Cyclists Driving In The Middle Of The Road



carlymarley

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May 2, 2015
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I have been on the Blue Ridge Parkway a lot recently, and a lot of cyclists also frequent this road. It is beautiful and mountainous. Also, very curvy, which makes it a very dangerous road with a 45mph speed limit and frequent curves across the mountain range. I usually have no issue with those that decide to bike here, but recently I have noticed a new breed of cyclists who ride in the middle of the road, which makes it so there is no way to pass them. I have had this happen 5 times in the last few weeks, I am completely baffled. Am I supposed to just ride behind them at their own pace? Risk both of our lives trying to pass them in the left lane through curves? Honk? What is the correct etiquette to this terrible biking habit I have been noticing?
 

maydog

Well-Known Member
Feb 5, 2010
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carlymarley said:
Am I supposed to just ride behind them at their own pace?
Yes.

If the cyclists are taking the lane, they must be doing so for their own safety. I have not cycled in mountainous areas much, but when I have I needed to take the lane to descend safely. It is dangerous and difficult to ride the far inside or far outside portion of a road on a high speed (for a bike) descent. When they are aware of you and conditions are safe, they will let you pass.

The parkway is intended for slow travel anyway:

"A Blue Ridge Parkway experience is unlike any other, a slow-paced and relaxing drive revealing stunning long-range vistas and close-up views of the rugged mountains and pastoral landscapes of the Appalachian Highlands. Protecting a diversity of plants and animals, the Parkway meanders for 469 miles, providing opportunities for enjoying all that makes this region of the country so special."

If you feel that the bikes are hogging the road for no reason and are unaware of your presence, I think a short quick sounding of the horn is OK. As as cyclist I appreciate the short, just letting you know I am here, type of honk. Don't overdo it though, startling a cyclist on a mountain pass can have painful consequences.
 

jhuskey

Moderator
Oct 6, 2003
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In most states a cyclist must by law ride to the right as far as practical. I myself have taken the center of the lane to prevent cars from passing me when there was oncoming traffic. I forced them to wait for my safety. It may be you encountered some entitled egocentric a-holes that give the rest of us a bad name. I agree a short toot of the horn but be aware it is also illegal in most jurisdictions to use your horn for the purpose of startling a cyclist.
 

joshposh

Banned
Apr 16, 2015
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They aren't suppose to be in the middle of the road in the first place. They probably don't know you are there. Just ease back and give them some space and honk your horn. Let me be aware of your presence and give them time to move on the side. When the way is clear then pass them safely.
 
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Mar 11, 2015
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That sounds like a tough one and I bet it is very frustrating but I think that you have to weigh up your frustration against the safety aspects of overtaking or honking. If it is mountainous then they may need to ride in the middle for safety reasons?
 

maydog

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Feb 5, 2010
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joshposh said:
They aren't suppose to be in the middle of the road in the first place.
So wrong. The conditions dictate where the cyclist should be.

Do some research. I picked a few random points on the BRP to see what it was like. Look at this:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Blue+Ridge+Parkway/@37.409862,-79.795077,3a,75y,90h,90t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1slARboM_smRLytsQ6wFa1zw!2e0!4m2!3m1!1s0x88598e6ea847ce65:0xadbe9c039e7c65e5!6m1!1e1

That is one narrow road without shoulders. It does look glorious for riding, but staying a safe distance away from the edge will put you near the middle of the lane. On a fast descent, I'd be edging toward the middle.

Where would you be riding on this part of the BRP. I'd be taking the lane.
blue_ridge_parkway-260164247_std.jpg
 

gavinfree

Active Member
Feb 19, 2015
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If it's a safety thing, then you let them ride in the middle of the road until they can move over for you. Most people will move when it's safe for themselves to let cars pass them, though others don't know that they're not supposed to drive in the center of the lanes by default. A quick honk can let riders know you're behind them, and many of them will acknowledge you and move when it's safe to do so.
 

Catsyo

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May 6, 2015
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In my area, you almost have to take the whole lane. A lot of cars pass dangerously close to me if I try riding on the side of the lane so I've wrecked a couple times because I thought I was gonna get clipped. I definitely try to get over to let cars pass but there are certain areas in my town where the side of the road isn't paved very well so riding a bike is basically impossible. My area of the country is notorious for bad infrastructure though so it's possible most people don't have this problem.
 

Dora M

Active Member
Feb 20, 2015
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Colombia
maydog said:
So wrong. The conditions dictate where the cyclist should be.

Do some research. I picked a few random points on the BRP to see what it was like. Look at this:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Blue+Ridge+Parkway/@37.409862,-79.795077,3a,75y,90h,90t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1slARboM_smRLytsQ6wFa1zw!2e0!4m2!3m1!1s0x88598e6ea847ce65:0xadbe9c039e7c65e5!6m1!1e1

That is one narrow road without shoulders. It does look glorious for riding, but staying a safe distance away from the edge will put you near the middle of the lane. On a fast descent, I'd be edging toward the middle.

Where would you be riding on this part of the BRP. I'd be taking the lane.
blue_ridge_parkway-260164247_std.jpg
That looks like quite a challenge to me. I'd be worried about entering that tunnel, knowing that there are cars rushing through it without giving bike riders a second thought. To be absolutely honest, I'd probably take my bike cross country in this case. That's if it's possible.
Having been in several incidences where I was knocked off my bike by cars, I would definitely feel tense if I encountered such an obstacle on the road.
 

Dora M

Active Member
Feb 20, 2015
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Colombia
An idea might be to ask the cyclists why they are in the middle of the road. It could be just as other posters have already mentioned, a matter of personal security. If it happened five times in a week, there obviously must be a reason for it, since cyclists wouldn't deliberately put themselves in any extra danger on the road.
 

maydog

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Feb 5, 2010
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Dora M said:
An idea might be to ask the cyclists why they are in the middle of the road. It could be just as other posters have already mentioned, a matter of personal security. If it happened five times in a week, there obviously must be a reason for it, since cyclists wouldn't deliberately put themselves in any extra danger on the road.
I don't see this conversation going over very well. Are you going to roll down your window, drive up beside and then have a meaningful discussion? Sound more dangerous than just passing at that point.
 

Jerome S

New Member
May 6, 2015
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Riding on the middle of the road is great fun, according to those doing it. I have a friend who does it regularly and says that he does it for the thrill of it. I wouldn't attempt speaking with them, for the simple reason that they may not be too polite. Just leave them alone and avoid them.
 

dhk2

Well-Known Member
Aug 8, 2006
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On a narrow twisty road with limited sight lines, the middle of the road is the safest place for cyclists to be. The question "how am I supposed to pass them?" implies that the driver believes it's OK to squeeze past a cyclist while staying inside the travel lane, even if there is oncoming traffic. That kind of thinking causes drivers not to slow down, but just to zoom past cyclists with minimal clearance. On the narrow roads here, that kind of thinking gets cyclists killed.

The correct answer is simple. You pass cyclists in the middle of the road just like you would a slow speed farm implement or mail truck. You wait until you can see there is no oncoming traffic, then signal and pull out completely into the other lane. The presence of a double-yellow line doesn't mean you can't cross to pass a slow-speed or stopped vehicle.

Rather than diddle around with "3 foot passing laws" for cyclists, believe states in the US need to clarify the rules for safe passing of all slow-speed vehicles.
 

9lines

Member
May 7, 2015
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We should abide by the guiding rules while we are on the road. This will make up avoid accidents. We also make it safe for other road users.
 

jhuskey

Moderator
Oct 6, 2003
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dhk2 said:
On a narrow twisty road with limited sight lines, the middle of the road is the safest place for cyclists to be. The question "how am I supposed to pass them?" implies that the driver believes it's OK to squeeze past a cyclist while staying inside the travel lane, even if there is oncoming traffic. That kind of thinking causes drivers not to slow down, but just to zoom past cyclists with minimal clearance. On the narrow roads here, that kind of thinking gets cyclists killed.

The correct answer is simple. You pass cyclists in the middle of the road just like you would a slow speed farm implement or mail truck. You wait until you can see there is no oncoming traffic, then signal and pull out completely into the other lane. The presence of a double-yellow line doesn't mean you can't cross to pass a slow-speed or stopped vehicle.

Rather than diddle around with "3 foot passing laws" for cyclists, believe states in the US need to clarify the rules for safe passing of all slow-speed vehicles.

I am no sure if it could be any better defined or explained , at least in my state. Of course each state varies. We have a minimum of 3 foot passing law and also a due care law. Beyond that it might get a bit redundant. I will admit that impatience and ignorance still abounds with drivers .
 

Acid Spit

New Member
May 15, 2015
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I think maydog and dhk2 nailed it. I don't have much to say but I want to thank them both for offering such great explanations of the situation and how to act when in this kind of situation. Just wanted to say you guys are doing great work!
 

pinkride

New Member
May 4, 2015
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I don't know why but I've noticed it as well, cyclists shouldn't be in the middle unless there is a serious reason such as their personal safety. I don't really mind that since I'm both a cyclist and a driver and I understand why are they doing this.
 

katherine25

Member
May 4, 2015
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I don't think cyclists should ever ride in the middle of the road, I personally think it is very dangerous. I wouldn't get to close to them when you honk. Keep your distance back and let them know you are there, chances are they will move to the right so you can pass.