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...pass on the left. Thank you. 

Tags: cooperation, etiquette, image, safety

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amen!!!!!!!!!

Pass on the LEFT -I'll second that amen!

But only as long as we are only talking about passing other bikes.      I've actually seen some folks expect that bikes should never pass stopped traffic on the right.   Usually these folks are not bicyclists,  but entitled auto-drivers who think that once a bicycle is passed it should never pass them back as they wait behind 20 other cars at an intersection. They hate having to pass us multiple times.  (Cue the trombone: Wah-wah-waaah!)   But unfortunately I've actually heard this argument all-to-often by suburban weekend path-riders on various bike forums.  

The reality of urban bicycling precludes such foolishness. 

I started appending a "good morning" to the "on your left" shout outs. This seems to score me a few karma points on the way to work.

I agree with the pass on the left sentiment...but that also assumes that slower riders are riding to the right side of the path, which in my experience is not always the case. (example: just about anyone riding a Bobby's Bike Rental bike on the Lake Shore Path)

The slower riders don't always ride on the right and often ride in double or triple file.  My usual strategy is to slow to their speed, call to them in a calm voice, and wait until they let me through or by on the left.  

The danger with "on the left" is that while WE may know what it means, not all pedestrians know.   An elderly Pedestrian was killed in DC over the summer on the Washington Old Dominion trail when she moved left and right into the path of another elderly person on a K-Mart special.  The general consensus is that he had hollered on the left, was moving by at a slow speed, she stepped in front of him.  He hit her (slowly) she fell and hit her head and died.    I don't say it to pass anymore because it might be misinterpreted.   (And I admit to passing carefully because, many many years ago, I was passing on a riverfront trail in Iowa City when a bunch of Children ran out in front of me.  I managed to avoid them by running into the lamp post on the side of the trail.  It was that or hit one of them.   Broke my first helmet and still was slightly concussed. Ever since then, I assume that the pedestrian will act against their own interests... another reason I stay off the LFP on the North side during the summer on weekends.... I would spend most of my time stopped....)

+1

Richard said:

I started appending a "good morning" to the "on your left" shout outs. This seems to score me a few karma points on the way to work.

Amen, amen.  I am a slow rider. I ride to the right unless I am passing someone else (almost never :)), but, especially on the LFP and sometimes in bike lanes people pass on the right.  Scares the heck out of me because I don't expect it.  On the other hand, the kamikaze riders who pass on the left don't even phase me unless they brush up against me as they pass.

Nice, Richard!

Richard said:

I started appending a "good morning" to the "on your left" shout outs. This seems to score me a few karma points on the way to work.

I wasn't even thinking of the path (rarely ride it in summer - yipes) but on streets in the bike lane. It's so dangerous and annoying.

Last night a woman passed me (and other riders) on the right in rush hour, then rode through two red lights, including Fullterton/Damen/Elston before I caught up with her again. Erg. We weren't necessarily slower riders than her, she was just riding through every intersection. 

Elliot Bennett said:

I agree with the pass on the left sentiment...but that also assumes that slower riders are riding to the right side of the path, which in my experience is not always the case. (example: just about anyone riding a Bobby's Bike Rental bike on the Lake Shore Path)

From The official City of Chicago Bicycling FAQ:

  • Where in the bike lane should people ride?

Bicyclists should usually ride in the middle. But in a bike lane next to a line of parked cars, bicyclists should ride on the left side of the lane. That way, an opening car door won't hit them.

 

Just to be sure everyone is aware of this, folks should not be riding in the "door zone"  -I've seen other bicyclists on this very site complaining that other cyclists don't ride far enough to the right in similar discussions about passing on the left and the evils of passing on the right.   In Chicago much, if not most, of the bike lanes and "sharrows" are situated directly adjacent to parked cars, and not simply against a curb where the rider could safely be in the right-portion of the bike lane.  

Expecting slower riders to ride in the door zone so that they don't have to pull into a traffic lane to pass them is just plain wrong.    If someone wants to ride faster than other riders then  they are going to have to learn to deal with taking a lane and passing these slower in a safe and sane manner.   And sometimes that means having to wait a bit until it is safe to do this.  Cue the sad trombone: Wah-Wah-Waaaaaah....

David crZven said:

The slower riders don't always ride on the right and often ride in double or triple file.  My usual strategy is to slow to their speed, call to them in a calm voice, and wait until they let me through or by on the left.  

The danger with "on the left" is that while WE may know what it means, not all pedestrians know.   An elderly Pedestrian was killed in DC over the summer on the Washington Old Dominion trail when she moved left and right into the path of another elderly person on a K-Mart special.  The general consensus is that he had hollered on the left, was moving by at a slow speed, she stepped in front of him.  He hit her (slowly) she fell and hit her head and died.    I don't say it to pass anymore because it might be misinterpreted.   (And I admit to passing carefully because, many many years ago, I was passing on a riverfront trail in Iowa City when a bunch of Children ran out in front of me.  I managed to avoid them by running into the lamp post on the side of the trail.  It was that or hit one of them.   Broke my first helmet and still was slightly concussed. Ever since then, I assume that the pedestrian will act against their own interests... another reason I stay off the LFP on the North side during the summer on weekends.... I would spend most of my time stopped....)

I generally don't pass anyone on the right unless it's on the LFP and in the area between Fullerton and Navy Pier where there is an extra 20 feet of path to the right of the bike path that I can use if necessary. I only pass on the right when there are multiple slower riders or pedestrians who are clogging the whole lane and who I believe probably won't listen to me anyway if I call out "On your left." However, out on the streets, when I'm in a bike lane I tend to hug the car side of the lane to avoid the dooring-zone. This has netted me some dopes who will pass me on the right hand side, and as you saw, they're often not really any faster. Many of these unsafe passers are just blowing every light and stop sign and acting like unsafe jackasses. Finally, it's a valid request and a good sentiment, but I seriously doubt many of these idiots are here on the C-link seeing themselves being called out for their asshattery.

"On your left" did not work for me yesterday on the LFP near Belmont as I came up to two fellows riding slowly abreast.  As I moved into the oncoming lane to pass on the left I heard them speaking to one another in a language other than English :)!

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