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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok. Road goes North and South. Only one side (West) has bike/wide shoulder for bikes. The other side of the road is not safe for bikes, and the road itself is too busy/fast for bike traffic in the travel lane. So bikers have to share the wide shoulder/bike lane. Which is the correct way to pass?

South bound stays to his right and North bound (heading into traffic) stays to his right ala typical traffic?

or the other way around such that the person heading 'into' traffic is furthest away from the on coming traffic. ?.

thanks
 

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you should travel the same direction as traffic. Bicycles are traffic. We often get our own lane otherwise you opperate under the same rules as other vehicles.

ride in the bike lane the wrong direction and you could be ticketed.
 

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dahowe said:
Ok. Road goes North and South. Only one side (West) has bike/wide shoulder for bikes. The other side of the road is not safe for bikes, and the road itself is too busy/fast for bike traffic in the travel lane. So bikers have to share the wide shoulder/bike lane. Which is the correct way to pass?

South bound stays to his right and North bound (heading into traffic) stays to his right ala typical traffic?

or the other way around such that the person heading 'into' traffic is furthest away from the on coming traffic. ?.

thanks
White stripes separate traffic flowing the same direction. Yellow stripes separate traffic going in opposite directions. If bikes are in the the bike lane going the wrong direction, they need to be ticketed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ok I will be more clear. There is only one place for bikes to ride on this busy 40 mph lakeside road. And that is the west side, in a wide shoulder/bike lane. There are no other options as there is no shoulder on the other side road and riding in the travel lane is not an option. Most travel south with the flow of traffic, and the northboud bike lane is on the other side of the lake. But given the houses etc, it is a reality that there will be local riders heading north at times. And for those on very high moral ground, and view the world in black and white, having them go in the correct direction to the other side of the lake is not always practical because it can add oh, 50-60 miles on to your ride. So we have this reality at times when bikes come together going 20-25 mph.

I am just curious if the two bikes approach each other, one northbound and one southbound, should they both bear right as normal, or is there an issue with the northbound buy bearing right and be right next to head on traffic.

Thanks for your thoughts on this particular and possibly unique issue.
 

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dahowe said:
Ok I will be more clear. There is only one place for bikes to ride on this busy 40 mph lakeside road. And that is the west side, in a wide shoulder/bike lane. There are no other options as there is no shoulder on the other side road and riding in the travel lane is not an option. Most travel south with the flow of traffic, and the northboud bike lane is on the other side of the lake. But given the houses etc, it is a reality that there will be local riders heading north at times. And for those on very high moral ground, and view the world in black and white, having them go in the correct direction to the other side of the lake is not always practical because it can add oh, 50-60 miles on to your ride. So we have this reality at times when bikes come together going 20-25 mph.

I am just curious if the two bikes approach each other, one northbound and one southbound, should they both bear right as normal, or is there an issue with the northbound buy bearing right and be right next to head on traffic.

Thanks for your thoughts on this particular and possibly unique issue.
"...or is there an issue with the northbound buy bearing right and be right next to head on traffic." Yes, that is the issue and in my opinion you don't do it. You ride in the traffic lane on the correct side of the road with the 40mph traffic. - TF
 

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A lot of the roads around here are 35-55 mph country lanes with no shoulders. We ride on them all the time. You shouldnt be going the wrong way in a bike lane.
 

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You were clear the first time and everyone seems to understand exactly what you mean. However, the answer remains the same. No one should ride the wrong way, regardless of how inconvenient it is to ride on the right side of the road. It is illegal to ride a bicycle against traffic on the wrong side of the road. Period. No exceptions. It's also very dangerous.
 

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The answer is very simple, which others have given. One other comment--you (the OP) talk about there being "no other option." In fact, you do have options. Technically speaking you have a right to use the northbound lane just as any other vehicle does. But if you don't think it is safe enough, don't ride on that road at all. If you don't like that option, then take the issue up with the appropriate officials and advocate a northbound bike lane.

Just to emphasize what others are saying, do not ride against traffic. I ride alot on a nearby road that has a bike lane only on the southbound side and have had a few near collisions with knuckleheads who use the lane going north. The thought of a head-on makes me cringe, especially if there is traffic going by at the same time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks all. In my 15 years of riding on this particular road, I have never seen anyone in the traffic lanes heading north, ever. Full and constant 40 + mph traffic and zero shoulder. Lane, white line, crash...I will check with local message boards for their response to the particular roadway in question.

Based on this boards results, folks who live near and around this urban lake could never ride, lol; which of course is not an option. Hence, the need to bend the 'standard' perfect world rules. Thus the oncoming situation happens. Thanks again however for the input. Appreciated.
 

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dahowe said:
Thanks all. In my 15 years of riding on this particular road, I have never seen anyone in the traffic lanes heading north, ever. Full and constant 40 + mph traffic and zero shoulder. Lane, white line, crash...I will check with local message boards for their response to the particular roadway in question.

Based on this boards results, folks who live near and around this urban lake could never ride, lol; which of course is not an option. Hence, the need to bend the 'standard' perfect world rules. Thus the oncoming situation happens. Thanks again however for the input. Appreciated.
"Based on this boards results, folks who live near and around this urban lake could never ride,..." No, we would just ride in the proper lane. - TF
 

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TurboTurtle said:
"Based on this boards results, folks who live near and around this urban lake could never ride,..." No, we would just ride in the proper lane. - TF
Or avoid that street altogether if it's so bad? That's prolly what I would do...
 

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dahowe said:
Ok. Road goes North and South. Only one side (West) has bike/wide shoulder for bikes. The other side of the road is not safe for bikes, and the road itself is too busy/fast for bike traffic in the travel lane. So bikers have to share the wide shoulder/bike lane. Which is the correct way to pass?

South bound stays to his right and North bound (heading into traffic) stays to his right ala typical traffic?

or the other way around such that the person heading 'into' traffic is furthest away from the on coming traffic. ?.

thanks.

dahowe said:
Thanks all. In my 15 years of riding on this particular road, I have never seen anyone in the traffic lanes heading north, ever. Full and constant 40 + mph traffic and zero shoulder. Lane, white line, crash...I will check with local message boards for their response to the particular roadway in question.

Based on this boards results, folks who live near and around this urban lake could never ride, lol; which of course is not an option. Hence, the need to bend the 'standard' perfect world rules. Thus the oncoming situation happens. Thanks again however for the input. Appreciated.
I think it is a good idea to have this discussion locally with experienced cyclist who are actually familiar with your situation. Because, just based on what you wrote in your original message, it is very clear to me - and obviously many others - that the bike path should be one way, with the traffic. If you want to go the other way, you should either ride with traffic in the other lane, or find a different route.

A couple of points. AGAIN, without really knowing the street, I have to say that I would in no way be inhibited from riding in the lane of a 40 mph road. I'd keep far right as much as possible, but I've ridden for many decades in city traffic in those circumstances. But I don't know the road in question and it could be impractical.

The way you describe the bike lane, is that in my mind's eye, it looks like the kind of bike lane that is more or less an extension of the shoulder or is part of the shoulder itself. From what you've written, it doesn't appear that there is any physical barrier (such as a curb, grass strip, etc.) between the traffic lane and the bike lane. It APPEARS that there is simply a white line between the traffic lane and the bike lane - not a yellow line. Please correct any thing that's wrong because this understanding is critical to the comments you've received - and which I agree with.

Two way traffic on a bike lane whould always follow the same general rules as traffic. You keep to the right when you pass oncoming traffic. IF you were to ride two-way on this sort of bike lane, and followed the normal and proper rules of the road (keep to the right) you would create a VERY unsafe situation. The bike traffic going against the flow of the car traffic, in keeping to the right, would therefore be riding right next to the traffic lane, going AGAINST car traffic. This is against every known rule of the road for car and bicycle traffic. It is very dangerous.

To avoid this dangerous situation, you would have to ride contrary to normal rules of the road on the bike lane - you would have to stay to the left instead of the right. This would be very confusing and would likely cause big problems among cyclists.

Because of this I - and the above commenters - really doubt that this bike lane is intended to be two-way. Our opinion - based on the way you describe it - is that the bike lane should be one way, in the same direction as car traffic.

UNLESS there is something in the physical lay out that you have not described properly, something that actually provides more separation or a physical barrier between cycle and car traffic.

I would be curious what you find out when you discuss this with local cyclists or transportation officials. Please post back and tell us what you find out, and please let us know what the rationale is in terms of what I and others have written.

Thanks and good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Camilo said:
The bike traffic going against the flow of the car traffic, in keeping to the right, would therefore be riding right next to the traffic lane, going AGAINST car traffic. This is against every known rule of the road for car and bicycle traffic. It is very dangerous.

To avoid this dangerous situation, you would have to ride contrary to normal rules of the road on the bike lane - you would have to stay to the left instead of the right. This would be very confusing and would likely cause big problems among cyclists.
Ok you have hit on the issue. unlike most of the responses that chose to change the question (what is legal, what is right etc etc etc) rather than deal with the issue of the actual question, I appreciate you attempting to answer the actual question asked.

Thanks, I will keep you all posted. I just ran into this situation for the first time where it appeared to be confusing between myself and another rider. So I was curious what the troups do when they encounter this. Obviously, everyone seems to live in a world where everything moves along according to the rules everyday. My dog's name is Toto, maybe I have a chance to go there sometime.

BTW if one were to ride in the lane northbound, I expect that traffic would back up for a half mile or so behind you as there is no way around you with out either pushing you off or crossing the yellow, both of which will result in very bad endings. And during rush hour (or rush 2 hours) folks generally are not too happy to begin with... Ride on
 

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I was driving out of the church parking lot two weeks ago. I checked for cars both ways and no cars were coming. I was about to pull out and saw this bicycle rider that appeared from the right side just in time and stepped on the brake. I wanted to yell " Stop going the wrong way you #$%$#% idiot!!!!" but I had just attended a mass so I didn't say anything.
 

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From what you're describing, unless the "bike lane" is separated by a barrier from the main road, that lane is ONLY for bikes going that direction, and bikes going the opposite direction would be required to ride in traffic on the other side. I'm sure that's not the way many people use it, but that's what the law says. Point this out to your local town board-they need to either put in a divider or make a lane on both sides.
 

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dahowe said:
Ok you have hit on the issue. unlike most of the responses that chose to change the question (what is legal, what is right etc etc etc) rather than deal with the issue of the actual question, I appreciate you attempting to answer the actual question asked.

Thanks, I will keep you all posted. I just ran into this situation for the first time where it appeared to be confusing between myself and another rider. So I was curious what the troups do when they encounter this. Obviously, everyone seems to live in a world where everything moves along according to the rules everyday. My dog's name is Toto, maybe I have a chance to go there sometime.

BTW if one were to ride in the lane northbound, I expect that traffic would back up for a half mile or so behind you as there is no way around you with out either pushing you off or crossing the yellow, both of which will result in very bad endings. And during rush hour (or rush 2 hours) folks generally are not too happy to begin with... Ride on

It's not so much a question of rules as it is a question of simple safety. I don't know how wide your bike path is, either. For all I know, it's the width of a lane of traffic, or has a dashed line down the middle, indicating cycle traffic in 2 directions.

Here in Boston, when there are bike lanes, they're about 3 feet wide. give or take. I've seen some that are 4 feet wide, but in either case, the result is the same. Going the wrong way on that bike path will force one of the riders to ride very close, if not into, the traffic that you've described. It's not so much a question of rules or theory. It's a practical reality that it's dangerous, to you, or to the other riders, because one of you is going to get nudged closer to speeding cars.

I'm not saying it doesn't happen here, too. But these riders get no quarter. There's simply no room to, and they're usually pinheaded college nimrods with their seats way too low, no helmet, their bikes don't move in a straight or predictable fashion... and to top it off, they're riding in a way that will force someone out into traffic. They're wrong, plain and simple.

That sounds very judgmental and moralistic, which is not my MO. So I'll put it another way. Cars are big. Cycles are small. And any other rider who decides to risk my own neck is naughty in my eyes, and unworthy of my love. I'm not going to complicate matters, I'll stop and let him go around me (towards traffic... I'm not going to hold the line for someone else.) but I'm not going to say he's in the right. It really is a simple case of survival in some cases.

If you're asking what the "rules" are, or what the proper etiquette is, it's very simple. Ride in a way that doesn't endanger the other riders, or yourself. If that means finding an alternate route, then find an alternate route. If there are no other roads at all in the area, then I guess you're stuck with two other options.

-Continue to endanger other riders. Maybe your bike path is wide enough to accommodate 2 lanes of bike traffic, in which case, hey, fine. I do understand that this may be the most practical route for whatever reason, but not knowing where you are, or what road it is, I have no idea.

-Read up on local laws regarding cycle riding. Get a safety vest, get in shape, and take that north bound lane. If traffic backs up, then traffic backs up. I'd rather let them wait then risk someone else's skin.

In either event, I suggest you find out if there are cyclist advocacy groups in your area, and see what they can do about your problem. I've seen many bike lanes that were clearly painted in somewhere, but weren't thought out. Bike lanes that dead end in an odd intersection, where there's no clear safe or designated path for the cyclist. Bike lanes that actually cross lanes of traffic to make way for a turning lane. And it sounds like in your case, a bike lane that doesn't have a corresponding mate. It's clear that not all city planners are really thinking things through, and that's where the advocacy groups come in.

In the event that you continue to ride that way, if someone is forced to veer into traffic and they get hit, it's entirely possible you'll have a lawsuit on your hands.

I'd like to write a light and fluffy post, I really would. But there are too many posts in here already about cyclists being mowed down by automobiles. And maybe I'm way out of line, maybe this is just how things are done in your city, and there are piles of people riding against traffic on this busy street that you describe. If that's the case, then yes, I'd see what your local forums have to say. Talk to local bike shops, too, I'm sure this is something they hear about or deal with regularly. See if any of them know about local advocacy groups, too.
 

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dahowe said:
Ok you have hit on the issue. unlike most of the responses that chose to change the question (what is legal, what is right etc etc etc) rather than deal with the issue of the actual question, I appreciate you attempting to answer the actual question asked.

Thanks, I will keep you all posted. I just ran into this situation for the first time where it appeared to be confusing between myself and another rider. So I was curious what the troups do when they encounter this. Obviously, everyone seems to live in a world where everything moves along according to the rules everyday. My dog's name is Toto, maybe I have a chance to go there sometime.

BTW if one were to ride in the lane northbound, I expect that traffic would back up for a half mile or so behind you as there is no way around you with out either pushing you off or crossing the yellow, both of which will result in very bad endings. And during rush hour (or rush 2 hours) folks generally are not too happy to begin with... Ride on
I really don't understand your sarcastic Wizard of Oz references. The comments you've received are very reasonable and based in real world cycling experience and knowledge.

You need to get off this verbal analysis and disagreeable sarcasm and do two things:

First - answer the questions you've been asked about the bike lane itself: How wide is it? Is there any indication - in the bike lane itself - that it is intended to be two way traffic (signs, yellow dividing line, etc.) What is the separation between the bike lane and the traffic lane? Is it a white line? Is it a yellow line? Is there a physical divider? Please answer these questions and/or post photos!

Second - you need to ask this question of local cycling club, local expert cyclists, and traffic officials. It seems silly to ask such a specific local question on an international forum, especially since you haven't done everythng you can to clarify the situation.

You really have done nothing to help clarify the situation, but have asked a question of people who may or may not really understand the physical lay out involved. Then, when they give answers you don't agree with, you get sarcastic and critical of them.

If you ask questions in forums like this, you need to be a good faith participant, not just fishing for answers you like.
 

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I ride on a few roads with no shoulder and fairly high speed traffic. It's not my favorite situation, but I deal with it. I also try to stay as unobtrusive as possible.

Nothing annoys me more than when a biker is travelling the wrong way in a bike lane. I also think that it's more dangerous than riding on a road with no shoulder.

If it's the case where local rules apply, and 2 way traffic is a must, I suppose I would consult with the local authorities to clarify what is the correct protocol and make that public knowledge with signs. Sounds like a road I'd go out of my way to avoid.
 
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