How to ride this kind of road safely?

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Joe, Jun 5, 2003.

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  1. Joe

    Joe Guest

    A 2-lane state highway out in the country. 55 mph limit, light, but fast traffic. Fog line with 3
    foot paved shoulder.

    A car is approaching me, and another car is coming up from behind, not slowing down. I believe the
    car from behind is going to pass me at the same time as the oncoming car. So I move onto the
    shoulder and hope that the road surface remains good with no glass, etc.

    Is this the right way to handle this situation?

    Joe
     
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  2. Archer

    Archer Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
    > A 2-lane state highway out in the country. 55 mph limit, light, but fast traffic. Fog line with 3
    > foot paved shoulder.
    >
    > A car is approaching me, and another car is coming up from behind, not slowing down. I believe the
    > car from behind is going to pass me at the same time as the oncoming car. So I move onto the
    > shoulder and hope that the road surface remains good with no glass, etc.
    >
    > Is this the right way to handle this situation?

    I would have already been on the shoulder if it's in decent shape, but beyond that I don't see that
    you have much choice. I definitely don't think stopping is correct, because it reduces the amount of
    time that the car behind you has to react to your presence.

    --
    David Kerber An optimist says "Good morning, Lord." While a pessimist says "Good Lord,
    it's morning".

    Remove the ns_ from the address before e-mailing.
     
  3. Joe wrote:

    > A 2-lane state highway out in the country. 55 mph limit, light, but fast traffic. Fog line with 3
    > foot paved shoulder.
    >
    > A car is approaching me, and another car is coming up from behind, not slowing down. I believe the
    > car from behind is going to pass me at the same time as the oncoming car. So I move onto the
    > shoulder and hope that the road surface remains good with no glass, etc.
    >
    > Is this the right way to handle this situation?

    I believe the hardcore or bicyling rights types will probably argue you should be well out into the
    road, "taking the lane" in this situation.

    Personally, I believe sharing the road requires you to be over as far to the right as possible
    without sacrificing your own safety or convenience.

    I think the worst thing to do is to behave in a "half way" manner, neither really taking the lane,
    or moving way off to the road side.

    If you are trying to keep out of possible road debris ahead, by staying to the outside of the
    shoulder line, you may be putting your safety at risk. Really better to go farther out, making it
    abundantly clear, to even the most depth perceptively challenged, that they can not possibly sqeeze
    by you without slowing down.

    They might be annoyed or angry with you, but you're going to end up a bit annoyed and angry if you
    end up spending 5-10 minutes fixing a flat that you got simply so some motorist wouldn't be
    inconvenienced in taking an extra 3 seconds to pass you!

    Personally, I'll wait until the car is almost upon me, then move over if the shoulder looks clear
    immediately ahead. If it's not, I stay out in the edge of the lane, and Joe "Hot Foot" will just
    have to throttle back for a couple secs.

    SMH
     
  4. kh6zv9

    kh6zv9 Guest

    Joe <[email protected]> wrote:
    : A 2-lane state highway out in the country. 55 mph limit, light, but fast traffic. Fog line with 3
    : foot paved shoulder.

    : A car is approaching me, and another car is coming up from behind, not slowing down. I believe the
    : car from behind is going to pass me at the same time as the oncoming car. So I move onto the
    : shoulder and hope that the road surface remains good with no glass, etc.

    : Is this the right way to handle this situation?

    : Joe

    Gee, A 3 foot paved shoulder with a nice white line? That is called a bike lane in these parts.

    --------------------------------
    Bob Masse' [email protected]
    --------------------------------
     
  5. Barry Gaudet

    Barry Gaudet Guest

    [email protected] wrote:
    : Joe <[email protected]> wrote:
    [...]
    : : Is this the right way to handle this situation?

    : Gee, A 3 foot paved shoulder with a nice white line? That is called a bike lane in these parts.

    These parts too. I'd ride the paved shoulder.

    I have a problem of my own with a particular road.

    A city street [2 lanes each way plus turning lane] that narrows to 1 lane each way as it leaves the
    built up part of the city with croad unpaved shoulders. When I do find it necessary to use it I
    stick to the shoulder [being on a mountain bike it's not a great hardship] regardless of my legal
    'right' to occupy the roadway. I put personal well being ahead of legal rights. However come winter
    and snow: if I do use this section of roadway I have to take the entire lane - much to the
    frustration of auto drivers judging by thier verbal abuse. It will become academic in a couple of
    years I guess. The city plans to widen the street eventually - thanks to suburban sprawl.

    --
    'They paved paradise And put up a parking lot' -Joni Mitchell
     
  6. > A 2-lane state highway out in the country. 55 mph limit, light, but fast traffic. Fog line with 3
    > foot paved shoulder.
    >
    > A car is approaching me, and another car is coming up from behind, not slowing down. I believe the
    > car from behind is going to pass me at the same time as the oncoming car. So I move onto the
    > shoulder and hope that the road surface remains good with no glass, etc.
    >
    > Is this the right way to handle this situation?

    3-foot shoulder that's decently marked? Sounds like a pretty reasonable alternative to playing
    Russian roulette with a pair of car drivers who may, or may not, feel like you belong as part of a
    ménage a trois.

    Unless you're traveling at a *very* high rate of speed, you ought to be able to tell if the shoulder
    is safe to ride on. For that matter, it's in your best interest to always be aware of your
    surroundings and possible escape routes; you should know well ahead of time whether the shoulder
    represents a reasonable place to ride or not.

    --Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles http://www.ChainReactionBicycles.com
     
  7. > A 2-lane state highway out in the country. 55 mph limit, light, but fast traffic. Fog line with 3
    > foot paved shoulder.
    >
    > A car is approaching me, and another car is coming up from behind, not slowing down. I believe the
    > car from behind is going to pass me at the same time as the oncoming car. So I move onto the
    > shoulder and hope that the road surface remains good with no glass, etc.
    >
    > Is this the right way to handle this situation?

    How wide is the travel lane? If it is 12 feet wide the car driver will have enough room to pass you
    if you ride near the fog line (I ride a couple inches to the left if the lane is sharable this way.)
    The driver will usually slow up a bit and get as close to the double yellow as possible, or even
    encroach over it. 12' minus 7' SUV width = 5' = 4' passing distance +
    1/2 your width if you are on the fog line.

    If the lane is much narrower than 12 feet then it gets tight. On such roads I commit to either
    claiming the lane by riding between the lane center and right tire track, or, if there is in fact a
    wide enough, clean enough shoulder that would efficate safe passing, I ride the shoulder the whole
    way. But I don't see many wide shoulders on narrow-lane roads here in NC.

    I don't like the idea of training motorists that I will swerve off the road out of their way every
    time I hear a car coming.

    -Steve
     
  8. "Steven Goodridge" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...

    > > A 2-lane state highway out in the country. 55 mph limit, light, but fast traffic. Fog line with
    > > 3 foot paved shoulder.
    > >
    > > A car is approaching me, and another car is coming up from behind, not slowing down. I believe
    > > the car from behind is going to pass me at the same time as the oncoming car. So I move onto the
    > > shoulder and hope that the road surface remains good with no glass, etc.
    > >
    > > Is this the right way to handle this situation?
    >

    > How wide is the travel lane? If it is 12 feet wide the car driver will have enough room to pass
    > you if you ride near the fog line (I ride a couple inches to the left if the lane is sharable this
    > way.) The driver will usually slow up a bit and get as close to the double yellow as possible, or
    > even encroach over it. 12' minus 7' SUV width = 5' = 4' passing distance +
    > 1/2 your width if you are on the fog line.
    >

    Where do you live? Around here many drivers are unable to resist the magnetic field induced in my
    bike's steel frame by the passing electrons in the air, so swerve to their right, leaving the 5
    feet between their left side and the center line.

    Had a 'scary' yesterday, doing 50 kph down a hill, about 3 feet from the edge of pavement (gravel
    shoulder), VERY wide, straight road, perfect visibility, no oncoming traffic, but the poor driver
    of the pick-up truck just couldn't fight that magnetic field emanating from my bike.

    >
    > I don't like the idea of training motorists that I will swerve off the road out of their way every
    > time I hear a car coming.
    >

    Sometimes the sound of a Mack truck downshifting and braking just behind me is more than I can
    bear. Call me a chicken.:-(

    (I actually ended up walking on one stretch of road. Shoulder was too soft to ride, and I got
    tired of trying to convince trucks to pass with adequate clearance. Every one which passed blew
    me onto the shoulder).

    > -Steve
     
  9. In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] (mark
    freedman) wrote:

    > "Steven Goodridge" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:<[email protected]>...
    >
    > > > A 2-lane state highway out in the country. 55 mph limit, light, but fast traffic. Fog line
    > > > with 3 foot paved shoulder.
    > > >
    > > > A car is approaching me, and another car is coming up from behind, not slowing down. I believe
    > > > the car from behind is going to pass me at the same time as the oncoming car. So I move onto
    > > > the shoulder and hope that the road surface remains good with no glass, etc.

    > > I don't like the idea of training motorists that I will swerve off the road out of their way
    > > every time I hear a car coming.

    It depends on the shoulder. In BC cyclists are specifically allowed to use shoulders as a driving
    lane, though not required to do so. I often do use the shoulder to drive in, but some shoulders are
    too messy, and you have to be in the lane.

    The basic problem here is that you have to trust that cars have brakes, and that being rear-ended by
    a vehicle is one of the rarest bicycle accidents. If you stay in your lane, the car coming up behind
    you will slow down and pass after the oncoming car.

    > Sometimes the sound of a Mack truck downshifting and braking just behind me is more than I can
    > bear. Call me a chicken.:-(
    >
    > (I actually ended up walking on one stretch of road. Shoulder was too soft to ride, and I got
    > tired of trying to convince trucks to pass with adequate clearance. Every one which passed blew
    > me onto the shoulder).

    Sometimes there is only one way to deal with this: I once got passed by a fairly big truck on a very
    narrow 4-lane road with way too little clearance. I caught up to him in line at the next light, went
    by, and when he was the next vehicle coming up behind me, I took the _middle_ of the lane and bloody
    well stayed there until he changed lanes and passed
    me. As far right as practical? On that day, it was the middle of the lane.

    I'm having a problem with dump trucks doing this on my current commute, and when you're getting
    vehicles blow by really close, often the only solution is to decisively take the lane.

    --
    Ryan Cousineau, [email protected] http://www.sfu.ca/~rcousine President, Fabrizio Mazzoleni Fan Club
     
  10. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    "Steven Goodridge" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > I don't like the idea of training motorists that I will swerve off the road out of their way every
    > time I hear a car coming.

    ...especially since you can't always hear a car coming, like when riding fast into a headwind.

    Matt O.
     
  11. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    "Ryan Cousineau" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > The basic problem here is that you have to trust that cars have brakes, and that being rear-ended
    > by a vehicle is one of the rarest bicycle accidents. If you stay in your lane, the car coming up
    > behind you will slow down and pass after the oncoming car.

    Statistically this is indeed rare. However, drunks and inattentive drivers pose a very real threat
    in this situation. Use discretion when travelling these roads during rush hour, happy hour, and
    holidays, especially drinking holidays. And before/after Virginia Tech football games!

    Matt O.
     
  12. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    "Ryan Cousineau" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > The basic problem here is that you have to trust that cars have brakes, and that being rear-ended
    > by a vehicle is one of the rarest bicycle accidents. If you stay in your lane, the car coming up
    > behind you will slow down and pass after the oncoming car.

    Statistically this is indeed rare. However, drunks and inattentive drivers pose a very real threat
    in this situation. Use discretion when travelling these roads during rush hour, happy hour, and
    holidays, especially drinking holidays. And before/after Virginia Tech football games!

    Matt O.
     
  13. "mark freedman" <[email protected]> wrote
    > Where do you live? Around here many drivers are unable to resist the magnetic field induced in
    > my bike's steel frame by the passing electrons in the air, so swerve to their right, leaving
    > the 5 feet between their left side and the center line.

    I live in Cary, NC. I bike-commute 8 miles to Raleigh.Most of the roads I ride have narrow lanes and
    no shoulders. The main road that I take from Cary to Raleigh is a 3-lane road (center turn lane the
    whole way) and has 11' lanes with between zero and 1' shoulders. It is posted with a maximum limit
    of 45 mph. I ride in the travel lane giving myself at least 2' of good pavement. 99% of the
    overtaking drivers who pass me on that road end up using part of the center lane when passing. A few
    pass a bit closer but beyond the minimum safe and legal distance. Unsafe passes are very rare.

    On the narrow 2-lane roads I ride closer to the center of the lane if there is oncoming traffic.
    This keeps overtaking drivers from squeezing past me when it isn't safe to pass. On the 4-lane roads
    with narrow lanes I ride in the middle of the lane. On the 4-lane roads with wide lanes (at least
    12' is my threshold) I ride near the right side of the lane to allow same-lane passing by normal
    size cars. The 14' lanes are better; I like the 16' lanes on the newest 2-lane collector roads best.

    I occasionally get some close passes, not enough to deter me from cycling.

    2-lane roads with narrow lanes, no shoulders, and heavy commuter traffic can be unpleasant. There
    isn't much can do to improve one's safety without feeling like drivers will be inconvenienced. I try
    to encourage traffic engineers to provide improved passing facilities on such roads.

    -Steve Goodridge http://www.humantransport.org/bicycledriving/
     
  14. Zeldabee

    Zeldabee Guest

    "Matt O'Toole" <[email protected]> wrote:
    > "Steven Goodridge" <[email protected]> wrote...
    >
    > > I don't like the idea of training motorists that I will swerve off the road out of their way
    > > every time I hear a car coming.
    >
    > ...especially since you can't always hear a car coming, like when riding fast into a headwind.

    And just when they're right behind you is often when, helpfully, the driver decides to honk her/his
    horn, just to let you know s/he's there.

    --
    z e l d a b e e @ p a n i x . c o m http://NewsReader.Com/
     
  15. "Matt O'Toole" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > "Ryan Cousineau" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    >
    > > The basic problem here is that you have to trust that cars have brakes, and that being
    > > rear-ended by a vehicle is one of the rarest bicycle accidents. If you stay in your lane, the
    > > car coming up behind you will slow down and pass after the oncoming car.
    >
    > Statistically this is indeed rare. However, drunks and inattentive drivers pose a very real threat
    > in this situation. Use discretion when travelling these roads during rush hour, happy hour, and
    > holidays, especially drinking holidays. And before/after Virginia Tech football games!

    The particular occasion on which I enjoyed the sound of squealing brakes and frantic downshifting
    took place on a hilly stetch of two lane with a shoulder so badly broken up that it was
    impossible to walk, much less ride.

    So if the driver hadn't managed to brake in time, s/he had the choice of hitting a cyclist or
    swerving into oncoming traffic.

    To paraphrase the construction foreman in "Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy," "Do you know how
    much damage your bicycle would do to this Mack truck as it ran over you?"

    Being legally and morally correct is small consolation if you're severely injured.
     
  16. Doug Huffman

    Doug Huffman Guest

    Really? Where? By whom? Or perhaps Charleston, SC is not in the Southeast.

    "Matt O'Toole" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > Perhaps we need a public education campaign like the one underway now in
    the
    > Southeast, for using headlights to say "please" and "thank you," and most importantly,
    > "I'm sorry."
    >
    > Matt O.
     
  17. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    > "Matt O'Toole" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...

    > > Perhaps we need a public education campaign like the one underway now in
    > the
    > > Southeast, for using headlights to say "please" and "thank you," and most importantly, "I'm
    > > sorry."

    "Doug Huffman" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:b%[email protected]...

    > Really? Where? By whom? Or perhaps Charleston, SC is not in the Southeast.

    It seems to be centered in NC and VA. I don't know who's actually behind it. They have billboards in
    NC advertising it, and the local media here in southwest VA has been picking it up. Flashing
    headlights is still technically illegal in VA, but they're changing that. Truckers have had
    headlight flash codes for years. The authorities have decided that teaching these to the general
    public would let drivers communicate on the highway, and help avoid conflicts.

    Matt O.
     
  18. Zoot Katz

    Zoot Katz Guest

    Tue, 10 Jun 2003 02:19:07 GMT, <[email protected]>, "Matt O'Toole"
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    > Truckers have had headlight flash codes for years. The authorities have decided that teaching
    > these to the general public would let drivers communicate on the highway, and help avoid
    > conflicts.
    >
    >Matt O.

    On B.C. highways, when an aproaching vehicle puts on their left turn signal, and there's obviously
    no place for them to be turning, it generally means there are rocks on the road ahead.
    --
    zk
     
  19. Doug Huffman

    Doug Huffman Guest

    A subsequent poster illustrated the problem with informal codes.

    'Left turn signals' in an area with no obvious left-turn opportunity means to me 'don't pass'. My
    daughter used to use a hand-sign that she/her peers defined as ILY (thumb, forefinger and fourth
    finger extended). I see it as too similar to the 'unicus' or to the cuckold's horns.

    It is too bad that such a (re)education/legislation campaign isn't devoted to maintaining cyclists'
    rights to the road. YMMV

    "Matt O'Toole" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:vebFa.625$Hw.753[email protected]...
    > > "Matt O'Toole" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > > news:[email protected]...
    >
    > > > Perhaps we need a public education campaign like the one underway now
    in
    > > the
    > > > Southeast, for using headlights to say "please" and "thank you," and
    most
    > > > importantly, "I'm sorry."
    >
    > "Doug Huffman" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:b%[email protected]...
    >
    > > Really? Where? By whom? Or perhaps Charleston, SC is not in the Southeast.
    >
    > It seems to be centered in NC and VA. I don't know who's actually behind
    it.
    > They have billboards in NC advertising it, and the local media here in
    southwest
    > VA has been picking it up. Flashing headlights is still technically
    illegal in
    > VA, but they're changing that. Truckers have had headlight flash codes
    for
    > years. The authorities have decided that teaching these to the general
    public
    > would let drivers communicate on the highway, and help avoid conflicts.
    >
    > Matt O.
     
  20. Zoot Katz <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...

    > > On B.C. highways, when an aproaching vehicle puts on their left turn
    > signal, and there's obviously no place for them to be turning, it generally means there are rocks
    > on the road ahead.

    ... or that the driver is elderly :)

    (gee, I find my left arm gets tired when I ride along for miles and miles signalling a left turn)
     
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