Friday, October 30, 2009

Don't ride like this

I'm being a gutter bunny and filtering to the right of traffic on Mission Street in Santa Cruz, California. It's generally a bad idea to ride to the right of moving traffic, and you should never pass trucks on the right.

I mitigate the risk somewhat by slowing behind vehicles when crossing intersections, but I still invite "right hook" collisions as I cross several driveways. Another risk: there are plenty of people coming the other direction waiting to make a left turn. They might try to shoot across a gap without seeing the cyclist (me) coming into the gap at the same time.

Beside the two biggies of the left cross and right hook, what are some other possible risks in passing on the right like this?


SiouxGeonz said...

One of our locals got a citation from campus cops last week for it. Just warning, but written up.
In general, the social hazard of pissing off drivers and being perceived as another dangerous bike rider with utter disregard for "the rules," though most of the drivers fuming the thoughts would be passing on the right in the automotive equivalent (i.e., enough room to get by)

Ed W said...

I have to assume that was faster-than-normal video. Still, you were dangerously close to the curb and those pedestrians at times. Also, there's a danger from a passenger opening a door in front of you.

anabananasplit said...

Dooring. Being squeezed by a car whose motorist is exoecting you on his right, he might pull over to drop a passenger, dodge a hole on the road, or give an overtaking motorcyclist oe cyclist room.

Doug said...

In that situation, I don't think being a "gutter bunny" was as bad as it could have been -- as long as you were aware of cars overtaking you on the left at intersections.

Plenty of visibility, no parked cars, slow moving traffic. Not really the doomsday we're told to expect.

However, another unsung danger is pedestrians popping out from between parked cars. They don't look most of the time, so you have to look for them. But then they get mad at you for riding too close and assume you didn't see them or something.

Otherwise, I wholeheartedly support blowing past stopped traffic at every opportunity. If you piss them off, they deserve to be pissed off by it. Nobody's forcing them into their cars to be stopped by traffic.

Anonymous said...

The border between the concrete curb/gutter and the black pavement of the roadway is a danger. It's almost never a flush joint, and at that parallel angle it can grab your wheel or push it out from under you if you don't traverse it right.

There's a wider "lane" when you split lanes; about 6 feet. The "lane" for gutter bunnies is about 3 feet.

Gutterbunnies also have less help than lane splitters. Gutterbunnies have a reactive variable on the left (a car might respond to you and move aside) and one static variable (a curb that can never help you out by getting out of the way). When splitting the lanes, both sides are reactive and might respond positively to your presence.