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  1. #1
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    Exclamation A letter to the California Highway Patrol

    The letter below is from a motorcyclist regarding cyclists on a popular 2 lane hwy here in Southern California. I almost fell off my chair reading this:

    ----

    To Whom It May Concern, This message is directed to the Alta Dena CHP Office Watch Commander: SR-2 is known to be a dangerous road and my contact is to address the behavior of bicyclists riding 2 to 4 abreast or single riders 2-3' inside of the white line while going up Angeles Crest Highway. This causes motorists to go over the double yellow to pass them, into oncoming traffic. I have experience riding a road bike and know that it doesn't take much of a rock to cause a flat but they are putting other people at risk, sometimes just to talk to each other while they are going 5 mph on a road where the speed limit is 45 at the bottom then up to 55 after Mt. Wilson. I'm not knowledgeable to the laws that apply to bicyclists, but I know it to be an unsafe practice and I assume that if a motorist was to hit a cyclist that it would be deemed the motorists fault. On their trip down, they are often approaching the speed limit. I know what it is like to get a flat at 40 mph on a road bike and it is not fun, but I don't think they should be in the middle of the lane? Many are listening to music, so they don't even know that there is someone behind them trying to pass. Few have any mirrors to notice approaching traffic. Please ask your officers to apply the laws that govern cyclists to get the message accross to those who choose to ride the Crest that their actions have serious consequences to others and that they cannot put the public at risk. Thank you in advance for your attention to my concerns.

    Paul Singleton

    ----

  2. #2
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    I can sympathize a little with the complaint about cyclists taking up the lane going up, but if the bike lane sucks then that's just the way it is. As far as going down, he claims he's a cyclist so he should very well know descending at 40+ in a narrow bike lane is a dumb idea (I'm assuming the bike lane sucks or is almost non existent).

  3. #3
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    Dear Mr. Singleton,

    In the state of California, a bicycle is considered a vehicle, subject to the same laws, and entitled to the same rights as any other vehicle. Thank you for bringing this situation to our attention. By the way, crossing the double yellow line to pass any vehicle is a violation of California law. Your ticket is in the mail.

    Thank you again.
    Sincerely, Francis Poncherello
    Watch Commander, Alta Dena CHP

  4. #4
    PhotonFreak
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cableguy View Post
    I can sympathize a little with the complaint about cyclists taking up the lane going up, but if the bike lane sucks then that's just the way it is. As far as going down, he claims he's a cyclist so he should very well know descending at 40+ in a narrow bike lane is a dumb idea (I'm assuming the bike lane sucks or is almost non existent).
    I doubt there's an explicit bike lane on the road in question from the description. Even long climbing roads that do have them (like Mt Lemmon in Tucson) have the bike lane on the way up only as bikes are expected to ride in the middle of the lane on the way down.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackbeerthepirate View Post
    Dear Mr. Singleton,

    In the state of California, a bicycle is considered a vehicle, subject to the same laws, and entitled to the same rights as any other vehicle. Thank you for bringing this situation to our attention. By the way, crossing the double yellow line to pass any vehicle is a violation of California law. Your ticket is in the mail.

    Thank you again.
    Sincerely, Francis Poncherello
    Watch Commander, Alta Dena CHP

    I don't know about California, but in many states you may legally cross a double yellow to pass a cyclist if it is safe to do so.

  6. #6
    PhotonFreak
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelaarvaren View Post
    I don't know about California, but in many states you may legally cross a double yellow to pass a cyclist if it is safe to do so.
    "safe to do so" could mean passing on the way up. If a cyclist is going ~10 or under then it shoudln't require much distance to overtake them. Trying to pass a cyclist going 45 on the way down if you're in a car trying to go 50+, not so much.

    Also, by riding multi-abreast it takes less distance to overtake compared to a long strung out group.

  7. #7
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    The road in question has no bike lane, picture below:



    According to the CHP the only restriction is that cyclist "must" ride as close as possible to the shoulder, both for their safety and the safety of others.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelaarvaren View Post
    I don't know about California, but in many states you may legally cross a double yellow to pass a cyclist if it is safe to do so.
    Thank you for pointing that out, but who would know California vehicular law and 80s comic hijinx better than Frank "Ponch" Poncherello, played by Erik Estrada, or Jon Baker, played by..... I haven't got a clue.

  9. #9
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    Fortunately the Tour of California has caused quite a resurgence of cycling in the state. This would ordinarily be a great thing, but there is no infrastructure on the very highways that host this great race. It makes me laugh to see all of these tremendous cycling photos and videos of the race on these unfriendly, dangerous, and narrow highways. Perhaps the bankrupt state should get some dollars from the race and remedy these horribly designed roads.
    With people like Peter P. around, I am done posting on this website. Mean people have driven me off after 9 plus years. Good luck newbies beware.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by arai_speed View Post
    According to the CHP the only restriction is that cyclist "must" ride as close as possible to the shoulder, both for their safety and the safety of others.
    Wrong. CA law, like most states, states 'as far right as practicable' which means as far right as the cyclist deems safe for the conditions. If I remember correctly, CA's DMV website rather explicitly states that cyclists should not ride too far to the right as doing so could cause them to fall in to traffic or suddenly swerve in to traffic.

    Ride as far right as you believe safe for the conditions (roadside/shoulder hazards as well as traffic). If that is 3' in to the driving lane, then that is where you should be.

  11. #11
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    I know ACH and I'd have to agree with the author of the letter. If it's happening, there's no reason to ride 3-4 abreast to go up the grades, blocking the lane for cars. You're generally going less than 10 mph....move over to the white line. To demand the lane and effectively block traffic is ridiculous. And some cyclists wonder why drivers get angry at cyclists and curse, or throw sheit . "Share the road" goes both ways.

    **

  12. #12
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    The guy clearly doesn't know the law and the cyclists are being discourteous, IMO. Motorist/cyclist education and awareness programs would go a long way in helping reduce problems and misunderstandings like this. Out of ignorance, many motorists believe cyclists shouldn't be on the road, or that cyclists are supposed to yield to them or get out of their way. Aggressive drivers assert themselves in this belief. There will always be a-holes on the roads (in motor vehicles and on bikes), but IMO most situations arise because motorists (and often cyclists) are unaware of the laws and how to share the road.
    ... 'cuz that's how I roll.

  13. #13
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    If bicyclists would ride single file rather than abreast of each other, this wouldn't be as much of an issue. I personally get nervous if someone tries to ride next to me. It is simply stupid to do so on a public road. If we want to be treated with respect on the road, and be given the same rights as those in cars or on motorcycles, then we need to follow the same rules. That means not riding abreast of each other.
    How many wheels?!

  14. #14
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    I use to ride Angeles Crest hwy all the time with other riders sometimes, but we never rode double abreast, we always rode single file unless passing and then we passed only when safe and as quickly as possible. I never had a problem, but I could see a problem occurring if a group was riding double or triple abreast like they own the road and car comes around a blind corner and whack a few cyclists.

    That is not a road to be riding two or more abreast, unless a racing event is being held, but then the CHP will slow traffic down for the cyclists to travel on the road safely. I rode that road the last time in 1995 I think.

    Rocks can be a problem though so you have to make sure you can safely weave around them before you get to them so you don't weave into a path of a car, in other words you need to be thinking ahead, but a lot of rocks were small enough I just never bothered with weaving around a lot of them.

    Anytime you ride a bike on mountain roads like that, even rural roads where I live now you have to be very alert to your surroundings. I have rural roads around where I live that have no shoulder at all just a white line and then dirt, while cars can see me due to no curves most of the time, they still sometimes pass a little too close. We have Amish up here and every once in awhile a buggy will get hit by a car because the car was going around a curve or cresting hill and didn't see the buggy till it was too late, but a buggy takes up the entire lane a cyclist only really has to take up the far right 18 inches or so.

    I always thought it was safer on roads like that to ride single file because then a car coming around a blind curve wouldn't have to suddenly veer into the opposing lane anywhere near as far, or clip the outside cyclist trying to squeeze past an oncoming car.

    They can't widen the road due to the financial question, what they need to do is slow down the speed limit to 35 especially since cyclists are more common now then they use to be. But even so, the number of cyclist who have died on Angeles Crest over the years have been extremely low.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xk98yvozq1g
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvk63...eature=related
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=p92Stnnigjs
    "They don't do things that way anymore. This is the Age of Science Know-How, electronal marvels."

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by arai_speed View Post
    The letter below is from a motorcyclist regarding cyclists on a popular 2 lane hwy here in Southern California. I almost fell off my chair reading this:

    ----

    To Whom It May Concern, This message is directed to the Alta Dena CHP Office Watch Commander: SR-2 is known to be a dangerous road and my contact is to address the behavior of bicyclists riding 2 to 4 abreast or single riders 2-3' inside of the white line while going up Angeles Crest Highway. This causes motorists to go over the double yellow to pass them, into oncoming traffic. I have experience riding a road bike and know that it doesn't take much of a rock to cause a flat but they are putting other people at risk, sometimes just to talk to each other while they are going 5 mph on a road where the speed limit is 45 at the bottom then up to 55 after Mt. Wilson. I'm not knowledgeable to the laws that apply to bicyclists, but I know it to be an unsafe practice and I assume that if a motorist was to hit a cyclist that it would be deemed the motorists fault. On their trip down, they are often approaching the speed limit. I know what it is like to get a flat at 40 mph on a road bike and it is not fun, but I don't think they should be in the middle of the lane? Many are listening to music, so they don't even know that there is someone behind them trying to pass. Few have any mirrors to notice approaching traffic. Please ask your officers to apply the laws that govern cyclists to get the message accross to those who choose to ride the Crest that their actions have serious consequences to others and that they cannot put the public at risk. Thank you in advance for your attention to my concerns.

    Paul Singleton

    ----
    really? fell off your chair??

    seems like a decent letter.

    over react much?

  16. #16
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    I totally agree. .

    Quote Originally Posted by Erion929 View Post
    And some cyclists wonder why drivers get angry at cyclists and curse, or throw sheit . "Share the road" goes both ways.
    In Virginia Beach/Chesapeake Virginia area we have these clowns wearing jerseys "Fat Frogs" and these jackas**% constantly are blocking up roads and pissing off motorists. They make it bad for all cyclists and even those who ride alone like me.

  17. #17
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    I'm a biker and a motorist.

    I thought the letter is fair. Bikers don't own the road. It is shared with motorists.

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    Quote Originally Posted by factory feel View Post
    really? fell off your chair??

    seems like a decent letter.

    over react much?
    Glad I wasn't the only one to think that. Anyway, the one point I agreed with has to do with cyclists riding more than 2 abreast. It is an annoying behavior that I see and more than that, it is selfish. This is, of course, coming from a cyclist. Please share the road, EVERYONE, including cyclists.

  19. #19
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    In a recent newspaper article, a driver said that when she saw cyclists on the road she got angry because she was afraid to pass them. My initial reaction was that she was probably a poor driver.
    But the road is full of unsure drivers. When I ride with the best cyclists in our club we often ride 2 abreast, but we all have mirrors, and as soon as someone calls out "car back" we all flow into single file until the car passes. By doing this we have let the driver know we are aware that he or she is aproaching. It gives the driver a better feeling about cyclists, since share the road goes for both drivers and cyclists. I certainly prefer that a poor driver is ahead of me rather than behind.
    I should also mention that I've noticed that many less experienced riders choose to stay in double or triple file because they've heard the mantra that we have just as much right on the road as cars. While this is true, common courtesy dictates that when a situation is safe, we should always let the car pass. Flowing into a single file isn't the least bit inconvenient for a good cyclist. Obviously, there are times when we need to take the lane if we know that by letting the car pass in a narrow area it would endanger us.

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    I guess I'm like everyone else. I think the bicycles ought to scoot on over there to the right, but the cars need to recognize that conditions (debris in road) don't always allow the bikes to pull over as much as the drivers would like.

    There are some radical type bicyclists in a kind of a tourist area not too far from me. For a long time they made a point of blocking traffic while climbing a long and steep--and I mean really steep-- mountain road. Finally the highway department put up a fairly unique made-up road sign decreeing single file travel.

    Once I got behind a few who made a point of driving side-by-side about six feet apart on a road. I guess it was some sort of childish attempt to be annoying, although I was on a leisurely drive myself. Besides, as a bicyclist I was semi-sympathetic. After about ten minutes the guy trying to take up as much of the road as possible dropped back. So I continued to follow behind for another ten minutes----solidarity, you know? They didn't seem to like it so much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jim brewer View Post
    I guess I'm like everyone else. I think the bicycles ought to scoot on over there to the right, but the cars need to recognize that conditions (debris in road) don't always allow the bikes to pull over as much as the drivers would like.

    There are some radical type bicyclists in a kind of a tourist area not too far from me. For a long time they made a point of blocking traffic while climbing a long and steep--and I mean really steep-- mountain road. Finally the highway department put up a fairly unique made-up road sign decreeing single file travel.

    Once I got behind a few who made a point of driving side-by-side about six feet apart on a road. I guess it was some sort of childish attempt to be annoying, although I was on a leisurely drive myself. Besides, as a bicyclist I was semi-sympathetic. After about ten minutes the guy trying to take up as much of the road as possible dropped back. So I continued to follow behind for another ten minutes----solidarity, you know? They didn't seem to like it so much.
    don't drink the bong water

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    I've ridden a million roads like the one pictured - they're my favorite kind. Windey, hilly, decent space on right.

    I can't understand why anyone would think it's a good idea to do anything other than ride single file as far right as practical. For me, it would as far right as possible, and I'd feel comfortable doing it. I don't blame for a minute drivers who think riders going two abreast on that road are asshats.

  23. #23
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    "This causes motorists to go over the double yellow to pass them, into oncoming traffic."

    This line really annoys me. I have drivers constantly crossing the double yellow to pass me (riding within 12" of the white line) while going over blind hills and around blind corners. And this happens despite minimal traffic....IE, drivers could easily and safely pass me if they were just patient.

    I'm just waiting for a head on collision to happen b/c someone was too impatient to wait until they were over the hill

  24. #24
    PhotonFreak
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmitro View Post
    "This causes motorists to go over the double yellow to pass them, into oncoming traffic."

    This line really annoys me. I have drivers constantly crossing the double yellow to pass me (riding within 12" of the white line) while going over blind hills and around blind corners. And this happens despite minimal traffic....IE, drivers could easily and safely pass me if they were just patient.

    I'm just waiting for a head on collision to happen b/c someone was too impatient to wait until they were over the hill
    My all time favorite is guys cross the double-yellows to pass me on descents in which I'm going ~40ish in a ~45 zone followed by quickly cutting in front of me, then within ~5 seconds or so slamming the brakes in order to make a right turn...

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhotonFreak View Post
    My all time favorite is guys cross the double-yellows to pass me on descents in which I'm going ~40ish in a ~45 zone followed by quickly cutting in front of me, then within ~5 seconds or so slamming the brakes in order to make a right turn...
    Yep. I've seen a couple of cars almost crash trying to do that. It doesn't seem to sink in to many drivers that on curvy descents a cyclist can likely go considerably faster than most cars in the U.S. If a car is close behind though I slow and hope they pass, I don't want them on my tail if I crash.

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