Author Topic: To Filter or Not To Filter...  (Read 3225 times)

jpo

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To Filter or Not To Filter...
« on: December 11, 2012, 08:49:26 AM »
http://bicyclesafe.com/ is great, and is also referenced in Bakari's site, which is also a great resource.
 
I especially like the illustrations for #5. Don't stop to the right of a stopped car. Get in line with everyone else like in the second illustration.

The time spent waiting in the queue behind the stopped cars, (in the middle of the lane) is a small hasslel But, it almost eliminates the risk of being hit by a right-turning driver that doesn't see you. They are looking into the intersection, not behind them looking for a bike passing on the right. I find that cranky rush-hour drivers also just get pissed at anyone moving faster than them, and moving past a column of cars on my bike has triggered a few obnoxious threats.

When I'm in my car, I feel uncomfortable having a slow moving bicyclist trying to squeeze between my stopped car and the curb (some bumping into my mirror in the process...). If I don't like it, I'm sure the driver's who don't bike are even less tolerant. In the end, making drivers hate cyclists does not help the cause of bike access and safety.
I think everyone agrees that the safest route at a red traffic light is to act like a car and not filter up to the front of the queue.

However, what is the best way to remain safe and also filter up to the front? Assume that it's a wide lane with plenty of room to pass on the right and that you are wearing high visibility gear. Traffic Filtering on a Bicycle advocates trying to merge into the queue of cars behind the frontrunner, similar to #5 position B at http://bicyclesafe.com/. It seems to me as long as you are able to position yourself directly in front of a vehicle in the queue you should be safe enough, save running the risk of maddening the driver you decided to merge in front of.

Can some more experienced bicyclists weigh in on what to do in this situation?

Bakari

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Re: To Filter or Not To Filter...
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2012, 09:16:42 AM »
I always stay in the same lane position I was in when I was passing / I will be in when passed, when I come up to a light with cars already waiting. 
(The only time I get in line with the cars is if its an extremely narrow lane, and the same cars had trouble passing me to begin with, or if I am in the left turn lane)

Move to the very front, and don't hug the curb (but don't get in front of the first car either). 
If you are directly in front of any car that wants to turn right, they are going to see you.

However, be conscious and considerate and pay attention to see if there is in fact anyone stuck behind you that wants to turn right, and if there is, move out of the way (either forward, temporarily left in front of the first car going straight, or onto the sidewalk - whichever seems most practical to you at the time) and look at them and wave them through.
People really appreciate this, and I think it makes drivers who are generally annoyed by cyclists sharing the road soften a little, if only for a moment.

Russ

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Re: To Filter or Not To Filter...
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2012, 09:31:33 AM »
First off, I never do this if traffic is flowing. No point in moving up to the front at a red light just to be passed again. You save maybe 5 seconds riding to the front of the line, but leave a bad impression of cyclists on 10 drivers in the process.

When traffic is dead stopped (or at least mostly stopped), I split lanes to the left of the lane I should be in. If my direction has two lanes, that's in between those lanes. If my direction has one lane, that's between my lane and oncoming traffic. Nobody's moving so it's hardly any different. Unless there's a bike lane, which we don't have many of in Columbus thank goodness, riding to the right of traffic is way more dangerous (it still is dangerous in a bike lane IMO, but at least drivers expect you to be there). You have:
-all sorts of road debris waiting to weasel its way into your tubes
-Drivers turning right, not expecting you to be there
-Passengers getting out of the car, not expecting you to be there
-nowhere to go when drivers start daydreaming and squeeze you toward...
-the curb, which is the most dangerous obstacle in the road. Even the slightest brush will take you out
-and buses, which you then have to either stop for, or change lanes to get around

Coming up to a red light, Ill either pull in behind the first car and take the lane once we get moving, or just stay between lanes if the light's about to turn and I can tell nobody's going anywhere. Again, I only do this if I'm confident I can at least match pace with traffic.

If you want to be visible and predictable, pass on the left, where people expect to be passed.

GuitarStv

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Re: To Filter or Not To Filter...
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2012, 10:13:58 AM »
If you want to be visible and predictable, pass on the left, where people expect to be passed.

This is also my approach.  Passing on the right is unexpected and asking for trouble.  You might as well be driving on the sidewalk . . . the cars won't know that you're there, and your chance of being hit/side-swiped is very high. 

If traffic is flowing too quickly to pass on the left, it's moving fast enough for you to wait your turn in line.

Bakari

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Re: To Filter or Not To Filter...
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2012, 10:37:25 AM »
I suppose this must vary a whole lot, depending on the local culture.


Drivers are MUCH more likely here to expect being passed by bikes on the right (since it happens all the time, its where bikes normally are) than on the left (which happens approximately never).  Those drivers who just passed you should be reasonably aware that you are there, since, you know, they just passed you. 
No one would ever expect a cyclist to pass on the left, between lanes.  The one time this would work (in the CA Bay Area) is if you are going faster than the traffic in the right lane, you could take the left lane completely, and pass the cars on the left.

First off, I never do this if traffic is flowing. No point in moving up to the front at a red light just to be passed again. You save maybe 5 seconds riding to the front of the line, but leave a bad impression of cyclists on 10 drivers in the process.

I agree, but only if the lanes are so narrow that passing is a problem.  On a properly designed road, it shouldn't be (though I know that a lot of roads - esp in the midwest - aren't!)

Russ

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Re: To Filter or Not To Filter...
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2012, 11:01:17 AM »
I suppose this must vary a whole lot, depending on the local culture.


Drivers are MUCH more likely here to expect being passed by bikes on the right (since it happens all the time, its where bikes normally are) than on the left (which happens approximately never).  Those drivers who just passed you should be reasonably aware that you are there, since, you know, they just passed you. 
No one would ever expect a cyclist to pass on the left, between lanes.  The one time this would work (in the CA Bay Area) is if you are going faster than the traffic in the right lane, you could take the left lane completely, and pass the cars on the left.

First off, I never do this if traffic is flowing. No point in moving up to the front at a red light just to be passed again. You save maybe 5 seconds riding to the front of the line, but leave a bad impression of cyclists on 10 drivers in the process.

I agree, but only if the lanes are so narrow that passing is a problem.  On a properly designed road, it shouldn't be (though I know that a lot of roads - esp in the midwest - aren't!)

You're right, I would hope that the driver is aware of you once they've passed you the first time! I suppose the difference here in Columbus is that the lanes are not particularly wide, so I would never imagine making a car pass me twice. If there's a chance of traffic moving faster than me, I don't pass and just chill where I am even if it's a little slower than I'd like to go. Like I said, the only time I'll pass is if I know I'm going faster than traffic, so I'd be coming from behind with nobody seeing me anywhere but their rear-view mirror. In that situation, I pass where drivers expect another car to be. Even if that's between my lane and opposing traffic, at least the drivers on my right expect there to be something to their left, whether that's me or cars going the other way.

Different strokes for different roads I guess. I've never been to California and don't know what it's like there.