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Cars in the bike lane

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Cars in the bike lane

Old 07-28-15, 11:43 AM
  #1  
banerjek
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Cars in the bike lane

I'm normally pretty mellow when it comes to cars, and things that drivers do that bug cyclists don't faze me at all. However, one thing that I never experienced before riding in an urban environment but see regularly now is cars drifting way into the bike lane when there is no logical reason for them to do so.

At the risk of sounding paranoid, I believe this is intentional most of the time as there is a clear pattern to when it occurs. Namely it always seems to happen when I'm moving faster than the cars and they seem to stay in their lane just fine until shortly before I reach them (i.e. this doesn't look like occasional drift from inattention or from some circumstance such as an upcoming right turn or something affecting their path of travel). Especially if the lane is narrow, the gap can be really small. This problem does not occur when the cars are faster than me.

Do others experience this, and what do you do? Rather than allowing myself to get plugged, I pass very close (less than 2"), sometimes intentionally brushing the mirror as I go by. If the vehicle is tall enough, I let the mirror pass over my shoulder. If there's simply not enough clearance, I pass on the left (which normally involves lane splitting) and cut back in as soon as I can once I've cleared the vehicle. This does seem to have the desired effect of encouraging the vehicle back into its lane. Curiously, no one has honked, yelled, or threatened me with their vehicle even though this an aggressive move. I am unsure how witnesses perceive this ("jerk cyclist" vs. "someone not being intimidated by jerk driver" vs. "didn't notice anything that isn't normal urban commuting").
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Old 07-28-15, 11:56 AM
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It's possible that it's intentional. Could also be a happenstance of the driver watching you in the rear/side view mirror, either out of astonishment of your speed (take that as compliment) or simple as you just catch their attention. A driver looking in the rear or side mirror will likely drift right, due to head turn and camber of road.

It would be nice if they simply saw you coming and kept eyes on road, but alas - it is not a perfect world. When on the bike, I do the same as when my uncle taught me to drive (at age 14) - assume everyone else is terrible driver, and always keep your options at the ready. Sounds like you are doing the same.
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Old 07-28-15, 11:57 AM
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Cars in the bike lane

Mostly I see it from people texting or talking on the phone.

Simple answer would be seperate the bike
Lane with 2 white lines a foot apart and raised reflectors. It would be safer, encourage more casual riders at relatively little additional cost.
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Old 07-28-15, 11:58 AM
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Man, Portland sure is bike friendly. That's bizarre! I can sort of understand cars getting bent out of shape about having to repass the same cyclist 4 times because the cyclist is catching up at every light, but if you have a bike lane that's a non-issue.

And no, I've never seen that. I see cars driving in the bike lane all the time, but it's usually to pass a zillion cars in the right lane and either turn right or cut them back off when they dart back in.

Never anything expressly to do with a cyclist.
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Old 07-28-15, 12:26 PM
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That's the kind of passive-aggressiveness that I expect to see in MN ("MN Nice"). Yes, I have noticed that some drivers get frustrated when cyclists are able to move faster than they can drive.
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Old 07-28-15, 12:56 PM
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I have seen it also. It is usually when the driver feels that you will impede them in some way, like when they are attempting to turn right just ahead, but there maybe a car in front of them going straight that is in their way.
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Old 07-28-15, 12:58 PM
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A few weeks ago I actually saw a car intentionally take the bike lane to pass an entire line of traffic at about 40mph
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Old 07-28-15, 01:11 PM
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I have seen more than a few instances of cars pulling quickly into the bike lane to block me. Usually as they wait for a light. Sometimes I pass very close. (I will hit them rather than the curb. I am likely to suffer less damage and if it costs them paint, well good!

I have also considered pulling off a move that would be very unpopular but would place the spotlight on the driver. If the cars are packed close, I could pass on the left, pull back into the bike lane, stop right in front of the car, pull out my phone, call 911 and report the car. It is virtually guaranteed I would eventually see the driver's face and so could file a complaint. (Every intentional close call I have reported, the officer has told me that without me being able to identify the driver, they can do nothing.) Meanwhile, it is virtually certain that this driver would have to listen to the horns behind him.

Yes, I may take militant action some day. I have felt like a second class citizen for 50 years for exercising my right to ride a bicycle on the public roads that were originally paved for bicycles.

Ben
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Old 07-28-15, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by jrossbeck View Post
It's possible that it's intentional. Could also be a happenstance of the driver watching you in the rear/side view mirror, either out of astonishment of your speed (take that as compliment) or simple as you just catch their attention. A driver looking in the rear or side mirror will likely drift right, due to head turn and camber of road.
I suppose this is possible at least in some cases. There are times when I get the sense that the move startles them because they don't want to collide with me.

Originally Posted by colnago62 View Post
I have seen it also. It is usually when the driver feels that you will impede them in some way, like when they are attempting to turn right just ahead, but there maybe a car in front of them going straight that is in their way.
In the situations where I see this, the driver is typically screwed and has no chance of catching up with me ever. For whatever complaints I have about cycling in this town, it's by far the best way to get around. I don't know how the drivers stand it out here -- driving totally sucks. I would go carless, but I go to the coast and the mountains too often.
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Old 07-28-15, 01:31 PM
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I am not fast enough or important enough to have had that happen to me.
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Old 07-28-15, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
I have seen more than a few instances of cars pulling quickly into the bike lane to block me. Usually as they wait for a light. Sometimes I pass very close. (I will hit them rather than the curb. I am likely to suffer less damage and if it costs them paint, well good!

I have also considered pulling off a move that would be very unpopular but would place the spotlight on the driver. If the cars are packed close, I could pass on the left, pull back into the bike lane, stop right in front of the car, pull out my phone, call 911 and report the car. It is virtually guaranteed I would eventually see the driver's face and so could file a complaint. (Every intentional close call I have reported, the officer has told me that without me being able to identify the driver, they can do nothing.) Meanwhile, it is virtually certain that this driver would have to listen to the horns behind him.

Yes, I may take militant action some day. I have felt like a second class citizen for 50 years for exercising my right to ride a bicycle on the public roads that were originally paved for bicycles.

Ben
As long as you are at it snap a few photos of the driver first...
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Old 07-28-15, 08:09 PM
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Ever since I began riding as though each and every motorized vehicle on the road was a Christine wannabe, I've had a lot fewer close calls. Sure, it's a nuisance, but I take heart considering how that story ended.
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Old 07-28-15, 08:53 PM
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That happens regularly weekend afternoons on the home stretch coming back into my town.

There's a narrow bike lane, the road winds back & forth, & traffic backs up with folks returning from the beach, hikes, etc.

I think it's kind of like a dog having the urge to chase- drivers just have trouble with being passed by a (toy?).


I sometimes yell, but since they are often stuck in traffic it would not be hard to do as Mooney contemplates.
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Old 07-28-15, 08:55 PM
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Had two bicyclist here in San Diego killed over the last month or so with cars drifting into the bikes lanes. The first one was a lady who drifted into the bike lane and killed the CFO of our Children's Hospital and the second guy got hit from behind by a mini van while he was in the bike lane. IMHO its inattention, usually cell phones.

Rady Children?s CFO dies in bike crash | FOX5 San Diego ? San Diego news, weather, traffic, sports from KSWB

Bicyclist killed when minivan hits him in bike lane | FOX5 San Diego ? San Diego news, weather, traffic, sports from KSWB
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Old 07-28-15, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Mike F View Post
Had two bicyclist here in San Diego killed over the last month or so with cars drifting into the bikes lanes. The first one was a lady who drifted into the bike lane and killed the CFO of our Children's Hospital and the second guy got hit from behind by a mini van while he was in the bike lane. IMHO its inattention, usually cell phones.

Rady Children?s CFO dies in bike crash | FOX5 San Diego ? San Diego news, weather, traffic, sports from KSWB

Bicyclist killed when minivan hits him in bike lane | FOX5 San Diego ? San Diego news, weather, traffic, sports from KSWB
What I was talking about is NOT inattention. It has been drivers stopped in a long line of cars at a light at rush hour. When I approach them from behind in the bike lane, they crank the wheel hard to the right and hit the accelerator then the brake to pull into the bike lane and block my path. No other reason.

I've seen plenty of the inattentive drivers drifting into lanes. I am quite aware that may be my last ride. That driver could be guilty of negligent homicide. The drivers I am talking about are committing vehicular assault. Ie, intent.

Ben
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Old 07-28-15, 09:55 PM
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I have to dodge pedestrians in the bike lanes around here. For some reason certain people would rather walk down the street than use the sidewalk that is only a couple of feet away. I just don't get that.

Last edited by Doctor Morbius; 07-29-15 at 01:13 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 07-28-15, 10:07 PM
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happens here all the time in Burbank , CA
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Old 07-28-15, 10:20 PM
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Confrontation will solve nothing and will often inflame/escalate further the situation particularly when it is done intentionally!
Dangerous behavior and conducts are unfortunately part of cycling--it is not a perfect world even on two wheels!
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Old 07-28-15, 10:26 PM
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Just go around without making a fuss. The police don't care, so don't bother.

If someone does it intentionally, then they win if they get a rise out of you.

BTW, I can't remember the last time it's happened to me.
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Old 07-28-15, 10:28 PM
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If someone does it intentionally, then they win if they get a rise out of you.


They don't win if you shoot them!
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Old 07-29-15, 12:26 AM
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Mount a Go Pro. Take the evidence to the PD. It's worth the investment. You may save someones' life.
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Old 07-29-15, 05:26 AM
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I see people drift into bike lanes nearly every day during my commute. I have various responses, including honking. That usually throws them for a loop. If they are stopped in traffic I will often squeeze buy and ask them "Excuse me. Why are you in the bike lane?" Believe it or not, many times they are apologetic, indicating that it wasn't something intentional. In most cases, taking the bike lane would serve no purpose.
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Old 07-29-15, 05:29 AM
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Originally Posted by VNA View Post
Confrontation will solve nothing and will often inflame/escalate further the situation particularly when it is done intentionally!
Dangerous behavior and conducts are unfortunately part of cycling--it is not a perfect world even on two wheels!
As noted in my previous post, I sometimes confront people and they apologetically move over without a fuss. Hopefully, pointing out their inattentiveness will make them more attentive in the future.
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Old 07-29-15, 06:40 AM
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There are times when cars are supposed to be in the bike lane, such as making a right turn. I didn't know this until a LEO (friend) who's a bike cop and expert witness explained it to me.

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Old 07-29-15, 07:10 AM
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^^^ Sure, but at those times, they should also be yielding to the existing traffic in that lane.
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