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Original post made
on Sep 17, 2013
This is why bicyclists are much safer when they ride side-by-side instead of single file. Two bicyclists side-by-side are much much easier for an oncoming driver to see than if they are riding single file. Yes, this driver was distracted and reckless, but possibly not so distracted that he or she would have missed seeing 2 bicyclists side-by-side.
Article: "three northbound cyclists riding in a bike lane in a triangular formation broadsided the vehicle"
Poster: "Two bicyclists side-by-side are much much easier for an oncoming driver to see"
Doesn't "triangular" indicate a high probability of 2 of the spandexers being side by side? So they were most likely at least two side by side.
A car making a left turn, across at least one lane, and on the far side, going northbound in the bike lane with a slight uphill grade, they couldn't stop in time or otherwise avoid the broadside by all three?
Best wishes for a speedy recovery.
Elast Ane said: "A car making a left turn, across at least one lane, and on the far side, going northbound in the bike lane with a slight uphill grade, they couldn't stop in time or otherwise avoid the broadside by all three?"
It is easy for many cyclists to maintain speeds > 20 mph on that stretch of road in that direction. It is also very easy for a driver to step on the accelerator, crank the wheel left, and be right in front of you in a very short amount of time. Bicycles require a longer stopping distance than a car does at the same speed, much to the disbelief of many.
The fact that none of the cyclists could avoid the collision implies to me that it's likely the collision *was* in fact unavoidable. Your comment seems to try to blame the victims here. Starting with calling them names ("spandexers") and ending with questioning why they couldn't stop in time.
What I'd like to know: Was the driver cited by the police?
To Resident: Seriously??? At first I thought you were being facetious because your statement was so ludicrous.
To the contrary, bicyclists riding side by side are a hazard to themselves and to other vehicles on the road.
- encroaching on the car lane - putting themselves in harms way and causing concerned drivers to move towards or over the center divider of the car lane - therefore putting the vehicle driver and oncoming traffic in harms way
- riding side by side because they're chatting, therefore not paying full attention to their surroundings and once again putting everyone on the road in harms way.
BIKERS - (I bike myself), PLEASE, please, please ride single file!
Theorizing that all parties were distracted: cyclists riding side by side talking and driver on a mobile phone. If driver wasn't hands-free he/she should be cited for that at minimum. Cyclists are being punished by their injuries. I ride too and feel badly for them. But Concerned is right -- cyclists riding side by side are doing so in order to talk to each other.
Police recommend that bicyclists ride side-by-side for greater visibility: Web Link
Car drivers who want to pass can change lanes to do so.
To "Trying to..." and "concerned..." :
Are you saying that having a conversation should be illegal while on the roads, even if the person is right next to you? Wouldn't that also mean that anyone driving a car should never speak to the person in the passenger seat? After all, distracted driving is far more dangerous than distracted cycling.
Riding side-by-side is perfectly legal in many situations. Far more situations than most drivers realize.
When I bike, I try to be as courteous as possible to everyone on the road. Unfortunately, there is a sizable fraction of both cyclists and drivers who do not do the same.
Again... let's stop victim blaming here. There is ZERO evidence that these riders were doing anything wrong and LOTS of evidence that the driver was.
I am not blaming the victims in this case. Clearly the distracted driver is 100% legally at fault should be punished to the full extent of the law. However, I do recommend that bicyclists follow the police recommendation to take their safety to the next level by riding side by side instead of hugging the gutter.
It is not always the case the side-by-side bicyclists are doing so in order to talk. They may be rotating their positions, with one rider dropping back after pulling at the front. Also, if one rider is weaker than the other two, the two strong ones can ride side-by-side and let the weak rider stay behind them and between them. The drafting effect is even stronger there than riding behind a single rider, and it also allows for all riders to have a good view of the road ahead and any obstacles.
California Vehicle Code 21202 generally requires cyclists to ride as close as practicable to the right hand curb or edge of the roadway.
There are a number of common sense exceptions such as for passing, turning left, avoiding obstacles, etc.
I do not see resting or talking amongst the exceptions.
Just saying even though is seems presumptive to me that the motor vehicle driver appears at fault in this particular case.
CVC21202 is not applicable since they were in a bike lane. CVC21208 is the relevant section, and it imposes no restriction on where a bicyclist may ride.
Furthermore, CVC 21202 does NOT prohibit riding 2 abreast. California failed to include the clarifying language used in most states, leading to massive confusion about what is meant by "as close as practicable". There is no definition because this is supposed to be a commonsense notion rather than a technical legal term. One way to find out is to look at other states that have clarified it. The best is Wisconsin, which says (section 346.80 (2), which can be found at Web Link) :
"Any person operating a bicycle ... shall ride as close as practicable to the right−hand edge or curb of the unobstructed traveled roadway, including operators who are riding 2 or more abreast..."
Clearly riding 2 or more abreast is not in contradiction with riding as far to the right as practicable. Too bad more people in California don't understand this.
In any case, as I stated above, it is not relevant in this case.
U.B.: No, I am not saying cyclists riding side by side and/or having a conversation is illegal. I am saying they were likely distracted. If you read my post again, you will note that I am not blaming either party; I am blaming distraction which leads to negligence.
Donald: As a former competitive cyclist I am fully aware of the drafting concept. This could certainly have been in practice at the time. However, my point is still valid in that two in front with one drafting behind still supports my theory that they were likely distracted by talking if they were unable to prevent themselves broadsiding the car (which I interpret as running into the passenger side of the car turning left into the same intersection they entered). If the cyclists were hit by the front of the car, then I would say the driver is fully at fault. But because the report says the cyclists ran into the car, the negligence is shared.
I am not trying to place blame on either party. I am trying to call attention to how distracted driving and riding hurts everyone. We must be accountable for our actions by taking more care to limit distractions. I am a parent of emerging cyclists and I am scared to death to let them out on our roads full of distracted drivers and riders.
The driver violated their right-of-way and turned in front of them. He probably didn't use a turn signal, since he was on the phone and apparently didn't see them at all. The difference between a collision with the front of the car and the side of the car is a matter of a fraction of a second and doesn't change the liability issue at all. In this case the driver has the full responsibility to make sure that the turn is made safely. He should have turned behind them.
I have raised children who biked to school every day from 3rd grade through high school and one continues to bike with no car even after college. No collisions in that whole time. If you want some help on educating them, check for League of American Bicyclists instructors and classes.
@Donald: I stand by my statement that riding as far to the right as practicable is exceedingly commonsense and does not in general permit two abreast riding.
Contrary to supporting your point that Wisonsin's law clarifies things, let's take a look at what you left out in your "...." at the end of your citation.
"including operators who are riding 2 or more abreast where permitted under sub. (3)"
Well, apparently you can ride 2 abreast but only when you are doing it under sub. (3). What is sub. (3)???
(a) Persons riding bicycles or electric personal assistive mobility devices upon a roadway may ride 2 abreast if such operation does not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic. Bicycle or electric personal assistive mobility device operators riding 2 abreast on a 2-lane or more roadway shall ride within a single lane."
So, yes in fact, you can ride 2 abreast in Wisconsin but only if you are not impeding traffic. To me not impeding means moving at the flow of traffic or on a multi lane road that allows for non-obstructive passing.
But your point is somewhat well taken. California allows the same thing and I was remiss in not including that in my citation of CVC 21202. CVC 21202 only applies when cyclists are moving slower than the "normal speed of traffic". If they are keeping up with traffic or within one of the exceptions outlined, then CVC allows for two abreast:
"Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway...."
For me, a fundamental rule is wait-and-see. I try to wait for eye contact or a hand signal or some indication that the driver sees me and is going to let me go, and then go ahead.
Bicycling has been overtaken by a demand for equal rights with cars. It's an equality that should be enjoyed when the person driving the car appreciates it. Otherwise, it's a losing proposition -- as has been said here many times.
A sailing instructor once told me that insurance companies take a dim view of anyone who insists on his or her having the right-of-way on the water. There are rules of the road, of course, but nothing trumps safety.
If an incoming boat blithely enters the outgoing channel, and your boat is headed out, insurance companies consider it your obligation as the aware party to do whatever is necessary to avoid a collision, including using the incoming lane.
We were outgoing when a situation like occurred -- which turned into the occasion for the lesson on insisting on one's rights.
There can be complications if the other lane is not available, but the point is that safety is everybody's responsibility.
The details of this bike accident are too sparse to know what really happened, such as whether the cyclists had time to stop. But they're the vulnerable ones. They might have been better off with a habit of putting their rights aside.
Resident: making an absolute statement that cyclists are safer riding side by side is about as wrong as you can be -- bad advice. Ride side by side in a bike lane on a road with cars some time and see how that works.
CVC21208 is the relevant section, agreed. Does it say anything in that section about wearing an outfit that would shame a NASCAR driver?
3 riders broadsiding a car, even a car that turned in front of them at 20 mph, seems odd.
Did the driver use a turn signal? My experience with drivers who are talking on the phone is that they don't. If the driver turned immediately in front of the cyclists with no warning they would have no chance of stopping before hitting the car. Reaction time plus stopping distance would not be enough. The law puts the responsibility on the driver in this case, and expecting the cyclists to perform superhuman feats that violate the laws of physics is nonsensical.
The driver was wrong. He violated the cyclists right of way by turning left in front of them. Whether they were two abreast or single file makes no difference. The driver should have been cited.
21801. (a) The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left or to complete a U-turn upon a highway, or to turn left into public or private property, or an alley, shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching from the opposite direction which are close enough to constitute a hazard at any time during the turning movement, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to the approaching vehicles until the left turn or U-turn can be made with reasonable safety.
"3 riders broadsiding a car, even a car that turned in front of them at 20 mph, seems odd."
The car turned left in front of a group of riders so close that they hit the car broadside. How is this odd? How could this be their fault? The speed limit is well over what a bicyclists can do in that modest down grade.
It's a slight uphill grade for the cyclists at that spot.
Seems odd to me also, that three cyclists, paying attention, didn't see a car slow on the turn, and then turn into the entrance, all so fast that not one of them was able to avoid the car. Never heard of three broadsiding a car.
Yes, it's the drivers fault.
Take a look at a satellite view of the scene and re-create it. Southbound car, on that bend, slows to negotiate the turn into the entrance. 3 northbound cyclists, on a slight uphill grade, didn't prepare for and couldn't avoid the errant driver.
The cyclists could very naturally have assumed that part of the reason that the car was slowing was because the car driver had seen them. Believing that, the cyclists would have had no reason to slow themselves and in fact would likely not have wanted to slow since that would have invited confusion about who was going to cross the intersecting space first.
The accident happened ONLY because the (apparently inattentive) driver turned in front of them at the very last second, imho. Nothing odd about that to me, only sad.
@fwiw, you are re-creating the scene without imagery, look it up. And re-read the story.
"The cyclists could very naturally have assumed that part of the reason that the car was slowing was because the car driver had seen them."
Bad assumption - if they didn't think he/she was turning, they were on opposite sides of a busy road, they would never have 'assumed' the driver was slowing for them.
"Believing that, the cyclists would have had no reason to slow themselves and in fact would likely not have wanted to slow since that would have invited confusion about who was going to cross the intersecting space first."
That doesn't follow; again, they were on opposite sides of the road, look at the story and look at the map imagery. If they noticed the car slowing (it HAD to slow to take that left turn, drivers rarely slow on that bend that dramatically without taking a left) then one might feel they were more aware of what was going on and been able to save themselves from this errant driver.
"The accident happened ONLY because..."
I disagree. I would think the cyclists are having second thoughts about their attention. The driver is at fault. I suspect the cyclists were not as defensive as they wish they would have been. A good lesson for all.
As someone that was stuck in the traffic for 20 minutes while that accident was handled, I kept watching the news for details on what happened, and can't believe it took 12 days to make it in the Almanac.
I hope the injured are home safe and recovered now, but the article doesn't say, despite the time elapsed.
I lived in Europe for a long time....LOTS of bicycle riders of all ages there: old folks, young folks, everyone.
There is no antipathy or even "holier than thou attitude" between the riders and drivers because drivers and riders obey the laws. Period. (BTW, bicyclists never ride side by side)
@recreation, I am a WES district resident and know the area very well and believe that I have well digested the article description.
If you want to see what must be an awfully close replay of what the driver would have been able to see immediately prior to the accident "drive" south with Google Street View along the route on Canada starting 500 feet north of West Entry Drive.
You will be able to track the path of two cyclists riding side by side who will arrive at West Entry Drive just as you will get to the intersection. The cyclists will have been clearly visible for the entire path of your drive.
If you as a driver make a broad turn left onto West Entry slowing from the speed limit of 35 mph to 25 mph, it will take you approximately 4/10 of a second to cross from your side of the road (assuming 15 ft of road width) until you are directly in front of the cyclists. Brake reaction time from the time an obstacle is detected by a driver to the time that the driver is able to initiate braking is well understood to vary between 1 second and 3.5 seconds with most drivers able to initiate braking within 2.5 seconds according to the article I just now Googled. I assume the same time frame applies to cyclists though it seems to me that it may well be longer if the cyclist is riding with hands on top of the bar and has to go to the brakes to start braking.
I submit that there is no defensive maneuver that would/could have made sense for the cyclists to undertake under this scenario. Should cyclists hit the brakes every time that an opposing car is coming down the road which might or might not turn directly into their path. Should cyclists creep along at 10MPH all the time? Neither alternative seems like a reasonable choice for the cyclist.
As described this is the story of a careless driver on a cell phone who drove directly into the path of the oncoming cyclists. If the driver had changed his/her timing just a smidge later, it sounds like the story would have involved the driver simply turning into the cyclists and mowing them down.
I also ride my bike in the foothills and agree that riding single-file is the best for both the bicyclists and auto drivers because it reduces the risk of either encroaching into the other's lane. Accidents happen on both sides. Sure bicycling can be a social activity and perhaps fun talking to each other while traveling side-by-side (but I don't do it). But is it worth the risk?
I's also like to ask bicyclists to stay to the right of their bike lane and in all cases don't "ride the white line" that is supposed to separate the bike lane from the auto lane. Here again, why increase the risk of accidents? Yes, very occasionally the pavement surface is rougher to the right and one needs to go around it. But really, those cases are rare enough that one doesn't need to hug the line.
First, there is no such thing as a "car lane" in California. Travel lanes are open to all, with some restrictions, even with a bike lane. Read your California Vehicle Code, starting with CVC 21200 and going for a while.
A friend of mine is retired CHP. He says "There is no law requiring bicycles to ride single file."
That area has been notorious for harassment of bicycles by those in vehicles for decades and decades. Maybe it is time for CHP and the Sheriff to take bicyclist rights seriously.
Oh, I've been labeled an "Expert cyclist" by Caltrans.
I certainly agree with those that point out that side by side is permitted within a bike lane.
But I continue to believe that CVC 21202 does not permit riding side by side unless able to maintain speed with the normal flow of traffic:
"Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway...."
Note that says as close as practicable to the right-hand curb. Not as close as practicable to the fellow next to you riding as close as practicable to the right. Of course if you are a strong rider and able to keep up with normal traffic flow then by all means pair up, which is explicitly allowed.
There are exceptions of course which do permit riding abreast (passing, avoiding obstacles, etc).
I'll see your retired CHP officer and raise you a county deputy....
Sorry, I meant to start my prior msg by saying CVC 21202 does apply when riding exclusively outside of a bike lane...
County deputies are NOT experts in the vehicle code. San Mateo County deputies are famous for writing tickets to bicyclists for things that are not against the law. I have had this happen to me and I have prevailed in court.
> County deputies are NOT experts in the vehicle code.
Whatever. Doesn't change the fact that CVC 21202 doesn't generally permit riding two abreast unless able to keep up with the normal flow of traffic.
If it did, they wouldn't need have needed to provide exception (a) which allows for riding two abreast when passing or overtaking.
Anything that is not prohibited by law in the vehicle code is permitted. The CVC does not say anything about riding two abreast. Since it is not explicitly prohibited, it is allowed. It is clear that riding as close as practicable to the right hand edge of the road is not inconsistent with riding two abreast. The passing exception is more general and allows for using the whole lane to pass ANY vehicle or bicycle.
> Anything that is not prohibited by law in the vehicle code is permitted. The CVC does not say anything about riding two abreast.
Your analysis of the law is pretty fascinating. The law does not say anything about riding 6 abreast. Ipso facto 6 abreast is allowed. It happens to take the whole lane, but the law does not say anything about whether or nor you can take the whole lane. Your argument is patently absurd.
That is the way the vehicle code works. It prohibits actions rather than permitting them. Motorcyclists ride two and three abreast and split lanes. Can you point to a portion of the CVC that permits this? No, but it is legal because there is no section that prohibits it.
Yes, motor cycles can ride two abreast because there is no part of the CVC that requires them to ride as far to the right as practicable.
That is very unlike the specific code in 21202 for bicyclists.
But the question is simple: would it be practicable for the left side rider riding two abreast to move closer to the right hand curb or roadway edge? The answer is simple and straightforward that that rider could move over by simply riding single file and hence is a requirement of CVC 21202.
CVC 21202 is explicit in it requirement as close to the right hand side as practicable. The general requirement to ride single file is a direct consequence of this rule. Your reasoning would similarly allow a cyclist to ride to the left of not only another bicycle but any vehicle. I just don't see how what you are arguing is in any way reasonable.
But if you really believe your argument, let's try an experiment. Let's find a time and place where we can arrange for me to see if I can get a county deputy to be willing to ticket you and then see how it works out.
(my usual disclaimer that there are exceptions to cvc 21202, most significantly if you are able to ride not impeding the "normal flow of traffic".)
fwiw, I guess you didn't learn anything from reading the Wisconsin vehicle code. I suggest you not practice law.....
> I guess you didn't learn anything from reading the Wisconsin vehicle code. I suggest you not practice law.....
Dude, I have a met quite a few cyclists that have argued that they are allowed to take the lane and ride two abreast by invoking any number of the specific exceptions laid out by CVC 21202 but you are the only person that I have ever met including looking at bicyclist advocate web pages who argues that a general allowance for riding two abreast.
But then to top it off you return to citing Wisconsin law. I already addressed this and you ignored my reply by which I took it that you had no answer.
I'll repeat it for you. Wisonsin Vehicle Code 346.80(2) is explicit that you may ride two abreast BUT ONLY where it is allowed under 346.80(3). 346.80(3) lets you ride two abreast under two circumstances: a) you are not impeding traffic or b) lets you go more than 2 abreast if you are in a bike lane set aside from traffic. Otherwise Wisconsin is equally clear in not generally permitting two abreast riding.
So Wisconsin isn't really all that different than California. If you can keep up with traffic, you can ride two abreast, we're all good. Otherwise, move as far to the right as practicable.
Your desire to ride to left of another rider does not obviate your requirement to ride as far to the right as practicable. I'm really sorry that you don't like that but if you don't believe it's the case please explain your theory because you've got me flummoxed.
It seems simple to me. Donald showed that the far right wording does not require single file. If the issue is not addressed explicitly anywhere else, then the case is closed and riding two abreast is not prohibited. Obstructing traffic is a separate issue that is addressed elsewhere in the code.
You are absolutely totally correct that there is no complete ban against riding two abreast. But doing so is in direct conflict with CVC 21202 unless accorded one of the exceptions.
I don't see what could be simpler than ride as far to right as practicable. Is it not practicable for a left abreast rider to move closer to the curb by going single file?
I'm not just making some random argument. Even the cycle advocate web pages seem to support my position. It's just that they usually point out that there exceptions such as moving at the flow of traffic or substandard road width or avoiding obstacles or passing, etc.
But I'll go ahead and give you an arguable case. The noon time rides with 50-100 riders. I think it would be a reasonable argument that it is not practicable for all of those riders to move into single file. Doing so would impede traffic more than riding in a mass, so riding two or four abreast is within the bounds of the law.
> Donald showed that the far right wording does not require single file.
Wait a minute there partner. Where did Donald show that? He did not.
He just repeats the lack of explicit ban on riding two abreast.
As cited above, Wisconsin says "Any person operating a bicycle ... shall ride as close as practicable to the right−hand edge or curb of the unobstructed traveled roadway, including operators who are riding 2 or more abreast..."
Riding two abreast is not incompatible with riding as far as practicable to the right. End of discussion.
Donald, you are having a battle of wits with an unarmed man. Give it up and do something productive.
I do not understand your inability to read. The ... which you so conveniently leave out of the Wisconsin citation goes on to enumerate the specific circumstances under which two can ride abreast. Those circumstances apply in California also.
Any place that a rider is allowed to take the lane he/she may ride two abreast.
That does NOT mean that riding two abreast is generally permitted.
Last time I checked we don't live in Wisconsin so it has nothing to do with what happens here. I suggest any one of you go into court and try to argue that you didn't deserve a ticket because Wisconsin law allows whatever you were cited for. Let me know what your court date is. I could use a good laugh.
Stick to arguing California law guys. It's the only law that applies in these parts.
> Stick to arguing California law guys. It's the only law that applies in these parts.
True enough, it's just that both states have similar wording that require riding as far to the right hand edge as practicable.
Both states specifically allow that requirement to be disregarded if the cyclist is not impeding traffic by riding with the normal flow.
But I agree that discussing the specifics of California is more likely to yield an accurate answer. In this case, they need to articulate how a rider can be abreast of another rider and yet at the same time as close to the right hand edge as practicable.
Again, ignoring all of the aforementioned exceptions allowed by CVC 21202.
I wouldn't bother to beat a dead horse, but I've tried to google the answer and even including what appear to be very "pro-cyclist" pages, in every case the only arguments for permitting two abreast has been the explicit exceptions contained within 21202.
Just show me one cyclist organization that has advocated towards Donald's premise and at least I'd have something to contemplate....
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