What to do when cycling on a road that has no shoulder?

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Morisato, May 5, 2011.

  1. Morisato

    Morisato New Member

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    If you were on a road that didn't have a bike lane and had practically no shoulder, would you attempt to take up more of the lane to discourage passing cars from trying to squeeze by you instead of changing lanes?
     
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  2. tonyzackery

    tonyzackery Well-Known Member

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    No. Not too smart to piss off individuals possessing 3500lb weapons of mass destruction. To that end, I'd ride to the right as far as practicable - suggest you do too. Show them some respect, and hopefully they will do the same. Block the whole lane so they can't get by at your peril as they will assuredly share their displeasure when they get the opportunity to pass...
     
  3. Morisato

    Morisato New Member

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    Riding to the far right would result in either getting clipped by the car or eating a curb if the car doesn't move partially into the other lane. By riding further left, you make it less likely the motorist will try and squeeze in or at least make it so squeezing through doesn't even look like a viable option. Since the car requires moving partially into the other lane to ensure your safety by giving the required amount of buffer space regardless of scenario, I would think the safer bet would be to ride further from the curb. Those that are disgruntled motorist would probably be the ones that zip by you without changing lanes anyways... except this time, you'll be able to move right when they cut you off since you're not so close to the curb.
     
  4. tonyzackery

    tonyzackery Well-Known Member

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    I'll agree to disagree. Good luck.
     
  5. davereo

    davereo Well-Known Member

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    Ride as close to the right as possible. If you are that paranoid about riding on these roads I would suggest avoiding them.
     
  6. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    I agree with you. So do the people who ride on the roads around here. The right tire track seems to be about right.

    On the other hand it is not good to make motorists angry. Try to help them get past you.

    ---

    I will point out I was hit by a car a couple years ago. DUI driving on the wrong side of the road. I don't remember anything about the incident but I suspect that I was going to get hit no matter where I was.
     
  7. bgoetz

    bgoetz Member

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    Take the lane. If you ride to far to the right you leave yourself with no out and riding further to the left makes you stand out. I do not hesitate to ride out in the lane a bit especially since the gutter of some of our roads are trashed. The law here is to "ride as far right as REASONABLY practical". The closest I have came to getting f&%ked on a bike is from cars passing cars with no regard for me being in an on coming lane and with asshats buzzing me and not having anywhere to go on the right side.
     
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  8. jpr95

    jpr95 Active Member

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    I agree with bgoetz. When there's no shoulder, I ride about 2-3 feet from the right edge of the road. That gives me somewhere to go without having to ditch off-road, and it makes me more visible to drivers behind me. When I approach an intersection, I take over the lane when it's safe for me to do so (if traffic is stopping), then on a green light, I stay in that lane until I'm through the intersection. A few weeks ago I rode quite a ways on a road with a very wide shoulder, so I rode in the shoulder. I shouldn't have--it was so full of [email protected] that I was shooting pebbles everywhere with my tires, and eventually had a flat (I didn't notice the flat until the next morning because it was a very slow leak).

    Just be careful to not ride on the oil stripe if you do take over a lane, and don't put your feet down on the oil stripe or any painted lines or markers when you stop.

    Jason
     
  9. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

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    The LAB bike safety instructors teach to "take the lane" as well. I ride that way mostly but will move to the right if the lane is wide enough and there is room to pass safely with oncoming traffic. Just be aware that if you ride to the extreme right of the lane you're "inviting" drivers to squeeze past without regard to oncoming traffic. Around here any kind of shoulder is rare, and most of the country roads we ride are too narrow to allow safe passing without the driver moving well into the oncoming lane. Fortunately traffic is generally light on the backroads so passing is easy.....provided the motorist "sees" the cyclist of course.

    A mirror helps my confidence a lot, as it enables me to easily see when the car overtaking has moved to the left to pass. If the driver has moved fully into the oncoming lane to pass, I often give them a friendly small wave of thanks. If I don't see that move from the driver in my mirror, I'll point to the left for room and start looking for the nearest exit. Would be great if drivers learned to use their turn signals before changing lanes to pass, just to acknowledge that they see me, but suppose down here that's just asking too much.
     
  10. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    Ride as far to the right as is safe - but not so far that you end up in "puncture country" and drain/grid fodder. Stay out of the junk (gravel/stones/garbage etc) that's often found right next to the curb.
     
  11. jhuskey

    jhuskey Moderator

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    Most bicycle laws in the US state that you must ride as far to the right as practicle unless you are doing the speed limit. "Practicle" is somewhat open to interpretation, however I mostly ride roads without a shoulder and as far to right as I can unless I am turning left or taking a high speed curve.
    Consider distracted drivers and give them as much road as possible. I would rather be wrong than "dead right".
     
  12. tim0thy

    tim0thy New Member

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    Where I'm from, a cycle is considered the same as a vehicle and you are within your rights to occupy the middle of the lane. If a vehicle wishes to pass, you could give them more room by moving more to the right, but ones safety is paramount.
     
  13. bgoetz

    bgoetz Member

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    I want to clarify that I am not saying purposely ride in the center of the lane, I am saying ride where you are comfortable. I personally am not comfortable leaving less than 3 to 4 feet of shoulder, I really want an out. Today my wife and I went for a ride and depending on where the wind is, we occupy about the inside half of the lane, although it rained at the end of our ride and we occupied up to the entire lane depending on where the deeper puddles are. The laws in Ohio do give the cyclist the right to ride in the entire lane, if it is necessary (i.e. deep puddles, potholes, gravel, etc.)
     
  14. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    Depends upon how much traffic there is on that road.

    For a low-traffic road where cars will not typically have to wait for a break in the opposing traffic in order to use the other lane to get around you, I'd take enough room to be comfortable that I'm not going to be impeded by junk on the side of the road and still have some room to squeeze right if needed.

    For a higher-traffic roads where drivers are negotiating opposing traffic as well as avoiding me, I'm willing to sqeeze a little further right so cars can pass *cautiously* (not zoom by at over the speed limit) without having to cross the dividing line. I find that my biggest issues come from situations where 4+ cars have been stuck behind one driver who is overly cautious in overtaking me. The lead driver tends to wait for a perfectly clear spot to pass, but once the others get up to passing speed they couldn't care less if there's a wide load coming in the opposing lane -- they ain't stopping again for the damn cyclist after being held up once already. Doesn't make it right, but it's in our best interest to avoid frustrating motorists into taking risks with our safety, whenever possible.
     
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