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Question re: riding on a 5-lane road(6 posts)

Question re: riding on a 5-lane roadJim Lukens
May 5, 2001 12:37 PM
Where I live they have been expanding the main road from 2 to 5 lanes. I expanded my normal ride route today to include about two miles of this road. They haven't finished it yet, but they have all the blacktop on, and for about a mile of this section they have the outside lanes blocked off to cars with those orange barrels. No problem on that part, just ride on the far side of the barrels. But eventually I reached a point where all five lanes are open. If you ride around Asheville, NC you'll know that they don't put shoulders on the roads around here. Actually, this road has a curb running alongside it. So if I need to get off the road in some spots, there's really nowhere to go. So, I got the bright(??) idea of riding down the center turning lane rather than dealing with traffic in the far right lane.
Was that a stupid move on my part? Am I better off staying in the traffic lanes or trying to deal with someone slowing down and using the middle turning lane?
I'd appreciate your opinions.
re: Question re: riding on a 5-lane roadLC
May 5, 2001 2:21 PM
I almost got creamed by a car coming the other direction on something like that. Won't try that again!
Claim the right side of the right lane, it's your Right!Jim A
May 5, 2001 2:53 PM
You should use the center turning lane only for turning, just like the other vehicles. It's unsafe riding in that lane and you might piss off the drivers. You should exercise your right to ride in the road. The safest way to ride those bigger roads is to stake your claim to the far right lane. Ride straight and steady and stay about 1 to 3 feet to the left of the painted line. You have every right to be there by law. When cars are parked in the right lane, stay in a straight line to the left of the parked cars, and don't weave in and out of areas where there are no parked cars. When there is a good stretch of clean shoulder, it's polite to move off the right lane and use the shoulder.
re: Question re: riding on a 5-lane road4bykn
May 5, 2001 4:16 PM
Here in Illinois riding in the center turning lane is illegal if not turning left, I would assume similar laws where you hail from. You have the right to be in the right lane, use it!
re: Question re: riding on a 5-lane roadRich Clark
May 5, 2001 5:12 PM
First, it's probably illegal to use the center lane for thru travel. Second, it's really dangerous. It's common for cars turning left from side roads to do "two stage" turns when the traffic from their right is too heavy: first they turn left into the center lane, then they merge right into the tru lanes. Of course, that first stage will take them right into you if you're there.

You have a legal right to be in a travel lane, usually specified in the traffic code as the rightmost lane. As long as you hold a steady line so that vehicles approaching you from behind can predict where you'll be when they pass you, you should be OK.

It sure does sound like nobody was being the voice of bicycle advocacy when this particular road widening was planned, however.

RichC
re: Question re: riding on a 5-lane roadCurtis
May 6, 2001 7:38 AM
I use two roads like this on my daily commute and have found that the best approach is to take over most of the right lane. I have found that riding near the right edge only invites cars to try and squeeze by me, resulting in some near misses that I wasn't comfortable with. Now, I ride closer to the center of the right lane, thus forcing cars to give me plenty of room as they pass. There's no reason you shouldn't be able to safely use that right lane when traffic has a way to get around you.

If you think I'm nuts, try it yourself. Ride near that curb and see how close the cars get. Then ride near the center of the lane and see how far away they are.