Some newbie questions

Equipment and On Road Behaviour, Laws and Rules. Cycling Promotion and Advocacy

Some newbie questions

Postby chipotleaway » Mon Nov 26, 2012 2:53 am

1) When turning right onto a road from a street, do you still have to stay to the left or do you go on the right side of the lane (towards the middle)? What if there's a car behind you? Does the car have to stay behind you or is it common for them to pull up to your left if you're on the right, or to your right if you're somewhere in the middle?

2) f there's a car in front of you also turning right on the right side, you'd stay behind the car, yes?

3) When u-turning, are you supposed to ride along the middle of the road between the two lanes (after clearing one lane first) or do you stick to the left of the road until both directions are clear?

4) Do cars turning left from your right have to give way to you (if you're on the bike path heading straight? (though I think I've seen cyclists ride to the right of left-turning cars and I've seen bike lanes to the right ...just want to know just in case though)

5) If you're riding on a bike lane and need to turn right, are you supposed to turn out of the bike lane and turn onto the turning lane with the other cars? If so, you stick to the left of this lane?

6) And last question, I think is related to the first two...when turning right from a street, can you ride up to the middle of the road if the first lane is clear and wait for the other lane to clear? Or do you have to wait for both diretions to be clear before turning?

Thanks in advance
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by BNA » Mon Nov 26, 2012 8:38 am

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Re: Some newbie questions

Postby Xplora » Mon Nov 26, 2012 8:38 am

1. Are you going onto a road with 2 marked lanes? You can do whatever you like. Take the whole lane, establish a presence. If you're a sook on the Road, you'll get eaten alive. The car has a big 400kg piece of steel called an engine that helps them accelerate to pass you, a steering wheel to help them going around you and brakes to help them stay at the same speed you are riding at. The main problem is the knob holding the steering wheel.
If you are not going onto a road with marked lanes, then you should keep left as safe and practical as possible. At least a metre from car doors.

2. 99% sure that you can filter to the front, but honestly, if you aren't going to be able to make your move through the intersection at some reasonable pace, then going to the front is pointless. If you had a tiny car, would you be able to execute a similar move? I can easily beat cars through intersections. I don't feel guilty about taking the front. You might have a different pace. Use your judgment.

3. U- turn is covered the existing road rules. I would be extremely careful because you can't indicate consistently like a car, and 3-pt turns on bikes are very very uncommon. Never seen one actually.

4. Of course they have to give way. Why are you positioned so that they are pressuring you with this merge?

5. Depends on the light sequencing, etc. There are almost no "bike" lanes in the whole country. There are sharrows aplenty (those stupid parking lanes with a bike drawn on them). The bike lanes are a concession to help you stay out of the main traffic flow. If you need to turn across that, then turn across that. You are no different to a car legally speaking. You might get a lot of use from hook turns, but there are a number of situations where this is dumb idea, despite markings - your average driver has no understanding of what a hook turn even is, so you'd be better off making that right turn from centre lane.

6. Refer to the Road rules. You are no different to a car.

Your speed and the car's speed is the main concern for all these things. You are effectively no different to a car except when there are no marked lanes. Single lane means stay left as practicable. Ride like you are supposed to be there and you won't have these arguments with cars. You wouldn't pull in front of a car doing 60kmh with your car, you aren't going to do it with a bike. But you WOULD do it if they were 200m down the road.

Sharing doesn't mean "let them do what they want".
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Re: Some newbie questions

Postby InTheWoods » Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:21 pm

As xplora said the rules for cyclists and cars are pretty much the same with just a few particular differences.

1. What xplora said. If its multi-lane, claim the right hand lane to turn. Getting over to the right hand lane can be tricky at times if there is a significant speed difference as you can't just swerve in front.

2. I would stay behind. Why push in? Had a cyclist do this to me in the car on the weekend. I'm at the front of the right turn queue at red lights, cyclist comes up from behind, rides down my left side, and stops 3 meters out in front of the stop line partway into the intersection to wait for the green light, and I then spend the next 300m trundling along behind him until a safe point to overtake... We were the only 2 people at the intersection. I imagine this would drive most non-cycling drivers nuts, with good reason.

3. When doing a uturn you have to give way to everybody. How you go about that would depend on the road (eg is there a shoulder you can escape to on the other side etc).

4. Yes they have to give way but you can't pass a car on the left if it is indicating left and turning left. And obviously if the lane you are in is marked with a left turn arrow you have to go left too (the number of times I see cyclists going straight from a left turn only lane..... sigh.)

5. If its multiple lanes, claim the lane once its safe to get out there. (A bike lane doesn't count as a lane though). And as xplora said, most bike lines aren't, they are just the road shoulder with a bicycle painted on it. There are certain requirements that have to be met for it to be a bike lane. To get across to the right turn lane, you need to give way to any vehicles in the lanes you are switching too just like a car would. You can't stick your arm out and then swerve in front. Hook turns are sometimes an option. I have a 3 lane wide road I can almost always switch from the left lane to right lane without issues because my speed is high enough. I have a single lane road where I often can't because I'm going to slow to safely get to the right of the lane and I end up doing a hook turn. Some motorists will slow down when you do a head check but only some.

6. Presuming this is not a multi-lane road, if you are riding like a car would drive (ie in the lane), when turning right you need to turn from next to the dividing line. If people can pass on your left, they may. If it holds people up behind you because its too narrow, not your problem - a car in the same space would cause the same problem. Make sure you are signalling.
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Re: Some newbie questions

Postby high_tea » Mon Nov 26, 2012 2:11 pm

Re 1: unless you are on a multi-lane road, you should turn right from as near as practicable to the right of the lane. That's rule 31 of the Road Rules. This rules applies to cars and bicycles alike.

EDIT: wording
Last edited by high_tea on Mon Nov 26, 2012 8:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Some newbie questions

Postby il padrone » Mon Nov 26, 2012 7:31 pm

chipotleaway wrote:1) When turning right onto a road from a street, do you still have to stay to the left or do you go on the right side of the lane (towards the middle)? What if there's a car behind you? Does the car have to stay behind you or is it common for them to pull up to your left if you're on the right, or to your right if you're somewhere in the middle?

Make your turn from the right lane. Either claim the lane or sit to the left of the lane - your choice. Indicate you wish to move out and give way to any cars coming past - but many drivers will see your indication and slow up for you.

chipotleaway wrote:2) f there's a car in front of you also turning right on the right side, you'd stay behind the car, yes?

You may stay behind, or come past on the left (legal for bikes). I usually come past if there are more than 3-4 cars queued up. Can't stand sitting in the fumes and if you're back in the queue you can get 'issues' with following drivers as the cars ahead pull away faster than you, leaving a big gap. At the front of the queue you are also in clear view and able to get quickly across the intersection and rolling on.

chipotleaway wrote:3) When u-turning, are you supposed to ride along the middle of the road between the two lanes (after clearing one lane first) or do you stick to the left of the road until both directions are clear?

U-turns as for any driver - from the left side of the road (for a single carriageway road), giving way to all traffic. Or from a right turn slip lane also giving way to all.

chipotleaway wrote:4) Do cars turning left from your right have to give way to you (if you're on the bike path heading straight? (though I think I've seen cyclists ride to the right of left-turning cars and I've seen bike lanes to the right ...just want to know just in case though)

If you are crossing a road from a bike path, you normally have to give way to all traffic on the road, unless there is a signalled crossing. No. 1 disadvantage of all Aussie bike paths (shared paths really) - you lose priority, even on minor streets. However if they are turning (left or right) into the street you are crossing they must legally give way to you. Trouble is you cannot often rely on this happening - one of the three most common road rules that drivers willfully disobey - along with speeding and crossing double lines.

chipotleaway wrote:5) If you're riding on a bike lane and need to turn right, are you supposed to turn out of the bike lane and turn onto the turning lane with the other cars? If so, you stick to the left of this lane?

Turn right as any driver does - indicate, change lanes to the middle of road/slip lane and make your turn. Best to claim the middle of the slip lane. Or on a bike you may do a hook turn at any intersection. We in Melbourne are used to this - cars drivers must do them on CBD tram track intersections

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chipotleaway wrote:6) And last question, I think is related to the first two...when turning right from a street, can you ride up to the middle of the road if the first lane is clear and wait for the other lane to clear? Or do you have to wait for both diretions to be clear before turning?

Not exactly sure what you mean by this.You may change lanes to the right lane and pass cars stopped in the left lane. Basically on a bicycle you are legally the same as a driver, so you are entitled to ride as you would drive, and claim whatever lane you need to use.

If you mean crossing a carriageway to the middle/median strip when doing a right turn (or crossing an uncontrolled intersection), this is OK as long as it is done safely. Have a collision in this situation and you may be legally held liable if the judge finds you have been reckless. Same applies for any driver though.
Riding bikes in traffic - what seems dangerous is usually safe; what seems safe is often more dangerous.
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Re: Some newbie questions

Postby wellington_street » Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:22 am

il padrone wrote:
chipotleaway wrote:4) Do cars turning left from your right have to give way to you (if you're on the bike path heading straight? (though I think I've seen cyclists ride to the right of left-turning cars and I've seen bike lanes to the right ...just want to know just in case though)

If you are crossing a road from a bike path, you normally have to give way to all traffic on the road, unless there is a signalled crossing. No. 1 disadvantage of all Aussie bike paths (shared paths really) - you lose priority, even on minor streets. However if they are turning (left or right) into the street you are crossing they must legally give way to you. Trouble is you cannot often rely on this happening - one of the three most common road rules that drivers willfully disobey - along with speeding and crossing double lines.


That's not correct, turning vehicles are only required to give to to pedestrians, not cyclists, which are crossing the road they are turning into (ref Part 7 Div 2 of the Victoria Road Rules or similar for your state under the heading 'Giving Way'). One of the quirks of the road rules.
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Re: Some newbie questions

Postby il padrone » Tue Nov 27, 2012 12:45 pm

Ah, yeah, correct. What I said earlier about the use of a bike path ceding your priority to travel. If you were on the road next to the bike path, you will often have priority to proceed.
Riding bikes in traffic - what seems dangerous is usually safe; what seems safe is often more dangerous.
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Re: Some newbie questions

Postby chipotleaway » Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:48 pm

After a couple of months, I finally took my bike out for a spin but panicked when I got to the intersection even though there were hardly any cars around :D There were 3 lanes (so not quite what I remembered), and I had to make my way to the right lane to head straight but wasn't sure whereabouts in the lane to ride.

So if I'm turning right and I decide to turn as a car does rather than do a hook turn, when I'm going from the bike lane (or the far left) to the middle then to the turning lane, whereabouts in the lane should I be during all this? Should I still stick to the left of the lane?

When I'm waiting to turn (in a right turn-only lane), do I take up a whole space as a car does (stay in the middle) or stay to it's left? (like in the front left corner of the car behind me)? Though if a slip lane is the turning lane, then I think il padrone addressed this...and also Xplora ('..from 'centre lane'').

If it's a go straight OR right turn lane, it would make more sense to stay in the middle and be like a car right?

I think this one is similar to question 3 of my initlal about u-turns....but if have to turn into a street to your right, would you have to wait for directions to clear before turning from the far left (or bike lane) or would you crawl up to the middle?

Sorry I need everything spelled out! Just
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Re: Some newbie questions

Postby chipotleaway » Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:57 pm

Also, when stopping at the lights, do you stop in that space between the thick white line and the thinner white line for the pedestrian crossing? (so kind of in front of cars)
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Re: Some newbie questions

Postby InTheWoods » Wed Jan 16, 2013 3:13 pm

chipotleaway wrote:So if I'm turning right and I decide to turn as a car does rather than do a hook turn, when I'm going from the bike lane (or the far left) to the middle then to the turning lane, whereabouts in the lane should I be during all this? Should I still stick to the left of the lane?

when in each lane, be in the middle. its your lane.

When I'm waiting to turn (in a right turn-only lane), do I take up a whole space as a car does (stay in the middle) or stay to it's left?

personally for me it depends on the lane and the traffic. often i would take the middle of the lane, but if the intersection is wide and the road i'm turning into is wide, i'll take the left of the lane as both car and bike can corner safely together.

(like in the front left corner of the car behind me)? Though if a slip lane is the turning lane, then I think il padrone addressed this...and also Xplora ('..from 'centre lane'').

again depends on whether i consider it safe to share with a car or not. wide = share. narrow = claim. i want to get home safely but also don't want to hold people up if there's no danger.

If it's a go straight OR right turn lane, it would make more sense to stay in the middle and be like a car right?

yes, but i'd keep a good lookout behind you. depending on the situation it might be safer to be in the right turn only lane and then after cornering, swap back to the left.

I think this one is similar to question 3 of my initlal about u-turns....but if have to turn into a street to your right, would you have to wait for directions to clear before turning from the far left (or bike lane) or would you crawl up to the middle?

not sure what you mean. there's nothing wrong with being in the right hand lane stopped while waiting for oncoming traffic to clear, but you have to look at the road and see if that's a good idea or not. eg. if it was an 80kmh zone and traffic is flowing fast i wouldn't. by crawl up the middle if you mean ride on the centreline then no way. and I wouldn't duck out to the right hand lane unless traffic in that lane was a looong way back so they have ample warning you are stopping there - you don't have brake lights.
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Re: Some newbie questions

Postby InTheWoods » Wed Jan 16, 2013 3:32 pm

chipotleaway wrote:Also, when stopping at the lights, do you stop in that space between the thick white line and the thinner white line for the pedestrian crossing? (so kind of in front of cars)


Some people do, technically the thick line is the line your vehicle is meant to stop at. I usually stop on the light sensors just before the thick line wherever they are, if a car comes up behind me and its iffy as to whether my bike will trigger the lights, I move forward to let the car trigger the lights.
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