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Another clarification: http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2010-10-11/features/bs-md-dresser-getting-there-1011-20101011_1_bicyclist-bike-speed-bike-advocate

Too bad Mike Dresser did not correct--or tell us the source--of the primary mis-statement in the article:

"Now let's say the bicyclist is in the wrong — blithely hogging the travel lane while slowing the motorist to 20 mph under the speed limit. In that case, the buffer rule does not apply."

While one can quibble about whether the duty to not impede traffic does not exist, is a common law duty, or just common courtesy, the statement that the buffer does not apply for going 15 mph below the limit is flat out wrong. MVA's failure to correct its previous mis-statement, or to even admit a mistake, is troubling.

But we should view this as an opportunity to evaluate what we think the practice should be. The impeding-traffic concern will be a reason to not post R4-11 signs or mid-lane sharrows, and may well be the reason that sharrows are not officially approved for >35 mph. The mythological cyclist who holds everyone up for 10 minutes must be addressed, if not by us defining the good operating practice that he violated, then by bureaucratic resistance to signs and other education about when we must take the lane. I would gladly pull over every 60-90 seconds to let traffic pass if I could have some patience from drivers behind me for those 60-90 seconds. I put that out there as a strawman, I have no strong opinion about what the threshold is, but we all must recognize that there is a balance of intersts here, and if we come forward first with a reasonable definition of the balance, it might get accepted. Right now, the assumption of most drivers seems to be that any taking of the lane is impeding traffic.

I hope I'm not speaking out of turn here, but I privately asked Mike Dresser for the source of that "buffer rules do not apply" statement. He says the words are his alone and he meant them, though he was convinced my objection was with his characterization of the bicyclist in the hypothetical scenario as a blithe road hog. (I do object to that, but only because it rationalizes the illegal and dangerous driving behavior we see so frequently.)

I ran some numbers to figure how what would need to happen to create a 10 minute delay where the posted limit is 35 mph but traffic is slowed to 15, and for a bicyclist to cause that would require about 4 miles of narrow, two lane road with no shoulder and no opportunity to pass - no turn lanes, no intersections, no clear view of the oncoming lane or break in oncoming traffic to allow overtaking vehicles to pass.

That's not a place I would choose to ride, of course, but if I had no other options it would be my legal and civil right to occupy the full lane - it's not a matter of discretion or its abuse, as Mr. Dresser seems to believe.

(VDoT has advised motorists to allow an extra 10 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening when using Rt. 123 at 495, for the next two years, due to construction. 54,000 people a day will find a way to cope with this situation, including some who will simply leave earlier or arrive later. Sometimes motorists have incredible patience - just not for people on bikes.)

I love the counterpoint of Rt. 123, it really puts things in perspective.

The hypothetical road DaveS describes sounds a lot like MacArthur Blvd!

Thanks to DaveS for confirming that Mike Dresser misconstrued MVA's misinformation. Maybe Barry will be able to eventually learn why MVA did not ask Mike Dresser to correct it, that is, why MVA was more concerned about the bike-impede-traffic issue than about the requirements of the new law.

If you are in the mood for running numbers, I think the question to analyze is what the altruisitc cyclist should do. That is, evaluate whether pulling over at different frequencies would save other people more time than it took you.

For example, if you accumulate one car per minute behind you in your example, each of which have 1.2 riders, then you would hold people up by a total of about one hour (12 minutes + 9.6 minutes + ... + 1.2 minutes). Pulling over once for 20 seconds halfway through to let 5 cars pass would cost you 20 seconds but save the first 5 cars (6 people) 5 minutes each, for a total time savings of 30 minutes.

If you continue the excercise, you could probably find a point at which point you cost yourself as much time as you save others. Using variables instead of fixed constants, the whole thing could be easily parameterized to determine how the altruistic cyclists would balance the taking the lane against impeding traffic, without compromising safety (at least for an open-section roadway with grassy areas nearby).

I'll just add that in the simple example above, if you pull over 5 times then you only hold 5 cars up for 1.5 minutes and 5 cars up for 30 seconds, that's a total delay of 12 minutes for the people in cars and maybe it takes you 100 seconds. Pulling over 10 times holds 10 cars up 30 seconds, for a 7.5 minutes. That final extra step saves people in cars 4.5 minutes, while maybe taking you 100 seconds, assuming that it takes 20 seconds to pull over no matter how few cars pass.

I'll note that some of my conversation with MVA concern me a great deal (I will bring this bit up with MBPAC) and other parts I am very encouraged by the fact that they "seem" to want to work with us.

Seem is quotated as I am very disappointed by MVA's official response. Sort of like complaining of being overcharged and after agreeing to correct the charge, when you get the corrected bill they only took 5 cents off

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