Multi-lane trafficky uphill, approach?

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Jul 4 2014 at 7:06am #

Yesterday for the first time I stayed on blvd of the allies across the bridge and up Panther Hollow Rd. through schenley park. It felt like it saved good bit of time over dumping over to the sidewalk in south oakland and dealing with the crappy (and often car filled) sidewalk, the pedestrians especially in the area of the bridge and playground, and having to wait at the interchange and ride slowly though (since there’s no curb cut on the opposite side sidewalk and the sidewalk is higher relief to the road now since the repaving), and then loosing all momentum and having to do a silly looking and questionable jughandle maneuver to get from the left side sidewalk onto the left hand lane climbing Hobart going to Beacon. It was really nice not dealing with all that crap.

The lanes in that section feel too narrow to me to share, I don’t know if others have a different opinion there. I usually tell myself that if there are multiple lanes I should be able to claim one without guilt anyway. And I worked hard to keep moving a good pace and was treated well. My rear view mirror fell off ways back so I didn’t get a view but for the one glance back, but I did have the sense that there was still a short queue of cars behind me unable to get over. Some amount of queuing behind me is probably inevitable riding that route at rush.

Does anyone have experience specifically here? Other anecdotes to share about multi-lane uphill situations, when you claim the lane, when you share, when you inconvenience yourself to avoid, are also good.

I generally believe in what I’d call a balanced approach. I try to avoid inconveniencing others but don’t consider an easy lane change something worth entering in the calculus. But this probably wasn’t an easy lane change. So I usually avoid, but I think it’s reasonable and fair to ask how much it gets me for how much it costs them and allow for a balance. I know I could start tracking my riding again and get a pretty good idea how much time this saves me but I’m less sure I could even credibly estimate how much time it’s costing them given all the traffic variables… nobody makes it though on the first light by the Bartlett playground intersection normally, there’s always a backup, and it was a slightly shorter backup yesterday I think from my influence so I don’t think it’s as simple (or as high a cost) as you’d guess looking at length of the caterpilar I’m leading up the hill and multiplying by its life span and then crediting me back proportially to my speed as a ratio of ambient traffic speed.

Does anyone do traffic modeling software with cyclists in it? I’d love to run some simulations, pure vehicular vs. idaho stop, filtering vs. not. Anways…


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Jul 4 2014 at 7:16am #

If it’s two lanes in your direction of travel, you have every right to claim that entire right lane. That’s what multiple lanes are for. You and cars cannot share a single lane, i.e., they’d have to cross the lane separation to get past you anyway, so don’t give them the idea they can even try.

Take the lane, without apology.

Position within that lane: Left tire track. If you get honked at, practice pointing over your head with your right hand, telling them to get over, that you have no intention of pulling to the right.

As I said in my blog post about Brownsville Road a few days ago:

* Few drivers understand what life is like on a bike, so do not appreciate that the safest spot on the road for a cyclist to be is fully in the lane. Hugging cars can get you doored. The side of the road is usually full of loose gravel that can cause us to fall, broken glass that can blow a tire and cause us to fall, carrion that can be big enough to dump us, as well as other hazards such as downed branches, and drain grates with slots in line with the path of travel. “As far to the right as is practicable,” the wording of the law, means “as far to the right as can be safely put into practice”, and that DOES NOT mean “as far right as possible at all times”. It means we may legally “take the lane” and keep it until such time as we may safely pull to the right to release that lane to you so you can get by us easier. If this means you drive 14 mph behind us for a while, then so you do. Treat us like you’d treat a backhoe traveling down the street. They would be taking the lane, same as us, and going the same speed. We are not holding up traffic, it is that traffic is going 14 mph right there. We are traffic. Understand that, accept that, and life gets easier for everyone.


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Jul 4 2014 at 1:51pm #

If there’s more than one lane in your direction, I would take the lane regardless of the backup behind me. If I saw a chance to move out of the lane onto the shoulder to provide relief and knew I could come back into the lane when I needed to, sure I’d do that. If there was an emergency vehicle with siren/lights on anywhere in the gaggle behind me, I’d get out of the road. But otherwise: I’m a bulldozer, I’m an Amish buggy, I’m a horse-drawn carriage, I’m a bicycle and I belong in the lane.

(Also, Ben, you are still so much my hero for even caring about the greater good)


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Jul 4 2014 at 3:00pm #

Cheering section appreciated.

But to be perfectly clear about this guys, my motivation for trying riding up Panther Hollow Rd. directly was my own convenience rather than avoiding annoying pedestrians on the way up or even motorists by my weird jughandle maneuver at the end (though that maneuver definitely sucks).

And I’m very far from being a pure vehicularist (I filter sometimes, more when impatient and cross when it’s clear almost always). So it’s not like I can really stand on that principle. And a small part of my rationalization for doing these things (espcially crossing when clear) is that it reduces contention, the amount of delay motorists face by my being in the road (the larger part is absence of harm).

But anyways, if that side of the slope is even a little slippery then I have to look at things that I do on the road that create more contention a little more critically or just admit to myself that I’m a bit of a jerk on a bike, but hey, I’m not going to kill anyone, so what do you want from me mr. murderous motorist?

So to rationalize this… and oh I do love to rationalize, I’m looking for back of the envelope here, how do I tell how much of a cumulative delay I’m actually creating? Anyone have anything more than the caterpillar length/duration/fractional speed method?


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Jul 7 2014 at 1:36pm #

I live just accross the bridge in South Oakland.

I take the Panther Hollow Blvd if I am in a hurry to get up Sq Hill sometimes. Less now than before.


Because I was in a passenger in a SUV with a moderately sucky driver and we passed some joggers on the Blvd there. From my seat in the car, the situation looked dangerous. Although, not dangerous to me at all when I was in the SUV. Although the driver was not great, there are plenty of worse drivers around.

I try to support my right to take a lane by taking a lane, there are limits to the risk I want to take..


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Jul 7 2014 at 3:29pm #

I particularly loathe that section of Panther Hollow Rd towards Squill and the transition/connection to Hobart—>Beacon. I actively avoid that uphill due to the poor sight lines for drivers on that rise and the speedway type driving the roadway design encourages. If I had no other choice, I would take the lane there and run lights, but that’s a garbage section of road, for sure.


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Jul 7 2014 at 8:17pm #

Focused so far on the what’s reasonable from a personal and common good standpoint, but yes, let’s not avoid safety as a topic.

Climbs that disappear around to the right on speedways do make me nervous.

In that light it’s a little strange that I would ever have even tried this. I just got so fed up, and the lane restrictions that slowed the bridge area (and everything before) made it seem quite a bit less scary. At least drivers wouldn’t be STARTING up the hill at 45-50mph.

When I glanced back around the interchange debating whether to panic dump to overlook, two cars that had crossed the bridge behind me were still behind unable to merge to the left hand lane. That made me nervous about their level of impatience, but in retrospect, they were probably my helpers.

Still a long way to go from there climbing wise, but the section bending around to the right is relatively short so once you’re not run over there, you’ll probably make it.

I may do thing again, I may not. Probably, if nothing else to measure how much time it saves, but not guaranteed. In terms of visibility, was riding the clown bike which I think counts for a little something and quite consciously stood a little earlier than I might otherwise… for max speed yes, but also max visibility. I wasn’t super-conscious of lane position, but if I do again, I’ll probably ride left of center, at least around the rightward bend to improve sight lines. Might also do the day-glo vest stuff. For sure would use the blinker if thinking about doing again since that’s always on me.

Of course, could change my mind mid-course, dump at the interchange, or do something even weirder, dump at the interchange but then quickly cross back left to merge back on. Would solve the climb disappearing to the right problem pretty well, but I’m wary of “negotiating” that merge with traffic. Might be a maneuver to take if traffic is very light and there are no helpers?

Dunno, just trying to piece this out in a sane way, if there is sanity to be found here (and maybe there isn’t).

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