edge riding

Let’s Talk About Being “Reasonable”

If you’re a savvy cyclist, you’re not shy about claiming your space on the road.

You know about all of the difficulties you can get into when you cling to the edge, and how much more practical bicycle transportation becomes when you use the technique of lane control.

savvy cyclists avoid riding too far to the edge of the lane

Has anyone ever told you that you’re being unreasonable by controlling a lane?

Have they told you that it exposes you to dangerous motorist behavior?

Have they told you that you’re unnecessarily inconveniencing motorists?

I certainly hear those things. But it only takes a little bit of observation to see that motorist behavior around you is consistently safer and more cautious when you control the lane.

Here’s my video response to one such critic:

In the video, I ride the same stretch of road twice, once at the edge of the lane and once in the center of the lane. These rides are shown simultaneously in the video, with each pass highlighted.

In the center of the lane, all passes are safe. At the edge, about half of the passes are unsafe, because the motorist comes too close to me, too close to oncoming traffic, or both.

Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re being unreasonable by controlling the lane.

Show them this video, or make your own to show the benefits of lane control on your local roads. I’d be happy to share my filming and editing techniques with you. Just ask.

5 replies
  1. Frank
    Frank says:

    Wow Eli, this is a great video. There are lots of lane versus edge control videos out there but this style is one I haven’t seen before. It’s mindboggling how many people try to pass when there’s obvious oncoming traffic when you’re operating on the edge. Even if and when the occasional person gives you decent clearance it’s still nerve-wracking to watch and it’s the same for the overtaking motorist once he or she realizes their mistake and for the driver of the oncoming vehicle. Bad for everyone.
    Lane control for whatever reason knocks many overtaking motorists out of their “autopilot” and forces them to be a bit more careful and plan their pass.

    With that said, today I got some pretty close and uncomfortable passes from two motorists who passed me while I was controlling the lane. I don’t think it was malicious or intentional but it sure reminded me of close passes from edge riding. Interestingly enough, they both turned into a business (within a few hundred feet after the pass) which happens to be hosting a “pit stop” for our area’s annual Bike to Work day tomorrow. I’m going to casually bring up the incident when I stop there tomorrow and point them to the Cycling Savvy website and maybe that message will make its way around their business.

  2. Gary Cziko
    Gary Cziko says:

    Great video, Eli.

    One tweak I can think of is to make the smiley faces green and the surprised faces red. You could then do a graphic summary at the end by putting the number of green and red faces on each panel (they’d have to be smaller to fit).

    The numbers are fine, too, but the seeing all the red surprised faces on the lower panel would provide graphic impact of the difference.


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