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Coming soon on Cops...(6 posts)

Coming soon on Cops...Dave Hickey
Oct 22, 2003 9:44 AM
I had a lengthy discussion with a motorcycle officer last night. I ride on a road that has a very wide shoulder. This road is very busy but it's safe because of the shoulder. The only time I have a problem is when I come to an intersection, the shoulder becomes a right hand turn lane. I usually ride up to the light and stay on the very left hand side of the right turn only lane. This way I can let cars make a right turn on red and I'm not blocking the cars that are going straight. Right after the intersection the lane becomes a shoulder again and I continue on my ride.
Last night I'm sitting at the light and a motorcycle officer pulls up next to me in the right turn only lane. He asks if I'm turning right because I'm in the right turn only lane. I ask him if he has time to discuss this further so we both pull off the road. I tell him my reasons for staying on the far left side on the lane so I don't block traffic in either lane.
His issue was me riding up the shoulder while all traffic was stopped at the light. He said for me to be legal, I should have stopped just before the shoulder becomes the right turn only lane and waited there for the light to change green. I explained that I'd block traffic once the light turns green and I was just trying to be safe and courteous to drivers. He actually agreed and told me to enjoy my ride. We shook hands and went on our way.
Good job, that is where I ride, if not right on the line. nmSpunout
Oct 22, 2003 9:48 AM
I don't know your state laws, but his advice would have beenKristin
Oct 22, 2003 9:53 AM
wrong in Illinois. Here, you should take the first non-turn lane to your right. I commute on a street just like the one you are describing. When I come to the turn lane, I ride just to the left of the dotted white line which divides the regular lane from the turn lane. Once I reach the intersection, I pull into the intersection so cars can pass me on the left. If the light is red, I stop just inside the turn lane, since turners can get around me no problem and I'm not blocking the regular lane. Here, that is the legal way to handle it.
Same here in IA.bimini
Oct 22, 2003 10:43 AM
Take the first non-turn lane and keep to the right. If there is a line up I normally get in line behind the cars in the right wheel rut when stationary and then get further right when the traffic is flowing again and I'm clear of the intersection. I have had problems getting pinched into the curb after getting through the intersection, so I stay out a little in the traffic flow until I have a curb.
Congratulations on making a new convertbigrider
Oct 22, 2003 11:30 AM
The thing that impressed me most about this story is the way you handled the situation. You were courteous, explained your logic, were operating your bike in a safe manner, and you took the time investment to educate a non-cyclist.

What you didn't do:
Call the cop an idiot
Claim the cop had a biased anti bike society attitude
Ignore the cop

Your way of handling this situation is an example of how to gain a cycling convert not make it worse for the next cyclist up the road. My Motto is always wave when people see you and don't pull out or wait to pass you on the straight away instead of the curve. Sure this is what they are supposed to do but I believe in reinforcing good behavior.
Oct 22, 2003 8:27 PM
I sometimes ride on a busy multilane city street with a wide shoulder similar to the one you have described. What I have done when approaching the intersection with the right turn lane is move out into the rightmost lane shortly before the right turn lane begins as traffic permits. This establishes me in the straight lane and alerts drivers as to my intent before reaching the turn lane. I still get some drivers who will 'race' me to the turning lane. But since I have adopted this strategy, I have had far fewer close calls at this intersection. I will have to flag down a cop some day and see what they have to say about this. Apperently local laws can vary!