUPs.

My philosophy with cyclists: Also don't be a jerk. I don't roll up past other cyclists at lights. The only exception would be if it's very clear that I'm traveling faster, and then I would say something friendly. Usually though I'll just be patient and pass between lights if there's a safe opportunity.

It's a coincidence that I saw this article when I did. About a week before the article was published, I was on my regular ride home. There's a pretty good climb about half way home. It's about two miles from the river up to the highest point on the ride, most of it on 5 or 6% grade. There are 7 or 8 lights on that stretch. I passed an older gentleman on a comfort bike near the bottom of the hill. At every single light, all the way up the hill, he rolled past me and stopped right smack in front of me. After each light I waited patiently for gaps in traffic to move out to the left and pass again. You'd think he would get the picture, but nope. It was incredibly irritating.
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Old 08-09-18, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by clengman View Post
My philosophy with cars: I use my best judgement to keep myself visible, particularly in intersections. I also try not to be a nuisance. Sometimes that involves riding to the front at a light. Sometimes I take my lane.

My philosophy with pedestrians: Don't be a jerk. I don't block crosswalks. I don't buzz people crossing at intersections. I try to be courteous on MUPs.

My philosophy with cyclists: Also don't be a jerk. I don't roll up past other cyclists at lights. The only exception would be if it's very clear that I'm traveling faster, and then I would say something friendly. Usually though I'll just be patient and pass between lights if there's a safe opportunity.

It's a coincidence that I saw this article when I did. About a week before the article was published, I was on my regular ride home. There's a pretty good climb about half way home. It's about two miles from the river up to the highest point on the ride, most of it on 5 or 6% grade. There are 7 or 8 lights on that stretch. I passed an older gentleman on a comfort bike near the bottom of the hill. At every single light, all the way up the hill, he rolled past me and stopped right smack in front of me. After each light I waited patiently for gaps in traffic to move out to the left and pass again. You'd think he would get the picture, but nope. It was incredibly irritating.
Usually, when I roll past other bikes, it's to go to the top of the crosswalk when they're hanging back in what I consider the right turn blind spot or because I've been going faster and gaining on them from some distance back before I caught up with them at the intersection. When I accellerate out of their way when the light changes, I figure they'll realize why I did it.

I've had the opposite experience from your old man incident. I'm an older guy (57) riding a hybrid, but I have really good accelleration, especially on hills. I often get people on road bikes pulling ahead of me at the light expecting that they're faster than I am, and then I have to find the timing to pass them. Most times, I lose them by the next light, but a few weeks ago I had a road biker catch up to me at a bunch of lights when I was doing an uphill grade 80 miles into a very hot century. Every time he'd go ahead of me, and every time I'd have to time a pass in a way to dodge 55 mph traffic. I guess he just figured I was going to fade eventually, but after the fourth light, I finally lost him for good. We actually had some genial interaction, but yes, it was getting pretty irritating, especially when I was hot and grumpy.
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Old 08-09-18, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by chicagogal View Post
Yeah, it is obnoxious. Stay in the line of traffic (behind cars that approached the intersection first). Why move ahead of cars that will then just need to pass again? They passed you once, asking them to pass repeatedly is just asking for trouble.
Other than blocking a ped crossing (move in front of it) what's obnoxious about it?

One of the negative (subjective) things about cycling is you have to work harder to get from A to B. The positive thing is you don't have to get stuck in gridlock. People on bicycles pretending to be cars to me are ridiculous. Move up to the front of the intersection, anticipate the light, give a clear indication via body posture as to where you are heading and enjoy the perks. By waiting in line with the cars you are just making the vehicles behind you wait as well and often causing more slow down as you haven't accelerated fast enough to quickly clear the often narrower intersection where cars traveling the opposite direction are probably waiting to turn left while you doddle along.

The high risk zone is the intersection where you face left hooks, T bones and squeezes against the curb by moving vehicles. As a defensive cyclist you should move up and clear that zone intentionally when the light initially turns green where cars have been stationary and had a chance to see your clear indications to move through it. Better than trying to cross mid light cycle when cars are traveling at speed and turning left or right.

Last edited by Happy Feet; 08-09-18 at 11:32 AM.
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Old 08-09-18, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Stormy Archer View Post
Ok, but riding on the sidewalk is inherently dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians. The only drawback of cars going slower is that they're going slower.
Riding in the sidewalk isn't hazardous if the cyclists just slow down and dismount/walk at intersections. The only drawback is that you're just going a bit slower. Expecting all other road users to bow to cyclists so that you can ride as you wish isn't sharing the road, it's being a jerk. There has to be a give and take. Honestly, I feel that this sort of behavior makes all cyclists on the road LESS safe. Obstructing cars will result in pushback outside of a very few locations. I feel this behavior engenders a distaste of ALL cyclists on the part of drivers and leads to drivers feeling that if cyclists aren't willing to respect cars that they aren't willing to respect cyclists either. That leads to close passes and so forth.


Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
One of the negative (subjective) things about cycling is you have to work harder to get from A to B. The positive thing is you don't have to get stuck in gridlock. People on bicycles pretending to be cars to me are ridiculous. Move up to the front of the intersection, anticipate the light, give a clear indication via body posture as to where you are heading and enjoy the perks. By waiting in line with the cars you are just making the vehicles behind you wait as well and often causing more slow down as you haven't accelerated fast enough to quickly clear the often narrower intersection where cars traveling the opposite direction are probably waiting to turn left while you doddle along.

The high risk zone is the intersection where you face left hooks, T bones and squeezes against the curb by moving vehicles. As a defensive cyclist you should move up and clear that zone intentionally when the light initially turns green where cars have been stationary and had a chance to see your clear indications to move through it. Better than trying to cross mid light cycle when cars are traveling at speed and turning left or right.
Moving up next to cars like that is exactly how you get a left (or right) hook. Drivers aren't expecting you to be there and having all vehicles on the road abide by the same rules is safest. Plus, why force drivers to pass you multiple times on a narrow street that will just cause stress to both parties? At an intersection, I will fully take the lane so that I do not have a car next to me. Traffic isn't moving at full speed off a light so a cyclist isn't an impediment and I move back to the right edge as I cross the intersection.
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Old 08-09-18, 12:36 PM
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And I ride past to the intersection and think people like you really don't know how to cycle as cyclists and can only relate to the road as a pretend pseudo car. Cycling is different that driving a car. You are not a car. Cars don't expect you to be a car. People aren't fooled and think you are a bicycle shaped car.

Who causes more disruption to the flow of traffic. A cyclist who anticipates traffic and flows with it or one that takes the whole lane and performs like an extremely slow moving version of a car?

How you imagine you are more likely to get hooked while at the head of a stationary line where the car beside you sees you in front of it, and the car across the intersection is also stopped and sees you - compared to moving in among vehicles mid light cycle is beyond me. And, should a car actually contact you it will be going at initial acceleration speed as opposed to full travel speed or, worst case, late cycle and traveling fast as it tries to beat a yellow.

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.


But I get it. People either ride a bike like they are riding a bike or they ride a bike as if they are driving a car. It's a different skill set that takes time to develop.

Last edited by Happy Feet; 08-09-18 at 01:02 PM.
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Old 08-09-18, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
And I ride past to the intersection and think people like you really don't know how to cycle as cyclists and can only relate to the road as a pretend pseudo car. Cycling is different that driving a car. You are not a car. Cars don't expect you to be a car. People aren't fooled and think you are a bicycle shaped car.

Who causes more disruption to the flow of traffic. A cyclist who anticipates traffic and flows with it or one that takes the whole lane and performs like an extremely slow moving version of a car?
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.
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Old 08-09-18, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by clengman View Post
Where I'm living, it's complicated by the "Pittsburgh Left." Cars waiting to make a left turn expect to be allowed to turn first even when there's no left turn arrow.
Yeah, thats pretty absurd. There is 0 reason for such a thing to be expected. Unfortunate.
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Old 08-09-18, 01:05 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 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.
This. Exactly.
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