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Making left turn -- how far left is left?



 
 
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  #1  
Old October 8th 05, 04:20 PM
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Default Making left turn -- how far left is left?

Dear rec.bicycles.misc:
Here's the setup. Making left turn at signaled intersection. Slight
downhill to intersection, then flat. It's a T- intersection, the
options are left, right or Rubio's Fish Taco's straight ahead (#1 for
San Diego denizens). Postal collection boxes on corner at right. I'm
roaring down for a left turn, but the light turns yellow while I'm
about 25 or 20 feet away from the intersection, so I brake (both hands,
didn't signal the stop there, my bad on that). Extra special complexity
-- one of the new USPS 2 1/2 ton dual role collection/delivery vans is
smack dab on the right while the "letter carrier" is sorting out
parcels, flats and envelopes into the appropriate tubs.
White SUV (big one) with mom and boy, roars in for a right turn all
of five inches from me, and she's MAD about having to stop, or about
nearly rear-ending me, or both. Mom immediately berates me for not
going through the light -- to which my reply was "At THIS
intersection?" And then I decide to clam up, more or less, because the
road isn't usenet, and with her kid in the vehicle with her, Mom can
NOT afford to be wrong. Ever. Any protestation will lead to escalation.
Besides, who am I to say I'm perfect? Also, it's not the greatest
neighborhood economically, so the usual drivers of shiny new SUVs with
kids are heading to/from the medical offices nearby.
Mom the driver then points out that cyclists turning left go "all
the way to the left." I look down -- center line of bicycle is about 18
inches from the double yellow.
I thought the "Have a nice rest of your life" was a bit gratuitious
on her part, but with an attitude like that, I'm glad I didn't get into
it with her (see above about how she can't afford to be wrong, because
she's in the presence of her child).
So, now that I've done venting about what was said/not said in a
somewhat safer forum than wedged between a traffic stop and an SUV,
I've got to ask, how far left is "left?" Especially at an intersection
where the left turns from the perpendicular lane are often taken
sharply by folks trying to get into the 7-11 parking lot in one smooth
manuveur?

Robert Leone

Ads
  #2  
Old October 8th 05, 04:59 PM
jj
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Default Making left turn -- how far left is left?

On 8 Oct 2005 08:20:04 -0700, wrote:

Dear rec.bicycles.misc:
Here's the setup. Making left turn at signaled intersection. Slight
downhill to intersection, then flat. It's a T- intersection, the
options are left, right or Rubio's Fish Taco's straight ahead (#1 for
San Diego denizens). Postal collection boxes on corner at right. I'm
roaring down for a left turn, but the light turns yellow while I'm
about 25 or 20 feet away from the intersection, so I brake (both hands,
didn't signal the stop there, my bad on that). Extra special complexity
-- one of the new USPS 2 1/2 ton dual role collection/delivery vans is
smack dab on the right while the "letter carrier" is sorting out
parcels, flats and envelopes into the appropriate tubs.
White SUV (big one) with mom and boy, roars in for a right turn all
of five inches from me, and she's MAD about having to stop, or about
nearly rear-ending me, or both. Mom immediately berates me for not
going through the light -- to which my reply was "At THIS
intersection?" And then I decide to clam up, more or less, because the
road isn't usenet, and with her kid in the vehicle with her, Mom can
NOT afford to be wrong. Ever. Any protestation will lead to escalation.
Besides, who am I to say I'm perfect? Also, it's not the greatest
neighborhood economically, so the usual drivers of shiny new SUVs with
kids are heading to/from the medical offices nearby.
Mom the driver then points out that cyclists turning left go "all
the way to the left." I look down -- center line of bicycle is about 18
inches from the double yellow.
I thought the "Have a nice rest of your life" was a bit gratuitious
on her part, but with an attitude like that, I'm glad I didn't get into
it with her (see above about how she can't afford to be wrong, because
she's in the presence of her child).
So, now that I've done venting about what was said/not said in a
somewhat safer forum than wedged between a traffic stop and an SUV,
I've got to ask, how far left is "left?" Especially at an intersection
where the left turns from the perpendicular lane are often taken
sharply by folks trying to get into the 7-11 parking lot in one smooth
manuveur?

Robert Leone


Here's what you do. Take your water bottle and take a little sip. While
smiling and gesturing, "accidently" squirt her through the open window,
causing the child to laugh and clap with glee (after all it's all about the
child, right?), then apologize profusely and smile some more and pedal off
with a hearty hi-ho and a wave. ;-)

jj

  #3  
Old October 8th 05, 05:21 PM
mark
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Default Making left turn -- how far left is left?

wrote ...
Dear rec.bicycles.misc:
Here's the setup. Making left turn at signaled intersection. Slight
downhill to intersection, then flat. It's a T- intersection, the
options are left, right or Rubio's Fish Taco's straight ahead (#1 for
San Diego denizens). Postal collection boxes on corner at right. I'm
roaring down for a left turn, but the light turns yellow while I'm
about 25 or 20 feet away from the intersection, so I brake (both hands,
didn't signal the stop there, my bad on that). Extra special complexity
-- one of the new USPS 2 1/2 ton dual role collection/delivery vans is
smack dab on the right while the "letter carrier" is sorting out
parcels, flats and envelopes into the appropriate tubs.
White SUV (big one) with mom and boy, roars in for a right turn all
of five inches from me, and she's MAD about having to stop, or about
nearly rear-ending me, or both. Mom immediately berates me for not
going through the light -- to which my reply was "At THIS
intersection?" And then I decide to clam up, more or less, because the
road isn't usenet, and with her kid in the vehicle with her, Mom can
NOT afford to be wrong. Ever. Any protestation will lead to escalation.
Besides, who am I to say I'm perfect? Also, it's not the greatest
neighborhood economically, so the usual drivers of shiny new SUVs with
kids are heading to/from the medical offices nearby.
Mom the driver then points out that cyclists turning left go "all
the way to the left." I look down -- center line of bicycle is about 18
inches from the double yellow.
I thought the "Have a nice rest of your life" was a bit gratuitious
on her part, but with an attitude like that, I'm glad I didn't get into
it with her (see above about how she can't afford to be wrong, because
she's in the presence of her child).
So, now that I've done venting about what was said/not said in a
somewhat safer forum than wedged between a traffic stop and an SUV,
I've got to ask, how far left is "left?" Especially at an intersection
where the left turns from the perpendicular lane are often taken
sharply by folks trying to get into the 7-11 parking lot in one smooth
manuveur?

Robert Leone


18 inches from the yellow center line sounds close enough to me, that would
put your left handlebar less than a foot from the center line. If Mom can't
fit her vehicle between you and the USPS truck then her choices are to 1)
stop and wait for the light to turn or 2) get a smaller vehicle.

I had a talk with the local sheriff's department a while back, and I was
told that yelling unwanted advice or rude comments to other road users the
way Mom did can be construed as either harassment or disorderly conduct,
depending on the exact circumstances. Whether or not you can get the local
police and courts to take any action is probably a different story. Still,
you might be able to rattle Mom's cage a little by pulling out a pencil and
paper, writing down her license number, and offering to see what the local
police have to say about your behavior and hers.
--
mark


  #4  
Old October 8th 05, 05:49 PM
Darin McGrew
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Posts: n/a
Default Making left turn -- how far left is left?

wrote:
Here's the setup. Making left turn at signaled intersection. Slight
downhill to intersection, then flat. It's a T- intersection, the
options are left, right or Rubio's Fish Taco's straight ahead (#1 for
San Diego denizens). Postal collection boxes on corner at right. I'm
roaring down for a left turn, but the light turns yellow while I'm
about 25 or 20 feet away from the intersection, so I brake (both hands,
didn't signal the stop there, my bad on that).


You aren't required to signal if you need both hands to control your bike.
I know I wouldn't try to brake hard with only one hand.

Mom the driver then points out that cyclists turning left go "all
the way to the left." I look down -- center line of bicycle is about 18
inches from the double yellow.


(a) Who says they "go all the way to the left"?

(b) It sounds like you were pretty much "all the way to the left" to me. If
she can't pass you safely, then maybe you should have been further right
(taking the lane).

Turning left at a T intersection like that, I'd position myself in the left
tire track of the lane that allows both left and right turns. If there
isn't such a lane, then I'd position myself in the right tire track of the
right-most left-turn lane. FWIW, YMMV, etc.
--
Darin McGrew, , http://www.rahul.net/mcgrew/
Web Design Group, , http://www.HTMLHelp.com/

"How long is this Beta guy going to keep testing our stuff?"
  #5  
Old October 8th 05, 06:40 PM
Roger Houston
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Default Making left turn -- how far left is left?


"Darin McGrew" wrote in message
...

Turning left at a T intersection like that, I'd position myself in the
left
tire track of the lane that allows both left and right turns. If there
isn't such a lane, then I'd position myself in the right tire track of the
right-most left-turn lane. FWIW, YMMV, etc.


IIRC, that's what "Effective Cycling" says about that.



  #6  
Old October 8th 05, 07:20 PM
DrLith
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Posts: n/a
Default Making left turn -- how far left is left?

wrote:
Dear rec.bicycles.misc:
Here's the setup. Making left turn at signaled intersection. Slight
downhill to intersection, then flat. It's a T- intersection, the
options are left, right or Rubio's Fish Taco's straight ahead (#1 for
San Diego denizens). Postal collection boxes on corner at right. I'm
roaring down for a left turn, but the light turns yellow while I'm
about 25 or 20 feet away from the intersection, so I brake (both hands,
didn't signal the stop there, my bad on that). Extra special complexity
-- one of the new USPS 2 1/2 ton dual role collection/delivery vans is
smack dab on the right while the "letter carrier" is sorting out
parcels, flats and envelopes into the appropriate tubs.
White SUV (big one) with mom and boy, roars in for a right turn all
of five inches from me, and she's MAD about having to stop, or about
nearly rear-ending me, or both. Mom immediately berates me for not
going through the light -- to which my reply was "At THIS
intersection?" And then I decide to clam up, more or less, because the
road isn't usenet, and with her kid in the vehicle with her, Mom can
NOT afford to be wrong. Ever. Any protestation will lead to escalation.
Besides, who am I to say I'm perfect? Also, it's not the greatest
neighborhood economically, so the usual drivers of shiny new SUVs with
kids are heading to/from the medical offices nearby.
Mom the driver then points out that cyclists turning left go "all
the way to the left." I look down -- center line of bicycle is about 18
inches from the double yellow.
I thought the "Have a nice rest of your life" was a bit gratuitious
on her part, but with an attitude like that, I'm glad I didn't get into
it with her (see above about how she can't afford to be wrong, because
she's in the presence of her child).
So, now that I've done venting about what was said/not said in a
somewhat safer forum than wedged between a traffic stop and an SUV,
I've got to ask, how far left is "left?" Especially at an intersection
where the left turns from the perpendicular lane are often taken
sharply by folks trying to get into the 7-11 parking lot in one smooth
manuveur?

Robert Leone



You did a lovely job describing the scenery, but I'm not sure you ever
specified how many lanes are involved!

Regardless, I think in just about any lane configuration I'd ideally
position myself toward the center, or center-right, of the right-most
left turn lane. Especially if there's just one lane, period, you don't
want a right-turning vehicle to pull up along side you or pass you on
the left, nor do you want a left-turning vehicle to pull up alongside
you or pass in the intersection on your right (preventing you from
fading back toward the right curb in the course of your turn).

Indeed, I guess I'm not a huge "taker of lanes," but it's one of the few
situations where I will. I used to face a big left turn first thing in
the morning on my commute, off a 4-lane divided highway with a 45 mph
speed limit. There were two left turn lanes, the leftmost left-turn only
and the right-hand one that either turned or went straight. Now, it's no
fun being anywhere within that rightmost LTL lane with heavy traffic
coming up from behind wanting to go straight through the green at 45
mph, but it's also no fun to take the leftmost LTL and find yourself
pinned toward the center by someone making the turn at the same time as
you in the other LTL. I solved my dilemma by moving.
  #8  
Old October 8th 05, 08:32 PM
Dave Vandervies
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Default Making left turn -- how far left is left?

In article ,
DrLith wrote:

[T intersection, coming in on the side with no straight-through]

Regardless, I think in just about any lane configuration I'd ideally
position myself toward the center, or center-right, of the right-most
left turn lane. Especially if there's just one lane, period, you don't
want a right-turning vehicle to pull up along side you or pass you on
the left,


Moving farther left will do more to discourage this. If the lane is wide
enough, there's no reason not to leave enough space on your right for
a car; you won't be crossing paths, and neither of you is moving fast
enough to need as much elbow room as you would if you weren't waiting
to enter the turn.

nor do you want a left-turning vehicle to pull up alongside
you or pass in the intersection on your right (preventing you from
fading back toward the right curb in the course of your turn).


Why are you doing that in the course of your turn anyways? Keep your
lane position during the turn, then once you've completed the turn move
back to your preferred riding position.
If there's a car to your right as you're turning, then either they'll
pull ahead of you and you can move in behind them, or they're going the
same speed as you (or even slower) and there's no reason to change your
relative position. If the lane isn't wide enough to share going through
the intersection, they shouldn't be pulling up beside you waiting to
enter it.


I've never had problems riding in the left tire track and moving farther
left if there's a car waiting behind me with a right-turn signal on.
(That doesn't actually happen much; usually right-turning drivers
recognize that I'm turning left based on my lane position and pull
through on my right without me having to do anything, and there's almost
always enough room in the lane for low-speed sharing.) This appears to
be what the OP was doing in a lane that wasn't wide enough for sharing;
from the driver's reaction we can conclude that she was an idiot.


dave

--
Dave Vandervies
Well, we started with a mailserver named after the author of "Institutes
of the Christian Religion" and a nameserver named after the author of
"Leviathan". --Anthony de Boer in the scary devil monastery
  #9  
Old October 8th 05, 09:43 PM
Ben Pfaff
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Default Making left turn -- how far left is left?

Darin McGrew writes:

You aren't required to signal if you need both hands to control your bike.


I tried to track down something that says this in the California
Vehicle Code once, but I couldn't find it, even though it makes
perfect sense to me. Do you have a reference?
--
Ben Pfaff
email:
web:
http://benpfaff.org
  #10  
Old October 8th 05, 10:46 PM
[email protected]
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Posts: n/a
Default Making left turn -- how far left is left?


wrote:

So, now that I've done venting about what was said/not said in a
somewhat safer forum than wedged between a traffic stop and an SUV,
I've got to ask, how far left is "left?"


You did fine.

You don't say how narrow that left lane was. Sounds like it might have
been less than 12 feet, based on the fact that the right-turning twit
was so close to you.

In any case, if the LTOL is narrow, I take it, period, just as I take
any narrow lane. It makes no sense to invite drivers to sqeeze into a
lane with you when there's insufficient room.

My point is, if it were me, I'd have probably been five feet from the
center line, and the twit wouldn't have been able to pull alongside.
"Sorry about that, honey."

If the lane is wide enough to share, 18 inches from the centerline is
_certainly_ far enough left. I see no reason to squeeze closer to
oncoming traffic.

One thing to think about: If you were in a car, she'd have to wait
behind you without question. If you were on a motorcycle, she'd
probably have done the same with no complaint. And you have just as
much right to safe use of the road when on a bicycle.

Second thing to think about: Honest, scholarly research has shown that
SUVs tend to appeal to selfish twits. Your incident is just another
validating data point. No need to give that type positive
reinforcement.

I'm generally pretty calm on the road. I think I'd have calmly asked
for her name and license number, then offered to phone a policeman to
"consult" on the matter. And perhaps, if necessary, I'd have suggested
that riding a bicycle would help her lose some of that weight. ;-)

- Frank Krygowski

 




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