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POLL:Do we have a right to pass cars on the right at lights?(20 posts)

POLL:Do we have a right to pass cars on the right at lights?PODIUMBOUNDdotCA
Oct 26, 2002 12:35 PM
Do we have a right as cyclists to pass cars on the right hand side at lights? Most cyclists ride down streets at 30 km/h as close to the curb as comfortable which forces motorists to pass us but some cyclists at stop lights/stop signs will whiz by the cars at a red light and move to the very front only to be passed again. I believe this is wrong because it only increases our chances of getting hurt by a motorist hitting us and tends to make people mad at us. The only exception is say in a downtown core where you can move at or above the 50 km/h speed limit so you won't have to be passed again or there is a huge huge line that will take more than a couple lights to get through. Otherwise I feel we should (and do) wait in line just like another car.

Yes and Notremblay
Oct 26, 2002 1:19 PM
I don't believe it is illegal for a cyclist to move to the front of a traffic line at a stoplight. That being said, I don't believe a cyclist should do it unless there is a) enough room; or b) a bike lane. If the road is narrow and the vehicles are too close to the curb, I wouldn't move too far forward.

Ride defensively, as though you are a car. In other words, cover your ass. If it's dangerous, don't do it.
funny you mentioned thisThirtyFive
Oct 26, 2002 1:35 PM
i did it this morning as there was plenty of room ( shoulder was at least a car width). i didnt think much of it until i realized i was blocking anyone who would want to turn right on red. not very polite
Doing so is as bad as blowing through a light or stop sign..Lone Gunman
Oct 26, 2002 2:11 PM
And I really get pissed when I see or ride with other riders that do it. You wouldn't do it in a car, why is your bike any different?
A few good reasons...roadiebrodie
Oct 26, 2002 3:52 PM
Beacause on a bike you don't have the same acceleration as in a motor vehicle. If you are in a group and moving to the front will impede traffic then you need to wait your turn; if alone you don't block traffic then why not do it? Personally if I am training I surely don't want the stop and go effect or I would be doing intervals. I also commute from time to time and believe it or not it takes me less time to ride the 20miles (one way) than it does to drive, rush hour traffic I am faster on my bike if I wanted to be in traffic I would have driven.

just my.02
Passing on Right....Geex
Oct 26, 2002 5:32 PM
Assuming that you're riding in traffic lanes and there's effectively no bike lane or apron such that drivers have to go 'around' you, then it doesn't make sense to me to pass cars on the right just to cut in front of the line at the light. When the light turns green, they are just going to come around you anyway, and you've already come to a stop at the intersection so it's not as though you are trying to retain some momentum. Is there really any difference exactly where you stop, in front of some potentially impatient drivers or back in line? I've no problems waiting a few extra beats to get my wind back....

Several years back I was in the bike lane passing a long line of cars in two lanes approaching an intersection. Before the intersection are a couple of driveways to a parking lot on my right. The waiting traffic left a gap for an oncoming driver to make the left into that parking lot and right in front of me. I got on the binders quickly enough, but still went over his quarter panel... all this right in front of a motorcycle policeman. I bounced right back up with barely a scratch, but the Merlin's fork was folded right up into the down tube. The driver protested his responsibility, arguing with the cop. The cop asked me if I wanted the motorist cited. I told the policeman that if the driver was willing to pay for the bike repair, there's no point in writing him up. The cop said that's okay with him. The driver reluctantly agreed... and welched two days later. I never pressed the issue and decided that if I survive the next one, regardless of the driver's intentions, I'll be much more, uh, insistent.
Yes, and you don't commute do you?Scot_Gore
Oct 26, 2002 5:43 PM
If it's proper for cars to pass a cyclist in the same lane, then, isn't it also proper for the cyclist to pass a car in the same lane. If not, should cars wait behind a cyclist and only pass when able to perform a legal passing manuever by moving into the on-coming traffic lane and moving back upon clearing the rider. I get passed in the same lane, passed through intersections, passed at RR Xings everyday. What happens where you ride (and what color is the sky there ? : )

Practically speaking, what do you expect to happen if you come to a stoplight with 5 waiting cars and you stop as far right as possible to the right (it's the law for a bike) in the 6th position?

My expectation is that car 6 will pull up behind car 5 (with me to the right of it) and when the light turns green he's going by me in the same lane, as will car 7-15 or so. I also expect that since I stopped 50 yards short of the intersection, I might not make this green.

You believe it increases a cyclist risk because they get passed a 2nd time by the cars. In my commute experience, the number of cars that pass me is pretty fixed and dosn't vary much if I make a light or stop at it (and pass the waiting cars). There's always more cars coming behind the waiting ones. Either these cars pass me a 2nd time or their fellow drivers along the stretch of road behind them do it. Either way, X number of cars pass me in Y number of miles.

my two cents

I agreemiko
Oct 26, 2002 5:57 PM
I also think it is safer to stop at the intersection near the crosswalk, than be a sitting duck further back along side the road.
NYS tags 56552 JA, brown half ton Chevy, silver tool locker.tma
Oct 26, 2002 6:03 PM
Monday Oct. 14, Union Street Schenectady NY about 12:30pm. Coming up a long straight street, beeping and gesturing as he went around me the first time. He is car 2 of 2 at a stop light on the mild upgrade when I catch up and I know I shouldn't have done it but I timed the light and went right by as it turned green. Honk, honk, honk behind the minivan leading him out. Van passes, pickup truck pulls up in front of me, swerves tight to the parked cars and slams on the brakes. Good squish try. Sometimes you should go by, sometimes you shouldn't, I guess.

The people in the van following him, clearly not riders, were quite funny when they passed. Driver looking over, shocked, passenger shouting and waving her fist at the pickup!!!
Oct 26, 2002 8:04 PM
This is absolutely correct!

FWIW, I miss commuting on my bike. Some of my fondest cycling memories are from when I commuted every day. My latest employer doesn't have a secure bike lock-up so I'm stuck driving :( is absolutely true and legal for a cyclist to move up to the front of the line at a traffic light. This is especially true for bike lanes. As long as there is space (sometimes one cannot sneak by all cars, which I was alluding to in my first post on this subject), there is no problem with moving to the front.

Think about this: In rush hour traffic, are you going to stop at the end of that traffic line? HELLLLLL no. If I did that, then my commute would be longer. The virtue of riding a bike is that it's faster than the traffic. That is, until I hit the highway.
Oct 26, 2002 6:07 PM
Absolutely nothing wrong with it, nor is it illegal. Blowing stop lights is illegal and tempting death. Personally, I'm lucky enough to ride in areas where the shoulder is wide (usually a bike lane) and I avoid heavily used streets with no shoulder or bike lane. So it's not an issue at all.
Depends on a few things...biknben
Oct 26, 2002 6:33 PM
I commute regularly and deal with a bunch of busy intersections with lights. Most of the roads I ride do not have a shoulder, definately no bike lane, and many times I'm lucky to get a white line.

Every intersection is different and I pay close attention to the traffic flow. Knowing what to expect from cars is important. In most cases, if the light is red and traffic is backed up, I will ride on the right side, up to the front. I make a point of getting up there before the light changes so I don't get stuck in someone's blind spot. When I get there I unclip put a foot down and wait. I make it obvious that I have no intention of running a red. I time the light so I'm clipped in and am just beginning to go as the light changes. In most cases, I get slightly ahead of the cars at first and I get out of the intersection quickly.

That being said, there are times I won't pass and I'll just wait in line. If the light is about to change. If there's only one or two cars waiting and traffic is light. If I don't have room. If cars aren't using signals but look like the may turn right.

I don't know of any law here (NJ) that says I can't pass on the right. As someone else said, traffic can pass me on the left when they are going faster. Why shouldn't they expect me to pass them when I'm going faster.
Yes and no...Miklos
Oct 27, 2002 11:41 AM
The way the laws are written around the areas that I commute, which includes Portland, OR and Vancouver,WA states that you can only adavance on traffic at a light IF there is a separate bicycle lane adjacent to the traffic lane. If there is no bicycle lane, then you are to take the lane and hold your position.
Absolutely NOT (nm)gregario
Oct 27, 2002 3:20 PM
Have fun waiting in traffic (nm)biknben
Oct 28, 2002 7:03 AM
do cars have the right to pass with a double yellow line? nmtrekkie1
Oct 27, 2002 5:56 PM
Here's Minnesota law.Scot_Gore
Oct 27, 2002 7:13 PM
Subd. 4. Passing on the right.
The driver of a vehicle may overtake and pass upon the right of another vehicle only upon the following conditions:

(1) when the vehicle overtaken is making or about to make a left turn;

(2) upon a street or highway with unobstructed pavement not occupied by parked vehicles of sufficient width for two or more lines of moving vehicles in each direction;

I read this to mean if there's enough pavement for two vehicles to pass then it's OK to pass in the same lane. This sheds light on why this is OK on a bike, but not in a car. You can only do it when the two vehicles can occupy the same lane safely. Two cars can't fit in the same lane, but a bike and a car can. That's what makes it OK for a car to pass a cyclist and vice versa.

what if a sign said "No Passing Zone"? nmtrekkie1
Oct 28, 2002 6:38 AM
what if a sign said "No Passing Zone"? nmScot_Gore
Oct 28, 2002 2:20 PM
From a strictly legal POV I bet you could be ticketed for any kind of passing in a "No Passing Zone", from a practical POV same lane passing by cars and bicycles is an acceptable practice in most circumstances.

my two cents

Lane Splittinggrzy
Oct 28, 2002 7:27 PM
California Law addresses the issue of lane splitting with respect to motorcycles. It is allowed according to the CHP:

Can motorcycle riders "split" lanes and ride between other vehicles?

Lane splitting by motorcycles is permissible but must be done in a safe and prudent manner.

If it can be done on a motorcycle then it can be done on a bicycle since the same laws apply.

Just b/c you believe it's wrong to date your buddy's "ex" doesn't mean it's against the law. You should save your "moral values" for yourself and let the rest of us do what the law allows. Ultimately it's no skin off anyone's nose if a bicycle passes people on the right while cars are stopped unless you subscribe to the school that bikes are a nusciance and shouldn't even be on the road. Hey, I think wearing blue socks and brown shoes is wrong, but it's not against the law. Think we should pass one?