• 07-25-2014
    cobi
    Was I being an unsafe driver/jerk/both?
    So, there's a 4 lane parkway in town (2 lanes each direction) with a full bike lane along the whole route. Bike lane must be 4-5 feet wide?

    I was coming back from mountain biking last weekend in my truck. There was a lady riding a road bike pulling some sort of 2 wheeled trailer. I think hauling junk of some kind (was not a child or dog or anything). We get a lot of homeless down there, I suspect that was her case (no helmet, not dressed in "riding gear"). Anyway, that's beside the point, homeless or not she's still on a bike and I'm in a big steel cage.

    So, I am getting ready to turn right up ahead (maybe half mile?) and I stayed in the right-hand lane instead of moving over to the empty left lane. I did move to the left edge of my lane, but I could have easily changed lanes and changed back well before my turn.

    After I passed her I look back and see the big arm wave like "move over jerk!"

    Was I obligated to move over or should I have moved over just to be a decent human being?

    NOTE: When I ride my MTB to work and ride to the trails and back home I take this same stretch. I have never once expected someone to completely change lanes around me. There's plenty of room (more than 3ft for sure) and I've never felt like someone even in the right lane was too close to me. Unless they are pushed all the way over to the right edge.

    This route will become part of my daily commute next year. Maybe I'll feel differently when I have to ride it every day?
  • 07-25-2014
    Shayne
    You're all good.
    If there's a bike lane there why would anyone in a car move over?
  • 07-25-2014
    cobi
    I guess in my head I was starting to think, well there's an perfectly good empty lane, maybe I should have used it just because?

    Worse case scenario, she flats/crashes/swerves into my lane at that exact moment, and I could have avoided it.

    Next time I'll probably at least cross a bit into the empty lane anyway......
  • 07-25-2014
    dbhammercycle
    Depending on the law in your state, you are to have something like at least 3 feet of space between you and the biker to safely pass. Also, the biker is required to ride as close as possible to curb as to not impede traffic. I personally do not believe you were in the wrong, but you could have moved over to the left lane since it was unoccupied. Some people have larger personal spaces and problems with depth perception, I think you encountered one such person.
  • 07-25-2014
    Straz85
    If she didn't have a dedicated bike lane, I would say you should have moved over, but since she had her own lane, there's no reason for you to. Hell, I ride down a couple roads like that every day that DON'T have a bike lane and people don't even move over to the left lane.
  • 07-25-2014
    jeffscott
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by cobi View Post
    So, there's a 4 lane parkway in town (2 lanes each direction) with a full bike lane along the whole route. Bike lane must be 4-5 feet wide?

    I was coming back from mountain biking last weekend in my truck. There was a lady riding a road bike pulling some sort of 2 wheeled trailer. I think hauling junk of some kind (was not a child or dog or anything). We get a lot of homeless down there, I suspect that was her case (no helmet, not dressed in "riding gear"). Anyway, that's beside the point, homeless or not she's still on a bike and I'm in a big steel cage.

    So, I am getting ready to turn right up ahead (maybe half mile?) and I stayed in the right-hand lane instead of moving over to the empty left lane. I did move to the left edge of my lane, but I could have easily changed lanes and changed back well before my turn.

    After I passed her I look back and see the big arm wave like "move over jerk!"

    Was I obligated to move over or should I have moved over just to be a decent human being?

    NOTE: When I ride my MTB to work and ride to the trails and back home I take this same stretch. I have never once expected someone to completely change lanes around me. There's plenty of room (more than 3ft for sure) and I've never felt like someone even in the right lane was too close to me. Unless they are pushed all the way over to the right edge.

    This route will become part of my daily commute next year. Maybe I'll feel differently when I have to ride it every day?

    You did not behave as safely as you could....and you could have behaved more safely by expending just enough energy to slightly move your steering wheel.....

    Always behave as safe as resonably possible....you failed that test.
  • 07-25-2014
    cobi
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jeffscott View Post
    You did not behave as safely as you could.....

    I don't disagree with that statement.
  • 07-26-2014
    rogbie
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Shayne View Post
    You're all good.
    If there's a bike lane there why would anyone in a car move over?

    Because in states with a three foot passing law the presence of a lane does not negate that passing buffer. One of the many problems with bike infrastructure; it causes confusion for all road users.

    To the OP. If the far lane is empty and there is a 1/2 mile to your turn, why not move over? Beyond safety, this is a matter of courtesy.

    Also, the lack of "riding gear" does not make a person homeless. I ride quite often in street clothes.
  • 07-26-2014
    Kjbrowne
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dbhammercycle View Post
    Depending on the law in your state, you are to have something like at least 3 feet of space between you and the biker to safely pass. Also, the biker is required to ride as close as possible to curb as to not impede traffic. I personally do not believe you were in the wrong, but you could have moved over to the left lane since it was unoccupied. Some people have larger personal spaces and problems with depth perception, I think you encountered one such person.

    This is why there is so much confusion on this subject, and I know it is different in every state. In my state you are not required to stay in the bike lane or on the shoulder. You make the decision if it is safe to do so and if questioned about it explain yourself. Down here they like to make what looks like a bike lane but doesn't meet the requirements of a bike lane and isn't marked as one so its just a shoulder. Also you can't impede traffic if the traffic has a lane to change into to get around you.
  • 07-26-2014
    kjlued
    If there was a bike lane, you had the right to stay in whichever lane you wanted to as long as you give safe distance in the pass which it sounds like you did.

    Sounds to me like the rider doesn't know the laws/rules but wants to dictate how you drive.
  • 07-26-2014
    Kjbrowne
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by kjlued View Post
    If there was a bike lane, you had the right to stay in whichever lane you wanted to as long as you give safe distance in the pass which it sounds like you did.

    Sounds to me like the rider doesn't know the laws/rules but wants to dictate how you drive.

    No you have no rights on the road. You have the privilege to be on the road if you follow the rules and act responsibly no matter what anyone else is doing. If you hit someone because you thought they should not be that far into the lane and it was too much trouble for you to give room you may find out your right at that time is to remain silent.
  • 07-26-2014
    kjlued
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Kjbrowne View Post
    No you have no rights on the road. You have the privilege to be on the road if you follow the rules and act responsibly no matter what anyone else is doing. If you hit someone because you thought they should not be that far into the lane and it was too much trouble for you to give room you may find out your right at that time is to remain silent.


    You lack reading and comprehension skills.
  • 07-26-2014
    Kjbrowne
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by kjlued View Post
    You lack reading and comprehension skills.

    No I didn't misunderstand what you said, He still didn't have a right to be where he was. He had ability to be where he was based on his view of the situation at that moment. Being a cyclist he and you should know that all it would take for that situation to change before you could react would be a gust of wind or a pothole or debris. The responsible thing to do is to give more then enough room.
  • 07-26-2014
    kjlued
    Ok, so you are just wrong then.

    We will go with Averages.
    Average bike lane is 5 feet wide.
    Average car lane is 12 feet wide.
    Average car is 6 feet wide.

    Lets assume that the cyclist is riding in the middle of the lane and he/she is 3 feet wide. That leaves a foot left in the lane on each side. The OP said he went all the way over in his lane which means there is 6 more feet of space for a total of 7 feet. Even if we take a foot off that just for good measure it is still double the safe passing distance. He did nothing wrong and yes, he was well within his legal rights. He was also being plenty courteous.

    We don't get ask for a rule and then when we get it demand more.
  • 07-26-2014
    mtbxplorer
    cobi, a parkway sounds like you can go pretty fast. Consider 3' for 30 mph, 4' for 40, 5' for 50 mph. We had a bill here requiring that, but it failed to pass, as it clearly made too much sense. Also, a truck has more impact on riders than a car.
  • 07-26-2014
    Harold
    that's a really ambiguous situation as far as the law is concerned. Do you have legally mandated passing distances? Are the car and bike lanes wide enough for legal passing to occur?

    And yes, the bigger you are, the larger your effect on your surroundings (the more powerful your wake). I also like giving more space than minimally necessary when I can do so. When I am a cyclist, I notice and appreciate when drivers give me an entire extra lane of space than they are minimally required to provide by law.

    I know a guy locally who is strongly anti-bike lane. Partly for this reason, and partly for other poor design choices (door zone bike lanes, ambiguous markings at intersections, debris-littered bike lanes, bike lanes over manhole covers and storm drain grates, etc, etc). I like bike lanes with good designs and hate the ones that are just an afterthought. But sometimes, I don't find out a bike lane is unsafe until I'm on it. Sometimes I have to swerve out of it to avoid something. That means I'm still thinking in a LOT of situations about the possible need to bail into the auto traffic lane to my left. When cars give me extra space, it gives me more of a margin for error if I encounter a bad stretch of bike lane I need to avoid.
  • 07-26-2014
    Kjbrowne
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by kjlued View Post
    Ok, so you are just wrong then.

    We will go with Averages.
    Average bike lane is 5 feet wide.
    Average car lane is 12 feet wide.
    Average car is 6 feet wide.

    Lets assume that the cyclist is riding in the middle of the lane and he/she is 3 feet wide. That leaves a foot left in the lane on each side. The OP said he went all the way over in his lane which means there is 6 more feet of space for a total of 7 feet. Even if we take a foot off that just for good measure it is still double the safe passing distance. He did nothing wrong and yes, he was well within his legal rights. He was also being plenty courteous.

    We don't get ask for a rule and then when we get it demand more.

    Averages are nice but are made of highs and lows. The OP was driving a truck. My F150 is right about 8 ft wide with the mirrors. I don't have the wide mirrors on my truck so it could be wider. Max width non commercial is 8.5 ft without mirrors. The assumed operating width of a bike in florida is 3.3 feet. On the Ft Lauderdale strip the right lane is 10.5 ft wide and the bike lane is 4 ft. In a perfect world if I was as far left as possible and the bike was as far right as possible I could pass legally with a margin of error of 3 inches. We don't know the OPs' truck width the lane width or the bike lane width so your averages are useless.
  • 07-26-2014
    KentheKona
    Another poster said it well, you were probably in the right, but you could have been safer. Just out of curiosity, how fast were you going? and is this a "real" bike lane or just a lane on the side of the road with storm drains, manhole covers, and every other dangerous thing for bikes they added just because it "fit"?
  • 07-27-2014
    kjlued
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Kjbrowne View Post
    Averages are nice but are made of highs and lows. The OP was driving a truck. My F150 is right about 8 ft wide with the mirrors. I don't have the wide mirrors on my truck so it could be wider. Max width non commercial is 8.5 ft without mirrors. The assumed operating width of a bike in florida is 3.3 feet. On the Ft Lauderdale strip the right lane is 10.5 ft wide and the bike lane is 4 ft. In a perfect world if I was as far left as possible and the bike was as far right as possible I could pass legally with a margin of error of 3 inches. We don't know the OPs' truck width the lane width or the bike lane width so your averages are useless.


    I am willing to bet that since the OP is concerned about his actions that they were more than safe. Also making unnecessary lane changes is unsafe.

    Anyways, even with your incredibly low averages, there was still 3+ feet which puts the OP within in his legal rights in his sate. I would be willing to bet though that there was more than 3 feet.

    I am done arguing with you though and still stand by he was well within his rights.
  • 07-27-2014
    cobi
    To answer a few questions. Yes it's a real bike lane. The road is only a few years old and bypasses downtown. It has full width bike lanes in both directions. My truck is a 2003 F150, not exactly sure how wide it is.

    Speed limit is 40. Yet, traffic generally moves at 45-50 on it. I don't know for sure but I wouldn't be surprised if I was going closer to 45.

    Regardless of law, etc I think it boils down to the fact that I could have easily "been safer" with little or no effort and without affecting my upcoming turn. So I probably should have just moved over and likely will if faced with the same situation. I mean why not?

    Like I said, I've never expected someone to move over when I'm riding that section, but it doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated.
  • 07-27-2014
    kjlued
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by cobi View Post
    So I probably should have just moved over and likely will if faced with the same situation. I mean why not?

    Because you don't want to kill the motorcyclist in your blind spot. ;)

    Ok, that is a little extreme but unnecessary lane changes can be dangerous.
    It is better to slow and remain in the far left of your current lane as long as it gives sufficient distance between you and the cyclist. They built that bike lane so you wouldn't have to move over creating a different hazard by changing lanes.
  • 07-27-2014
    Saul Lumikko
    Sounds like you were courteous and safe but the cyclist was intimidated.

    Unnecessary lane changes should be avoided, they are not safe.
  • 07-29-2014
    jeffscott
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Saul Lumikko View Post
    Sounds like you were courteous and safe but the cyclist was intimidated.

    Unnecessary lane changes should be avoided, they are not safe.

    if you can't make a safe lane change on an empty road you need to hand in your drivers license
  • 07-29-2014
    leeboh
    I usually just shift left in my lane.
  • 07-29-2014
    kjlued
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jeffscott View Post
    if you can't make a safe lane change on an empty road you need to hand in your drivers license

    If you can't stay within your own lane and safely pass a bicycle that is within their own lane, you need to hand over your drivers license.
  • 07-30-2014
    cobi
    I find it kind of ironic that as a group of cyclists/commuters we can't even come to a consensus about the proper way to handle it.
  • 07-30-2014
    rogbie
    A couple of things to the OP: you absolutely should know the width of your vehicle. Go measure it and keep it in mind; if the posted speed limit is 40, why would you risk safety and go above it? Drive the speed limit. It's not that hard. You answered your own question. Drive the speed limit, move over well before the cyclist and change lanes legally, or slow down then pass the cyclist while staying to the left of your lane.

    Above everything, be safe and courteous, as you would expect others to do for you.
  • 07-30-2014
    cobi
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by rogbie View Post
    Above everything, be safe and courteous, as you would expect others to do for you.

    I mentioned I've never expected anyone to change lanes around me on that stretch. So it seems I did exactly what I expect others to do in the same situation.
  • 07-30-2014
    Sanath
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by cobi View Post
    I find it kind of ironic that as a group of cyclists/commuters we can't even come to a consensus about the proper way to handle it.

    I'd like to think we're all putting it in the context of our own daily commute, whose environments and traffic patterns vary wildly.
  • 07-30-2014
    gmats
    What I've noticed is everyone's got their comfort level on needed room while cycling (and even drivers). I commute a lot and have been riding all over the world and feel comfortable with traffic. I've had the whole gamut of "worthless, impatient" people out there. My feeling is you cannot anticipate every possible comfort level of every rider. As a driver, I usually base it on somewhere a little more considerate than what I would think prudent because I realize most people aren't as comfortable than I am. And I know people would appreciate some level of consideration. Additionally, especially when coming to a turn, even if I know I can "beat" that cyclist to the intersection/turn, I tend to hold back because I know even a few seconds won't make much difference in the whole time to get to my destination. The loss of time is easily made up with the first bit of acceleration after the turn.

    The fact that you're thinking about it and didn't think she was a jerk is important and perhaps can lead to more thoughtful actions while driving (and riding).
  • 07-30-2014
    kjlued
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by cobi View Post
    I find it kind of ironic that as a group of cyclists/commuters we can't even come to a consensus about the proper way to handle it.

    It is simple. The proper way to handle it is to follow the laws we are asking for. We can't ask for something and when we get what we want cry that it isn't enough.
    All over the country we are asking for a 3 feet passing law and it sounds like you gave more than that (I am guessing 5-6 feet). If there is a bike lane, it is there so you don't have to change lanes to safely pass. If people are going to change lanes regardless, than we need to just get rid of the bike lane.

    Changing lanes is inherently a risk. Something can be in your blind spot or maybe somebody in the left lane is going way to fast (yes, there fault but it isn't going to make you feel better when they die).



    Quote:

    Originally Posted by rogbie View Post
    if the posted speed limit is 40, why would you risk safety and go above it?

    Jeebus fawkin krist, get off your high horse. He admitted to maybe going up to 5 mph over the speed limit. Sorry, we can't all be perfect like you and go exactly the speed limit at all times in the day. :rolleyes:.
  • 07-31-2014
    Sanath
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by kjlued View Post
    (yes, there fault but it isn't going to make you feel better when they die)

    Couldn't you make the same argument about the cyclist falling into the path of your vehicle? Yes, their fault, but that won't make you feel better about running them over.