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Discussion Starter #1
Today we got out of work early as a reward. Cool by me, since it means traffic would be easier getting home.

I'm on the bike with saddle bags. Got an orange safety jacket, flashing rear light, helmet, all that commuter stuff. I'm on the right side of the road - its a little moist so I'm doing my curb hugging one-foot off the stripe.

Location: Orlando Florida, southbound on 1792, 250 feet short of Lee Road.

Anyway, I'm riding along and two cars squeeeeeze past me on the left, really, really close. Like what the hell? So I'm thinking, fine. Glance back, no traffic. Swing out and take the lane, something like a third out. We'll see how well this works.

And suddenly I've got a big white hood next to my knee, so close I swear I can feel the heat off his engine. Even though I've taken the lane and forced him to lane-change out, he's only going over half-a-lane and still pressing past. Why is there never a cop around when...

And he's by me and I'm looking at the back of an Orange Country Sheriff's cruiser! That's right - the same people who SHOULD be enforcing this rule are breaking it (and perhaps my spine)! I was so surprised I didn't even think to get his unit number.

Still, when I got home, I went onto their website and told them when and where the incident took place. Of course, let's be honest - if there is an officer down, they know EXACTLY who and where its happening. If there is a report of a violation, we're going to place the "did you get the unit number? Well, there isn't much we can do..."

That pissed me off to royal extent that the people who should be defending our tenuous roadway rights actually endanger us.

Way to go, Orange Country! Can't wait until the next time the police call for a donation. I'll pass this story on.
 

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Bluevoss,

Sorry you had to experience such a close pass, especially by a LEO.

Just curious ... [ame="http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=28.606857,-81.365293&spn=0.000019,0.009259&t=m&z=17&layer=c&cbll=28.606764,-81.365299&panoid=nBARd7DverM2uP-oKi7f_Q&cbp=12,187.74,,0,0"]Is this the intersection[/ame]? And, if so, were you riding in the straight thru lane or right-turn-only lane?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Bluevoss,


Just curious ... Is this the intersection? And, if so, were you riding in the straight thru lane or right-turn-only lane?
Yes, this is exactly where it took place. Issues with this spot-

All three lanes are pretty fast - the straight through lanes are running about 50mph, the right turn lane about 40+. I hate riding here, and during rush hour, more often than not, I'll go up on the sidewalk and ride down to the right turn, where I'll cross in the crosswalk, only with the cross-light (and even that is risky, as the motorists will corner there at high rates of speed). The road widens another half-block and its cool.

Only once have I tried to run on the center lane through here, and don't wish to repeat that. I had cars hurtling past to left and right and another right on my ass.

Today, since it was before rush hour, I decided to run down the right and then go straight through the intersection. As mentioned, I was just off the edge-stripe and then moved into the right turn lane to cut down the overtaking, at which point the police car straddled the solid white line and passed me. He proceeded on down and made the turn.

This section of road has really baffled me - its one of the few north-south corridors in this area. While figuring this run out, I tried every way I could think of to avoid this. Generally, most days I'm on the sidewalk here, the only section of sidewalk I run.

And yes, I'm technically proceeding straight across from a turn lane, but I'll quote Oddball on this: "We was assaulted by those Tigers. Assaulted!" Scares the holy crap out of me.

So, suggestions?
 

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Today we got out of work early as a reward. Cool by me, since it means traffic would be easier getting home.

I'm on the bike with saddle bags. Got an orange safety jacket, flashing rear light, helmet, all that commuter stuff. I'm on the right side of the road - its a little moist so I'm doing my curb hugging one-foot off the stripe.

Location: Orlando Florida, southbound on 1792, 250 feet short of Lee Road.

Anyway, I'm riding along and two cars squeeeeeze past me on the left, really, really close. Like what the hell? So I'm thinking, fine. Glance back, no traffic. Swing out and take the lane, something like a third out. We'll see how well this works.

And suddenly I've got a big white hood next to my knee, so close I swear I can feel the heat off his engine. Even though I've taken the lane and forced him to lane-change out, he's only going over half-a-lane and still pressing past. Why is there never a cop around when...

And he's by me and I'm looking at the back of an Orange Country Sheriff's cruiser! That's right - the same people who SHOULD be enforcing this rule are breaking it (and perhaps my spine)! I was so surprised I didn't even think to get his unit number.

Still, when I got home, I went onto their website and told them when and where the incident took place. Of course, let's be honest - if there is an officer down, they know EXACTLY who and where its happening. If there is a report of a violation, we're going to place the "did you get the unit number? Well, there isn't much we can do..."

That pissed me off to royal extent that the people who should be defending our tenuous roadway rights actually endanger us.

Way to go, Orange Country! Can't wait until the next time the police call for a donation. I'll pass this story on.
Yeah, logs aside are most if not all units equipped with GPS nowadays? I've had a few similar situations like that.

A couple of the more memorable ones are:


  • Heading north on 4th St. cop car and me are the only vehicles on a multi-laned road and he gets on his PA system and "orders" me to either ride closer to the right or to get on the sidewalk
  • Taking the trash out (granted it's 0400 - 0430hrs) and a cop car is traveling southbound slows down and if memory serves does a U-turn to watch me take the trash out


In the first case before I'd left my apartment complex there had been two cruisers not only in my complex but in the parking lot of my particular building. So I do not buy the "without a unit number we can't tell who it was." Uh, don't they log which units that they send to which calls?
 

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Well I would be one to give the officer more of a break than many. First reason is though he or she should not have passed you so close, you also have no idea where the officer had just been or was headed. Unless you saw them at the doughnut shop down the road a few minutes later, and even then you do not know what kind of call they might have finished up. Those folks have to deal with hours of boredom followed my moments of sheer terror, and it can be tough to shift between the two.
 

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Well I would be one to give the officer more of a break than many. First reason is though he or she should not have passed you so close, you also have no idea where the officer had just been or was headed. Unless you saw them at the doughnut shop down the road a few minutes later, and even then you do not know what kind of call they might have finished up. Those folks have to deal with hours of boredom followed my moments of sheer terror, and it can be tough to shift between the two.
If you're referring to the OP, while you do make some valid points, that however does not excuse the officer's reckless driving when there is another and more vulnerable road user on the road near them. And they should be held to a higher not lower standard then the average person on the street.
 

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Oh I don't disagree that everyone should be considerate, but those guys are human and distraction is ever present. If you just got through answering a call dodging all manner of what ever, it would be perfectly human to let down a bit once you get back doing more mundane tasks and it only takes a second of inattention of which we all have been guilty of both on the bike and in the car. In a perfect world it wouldn't happen. Yet we never will live in Utopia regardless of what any politician tells you. Regulation will never eliminate human error.

I try to remember that every time a car has cut me off or nearly caused me to come to grief, there has probably been a time where I have done something to cause someone else grief. It's only when we look out for each other that this can work. There is a lesson in this however. What the OP did right is hold his line. A straight line is a predictable line. Had it been otherwise he might have been hit. What he might think about is there was something he could have done to prevent it. Riding too far to the right of the road can encourage these kinds of squeeze plays and if they happen you have somewhere right to go to get more room. Would I say he did anything wrong? Not at all. He was there and that is a common sense distance that they can evaluate for themselves. No excuse for it happening, but again we don't live in Utopia. The goal is to not get hit. Taking more of the lane keeps people from using the squeeze play if they think they might sideswipe the oncoming car.

Even doing everything we can, some of this is a part of the inherent risk of riding the bike on the road. Make sure you are willing to accept it. I am.
 

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Oh I don't disagree that everyone should be considerate, but those guys are human and distraction is ever present. If you just got through answering a call dodging all manner of what ever, it would be perfectly human to let down a bit once you get back doing more mundane tasks and it only takes a second of inattention of which we all have been guilty of both on the bike and in the car. In a perfect world it wouldn't happen. Yet we never will live in Utopia regardless of what any politician tells you. Regulation will never eliminate human error.
To that I have to say that they need to follow the exact same advice that they give everyone else. "If you feel that you cannot safely operate your car pull over to the side of the road and either wait until you can or call someone who can come and drive you." If it is good enough for everyone else on the road then it is good enough for them as well.

Or to put it another way. Let's say that you're the one who is riding their bicycle legally along the road. And some officer who just finished responding to a particularly stressful call accidentally sideswipes you because they were stressed out from the call. Sending you into a tree, breaking your neck and killing you. Should your family file a wrongful death suit against the officer and the department or should they just "brush it off" saying "oh well, the officer had just left a very stressful scene, and so s/he should be forgiven, because they didn't mean to force our loved one off of the road."

I try to remember that every time a car has cut me off or nearly caused me to come to grief, there has probably been a time where I have done something to cause someone else grief. It's only when we look out for each other that this can work. There is a lesson in this however. What the OP did right is hold his line. A straight line is a predictable line. Had it been otherwise he might have been hit. What he might think about is there was something he could have done to prevent it.
Given that he was riding in what should have been a safe and legal manner, how about the LEO in question taking due care so as not to endanger the lives of other road users?

Riding too far to the right of the road can encourage these kinds of squeeze plays and if they happen you have somewhere right to go to get more room. Would I say he did anything wrong? Not at all. He was there and that is a common sense distance that they can evaluate for themselves. No excuse for it happening, but again we don't live in Utopia. The goal is to not get hit. Taking more of the lane keeps people from using the squeeze play if they think they might sideswipe the oncoming car.
Agreed, that riding too far to the right encourages motorists to pass us too close. Sadly at another web site that I frequent there are members who for whatever reason dispute this simple fact. One member to such an extent that he thinks that ALL cyclists should ride hugging the curb so in his words "if a motorist passes too close you can just step off of your bike onto the curb and HOPEFULLY pull your bike along with you." He also seems to think that if one is riding slowly enough that one can safely ride in the door zone. He also thinks that cyclists are being rude and inconsiderate when they take the lane. According to him, that is the only reason why cyclists take the lane, i.e. to be rude and inconsiderate.

The sad thing is that several of us have told him about how when we leave more space between ourselves and the right edge or the curb of the right the more space motorists leave us when they pass us.

I've conducted that very experiment myself a number of times and every time it has produced the exact same results.

Even doing everything we can, some of this is a part of the inherent risk of riding the bike on the road. Make sure you are willing to accept it. I am.
I think I understand what you're saying. But sadly as we know all it takes is a seconds distraction for a car/bicycle collision to end badly, and that more likely than not it'll end up ending badly for the cyclist not the motorist.
 

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Maybe but if they pull over and wait till they are ready to drive, its possible someone just might die as a result. Its not as cut and dried as you would like it to be, but I do understand your opinion. Answering EVERY call is stressful. Even the simplest stops can turn crazy in a second. Not long ago in Mississippi a local sheriff proceeded with a stop that was going to be a normal stop. The car took off. Suddenly he was chasing a car doing 85+ down the highway. Turns out he was chasing the Handsome Bandit that had been robbing banks all over Texas. That's not the only thing they did that day. They never know and often its a split second decision, such as to pass or not pass a bike, where it has to be made quickly and they are human.

Everything demands common sense. Riding in the door zone has risks. Its better if you go slower, and it even better if you can see inside the cars, but you really never know and hitting a door is no fun. Is that safer than your other options??? If I am riding further right, I am far more comfortable if there is NO curb and can just run off the road. Is it safer? Yes but is it safer than moving further left?? Hard to say isn't it.
 

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Maybe but if they pull over and wait till they are ready to drive, its possible someone just might die as a result. Its not as cut and dried as you would like it to be, but I do understand your opinion. Answering EVERY call is stressful. Even the simplest stops can turn crazy in a second. Not long ago in Mississippi a local sheriff proceeded with a stop that was going to be a normal stop. The car took off. Suddenly he was chasing a car doing 85+ down the highway. Turns out he was chasing the Handsome Bandit that had been robbing banks all over Texas. That's not the only thing they did that day. They never know and often its a split second decision, such as to pass or not pass a bike, where it has to be made quickly and they are human.
And conversely if they're driving while they're stressed one or more people on the road could also end up dying. If they can't follow their own advice then they shouldn't be giving it out in the first place. Again do you really think that it's going to make your family feel any better about loosing you if they know that the cop that hit and killed you was on his/her way to answering a call about a woman who was being beaten by her husband, boyfriend or girlfriend? There would still be one person dead.

This is true, I've often heard that there is no routine stop/call. And I am sure that most of us know or have learned that the most dangerous call for a LEO to answer is a domestic disturbance call.

Everything demands common sense. Riding in the door zone has risks. Its better if you go slower, and it even better if you can see inside the cars, but you really never know and hitting a door is no fun. Is that safer than your other options??? If I am riding further right, I am far more comfortable if there is NO curb and can just run off the road. Is it safer? Yes but is it safer than moving further left?? Hard to say isn't it.
Agreed, it's even better to avoid riding in the door zone in the first place. And yes, I know that sadly it isn't always possible to avoid the door zone. "Knock wood" so far to date I have not been doored, and hopefully I will remain that way. Sadly these days of window tinting how many cars can one actually see into? Even though most if not all states have regulations on how dark window tint can be it seems as if most cars still have the super dark window tint on their cars making it pretty much impossible to see into the car unless one is absolutely on top of said car. :(

And I agree with you that I'd rather be riding on a road with no curb rather than one with a curb. That way if I need to "bail off of the road" I can do so without putting myself into undo risk from hitting the curb and launching myself into the air. NOT fun experience.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I was more pissed at the cop for passing so close when he already owned the lane to the left. Stress or not, situation or not, he needs to get ALL the way over in the next lane.

The thing is, I hug the curb. I know I'll get roasted for saying it but I do. People are just going too damn fast down that road (usually I'll actually take the sidewalk there). It was only that traffic was light that I came down into the street.

My two major problems with riding further left in fast traffic are...

1) Someone comes up behind you, right up, and flicks around you. The following car (not paying attention and perhaps even accelerating) suddenly has a bike right in front of them.

2) Someone coming up behind you is dialing or texting. If I'm over to the right, they still might miss me. To the left, I'm totally dead.

Perhaps dooring is a big-city problem. Along this road, there are no cars parked along the sides, so no doors. In fact, even where there are roads with parked cars, I figure I can watch for that and manage it. But people coming up behind me, I haven't a hope.

Sorry, I've been following this whole take-the-lane movement and still don't see it being safer in any way. But that's just me.
 

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Taking the Lane

I was more pissed at the cop for passing so close when he already owned the lane to the left. Stress or not, situation or not, he needs to get ALL the way over in the next lane.

The thing is, I hug the curb. I know I'll get roasted for saying it but I do. People are just going too damn fast down that road (usually I'll actually take the sidewalk there). It was only that traffic was light that I came down into the street.

My two major problems with riding further left in fast traffic are...

1) Someone comes up behind you, right up, and flicks around you. The following car (not paying attention and perhaps even accelerating) suddenly has a bike right in front of them.

2) Someone coming up behind you is dialing or texting. If I'm over to the right, they still might miss me. To the left, I'm totally dead.

Perhaps dooring is a big-city problem. Along this road, there are no cars parked along the sides, so no doors. In fact, even where there are roads with parked cars, I figure I can watch for that and manage it. But people coming up behind me, I haven't a hope.

Sorry, I've been following this whole take-the-lane movement and still don't see it being safer in any way. But that's just me.
Blue Voss,

As the saying goes YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary), but generally speaking it is much safer to take the lane. As in doing so one allows themselves an "out" as it were. By "hugging the curb" you really have nowhere to go if someone passes too closely. But by taking the lane if someone does pass too closely then one has room to maneuver and hopefully avoid them.

And think about this for a second. You're driving your car down the same the road are you going to "hug the curb" so as to "hopefully" avoid getting hit from behind? Or if you're riding a motorcycle, are you going to ride hugging the curb?
 

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Blue Voss inattention is going to get you either in the lane or on the curb. The sudden move of the initial car approaching you should attract the attention of the driver behind. Further more they should be following far enough back to stop if need be. Nothing is certain. Even taking the sidewalk has risks as another thread has pointed out. A sidewalk with no crossing driveways and no foot traffic might be the best option at times, but it also might be illegal. Yes there are some roads I ride with very little concern and there are road where I won't ride at all. Yet if the driver is distracted or texting, there really isn't much one can do. Its part of the risk of riding. We can wear high visibility clothing, use flags or flashers and anything else we can think of, but there is a limit to what we can do. Will they possibly miss you and not see you? Maybe but on some roads it would be a very tight squeeze. Some places it is a tight squeeze for those paying attention and think they have more room than they do till they have no choice but to continue.

I only curb hug when I feel there is plenty of room for a car to pass and stay in their lane. Lots of roads around here that is easy. Some are probably big enough to be 4 lanes, but are only two. Taking the lane when it isn't necessary is your right, but it can change your name to Richard Cranium. I might curb hug a bit when I can see there is no traffic coming and its flat and an unobstructed view. Even that might not be smart. Yet most people around here when its possible have given me a lot of room.

There are very few places around me where getting doored is an issue. In my area most likely its a single car and I usually can see if its occupied. IF anyone is in it, the door zone is off limits regardless of where they are in the car. The urban guys have miles and miles of parked cars. Its a bit different for them.

There is one thing I commend you on. You are thinking these choices through now and making decisions in a calm reasoned manner before it takes that split second reaction. That consideration almost always makes for a safer cyclist.
 

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Bluevoss, I have to salute you.

I lived in Orlando for a year back in the 90's, and I'll be DAMNED if I was going to share the road with THOSE maniacs! My commute was less than two miles down Semoran, and my total time on the road was the time CROSSING it ONCE each way!
 

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Blue Voss inattention is going to get you either in the lane or on the curb. The sudden move of the initial car approaching you should attract the attention of the driver behind. Further more they should be following far enough back to stop if need be. Nothing is certain. Even taking the sidewalk has risks as another thread has pointed out. A sidewalk with no crossing driveways and no foot traffic might be the best option at times, but it also might be illegal. Yes there are some roads I ride with very little concern and there are road where I won't ride at all. Yet if the driver is distracted or texting, there really isn't much one can do. Its part of the risk of riding. We can wear high visibility clothing, use flags or flashers and anything else we can think of, but there is a limit to what we can do. Will they possibly miss you and not see you? Maybe but on some roads it would be a very tight squeeze. Some places it is a tight squeeze for those paying attention and think they have more room than they do till they have no choice but to continue.
Agreed, and sadly if the studies are correct there are WAY[/b} too many distracted/inattentive drivers on the roads nowadays. Again, I agree with you, what I'd like to know is whatever happened to motorists being taught to leave one car length for every 10MPH between them and the car in front of them? Looking at most roads around me I can't remember the last time that I didn't see cars that left even just one car length between them and the car in front of them.

And given the bad crashes we've had down here on two of our interstates that is PAINFULLY obvious that motorists don't leave enough room between them and the car in front of them.

I only curb hug when I feel there is plenty of room for a car to pass and stay in their lane. Lots of roads around here that is easy. Some are probably big enough to be 4 lanes, but are only two. Taking the lane when it isn't necessary is your right, but it can change your name to Richard Cranium. I might curb hug a bit when I can see there is no traffic coming and its flat and an unobstructed view. Even that might not be smart. Yet most people around here when its possible have given me a lot of room.
I have a road near me that the outside lane is wide enough for two cars to safely pass each other. And sadly it has a bike lane on it, one that because of it's width doesn't really need a bike lane. The other side (it's a divided road with a canal going down the "middle") is not only too narrow for cars to give the 3' passing buffer that they're required to do so by law, but it also has on street parking and of course the bike lane is right in the "door zone."

There are very few places around me where getting doored is an issue. In my area most likely its a single car and I usually can see if its occupied. IF anyone is in it, the door zone is off limits regardless of where they are in the car. The urban guys have miles and miles of parked cars. Its a bit different for them.
Not only that but sadly it seems as if most of the cars have window tinting that is too dark. Making it damned near impossible for one to actually see inside the car. That and they are also usually wide enough that they do not fit fully within the parking space and their wheels overhang into the bike lane.

There is one thing I commend you on. You are thinking these choices through now and making decisions in a calm reasoned manner before it takes that split second reaction. That consideration almost always makes for a safer cyclist.
As important as defensive driving is when one is behind the wheel, it is even more so when one is "driving" their bicycle on the road with other traffic.
 

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Bluevoss, I have to salute you.

I lived in Orlando for a year back in the 90's, and I'll be DAMNED if I was going to share the road with THOSE maniacs! My commute was less than two miles down Semoran, and my total time on the road was the time CROSSING it ONCE each way!
Thanks. Remember that railroad bridge that 1792 ducked under just north of Lee Road? Posted at 40mph and pretty much three lanes of cars blowing down it at 50mph+ That's where we are talking about. Take the lane? There? No thanks.

Semoran is aptly named - there is always "some moron" coming up behind you on that road. Actually, now they've painted bike lanes on it, not that I've seen anyone use them.
 

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Blue Voss inattention is going to get you either in the lane or on the curb. The sudden move of the initial car approaching you should attract the attention of the driver behind. Further more they should be following far enough back to stop if need be.
In my observations, cars only reluctantly move around a slower obstacle, and often at the last second (and sometimes, when its car-passing-car, it is done for the "thrill" of the close pass). And, yes, cars should not be following close to a tinted FUV they can't see around. Sure. They shouldn't. Sure.

Frankly, if someone isn't paying attention and suddenly there you are, I'm banking on them jerking left. A foot or two might be what I need for them to clear me.

The highway I'm talking about is 40 mph posted, 50mph+ travelled, with a green arrowed turn in the right lane. Frankly, I can't imagine riding out on that street. And I'll point out that when I did, it was an officer of the law that shaved me anyway.

I've been riding fairly safely (commuting on urban streets) for 14 years or so now. I adjust my ride for things I've learned and seen and experienced. But, no, riding out into the lane just goes against everything I figure - I see too many drivers swooshing past with their eyes down on their FUpods.

I ride sidewalk and street, as appropriate.

(BTW, sidewalk riding, at least in OBurg, is not illegal. On the sidewalk, you constitute a pedestrian).
 

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In my observations, cars only reluctantly move around a slower obstacle, and often at the last second (and sometimes, when its car-passing-car, it is done for the "thrill" of the close pass). And, yes, cars should not be following close to a tinted FUV they can't see around. Sure. They shouldn't. Sure.

Frankly, if someone isn't paying attention and suddenly there you are, I'm banking on them jerking left. A foot or two might be what I need for them to clear me.

The highway I'm talking about is 40 mph posted, 50mph+ traveled, with a green arrowed turn in the right lane. Frankly, I can't imagine riding out on that street. And I'll point out that when I did, it was an officer of the law that shaved me anyway.

I've been riding fairly safely (commuting on urban streets) for 14 years or so now. I adjust my ride for things I've learned and seen and experienced. But, no, riding out into the lane just goes against everything I figure - I see too many drivers swooshing past with their eyes down on their FUpods.

I ride sidewalk and street, as appropriate.

(BTW, sidewalk riding, at least in OBurg, is not illegal. On the sidewalk, you constitute a pedestrian).
While I can agree with some of what you wrote and also that there are times when it is more prudent to ride on the sidewalk. Please just remember that the further right we are the more likely it is that motorists will not "see" us.

And that yes, on the surface advising people to take the lane may seem to be counter-intuitive it is the safer riding position because it makes us more visible to motorists.

Be careful how you phrase that we have a member who seems to think that there isn't any city/county or state that has declared a cyclist riding on the sidewalk as a pedestrian.

Also try to remember that the more space that you leave yourself to the right the more space motorists are likely to leave in passing you on the left. As I've said conducted this experiment myself a number of times. And almost always without fail every time that I ride close to the curb/right hand edge of the road I get more close passes than I do when I either "take the lane" or ride in the right hand tire track. Also the further out into the lane one rides the more space they have to maneuver in if/when it becomes apparent that a motorist is going to mess with one.
 

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Also the further out into the lane one rides the more space they have to maneuver in if/when it becomes apparent that a motorist is going to mess with one.[/QUOTE]

only problem with that is by the time it is "apparent" it's over. Unless your in a race it's really up to you to ride as defensively as possible. stop whenever necessary or what ever the situation calls for. even if you are 100% correct in a collision it rarely ends well for the cyclist.
 
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