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Friday, September 11, 2009

Getting Left

A post at DFW point-to-point inspired me to make a quick post of my own using some video of a nice smooth "getting left" I had yesterday. The more I do this, the smoother it gets. There are always jerks who must pass although you obviously need to get over, but that's no different than in your car. As I note in the video, I think I'm more likely to be allowed my lane change on the bike!

I'm a Lefty. I wonder if that helps somehow?


Steve A said...

Now I'm gonna be wondering all day what the vdeo shows. In other respects, Rantwick is on the mark!

Rantwick said...

Huh? Are you unable to view the video Steve?

Steve A said...

iPhones are good for a lot of things, but videos on blogs are better left for their big brother computers...

Keri said...

Nice merge! What do you think the traffic speed was?

I've found that on 30-35mph roads, it's pretty easy to negotiate. On faster roads, motorists are less cooperative.

The video really shows the platoon effect of traffic! I discovered when editing hours of Brian's video, we were on the road by ourselves 1/3 to 1/2 the time.

If you get a chance to do this with video again, take the left lane while you're in the gap. The traffic wave will catch you and pass in the right lane. It would be cool to see what that looks like.

Rantwick said...

Steve - understood.

Keri - I think the posted limit is 50kph (roughly 30), but it is one of those roads where people often drive 35-40 mph. Of course almost everyone slows down when they see the nut job on the bike.

I will endeavour to did as you ask, but I must say it (like alot of VC at first) will feel "wrong".

Ed W said...

Do you smile and wave when someone slows to let you merge to the left? I've found they often smile and wave back. It's pleasant.

Rantwick said...

Ed - I always do when I can. In some heavy traffic I'm concentrating too hard on othe stuff. It sure is pleasant, though, I agree.

Steve A said...

Well, typically, I treat stop signs AS stop signs. In this case, a full stop, besides any feelings of sanctimony, gives the cyclist an opportunity for a better assessment of when and how intense the next wave of cars will arrive, and what is the best plan of attack. It's kinda like taking a deep breath before jumping into a pool.

Otherwise, my experience is pretty similar. If anything, the motorists down my way are MORE docile than those Rantwick encountered. "What the heck is that crazy cyclist doing? I better hang back and see."

In many ways, it's like the proverbial elephant and mouse situation (confirmed by Mythbusters). Sometimes it's actually FUN to be the mouse!

Rantwick said...

Steve - most times I would be stopping aprroaching a busy street, but these particular side streets are at a gentle onramp-like angle that allows me to get a good look.

Steve A said...

It's cool having the motorists obeying instructions, eh?

I do think, however, I'd not advise doing this without gradually working up to it and learning the dynamics bit by bit.

As Rantwick noted, it's not real intuitive heading out into the middle of busy traffic like the Queen Mary with the band playing "Nearer My God to Thee." Cutting straight to the left lane is even less so, and depends a lot on the distances and speeds of the various traffic involved.

Doohickie said...

Well executed. I do it about the same way when I have to (i.e., make a left turn after being on a road for some time).

In the case like in your video, I'd probably do as Keri suggests and wait until there is a gap between platoons and just go directly to the left lane. I've found key in doing that is to leave my left arm out, signaling a turn, so that approaching drivers understand why I jumped directly to the left lane. It helps if they know where you plan to go.

Rantwick said...

Doohickie - I completely agree. That left turn signal is very important in explaining why you're "out there".

On this particular street, if I had gone straight into the centre lane, I would have been out there indicating left and passing by at least one, maybe two potential left turn side streets before the light. I'm not sure I like that.

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