The Chainlink

Scolded while riding the North Shore Century several weeks ago?

While riding the North Shore Century, I came up to a red light with several other riders, and there were motor vehicles stopped at the intersection. Many of us passed the vehicles on the right, to get closer to the intersection, and as I was passing a minivan, the passenger started to talk to me. He claimed to be a cyclist, and admonished me that passing vehicles as I was doing is against the law. I didn't know what to say, except that it probably wasn't the worst or most dangerous offense in the world. To be clear, no one ran a red light or stop sign, we just passed the long line of stopped cars, and then stopped at the intersection.


So I've been thinking about it since, and I have no idea what he was talking about. I read over the Illinois bicycle rules of the road, and I couldn't find anything I thought was relevant. Was he bullshitting me, or do cyclists break the law when they pass stopped cars at an intersection?



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 625 ILCS 5/11-704.  When overtaking on the right is permitted


   Sec. 11-704. When overtaking on the right is permitted.
              * * * * * *

(b) The driver of a 2 wheeled vehicle may not pass upon the right of
any other vehicle proceeding in the same direction unless the unobstructed
pavement to the right of the vehicle being passed is of a width of not less than
8 feet.

(c) The driver of a vehicle may overtake and
pass another vehicle upon the right only under conditions permitting such
movement in safety. Such movement shall not be made by driving off the
roadway.

I always give myself the what-if-I-were-a-car test. If I were in a car and passed a long line of other cars on the right, because I had enough room to comfortably do so, I know of no rule of the road that tells me that I am breaking a law in Illinois. Had that passenger been in a two-foot wide auto, or a motorcycle, he would have done the same as you. He was just frustrated, because he had to wait in line and you did not.

Is there a cyclist here who never passes a line of cars on the right to get to the front of the intersection? I do it when I have room to safely do it, which is less than eight feet, for sure. If I don't have room to safely do it on the right, sometimes I pass on the left, again, if I can safely. Otherwise, I just stay behind and wait my turn. But I doubt any cyclist just waits when there is less than required eight feet of room.

We all had to wait. The red light was red for a long time, and there was no way to safely blow the light, as the opposing highway had multiple lanes of fast-moving traffic, and there was a train on the other side of the intersection (the reason for our long red). It was much safer (and legal) to just wait at the light, but I see no reason I should have had to wait behind twenty cars.

Gene Tenner said:

He was just frustrated, because he had to wait in line and you did not.

Am I missing something, or are these two sub-sections contradictory?  I presume that (b) was written with motorcycles in mind, as it would appear to prohibit bicycles passing in bike lanes.  But what situation is (c) meant to cover?

This is a good topic.  I try to resist the temptation to pass stopped traffic on the right, and never do so if there's a narrow gap anywhere along the line. Passing in these situations can put you in a situation to be right-hooked.

But I'm not clear on the legality of the move.



Lisa Curcio said:

 625 ILCS 5/11-704.  When overtaking on the right is permitted


   Sec. 11-704. When overtaking on the right is permitted.
              * * * * * *

(b) The driver of a 2 wheeled vehicle may not pass upon the right of
any other vehicle proceeding in the same direction unless the unobstructed
pavement to the right of the vehicle being passed is of a width of not less than
8 feet.

(c) The driver of a vehicle may overtake and
pass another vehicle upon the right only under conditions permitting such
movement in safety. Such movement shall not be made by driving off the
roadway.

I watch for turn signals or other indications of an impending right turn; but also, if traffic starts moving before I get to the front of the intersection, I often take the lane behind the car in front of me, until traffic is moving fast enough to safely pass me. (Edit: Usually, that is, until after we've cleared the intersection.)

David Holmquist said:

Passing in these situations can put you in a situation to be right-hooked.

But I'm not clear on the legality of the move.

Agree these two sections are totally contradictory!

David Holmquist said:

Am I missing something, or are these two sub-sections contradictory?  I presume that (b) was written with motorcycles in mind, as it would appear to prohibit bicycles passing in bike lanes.  But what situation is (c) meant to cover?

This is a good topic.  I try to resist the temptation to pass stopped traffic on the right, and never do so if there's a narrow gap anywhere along the line. Passing in these situations can put you in a situation to be right-hooked.

But I'm not clear on the legality of the move.



Lisa Curcio said:

 625 ILCS 5/11-704.  When overtaking on the right is permitted


   Sec. 11-704. When overtaking on the right is permitted.
              * * * * * *

(b) The driver of a 2 wheeled vehicle may not pass upon the right of
any other vehicle proceeding in the same direction unless the unobstructed
pavement to the right of the vehicle being passed is of a width of not less than
8 feet.

(c) The driver of a vehicle may overtake and
pass another vehicle upon the right only under conditions permitting such
movement in safety. Such movement shall not be made by driving off the
roadway.

By the way, thank you, your honor!

Lisa Curcio said:

 625 ILCS 5/11-704.  When overtaking on the right is permitted


   Sec. 11-704. When overtaking on the right is permitted.
              * * * * * *

(b) The driver of a 2 wheeled vehicle may not pass upon the right of
any other vehicle proceeding in the same direction unless the unobstructed
pavement to the right of the vehicle being passed is of a width of not less than
8 feet.

(c) The driver of a vehicle may overtake and
pass another vehicle upon the right only under conditions permitting such
movement in safety. Such movement shall not be made by driving off the
roadway.

I don't think they are contradictory.  (b) applies to 2-wheeled vehicles.  (c) applies to any vehicle.  Most cars could not safely pass with only eight feet of pavement available, at least before we got Smart cars, Minis and Fiat 500s!

The Illinois Vehicle Code does not define "2-wheeled vehicles".  It seems to sometimes refers to bicycles in the context of vehicles.

sssshhhh.

Will V. said:

By the way, thank you, your honor!

Lisa Curcio said:

 625 ILCS 5/11-704.  When overtaking on the right is permitted


   Sec. 11-704. When overtaking on the right is permitted.
              * * * * * *

(b) The driver of a 2 wheeled vehicle may not pass upon the right of
any other vehicle proceeding in the same direction unless the unobstructed
pavement to the right of the vehicle being passed is of a width of not less than
8 feet.

(c) The driver of a vehicle may overtake and
pass another vehicle upon the right only under conditions permitting such
movement in safety. Such movement shall not be made by driving off the
roadway.

I have skipped the posts that document the law.  As a lawyer that may seem silly. In these situations I will alwyas do what is safest regardless of the statutes.   Here's why.  I mostly agree with the driver. When I come to an intersection where there will be a vehicle making a right turn I always want to line up on that vehicle's left side. This way the car turns right, I go straight and everybody lives happily ever after.  I often come to stop lights in the city and see bikes go to the right of the cars when we know that there will be right turners. If I see a signal I always go to their left.  You have to use your common sense at each intersection to see what is the safest and most practical thing to do.  Given the discussion on another thread of a cyclist being killed by someobdy who was turning right its a good time to warm riders that you can often be safere on the left when you know somebody is going to turn. If the vehicle was not signaling a right turn he had no reason to be upset that you were there.  That's his penalty for failing to signal. 

 

So, depnending on whether the vehcile was signaling for a turn he may or may not have had something to say.

 

Also, when I am the first person at the light. I do not  stop at the far right. I sit smack dab in the middle of the lane.  I make room for a right on red. The person behind me  isn't going anywhere, he/she has a red light and cannot go straight.  Once I was with a group of EBC riders at a stop light in Morton Grove. We lined up toward the middle of the lane to allow a driver who came up to the light to make a right turn.  One of the local gendarmes drove up and gave us a hard time. We were mostly diplomatic but were insistant. He wanted us all the way to the right. We pointed out to him that we were being more responsive to the motor vehicles and allowing traffic to pass in a better way.  We told him that he was wrong and should study the law.  It got to a point where the argument almost went from the academic to worse.  Fortunately, the light changed.

I find it typical that he started by saying that he was a cyclist.

Whenever someone talks to me about what I do wrong when biking they preface it by saying that they too ride a bicycle.

If he really rode a bicycle he would understand that cyclists sometimes make decisions that are not entirely legal, but either safe or done for your own safety.

It's like those Christian conservatives making a point that they too have gay and lesbian friends, right before they emphatically deny them the right to marriage equality.

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