Wednesday, October 20

Simple, Really

Hardly Any Motorists are Dumb Enough to Try to Pass This Guy Without Illegally Crossing the Double Yellow at Least Some.
My Theory - Since It's Illegal Anyway, You Might as Well Just Make a Simple, Full Lane Change and Be Safe
Today, I drove to work. Although the weather is near perfect, I had to go to the doctor to get my arm shocked in various places to see if my nerves still worked. I'm happy to report that, as I suspected all along, my shoulder "got zinged" and no more. The doctor liked that term.

Anyway, on the way home, I was fortunate enough to see a guy riding a bike on a road like many of those I use on my way to work. Unlike me, he was hugging the right line. Mostly he was further right than it appears in the photo. He was also slow, probably because he was climbing "Mount Pleasant Run Road." Most places, this would be a small rise, but we like to exaggerate here in Texas and hence the name I just made up.

You can see how most of the motorists passed him, though I did see one aborted attempt to pass him without making a lane change. Dumb. Really, on a road like this, there seems little advantage to doing anything other than ride in a lane position where even the dumber motorists realize right away they'll have to change lanes to pass. If a "train" of cars develops due to the rare motorist that's afraid to illegally pass, there's always the option of signaling a turn into a driveway where the "train" can be allowed to continue on their way.

When it came to my turn, I followed my own passing advice and I waited until it was safe to MAKE A FULL LANE CHANGE. Since oncoming traffic was heavier than usual, it took me almost four seconds of temporary delay. I will admit that four seconds seemed like a LOT of delay - and I half expected the guy behind me to honk at me. The pass itself was simple and uneventful. Just make a full lane change no matter WHERE the cyclist is riding. I did catch up to the car you see passing him at the four way stop sign a few hundred feet down the road, where my four second delay meant I only had to wait for TWO cars in front of me to go before my turn came. It seemed pretty trivial at that point. Oh yeah, I guess my full lane change was also illegal since there was a double yellow line, but it was no more illegal than the other motorists that straddle passed, and I didn't give the guy a close call story to tell to his friends. My total net delay due to the bike? Zero. Total net delay to the impatient guy behind me who didn't follow my example and only did a straddle pass? Also zero.

This is an example where the "safety in numbers" theory actually has merit. If motorists encountered more cyclists in situations like this, it'd become obvious to all of them they ought to just pass as if the cyclist was taking up the whole lane no matter what.

PS: If someone thinks you ought to have a EMG/NCV, you should know that you're doing well if you twitch a lot when they shock you. From videos I've seen, it is much nicer than getting Tasered...


Anonymous said...

Are you sure it's illegal to cross the double yellow to pass? It is not illegal in every state, though I'm not sure about TX.

Steve A said...

I have been unable to find double yellow exceptions in Texas. Reed Bates also searched hard and only found one that might apply to a two-way left turn lane in a configuration I've never seen. Some states do provide exceptions that allow cyclists to be legally passed and some (but not Texas) added such provisions as part of three-foot passing laws. All Texas law talks about is no passing zones without a lot of detail.

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