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Re: How wide is a bike?

Posted: 13 Oct 2020, 7:24am
by Oldjohnw
I must say my bike isn't 3m long let alone wide.

The actual question and what it is trying to get at are different things, it seems. Not a helpful approach to this more literal person but each to their own.

Re: How wide is a bike?

Posted: 13 Oct 2020, 8:58am
by [XAP]Bob
Ellieb wrote:
[XAP]Bob wrote:
Ellieb wrote:I take it that those who answered 3.0m and above dutifully stop their bikes and wait when faced by a 2.5m gap in traffic such as one on the inside of a car waiting to turn right? Thought not.
There is all the difference in the world between a cyclist negotiating a narrow gap and a motorist passing a moving cyclist with enough energy to kill the cyclist several times over.

Anyone equating the two is an idiot

Sadly I wasn't equating the two. I was pointing out that if you genuinely think a bike is 3 metres wide you are going to end up in some funny situations on the road because it seems this isn't a question about how much room to give a cyclist. Clearly it is about how wide a bike is.... apparently



Not sadly at all. I’m glad to hear it.

A bike might be “440mm wide”, but no one sane would cycle through a gap that small, traditionally a bike has been considered to be between 3 and 4 feet wide due to the dynamic width required to keep the black bits pointing down - combined of course with the width of the riders (a quick and dirty measurement of my shoulders puts this rider over 50cm wide, making the bike widths quoted above a bit pointless).
At lower speeds that dynamic width increases (unless you are Danny Macaskill).

However the true width of a bike as perceived by anyone less vulnerable than the rider should be the traffic lane occupied - with exceptions to that (very wide lanes) being pretty rare.

Re: How wide is a bike?

Posted: 13 Oct 2020, 1:15pm
by Carlton green
I can’t help thinking that wording of the original post is somehow wrong. I’ve voted for 1.0 metre as that’s enough of a gap for me and my bike to get through and the next lower value (0.5 metres) is almost certainly not. However I recon a motorist should aim to allow more than that width, aiming to leave a metre or more between cyclist and vehicle seems a reasonable start point to me - give me 2.0 metres out from the kerb please.

Re: How wide is a bike?

Posted: 13 Oct 2020, 1:32pm
by Cowsham
Brings to mind the story I read in one of the Guy Martin books. He was practicing for a mountain bike race and decided he'd use the lorry inspection pit to practice jumps so he set up a ramp to get some air before landing inside the pit.

His words were " he thought to himself, while laying at the bottom of the pit with a broken thumb and dislocated rotator cuff, -- at no time during the setting up of the ramp or even flying though the air did I wonder if the handle bars were wider than the pit !!! "

Re: How wide is a bike?

Posted: 13 Oct 2020, 1:37pm
by richardfm
Carlton green wrote:I can’t help thinking that wording of the original post is somehow wrong. I’ve voted for 1.0 metre as that’s enough of a gap for me and my bike to get through and the next lower value (0.5 metres) is almost certainly not. However I recon a motorist should aim to allow more than that width, aiming to leave a metre or more between cyclist and vehicle seems a reasonable start point to me - give me 2.0 metres out from the kerb please.

You're not the only one.

Re: How wide is a bike?

Posted: 13 Oct 2020, 2:11pm
by Cowsham
richardfm wrote:
Carlton green wrote:I can’t help thinking that wording of the original post is somehow wrong. I’ve voted for 1.0 metre as that’s enough of a gap for me and my bike to get through and the next lower value (0.5 metres) is almost certainly not. However I recon a motorist should aim to allow more than that width, aiming to leave a metre or more between cyclist and vehicle seems a reasonable start point to me - give me 2.0 metres out from the kerb please.

You're not the only one.


+ 1 hence the Guy Martin story.

Re: How wide is a bike?

Posted: 22 Oct 2020, 2:58pm
by Paulatic
I reckon that’s 14 days and all will be revealed :D
I’m sure that’s what @ freeflow promised but I can no longer find that OP post has it been deleted or was I dreaming?
Whatever I’m still eagerly awaiting the explanation :wink:

Edit: found it!
by freeflow » 8 Oct 2020, 2:50pm

For a bit of educational fun. This poll has been prompted by a couple of discussions on this forum and watching some cycling crusader videos. You can choose two options to indicate a range. The poll will run for 14 days. Have fun

Re: How wide is a bike?

Posted: 22 Oct 2020, 3:11pm
by freeflow
Gosh, that went quick. I'd assumed I'd get a notification as to when the poll closed. As I'm just off on a 90 km ride I'm afraid you'll have to wait until tomorrow.

Re: How wide is a bike?

Posted: 26 Oct 2020, 8:44pm
by Paulatic
I’ve been expecting a replacement patio door fitted for two months now. Glass is hard to get, profiles are in short supply, factory can’t produce as much because of Covid are just a few of the excuses I’ve had so far.
I’m hoping @freeflow got back from his 55.9 mile safely and can reveal the answer. I see now why some use kilometres :D
However I do use mm for measuring so a metric answer is fine by me. :wink:

Re: How wide is a bike?

Posted: 26 Oct 2020, 11:44pm
by FerociousDog
Maybe he rides reaaaaaaaaaaalllllllyyyyyy slowly?

Re: How wide is a bike?

Posted: 29 Oct 2020, 10:33am
by freeflow
Life just gets in the way.

The genesis of my poll came from a good hearted but lively discussion after sufficient lubrication up at the local village pub. Afterwards I got to thinking what is the simplest message to send to both cyclists and motorists.

The simplest I could come up with, which seemed to have the best cognitive dissonance to ensure further discussion/thinking, was that both entities should behave as though a bike on a typical public road is at least 3 meters wide.

This 3 m fits with riding in secondary position to avoid being car doored, the 'minimum' width of a bike (my handlebars are 740 mm wide!!), and the minimum (1.5m) recommended overtaking distance.

I think this is a simpler message for motorists to get rather than just a passing distance.

I also think it will be a very difficult message for many cyclists to get because from a cyclists perspective the size of a bike is a variable. From 3+m or as narrow as the cyclist deems safe when overtaking/undertaking/filtering.

So how best to put this idea into a road safety message?

Re: How wide is a bike?

Posted: 29 Oct 2020, 1:02pm
by Ellieb
I also think it will be a very difficult message for many cyclists to get because from a cyclists perspective the size of a bike is a variable. From 3+m or as narrow as the cyclist deems safe when overtaking/undertaking/filtering.

So are you suggesting that faced with a 2.5m gap on the inside of a right turning car, a cyclist should not go through it?

Re: How wide is a bike?

Posted: 29 Oct 2020, 1:10pm
by freeflow
That might be an appropriate strategy, it might not. The point is that if you are going through a gap smaller than what you are trained to consider as the appropriate width for a bike it should raise your level of scrutiny to ensure that you are safe to take such an action.

Re: How wide is a bike?

Posted: 29 Oct 2020, 1:15pm
by freeflow
And, if course, the question becomes irrelevant if the idea that bikes are 3m 2ide leads to cycle paths that are 3m wide ( and yes, by tongue is stuffed firmly in my cheek).

Re: How wide is a bike?

Posted: 29 Oct 2020, 1:28pm
by Ellieb
There are plenty of gaps wider than 3m which you have to take care going through, so I'm not sure how this helps.
If you tell the general public that bikes are 3m wide the main result will be drivers complaining about/blaming cyclists riding their bikes as if they aren't 3m wide, which of course they aren't. (which after all is the main advantage of riding a bike in urban traffic). I'm really not seeing why you think this is a better way of educating drivers, and it is, despite what you have said above, really a thread about how much space for car drivers to leave a bike.