Passing stopped cars on the right- Mtbr.com
Results 1 to 19 of 19
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    118

    Passing stopped cars on the right

    So, rather than jacking the thread started as "Wonder why people in cars hate us...", I thought I might start one to have a chat about the situation Fastale alludes to:

    Quote Originally Posted by fastale
    damn, I'm so tired of seeing cyclists pass cars on the right at stop lights/signs. I saw a 45+ year old woman get irately pissed at another 45+ woman. I just told the rider after she looked at me with the expression of "what did I do wrong?", "you shouldn't pass at stop signs, stay in the back and hold your lane". She gave me the "I thought we were on the same side" look and kept going. Sad thing is, I don't know if we are anymore.
    So, I gotta follow up on this one, as it's a running debate I've had with myself over the past few months and I try hard to be a polite, lawful cyclist. I'd like to see a wider discussion on this.

    While I will *never* run a stop sign/light when there are cars waiting at the intersection, I do generally ride up along the right side of a line of stopped cars to wait at the stop line for the next safe/legal time to cross the intersection. (NOTE: I do this when it is safe to pass the cars, there is an ample lane on the right, generally no turn lane so I won't get right hooked, and *slowly* so I have time/space to react if any cars move unpredictably.)

    I see some folks saying that the correct thing to do is pull into the back of the line of traffic and "take your spot in the lane". However, haven't the cars who passed you on a single lane road without pulling into the opposite lane of traffic to pass acknowledged (implicitly or explicitly) that there is a "separate" lane for bikes? If it was safe and reasonable for them to pass you while you were underway, why isn't it reasonable for you to do the same when their "lane" is stopped and yours has no traffic? I kind of think about it much the same way you would if you were driving on a road with multiple lanes in each direction. You wouldn't think of stopping in a car if your traffic lane was clear, but the one next to you was backed up.

    I can somewhat understand the momentary frustration of someone stuck in traffic seeing a bike slide by on the right and thinking the bike is getting away with something, but at the same time, what is the cars usual reaction to being "stuck" behind a bike who has taken the lane? Can we do no right? We have to allow cars to pass us when they can move more quickly, but we're not allowed to do it when the situation is reversed?

    Any reasonable, rational thoughts would be much appreciated.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: s0ckeyeus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    3,314
    I usually don't pass on the right. It really doesn't save much time, and it can be a bit more risky. People aren't looking for bicycles on the right side, and a bike can easily fit into a blind spot.

    When I'm approaching a light, I generally pull more into the lane. If I am riding a shoulder, which there aren't many rideable shoulders in my town, I usually stay to the left of the shoulder to stay visible.

    The only time I have passed on the right is when I am in a bike lane and am turning on a street that's blocked by the line of traffic.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    12,083
    I have passed cops on the right, they don't have a problem with it.

    Seems to be legal around here.

    Sometimes it is the safe thing to do, sometimes it is not the safe thing to do.

  4. #4
    I Have Cookies
    Reputation: ae111black's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    2,644
    I think if there is a clearly designated lane for bikes it's perfectly ok to advance to the intersection and pass everyone on the right. Also it seems way to risky to try to hold my place in traffic in certan areas of town but perfectly ok in others. It just depends on the street I guess.
    The most important thing is what God thinks about it. He will have the final say. Joshua Stinebrink

    ____
    Kimo

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation: BrianMc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    4,400
    Quote Originally Posted by ae111black
    I think if there is a clearly designated lane for bikes it's perfectly ok to advance to the intersection and pass everyone on the right. Also it seems way to risky to try to hold my place in traffic in certan areas of town but perfectly ok in others. It just depends on the street I guess.
    +1 It depends. For most of my situations, there isn't enough room for a bike and a car so taking the lane to prevent being crouded or hooked is my only safe option. So few people use turn signals especially for right turns and they won't be checking their right blind spot, that I'd be very leery if I could stay right. Heck they can't even keep track of me while passing. They start coming over when I am at their windshield!

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    118
    I certainly understand the "it depends" response, and safety is always the first concern. Here, we're lucky that the streets are generally very wide. On my usual route, I can ride out of (or just on the edge of) the "door zone" of parked cars and still ave a comfortable margin between myself and passing cars. So, that's not really an issue for me in general. The street doesn't have a striped lane - yet (keeping my fingers crossed...). But, there's certainly room for one.

    I'm more interested in looking at the ethical side of the 'passing stopped cars on the right' issue. For example, in the quote I started the thread with, if safety was not an issue, might you have been the recipient of the driver's ire? I could well have been, and if I had slowly and cautiously passed on the right in order to approach the stop line, I might have been as mystified as that cyclist was when I got my a$$ chewed off.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation: s0ckeyeus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    3,314
    One thing I always try to avoid is passing a car, only to have them have to go around me later on. I used to ride a section of road where cars would get a little backed up waiting for the car in front to turn left (no stop sign or light). Every once in a while I'd see two cyclists who would pass the line of cars on the right (no shoulder), then the other cars would get stuck behind the cyclists later down the road (these cyclists weren't fast). It was annoying for me, even on my bike, to have to pass these guys again and again.

    I've always thought that this kind of behavior reflects negatively on cyclists. I agree that different situations call for different practices. It just depends on the road.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    2,138
    Maybe it's different out in the suburbs, but here in the big city (San Francisco), everyone rides down the right side of the lane to the intersection. It's no big deal, you just need to watch for car doors from parallel parked cars or people exiting taxis. And of course, you have to watch for the dreaded right hook where a car tries to make a right turn in front of you. As long as you slow down and are aware of possible dangers, it makes sense. It would be foolish to get in the traffic lane and sit there like a car. People in cars would definitely think you were weird and they have no problem with bikes taking advantage of their width to cruise between cars.

    Some of you may be aware that motorcycles are allowed to split lanes in California. Car people are used to it and most of them don't begrudge this advantage. If someone does want to get upset that you are taking advantage of your vehicle's special attributes (narrow width) then they are certainly welcome to get out of their cars and put up with the dangers of riding a motorcycle or bicycle around morons in cars.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    93
    I usually pass cars on the right and have never noticed anyone having a problem with it. Obviously if it's a narrow lane or I'm not sure it will be safe for them to pass me after the intersection I don't. Generally, though, I find that I'd rather be ahead of anyone who might be intending to turn right.

  10. #10
    Bicyclochondriac.
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    14,103
    Assuming is seems safe (which it usually is around here) I will always pass a line of cars stopped at a light on the right. You do have to take it slow and keep an eye out for anyone cutting you off, though.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  11. #11
    ~Disc~Golf~
    Reputation: highdelll's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    16,492
    Perfectly legit to 'pass' on the right - just watch out for the right-hook.
    I also pass cars and pull up to the limit line for left turns too
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  12. #12
    local trails rider
    Reputation: perttime's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    12,300
    Traffic laws are not the same everywhere. In my area, the law allows cyclists to pass other vehicles on the right "with due care". Sometimes it is not possible, or smart, though.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  13. #13
    I'm SUCH a square....
    Reputation: bigpedaler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    1,953
    Yes, it's situational, no one best answer for all times and places.

    Some could say that drivers EXPECT us to be on the right, since they holler at us to get there all the time anyway; I see that from time to time. AFAIC, if the lane is wide enough, the drivers can STFU.

    Also, I'm a little uncomfortable with the idea that motorist concerns and conduct on the road is the standard we have to be concerned with; just because they outnumber us, they rule? (Don't wanna hear all the "safety, watch out for yourself, ride like you're invisible" preaching either, it's not the point I'm making) The standard is what the law allows, not what the ignorant mob says.

    If the lane is wide enough, we can filter up; they have a responsibility to watch, too -- I know, they rarely do...so stupid they don't deserve to drive............

    If the lane isn't wide enough, get in traffic and hold your position.

    My biggest thing is, these damned drivers aren't so skilled that they deserve any props for what they do -- where do they get off dissing us? So they have to pass again, so f'n what?

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation: BrianMc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    4,400
    Indiana allows use of the roadway if wide enough, including the shoulder, 'with due care' to pass a car that is turning left, to its right. This use of the shoulder by overtaking vehicles is generally not a problem, but it could be.

    I often ride a wide (6-8') shoulder on a busy road ('55 MPH'). This thread about passing on the right and the rule above came to mind yesterday afternoon after seeing an 18 wheeler tailgated by an SUV go by me. This was just after a left bend where the truck blocked the line of sight of the driver to me and vice versa. (I had no idea there was a close following vehicle maybe 1.5 carlengths off the truck's ramp bumper, until the SUV was almost alongside me.)

    Now what if the truck signaled a left turn? That is a potentially dangerous situation that I would not have recognized before. The car need not be tailgating, only approaching at speed and sliding right onto the shoulder, only to find me there. Fortunately, there are few places where left turns are frequent and the pass on the shoulder likely, but at least I will now recognize it as a possibly dangerous situation instead of riding on oblivious.

  15. #15
    Bedwards Of The West
    Reputation: CommuterBoy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    5,451
    I have, like, one traffic light that I ever deal with, but for a time I was a bike commuter in LA County. I passed on the right at every stop light, every time, and so did everyone else on a bike. If you 'get in line' in that kind of traffic, you're just in the way.

    the only light I deal with now is one that I only hit rarely, but when I go that way, I need to turn left at the light. I split traffic between the cars going straight and the cars turning left, pulling up to the limit line between the two lanes of traffic (on the right of the cars turning left), and I make my left turn when the left turn signal turns green... never had a problem with anyone doing this. I have pulled up next to a California Highway Patrol car at the light and done this.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation: BrianMc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    4,400
    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy
    I have, like, one traffic light that I ever deal with, ... is one that ...when I go that way, I need to turn left at the light. I split traffic between the cars going straight and the cars turning left, pulling up to the limit line between the two lanes of traffic (on the right of the cars turning left), and I make my left turn when the left turn signal turns green... never had a problem with anyone doing this. I have pulled up next to a California Highway Patrol car at the light and done this.
    So you ride up between the straight through and left turn lane passing the cars already waiting at the light? (Of course motorcycle lane splitting is legal there. I've not seen it here, I don't think it is but I will look that up.) You must have wider lanes and more faith in the drivers knowing where their vehicle is than is warranted here. Vehicles in either lane may be sitting on the lane marker here. You can't fit a bike safely between two dually pickups centered in the left and straight through lanes at the lights I frequently turn left at here, if you don't want to be mirrored.

    Which comes down to : Depends, do what is safe, and leave the road rage to the idiots.

    Still some take exception when you DO take the lane. Only once in all my riding have I ever had someone behind yell at me for taking the lane and he turned out to be a complete idiot with a severe case of short-man syndrome, a possible death-wish, willing to run a much larger and fit person off the road. (Not implying that all height-challenged people have the syndrome, he's the only one I've come across in full rant.)

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    76
    It's situational. At work, comming and going I have a 5 way to navigate. I usually fall in line becasue of the many options/lack of bikes that go through there. You will almost always be seen directly behind/in front of a car.
    If I am turning right at say a 4 way, I will pass in that situation most limes, granted there is a shoulder to do so.
    Like someone above said, does the slight time difference outweigh the higher risk of getting clipped by a car?

  18. #18
    RLK
    RLK is offline
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    113
    If I'm using a shoulder or bike lane, and it continues on the other side of the intersection, I will pass on the right. I'm always leary about and watching for the right hook though. If there's no shoulder/lane, I'll take my spot in line and move right as soon as it's safe for me. That said, a huge chunk of my commute is 4-lane roads/arterials, and shoulders are present most of the way.

    As for left hand turns, I take the lane. Filtering in that situation around here is asking to get clipped, IMO.

    It's definitely situational, and you just have to read the traffic around you.

  19. #19
    mtbr member
    Reputation: BrianMc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    4,400
    As a motorist, I prefer the cyclist to take the lane. It may be in part because of fairly narrow left turn lanes. I think the cyclist is more predictable there. Certainly easier to keep track of.

    As a cyclist, I can still accellerate with the usual traffic on the green light and can almost hear the sighs behind that I am not holding the line up through most of the turn. Though my heading directly for the right shoulder is an improper left hand turn for cars, motorists are not allowed to drive shoulders (technically here, neither are bikes). I occasionally pass slower left-turning trucks on the right as I head for the shoulder watching for their wide turns. (On topic)

    At the most common controlled intersection where I turn left onto a four lane road, some motorists turn left behind me into the right lane and have to slow up because I have to dodge strewn gravel so I am riding diagonally across the right lane to get to the shoulder. Some of these were trying a bid for a right lane pass and did not see me ahead. Most are simply not paying attention and obeying traffic rules, assuming they even know the rules. Their fault. A proper left hand turn would have them clear of me in the left lane regardless of my likely actions. It is good that being run over from behind at low speeds is a very rare car-bike accident. Most of them involve unlit bikes at night or motorists blinded while driving into the sun. I suppose you could have someone tuning the radio at the same time...or a sociopath...but the loose gravel is a more likely threat.

    It is the sudden lane change out of the left lane into the right, while I am still in the right lane and navigating to the shoulder that is scary. Fortunately, most of the few drivers who have tried or seemed to be thinking of trying it, are impatient and drive twitchily, or the right front tire gives them away.

    It's risk management. Unless you have no fear genes at all, your gut will allert you.

Members who have read this thread: 0

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

THE SITE

ABOUT MTBR

VISIT US AT

© Copyright 2020 VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.