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Another (but different) bike lane question

By Mrshmellowman - 24 April 2009 86

I know you guys love talking about this stuff, so, I have a question about the accepted behaviour of bike riders. I am genuinely interested in these circumstances, so bear with me while I explain the set up.

I was travelling up Northbourne Ave in the middle lane (on a motorcycle, so I was up high and could see everything) when I noticed that in the bike lane, a little lady on a sit up bike with a basket on the front was being overtaken by a big bloke on a mountain bike.

Now, the little lady was sort of in the middle of the bike lane, so this overtaking process caused the big bloke to ride the lane divider, which in effect put half of him in the traffic lane.

This is where it all went wrong.

The white Camry in the left lane of Northbourne suddenly had half a big bloke on a bike in his lane and swerved and braked to avoid the possibility of a collision. This manoeuvre brought him over into the middle lane.

The blue Falcon in the middle lane suddenly had a white Camry half in his lane for no apparent reason and he, reasonably I thought, swerved away to avoid a possible collision. That put him in the right hand lane.

The grey Mazda in the right hand lane suddenly found a blue Falcon swerving into his lane and being unable to swerve away, braked hard.

Luckily there was a half a gap behind these cars and the following traffic just had to touch their brakes to slow and let everyone sort themselves out.

I have seen variations of this play its self out a few times on the Ave. Never this badly though.

Now, my question is this. There is no right or wrong in this situation, but two very different classes of bike lane user’s right next to peak hour traffic looks like a potential disaster.

Should the bike lanes on big busy streets like Northbourne Ave be reserved for people who are travelling at certain speeds, like slow medium fast lap lanes at a pool? Should little ladies with flowery baskets on their bike be committed to the footpath and leave the bike lanes to the Lycra clad heroes?

What’s Your opinion?


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86 Responses to
Another (but different) bike lane question
H1NG0 4:00 pm 24 Apr 09

Not defending the cyclist here but I have seen Action buses do pretty much the same thing. Bus did not want to stop behind another bus in the left lane so cuts into second lane forcing bus in 2nd lane to cut into the 3rd almost wiping out a line of cars. One of the most idiotic pieces of driving I have ever seen.

54-11 3:58 pm 24 Apr 09

Ban all bikes from major streets, and paint over these ridiculous bike lanes, so they revert to car lanes. Easy.

Danman 3:57 pm 24 Apr 09

Uhh when you say ride the lane divider were you referring to the white strip that divides the cycle lane from the road.

If he was riding on that, I daresay there was still a 2ft or so gap between the cyclists most right point and the cars most left point.

I agree that the cyclist may have been safer to wait, but the camry driver sounds like they did not know the dimensions of their car and therefore swerved unnecessarily into another lane in order to avoid a non existent risk of collusion. It is funny how far cars go out of their lane when giving more than ample room for passing a cyclist.

Additionally, if said little old lady was just meandering in th elane, then perhaps it would be a safer option for her to ride on paths if she can not keep a reasonable pace in order to minimise danger to other users.

I could keep the pace easy on Northbourne, but I chose not to, due to the attitude I see of drivers toward cyclists.

xman 3:50 pm 24 Apr 09

Regular polite cyclist’s perspective:

If I wanted to pass a slower rider in a bike lane, I’d look behind to see if I had the option of passing in the traffic lane. Regardless, I’d inform the rider ahead of both my presence and my intent by saying “passing”.

If there was room in the traffic lane, or the polite rider in front of me moved over a tad, I’d give a hand signal that I was moving out right and overtaking. The signal right is both to cars behind and to riders behind.

I’d then say thanks to the rider I’d passed.

Agree with Toriness that passing on Northbourne Ave bike lanes is hard, that makes the rules far more important.

Communication and predictability are key – in cars and on bikes.

toriness 3:32 pm 24 Apr 09

niftydog said :

Clearly the white Camry should have just flattened the dude and taught him a lesson.

While I agree about keeping left (I’m seriously considering having a “keep left” sign printed onto a T-shirt.) I’m not convinced there’s enough space in the Northbourne bike lane for two cyclists abreast.

ditto

Holden Caulfield 3:27 pm 24 Apr 09

ricketyclik said :

1. The little old lady should have been to the left of the path. Almost all bike path accidents are a direct result of people not keeping to the left.

2. As she wasn’t, the big mountain bike rider should have waited until there was a safe opportunity to change lanes to overtake, rather than just ploughing in to the (fast moving) traffic lane. Ideally, he would have had a bell to politely signal to the little old lady that he wanted room to overtake.

Both of the above points are covered in the road rules.

/end thread

Thumper 3:26 pm 24 Apr 09

Clearly all the car drivers were in the wrong because there was a cycle lane and it was probably painted green.

chewy14 3:26 pm 24 Apr 09

Obviously the Camry driver was afraid that cyclist entrails would stain his nice white car. Easy solutuion to this situation:
Ban All White Cars

niftydog 3:16 pm 24 Apr 09

Clearly the white Camry should have just flattened the dude and taught him a lesson.

While I agree about keeping left (I’m seriously considering having a “keep left” sign printed onto a T-shirt.) I’m not convinced there’s enough space in the Northbourne bike lane for two cyclists abreast.

Jivrashia 3:02 pm 24 Apr 09

The grey Mazda shoulda done a Duke of Hazzard and drove up onto the grass, floored the gas, done a burnout, and sped off into the sunset.

crazyfish 2:58 pm 24 Apr 09

Bad mountain biker, shouldn’t have overtaken until it was safe and not crossed the line, just like the road rules say.

Next we’ll be hearing how there’s no need for mountain bikes on city bike lanes, how there’s no need for such big bikes in an urban environment etc etc ;->

Snarky 2:54 pm 24 Apr 09

Reckon the mountain biker was in the wrong. He’s free to overtake the LOL in the car lane, but it’s his responsibility to make the lane change safely. He should have waited till the outside car lane was free for him to enter, overtake and go back in the bike lane.

ricketyclik 2:53 pm 24 Apr 09

1. The little old lady should have been to the left of the path. Almost all bike path accidents are a direct result of people not keeping to the left.

2. As she wasn’t, the big mountain bike rider should have waited until there was a safe opportunity to change lanes to overtake, rather than just ploughing in to the (fast moving) traffic lane. Ideally, he would have had a bell to politely signal to the little old lady that he wanted room to overtake.

Both of the above points are covered in the road rules.

turtle 2:51 pm 24 Apr 09

Sounds like the mountain bike rider did something silly to me. You can ring your bell behind the lady with basket, and go by safely.

G-Fresh 2:50 pm 24 Apr 09

It would be refreshing to have a week where RiotACT doesn’t discuss bicycles on roads.

But, my opinion here is that the Lycra clad mountain bike hero is at fault and shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a road. And probably Lycra.

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