Subscribe in a reader

Monday, October 22, 2012

If You Were Riding the Bicycle #7 - Lane Splitting

I'm curious what my North American friends will think of this... I'm almost 100% that riders from Europe and Asia etc will think it is fine, since lane splitting is common in a lot of places. It is decidedly uncommon where I live, though, and that means doing it is UNpredictable behaviour. Just the same, I would do what I did in the the video again without hesitation.


What would you do if you were riding the bicycle?



Mighk said...

It would depend on what the conditions would be after the bridge. Would I be turning off onto a quiet neighborhood street? Then yes. Would I be staying on this road and would all those drivers I just passed have to pass me again, especially where the lane is narrow? Then no.

My criteria for either lane splitting or queue-jumping are: 1) can drivers turn right across my path (or can on-coming drivers punch through a gap)?, and 2) will I be delaying the drivers I just passed?

I sometimes queue-jump on my commute in a stretch where no turns are possible and I'll be turning right onto a street with a bike lane. So there's no risk to me and no delay to others.

RANTWICK said...

Mighk - Thanks for commenting. In this case I would be leaving the main artery on the far side of the bridge, so no, those cars weren't going to see me again.

I will filter on the right even if cars could turn across my my path, but usually I only do that in a bike lane, since I think the lane creates that expectation (or awareness) for motorists.

Like you, I don't see the point if the cars will just have to pass me again later.

Jason Fredin said...

I do my best to avoid congested roads, but when I come up to stopped traffic I stop behind it. I do not lane split or pass on the right. I am not sure what the law says about it, but I see the same cars everyday on my commute and the last thing I want to do is piss them off.

anniebikes said...

Oh that's a tough one. I would not feel comfortable doing that split the way you did. I noticed a sidewalk on the right. I would get on the sidewalk, but then I noticed a blasted sign blocking the way, even for pedestrians. What's that all about?

If I couldn't use the walk, I'd stick to the right lane, wait, and continue on the bike lane when cleared.

RANTWICK said...

Jason - I understand where you're coming from but I have a lot of trouble sitting in stopped traffic when I can move through it easily and safely. The problem is that the "safely" part is a matter of perception and thus open to debate... which is what these posts are all about, I guess!

Annie - That sidewalk really sucks, blocked by a sign or not. No way you could know that, of course.

Ian Brett Cooper said...

I would wait in 'primary' position behind the first stopped car (the blue pick up truck with the camper cap). I'm just never in that much of a hurry and I never know what speed cars are going to go when they start up again. I reckon you could easily get stuck between lanes or in the gutter with 40mph traffic going by within inches. To me, it's just not worth the risk.

RANTWICK said...

IBC - My destination being just over the bridge, I didn't have the patience. This was an uncharcterisitc backup caused by a closed lane on the other side of the bridge.

I had never split lanes before and may never do it again, mainly because I would hate to get "stuck between lanes" as you say. In this case, I could tell that nothing would be doing any speed for a while.

Steve A said...

A lot of what Mighk said. ONE added difference - where you passed on the right about 50 seconds into the video, I'd have passed on the left. If necessary, even left of the left lane. If those guys aren't going to repass, and they are moving, it is safest to pass left. Well, at least that is what I do. Today, anyway. But I was going to make a left at the next intersection anyway.

John said...

I think I would have kept to the right, tuck in just behind the first taxi and climb the mountainous bridge and stayed right. That's assuming your next move was to exit right after crossing bridge, drivers don't really expect to see a cyclist on the left side of their cars. No need to freak them out anymore than they already are, all stuck in the traffic-jam. =)

RANTWICK said...

Thanks for your responses, everybody! This one really goes to show how different we all can be. All of the suggested approaches make sense in one way or another... I must confess I experienced a kind of guilty pleasure at going up the middle.

Anonymous said...

It's pretty normal in southern cali for me to do what you did. Often times it is at intersections where cars turning right block the curbside. I usually move to the curb as soon as possible.

RANTWICK said...

Thanks Anon... alhtough it is a rare thing where I live, it sure felt "normal", as in safe, at the time.

Unknown said...

Hmm, keep at it Rantwick. I regularly lane split along Richmond Row or Adelide around Oxford to Huron. Highbury where you were is probably faster.

I never pass on the right like that.

Mind you if I lane split and traffic starts moving I feel obliged to turn off, don't want to pass and impede. Works out because I have to go all the way East.

Post a Comment