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Riding close to the white line?

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Riding close to the white line?

Old 04-09-20, 10:57 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by bobwysiwyg View Post
Michigan law;
"A person operating a bicycle upon a highway or street at less than the existing speed of traffic shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except as follows: ... When riding as near the left-hand curb or edge as practicable on a one-way highway or street."
​​​​​
California has the same, and it has zero legal significance.
"practicable: adjective
able to be done or put into practice successfully."

You weren't able to ride further to the edge because of safety considerations, road conditions, traffic, you were going to turn left up ahead, or something else.
So just take the lane if you feel that's the safe thing to do.
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Old 04-10-20, 06:01 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by sfrider View Post
California has the same, and it has zero legal significance.
"practicable: adjective
able to be done or put into practice successfully."

You weren't able to ride further to the edge because of safety considerations, road conditions, traffic, you were going to turn left up ahead, or something else.
So just take the lane if you feel that's the safe thing to do.
You're making assumptions about whether and when "I take the lane."
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Old 04-10-20, 09:05 AM
  #28  
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I have researched bike laws in about 2/3 of the continental states, and all of them had some version of the FRAP (Far Right as Practicable) law. Florida had the widest list of exclusions, ending with something like "or for some other reason".... meaning you could say you had to ride in the middle of the road because of invisible aliens and probably be covered, legally (at least in Florida, where tinfoil is the hat of choice and teeth are optional.).

The FRAP laws are not meaningless, they are Essential .... because they establish the legal right of the cyclist to be on the road, in the traffic lane, given a reasonable cause for being there---and allow a wide range of causes.

Basically, you are allowed to be Anywhere on the road surface---same as a car---and are required to share the road safely and courteously with other vehicles.

Automobile drivers never look at the edge of the road, because the never intend to drive there. Cyclists always scan the roadside for debris, pavement irregularities, obstacles ... because we die if we fall into traffic.

As many have said, if a cyclist rides close to (or in) the traffic lane, cars will react (usually) by giving the cyclist a little more room, or will at least be aware there is a cyclist. A cyclist on the far right edge of the breakdown lane is almost ignored. And since that cyclist might well need to suddenly swerve further into the traffic lane to avoid debris or potholes or an animal, it is best if the following drivers are already a little cautious because they see a cyclist.

Ride where you feel most comfortable. In my experience, no matter where you ride, someone will criticize you. On the road, definitely some drivers will .... and if you mention on this site that you ride anywhere on the road, someone will tell you it is the wrong part of the road. Probably if you ride on a trainer in your garage, your spouse will do criticize you .... for something. So just stay safe and comfortable.
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Old 04-10-20, 09:17 AM
  #29  
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Oregon has a "as close as practical to the right" law, and even goes into how riding two abreast is against the law given certain conditions. My old team and I were on a training ride in the middle of nowhere once and got pulled over by a Deputy Sheriff for being two abreast. When pressed to show us the statute to defend the stop, he pulled out the statute book and flipped right to a bookmarked page. Sure enough, we were in the wrong. "When operating a bicycle alongside not more than one other bicycle as long as the bicycles are both being operated within a single lane and in a manner that does not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic." The deputy had to slow down behind us, so we were impeding normal traffic.
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Old 04-10-20, 09:30 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by Cypress View Post
........... as long as the bicycles are both being operated within a single lane and in a manner that does not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic." The deputy had to slow down behind us, so we were impeding normal traffic.
If you could find an un-biased judge, they would have said that was an incorrect application, because even if only one bicycle was involved, then the deputy would have had to slow down too. As well, I'm sure the deputy comes across other motor vehicles that go slower too and impede his normal and reasonable movement.

The deputy just has a bias and was showing off his "power". However this situation is never a time to argue, because the situation can quickly have you outside your rights by other actions you might take or are perceived by the officer as taking.
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Old 04-10-20, 09:31 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
I actually did ride somewhat in the lane on I-94 in North Dakota whenever the shoulder was crappy. It was early in the morning in the middle of nowhere. Think we got passed by maybe two cars in about 8 miles of road bike riding.
Epic.
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Old 04-10-20, 09:34 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
If you could find an un-biased judge, they would have said that was an incorrect application, because even if only one bicycle was involved, then the deputy would have had to slow down too. As well, I'm sure the deputy comes across other motor vehicles that go slower too and impede his normal and reasonable movement.

The deputy just has a bias and was showing off his "power". However this situation is never a time to argue, because the situation can quickly have you outside your rights by other actions you might take or are perceived by the officer as taking.
But we were riding two up, which changes things. If we were in a single line and he was impeded, that's fine. But the same situation two abreast places us in the wrong. It's like getting into an unavoidable car accident, but then finding out the other guy was drunk, so now all of the blame falls onto him for being on the road to begin with.
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Old 04-10-20, 09:44 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Cypress View Post
But we were riding two up, which changes things. If we were in a single line and he was impeded, that's fine. But the same situation two abreast places us in the wrong. It's like getting into an unavoidable car accident, but then finding out the other guy was drunk, so now all of the blame falls onto him for being on the road to begin with.
Not in Arizona.

While many cyclists believe that they must ride single-file at all times, this is not actually the law in Arizona. Cyclists should not ride with more than two people side-by-side, according to ARS 28-815.
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Old 04-10-20, 09:58 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by Pirkaus View Post
First of all, do not ride on a limited access highway, it's too dangerous, and illegal in most araes.
I commuted on a highway for 5 years, the shoulders always had lots debris in them. I would ride so my left shoulder was at or near the white line. I would have the occasional close pass, but for the most part I rode without incident.
Illegal in *some* areas.
Each state has areas where it is illegal for safety & traffic flow reasons, but the cyclist as a tax payer, & citizen has an equal right to the public infrastructure. That infrastructure is there to provide for the greatest good of the whole, not just of those with cars.

Here in Washington: Intstate 5 about 15-20 miles North of Everett, to nearly the Canadian border and any place South of Olympia to nearly the Oregon border is fair game. There is a small section allowed between Olympia & Tacoma as well. Interstate 90 at (or around) Issiquah/North Bend-ish all the way to Spokane city limits has cyclist all the time as it is the most direct route across the state.

I-405 as designated by the "4" & the "0" is the second northward bypass of I-5 in the state & is included in the I-5 bicycle exclusion area.

I-205 is the start of the Portland bypass at the Washington/Oregon. It joins at around mile 10 or so...I think bicycles are forced off around there. Portland exclusion zone, and all that.

I-715 is a spur (the "1") & as a branch is connected to the exclusion area so is likewise prohibited at basically the on-ramp onward.

Every state has a map at that states respective .gov website.

Last edited by base2; 04-10-20 at 10:22 AM.
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Old 04-10-20, 10:08 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Cypress View Post
Oregon has a "as close as practical to the right" law, and even goes into how riding two abreast is against the law given certain conditions. My old team and I were on a training ride in the middle of nowhere once and got pulled over by a Deputy Sheriff for being two abreast. When pressed to show us the statute to defend the stop, he pulled out the statute book and flipped right to a bookmarked page. Sure enough, we were in the wrong. "When operating a bicycle alongside not more than one other bicycle as long as the bicycles are both being operated within a single lane and in a manner that does not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic." The deputy had to slow down behind us, so we were impeding normal traffic.
Not all laws are aligned with safety of the cyclists. We have the same law but usually ignore it as it's safer to ride two-up on roads without a shoulder. Riding single file encourages vehicles to pass when they shouldn't, i.e. blind corners or oncoming traffic. There are numerous situations where even a single cyclist or line of cyclists should 'impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic'.
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Old 04-10-20, 10:16 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
Not all laws are aligned with safety of the cyclists. We have the same law but usually ignore it as it's safer to ride two-up on roads without a shoulder. Riding single file encourages vehicles to pass when they shouldn't, i.e. blind corners or oncoming traffic. There are numerous situations where even a single cyclist or line of cyclists should 'impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic'.
I totally agree. We mentioned that to the deputy that stopped us. 12 cyclists in a line is way harder to deal with than one group two abreast the size of a big pickup truck. He understood what we were saying, but said if anything happened to us we'd be responsible for damages due to the statutes. It was one of those "I'm making you less safe for your own good" kind of situations.
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Old 04-10-20, 10:45 AM
  #37  
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Maybe the officer didn't know it's ok to cross a double yellow line to go around road obstructions?

Here in Washington the law basically commands drivers to do so for pedestrians, cyclists, downed trees, fallen rocks, farm tractors, road side mowing operations, & anything else that is not motor vehicle traffic. (A licensed motor vehicle doing the speed limit or normal operational speed of a vehicle of that type is not an obstruction, but should still be driving in the right lane...Think an old Yugo, Model T, oversized load doing a mega structure move, etc...)

So, the only reasonable conclusion is that the officer felt that oncoming traffic was so strong, so heavy, that he could not have safely passed while in the adjacent (oncoming) lane & was thus impeded by your side by side riding.

Would he have felt the same if your group were staggared one row in the middle & the other in left tire track & not side by side? (Meaning: 2 single file lines, offset & spaced so that no one was next to another.)...I dunno. It's been my experience cops mean well, but are usually wrong when it comes to cycling.
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Old 04-10-20, 10:45 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by Cypress View Post
The deputy had to slow down behind us, so we were impeding normal traffic.
The deputy was still not totally correct on this. As per numerous court rulings, having to slow down momentarily does not constitute "impeding the normal and reasonable movement of traffic." (If it did, any vehicle traveling slightly below the speed limit could be ticketed for impeding traffic.)
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Old 04-10-20, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
The deputy was still not totally correct on this. As per numerous court rulings, having to slow down momentarily does not constitute "impeding the normal and reasonable movement of traffic." (If it did, any vehicle traveling slightly below the speed limit could be ticketed for impeding traffic.)
I'll give you a call next time this happens and you can argue with a law enforcement officer in the field

I'm a big "right to remain silent and only give vague non-committing answers when I have to" kind of guy. A whole lotta "huh", "hm", and "I don't know" is all that they get from me.
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Old 04-10-20, 10:56 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Cypress View Post
I'll give you a call next time this happens and you can argue with a law enforcement officer in the field
I didn't advise anyone to argue with a law enforcement officer. I simply stated the deputy was not completely correct in his interpretation of the law. It's not uncommon.
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Old 04-10-20, 11:04 AM
  #41  
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related - on non highway roads, in my area, I look forward to the annual, May street sweepers
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Old 04-10-20, 04:19 PM
  #42  
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Riding close to the white line?
Originally Posted by Chubby715 View Post
I've always ridden just to the right of the white line. In my neck of the woods the bike lanes / shoulders range in width from 1-3 feet, so there's not much space.

These are single lane roads, but the majority of drivers usually follow the "3 foot" rule when passing a cyclist]
Originally Posted by bobwysiwyg View Post
Michigan law;
"A person operating a bicycle upon a highway or street at less than the existing speed of traffic shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except as follows: ... When riding as near the left-hand curb or edge as practicable on a one-way highway or street."

Also, 6-8 ft shoulders? They'd be a luxury around here. More often than not it's more l ike18-24" .. or less on the roads I ride. ​​​​​
I have previously posted,
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
"Winding Country Road or 50 mph Highway with Shoulder?"

I recently replied to this thread, "+1 to this signature line of @MNHarv, 'Just three paved feet to the right of the white fog stripe is all I need' "

Could well be the Road and Commuters’ motto, or even Prayer... "Lord, Just three paved feet to the right of the white fog stripe is all I need.”

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 04-11-20 at 06:43 AM.
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Old 04-10-20, 04:24 PM
  #43  
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What do you mean by highway?
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Old 04-10-20, 04:41 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
I have researched bike laws in about 2/3 of the continental states, and all of them had some version of the FRAP (Far Right as Practicable) law.

Florida had the widest list of exclusions, ending with something like "or for some other reason".... meaning you could say you had to ride in the middle of the road because of invisible aliens and probably be covered, legally (at least in Florida, where tinfoil is the hat of choice and teeth are optional.)...

Ride where you feel most comfortable. In my experience, no matter where you ride, someone will criticize you. On the road, definitely some drivers will .... and if you mention on this site that you ride anywhere on the road, someone will tell you it is the wrong part of the road.

Probably if you ride on a trainer in your garage, your spouse will do criticize you .... for something. So just stay safe and comfortable.
I have previously posted:
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston
(from a now-closed thread) I think I have absorbed all the good advice I can for a complete and agreeable cycling lifestyle, and recently I have clicked on many fewer threads than before.

In the past I have offered IMO several useful suggestions about cycling, particularly for winter and urban cycling, to multiple repetitive threads. They are usually lost in the morass of often scores of replies, both in agreement and dispute with mine.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I’m decades-long, year-round cycle commuter in Boston, lucky to have a reverse commute from downtown to a outlying suburb…

Riding venues for me are situational, and I use my judgement.
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Old 04-10-20, 05:08 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
I didn't advise anyone to argue with a law enforcement officer. I simply stated the deputy was not completely correct in his interpretation of the law. It's not uncommon.
Also, as explained in the VeloNews legal column a few years back, traffic refers to all legitimate road users. That includes bicycles, i.e., bikes are traffic. As long as cyclists are riding at a normal speed for a bicycle, they can not be impeding traffic.
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Old 04-10-20, 05:58 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by bobwysiwyg View Post
You're making assumptions about whether and when "I take the lane."
Not at all. I'm pointing out that whatever reason you have for doing so is the only one that matters since you're the one operating the bicycle. Everyone else is peanut gallery.
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Old 04-10-20, 11:26 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I have previously posted:
Don't you think this is getting a little out of hand? You've gone from quoting yourself in nearly every post, to quoting yourself where you quote yourself.
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Old 04-11-20, 03:37 AM
  #48  
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In the Seattle area, on some roads, there are signs that say cyclist may take the whole lane.
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Old 04-11-20, 07:03 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post


... I use my judgement. …






Doesn't really seem that a lot else needs to be said.
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Old 04-11-20, 08:04 AM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
"Winding Country Road or 50 mph Highway with Shoulder?"

Could well be the Road and Commuters’ motto, or even Prayer. "Lord, Just three paved feet to the right of the white fog stripe is all I need.”
Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
What do you mean by highway?
I had posted to that particular thread:
Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
"Winding Country Road or 50 mph Highway with Shoulder?"

I've become a creature of MUPs and similar who mostly avoids roads. However, one of my paths has a couple of miles explicitly placed on the at least half (and often full) lane wide shoulder of a state highway signed at 50 mph or so.

Initially I hated this, but I've come to be reasonably comfortable there - speeds are fast, but someone would have be be negligently driving *fully* in the shoulder to put me in danger. And because cyclists are never "in cars way" there seems to be very little driver frustration on display - where there are two travel lanes many will even change to the left lane...

When I went looking on Strava, it seems people take a winding, woods-edged country road instead. I don't think I'd be as comfortable riding that, as it requires drivers to recognize my presence, wait for an opening with good sight lines, and then pass with enough space...

But is my thinking reasonable, that faster traffic not normally in the "lane" I would be riding in, is perhaps less of a risk than somewhat slower traffic traveling in the same space I would be occupying?

I realize there's a lot more energy in being hit at say 60 mph vs 40, but I feel like the probability is much lower
Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
... Generally, if there's a routing choice, I love a fast road with a wide breakdown lane, because I can usually go flat out without interruption for hours.

I don't mind a lightly trafficked winding narrow country road, but if it's busy, I feel like it gets dangerous pretty quick.
Originally Posted by Greenhil View Post
I take the winding country road unless there’s a fair amount of traffic, or there are some other mitigating factors.

My thought is the wider and straighter the road is, the more comfortable drivers feel to reach for their phones to check a text, etc...
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I recently replied to this thread, "What road do you choose"
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
All my cycling as a decades-long, year-round commuter and occasional centurian in Metro Boston ranges from dense urban, to suburban, to exurban, but no rural.

I'm goal-oriented, be it miles or destinations, so I take the Road as it comes, to satisfy my Goal.

Over the years, I have described roads, so for this post I compiled my descriptions in order of cycling pleasure (paved roads only)

  • Enchanted
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
...There are certain roads I have discovered, unfortunately usually short, that I describe as “intimate,” or “enchanted”; so serene and peaceful, shady, lightly traveled, and without shoulders...
  • Exurban (no residences, no commercial buildings)
  • Residential: Urban (dense, multi-unit dwellings), Suburban (single unattached homes)
  • Light commercial (storefronts close to the sidewalk, street parking)
  • Heavy commercial (shopping malls, driveway accesses, parking lots)
  • Industrial: (dreary vistas, rough roads, debris-strewn)
But,
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
… almost every road is a good road if you ride it early enough in the day.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
PS: It just occured to me, though I don't ride in the downtown proper, I should probably add a category of "Downtown," as typified by the urban canyons and narrow, often-crowded streets of Manhattan, or the Financial District of Boston.

Downtown riding would, IMO rank just ahead of "heavy commercial."

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 04-11-20 at 08:15 AM.
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