One of the great advantages of riding a bike is its size. Often in traffic that’s a stand-still for automobiles, we can coast right through. By Davenport, I typically pass a good 30 cars every morning and every evening as they wait for lights to change. When faced with a situation like this, what’s the proper move?
I’m sure some folks would chime in that I should wait my turn like the other ‘vehicles’. But hey, this mess is the whole reason I gave up driving my car to work. So nuts to that. Bikes are small, and should be able to take advantage of that as long as it’s safe.
I’m not sure what’s the ‘approved’ way to handle these situations. To my knowledge, filtering isn’t illegal in Ontario. I think it’s even legal to move between lanes of traffic in a move called ‘lane splitting’. I don’t have the courage to lane split that’s for sure. But I will ride up the right hand gutter as far as I can if there’s room. I’ll even get up on a lawn or two to get around a car that’s pulled over too far right.
That is, until I reach the 2 or 3 cars at the front of the line. That’s when I have to make a decision. Some possible scenarios:
- A car pulled far right near the front is probably getting ready to make a right. I’ll wait. If he’s way over and way back then he probably just doesn’t want me to pass. That’s too bad for him.
- Front car has a right turn blinker on – I wait behind him and in front of the 2nd car in line. That 2nd guy will see me, but maybe the first guy is concentrating on finding an opening to make the right turn and won’t.
- No blinker on front car – He might still be turning, so I’m cautious. I might go out in front if there’s generous space in front of him for me to stand so he’ll notice me. If I would have to stop along side, then I’ll wait to the right, but behind.
- I won’t pass the stopped front car at all unless I know that the light won’t change while I’m along side. That means, I’ve seen it change red and it wasn’t too long ago.
- If I have to bike past a cross street, I slow down and look for cars that are being ‘let in’ or ‘let across’ by the cars to my left. I almost got bounced by this once. Probably my closest call as a commuter.
Did I miss something? Are there other ways to be flattened that I’m not thinking of? How else can you handle traffic queues? Does anyone actually wait their turn at the back of a long line?