Strategy for Left Lane/Shoulder morphing into Left Only

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Strategy for Left Lane/Shoulder morphing into Left Only

Postby TailWind » Thu May 23, 2013 8:52 am

On my commute I encounter several sections where the shoulder or the left lane turns into a left only lane and my route requires me to continue straight on.
Generally, the roads in question can either have fast moving traffic or backed up traffic depending on the traffic light phase.
I have considered the following strategies for dealing with this dilemma:
1. Stick to the left only lane, head straight through and rejoin shoulder/left hand lane on the other side. - Not legal, probably.
2. Merge into the straight ahead lane. - Not keen on blocking 80km/h smokeboxes intent on making the light, nor queuing behind them when they are backed up far from the intersection.
3. Stick to the left only as far as possible, then ride the white line between the left only and the straight ahead as if lane splitting or filtering through to the intersection. - Close shaves!

To illustrate point 3:
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Not good positioning from my side, but the lady could have also hung back for another couple of seconds - I was past her before she made the turn anyway.
Nonetheless, this illustrates the dilemma.

What are your strategies for dealing with the change of lane direction?

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by BNA » Thu May 23, 2013 10:05 am

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Re: Strategy for Left Lane/Shoulder morphing into Left Only

Postby Ozkaban » Thu May 23, 2013 10:05 am

I'd love to hear from some of the learned as well. There's a couple of these on my commute and one in particular is after an uphill slog, so I'm traveling slower which makes the speed differential greater...

EDIT: For what it's worth, I tend to do a combination of 1 & 3 - stay in the left lane but pretty close to the right hand edge and then proceed ahead. I've never been undertaken by a left turning vehicle (I'm still blocking the lane), but my intent of going straight forward is pretty clear and I'm obviously doing my best to avoid blocking traffic. Still hate the situation though.

If it was on a downhill, I'd claim the right lane as I'd be going much closer to traffic speed.
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Re: Strategy for Left Lane/Shoulder morphing into Left Only

Postby Ken Ho » Thu May 23, 2013 10:16 am

Personally, I would pull onto the footpath there, hit the button and cross as a pedestrian, then continue.
A bit of a hassle, but say you go through one of those every day, and there is a 1:1000 (random guess) chance a car will do the wrong thing and clean you up.
That gives you three years before you are dead.

If going uphill, I would definitely cross as a PED. There is a much less gnarly intersection I go through lately, with a left turn lane where I do exactly that. Downhill, I might consider taking the lane, in light traffic, but if heavy, not a chance.
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Re: Strategy for Left Lane/Shoulder morphing into Left Only

Postby human909 » Thu May 23, 2013 10:22 am

It really depends. All of the above are options.

MOST of the time I'll claim the lane. But if you are talking 80kph roads with shoulders the that seems a bit silly. Just ride through the left turn lane to the shoulder.

My riding is mostly on slower roads and if there is no bike lane then I will be claiming the lane.
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Re: Strategy for Left Lane/Shoulder morphing into Left Only

Postby RonK » Thu May 23, 2013 10:45 am

It would depend on the traffic speed and volume which lane, but either way I would claim the lane.

If the through traffic is heavy or fast I'd claim the left lane to block drivers from overtaking and cutting across. Otherwise I'd claim the right lane.

I ride through a similar intersection regularly, and it is complicated by a left-turning signal (which may remain green when through traffic signal is red) as well, so I try to anticipate the signal and get in the right lane if I think they are about to change.
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Re: Strategy for Left Lane/Shoulder morphing into Left Only

Postby bychosis » Thu May 23, 2013 11:08 am

Different situations need different strategies.

Both lanes clear, or not too much fast traffic: ride the straight through lane, claim it.
Right lane too fast or full: use the left turn lane, but on the right so it looks like I'm going straight, may even signal by pointing depending ont he situation. This is only when there is space on the shoulder outside the through lane, no space to go to then claim the straight through lane.
Both stopped: filter through between the two lane, wait at the red in front of the left turn traffic, but offset to the right so they can turn behind me if the lights happen to allow the left turn lane to go first.
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Re: Strategy for Left Lane/Shoulder morphing into Left Only

Postby JessicaAlba » Thu May 23, 2013 6:40 pm

Definitely different methods for different conditions, but I'd do just what you've done in that pic; claim just the inner 2ft of that lane, hard up against the line.

There are a few like that around Cairns too, as well as one that has two left turning lanes and no option but to hit the footpath, or just claim the whole left lane. I choose, of course, the latter. I would rather a driverr see me right in front, than miss me coming off the f/p and back into the bike lane, just as they've decided to take that corner extra tight
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Re: Strategy for Left Lane/Shoulder morphing into Left Only

Postby Howzat » Thu May 23, 2013 8:51 pm

Also write to the local roads authority that the intersection is dangerous, in its current configuration, for cyclists who want to proceed straight ahead.
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Re: Strategy for Left Lane/Shoulder morphing into Left Only

Postby zero » Thu May 23, 2013 9:19 pm

On my slow old mountain bike with guards and full suspension and knobbies, I would head checked already, and have stuck my arm out 70m from the end of that lane, and been in the second lane over 50m from the intersection in the first available gap 99% of the time - and I would have moved over to the middle of it too to make it clear I was going to use that lane to cross the intersection.

Its likely that would have unbottled turners if the traffic is heavy, so there is plenty of context for the middle lane drivers to understand why I've moved out. Note that I've done this thousands of times in bogan havens without issues and on 70 and 80km/hr roads.

Whenever you enter an intersection, you need to review the most dangerous car - which is the oncoming car in what is (for them the rightmost lane), as that car may right turn - and may do so believing if you were in the left lane that you were turning and they could shoot down the lane outside of you. Therefore you need to get any lane changes done before you enter the intersection so that you can look up, monitor the dangerous cars, and ignore the cars behind you who are not very dangerous to you once you've claimed your lane. Spread out your need to monitor different directions by getting your lane changes done before the intersection.

Turning into the pram ramp at an apex of a turning lane to become a pedestrian is also dangerous. Drivers that have green arrows are often completely unprepared for that stop, cannot understand the nuance of any gesturing, because they can see where they *think* you are turning and it will be particularly dangerous if the vehicle behind you is heavy and can do serious injury or kill with slow speeds.
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Re: Strategy for Left Lane/Shoulder morphing into Left Only

Postby Ken Ho » Thu May 23, 2013 11:36 pm

The only
Problem with lane-claiming, is that I've been carved up a few times, with people still overtaking me, despite being smack band in the middle. This has happened to me in multi-lane turning situations, ending up with me in a no-mans land, surrounded by turning cars.
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Re: Strategy for Left Lane/Shoulder morphing into Left Only

Postby bychosis » Fri May 24, 2013 6:26 am

Ken Ho wrote:The only
Problem with lane-claiming, is that I've been carved up a few times, with people still overtaking me, despite being smack band in the middle. This has happened to me in multi-lane turning situations, ending up with me in a no-mans land, surrounded by turning cars.


for me discretion is the better part of valour. For example if I am slow (eg up hill) I don't claim the lane, if the traffic is too fast/heavy I will considerother alternatives eg footpath.

I have a busy two lane roundabout on my commute home where I turn right. If the taffic is moving too fast for my legs I cross the road and use the footpath on the right hand side, then cross again to get back onto the correct side of the road after the roundabout. When my legs are fresh and/or the traffic has been stopped at a previous set of lights into the right lane I go, build up some speed and stick my arm out claiming the lane around the roundabout. As it is up hill the footpath is a regular route even though it is against the law.
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Re: Strategy for Left Lane/Shoulder morphing into Left Only

Postby TailWind » Fri May 24, 2013 7:53 am

Thanks all for your input.
Agree that one should ride to the circumstances, which I hopefully do using all three options as appropriate.
And of course there's option 4 that Ken cheerily put forward - "Become a ped or be dead!" :mrgreen:

Ride safe, everyone, and Happy Friday! :D
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Re: Strategy for Left Lane/Shoulder morphing into Left Only

Postby Ken Ho » Fri May 24, 2013 9:46 am

Only sometimes.
Luckily here in retro- Qld, riding a bike on the footpath is not seen as a dangerous act and is therefore legal.
I think there have been enough fatalities recently to make it pretty defensible anywhere if the lane is too narrow or the circumstances otherwise too dangerous.
I'm in the "discretion is the better part of valour" camp, though I do believe in lane claiming, and continue to do it in most circumstances.
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Re: Strategy for Left Lane/Shoulder morphing into Left Only

Postby bychosis » Fri May 24, 2013 10:20 am

I mostly try to ride BIG, claim the lane etc... But I also value my limbs so take the safer option in some circumstances.
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Re: Strategy for Left Lane/Shoulder morphing into Left Only

Postby macca33 » Fri May 24, 2013 10:24 am

There are a couple of these around Nepean Hwy etc and I generally cross into the straight-through lane as soon as I can, with a decent hand signal and headcheck to ensure they all see you. Sometimes, however, it is inevitable that it cannot be done that way and I have to roll straight through and merge at / within the intersection.

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Re: Strategy for Left Lane/Shoulder morphing into Left Only

Postby zero » Fri May 24, 2013 12:03 pm

Ken Ho wrote:The only
Problem with lane-claiming, is that I've been carved up a few times, with people still overtaking me, despite being smack band in the middle. This has happened to me in multi-lane turning situations, ending up with me in a no-mans land, surrounded by turning cars.


All that says to me is that you are not planning to move early enough, nor being assertive enough about your need to use the clear path and correct designated lane through any choke point. There are places where I change lanes to and ride the 4th lane over from the left (so that I can access a right turn bay). That move typically takes 200m, but is safer than any other alternative given there is no safe exit at the turnbay to the left.

Again the main risk in the OPs intersection is if you enter via the turning lane going straight, is that the oncoming right turner fails to give way to you and hits you heavily mid intersection. The main risk is NOT the cars behind you if you change lanes safely.
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Re: Strategy for Left Lane/Shoulder morphing into Left Only

Postby Ken Ho » Sat May 25, 2013 1:33 am

I stopped at a red light and occupied the middle of a right turn lane. No doubt about how "claimed" the lane was.
The car behind me cut inside me on the turn, passing me, but leaving me unable to hold my line throughout the turn.
You sound like every bogan driver. It was my fault.
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Re: Strategy for Left Lane/Shoulder morphing into Left Only

Postby RonK » Sat May 25, 2013 7:38 am

Ken Ho wrote:The only
Problem with lane-claiming, is that I've been carved up a few times, with people still overtaking me, despite being smack band in the middle. This has happened to me in multi-lane turning situations, ending up with me in a no-mans land, surrounded by turning cars.

Yep, that has happened to me a couple of times turning right off Nudgee Road onto KSD.

Despite that I still think it much safer than the riders I often see attempting the right turn from the left kerb and so in serious danger from though traffic.
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Re: Strategy for Left Lane/Shoulder morphing into Left Only

Postby Red Rider » Sat May 25, 2013 11:30 pm

I claim the turning lane and also put my right arm out. Communicating a manoeuvre with your arms does wonders for getting drives to pay attention to what you are doing and giving some space. Putting the arm out means they won't try to go around you.
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Re: Strategy for Left Lane/Shoulder morphing into Left Only

Postby Ken Ho » Sun May 26, 2013 7:17 am

Red Rider wrote:I claim the turning lane and also put my right arm out. Communicating a manoeuvre with your arms does wonders for getting drives to pay attention to what you are doing and giving some space. Putting the arm out means they won't try to go around you.


Yes, until they do. It's a good strategy, which I do all the time, including when crossing filter lanes/left turn lanes, and at ANY corner where I might be left hooked, ncluding entering roundabouts where I am going straight through.
So, the light goes green, and I take off. You are suggesting that I accelerate hard and clip in, riding with one hand and the other one out ? Far out, you must b a good rider if you can do that, cos I can't.
I've nearly had my hand taken off a few times too by people who just don't care.
One one memorable occasion, I had a guy carve me up entering a roundabout, despite me having the lane with my hand out. When I threw my arm up in disgust and yelled, he stopped in the middle of the roundabout, got out and proceeded to go totlly psycho, threatening and abusing me while traffic piled up. He was a very angry man, tats, probably drugs, lots of bad attitude and DVO all over him.
That was the event that convinced me that this whole "I'm a vehicle, hear me roar" rubbish is not such a great idea.
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Re: Strategy for Left Lane/Shoulder morphing into Left Only

Postby Red Rider » Sun May 26, 2013 4:05 pm

Ken Ho wrote:
Red Rider wrote:I claim the turning lane and also put my right arm out. Communicating a manoeuvre with your arms does wonders for getting drives to pay attention to what you are doing and giving some space. Putting the arm out means they won't try to go around you.


Yes, until they do. It's a good strategy, which I do all the time, including when crossing filter lanes/left turn lanes, and at ANY corner where I might be left hooked, ncluding entering roundabouts where I am going straight through.
So, the light goes green, and I take off. You are suggesting that I accelerate hard and clip in, riding with one hand and the other one out ? Far out, you must b a good rider if you can do that, cos I can't.
I've nearly had my hand taken off a few times too by people who just don't care.
One one memorable occasion, I had a guy carve me up entering a roundabout, despite me having the lane with my hand out. When I threw my arm up in disgust and yelled, he stopped in the middle of the roundabout, got out and proceeded to go totlly psycho, threatening and abusing me while traffic piled up. He was a very angry man, tats, probably drugs, lots of bad attitude and DVO all over him.
That was the event that convinced me that this whole "I'm a vehicle, hear me roar" rubbish is not such a great idea.

Don't you know, I'm the perfect bike rider! :wink:
Waiting at the lights is a different scenario, cars aren't whizzing by at 80k so I'd take the lane to go straight on.
Sorry to hear about the lunatic confronting you, I've never had something that extreme happen but it probably would affect my confidence as well.
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