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Ass Clown Driver (or Rider?) Your Opinions…

This topic contains 92 replies, has 21 voices, and was last updated by  Val 1 yr.

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JaySherman5000

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Mar 21 2013 at 10:10am #

@jonawebb: I think you are forgetting the often-touted “same rights and responsibilities” clause at the beginning of the PA code concerning pedalcycles. That clause is the one that requires us to obey all traffic controls including (but not limited to): stop signs, traffic lights, lane markings, speed limits, and so on. That clause arguably trumps the “always be against the curb” idea and requires Val to be in one of the other lanes if not turning right.

@Val: If you’re going straight through that intersection, have you considered staying all the way to the left in the leftmost lane? That’s legal on a one-way street. You might have to merge back over to proceed to downtown, but maybe it’s an improvement over possible right-hooks?

Also: “I am looking to find an optimal route through that high ground to Oakland, preferably something North of Forbes by a few blocks.”

Have you considered Centre Ave? I took that way back to Oakland after a hockey game last month and it was kind of nice. The elevation gain is gradual enough that you should be able to find a comfortable gear (assuming your bike has more than one) and spin steadily.


Val

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Mar 21 2013 at 10:27am #

@JaySherman, many thanks for your constructive and helpful input. I will do a map recon and try that on my next jaunt…


jonawebb

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Mar 21 2013 at 10:57am #

@JaySherman, maybe. In any case I wasn’t actually proposing that @Val not proceed straight. I was just saying that that is what the law seems to be saying he should do. The only exceptions listed are for turning left, not for going straight. I guess a lawyer might argue that explicitly listing the exceptions, and leaving out going straight, means that it is something you’re not supposed to do. But I don’t think anyone is actually going to argue that and I would take the middle lane in that case.


salty

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Mar 21 2013 at 11:16am #

Why wouldn’t someone argue it? If you’re not riding in the right lane and some driver runs you over, you can bet their lawyer will try to exploit this technicality to show the cyclist was partially or fully at fault. That’s what makes it so maddening that this was allowed to happen in the first place. Prior to the 4 foot law there was no question you were allowed to be in the “straight” lane (since the clause above that permitted it *did* apply to cyclists) but they changed the language and screwed it up.

What JaySherman said about obeying traffic control devices gives me some hope, since that clearly conflicts with the “right lane” law and hopefully a cyclist’s lawyer would be able to use that. But it would still be way better if the law weren’t broken to begin with.


Steven

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Mar 21 2013 at 4:01pm #

That clause arguably trumps the “always be against the curb” idea

Maybe a judge would see it that way to avoid the absurdity of a cyclists-must-turn rule. But I think it’s a stretch. After all, a driver can’t ignore signs that prohibit a left turn, say, simply because he wants to go that way. He can only go the way the rules permit; they override what direction he might prefer to go in.

So if the must-use-right-lane and right-lane-must-turn rules combine to prohibit going straight, it trumps the cyclist’s desire to go straight. You can’t combine one of the rules with the cyclist’s desire, and say that it trumps the other rule, since there’s a way to follow all the rules.

It would be terrible if the sloppy law provided a loophole for some lawyer. I think Scott (?) mentioned at the time somebody was working on a technical correction to the law (before passage maybe?). Don’t know what happened after that.


jonawebb

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Mar 22 2013 at 9:05am #

I’m thinking it might be possible to set up a bike trap by creating right turn-only lanes at the four corners of a block, with the cross streets being one-way to prevent the left turn option. Cyclists, once entering the trap, would be doomed to forever circle the block. Opportunistic gangs could wait until the cyclists fell over from exhaustion, then steal their fancy bicycles. Or tourists could be entertained by the spectacle of cyclists circling round and round.
Maybe there are natural bike traps already out there.


floggingdavy

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Mar 22 2013 at 10:43am #

I often ride through that poorly laid out part of the northside and do as the OP does: staying right, checking for cars, moving over. I have found that i get less outbursts from drivers by staying to one side or the other and I, too, like to have the option of hopping up on the curb if i need to bail. ive been boxed in here before by taking the center lane and had drivers get aggressive, even though i have the legal right to be there. i found it easier to modify my riding in this area and maybe go a bit slower as sometimes i stop pedaling to wait and switch lanes. anyway…there are a ton of asshole drivers in the allegheny commons area so situations like this are bound to arise no matter what precautions you take.


StuInMcCandless

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Mar 22 2013 at 11:34am #

Really, I don’t see where there’s that much of a problem at that spot. There are four lanes. A little farther back, that fourth lane often has a school bus or six in it. Then it becomes the right-only lane. The second lane from the right (third from left) has the option of going straight or right. I’m usually in that one. Never had a problem. Even if someone wanted to go 40 through there and make a right onto Ridge, they can easily get around me on the right, as the line of buses never stretches that far down.

Granted the design is wanting, but I still don’t see what the problem is with toodling along in that 3rd lane, even at well under traffic speeds. Just take the lane, be visible, be predictable.


floggingdavy

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Mar 22 2013 at 12:03pm #

im not sure what the issue there is either. i know what i ‘should’ do in that situation, but that has left me with more beeps and aggressive buzzings than the stay to one side and then switch lanes approach. it could be bad luck.


JaySherman5000

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Mar 22 2013 at 12:18pm #

@Steven: I think this whole thing went awry when we started reading individual sections of the law by themselves and not taking them in context.

For starters, the section of roadway in question is one-way. It is legal for a cyclist to be all the way to the left on a one-way street. So, to avoid the right turn, a pedalcyclist could ride through that intersection in the leftmost lane.

Second, it is absolutely unsafe to be in a lane marked as turn only and then not make a turn. So, if you intend to go straight through that intersection “as far right as safely practicable” becomes one of the lanes not marked as turn-only. It’s not reasonable to expect cyclists to turn right everytime a right-turn only lane opens up, nor is it safe to expect cyclists to open themselves up to right-hooks. The only safe option is then to move as far left as need be to follow the road on which you are traveling. And that is made legal by the “as far right as safe” language.

Of course, that logic is untested in court, but that’s my armchair-lawyering for the day. A shady lawyer would certainly argue that according to the letter of the law, every cyclist should be making a right turn whenever there is right turn only lane on the road. Hopefully, reason, logic, and safety will win out over that kind of absurd, pants-on-head, illogical argument.


edmonds59

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Mar 22 2013 at 1:10pm #

In a similar enough situation, this may or may not be helpful.
On my commute I encounter several situations where I cross ramps that transition from surface streets to limited access highways. These approaches are somewhat long, perhaps 100 yards of rather vague lane designation, with drivers coming up all ready to punch it into warp.

I stay right-ward even onto the first part of the approach to the ramp until the way is clear, I signal, and I cross at an angle (30 – 45 deg) to the approaching traffic, to the straight-ward lane. This minimizes the amount of time I am exposed to traffic approaching from the rear (X), the slight turn allows me a much better view of approaching traffic, and gives me a larger profile to the approaching traffic.
I don’t know if this fits anyone’s “best practices” guidelines or not, but this is how I’ve done it forever, and it works.


jonawebb

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Mar 22 2013 at 1:40pm #

Yeah, that’s what I would do, and good luck to you — it’s a scary maneuver. I remember when I was riding on 22 in eastern PA and doing this every several minutes. It was terrifying as hell but a very fast way to get closer to Philly (the wind from the passing cars pulled me along).
BTW, I don’t think it’s prohibited by the law — the right lane is not right-turn only, so you can proceed straight, as you’re more or less doing.


Val

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Mar 22 2013 at 9:18pm #

@JaySherman, thanks again for the tip on Centre Avenue. It turned out to start right about where I dropped off the high ground, the other day. I rode it all the way to Oakland today and I think after I get the route down, it’s going to be even more fun.

It was an awesome Spring day, today, with all the blowing flurries.

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