So the story starts on any random commute into or out of the loop on Milwaukee.
A cyclist, or many cyclists, passes another rider that is moving at a casual rate, struggling to climb over a bridge, having difficulty with the wind, etc. These same cyclists stop at a red light and the peloton starts to queue up forming up a bunch of riders. Just before the light turns green said straggling rider catches up and sneaks by the group bunched up at the light to either run the red, sneak into the middle of a 6 way or just cut around the group of people waiting there and get to the front.
Maybe it’s a coincidence that the stragglers get to the light very close to when it goes green but it leads me to believe that they are experienced commuters that have a well -practiced understanding of the light’s timing. What I don’t understand is how someone who has kind of experience thinks it’s a wise idea to pass riders at a red light that are obviously going faster.
Have any of you run into a similar situation? I’m wondering what a good response would be.
Very often I’ll wait till traffic is clear and then pass, but this messes with my timing of the lights and normally results in the same cyclist catching and pulling a similar stunt at the next light. If they are catching me every light it seems reasonable that I just go slower and enjoy the ride… but short of having this song and dance happen more than once how am I supposed to know the slow poke is timing lights?
I’ve started getting snarky after passing someone twice and then having them try to sneak around me on the right while stopped at a light asking, “Do you really need me to pass you again?” I can understand going only as fast as the slowest rider in protected lanes but is that really my only alternative for dealing with this kind of rider?
Ideas? or provide a perspective from the leapfrogger?
Agreed. If I'm passing bikes ahead of me, I *know* it's because of my competitive nature and accept the extra maneuvering I have to do to pass.
The question can be similarly posed as "Do you think it's wise to be racing on the road and getting stuck at every red light?" Everybody has their pace, and the person who's "leapfrogging" is very likely not racing you. It appears you have more of a competitive view of how bikes behave on the roads.
When I catch up to the pack, I like to stop behind everyone so I can check them out at close range. Cutting through as the light turns green would rob me of that small pleasure.
I dont think of bikes as cars, so I do not feel the same courtesies apply. Due to bikes being much smaller and slower, I think its fine to leapfrog. I dont feel competitive with other riders, either. I do not find it rude to pass others at a light, unless there are several riders at the light. I DO get annoyed if someone huffs and puffs passed me and then disrupts my pace by immediately losing their speed in front of me. That does not happen often. I am a commuter 90% of the time I am on my bike and I have a type "A" personality, so I like spending time at either A or B and not much time in between. I usually travel as quickly as I can.
I do blow lights. By that, I mean I approach the intersection and check if its clear and ride through. I am aware some cyclists HATE this and think it gives us a bad name. But, ever see a car blow a red light? Do you hate everyone that drives a car?
I don't care who passes me...and most do. I don't try to make it difficult for them.
I do get annoyed when someone passes with about 5 inches to my left (or my right...there's a lot of those out there) with no warning that they're there. One of these days I'm going to have to maneuver around something like a door or a big pothole, and I'll end up with a bodyblock on someone. If you ride like this, you can apologize to me now, because it's not my fault, and it's going to f'ing hurt both of us.
There are as many opinions on how to behave as there are bikers. Everyone's proper way to bike comes down to personal taste. Since there are so few laws that govern cyclists we cannot really establish norms based on financial incentives like tickets. (Which I am fine with.) But it does pose a challenge for those who want to behave appropriately.
Fortunately there is a sort of built in incentive when it comes to biking, momentum. The number one thing a cyclist needs is momentum and as such every cyclists operates in a manner that maximizes their momentum. If streets were designed to accommodate more than one cyclist at a time this would work itself out rationally. Instead we are all forced to compete for a limited area of useable space. Until that changes it'll be fairly cut throat.
I do wish cyclists would consider the momentum of other cyclists but just reading this post has convinced me that will never happen under our current environment.
I personally try to operate as courteous as I can to maximize other cyclists' momentum while maintaining my own. Typically I achieve this by taking the car lane and inconveniencing drivers. At a stop sign this plays out by getting into thw lanes between traffic or weaving between cars until I am at the front. This way I haven't cut infront of any cyclists and when I am taking off any cyclist faster than myself will easily pass me before I merge back into the safe space.
But I have found the best way to avoid this problem is by avoiding other cyclists as much as possible. I find it is much easier to predict drivers than it is to predict the average biker. Sadly, Clark is the most efficient street for my commute and I am usually counting the minutes until I can turn onto LaSalle or Michigan and then onto Wacker. Those streets are smooth sailing and always less stressful than streets like Wells or other popular bike lane'ed streets.
I try to time lights as opposed to sprinting. Through experience I rarely make lights if I sprint and more likely hit greens, which I really like, as a result of pacing. Usually I can tell if the light will turn or if I have to wait in which case I try to coast. Then I can adjust my pedals to crank it up when the lite turns green. Some people just like over taking others even though it may result in sitting at a light.