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Riding on the Left(18 posts)

Riding on the Leftfiltersweep
Apr 24, 2003 5:04 AM
I don't usually get worked up about such things... well maybe just a little?

Anyway, I live near a lake (Harriet for the locals here) that has a one-way road running counter-clockwise. There is parallel parking here and there on the right, and numerous roads interesect (but do not cross, due to the lake in the middle). It is quite popular with road bikes as it connects with other decent routes.

Anyway, I'm heading home, riding on the right when some hammerhead on a Cannondale with aerobars (seems that is the ride of choice for this sort of riding), blows through a series of stop signs riding on the left side of the road (presumably so he does not need to bother with stopping at any signs, since the road never crosses because the lake is there).

The problem is, as I am passing him on the right, he is (or is it me?) fully blocking traffic, since the road isn't wide enough for a car to split two riders (one on the left, one on the right). This seemed to annoy the pickup truck that was following. The trouble was, I needed to pass him a few times, since I stopped for the stop signs, while he ran them on the far left.

To add to the confusion, there is a segment on the opposite side of the lake (probably less than a mile long) that is a designated bike lane on the road, that is inexplicably on the left side of the road, which maybe leads some people to assume that it is OK to ride on the left.

Am I better off just riding on the left? I use that road enough to know that probably 40% of people ride on the left, but they generally appear to be idiots, freds, tri-dudes (you know: shirtless, on a Y-foil, wearing a loin cloth)... ;) It just defies all my common sense, except where the bike lane is marked. Each of the past two days I've encountered a lefty (they were also on aerobars)- and again , this isn't in the bike lane.

Am I being self-righteous? I guess I've ridden enough miles to know better than to provoke motorists- especially during rush hour.

Also- not to over generalize, but what is it with people who ride Cannys with aerobars anyway?
Very strange...biknben
Apr 24, 2003 5:18 AM
That seems strange that they would put the bike lane on the left side. If people ride on both the right and left it will always cause problems and confusion. The partial bike lane on the left is what started the confusion. Rather than switching from side to side when the get to the bike lane they just stay left. Then blowing a stop sign isn't a big deal (although stil wrong).

I'd be interested to hear a local's explanation. If I were there and saw a park official or cop I'd just stop and ask. Ultimately, I think they need to put up some signs to indicate to bikes and cars what is right.

As for the tri-geeks on C'dales: C'dale is one of the few manufacturers that make an affordable multi-sport bike. Since they are cheaper, you see more of them. Sure other companies such as Fuji and QR offer them but it would be much easier to find a C'dale dealer.
Very strange...filtersweep
Apr 24, 2003 5:44 AM
There are many left bike lanes, and a few middle of the road "suicide" bike lanes around here- presumably to either keep bikes from getting doored, or to keep them away from right handed bus stops in the more urban areas... it isn't that uncommon, although I do hate them- people do not look for bikes on the left, and people seem to give me less room when I'm on the left than on the right (in a bike lane).

As for the lake- there are stop signs both where the bike lane starts and stops, so there isn't any need for darting across traffic to switch sides.
It's safer to ride on the left.bnlkid
Apr 24, 2003 5:57 AM
Around Lake Harriet where it one way and cars parked on the right, it is safer to hug the curb on the left side. I do that on the north side of the lake as I come from Minnehaha and go north along the designated bike lane on the left side. I used to ride on the right side, but people just don't look when they exit their vehicles. When you have to avoid numerous door openings and be worried about a car behind you, you will find it much safe to just stay on the left and let the cars pass on the right. People see cars better than they see bicycles.

PS I think I saw you on the Cedar Lake Trail Tuesday. You still riding the black LOOK?
That was mefiltersweep
Apr 24, 2003 6:14 AM
Minnehaha? Last year that was more of a weekend route, but now that I live a block off the creek I've started taking it after work to go to the river- it seems to be infested with very hostile drivers during rush hour (on the stretch that is a narrow two-way, not a boulevard). It is almost easier to go downtown to ride the river.

Give me a yell next time you see me- I saw the Klein guy a few days ago.
I ride the trail by Lake Nokomis.bnlkid
Apr 24, 2003 6:44 AM
Riding on Minnehaha is not too bad. I've ridden it enough to know when it's good to ride on the street. Over by Nokomis, I hop on the trail until the top to the little hill an then hop back on the rode when it splits into a parkway. I generally only ride that route when I do an easy spin, so I stay on the trail most of the time anyway.

I like riding the Cedar Lake Trail now as it goes all the way to 169 and back down the other trail by Excelsior Blvd.(can't remember the name of the route). It is completed so you can ride back to the lakes without getting into busy traffic. Hopefully by the end of the summer, the trail will go all the way to Hiawatha. I figure there are a couple of good years left before the trails are fully discovered and become crowded.
I always ride on the leftMJ
Apr 24, 2003 6:56 AM
but then again I live in London

there's no excuse for riding against traffic except impending natural selection
NOT against trafficfiltersweep
Apr 24, 2003 7:02 AM
keep in mind, these are one way streets... and people are at least riding the same direction as traffic.
3 pointsSteve_0
Apr 24, 2003 7:56 AM
1. without knowing your area, there seems to be a slight engineering problem with this road system. Why does a contained loop have the stops? Seems the connecting roadways should have the stop.

2. Regardless, thats no reason to break the law. If this presents such a serious and potentially dangerous problem, contact the authorities. Im sure they'd be happy to issue violations.

3. Not to overgeneralize, but what is it with 'roadies' who tend to ride in large groups, tying up traffic as they ride 3-4 abreast, overdressed in their tacky, clownlike muilti-colored tights? ;)
The stops are 2 way.bnlkid
Apr 24, 2003 8:04 AM
The loop is pretty much self contained, but in order for other cars to enter on a nice weekend(traffic is heaviest), the stop signs are necessary. These are 2 way stop signs(if it wasn't a one way street, they would be considered 3 way stops). Riding on the left side of this street is a little safer than the right. The roads around a few of the city lakes are one way with parking on the right side. People tend to not paying attention when exiting their vehicles, so it makes riding on the right a little dangerous.
re: Riding on the LeftRich_Racer
Apr 24, 2003 10:18 AM
By the sounds of all that strangeness of road and bike-lane arrangements, I think I would ride on the left too! Maybe you should do it and see what it feels like?!
re: Riding on the LeftScot_Gore
Apr 24, 2003 10:32 AM
On that road, I don't think riding on the left is such a bad idea. Bikes can travel at speed with the cars there and, as you say, the risk of dooring is very real.

If I was you I'd make tri-guy pass you on the right at the stop light by claiming the left side. He's passing at the stop sign right. That put's him into the lane and dealing with the merging traffic that he's failing to yeild for.

An endo over the left side quarter panel will probably be a better behavior modification prompt than a ticket from a park policeman.

Scot
re: Riding on the Leftfiltersweep
Apr 24, 2003 11:54 AM
OK, so this isn't entirely clear cut...

What liability would a rider have riding to the left if he were hit by a car?
re: Riding on the LeftRich_Racer
Apr 24, 2003 1:09 PM
Well if there's a bike lane their, put there by the council, or whoever, surely you're covered??

Probably wouldn't be covered if you jumped a stop-sign though!

p.s. Wasn't the racer type described as a hammerhead, not a tri-guy. Where did tri come into it?!
Sorry, You're correct "Hammerhead" not "Tri-guy" (nm)Scot_Gore
Apr 24, 2003 2:38 PM
re: Riding on the LeftScot_Gore
Apr 24, 2003 2:48 PM
Ok here's what I think:
You've got this MN law one in your head, Right?
Subd. 4. Riding on roadway or shoulder. (a) Every
person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as close as
practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except
under any of the following situations:

But remember condition 3:

(3) when reasonably necessary to avoid conditions,
including fixed or moving objects, vehicles, pedestrians,
animals, surface hazards, or narrow width lanes, that make it
unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge.

I think any officer or judge would understand your fear of getting doored along that strech. It's certainly on my mind every time I find myself on the lake parkways.

Scot
True enoughfiltersweep
Apr 24, 2003 5:25 PM
-the main saving grace about the entire situation is that people actually drive the speed limit or slower, and 25 is posted, so half the time I can take a lane without slowing anyone down- today, with the wind at my back, I was coasting at the speed limit stuck behind a "slow" SUV. It is such a cruising stretch.

BTW- I have been taking Harriet to ride around the West side of Calhoun to Dean Parkway quite comfortably to hook up with the Kennilworth- but taking the greenway to Bryant to head back, then swinging over a few blocks on the "King's Highway" (how did they ever come up with that name- we all know it isn't MLK) to the road by the Rose Garden to hook back up to Harriet- much better than taking Dean back South- or worse, taking Calhoun Parkway.
King's HighwayScot_Gore
Apr 25, 2003 4:30 AM
King's Highway (Dupont Ave S near the Rose Gardens and Lakewood Cemetary)was named after William S. King, owner of the vast Lyndale farm located in south Minneapolis.

Source Tim Holtan amatuer Mpls historian with a web site
http://www.tholt.com/

Scot