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etiquette when passing

Old 01-15-14, 11:51 AM
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ironhands
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etiquette when passing

Probably should have posted here instead of regional, didn't remember this thread. Anyway:

Yeah, so, after nearly a year of sticking to the sidewalks, I'm mostly confident enough to move onto the road. It's a pretty busy street, 6-8 lanes, usually pretty backed up in rush hour without a dedicated lane, just those "hey, bikes to go here" symbols.

Let sidewalk riding hate commence lol. They're almost always deserted, I almost never pass anyone on the ride.

Anyway, had a question about etiquette. Since this road is almost always backed up, should I remain behind the car in front of me and move with traffic (particularly at stoplights), or should I use the gap to continue moving up to the lights? No honks yet doing that, anyway.

Still getting sudden attacks of weakness now and then while I ride, have to slow to a crawl
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Old 01-15-14, 11:59 AM
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If there is no bike lane I generally filter into the traffic at the lights.
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Old 01-15-14, 12:02 PM
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In MA, filtering is allowed. Do not pedal next to a car when going through the intersections. Watch the right hooks. I'm sure you will get lots of opinions on this.
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Old 01-15-14, 12:10 PM
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Filter up as close as time allows before the light changes, then find a gap, or signal so cars open on, and enter the intersection in a proper lane. As mentioned above, riding curbside through an intersection is a good way to be hooked by a tuning car.
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Old 01-15-14, 12:12 PM
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What do you mean by filtering? I don't pass cars in the intersection, I'm not nearly fast enough, I generally just keep moving forward while they are stopped. There's plenty of room on the sides, even though it's not a dedicated lane, the roads are wider to accommodate cyclists, and since these are multi-lane roads, there's a dedicated left, right, and 2 straight lanes at each. I'm usually in the right side of the second lane, so there's people turning right beside me, and everyone to my immediate left I"m sharing with is going straight.
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Old 01-15-14, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by ironhands View Post
What do you mean by filtering? I don't pass cars in the intersection, .
Filtering, as the name sort of implies, means having your small bike move through the spaces between the standing big stuff (cars, trucks, (or between them and the curb or parked cars), while they're waiting for the light. The key is you're passing while they're stationary.
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Old 01-15-14, 12:39 PM
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Filter and forget it. One of the many advantages of commuting by bike.
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Old 01-15-14, 12:56 PM
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Ok. So I'm doing things "right" then. Still working on my confidence, I've never driven a car, so I'm pretty paranoid I'm going to do something wrong and incite road-rage... especially since half the people I pass are sippin' lattes in their ess hue vees and doing everything in their power to get to the lights half a second early.
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Old 01-15-14, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by ironhands View Post
Ok. So I'm doing things "right" then. Still working on my confidence, I've never driven a car, so I'm pretty paranoid I'm going to do something wrong and incite road-rage... especially since half the people I pass are sippin' lattes in their ess hue vees and doing everything in their power to get to the lights half a second early.
Simply riding a bike on the road is enough to incite road rage, so don't get worked up about it. Lots of crazy people out there. I recently had a guy on a bike yell at me to GET ON THE ROAD, when I was riding on a MUP. Passed him soon thereafter where the MUP ended and joined road, and put him on my ignore list when he started talking to me.
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Old 01-15-14, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by ironhands View Post
Ok. So I'm doing things "right" then. Still working on my confidence, I've never driven a car, so I'm pretty paranoid I'm going to do something wrong and incite road-rage... especially since half the people I pass are sippin' lattes in their ess hue vees and doing everything in their power to get to the lights half a second early.
Yeah, some drivers do some stupid (and often dangerous) stuff in the name of saving seconds. Many times they don't even pay attention to what is going on a few cars ahead of them because they're so focused on getting ahead of the car directly in front of them.

A week or two ago on my drive into work traffic was fairly light. There was a car in front of me with no one in front of them and probably 10 car lengths between us. A car came from an on-ramp and pulled onto the highway with maybe a foot of clearance between him and the car in front of me (even though he had plenty of space to come in after them). Then they proceeded to whip into the left lane cutting off a car there, got just ahead of the car in front of me and whipped right cutting them off. Once they were done with all of that near collision causing behavior they flipped on their right turn signal hit the brakes (slowing the car in front of me) and made a right turn onto another street. This was all at 65 MPH and in the course of less than a mile.
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Old 01-15-14, 01:50 PM
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Okay, I know this won't be a popular view here, but: I don't think filtering is a great idea when you're sharing a single lane with other traffic, because:

1. In my jurisdiction, bicycles are regulated as motor vehicles with a few exceptions, of which filtering is not one. Whether that regulatory decision is the best one or not, I choose to follow the rules of the road, and they oblige me to travel with traffic, regardless of how convenient it would be to ride between traffic and the curb. You can't do that on a motorcycle, so you can't do it on a bike.

2. Have you ever seen a motorcyclist filter up on the right? Happens all the time on the highway merges here during traffic jams, and it makes the other motorists INSANE. People really don't enjoy feeling like others can flaunt the rules with impunity. This isn't a "motorists don't like cyclists" thing, it's a "nobody likes feeling disadvantaged for following the rules" thing.

3. Right turning vehicles at intersections are a huge hazard for filtering cyclists. When you're a motorist making a right turn at an intersection, the traffic you want to avoid an accident with is on the cross street, so you're looking left. I have seen this accident occur or nearly occur many many times, and I won't put myself in that dangerous position just to save a few seconds getting to the light.

4. I believe that motorists do better at coexisting with cyclists when they feel that cyclists are predictable on the road. I ride my bike by the same rules as any motorcyclist; I make the required signals, obey the posted signs and traffic control systems, and occupy an appropriate space in the lane. My city is fairly cycle-friendly, and this approach has worked well for me here, but I've seen other riders mix it up with angry motorists, and it usually happens when they zip through slow or stopped traffic and then try to rejoin the flow as it speeds up again.

5. It's just not worth it. Filtering in the best case would typically save me one or possibly two turns of the light - that's a couple of minutes. All the extra risk of accident, injury, and encounters with aggravated motorists just does not add up to that time savings. I do find it fairly amusing that cyclists castigate motorists for being obsessed with hurrying to their destination or the next intersection, but see no issue with exhibiting that same behaviour themselves if it's on a bike.

I make no judgment on the decisions of others in this area, although I do hold my breath every time I see somebody filter up to and through an intersection around a signalling right-turning vehicle; but I do think it bears careful consideration of both the legal and practical aspects of traffic and cycle interaction in your environment.
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Old 01-15-14, 01:54 PM
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I suggest going on youtube and looking up "silly cyclist". It's a little webcast put on by a British commuter and it shows cyclists doing stupid things. Traffic laws in the UK are slightly different than the US and Canada, but it is very educational. I'd give a direct link, but my work blocks youtube. He hits on filtering quite a bit as well as etiquette at stoplights.
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Old 01-15-14, 02:07 PM
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Most of my miles are commuting across Dallas. I'm on four-lane and six-lane roads for big chunks of my 50+ mile commute. I don't filter.

If I come up behind a car (or row of cars) at a red light, the odds are, they navigated around to pass me within the last mile or so. I do take the right lane so any cars passing will have to move into the next lane. If I filter to the front of the line of cars, they will then have to navigate around me again.

Since most road users, at these times of day are going to work, I see the same drivers, day-in and day-out. I've had conversations with some of them at stores, cafes and restaurants along my route. I see no good reason to aggravate them any more than necessary, when they'll probably be coming up behind me again, sometime soon.
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Old 01-15-14, 02:10 PM
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I used to filter, now I don't for a couple of reasons.
The first is safety as I have had had one too many close calls in the last 20 years. The most recent was nearly being crushed by a city bus making a right turn. Motorists are not expecting to be overtaken from the rear while stopped at a light.
The second reason is respect. I have noticed that I am given much more room and patience if wait my turn at an intersection than if I blast to the front of the line only to be passed seconds later by a string of irritated drivers. It has taken many years for me to learn this (I'm slow) but it seems to work for me.
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Old 01-15-14, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by RPK79 View Post
If there is no bike lane I generally filter into the traffic at the lights.
I should clarify.

No bike lane - I just hold the lane and stay with traffic, or if I'm riding on the shoulder I'll filter into the stopped cars (not filter to the front)

Bike lane - I'll ride up to the front of the line while avoiding right hooks
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Old 01-15-14, 02:13 PM
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Please tell us more about the road in question. Is there a continuous turn lane that runs down the middle of the road? And then 2 straight-forward lanes? What is on the right, a wide shoulder, and then a right turn lane at the light? Is there a sidewalk to the right of the shoulder?

Or is it 2 lanes and then the sidewalk, which offsets right to allow a right turn lane to form at the lights?

If you could link us to a street view of the road it would help.

My thoughts are, if it's a busy road that gets backed up, and there's a wide shoulder (like an entire car lane width), then ride that. I would. Just be careful of debris that might cause a flat. If the shoulder then becomes the right turn lane, you need to WATCH FOR CARS that want to turn right while you're going straight. Try to signal and get out into the right lane BEFORE the right turn lane. Use a helmet mirror if you can, they are a HUGE help. Then I would sit either on the line between the straight and right turn lanes, or at the far left corner of the right turn lane, if you're going straight across to the shoulder on the other side.

I personally would not want to be on a bike sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic. I would find a way around it in some way.

I would NOT filter up between the 2 lanes of cars going straight. No way. That puts you right up there between the cars going straight, after which you'll have to find your way back across the right lane when you start going, and it will drive motorists crazy. At least if you're at the front left corner of that right turn lane going straight to the other side, you're not blocking anyone that way, or making cars pass you again that have already passed you previously (this is very discourteous IMHO).

As to the UK videos, I subscribe to several London and UK commuters on YT. It's definitely different there than in the US, and not just because of them driving on the left side of the road. In the UK, they have what is called ASL, Advanced Stop Lines, aka Bike Boxes. Many bikes will filter up and then sit in that box until the light turns green. And yes cars that have passed them will have to pass them again, but oh well, that's what is provided over there. Not many communities in the US have adopted bike boxes yet. Also I think that turning left on red in the UK (right on red in the US) is illegal, so there is not as much risk of the hook crash at least when the light is red.
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Old 01-15-14, 02:17 PM
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Filtering is nothing more than sharing or splitting a lane with another vehicle. If it's legal for a car to pass you without moving over to an adjacent lane, by partially crossing the center line or simply moving over enough so as not to hit you, then they are sharing the lane with you. When you pass a car that is stopped at a light, you are sharing the lane with that car. In most jurisdictions there is no general prohibition on sharing lanes, so unless the law specifically prohibits lane sharing or lane splitting, then it is perfectly legal. Safety is another matter, and clearly overrides other considerations.
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Old 01-15-14, 02:29 PM
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Wow, thanks for all the posts!

For the road rage/confidence, I have some pretty severe social anxiety so I'm pretty nervous about instigating something inadvertently, more than being flattened

Here's the biggest intersection:

http://goo.gl/maps/HvZlW

Most of the intersections have a dedicated turning or straight lanes, so I'm not in those unless I'm actually turning. Most of the ride I'm in the right-most center lane, but as you can see, there's a lot of lanes going on I do not have to cross any lanes, because the lane to my right terminates in the intersection. The only point I cross a lane, is to stay IN the straight lane, and it's marked as "where bikes should be" on the road.

If I am filtering, nobody should be turning into me unless they're cutting across/into a lane where they shouldn't be. I only make 2 turns on this road, a left to get onto it from a designated left turn lane, and a right to exit, also in a dedicated turn lane.

I'm worried that by not filtering, someone's going to lean on their horn or something because they can't pass me and I'm slowing their progress through the intersection. Pretty aggressive drivers at that point, and it's always congested really badly. I will usually get there faster than any car if I am filtering, or taking the sidewalk.
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Old 01-15-14, 02:47 PM
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Riding a bike in traffic isn't rocket science. Probably the #1 key skill is bike control and the ability to ride in a straight line, and put the bike where you want it to go.

The rest is about understanding what's happening around you, especially at intersections, and when riding along parked cars. Folks have been doing his for decades and the risks are very exaggerated. There's a lot of small knowledge that separates experienced riders from noobs, but as I said i isn't rocket science, so you can learn as you go.
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Old 01-15-14, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by ironhands View Post
[snip]
If I am filtering, nobody should be turning into me unless they're cutting across/into a lane where they shouldn't be. I only make 2 turns on this road, a left to get onto it from a designated left turn lane, and a right to exit, also in a dedicated turn lane.
That is precisely why you should be especially cautious and expect it. Someone is GOING to do that, it's inevitable, you don't want to be there when it happens, or at the very least you need to have a back-door escape planned for when it happens. Relying on what motorists *should* do can be a recipe for disaster if you forget to keep your own wits about you when others aren't careful.

I'm worried that by not filtering, someone's going to lean on their horn or something because they can't pass me and I'm slowing their progress through the intersection. Pretty aggressive drivers at that point, and it's always congested really badly. I will usually get there faster than any car if I am filtering, or taking the sidewalk.
People are going to lean on their horn either way, whether you filter or not. Personally I don't filter because it's not customary (i.e. unpredictable behavior) where I live and may even be illegal. Further, I can keep the pace of traffic for the short time I need to, such as when taking the lane through an intersection. If you live in a place where cyclists often filter through stopped traffic then perhaps it would be sensible to do so as well, but people are going to honk at you from time to time no matter what you do. It's just part of being/dealing with traffic.
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Old 01-15-14, 03:02 PM
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When you have a lane why not.

No lane, only if there's a good bit of room and it's backed up for 2 or 3 cycles. If I'm turning left with a box corner or right+u-turn, that's almost always a filter situation.

Often in the heavy traffic they might have passed while approaching the stop, and there was no rational reason for it. They aren't getting through any faster for it, traffic wouldn't be any more backed up if they stayed behind. I have a hard time feeling any sympathy for "making them pass" again when there was no reason to pass the first time, or even "again" some times, so in those situations I don't take that into account when deciding whether I want to filter up. If it bothers them that much to pass, and it doesn't change their trip speed either way, then don't pass me.
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Old 01-15-14, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
When you have a lane why not. .
That's really the big question - there's no dedicated lane, but the lanes were widened for cyclists, with that little dude on a bike stamped all over the road, so is that sufficient to assume it's expected? I don't see many cyclists on the road - but then again, it's the middle of winter
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Old 01-15-14, 03:51 PM
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I think lane splitting (which you folks seem to call "filtering") is a bad idea. When you're between lanes, riding between stopped cars, what do you do when traffic starts moving again? Wait for them all to pass you by before you get in a lane again? Or do you swerve in front of them?
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Old 01-15-14, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by memebag View Post
I think lane splitting (which you folks seem to call "filtering") is a bad idea. When you're between lanes, riding between stopped cars, what do you do when traffic starts moving again? Wait for them all to pass you by before you get in a lane again? Or do you swerve in front of them?
Give them the one finger salute, yell, and cut them off. Obviously.
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Old 01-15-14, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by RPK79 View Post
Give them the one finger salute, yell, and cut them off. Obviously.
Or hold onto their mirror and get a free ride. Loads of fun.
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