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Thread: what to do about aggressive vehicle passes

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by GovernorSilver View Post
    I'm not a lawyer, but this is what the VDOT site says:

    http://www.virginiadot.org/programs/bk-laws.asp#Where

    Bicyclists must not ride between two lanes of traffic moving in the same direction unless one lane is a separate or mandatory turn lane.

    This seems to imply lane splitting between moving traffic is legal if one of the lanes is a turn lane. I wouldn't mind being corrected though.

    http://www.virginiadot.org/programs/bk-laws.asp#Passing

    Bicyclists may overtake and pass another vehicle only when safe to do so. Bicyclists may pass another vehicle on the right or left, and they may stay in the same lane, change lanes, or ride off the road if necessary for safe passing.

    This part seems to imply filtering is ok, though there's some debate on whether passing between stopped cars is safe. Dooring is frequently cited as a hazard in this scenario, although I've only seen people open their car doors in stopped traffic when everyone is convinced traffic is not going to move for an hour or more (eg. a major traffic blockage like an accident blocking all lanes, or spilled jet fuel).
    But using plain English, those two provisions appear to be contradictory. Are they trying to say a bicyclist may only pass in the same lane if there is only one lane in that direction or that it is next to a turn lane?
    Last edited by consularrider; 11-23-2015 at 02:53 PM. Reason: While I graduated from law school and passed the bar, I do not practice law.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by dplasters View Post
    [SIZE=1] - side gripe - so they can lane split cyclists, but cyclist can't lane split cars
    My complaint is people who quote the law and then interpret it incorrectly because they skip/ignore key words like "motor vehicle". A bicycle is not a motor vehicle.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolarBikeCar View Post
    My complaint is people who quote the law and then interpret it incorrectly because they skip/ignore key words like "motor vehicle". A bicycle is not a motor vehicle.
    I'm not aware of when I conflated a cyclist and a motor vehicle. Or perhaps you are discussing something else?

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    My plain reading of the law is that legislators want cyclists to stay right and let faster traffic pass. If the cyclist is passing stopped or slow traffic he should pass on the right using the shoulder if needed. If the cyclist is faster than moving traffic they should pass on the left if there are multi-lanes and the passing lane is free of other vehicles. What is not permitted is for cyclists to slip down between two lanes of traffic going in the same direction by riding the dashed yellow line (or worse the center line between lanes going in opposite directions.) Cars don't expect that and it is dangerous. The exception is when the right lane is a turn lane. It is dangerous for a cyclists to stay right only to get to the intersection and then need to suddenly switch lanes to be able to travel straight through. So if a cyclist is coming to an intersection with traffic waiting to turn right and another lane to go straight, a cyclist is permitted to drive between those two lines passing between traffic in the process. The VDOT cycling pamphlet explains this with pictures.

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    Quote Originally Posted by consularrider View Post
    But using plain English, those two provisions appear to be contradictory. Are they trying to say a bicyclist may only pass in the same lane if there is only one lane in that direction or that it is next to a turn lane?
    As DS pointed out, the key word seems to be "moving".

    Bicyclists cannot legally pass between moving cars in VA, unless one of the lanes is a turn lane.

    They can legally pass between stopped cars (filtering).

    I've been known to misread/misinterpret stuff though. One of the reasons I filter very selectively is I don't want to be caught between cars when they start to move (when filtering becomes lane-splitting).

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    Quote Originally Posted by SolarBikeCar View Post
    My plain reading of the law is that legislators want cyclists to stay right and let faster traffic pass.
    Bicyclists operating a bicycle on a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place under conditions then existing shall ride as close as safely practicable to the right curb or edge of roadway. Exceptions to this are when bicyclists are overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction, preparing for a left turn, avoiding unsafe conditions, avoiding riding in a lane that turns or diverges to the right, riding on a one way street where bicyclists may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of roadway, or when the lane width is too narrow to share with a motor vehicle.
    Allow traffic to pass, subject to the safety of the cyclist and the 3 foot requirement.

    I'm about 2 feet wide, need 3 feet to pass me, car is about 7 to 7-1/2 feet (most don't include side mirrors in their width measurement), trucks can be up to 9 feet wide. So that's a 14 foot wide lane to meet the requirement for all motor vehicles. This assumes I'm riding on the gutter line, which no one is advocating for. Soooo I take the full lane. They have to get into another lane to pass me anyway (they can split the lane with me, but they have to give me 3 feet, which means they are protruding into the next lane - precluding another car from using it). All I am doing is making myself more apparent.

    The FCPD cars that have passed me have not had an issue with my riding.

  7. #17
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    If this is all about my gripe about cars being able to lane split, but cyclists not being able to.

    Motorists get the benefit of the doubt that they will only lane split when giving cyclist 3+ feet. There is discretion about the situation.

    In highly congested traffic there are clearly moments when you can safely lane split because you know the cars are bumper to bumper and are just crawling forward from a light cycle. They aren't going to break 10, and you are really just filtering, but that isn't what the law says. If the cars are moving forward even a little, its illegal.

    I was just pointing out that one road user is given discretion, the other is not. This isn't always the case. The VA red light trigger/cycle 2 minute wait for cyclists and motorcycles doesn't have an equivalent I'm aware of for passenger vehicles.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GovernorSilver View Post
    As DS pointed out, the key word seems to be "moving".

    Bicyclists cannot legally pass between moving cars in VA, unless one of the lanes is a turn lane.

    They can legally pass between stopped cars (filtering).

    I've been known to misread/misinterpret stuff though. One of the reasons I filter very selectively is I don't want to be caught between cars when they start to move (when filtering becomes lane-splitting).
    Nope, what you are doing is called "passing," and the quoted reference says you can do it on either the left or right and can split the lane which contradicts the reference about "where" to ride. 46.2-907. Overtaking and passing vehicles paragraphs one and three are internally inconsistent and contradictory as written.
    Last edited by consularrider; 11-23-2015 at 04:41 PM.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by consularrider View Post
    Nope, what you are doing is called "passing"
    Is it passing when I move between two moving cars or when I move between two stopped cars?

    I agree the VDOT regs are confusing.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by GovernorSilver View Post
    Is it passing when I move between two moving cars or when I move between two stopped cars?

    I agree the VDOT regs are confusing.
    In plain English you are passing in both scenarios. Of course my legal interpretation is worth exactly what you paid for it.

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