The Chainlink

Sorry if a discussion like this was already started, but I couldn't find a recent one. 

 

I'd love to hear people's opinions on passing people in the bike lane.  This summer I've encountered an endless number of people that pass either on the right (with no notice) , or VERY closely on the left (without announcing themselves).  I don't mind if people pass on the left without ringing their bell or saying on their left, as long as they are in the next lane or a few feet away.  While I do enjoy the feeling of my heart leaping into my throat, I prefer to save that feeling for things like: riding roller coasters, surfing and boogie boarding, and watching scary movies, not for when another cyclist buzzes me in the bike lane during my morning commute.  Its commuting not bike polo!

 

I only mention it because I let another cyclist know proper passing etiquette this morning, and was soundly berated for even mentioning it.  I know we are supposed to be "all in this together," but that is not going to stop me from calling out someone when they are being unsafe.    Truth is, a collision with another cyclist hurts too.

 

 

 

 

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I don't mind people passing on the left with or without notice, as long as they aren't cutting me off, but I have had the experience with a couple of commuters/racers that seemed to think it was fun to pass on the left and right at the same time (I haven't seen them in a few weeks since I changed my commute time to be a bit later).   This wasn't on the lakefront path, either, but in the bike lane on Wells. Every morning, these two guys would be racing down the bike lane, and without a word, I would have one guy on the left and one on the right of me, trying to pass each other at the same time as they were passing me up.  Lucky for me (and them) I usually maintain a pretty straight line when riding. I feel for those of us who have to deal with the jerks out there each day but I just believe that is part of living in the city.

Here's some great thoughts on the subject from Lovely Bike:

 

http://lovelybike.blogspot.com/2010/10/bike-lane-etiquette.html

 

Ethan, Active Trans

It may be too nuanced for a bullet point, education brochure, but it would be nice if more bicyclists understood the concept of "right-of-way;" i.e. what it is, when you have it, when you yield it. Most bike/car conflict I see is all about this single issue. Oh, and please don't stop in the right turn lane. You are no longer traffic. You are a traffic obstruction, and you are preventing cars from making a right turn on red.

Active Transportation Alliance said:

We say this a lot in media interviews, "there are good people and bad people out there, no matter how you get around...we encourage everyone to respect others, obey the laws and stay aware while traveling."

 

We're working on a cool new education brochure, "Everyday Biking." (hopefully available later this month).

 

Here's some of our biking in traffic tips, which definitely apply to riding with other people on bikes.

 

By operating your bike according to the basic principles of traffic, you will be easier for motorists to see and accommodate.

  • Ride with traffic, not against it.
  • Obey all traffic laws, signs and signals.
  • Communicate with other drivers and signal your intentions using hand signals.
  • Don’t ride on the sidewalk (it’s illegal in Chicago if you’re 12 years or older)
  • Ride with confidence and know when and how to “take the lane.” Always scan over your shoulder and signal before moving to the center of the lane.
  • Wear brightly colored clothing, use appropriate lighting and reflectors at night in conjunction with reflective clothing to maximize your visibility. It’s the law (625 ILCS 5/11-1507[a], [b]. Chi. Municip. Code. 9-52-080)

Thanks,

Ethan Spotts, Active Trans

Definitely, I should have clarified that this was draft copy, more of what we provide to reporters who ask about bike traffic safety. The final "Everyday Biking" piece will be much more awesome.

 

Ethan, Active Trans

Thanks Ethan.  The Lovely Bicycle post is perfect.  I don't mind people passing me on the left as long as the enter the traffic lane to do so.

Active Transportation Alliance said:

Definitely, I should have clarified that this was draft copy, more of what we provide to reporters who ask about bike traffic safety. The final "Everyday Biking" piece will be much more awesome.

 

Ethan, Active Trans

I agree that it is impolite to block the right hand turn only lane IF it is marked as a right hand turn only lane. Cars are not given an automatic right to turn on a red light.  They are allowed to turn on a red light if traffic is clear and there are no pedestrians present and it is safe to do so. I do not block the right "turn only" lanes, but if it is a one lane street I do not see why I need to get out of the way to allow someone to turn right on a red light if I am waiting for the light to change. I only mention this because not long ago I had a very impatient taxi driver honking and yelling at me to move because he just "had to turn right" on a red light- although there were plenty of pedestrians present and walking across the street, as well as cross traffic, and it was only on a single lane, not a right hand turn lane. 

Kevin C said:
It may be too nuanced for a bullet point, education brochure, but it would be nice if more bicyclists understood the concept of "right-of-way;" i.e. what it is, when you have it, when you yield it. Most bike/car conflict I see is all about this single issue. Oh, and please don't stop in the right turn lane. You are no longer traffic. You are a traffic obstruction, and you are preventing cars from making a right turn on red.


There's a woman who rides in the Wells bike lane who has repeatedly passed me on the right during the same ride. I tried to mention that she might want to consider passing on the left with some signal, but she completely ignored me. Apparently other bikers just don't exist to her. Sometimes riding a bike reminds me of driving a car; all kinds of behavior can be expected.
Melanie said:
I don't mind people passing on the left with or without notice, as long as they aren't cutting me off, but I have had the experience with a couple of commuters/racers that seemed to think it was fun to pass on the left and right at the same time (I haven't seen them in a few weeks since I changed my commute time to be a bit later).   This wasn't on the lakefront path, either, but in the bike lane on Wells. Every morning, these two guys would be racing down the bike lane, and without a word, I would have one guy on the left and one on the right of me, trying to pass each other at the same time as they were passing me up.  Lucky for me (and them) I usually maintain a pretty straight line when riding. I feel for those of us who have to deal with the jerks out there each day but I just believe that is part of living in the city.
Nobody likes to get shoaled at a stoplight. I think a better way to demonstrate "urban cycling ediquette" is to wait your turn behind the cyclist who arrived before you and pass when it's clear.

Craig S. said:

Also, if a rider stopped at a light in front of me is riding single speed or doesn't know enough to shift to a smaller gear inch, like in a car, than I have no problems stopping in front of them as I know I'll be faster off the line and through the intersection before they wind up their legs fast enough to stay upright.

Time for a Bloody Mary with my breakfast BLT.

Shoaling is one of my biggest pet peeves.    Somehow I'm less important than them and they feel the need to bud in line in front of me while I wait at the light.  Invariably not only do they shoal on by to the front but then stop in the crosswalk and block peds access to crossing the street safely. 

 

I don't feel many (or even most) bicyclists are any less inconsiderate than the typical car driver.   in fact many are much worse.

 


Kelvin Mulcky said:

YES!

Gabe said:
 If there is a biker stopped at the light, stop behind them.
Just relax. Go slow. Not every ride needs to be a cat 6 hammerfest. =D

Craig S. said:

I couldn't agree more, Kevin.

 

I ride out of the door zone, period, and have no problems taking a lane to overtake a slower rider; I will not pass on the right side, typically.

 

Also, if a rider stopped at a light in front of me is riding single speed or doesn't know enough to shift to a smaller gear inch, like in a car, than I have no problems stopping in front of them as I know I'll be faster off the line and through the intersection before they wind up their legs fast enough to stay upright.

 

Time for a Bloody Mary with my breakfast BLT.


Kevin C said:

On a gross basis, and certainly on a percentage basis, there are more rude cyclists in this town than rude automobile drivers.
I thinks this pertains to the OP and figure it's been a while. Just curious:

Now that its spring (feels like Summer after this winter) and there are a lot more bikers, I've been trying to figure out the etiquette. Today on Elston and yesterday on 18th, I passed multiple riders. I come to a stop at a red light and they ride through it. I then get the green and pass them. Each time i pass i say on your left. It felt creepy playing leap frog and each time they would catch up and overtake at a red - they never said anything. What's the deal? For those that go through reds (not judging in this venue) does the leap frogging bother you?

Last week-an older gentleman lycra'd up was somewhat close to me along the north branch trail on a roadie drop bar looking thing. I was going home on my commuter with 40# in my panniers doing roughly 14-18 mph. I had been biking previously before passing him about 20 miles. At one of the road crossings, he passed me while I came to a complete stop and said nice pace. I couldn't tell if he was trying to be really caustic sarcastic or sincere. If my pace is too slow, what do these road Lycra bikers do? I don't know about these hand gestures (palm on the back?). He seemed very focused on his riding and when i do tempo training runs, it can be hard to breathe let alone shout out something like on your left.

So leap frogging creepy? But what about those who come to stops versus those who don't? If in the front on a trail and stranger danger bike gets too close for a few miles--in the road bikie tribe, is the one in front supposed to say/do something?
I thinks this pertains to the OP:

Now that its spring (feels like Summer after this winter) and there are a lot more bikers, I've been trying to figure out the etiquette. Today on Elston and yesterday on 18th, I passed multiple riders. I come to a stop at a red light and they ride through it. I then get the green and pass them. Each time saying on your left. It felt creepy playing leap frog and each time they would catch up and overtake at a red - they never said anything. What's the deal? For those that go through reds (not judging in this venue) does the leap frogging bother you?

Last week-an older gentleman lycra'd up was somewhat close to me along the north branch trail on a roadie drop bar looking thing. I was going home on my commuter with 40# in my panniers doing roughly 14-18 mph. I had been biking previously before passing him about 20 miles. At one of the road crossings, he passed me while I came to a complete stop and said nice pace. I couldn't tell if he was trying to be really caustic sarcastic or sincere. If my pace is too slow, what do these road Lycra bikers do? I don't know about these hand gestures (palm on the back?). He seemed very focused on his riding and when i do tempo training runs, it can be hard to breathe let alone shout out something like on your left.

So leap frogging creepy? But what about those who come to stops versus those who don't? If in the front on a trail and stranger danger bike gets too close for a few miles--in the road bikie tribe, is the one in front supposed to say/do something?

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