Saturday, July 18

The Wheels on "the T" Go Round and Round

Remember, let those buses have their bus lanes all to themselves!

Hmm, this video stuff is a little tricky. Turns out there IS no zoom. Wave your mouse around those highlight boxes and text appears below them, too.

ADDITION TO THE POST ON SUNDAY DUE TO RAT TRAP COMMENT
I didn't SAY it was best practice, I said it was how I ride. Obviously, I try to avoid poor practice, but opinions on this may vary.

My approach eliminates bus conflicts and avoids feelings of low self-worth due to not turning right at those corners. Motorists don't seem to get upset, but a few WILL crowd you to the right if you look like you're inviting a "lane buddy." You DON'T want a lane buddy if a bus might be off the starboard beam. It'll feel unnatural the first couple of times - riding smack down the middle of the second lane over (or even further left than the center), but those bus drivers really don't want you in THEIR lane and I'm sure they'd have to fill out a LOT of paperwork if you went under their wheels.

You're going to hit red lights anyway, so nobody's going to get to the Convention Center any quicker regardless of where in that second lane (RH Through lane) you ride. Houston Street is not I-35W.

I recommend you try it on low traffic days (when bus traffic is low) until it becomes second nature. Avoiding lane buddies should be the main learning objective, and learning the finer points of what is safest when there's not really a bus in the bus lane. For learning partners, taxis drivers are really good. They know how to drive, but they'll crowd you in a New York Minute if you look like you don't know what you're doing.

There IS another clearly legal option that I didn't mention - ride as "far left as practicable" in the LH lane since Houston's a one-way street. I do that, but only for the last block or so before I get to my turn at the Convention Center. It feels even less natural than how I ride around bus lanes and I think motorists are less likely to notice a cyclist there, though if you're being a "gutter bunny" at the far left, you'll still be right in a motorist's primary line of sight. This ain't England, after all. It also won't work if you're on a street with two-way traffic, and it involves a lot of lane changing back & forth if you're eventually going to turn right. Two big pluses of this approach are you'll be so far away from the buses that they won't even know you exist, and if you encounter a motorist inclined to be a pushy lane buddy, you won't be in a blind spot. Negative - even on one-way streets, the traffic tends to sweep a little faster towards the left and the "left-turn only" lanes lead you to change lanes more than their RT-only cousins that use the bus lane.

Riding down Houston on a Summer Saturday morning is a really pleasant ride. Ditto for most of the other downtown streets. It's one place where I have NEVER encountered any motorist harassment, honking, or hint of hostility of any kind whatsoever.

7 comments:

Rantwick said...

Uh oh, Steve's doing video...

Why did you whisper "Damn!" at the end of that clip?

Steve A said...

I was inspired by Rantwick. Had I not discovered that my video editing software rotates the video 90degrees, I'd have gotten the dfwptp version of the Ranwick logo snuck onto the end. I may have to make a shopping trip to Fry's.

I couldn't figure out how to turn the thing off! My daughter convinced me that snipping it off would deny the world a cheap chuckle.

Rat Trap Press said...

I wondered what the best practice was when riding in that area. I guess I'll stay out of the bus lane next time.

ChipSeal said...

If the lane is too narrow to share, then you have to take the lane. (Whatever lane you choose to use.)

First, the law is on your side. Second, if there is more than one lane, you are by definition not impeding anyone, no matter how slow you are riding. (And you need not ride fast. Just go at a pace that is reasonable for a cyclist in general, and specificly, a reasonable pace for you.)

So when you "take command of a lane", ride where folks can see at a glance that they can't share the lane with you. Ride BIG. Drivers do not ever want to hit things with their cars. You are driving like a car, and they will figure out that they need to go around you.

You belong there, and you have a statutory right to be there, so act like it. Motorists will flow around you easily and in an elegant way. It is far more pleasant than riding close to the curb!

Doohickie said...

Riding down Houston on a Summer Saturday morning is a really pleasant ride. Ditto for most of the other downtown streets. It's one place where I have NEVER encountered any motorist harassment, honking, or hint of hostility of any kind whatsoever.

My theory is this: There is a large proportion fo people riding and driving downtown who are not familiar with the area, especially the One-Way streets. For those who are familiar with the area, they are used to dealing with these n00bs and realize that it comes with the territory. The only people who aren't terribly forgiving are the cops; they like to keep the place orderly for the n00bs.

Doohickie said...

You belong there, and you have a statutory right to be there, so act like it. Motorists will flow around you easily and in an elegant way. It is far more pleasant than riding close to the curb!

I've been finding this out more and more. Getting a mirror helps that a lot. I can see how far back a motorist recognizes my presence and makes their lane change. It is almost always waaaaaay back behind me. I've even started taking the lane on Bryant Irvin Road, a very busy road around here. I try to keep my exposure on that road to a minimum, but when I ride it, I ride big.

Myles: How about that for a t-shirt?

RIDE
(drawing of bike in the middle of the lane)
BIG!

Hint: Put it on the front; no need to anger motorists who get stuck behind someone wearing that shirt.

ChipSeal said...

"It is almost always waaaaaay back behind me. "

Doohickie, that is a great point! The sooner a motorist realizes that they will have to go around you, the further away they change lanes, and the less disruptive your presence is to the flow of traffic.

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