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Thread: Question about law concerning two cyclists riding abreast

  1. #31
    lordofthemark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ImaCynic View Post
    I can assure you that this is not the only law being ignored by motorists.

    More bicycle laws are NOT going to make things safer; they simply add to confusion and ignorance.
    If you can back this statement up with data, you should publish it. You'd create quite a stir at TRB (Transportation Research Board)

    But simple assertions on this forum are worth the paper they are printed on.

    Traffic laws are regularly violated, but, IMO, do matter. Many people do NOT want to get a ticket. They also don't want to be the party at fault in a civil suit. And, yes, being able to recover in a civil suit matters. And showing a pattern of violations by motorists helps us as we argue for better infrastructure I think (for example the notion of unmarked crosswalks, helps to disarm the "well the pedestrian was outside of a crosswalk, ergo jaywalking meme)

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    Quote Originally Posted by ImaCynic View Post
    I can assure you that this is not the only law being ignored by motorists.

    More bicycle laws are NOT going to make things safer; they simply add to confusion and ignorance.
    Maybe not by themselves, but with education and enforcement, they will.

    If we don't have laws, then education and enforcement can't happen.

    Yes, motor vehicle laws are confusing, and probably contradictory in some places. That's because they, and the transportation system, have evolved over 120 years. Perhaps they need to be re-written from the ground up, but just like the revenue code, that's not going to happen anytime soon. So we're stuck with a patchwork of laws, and this is an attempt to fill in the holes.

    Ignorance can be overcome with education, and perhaps changing the licensing system. Perhaps it is too easy to get a license, and the standards should be made much harder. Perhaps harder exams should be given every two or three years to ensure that drivers keep up with current laws. Perhaps bicycle and pedestrian safety need to be emphasized more, much more. But ignorance is not a good reason not to create laws to protect cyclists.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark View Post
    In the case I'm referring to, the double yellow line should be ignored because it unfortunately provides no useful information.
    Not sure what you mean, but a double yellow most definitely provides useful information. It says that if you begin to pass another vehicle across it, you will probably not have enough visibility to see if it is safe to complete the pass.

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    Quote Originally Posted by baiskeli View Post
    Not sure what you mean, but a double yellow most definitely provides useful information. It says that if you begin to pass another vehicle across it, you will probably not have enough visibility to see if it is safe to complete the pass.
    That's the problem. On the streets I mentioned in my post, there is a double yellow line throughout their entirety, whether or not there is sufficient visibility to pass. The double yellow line on these streets is not being used as a guide when to and not to pass.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark View Post
    In the case I'm referring to, the double yellow line should be ignored because it unfortunately provides no useful information. Motorists and cyclists simply need to use good judgment. I wonder what is the point of putting down meaningless road markers.
    There must be sufficient clear line-of-sight distance for a vehicle to overtake another, so even if one spot looks clear, it may not be so few hundred feet ahead. For instance, even at 25MPH, one travels at 37ft per second, so in a span of say eight seconds to pass another, one would have traveled nearly 300 ft, and this entire distance must be clearly seen by any oncoming traffic, so these markers are not as meaningless as you think.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark View Post
    I agree with your point that laws are not going to make things safer. When I'm on the road, my decisions are based on what I believe is safe, not on what the law requires. But it still wouldn't hurt if laws were written to be as clear and sensible as possible. Unclear laws citing cyclists as impediments strike me as simply bad laws. The three foot passing law is a good one: it is clear and to the point. Motorists do not know exactly what three feet is, but the law does convey the idea that they cannot pass to close to a cyclist. (Of course, most motorists don't even know this rule. The good drivers simply understand that they should have a safety margin when passing.)
    The issue here is when one's belief of safe riding conflicts with the law, where the law often removes any room for exercising sound judgements. Want a simple law? Consider China's rule of the road where the bigger vehicle is *always* at fault in a traffic incursion. Bike hits ped, bike's fault, car hits bike, car's fault, bigger car/truck hits car... you get the idea. It basically places the burden on the one that is less vulnerable to not to do something stupid. Now this to me is pretty easy and clear to follow, and understand.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    If you can back this statement up with data, you should publish it. You'd create quite a stir at TRB (Transportation Research Board)

    But simple assertions on this forum are worth the paper they are printed on.

    Traffic laws are regularly violated, but, IMO, do matter. Many people do NOT want to get a ticket. They also don't want to be the party at fault in a civil suit. And, yes, being able to recover in a civil suit matters. And showing a pattern of violations by motorists helps us as we argue for better infrastructure I think (for example the notion of unmarked crosswalks, helps to disarm the "well the pedestrian was outside of a crosswalk, ergo jaywalking meme)
    Here you go, if you believe in the data published by the US government:

    https://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/...ata_Stats.aspx

    I suspect many new traffic laws were added every year, and yet overall fatalities, still rose.

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by ImaCynic View Post
    Here you go, if you believe in the data published by the US government:

    https://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/...ata_Stats.aspx

    I suspect many new traffic laws were added every year, and yet overall fatalities, still rose.

    This is not the quality of research that will get you published or create a stir at TRB.

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    Quote Originally Posted by trailrunner View Post
    Maybe not by themselves, but with education and enforcement, they will.

    If we don't have laws, then education and enforcement can't happen.

    Yes, motor vehicle laws are confusing, and probably contradictory in some places. That's because they, and the transportation system, have evolved over 120 years. Perhaps they need to be re-written from the ground up, but just like the revenue code, that's not going to happen anytime soon. So we're stuck with a patchwork of laws, and this is an attempt to fill in the holes.

    Ignorance can be overcome with education, and perhaps changing the licensing system. Perhaps it is too easy to get a license, and the standards should be made much harder. Perhaps harder exams should be given every two or three years to ensure that drivers keep up with current laws. Perhaps bicycle and pedestrian safety need to be emphasized more, much more. But ignorance is not a good reason not to create laws to protect cyclists.
    "Chaos was the law of nature; Order was the dream of man."

    Henry Adams

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark View Post
    That's the problem. On the streets I mentioned in my post, there is a double yellow line throughout their entirety, whether or not there is sufficient visibility to pass. The double yellow line on these streets is not being used as a guide when to and not to pass.
    This. The double yellow is used at least here in Virginia on any local road with a traffic volume over a certain number of cars per day. On such roads you will never find a broken double yellow line indicating a passing zone. It is quite common on this sort of road for things like trash trucks or lawn service trucks or any number of things to block the lane. And guess what--drivers do not just sit there unable to go because they fear to cross the double yellow line. The meaning of the double yellow in this case is "you're on a 25MPH neighborhood road, there's never a reason to pass another car because you want to go faster so just slow down" not "there isn't enough visibility to pass safely". (And yet, for some reason, drivers panic and have absolutely no idea what to do when there's a cyclist. The only fix for this is more cyclists so it's a common thing not a novel experience. Unfortunately it's a chicken/egg problem because a lot of people don't want to bike where the drivers are clueless--or where, as a driver, they'd freak out if they saw a cyclist.)

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  12. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    (And yet, for some reason, drivers panic and have absolutely no idea what to do when there's a cyclist. The only fix for this is more cyclists so it's a common thing not a novel experience. Unfortunately it's a chicken/egg problem because a lot of people don't want to bike where the drivers are clueless--or where, as a driver, they'd freak out if they saw a cyclist.)
    But the chicken (or the egg) is progressing (or something like that; metaphors schmetaphors). There are a lot more people on bikes than there used to be, and I find that many drivers are accommodating. Not 100% by any means, but my personal observation is that it's much better now than, say, 1999...or 2009.

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