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Safe passing in the spotlight in second "Bikes Riding with Bikes" PSA

Posted by Elly Blue (Columnist) on October 1st, 2009 at 2:52 pm

A few weeks ago we wrote about a series of educational videos being created by new local org Intersection 911.

The first video urged viewers to stop and help out people who have a flat tire or other mechanical problems.

The second video, released this week, urges viewers to pass on the left, and to exit the bike lane before passing a slower rider. Watch it here (or here for a larger image):

The series focuses on the unique and heretofore little-explored safety and etiquette issues that arise in areas that have a lot of bike traffic.

It sounds like the folks behind the series are still interested in ideas and volunteers for future efforts. You can contact them via email at coffeeisnice at gmail dot com.

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  • Dan October 1, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    duh :-)

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  • Allan October 1, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    riding up williams alot of times folks are biking to the right of the lane (where parked cars are supposed to be). am i supposed to take the lane to pass them out of principal? or is it okay to just stay in the bike lane after announcing my presence (assuming no parked cars are coming up soon)

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  • Nick V October 1, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    Thumbs up after getting passed? That's not the finger I'm accustomed to.

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  • jeneraldisarray October 1, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Fantastic!

    It's great that this (unfortunately) not-so-common knowledge is getting out there via this type of channel.

    Props to the video's creators, and here's to even safer riding for ALL of us!

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  • McAngryPants October 1, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    For the love of 8lb 6oz sweet blond baby jesus...just call your passes and pass with care. The end.

    /me points at all the lycra-clad d-bags that don't call their passes on Williams.

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  • Allan October 1, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    I have been lycra-clad but I attempt to call all my passes. (so I hope you're not pissed cuz of me). I agree getting blown by when no call happens (esp in narrow confines) is pretty lame

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  • carlos October 1, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    This should be shown to motorists as well. I passed someone on Vancouver blvd this morning via the lane over. I waited for a gap in the traffic then made may pass quickly. As I was getting back into the bike lane, a car behind me decided it was a good idea to honk at me. I think a lot of drivers don't know that cyclists can use their lane when passing another cyclists.

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  • Paul S October 1, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    gee I'd settle for "don't pass on the right" (as happened to me on broadway last wk, and p.s. jackass you shoved me out into the path of a fricking bus) ... if people actually changed lanes to pass a fellow cyclist ... wow that's dreaming big.

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  • aljee October 1, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    the situation on williams is just ridiculous. if you get passed by 10 people on the way home, you are lucky if 1 says something or rings. i can't stand that shit.
    most of the time, yeah, they are lycra dudes. of course not ALL lycra dudes are so assholio.

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  • rrandom rider October 1, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    I often pass folks on Williams. I take the middle of the right hand lane to do it (making sure that it doesn't impede any cars) and usually don't ring or call out my pass. I figured that, since I am several feet away from them it isn't necessary and might actually startle or confuse them. Is this the proper etiquette? Should I call out my pass regardless? I want to do the right thing.

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  • Joe October 1, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    You need to do a video about safe times to pass on pedestrian trails like the Springwater corridor.

    I am constantly getting passed by people while waiting a safe opportunity to pass them my self.

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  • domes October 1, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    rrandom rider

    I'm with you, I'm so far away to other cyclists when passing them on Williams that I feel no reason to call out to them (sometimes I ring my bell though). It isn't exactly close quarters when you're more than a bike lane's (or two) width away from them. So, slower riders on Williams, can you be more specific about the situations that are bothering you? I too would like to help you feel more comfortable.

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  • wsbob October 1, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    "This should be shown to motorists as well. I passed someone on Vancouver blvd this morning via the lane over. I waited for a gap in the traffic then made may pass quickly. As I was getting back into the bike lane, a car behind me decided it was a good idea to honk at me. I think a lot of drivers don't know that cyclists can use their lane when passing another cyclists." Carlos

    You looked for a gap and proceeded to pass quickly. Did you also make a very conspicuous hand signal for at least two seconds...three or four is better...before taking the main lane for the pass? Some people will still honk, even when a signal is displayed, but two seconds...three or four...can be valuable advance notice.

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  • Anonymous October 2, 2009 at 6:21 am

    Although getting silently passed by a wide margin is better than the typical silent pass a handsbreadth away, it's still better to call out. Someone in a bike lane might suddenly swerve to miss a pothole or crap in the road and you both might go down. I might be unusual, but I have a high startle reflex, and I jerk a bit when suddenly someone is just "there" without any warning (cars I can hear coming).
    I at least will try to get as far over and out of the way for someone who calls a pass, to make it easier for them, so there's an advantage to the passer as well.

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  • Kara October 2, 2009 at 10:51 am

    Anyway to get the info out is good. This week on Williams one guy passed me on the left, closely, with a car passing HIM on the left as well. As I tried to wriggle to the right a bit, I look over and some jack ass is passing me on the right too. Both startled the crap out of me and made me a tad nervous considering I was the cheese in the sandwich. Learn to call out and pass safely people. I can't always be responsible for you. Only you can prevent jack-ass-ness when passing.

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  • rrandom rider October 2, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    Thanks for the input. I made a conscious decision to not call out my pass when there is a more than a couple of feet distance. The reason is that some folks seem to get startled by a bell or "on your left" call-out. Williams can be pretty packed up and I thought that the chance of causing someone to wobble or tap their brakes because I alert them to my pass could be worse than them noticing me go by half a car lane away.

    If I am wrong, I will happily call out every pass I make since my goal is to be a safe and courteous rider.

    Do others have input? Would you want to be alerted to someone passing you from the middle of the car lane while you are in the bike lane?

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  • steve October 2, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    I refuse to give audible warning when passing. My several decades of daily commuting have taught me that it is vastly better to simply pass people safely and without warning.

    Too frequently slow riders swerve or behave erratically when made aware that they are about to be passed. Many others respond with rude hand gestures or combative words. As such, I just go around you, safely, quietly, and on the left. Deal with it!

    If you are being startled, you need to learn to pay attention to your surroundings. Invest in a mirror and learn how to look behind yourself without swerving.

    Cyclists are NOT required by law to ring a stupid bell or yell at each other when passing. Again, deal with it!

    Anyway, I will see you all again next Spring when the rain lets up. I love how these problems fizzle out when novice riders start cowering from the icky cold and rain!

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  • spare_wheel October 2, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    "If you are being startled, you need to learn to pay attention to your surroundings. Invest in a mirror and learn how to look behind yourself without swerving."

    Well said!

    If you take the traffic lane while passing, calling out a pass is completely unnecessary. Its the responsibility of the rider in the bike lane to be aware of their surroundings before exiting a bike lane.

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  • Andy B from Jersey October 6, 2009 at 1:35 am

    Yo!

    The passing rider DID NOT SIGNAL to leave the bike lane! That's illegal in my parts and a BIG NO NO when making a video showing how to do things "textbook." And really how hard is it?

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  • Steve B. October 18, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    Thanks for all the feedback, and thanks for passing this on to your friends and fellow people on bikes.

    I'm glad folks are pointing out that the cyclist did not signal, that was an oversight during shooting. This endeavor is a learning process and we've learned quite a few things since our first day of shooting.

    That said, there is only so much to cram into a very short PSA. I don't want to overwhelm the viewer with too many details, just a simple point to stick with. Others have pointed out that the bell ring and the 'on your left' are a bit overkill when you're giving the rider so much space.

    The bottom line for me is to create easy-to-digest resources that will help us all ride more safely and considerately. Stay tuned!

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