Road Bike, Cycling Forums banner
1 - 11 of 11 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, I'm taking advantage of 'Bike to Work Week', figured I'd try commuting a couple of days this week. My route is 15 miles, about 10 miles narrow rural roads, 5 miles of wider roads and downtown. Left the house a little after 8, so most people in a hurry to get someplace, have got there.

Had no problems, except for one item that could've been ugly. At the intersection in question, I'm inbound, come over an overpass, with three lanes in my direction. About a quarter mile down, the right two lanes bear slightly right. The leftmost lane veer left as it splits into two lanes. About 100 yards up, a stoplight, where it will cross the oncoming lanes that will become the outbound two lanes. Hopefully this makes sense.

I stay to the right the entire way down the hill. About 50 yards from the split, I check my helmet mirror, look over my shoulder, it's clear. I signal and take to the left third of leftmost lane (that will split). About 10 yards from the split, I look in my mirror, and see a car at the top of the hill behind me. I get to the split, where it becomes two lanes (it doesn't just add another lane to the left, it widens a bit then gets white dots down the middle). As the lane expands and I approach the dots and I'm a slow bike, I start veering to the right to take the slow lane. I hear squealing tires and look in my mirror...the car that was at the top of the hill is pretty big in my mirror, and he's slightly braking and swerving to the right. He's wanting to pass me on the right, since that's his approach and he's blasting to beat the light. I hold my line, about six inches to the left of the center dots, since I don't know what he's going to do, continue his line or pass left. He swerves out to the right, back in, and keeps going. No harm, no foul, but spooky.

Questions...
1- At any point did I use poor judgement, or is it just one of those things?
2- What's the best approach to the described intersection (left turn lane gradually expands to two lanes)...keep to the right of the leftmost lane, so that I'm in the right lane when it evolves to two (my thoughts on not doing that are that it makes it ambiguous to cars if I'm thinking about going left or right), or keep to the left through the intersection (my thoughts on that are that fast traffic is going to try to blast left, and there'll be me being slow...not safe)?

Thanks,
Steve
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1,418 Posts
Ideally, the guy should have driven behind you until it was safe to pass and you should have been in middle of the new lane until the lane was completely separated, then move to your right (assuming there's enough room in the new lane).

But there will always be crappy drivers and I'm of the 'better safe than sorry' mindset so that I stay alive. If you're a relatively slow rider and that's a tough intersection, I'd stay on the right and ride to a crosswalk (at the stoplight?) and cross the intersection to get over to the new road you want to be going down. Even if it means walking the bike or going a couple extra blocks or you have to backtrack somewhere, it's safer until you build up more experience and more of a feel for riding that route and the traffic patterns.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
11,555 Posts
Even if it means walking the bike or going a couple extra blocks or you have to backtrack somewhere, it's safer until you build up more experience and more of a feel for riding that route and the traffic patterns.
Good advice. I no longer commute, but when I started commuting I realized quickly that there are times when you just need to give up any or all of your vehicular rights and ride creatively, even if it's not always strictly within the law. Studying a good map and laying out a more residential route for yourself also helps, but with the mushrooming of one-entrance, cul-de-sac subdivisions, this is becoming ever more difficult.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
14,776 Posts
IMO, you goofed a little.

I start from the principle that in our traffic patterns, the normal thing is for slower traffic to keep right, faster traffic to pass on left. So bikes stay to the right generally, as long as the lane is wide enough to permit a safe pass. Where lanes are dividing, if the right lane isn't going your way, you get into the rightmost lane that is going your way (e.g., a left-turn lane), and stay on the right side of it if there's room.

If I understand your situation, you went to the LEFT side of a left-turn lane, forcing overtaking traffic to pass, unnaturally, on the right, and also forcing you to cross back through a traffic lane to get back to your natural position on the right. The problem was compounded where the lanes divided, because now you have to cross TWO lanes. I would have stayed on the right side of the turn lane, a little left of the divider to indicate my intention to go left. When the lanes split, go with the right one.

You expressed the basic principle right here: "(my thoughts on that are that fast traffic is going to try to blast left, and there'll be me being slow...not safe)".
 

· Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Here's the satellite off Google...

Here's the satellite off Google, thanks for the suggestion. I don't remember seeing the little dots at the beginning of the lane expansions...I think they've eroded from cars going over them.

http://www.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=Rock+Quarry+Rd.+%26+S.+Raleigh+Blvd.+Raleigh,+NC&ll=35.772213,-78.615074&spn=0.023816,0.066605&t=k&om=0

From the far right, I don't think there's a crosswalk there. I think instead of following Rock Quarry to the left, I'll follow S. Raleigh to the right, then take a left on MLK at the next intersection. I really like getting a little urban on the downtown route, so I'll probably not attempt to find something before crossing the beltline, as that'd be neighborhood streets.

Looking at the satellite, I probably could've (and should've) stayed to the far right until much closer to the intersection but I like to communicate early what I'm doing, and it was substantially clear of traffic at the time.

I think you're right, I should've stayed to the right of the third lane, through the entire intersection. I just like staying closer to the edge (which except for this one is always to the right), in case I need to bail. Even though I was turning left, that feeling of wanting an edge was compounded here...I think the size of the whole thing just made me feel like I was out in the middle of an interstate or something.

So, in the future, best to go on up to the next intersection. If I DO take this turn, stay to the right until closer to the intersection (mainly, pass the confusion of expanding lanes, so that everybody's looking at two left turn lanes clearly marked). Then, when safe (and look long enough to make sure they're not doing about 70), get to the right of the rightmost left lane. Good POA?

Thanks!
Steve
 

· Banned
Joined
·
1,013 Posts
Judging from the picture use extream caution!!!!

This is one hell of a dangerous intersection. I'd stay right all the way up, and then cross over perpendicular, and continue to stay on the far right. You may want to just stop, and do a manual cross over.

Good luck, and be safe.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1,418 Posts
Huh, that is a strange intersection. There's a crosswalk there, but not from where you're coming from. Only from the median to the other side? It's like a crosswalk from nowhere.

But yes, you should stay in the right side of the lane 2nd from the left, so you're turning with the cars and on their right hand side. It doesn't appear that the lane splits, which would make it harder (if that lane split and cars either went straight OR left, you'd want to be in the middle of the lane so the car doesn't go right - into you- when you go left). It's 4 lanes before the intersection, then 2 lanes go each way, correct?
 

· Registered
Joined
·
164 Posts
I would try to find another route. There's really no safe way to handle this situation. It's easy to tell you what your *legal* rights are...but that generally doesn't matter much in one-off situations like this. Even if a different route takes 15 minutes more, it would be worth it for the added safety (and no doubt reduced stress).
 

· Registered
Joined
·
14,776 Posts
That's a creepy intersection.

How fast is the traffic? It looks like the kind of place you'll find cars at >50mph at times. I think your idea to go to the next intersection is the wise choice. There's a much more normal left-turn setup there, and full crosswalks if you opt to bail out that way. Looks like it would cost you less than 1/2 mile in added distance.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top