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Riding on the left shoulder of the highway - Any Thoughts?(13 posts)

Riding on the left shoulder of the highway - Any Thoughts?El Barto
Aug 28, 2001 2:33 PM
Every couple of years around here I hear of a cyclist/walker/hitch-hiker getting clipped from behind from an inattentive or drunk driver. When I was a kid my family doctor who commuted every day to a bedroom community outside of town was hit from behind and killed by a hit and run driver. Taking this into mind I ride on the left shoulder facing traffic. This way if I see a car that is behaving erratically I can pull over into the ditch or further on the side of the shoulder as necessary. I never receive any hassle from anybody except other cyclists who judging by the looks they give me must think I?m on something. I always yield to vehicles using the shoulder or approaching via an intersection and never ride on the left hand side when in the city.

I would like your thoughts on this - any lefties out there?
Aug 28, 2001 2:38 PM
We debated this a few months ago; you might try finding the thread.

Riding on the left is illegal and dangerous.

DON'T DO IT! UNLESS!!cycleguy
Aug 28, 2001 8:53 PM
I would agree with most of the posts. Ride with traffic!! In forty plus years of riding I have always said, be the one who is seen. And obey all traffic laws. But sometimes safety is better served against the flow. One example, speed limit is 50+ Multi onramps to a freeway. Try to gage oncoming speed of cars. Or ride againts the flow till normal traffic pattern? Of course no other option is available.

Riding on the sidewalk on a very busy street. Better to go againts the flow. Knowing that you MUST be aware of every driveway, street, etc. No one ever looks to the right before going when driveing a car!! Always stop no matter what the driver says. When you drive against the flow you always stop. Make them go!!
Not a good idea.Spoke Wrench
Aug 28, 2001 2:53 PM
While its true that cyclists get rear ended once in a while, statistically, that kind of accident is rare.

Far and away the most frequently occuring accidents are at intersections. When you ride on the left, at every single intersection, driveway and parking lot entrance, you are coming from an unexpected direction.

Try this experiment. Camp out at a parking lot exit. Watch the people who make right turns out of the lot. How many of them look to the right before they pull out? Trust me, that's not a good place to be coming from.
On quiet country roads, yes.Brian C.
Aug 28, 2001 2:53 PM
Wouldn't ride on the left on busy, city streets. However, in the mornings on roads less travelled, when I'm inclined to be 'taking it all in,' I'll travel in the oncoming lane.
It serves two purposes: I don't have to be hyper attentive for folks coming up from behind; and, for the few cars that do come along, the motorist doesn't have to worry about giving me wide berth.
Of course, you have to pay attention to what's coming toward you, and when a car can been seen down by the vanishing point, I'll prepare to get on the proper (right) side of the road. Also, this strategy isn't good for winding, hilly roads.
This subject was recently coveredmike mcmahon
Aug 28, 2001 2:54 PM
Here's a link to the thread:
P.S.mike mcmahon
Aug 28, 2001 2:59 PM
I almost got taken out this morning by a wrong-way rider. The guy who was about 100 feet behind me came even closer to being taken out. I don't have many pet-peeves, but left-side riders is one of them.
I see dead people... (nm)Retro
Aug 28, 2001 3:08 PM
re: Riding on the left shoulder of the highway - Any Thoughts?VictorChan
Aug 28, 2001 3:15 PM
Riding against the traffic??? Is a big no, no in my book. Unfortunately, I have seen many "cyclists" (not sure if they are real cyclists) do that. I never understand what's the rationale for that.
in the uk it's the only waysteveuk
Aug 28, 2001 3:58 PM
sure we do it that way in the uk - on the left shoulder 4 sure!!
ok yes the cars are also on the left over here!!

seriously though 2 bad things about it.
1) a #head-on# collision means a faster total impact speed so more damage to u if it a collision happens
2) you will probablly end up implicated if a crash occurs.
3) approach speed will be hard to judge by incomming vehicals and they may not move out in time.
4) it's unexpected by car drivers and the unexpected on the roads leads to accidents cause they just don't see you.
5) drivers will not be used to overtaking that side + thats dangerous
ok that's 5 things.

I listen for cars from behind and get in as close to the curb as i can
This means when they overtake they are as far away from u as possible. I also am very careful at junctions and atempt to clear them fast once i see it's safe. it's also essential to listen to what's going on behind/look when about to go round a blind bend. Sometimes u should hold back + stray wide so the car from behind sees you well round the bend then you cut right in before they overtake. Other times u just get round the bend as quick as possibe to get out of that blind spot. never trust an indicator light they might not know it's on.

I feel safe riding always have. the closet shaves have been due to my tiredness/lack of concentration. Also one time i was #inside#
the white line - very close to verge. A truck came up behind + he must have thought i was in a cycle lane with plenty of room. He over took and just then my tarmac ran out!! The line became the edge of the road + i had to move very close to the truck to stop going into the ditch + possibly boucing out of it back onto the road into traffic. Moral of that is never cross the line as drivers mightthink u have a wide cycle lane which means they think they don't need to move out to overtake. Always stay a few inches roadside of white line.
in the uk it's the only wayVictorChan
Aug 28, 2001 4:09 PM
Riding against the traffic in the street is already bad. Just imagine to do it on a freeway. There, you are looking at cars travelling at 60 mph (96kph) or more approaching you and passing you by head-on. I think that's a scarey situation.
Darwinismgrzy mnky
Aug 28, 2001 4:22 PM
That's why they make helmet mirrors.

There are far more reasons not to ride on the left shoulder that to do it, but the biggest reason is that it's illegal in most states. You want respect from the autos? Then earn it.
Thanks for the replysEl Barto
Aug 28, 2001 6:24 PM
I'm new to the forum and had not realized that this topic was discussed a while back - thanks for the link.

Maybe I should of stated I ride on the left only on rural highways, I live on the prairies so there is no such thing as a winding road (or hills for that matter) - basically you could put your car into cruise and fall asleep for 20 minutes highway's are so straight and flat.

I'm not sure about the arguement about getting hit from behind vs. head on. If I'm going 30 mph and the car/truck that hits me from behind is going 60-70 mph I'm dead anyways. I would never ride up a hill (ie. blind to cars coming in my direction) on the wrong side so if the terrain I'm riding in is hilly I will ride on the right side always (not go back and forth between right and left). And again I never ride in the city on the left - I take my lane and keep up with traffic.

Again thanks for the responses and the differing opinions.