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    Driving in my car home from work on La Jolla Shores southbound, on the flat stretch just uphill from the big descent. Speed limit is 30 mph, and I'm driving at the limit. Two cyclists in front of me. The lead cyclist in front is a commuter type, riding fairly close to the parked cars. The cyclist in the rear is a full-on roadie, going fast, pretty much taking the lane but not completely. Roadie overtakes the commuter, then I overtake the commuter without incident. When there is no oncoming traffic, I pull far into the oncoming lane, across the double yellow line, and pass the roadie, probably hitting 35 mph during the pass. The roadie doesn't seem pleased. We are now approaching the steep downhill section. I go 30-35 mph down the hill, but the roadie gets bigger and bigger in my rearview mirror. At this point, there is a two-way turn lane in the middle of the road. Around the pedestrian overpass, the roadie passes me on the left, riding in the two-way turn lane to execute the pass. He's going at least 35 mph to do this, probably 40 mph. He glares at me as he passes me, and then he pulls away. He barely makes the light at the bottom of the hill, and I have to stop. He disappears into the distance and eventually turns up into La Jolla Shores Heights.

    Did I deserve to get the glare from Mr. roadie? Presumably this was because I passed him by crossing the double yellow line, or perhaps he thought we were in a 25 mph zone and thought he was going the limit? If a bike is semi-controlling the lane, but is going 10 mph below the speed limit, is it rude for a car to pass the bike by straddling the oncoming lane? Is it legal? Do you think it's OK for a bike to exceed the speed limit? After all, most cars drive at least 5-10 mph over the limit, and I freely admit that I hit 35 mph at times in a 30 mph zone in a car. Was it OK for the cyclist to exceed the speed limit on the LJ Shores downhill, and ride in the two-way turn lane to pass a car driving at the speed limit while obviously "controlling the lane"? After all, I crossed the double yellow line in my car to pass the cyclist farther up the hill.
    • CommentTimeMar 5th 2013
    It sounds to me more like he was annoyed that you got in front of him before the steep downhill, limiting his ability to enjoy the speed.

    He may have been annoyed that you crossed a double yellow to do it. That's illegal. It would be legal if our governor wasn't an idiot but he is so it is.

    If you left a safe distance, he doesn't really have a case for being annoyed by the pass but I can somewhat sympathize with being annoyed at having to slow down for a car on a fairly fun downhill. Most drivers slow down a lot more than I do on that left turn before it "straightens" out. Still, he should just get over it. You can't have slowed him down that bad.

    I get annoyed on La Jolla Blvd when motorists go nuts trying to get in front of me before the roundabouts. It never occurs to them that I'll be faster than they are.
    If I were to do it again, I would just stay behind him and let him go. But I honestly don't think he has a right to speed any more than a car has the right. And yes, I have exceeded the speed limit on my bike, as well as in my car, but I don't advocate it. More importantly, I think there are too many things that can go wrong when you're descending a curvy, steep hill in traffic, with a blind corner where there have been construction closures and traffic blocks in recent days, and farther down the hill, you have surfers leaning into the back seats of their parked cars with the door open into traffic, and other surfers driving slowly looking for parking, and potholes, and a traffic light at the bottom of the hill, and patches of sand, and the sun in your eyes as you descend (though not today because of the overcast), and...
    • CommentTimeMar 5th 2013
    I think billd has it that the roadie was annoyed because he wanted to bomb the curvy downhill. I don't think you deserve the glare... but then riding a bike doesn't really prevent jerks from being jerks. :)

    As for bikes observing speed limits... I'd say yes in things like school zones. In most cases bikes aren't in any danger of being able to exceed speed limit anyhow. On rural curvy roads that would be different, though. Posted speed limits are computed for cars... they can't maneuver tight twisty downhills as well as bikes can. I wouldn't bomb things like La Jolla Shores, though. It's a busy thing and one has to be able to stop fairly quickly if some jogger decides to cross the road (and then there's a traffic light a bit down from Scripps Crossing, isn't there? Either a light or a stop sign. I don't ride down there very often). On long twisty downhills on rural things like Hwy 76 or Honey Springs or Highland Valley Rd I'd go as fast as I can as long as I retain good control of the bike.
    • CommentTimeMar 5th 2013
    People who live in glass houses....
    • CommentAuthorJSnook
    • CommentTimeMar 6th 2013
    Cars race to pass me before that downhill all the time, I just don't have a "moment" like your roadie did today. That said, I did hit 53mph last time I bombed that hill and it is fun to have a clear run at it. I wouldn't dream of passing a car down that hill though - way too many things can go wrong and I don't even bomb it in good conditions unless traffic is light, no construction, etc. I would chalk it up to your roadie having a bad day - maybe had been cut off or buzzed a couple times already and was looking to pay one back and you happened along.
    • CommentAuthorSerge2
    • CommentTimeMar 6th 2013 edited
    For the record, that wasn't me. But it could have been... I'm 18th/1684 on Strava on that descent, with 41.8 mph average; top speed 48.6. <a href="http://"></a> I agree with billd. You shouldn't have passed him, he shouldn't have glared at you, and he shouldn't have passed you. But I know how tempting that pass can be... This is also the problem with not clearly controlling the lane - it invites people to pass. When I'm wound up to hit that downhill hard because I know no cars are in front of me, I will ride near the center line and that seems to broadcast the intended message quite clearly to whoever is behind me: <strong>DON'T PASS!</strong>
    • CommentTimeMar 7th 2013
    Anytime I do high speed descents, I take the lane. I've gotten pulled over by a Carlsbad motorcycle officer once (on Alga) with no ticket issued. I now have a copy of the relevant laws next time that happens.

    Once I get used to the Velomobile (and fix the broken shifter cable), I'm probabily going to get pulled over just out of curiosity.