Control and Release

After writing my previous post about how Oregon’s laws are terrible for vehicular cyclists and encountering motorists that have no idea what control and release means when I use it, I wanted to discuss the importance of why I use control and release. Since I’m assuming most people don’t know what control and release is, I have provided the below short video, which was produced by Cycling Savvy.

Even though the below photo shows the control signal used by a motorcyclist, I couldn’t find a photo of a cyclist using the control signal. This likely means that few cyclists are using control and release. As I will discuss more later in this post, I didn’t learn about control and release until earlier this year.

Control Signal

Control Signal

In case you are still wondering why controlling the lane is safer than always edge riding, Cycling Savvy created this animation comparing the hazards of edge riding with the safety of controlling the lane. Even though I provided the below diagram in my previous post, I want to make sure you understand the need to control the lane before I continue with discussing control and release.

Most common reasons to leave a bike lane

Most common reasons to leave a bike lane

While I have been biking daily since freshman year of undergrad (2009) and controlling the lane where it is unsafe to ride on the edge since I learned how to control the lane sometime during undergrad, I only recently learned about control and release. The below screenshot of my post in the Cyclists are Drivers facebook group shows that I learned about control and release in May 2015.

Ray Atkinson's post about control and release in Cyclists are Drivers' facebook group.

My post about control and release in Cyclists are Drivers’ facebook group.

I have only taken the League of American Bicyclists’ Traffic Skills 101 course, which didn’t teach control and release, and no courses through Cycling Savvy, which didn’t offer courses in North Carolina until after I moved to Oregon and doesn’t offer courses in Oregon, so my education on how to do control and release has been through the video I shared with you at the beginning of this post and learning by trial and error.

My trial and error experiences in Portland have so far resulted in motorists not waiting on neighborhood greenways and choosing to pass me by crossing the double yellow line when the motorists feel they can speed up fast enough to pass me before the oncoming traffic closes the gap. However, I have had at least one successful use of control and release where motorists waited patiently behind me when I used the control signal and didn’t pass me until I moved over to the right and gave them the release signal. When I mentioned in my previous post about how Oregon law should allow cyclists to control the lane on any road and drive as slow as they need to, especially when they are trying to avoid hazardous conditions, I feel education of both motorists and cyclists should be incorporated. Motorists and cyclists should be taught how control and release works. This should result in cyclists being safer and less delay and inconvenience for motorists.

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