The results of this study probably won't surprise anyone here- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    The results of this study probably won't surprise anyone here


  2. #2
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    ^ Seems to argue that if you give them just enough room to squeeze by, they will. So where the lane is narrow and passing is unsafe, taking the lane and not allowing squeeze-by room, seems to be justified.

    I would have liked more info on "presence of roadside parking" as an effect. If the bike path is in the parking door zone (as it too often is) does that make drivers cede more room?

  3. #3
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    The original study full text is linked in the article.

    I have been reading bits of it, and I was disappointed to note that the researchers did not address the bicycle's distance from the curb or position in the lane AT ALL. In the conclusion, the researchers mention that it appears as though the more paint used in the bike lane (comparing just white lines to lanes painted fully green), the less space drivers gave, and they suggest that increased paint possibly makes drivers feel like the cyclists's position is more defined and therefore give less space.

    I have noticed that most drivers have a REALLY poor concept of how wide their vehicle is. Even when "apparently" paying attention, they drift a lot in their lane. When there are no cyclists in a bike lane, I see cars drifting in and out of the bike lanes ALL THE TIME. I see them drift across regular lane markers the exact same way.

    When I'm being particularly visible on a quiet road, I tend to be given WAY more space than is absolutely necessary on a pass. I appreciate the extra space when it's given, but I'm pretty sure that's because they have no bloody idea where the far side of the car is. The space thing gets really flaky when it gets busy. You see this in construction zones a lot. Say there are barriers on both sides of the lane. Most cars are REALLY close to them on their passenger side, because they're paying attention to the barrier on the driver's side. I saw a car in a construction zone the other day where the mirror was inches from the barrels.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    When there are no cyclists in a bike lane, I see cars drifting in and out of the bike lanes ALL THE TIME. I see them drift across regular lane markers the exact same way.
    We had a bunch of pretty terrible bikelanes installed a few years ago:

    The results of this study probably won't surprise anyone here-76ave.jpg

    Drivers act like they aren't there - basically driving with the line directly under their passenger's seat.

    Watching it is the strangest thing, because seriously what is wrong with you people? Why are you driving for blocks and blocks and blocks straddling a solid, white line? Why are you so incapable of following even basic traffic laws?

    But it's not even a few people, or people who weave in and out. I would say that the majority of cars on that road cruise along in the bikelane, even though the road still gives plenty of room for cars.

    There's something psychological going on. I think the city was really stupid to not put a centerline to give drivers their bearings (and I've sent several emails complaining about that). As it is I think people can't deal with the fact that there's parking on one side and not the other, and they need to "center" themselves in the asphalt or something.

    (which is not to say that I don't want more bikelanes, but more that I just don't understand how drivers can blissfully drive overtop a solid line, and have zero respect for traffic laws of any kind).

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by newfangled View Post
    ...I think the city was really stupid to not put a centerline to give drivers their bearings (and I've sent several emails complaining about that). As it is I think people can't deal with the fact that there's parking on one side and not the other, and they need to "center" themselves in the asphalt or something....
    This pretty much nails it. Morons who cannot for the life of them figure out how to self center amoungst two solid white lines. The 76 avenue lane really needs a yellow line to bring cars inline as to where they are to drive on the road. Having said that, 76 avenue is a poor choice for a designated bike route. From 109 street to Gateway, 76 avenue is the avenue that is the bi-pass around Whyte Avenue and it's super busy during rush hour. No way would I ride this bike "route" then - I'd just skip over an avenue.

  6. #6
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    ^ I was once told that they didn't put a centreline because the two individual lanes would have to be narrower than normal, so instead they left it as a free-for-all. But the complete inability of drivers to deal with that freedom astounds me.

    (they only chose 76ave in the hopes that "one day" CP will close their yard and stop hoarding the land. If that happens, then 76ave is the only possible route to connect to east of the tracks.)

  7. #7
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    A couple of my favorite routes back when I lived in Texas had absolutely zero lane markings. On those roads, people seemed quite a bit more willing to give me extra space than on roads with relatively narrow lane markings.

  8. #8
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    The mean passing distance listed is about 2 m, down to 1.8 or so with oncoming traffic, but this is from "tyre to tyre" (or tire to tire here in the colonies). So I take off 0.3 meters from left side of my tire to my left elbow, and another 30 cm for the body and mirror to the right of the vehicle's tire (except for 1-ton pickups which can have mirrors alone extending 30 cm). That puts the 1.84 m mean down to about 1.24 m of actual clearance with a standard deviation of 34 cm. So about 17% are less than 0.9 m away from the cyclist, and 2.5% are less than 0.66 m away. Hence the 1 m law in many states.

    This matches my informal surveys as I upped my rear lighting riding on the shoulder. Only about 1% now continue to hug the white line or drift toward me while passing and infringe on the 1 m. About half of those are tailgating a larger vehicle and can't see me until they are almost alongside. In effect they are driving blind. No wonder laws were enacted to slow you down or move you over for emergency vehicles and personnel on the shoulder. Hard to see them with a big semi blocking your view.

    I would say most drivers have a good sense of where the right side of their vehicle is, but a sizable minority never had a clue, or they are driving a wider vehicle than they normally drive. Beware those with smashed off right mirrors! Unfortunately that is hard to spot coming up behind you.

    We have a lot of roads here without center lines. Drivers tend to drive down the center. Bummer when they crest a blind hill in the center of the road or you meet one in a corner using 2-3 feet of your lane. I can believe they would split the difference and not consider the cyclist. That seems to be the thing with a parking lane. The habit of crowding or driving in the bike lane is a bad one to have.

  9. #9
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    Natehawk is on to something, I think most drivers are just horrible at knowing where "the corners" of their vehicle are. I notice it the most on a divided road that is one mega line in each direction with enough room for a vehicle and bicycle. People give the mountable curb to their left more clearance than they do me.

    I'd be so bold as to say being a cyclist has made me a better driver because I'm now much more aware of all the idiotic things drivers do and I try to avoid doing it. There was a good article on Atlantic Cities that talked about lane width and driver speed. It kind of relates to this.

  10. #10
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    When my wife is driving, she FREQUENTLY drives with her passenger side tires ON the fog line, and sometimes across it.

    When we moved to Indy a couple years ago, where there are actual bike lanes, that meant she was one of the people driving IN the bike lane. I gave her crap about not knowing where her passenger side was, but it didn't occur to her that she had a problem until I kept telling her she was driving IN the bike lane. She's started making more of an effort to accurately estimate where that side of her car is...but it took some serious criticism from me before that happened. She's still got work to do.

    I think I do a better job of it. At least, nobody has called me out on it yet.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by KentheKona View Post
    I think most drivers are just horrible at knowing where "the corners" of their vehicle are.
    I've heard people complain - because they need to own a giant truck and need to drive it everywhere - that they have real trouble seeing compact cars and minivans. It's really unsafe, don't you know!

    The world is stupid.

  12. #12
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    It does not appear that the researchers controlled for whether or not the driver is an a**hole.

    Today a stinky diesel pickup with utility trailer tried to pass me 3x on the narrow road with a hill and a blind curve, rather than waiting for a safe passing area or wider shoulder. The first 2x he had to drop back because of oncoming traffic. The 3rd time there was still oncoming traffic, but he bullied it to a standstill so he could squeeze by.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    When my wife is driving, she FREQUENTLY drives with her passenger side tires ON the fog line, and sometimes across it.
    My father's first driving lesson for me was on a little used road was to have me place the car in my lane, then have me stop and look where I really was. I had been driving tractors, cars, and trucks around the farm since I was 10. Fields have no fog lines. I did the same for my son but he still drives closer to the fog line than ideal. Tire wakes in the rain are good clues as long as you aren't being tailgated and can spare them a look. The worst 5-10% of drivers are pretty bad. The worst include mothers in minivans in the middle of the day, and drivers who drive maybe a couple of thousand miles a year. Driving is a skill that must be practiced and improved. Use it or lose it.

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