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Road Cycling It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle. -- Ernest Hemingway

Passing Cars

Old 11-03-20, 12:23 PM
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SpeedRanger
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Passing Cars

Passing cars on a descent, probably not the safest maneuver, I'm not sure if it's even legal but would you make the move if the situation was deemed safe?
I'm ok with it but many friends won't do it and claim it's too risky and not legal.
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Old 11-03-20, 12:28 PM
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I would not do it.
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Old 11-03-20, 12:28 PM
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Never been in that much of a hurry..
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Old 11-03-20, 12:31 PM
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I would assume that passing cars on a bicycle would be no different than in a car. No passing over double yellow, pass on left and such.
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Old 11-03-20, 12:33 PM
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Two or more lanes going the same direction, no problem. Single lane, I'd tend to say don't pass. But I don't know exactly what your circumstance are. The only legal issue I could imagine is speeding. Which might very state to state depending on whether their law regarding observance of speed limits says specifically "motor vehicles" or just simply "vehicles".

But if you are only speeding just to complete the pass, then most states allow you to exceed the speed limit to pass.
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Old 11-03-20, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
Never been in that much of a hurry..
Usually we sit back and pace the car in front from a distance, but occasionally there is the slow moving sightseeing vehicle jamming their brakes every 10 seconds which is not fun riding rim brakes.
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Old 11-03-20, 12:40 PM
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My Dad's youngest Brother was Killed doing THAT.
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Old 11-03-20, 12:43 PM
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Depends.
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Old 11-03-20, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by SpeedRanger View Post
Passing cars on a descent, probably not the safest maneuver, I'm not sure if it's even legal but would you make the move if the situation was deemed safe?
I'm ok with it but many friends won't do it and claim it's too risky and not legal.
I generally dont want to be anywhere near a car when Im descending fast
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Old 11-03-20, 01:21 PM
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I've only done it once. It was a descent of Slumgullion Pass in Colorado, near the top on the north side. A Jeep Wrangler pulled out of a dirt road and never really got up to any speed, and couldn't due to the curves. I passed on a straight section where I could see nothing coming up the hill, as I was able to move faster.

I'd likely never do it again, but it was not unsafe.
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Old 11-03-20, 01:25 PM
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Just to be passed back by said car somewhere down the road? I don't think so. Ask yourself this question. Would you rather have an irate driver(or any driver for that matter) behind you, or in front of you? Now if you are talking about a vehicle with a slow moving sign such as a tractor, that's a different situation.
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Old 11-03-20, 01:42 PM
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I don't normally do it, although when descending Mt. Ventoux it seemed to be the custom so I made an exception.
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Old 11-03-20, 02:08 PM
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Not really possible on the descents around here. Cars sometimes pull over to let other cars through, and that's how I got ahead of one slowpoke last week. Mostly, if I'm lucky, the cars are going the other way.

But my favorite was years ago, coming down the twisty but not really technical Rt 84 here on the Peninsula. I was following a car most of the way, because they were going slower than I could have. At the bottom, the car suddenly pulled into a turnout and stoppet. The passenger side door opened quickly and a woman leaned out and barfed fairly explosively..
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Old 11-03-20, 02:10 PM
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i've done this a couple of times on Geiger Grade here in Reno. there is only one safe part of the descent to do this or two pullouts if the driver is kind. in both cases the driver was kind to me. the road is windy and i rarely come upon a vehicle that is really slow. it's not that i am excessively fast, it is that they are excessively slow. tailgating down a descent stinks.
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Old 11-03-20, 02:11 PM
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I've done it a few times when I had no qualms about the safety of the situation. Depends on lots of factors.
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Old 11-03-20, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by seypat View Post
Just to be passed back by said car somewhere down the road? I don't think so. Ask yourself this question. Would you rather have an irate driver(or any driver for that matter) behind you, or in front of you?
Why is the driver irate?

I'd rather have a slow driver behind me. Nothing worse than riding your brakes.
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Old 11-03-20, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
Why is the driver irate?

I'd rather have a slow driver behind me. Nothing worse than riding your brakes.
Exactly. You'd rather have a slow driver behind you. Nothing worse than riding your brakes. Which is why that driver will be irate.(at least I would be) Because as soon as the descent ends, the cyclist will magically transform back into a slow moving vehicle/driver. The car/driver that got passed will become the one riding the brakes, getting anxious and looking for any chance to get around the cyclist that is now an irritant in front.
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Old 11-03-20, 11:17 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
Why is the driver irate?

I'd rather have a slow driver behind me. Nothing worse than riding your brakes.
A lot of male drivers think you're challenging their manhood if you pass them on your bike, no matter how safe / considerate you did the pass.

I've had drivers like these I passed and then they floor the pedal and make a dangerously close pass to me. If the speed difference is only around 10 kph, then I won't pass. I only pass if the speed difference is bigger OR other drivers are also passing that slow driver.

This is why I prefer to ride during busy hours, more traffic so these irate drivers will have less opprortunity to do something crazy on the road like harass you.
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Old 11-03-20, 11:35 PM
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Originally Posted by colnago62 View Post
I would assume that passing cars on a bicycle would be no different than in a car. No passing over double yellow, pass on left and such.
That's my understanding.

I actually like having a car in front of me on long descents, because I can watch their brake lights to see where I need to slow down. Also, they alert oncoming cars much better than I can alone, so that when I pass people in the other direction, they will be moved over already by the time I get to them, and not taking up the whole road.

But sometimes, esp on weekends, people are sightseeing and taking it easy on hilly and mountain roads and will actually wave me past. And if they don't wave me past, and start holding up traffic, I will pass at some point (hopefully legally) and often have. A bicycle passing a car can be done much faster and safer than a car trying to pass another car. But the situations where I pass are pretty much the same ones I would pass had I been driving my car. Whether they pass me again later on, I don't worry about.
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Old 11-04-20, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
A lot of male drivers think you're challenging their manhood if you pass them on your bike, no matter how safe / considerate you did the pass.

I've had drivers like these I passed and then they floor the pedal and make a dangerously close pass to me. If the speed difference is only around 10 kph, then I won't pass. I only pass if the speed difference is bigger OR other drivers are also passing that slow driver.

This is why I prefer to ride during busy hours, more traffic so these irate drivers will have less opprortunity to do something crazy on the road like harass you.
I don't ride in the middle of Manila, so your experiences differ significantly from mine (and most everyone else's, I'd imagine).
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Old 11-04-20, 09:34 PM
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A bicycle is considered a vehicle under most state laws, so as long as you follow the rules of the road, passing should be good. Your state no doubt has bicycle laws you can look up online.

I have only passed one vehicle, an RV, going down a pass with excellent forward visibility. Was competing in a one day 156 mile 10,000’ gain event, on a tandem racing bike. We were doing 62 and he was doing the 55 limit. So yes, we were speeding, but would have gladly accepted the ticket. Since we were competing and didn’t want to be slowed for the next two miles (a very long pass) we went for it. Frankly it was frightening and fun at the same time. That was 35 years ago. Won’t do it again especially at that speed. Sold the tandem this last summer.
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Old 11-04-20, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
I don't ride in the middle of Manila, so your experiences differ significantly from mine (and most everyone else's, I'd imagine).
Yes, I must admit, it's horrible here like Mexico. You could get shot and killed if not careful. Hired guns are "cheap" enough for anyone who drives around in an SUV.

But then I'm also keep seeing news in better countries, cyclists being run down by motorists. Obviously, the driver will reason "did not see the cyclist" but I wouldn't be surprised if some of them did it intentionally.
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Old 11-05-20, 04:59 AM
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Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
But then I'm also keep seeing news in better countries, cyclists being run down by motorists. Obviously, the driver will reason "did not see the cyclist" but I wouldn't be surprised if some of them did it intentionally.
So you think this is a reason not to pass a slow-moving car on a descent (any time)?
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Old 11-05-20, 05:28 AM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
So you think this is a reason not to pass a slow-moving car on a descent (any time)?
I didn't say you can never pass a slower car in front of you. Did you read my post #18 ?

There are conditions for me to pass or not. If the car in front of me is only slightly slower, then I won't pass. There are good chances that driver would pick up speed (for a number of valid reasons) after I passed him and exceed my speed and now he had to pass me in return, can be annoying to the driver.

Now, if the car in front is significantly slower, I'll pass them. There's higher probability they're not in a hurry and will not pick up speed after you pass them.

I know how annoying it can in a different situation during long climbs. When other cyclists who are slower will attempt to pass me and then burn out very quickly and now I have to avoid them as they slow down (I can see and hear them struggling with breathing). And they will make another attempt only to burn out. It doesn't go more than two passes until they give up. This is even more annoying if the traffic is heavy and tight which makes it more risky to pass another cyclist.
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Old 11-05-20, 05:32 AM
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I don't know if it's legal in the USA. In Europe, as long as you follow the traffic rules, you can do it.

I've done it several times. Just make sure that:

1. You will be able to hold a higher speed until finishing the pass.
2. You have enough time / visibility to brake and get on your lane if the car driver decides to accelerate during the maneuver. Had that happen a few times.

Sometimes, I find drivers who can't drive around curves at a decent speed, but when there's a straight suddenly have the urge to floor the car. They're extremely irritating as you can't really pass them, and if you try when you have enough visibility, you can end up trying to pass when they accelerate unexpectedly putting you in a dangerous situation.
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