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Dangerous Descending

Old 08-18-19, 03:17 PM
  #1  
spelger
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Dangerous Descending

While ascending one of my favorite hills here in Reno another rider was descending. It is a long descent and windy. I was ascending on the inside of a curve which would put the descender on the outside. Because he had visibility of what was ahead he had crossed the yellow line and was now in my lane. Not sure I liked this, and in this case the yellow line has the sort of divots (like rumble strips along some highways) installed to make sure drivers are aware that they are crossing the line.

I thought this was pretty risky. I can't even image what that must be like to cross over at 40+. What is your take on this?
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Old 08-18-19, 03:39 PM
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It's his skin... If he wants to leave it on the pavement, let him do it. Did he endanger you while doing his "stunt"?
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Old 08-18-19, 03:50 PM
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Pretty sure a cyclist shouldn't cross the center line, same as a car. A friend did that in a moment of inattention. He took the mirror off an oncoming pickup. He was seriously injured and had to pay for the damage to the truck. He never questioned that he was at fault.
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Old 08-18-19, 03:58 PM
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Tell me you never cross the yellow line on a winding road while driving your car... I do so every morning when I don't see anyone coming in the opposite direction. Key words in OP's post: "Because he had visibility of what was ahead "
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Old 08-18-19, 04:13 PM
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I don't. Why would I?
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Old 08-18-19, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by ChinookTx View Post
...Key words in OP's post: "Because he had visibility of what was ahead "
So he had visibility and saw someone in front, it's ok to cross to the other side and endanger someone in the case of someone losing control?
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Old 08-18-19, 04:45 PM
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This happened here 3 years ago when a cyclist crossed the centerline on a descent: https://kdvr.com/2016/03/16/former-p...taff-mountain/
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Old 08-18-19, 05:31 PM
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There's a hotly-contested shop ride in my area where those center line divots were recently installed.

It's got to have slowed the times as it's now more risky to cross the center line on the long, winding descent.
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Old 08-18-19, 05:47 PM
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My take? Not OK to go into your lane, if he saw you in advance. Maybe you surprised him.

I assume the other rider had a turn the swept to the left? Those are always tricky in the mountains, when you can't see if there's anyone coming in the other direction or not. You always need to assume there is someone coming, and not only that, take into account that even if your bike tire stays on your side of the double yellow, your bike and body may lean a foot or two over the line and into oncoming traffic.
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Old 08-18-19, 06:03 PM
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My first thought was that, yes, it's not cool for others to move over into the opposite lane, scaring others. But, after thinking about it and how I've seen Tour de France and Olympic cyclists on T.V. cycling down mountainous routes, it's difficult for me to know why the cyclist did that, whether, because it was windy and mountainous, they thought it might be wise to stay away from the edge of the road, if it was on the side of a cliff (as strong wind can make a bike more challenging to control).

Last edited by anon06; 08-18-19 at 06:08 PM.
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Old 08-18-19, 06:17 PM
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Here's the thing with descending:

1. Everything happens faster than you expect.

2. You never have the visibility you think you do.

Of the ways recreational cyclists die, crossing the center line accidentally on purpose while descending is fairly common one. Most people are not practiced or prepared for cornering on a downhill slope at 35 mph+ and will understeer into oncoming traffic as they fight the feeling of excess g-force required to complete the turn. I think what that rider did was unsafe and endangered you unnecessarily.

Last edited by Spoonrobot; 08-18-19 at 06:50 PM.
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Old 08-18-19, 06:21 PM
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Another reason not to cross the centerline: Traffic paint does not provide the traction of bare asphalt.
And the newer the paint is, the slicker it is.
I learned that the hard way on a motorcycle.
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Old 08-18-19, 06:46 PM
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The only times I will cross the center line:

1. Passing a slower cyclist or vehicle on a descent, but only if I can see far enough ahead. I crossed the center line today to pass a slower cyclist while descending Kings Montain Road, in a straight section of road.

2. Avoiding bad pavement or debris in my lane, but only if there is no clear path in my lane.

Through a curve, I like to follow the path that a car tire takes (either left or right tire). That tends to be the part of the roadway that's the cleanest. I do not like finding debris in my path while angled over in a turn! Anyone who descends Mount Hamilton Road is familiar with rocks in the lane.

I've descended behind riders who cross the center line on left bending curves. They are no faster than me.
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Old 08-19-19, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by ChinookTx View Post
Tell me you never cross the yellow line on a winding road while driving your car... I do so every morning when I don't see anyone coming in the opposite direction. Key words in OP's post: "Because he had visibility of what was ahead "
Line of sight is critical. Unless I can see far ahead and know my entry and exit points, I am a total wimp. Learned this on my Ducati many years ago.
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Old 08-19-19, 08:18 AM
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Another question....where on the curve was he? If he was taking the "racer's line" he may have been at the apex and pointed to outer edge of his lane. I wasn't there so I am only guessing.
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Old 08-19-19, 08:29 AM
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I donít think crossing the centerline is a big deal, except that in this case there was someone (the OP) in the other lane.

I cross the center all the time on certain curvy roads (on my bike and in my car) if I have good visibility, but I would not do so if there was anyone in the their lane, even a cyclist over to the side.
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Old 08-19-19, 08:44 AM
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On a closed course for an organized or sanctioned event, the descending rider can use the whole road. On an open course with two-way traffic, he cannot. As another said above, "it's his skin."
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Old 08-19-19, 09:31 AM
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I'll cross the center line, sprint past a car, then fly around the next switchback. It depends on the road and visibility.

Anyone who makes always/never rules sucks.
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Old 08-19-19, 11:52 AM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by ChinookTx View Post
Tell me you never cross the yellow line on a winding road while driving your car...
Unless I'm avoiding potholes, debris, or other hazards... No.

Besides, on a windy road the fun is in the corner. Why would I cut the corner and make the road less fun? The point is to clip the apex, not drive over it.
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Old 08-19-19, 12:52 PM
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IMO, on any multiple-user path or roadway that has specified lanes, it also has specified usage rules (even statues) for everyone's safe use of the path/road.

Given the yellow lane lines, it sounds like the other rider was making a poor assumption he had the path to himself. But this was at the expense of everyone else around him. His assumption could have turned out to be fatal error, at 40+ mph collision speeds.
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Old 08-19-19, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
On a closed course for an organized or sanctioned event, the descending rider can use the whole road. On an open course with two-way traffic, he cannot. As another said above, "it's his skin."

The more i think about this it is not only his skin. i don't even know if he realized i was there until we were eye to eye. I certainly did not see him until he was up close to me. and since i was going up i was in the car's right hand wheel area where there is no debris to worry about. when i hear a car coming i move over (main reason why i do not listen to music). if i had to guess the other rider was in the car's left wheel area. that is only about 2-3 feet between us. it didn't scare me but i was surprised about it. i wonder what would have happened had a small vehicle or motorized trike he was unable to see came around the corner. it is good visibility but the guard rail is quite large. i image he might have tried to move back to his lane with the other vehicle trying to split between us.

and no, i never intentionally cross the yellow line, bike or car.

i also don't know what a "racer's line" is so educate me on that please.
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Old 08-19-19, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by spelger View Post

i also don't know what a "racer's line" is so educate me on that please.
Basically this.....when entering (let's say) a left hand curve, you would stay to the right before the curve and then bend the bike down (left) to the apex of the curve and aim to the right as you come out of the curve. It basically "flattens" the curve making it "straighter" and, thus, faster. Here's a diagram I found:

https://drivingfast.net/racing-line/

I hope this helps.
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Old 08-19-19, 03:57 PM
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FWIW if you are riding in a group of recreational cyclists be careful. Most have no idea of this concept and may try to pass you on the inside thus flirting with disaster. When you are riding alone, try it and see if it doesn't feel faster and safer.
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Old 08-19-19, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
FWIW if you are riding in a group of recreational cyclists be careful. Most have no idea of this concept and may try to pass you on the inside thus flirting with disaster. When you are riding alone, try it and see if it doesn't feel faster and safer.
actually I do know that this is faster. I do this naturally while descending. Didnít know there was a term for it.

Thanks!
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Old 08-19-19, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
Basically this.....when entering (let's say) a left hand curve, you would stay to the right before the curve and then bend the bike down (left) to the apex of the curve and aim to the right as you come out of the curve. It basically "flattens" the curve making it "straighter" and, thus, faster. Here's a diagram I found:

https://drivingfast.net/racing-line/

I hope this helps.
That is what is taught in the MSF* Basic Rider Course.
(* Motorcycle Safety Foundation.)
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