Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Left Lane Movin'

"You know what makes me safer?  Blocking 15 cars that are going to try to take risks to pass."

I first heard of the Left Lane movement last year when a rider was hit by a bus on Hwy 101.  The report was quickly overwhelmed by Left Lane riding advocates flooding the comments with assertions that had the riders been riding to the left then the bus would have been forced to move into the opposite lane of traffic and the accident never would of happened.  Despite video that showed the issue was low visibility and no solid evidence that riding to the left would have changed that.  Or any evidence that riding to the left*, perhaps more accurately described as taking a full lane, is actually safer.

But Holy F^%$sticks that doesn't stop dudes from being militant about it.  There are two types of bike commuters I regularly run into that drive me nuts -- eBikes and LeftLaneLarrys.  The eBike guys are a menace because for the most part they use their bikes as scooters and don't have the skills or awareness to ride with other bikes.  The Larry's though not only cockblock cars they cockblock other cyclists too.  And they get angry about it when you try to get around them.  

Hey I get that sometime following the rules isn't the safest option -- I strategically break the rules too.  But there's a difference between making an individual decision to break the rules and forcing others to adopt your personal riding preference. 

Riding in the left makes the rider squeeze by on the right (which apparently is what Lefty's expect) or go into the other lane to get by increasing their risk.  It also means the rider behind you is the one closest to irritable cars.

But what makes it especially annoying is the personality type of every Lefty I've ever encountered is not someone who is a solid bike rider making a thought out decision on how to increase their safety.  Every single one (caveat: anecdote is not the same as data!) has been a low-skill rider who isn't comfortable riding without 4 feet of space on either side *and* they are alphas who just hate being passed at all.  

So to all you Lefty's let me say: F&^% you.  I'm sorry you aren't comfortable on your bike.  I'm sorry you aren't strong enough to win the tour.  But I don't want to be part of your movement and I'm not going to adapt my riding to make you more confortable.

*The study most generally used to support left laning is this one: http://www.bicyclinglife.com/Library/Accident-Study.pdf.  Interestingly it does not actually address Left Lane riding.  It does, however, note that riding against traffic is a significant risk factor for cycling accidents.  If you where going to draw a conclussion that isn't directly addressed from this study about Left Laning it seems to me it would be that it's more dangerous since it puts the rider closer to oncoming traffic.

2 Comments:

At Wednesday, March 12, 2014 10:45:00 AM, Anonymous Conrad said...

Why not just use common sense and ride as far right as practical but take the lane when you need to? I dont get the riders that get their panties in a bunch if you don't holler something like on your left when passing. Just give someone a decent amount of room and overtake. It bugs me when cars honk to announce they are passing, and I don't need a bell or on your left if cyclists are overtaking me. Just pass safely and I'll keep riding in a straight line, thank you very much.

 
At Wednesday, March 12, 2014 12:25:00 PM, Blogger P-Dog said...

+1000 as the kids say.

 

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