Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bike Salmon and Rules of the Road

I was driving in to work and witnessed one of the bolder moves I’ve seen by a cyclist in awhile. This gentleman was riding northbound on Ruffin Rd. approaching the connection to Kearny Villa Rd. Before reaching the light at the intersection, he crossed all the traffic lanes on Ruffin (it was briefly clear of cars) to make the left where Kearny Villa veers off to parallel Hwy-163. I didn’t see exactly what he did beyond that, but for sure he was doing the ‘bike salmoning’ thing for a stretch.

Not sure what bike salmoning is? As far as I know, the term was coined by (or at least, gained prominence from) renowned blogger Bike Snob NYC, and is defined as riding against traffic, just as salmon are known to swim upstream. Anyway, it was certainly bad form in my opinion. From my personal experiences left turns at signaled intersections are intimidating. Sometimes I just pull onto the corner and use the cross walk. Anybody consider than a no-no for a cyclist?

When I was riding last week on Kearny Villa Rd. I saw a guy riding on the inside shoulder near the center median. That seemed particularly strange at the time, but I guess it allows you to avoid crossing the treacherous on/off ramps on Kearny Villa. Over in the forums is a story about a near head-on collision when someone encountered another bike salmon on this stretch of road.

I must admit that I've done some questionable things in the short time I’ve been riding (riding on sidewalks, etc.). During Bike to Work Day (of all days) last year I passed the rest stop at the south end of Miramar College. It was on the northbound side of the street and I was heading south. I wanted to stop, so I rode into the turn lane where I could have U-turned. Instead of waiting for the turn signal, I decided I would just hop the median since the oncoming traffic was stopped. I nearly fell as I scooted my bike over the divider. That could've ended badly. Mostly I am trying to do the bike commute the right way, though.

Ride safe people!


BCMC Update:

Cyclo-Cross rode into work today to pull into a 2-2 tie. I can't ride Thursday, so hopefully Friday so that I can stay ahead.

1 comment:

  1. Salmoning = bad manners and could get you killed. Using the left turn pocket to turn is good, but why would they then not just turn onto the right side of the street? There must be some reason for what they did - I wonder what they were thinking.
    Good that you learned about doing the right thing instead of hopping the curb!
    If you want some help getting more comfortable with dealing with traffic at those tricky left turn situations (and other interesting traffic encounters) check out the Traffic Skills 101 class offered by the Coalition It will change the way you ride, in a good way!