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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Michigan and bike safety

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    As many cyclists are probably aware, Michigan seems to be open season on cyclists. I want to ask for some advice in certain traffic situations.

    Drivers here will pass and encroach into an oncoming lane in a Do Not Pass zone or around curves and up hills. My husband will take the lane and make a "wait" gesture.Then we always scoot over and allow cars to pass when it's safe. I am concerned that given the attitudes people have where I live, which is fairly rural, that someone will just be mad he's "telling them what to do" and just run him down. My husband seems to think at least most of the drivers will realize that we can see and hear oncoming traffic. 9 times out of 10 they are appreciative of us warning them and then sliding over for them to pass safely. I'm just worried about that one who doesn't like to wait. He has actually been harassed by a driver when he did that.

    Not all who wander are lost

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2013
    I do like the bicycle equality statement that every lane is a bike lane but for me more important is the need to understand how to deal with any kind of situation that a traffic route presents and do so without the conflict or an attitude of entitlement which could cause harm or especially anger. I’d also rather take responsibility for my safety than leave it in the hands of a cell phone using, french fry eating or otherwise distracted or angry driver.

    I'll take a lane in urban riding with no bike lane and where I can keep up with the flow or when a turn necessitates it. Btw city alley’s ftw!!!....we are lucky where i live to have a lot of marked wide bike lanes and dedicated bike paths though. In mountain/rural areas (with one exception being long straights with little traffic where i'll move to the middle of the lane for visibilty reasons and move over well before a car gets too close) I keep as far to the right as possible, especially on roads with a lot of anxiety producing blind curves and the occasional car….the other exceptions being the occasional downhill where I’m going 20 to 40+ and there isn’t any one in back of me or on a hard climb with no traffic where I need to zigzag parts of it.

    A daytime LED rear blinky, helmet mirror, bright colored jersey and awareness ftw!!!!!!!.....and patience is a virtue…
    Last edited by rebeccaC; 08-27-2016 at 10:56 PM.
    ‘The negative feelings we all have can be addictive…just as the positive…it’s up to
    us to decide which ones we want to choose and feed”… Pema Chodron

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2013
    north woods of Wisconsin
    I take the lane at intersections for safety's sake and sometimes when urban traffic is so slow that the cars are moving at a crawl. Otherwise, I stay to the right and in those tight spots, as far right as possible, even to the point of riding the shoulder if need be (and if safe to do so), even though I am within my legal rights to take my share of the lane. It's a matter of doing whatever it takes to be safe.

    I share your concerns about your husband taking the lane in those situations. Knowing motorists like I do, you will have your share of drivers who's first reaction will be anger and impatience and, with your husband out there in the middle of the lane, he's way too vulnerable. Also, I've lived in mountain country and have seen drivers (usually locals) blindly pass on mountain curves many times. sometimes passing two or three cars to do so. He's an accident waiting to happen, out there in the middle of the lane on blind curves. He really is.

    Besides, the law states that bicyclists should ride as far right as possible when there is enough room in the lane to share. His intentions are good, but he's actually breaking the law if there is room to share.
    Last edited by north woods gal; 08-27-2016 at 06:42 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Columbus, IN
    Quote Originally Posted by north woods gal View Post
    Besides, the law states that bicyclists should ride as far right as possible when there is enough room in the lane to share. His intentions are good, but he's actually breaking the law if there is room to share.
    I don't know if the law in Michigan states this or not -- but keep in mind every state has different laws. Indiana's laws say nothing about riding as far to the right as possible. The only thing Indiana law says is that riders shall not ride more than two abreast except on lanes and paths marked exclusively for bicycling use. Limiting people to two abreast implies that you'll be riding to the right, but certainly two abreast takes up room on narrow roads. Should you always ride two abreast just because you can? Nope. Especially not on those windy country roads.

    I often wonder about this question as well -- I'm worried about getting passed when there isn't room on a blind hill or curve so I'll ride far to the right but I do wonder if, when I do that, I'm facilitating passing and contributing to the problem. I get passed a lot more closely than I often feel comfortable -- and I wonder if I took the lane if I would cut down on that too. I've actually had the mirror on my handlebars clipped and taken off by the rearview mirror of a SUV, and I've been within inches of being hit by a truck trailer (I think some people with big cars or trailers don't have a clue how wide they really are).

    Then again, we have a whole lot of angry drivers (almost always in huge trucks) that have fun passing us as close as possible. I usually err on the side of making sure I don't get hit, hope that if I'm being passed on a blind curve and it causes an accident that it misses me, and I stay to the right.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    northern Virginia
    If drivers are crossing the center line to pass then I assume there is no shoulder and the lane is substandard width, meaning not wide enough for a motor vehicle and a cyclists to be side-by-side safely. In that case I absolutely take the lane, and yes I do find that motorists give me more space when they pass me. If I hug the right side of the road then they are more likely to pass without crossing the center lane, which means coming too close to me. I ride more miles in Maryland than in other states, and their law requires you to ride as close to the right as practicable except when the lane is substandard width. (They also prohibit riding two abreast if you are impeding traffic.)

    I also seek out roads with less traffic and avoid roads with 50mph speed limits and no shoulders, even though it is technically legal to ride a bike and take the lane on those roads. But I am cycling for recreation and exercise, not for transportation, and I tend to stay out of cities and crowded high-traffic suburban areas because I already have enough stress in my life.

    I should add that the type of unsafe passing Becca is seeing -- crossing the center line in no passing zones, on curves and on hills -- is something I also see a lot of. People around here have gotten the message that they have to give 3 feet of clearance when they pass a cyclist, but many don't get the part about waiting until they are sure it is actually safe to pass. I don't know the solution to this, since it seems like common sense to me to avoid a potential head-on collision, even if it means driving slowly for a few seconds.

    - Gray 2010 carbon WSD road bike, Rivet Independence saddle
    - Red hardtail 26" aluminum mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle
    - Royal blue 2018 aluminum gravel bike, Rivet Pearl saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver 2003 aluminum road bike
    - Two awesome worn out Juliana saddles



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