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Riding the wrong way in the bike lane

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Riding the wrong way in the bike lane

Old 09-22-08, 10:43 AM
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smr260
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Riding the wrong way in the bike lane

I noticed this happening more this year (in NYC) than ever before, and I thought I'd start a thread about it after reading over the "ticket for riding on the sidewalk" thread. I suppose it's a good sign because more people are riding bikes than ever before, but at the same time it definitely creates a less safe environment. Any thoughts? Why people do it, should it be discouraged, etc.?
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Old 09-22-08, 11:33 AM
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i always say "hi" followed by "wrong way"!

i don't think police around here will spend time ticketing wrong way riders (or any other bicyclist illegal road use) yet. people ride the wrong way to mistakenly feel safer, "to see what's coming". if you have the chance in interaction, mention mirror use (on the bike frame, or better yet, helmet mounted) and predictable Vehicular Bicycling (same road/same rules).

this issue goes beyond the "Bike Lane" use (we don't have but +/- 5 miles designated bike-lanes in s nj) and is applicable to all road use.
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Old 09-22-08, 11:41 AM
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I ride around w/ a lance and knock wrong way riders off their bikes. I also use it to poke jay walkers and knock off car mirrors. It's pretty handy.
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Old 09-22-08, 12:13 PM
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I've noted that bike salmon are usually delivery guys, but bike LANE salmon are newbie cruisers.

Biggest pet peeve are those that insist on going the wrong way when the next block over has a perfectly good bike lane going the other way. Very specifically it happens all the time in Brooklyn on Bergen and Dean streets. I've been thinking of spray painting big arrow signs pointing in the right direction and writing "If you can read this you're going the wrong way!"
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Old 09-22-08, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by jeebusaurousrex View Post
I've noted that bike salmon are usually delivery guys, but bike LANE salmon are newbie cruisers.

Biggest pet peeve are those that insist on going the wrong way when the next block over has a perfectly good bike lane going the other way. Very specifically it happens all the time in Brooklyn on Bergen and Dean streets. I've been thinking of spray painting big arrow signs pointing in the right direction and writing "If you can read this you're going the wrong way!"
I live on Wyckoff and was thinking the same thing. I think lots of new bike riders have yet to pick up a free copy of the NYC Bike Map, which shows all the lanes. They might not have ever rode a bike in urban areas, and don't know which way to go (they tell joggers to go against traffic).

As an aside, I have also seen lots of people going the wrong way around the loop in Prospect Park. This, especially on the big hill on the west side of the loop, is ridiculously dangerous. I saw a family with two kids about 6 and 8 year old, trying to come up the hill when guys are zooming down into them.
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Old 09-22-08, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by smr260 View Post

As an aside, I have also seen lots of people going the wrong way around the loop in Prospect Park. This, especially on the big hill on the west side of the loop, is ridiculously dangerous. I saw a family with two kids about 6 and 8 year old, trying to come up the hill when guys are zooming down into them.
Nowhere near as dangerous as going the wrong way up the S-Turn in Central Park - with roadies doing 30 to 40 mph on the downhill.
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Old 09-22-08, 01:43 PM
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I'm always annoyed by it. really, the oncoming bicyclist should step into traffic because of the reasons you explained (ie, they can see if there are cars) but they all suck.
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Old 09-22-08, 04:01 PM
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It is maddening. But I think the City needs to d a better job of educating Pedestrians, Bike Commuters and Drivers about the city laws pertaining to bikes. Very few people seem to know what they are.

Actual quotes:

Pedestrian: "Oh, I can't walk in a bike lane? Why not? THIS is a bike lane?"

Biker: "Who cares if I ride the wrong way?! It's MY LIFE!"

Cabbie: "So what if I drove in the bike lane?! Who died and made YOU the police!?!"
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Old 09-22-08, 08:02 PM
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I don't think it's any more or less common than in the past.

Why do they do it? My guesses are:
1) General cluelessness / lack of enough intelligence to find out that wrong-way cycling is dangerous
2) Too lazy to find a bike lane that goes in their direction of travel
3) Willful disregard for traffic controls

I really wish that LBS's would give anyone who buys a bike in their shops a nice, simple little guide for how to ride properly....
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Old 09-22-08, 09:56 PM
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Excellent observation here smr260. I think you're right. Part of the reason is because there are more & more bicycles around. I guess with gas prices at over $4.50/gal at one point this summer, we had more & more people run out and buy bikes.

This is NYC. I keep my mouth shut & my nose out of someone else's business. The last thing I need is to get into an altercation.

Heck, sometimes I'm guilty of doing the same thing...but only for a block or two (out of convenience).

But what really annoys the crap out of me is when I'm riding and I see a wrong way cyclist coming at me. They almost always stay really close to parked cars. I'm forced to fend for myself, do a head check to make sure no car's coming, swerve out a little to make room.

If you're coming down the street in the wrong direction, at least have the courtesy to ride far out on the road! You can see what's coming much easier than me.

Sometimes they do stay on the outside, but they don't leave enough room for me. I feel like I'm within inches of parked cars and one day a door's going to fly open!

But, I always keep my mouth shut. I was on B'way 2 weeks ago (walking) when a cyclist was riding slowly on the sidewalk. This was late at night. He passed me and came up on 4 people walking shoulder to shoulder. He wasn't able to pass. He was very polite. He didn't say anything. I just followed along going at 3mph.

The lady turned back and saw him and stepped to her right to move out of the way for him. He slowly passed. As he passed, she blurted out "get the eff off the sidewalk". He turns around. Smiles at her, opens his messenger bag and swings at her with his U lock. She was down on the floor bleeding from her mouth. The other 3 people were shocked. He was gone like a bat at night.

I didn't say anything. I just kept walking.
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Old 09-22-08, 11:52 PM
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I stop at an angle and make them swerve into traffic or stop and walk around me. Since I don't know what they're going to do (they don't necessarily ride to one side when doing this) so this to me seems the safest option.
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Old 09-23-08, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Air View Post
I stop at an angle and make them swerve into traffic or stop and walk around me. Since I don't know what they're going to do (don't necessarily ride to one side when doing this) so this to me seems the safest option.
Seems like a good idea actually...
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Old 09-23-08, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Stacy View Post
Nowhere near as dangerous as going the wrong way up the S-Turn in Central Park - with roadies doing 30 to 40 mph on the downhill.
40miles down the little bump with the tight S-curve? i think not.
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Old 09-23-08, 02:21 PM
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I think one big cause is that the general biking infrastructure around the city is so inconsistent with rules and procedures that there's little hope of anyone from one neighborhood knowing the rules (or geography) in another.

Another bike path going the other way a block over? Not in my neighborhood, there's not. In your neighborhood, I wouldn't have a clue unless someone told me--and I certainly wouldn't know which block it was on.

Or: OK, got it, the mysterious blue stripe means it's pedestrians on one side of the MUP, bikes on the other. Got it; except no, suddenly it's northbound peds and bikes on one side, southbound peds and bikes on the other. OK, got it; except, no, suddenly it's a promenade with peds and bikes and no markings whatsoever. OK... got it--except no, now it's a double-yellow stripe.

The above is a 15-minute sampling of my commute. Thanks, city planners. Nice work.

And every bridge seems to have its own set of rules.

Before you can educate people, I think you have to make the rules consistent. Otherwise it's all just too much of a moving target.
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Old 09-23-08, 02:41 PM
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So, so agreed. I was on Governor's Island and at one place they painted the bike lane with instructions so you'd be going the wrong way if you were following it (think European riding on the other side of the street). Really, wtf?
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Old 09-30-08, 10:03 PM
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I was riding down Broadway, in the Bike Lane, through Herald Square last night with plenty of traffic to my right. This time the salmon was a pedicab with no lights. No wonder the City wants to regulate them.
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Old 10-01-08, 10:32 AM
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to get from my apartment to the nearest intersection where i can safely cross to the proper bike lane, i was traveling in the wrong direction this morning. as i passed another rider, i got a dirty look and a remark that was most likely equally dirty but i wasnt able to catch what was said. ill admit to riding the wrong direction but never for more than a block's distance. please dont hate me.
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Old 10-01-08, 01:28 PM
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Most bike lanes are a scant 4-5' wide. When someone's riding the wrong way in a lane, one person has to go into the door zone and the other into traffic. TenPercent, if it's only a block, why not just dismount and walk on the sidewalk? You're putting yourself AND the other person at high risk of a nasty outcome by riding the wrong way in a lane.
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Old 10-01-08, 01:45 PM
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Every once in a while I'll ride a block the wrong way (going around one particular area is actually a bit dangerous, lots of impatient tunnel traffic) - but if there's someone else coming I'll stop and pull over. Don't go above 8 mph (jogging pace) either.
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Old 10-01-08, 03:09 PM
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I also noticed the 2nd ave bike lane going downtown has also been dubbed a jogging lane as well.
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Old 10-01-08, 03:20 PM
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Yeah...that seems to happen with a lot of them. And a double parking lane, a homeless with huge shopping carts full of bottles lane, hail cab lane, ...
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Old 10-01-08, 06:35 PM
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Not to forget the vendor lane on Prince Street.
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Old 10-02-08, 12:27 AM
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Who could forget the vendor lane?!
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Old 10-02-08, 08:51 AM
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I usually just ride around the block instead of going the wrong way down a one way. I mean, is one extra block that big a deal? It's almost a pedestrian's mentality to go slowly down a one way because the distance is shorter, rather than to go faster for the extra hundred yards.
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Old 10-02-08, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by TENPERCENTJUICE View Post
ill admit to riding the wrong direction but never for more than a block's distance. please dont hate me.
Same here. I do the same.

Originally Posted by MTBLover View Post
Most bike lanes are a scant 4-5' wide. When someone's riding the wrong way in a lane, one person has to go into the door zone and the other into traffic. TenPercent, if it's only a block, why not just dismount and walk on the sidewalk? You're putting yourself AND the other person at high risk of a nasty outcome by riding the wrong way in a lane.
This irritates me! You have no idea. But when I ride the wrong way (which is maybe once or twice a ride), I always stay in the middle of the road (when there's no cars coming....which is often the case). When there are cars, I ride on the opposite side of the right way cyclist. If he's on the driver's side, I'll take the passenger side. I know it's not much better...

Originally Posted by Air View Post
Every once in a while I'll ride a block the wrong way (going around one particular area is actually a bit dangerous, lots of impatient tunnel traffic)
That's actually my main reason for going the wrong way. Sometimes it's just too dangerous with lots of fast traffic. I'll take the next block over where there are no cars.
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