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Old 11-06-2019, 10:59 AM   #1
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Lane choices

Sort of a follow up to my previous thread…

When I'm on the freeway, I feel like I am going to be safest by hanging out in the left-most lane or carpool lane. It's where most bikers are so people are more likely to expect us and see us is what I figure. It's also where there is less activity (people merging in and out), fewer trucks, and less compression of traffic.

The problem is that there are times of day when traffic in those two lanes is moving 80+ mph.

Maybe I'm being silly, but somehow I feel like going faster than 70mph is too risky. I guess if I have an accident even at 50mph I'm basically toast. But for whatever reason, I feel so much more vulnerable to death and destruction once I start going above 70.

My question: is it safer to go slower staying with the more congested and changing traffic to the right… or is it categorically always safer to be all the way to the left regardless of speed?
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Old 11-06-2019, 12:18 PM   #2
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Old 11-06-2019, 10:20 PM   #3
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If you go 70 in the fast lane you’re going to get run over at some point. I would tend to do the far left or carpool lane or far right lane when I was in CA. I just felt safer regardless of speed and prefer to be passing cars rather than going the same speed.

Do what makes you feel safe, but remember there are lots of dangers so always be aware of your surroundings.
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Old 11-13-2019, 08:16 AM   #4
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I think the problem I have with over 70mph is it feels like buffers for errors and reaction time enter a "danger zone" for me. The advance visibility of dangers (like gravel, litter or a rough road) is drastically reduced. Sudden evasive maneuvers or emergency braking are not an option. For any of those I'd need to slow down to about 50mph first… and the farther away from 50 I am, the longer it takes to get back there.
Granted, when traffic is moving like that, there's a much reduced probability of the need for sudden changes. The difference is, in a car, when that rare, random and crazy thing happens, you can normally survive it and swerving is easier at high speed in a car (for me at least) than on a bike. Obviously I need more time on the practice track… but until then, I'm stuck with my current reality.
Also, at 70mph +, people in cars are not paying attention to traffic anymore. They feel "safe" because everything is just flowing.
But around here, 70+mph means a small fraction are going at 60mph, and a smaller fraction is going at 95+mph… and then everyone else is probably around 75 - 85. The huge variations in speed among people also make things a little less predictable and more prone to situations where there's sudden super-high-speed congestion.
Anyway… long ramble about why I feel so vulnerable at over 70 mph on a bike.
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