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Riding on the road when there’s bike lanes

Old 09-14-22, 11:52 AM
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b88
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Riding on the road when there’s bike lanes

How many of you still prefer to ride on the road even though there is a dedicated bike lane. Too many young kids and old people in the lanes who cannot control their bikes. I was riding on the road when this motorist behind me kept leaning on his horn. I was as close to the right side as possible but instead of passing me, he stayed behind me all the way to the next intersection blasting his horn.

At the intersection, the motorist had to size me up before rolling down his window to berate me. Stating I should not be the road. Other cyclists joined in saying I’m an idiot. Meanwhile I yell out to the guy. I am legally allowed to ride on the road but you have a dog on your lap while driving which is illegal. Of course he was oblivious to this, only wanting to drive his point across that I should not be riding on the road.
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Old 09-14-22, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by b88 View Post
How many of you still prefer to ride on the road even though there is a dedicated bike lane. Too many young kids and old people in the lanes who cannot control their bikes. I was riding on the road when this motorist behind me kept leaning on his horn. I was as close to the right side as possible but instead of passing me, he stayed behind me all the way to the next intersection blasting his horn.

At the intersection, the motorist had to size me up before rolling down his window to berate me. Stating I should not be the road. Other cyclists joined in saying I’m an idiot. Meanwhile I yell out to the guy. I am legally allowed to ride on the road but you have a dog on your lap while driving which is illegal. Of course he was oblivious to this, only wanting to drive his point across that I should not be riding on the road.

Depends on the lane, some are better than being in traffic, others not so much. Still others are just out-and-out unrideable.

I definitely don't ride in the bike lane in Chelmsford that crosses the entrance ramp to the freeway, nothing worse than being to the right of a bunch of cars that are going to turn right, the green paint is not helpful in that regard.

I've had a couple of recent incidents where I was miles from the nearest bike path, but drivers were yelling at me to ride on the bike path. There was no bike lane on either of the roads I was on, so it wasn't just a terminology issue.
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Old 09-14-22, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by b88 View Post
How many of you still prefer to ride on the road even though there is a dedicated bike lane.
In some countries, it is the law to ride on the bike lane if it is there…personally preference be damned.
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Old 09-14-22, 12:22 PM
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Some bike lanes up where I live have barrier posts separating them. The bike lanes end up collecting all the road debris from the cars and trucks. They do not get cleaned, so after a while it's like riding through a dump. I'm exaggerating, but you get the idea. I sometimes brave the busy road with three lanes of through traffic.
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Old 09-14-22, 12:24 PM
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Some parts of downtown Toronto is another place where I'd prefer to ride on the road. The lanes are narrow and cyclists unpredictable to be safe. But I'd probably put it at even odds that something would happen with either option.
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Old 09-14-22, 12:35 PM
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They have started putting in two way bike lanes around here. I only ride it when it goes with traffic. Too many drivers entering driveways and side streets don't look for you coming against traffic.
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Old 09-14-22, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Badger6 View Post
In some countries, it is the law to ride on the bike lane if it is there…personally preference be damned.

Same here in Canada. Depends on which province you are in.
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Old 09-14-22, 01:08 PM
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It's illegal in my state. That said, I'll get in the motorized traffic lane if the bike lane seems unsafe; e.g., drainage grate parallel to direction of travel, glass in the lane, etc.

That said, if I'm riding in an unfamiliar location, I generally prefer riding in the motorized lane, regardless of local quirks. I've seen too many bike lanes end unpredictably, in the worst of locations. Think a curve leading to an old, narrow bridge where the cyclist has to join the main lane to cross. Or a massive pothole, or even the shoulder/bike lane washed out. Inevitably there's a stream of high-speed traffic coming right as I get to one of those pinch points, regardless of what the traffic has been.
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Old 09-14-22, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by b88 View Post
How many of you still prefer to ride on the road even though there is a dedicated bike lane.
I do both all the time, anytime, depending on traffic, parked cars, visibility, etc.

My comfort and safety is important. And I realize that if there's a car directly behind me that wants me out of the way, my safety is being compromised.
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Old 09-14-22, 04:11 PM
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Every situation is different.
If the road had just one lane and not a wide enough shoulder to ride safely to the right, I would use the bike path if there is any significant traffic either direction. Unless of course we're just talking a short distance, like half a block. If there were no shoulder and no other option, I'd claim the lane. Again, you have to be reasonable about this. Claiming the lane and slowing all traffic behind you for miles, would be just wrong. In that case, you've chosen the wrong road to ride a bike on.

Where I live, New Mexico, a few years back there was some proposed legislation to say that cyclist must use a bike path if available. This got shot down rather quickly. I, and many others, much prefer a wide shoulder to a parallel MUP. Obviously closer to traffic, but much less likely to have a problem with a car turning off the main road. Better to be out where they can see you and not on a parallel path set 20 feed to the side, out of driver's line of sight when they are turning.
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Old 09-14-22, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
I definitely don't ride in the bike lane in Chelmsford that crosses the entrance ramp to the freeway, nothing worse than being to the right of a bunch of cars that are going to turn right, the green paint is not helpful in that regard.
Yup, stupid bike lanes are a great way to get crippled .... back when cities started painting bike lanes, most fo the time they were way too smart to ask an actual cyclist .... so you get people blithely turning right as the "bike lane" dwindles to an end at the entrance to a shopping center or something, and as a rider you can hit a car or hit a curb.

In that case, i ignore the bike lane because the bike lane is not on my path of travel. can't ticket me for not riding in a bike lane which is not on the road or route I am traveling.
Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
I've had a couple of recent incidents where I was miles from the nearest bike path, but drivers were yelling at me to ride on the bike path. There was no bike lane on either of the roads I was on, so it wasn't just a terminology issue.
"Get on the sidewalk" when there is none .... no sense even acknowledging those guys ... those are the Flat-Earthers of traffic law.
Originally Posted by Badger6 View Post
In some countries, it is the law to ride on the bike lane if it is there…personally preference be damned.
Yes, but check if your country has some variation on this rule:

(5)(a) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride in the lane marked for bicycle use or, if no lane is marked for bicycle use, as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:
1. When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
2. When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
3. When reasonably necessary to avoid any condition or potential conflict, including, but not limited to, a fixed or moving object, parked or moving vehicle, bicycle, pedestrian, animal, surface hazard, turn lane, or substandard-width lane, which makes it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge or within a bicycle lane. For the purposes of this subsection, a “substandard-width lane” is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and another vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.


I haven't ridden much out of the US but in almost every US state there is a version of this law with this language. Therefore you can legitimately argue in court that the bike lane was unsafe---if indeed it was.

it pays to know this stuff. if I have to take a ticket at the scene I will, but I Will go to court with several highlighted copies of the current Uniform Traffic Code, plus photos taken from the scene featuring a copy of the day's newspaper plus a copy of my receipt for the paper showing I bought it just after the incident.

I have never had to do this though .... because I ride confidently and courteously and give way when being right might mean getting hit, and I ignore whatever the idiots say, because they are idiots after all.
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Old 09-14-22, 06:56 PM
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After fighting thirty years for bike lanes, I prefer to use them. The only time I use the road whenever there is a bike lane is because there is a car in it. So we swap.
The fact that there are kids, scooters, motorized wheelchairs and joggers in there proves how good bike lanes are and how they are better than sidewalks. So maybe city engineers should consider redesigning sidewalks to be as good as bike lanes.
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Old 09-14-22, 07:22 PM
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I tried to ride in the lane as long as I don't have to ride through a bunch of crap and debris... for the most time, the bike lanes where I am are clean and useable. However, when I commuted, I rode in at 2 am, so I stuck to the main lanes as I did not want anything in a bike lane that I did not see to jump up and bite me.
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Old 09-14-22, 08:37 PM
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WOW, you all have it bad and I am spoiled, I am so lucky. I do my daily winter 20+ mile rides in a retirement community near Tucson with 5' to 8' bike lanes that are keep spotless and rarely see anyone else with passing being easy. I ride in Portland OR in lanes and designated paths and get along just fine. In Wy at our cabin I have again white striped shoulders about 3' wide and very courteous driver who I have even seen in my rear view mirror to slow down so that two vehicles (usually trucks) will not pass me at the same time because they prefer to get completely over in the on coming lane as they pass me.
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Old 09-14-22, 08:39 PM
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If I'm just putting along I'll ride in a bike lane. I'm slow enough to not be a threat and can react faster and easier to people who 'ride bikes' but aren't 'riders'...yep there is a difference.
If I'm out in 'performance mode' I leave the bike lanes to others. I'm not willing to put others at risk, or myself for that matter, by riding at a high rate of speed and mixing with the variety of bike riders that are riding the lanes.
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Old 09-14-22, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
Some bike lanes up where I live have barrier posts separating them. The bike lanes end up collecting all the road debris from the cars and trucks. They do not get cleaned, so after a while it's like riding through a dump. I'm exaggerating, but you get the idea. I sometimes brave the busy road with three lanes of through traffic.
Some bike lanes where I live have no barrier posts separating them. The bike lanes end up collecting cars. Parked cars, stalled cars, delivery trucks, cabs. It's like a free-parking lot! I prefer riding in the road. :-)
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Old 09-14-22, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by b88 View Post
How many of you still prefer to ride on the road even though there is a dedicated bike lane. Too many young kids and old people in the lanes who cannot control their bikes. I was riding on the road when this motorist behind me kept leaning on his horn. I was as close to the right side as possible but instead of passing me, he stayed behind me all the way to the next intersection blasting his horn.

At the intersection, the motorist had to size me up before rolling down his window to berate me. Stating I should not be the road. Other cyclists joined in saying I’m an idiot. Meanwhile I yell out to the guy. I am legally allowed to ride on the road but you have a dog on your lap while driving which is illegal. Of course he was oblivious to this, only wanting to drive his point across that I should not be riding on the road.
If there were special bike lanes, I think I would ride on them.
If there are fewer cars on the road, I think I will also ride on the road.
But I hope that people on the bike path can walk on their own road, otherwise it will make me very upset, I will not be able to accelerate or maintain a certain speed, which will waste part of my time.
Just as you can be blamed by a motorist on a road, I think People who walk on the bike lanes should also be blamed.
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Old 09-14-22, 09:50 PM
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In an effort to not piss off drivers, since many don’t like cyclists to begin with, I would take the bike lane. Might be too considerate. Not to say that if there was debris or glass I would get out of it temporarily.
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Old 09-14-22, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by b88 View Post
How many of you still prefer to ride on the road even though there is a dedicated bike lane. Too many young kids and old people in the lanes who cannot control their bikes. I was riding on the road when this motorist behind me kept leaning on his horn. I was as close to the right side as possible but instead of passing me, he stayed behind me all the way to the next intersection blasting his horn.

At the intersection, the motorist had to size me up before rolling down his window to berate me. Stating I should not be the road. Other cyclists joined in saying I’m an idiot. Meanwhile I yell out to the guy. I am legally allowed to ride on the road but you have a dog on your lap while driving which is illegal. Of course he was oblivious to this, only wanting to drive his point across that I should not be riding on the road.
So was this guy in a vehicle behind you laying on his horn while you could have easily moved over into the bike lane and waited for him to drive by?
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Old 09-14-22, 11:04 PM
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[QUOTE=mtnbud;22647707]So was this guy in a vehicle behind you laying on his horn while you could have easily moved over into the bike lane and waited for him to drive by? [/

This street had a bike lane that was hastily put up. It has sections of barrier posts, then open road with just arrows, etc.

Unfortunately I got caught at a barrier section when he came along else I would have moved into the bike lane sooner.
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Old 09-14-22, 11:21 PM
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[QUOTE=b88;22647736]
Originally Posted by mtnbud View Post
This street had a bike lane that was hastily put up. It has sections of barrier posts, then open road with just arrows, etc.
Unfortunately I got caught at a barrier section when he came along else I would have moved into the bike lane sooner.
​​​​​​
Ah - I would've likely done the same. If the bike lane is in good shape and empty, I take it. If not, I tend to ride close to the shoulder and get into the bike lane lane when I spot vehicles behind me. It sounds like you got over as soon as you could reasonably get over, so there's not much you could do about it. Some drivers are just grumpy.

IMO: There are vigilante cyclists who make it a point to enforce their right to be on the road by purposefully getting in the way of vehicles to make their point.. Those types of cyclists tend to tick off drivers and cause them to stereotype all cyclists. Once they feel that way, all cyclists get stereotyped into the same category. The best you can do is be polite and hope to sway their attitude in the other direction so they will stop taking out all their hate on every cyclist they encounter.
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Old 09-15-22, 12:43 AM
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[QUOTE=mtnbud;22647742]
Originally Posted by b88 View Post

IMO: There are vigilante cyclists who make it a point to enforce their right to be on the road by purposefully getting in the way of vehicles to make their point.. Those types of cyclists tend to tick off drivers and cause them to stereotype all cyclists. Once they feel that way, all cyclists get stereotyped into the same category. The best you can do is be polite and hope to sway their attitude in the other direction so they will stop taking out all their hate on every cyclist they encounter.
And you know this because of your super power mind reading ability? Wouldn't be because unsafe sections needs traversing, so going more into a traffic lane is the only option?
I do , often, need to go into the traffic lane, from a bike lane shoulder - parked car, bus stop, garden service using their blowers to blow all the dust and loose debris into the road, glass bottle broken in the bike lane... the list is endless. I always check to see what the situation is behind, and then signal before moving over - 95% of the time drivers GROK and all goes well. 5% of the time I unfortunately find an asshat is behind me...
Asshats come in all forms as motorist, cyclist, biker, pedestrian. The list is endless, as is the supply.
We're pretty lucky here. Even though our road surfaces tend to suck, we also have bike lanes which don;t suck worse.
Although the 'Infrastructure' monies are flowing, and we have NEW problems, numerous areas where road reconstruction is so prevalent that the detours are so convoluted that drivers and cyclists alike are exasperated by the slow, circuitous routing to go a few blocks. Realizing it will all get better, doesn;t seem to make the aaarrrgh ! moment any easier... LOL ANd just when you think you're through, you come on a new, unexpected detour... aaarrrrgh !
aaaarrrgh on!
Yuri
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Old 09-15-22, 02:50 AM
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As others have said, it depends. When there's a good lane I use it. Some of them are a joke.

I once had someone tell me that I shouldn't be riding in the road as there was a cycle lane, which is not the case in the UK. The thing that made this incident remarkable was that this guy was driving a minibus. I would have hoped that drivers of public service vehicles would know better. Of course, you don't need a PSV license to drive a private minibus, but you still expect slightly more of them than Mr. Joe Public.
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Old 09-15-22, 04:06 AM
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In CT bikes are considered "vehicles" and entitled to be on the road. That's where I prefer to ride.
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Old 09-15-22, 05:07 AM
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[QUOTE=mtnbud;22647742]
Originally Posted by b88 View Post
IMO: There are vigilante cyclists who make it a point to enforce their right to be on the road by purposefully getting in the way of vehicles to make their point.. Those types of cyclists tend to tick off drivers and cause them to stereotype all cyclists. Once they feel that way, all cyclists get stereotyped into the same category. The best you can do is be polite and hope to sway their attitude in the other direction so they will stop taking out all their hate on every cyclist they encounter.
IMO: That's total bs. I do a fair amount of driving, I've never been unreasonably inconvenienced by a cyclist. I do deliberately "get in the way" of a driver behind me when they're likely to take a right turn into me if they don't know I'm there, but that's actually the legally prescribed safety measure in my state. Only snowflake drivers with a false sense of entitlement don't understand that.

I've tried the stay to the right of a right turn lane method and I got hit by a car. I don't intend to repeat the experience. I don't care if that is where the bike lane is, the guy who painted it in the wrong place isn't the one who's going to suffer if I get hit.

ETA: I really totally object to the assumption that hostile drivers are reacting to something someone did to them sometime in the past. It's a total bs alibi for really crappy behavior on their part. There's absolutely nothing you or I can do to get them to stop with this "get off my road" attitude.

Last edited by livedarklions; 09-15-22 at 05:22 AM.
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