Unwise Undertake?

irc
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Unwise Undertake?

Postby irc » 2 Nov 2010, 5:01pm

I saw this post over at the excellent blog " The Cycling Lawyer".

http://thecyclingsilk.blogspot.com/2010 ... -crap.html

It has a video clip showing a cyclist undertaking an HGV using a very narrow cycle lane then nearly getting hit when the HGV moved slightly left to avoid a central island.

My thoughts on it are (with the benefit of 20:20 hindsight) are

1. At that cyclists speed I would slow down slightly and take the centre of the lane behind the HGV until a safer overtake presented itself. More of a problem to deal with if there is a stream of faster traffic overtaking.

2. I wouldn't under any circumstances undertake a moving HGV in a gap that size.

3. What a disaster of a cycle lane. Looking at the video at around 9 secs the lorry driver had to either do virtually an emergency stop, move left to clip the edge of the cycle lane, or risk his mirror clipping the peds standing on the centre refuge.

4 I always take the centre of the lane through kerb-central island gaps that size, whether or not there is a pretendy cycle lane on the road.
No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?

snibgo
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Re: Unwise Undertake?

Postby snibgo » 2 Nov 2010, 5:35pm

That cycle lane looks about 600mm wide, a couple of feet. Unfit for purpose. I would ignore it.

Is this part of London's wonderful "superhighway"? It's a joke, and a dangerous one.

thirdcrank
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Re: Unwise Undertake?

Postby thirdcrank » 2 Nov 2010, 5:51pm

I presume this sort of thing happens because they let the least experienced people loose designing cycling 'facilities' as a form of work experience until they are allowed to join the big misters and design for motor traffic.

I've mentioned before (no doubt several times) that some klown from Kirklees Kouncil painted cycle lanes along the A 644 between Mirfield and Ravensthorpe and the lanes narrow right into the gutter where they pass cycle-squeezing islands.

kwackers
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Re: Unwise Undertake?

Postby kwackers » 2 Nov 2010, 6:12pm

I wouldn't have undertook that, I'd have thought twice even if it had been stationary.

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hubgearfreak
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Re: Unwise Undertake?

Postby hubgearfreak » 2 Nov 2010, 6:18pm

thirdcrank wrote:some klown from Kirklees Kouncil painted cycle lanes and the lanes narrow right into the gutter where they pass cycle-squeezing islands.


he must have worked in lincoln for a while too

George Riches
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Re: Unwise Undertake?

Postby George Riches » 2 Nov 2010, 6:58pm

I don't think anyone on bicycle, in car or driving a bus should ever undertake a moving vehicle, unless they can see over its top.

pete75
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Re: Unwise Undertake?

Postby pete75 » 2 Nov 2010, 7:16pm

George Riches wrote:I don't think anyone on bicycle, in car or driving a bus should ever undertake a moving vehicle, unless they can see over its top.

Seconded.
I've always understood undertaking to be entirely at your own risk , particularly when near a junction with a left turn and you should never pull up on the inside of the front vehicle in the queue. There are reports of a fair few London cyclists being killed when undertaking HGVs which are turning left. Tragic but hardly the truck drivers fault - he can't even see them in his mirrors and , in any case, they shouldn't be there unless they have a death wish. Years ago you'd often see lorries with a sign on the right hand side saying passing side and on the left saying suicide.

snibgo
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Re: Unwise Undertake?

Postby snibgo » 2 Nov 2010, 7:59pm

I've always understood undertaking to be entirely at your own risk ...

True, and passing a lorry so closely on either side is asking for trouble, but the cyclist has been misled by the cycle lane.

Cycle lanes less than one metre wide have only one purpose: to keep us in the gutter where we apparently belong.

Richard Mann
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Re: Unwise Undertake?

Postby Richard Mann » 2 Nov 2010, 10:32pm

Cycle lane looks about 1m (rather more than 60cm anyway). The main design fault is the narrowing of the traffic lane prior to the refuge, which doesn't give the driver time to slow down in time for the pinchpoint.

cjchambers
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Re: Unwise Undertake?

Postby cjchambers » 2 Nov 2010, 10:58pm

Most cyclists are familiar with the 'pointless overtake', where a driver overtakes badly only to be held up by traffic lights or stationary traffic a few metres further on. It's a mixture, in variable proportions, of impatience and a lack of forward planning.

If we apply the same standards to this cyclist, that's a pointless undertake.The speed differential was minimal and they were approaching a set of traffic lights were they both stopped. I agree that the cycle lane is pretty stupid, and I wonder if he would have tried the manouvre if the lane wasn't there (maybe he would - who knows?!). I can't really judge on issues of filtering though, because I never have to filter - no traffic lights and no stationary traffic on my commute.

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Re: Unwise Undertake?

Postby mporter » 3 Nov 2010, 8:38am

I am surprised that some of these posts focus on the actions of the cyclist. When he began the 'undertake' the cycle lane was clear, he was nowhere near a junction and the central refuge was not visible. If a cycle lane means anything at all (other of course than 'you belong in the gutter'), it means that manoevure is not only authorised but encouraged. I did not follow him, but I have a bit of an obsession about not riding in the gutter. However I sensed no risk or danger until the lorry started to move left. When that happened the cyclist immediately dropped back relative to the lorry. A less experienced/skilled cyclist may well have tried to get through with horrible consequences. I am critical of the road layout; I remain critical of the lorry driver who could see the central island but made no attempt to slow or stop if necessary until the lane he was about to block was clear. Yes, there may be lessons we can all learn as to how to survive incompetent highway engineers and drivers but putting blame on the cyclist for this woeful state of affairs, makes me rather regret making the blog post.

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Si
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Re: Unwise Undertake?

Postby Si » 3 Nov 2010, 8:53am

1. Stupid cycle lane - too narrow, encourages cyclists to ride in the gutter and to try dangerous undertakes such as this.

2. Fool hardy manouvre to try and undertake a lorry, especially in such a narrow space.

3. Cycle lane was not manatory, thus the lorry is allowed to drive in it. However, on changing lanes you'd expect a check in the mirror and even if the cyclist was in the blind spot, you'd expect someone that knows that they have blind spots to use their indicators. If lorry driver had overtaken the cyclist before the start of the film then he should have known that cyclist was there.

4. Cyclists' behaviour hardly followed the rules of the road either, as he both undertook moving traffic (yes, I know - grey area) and jumped the traffic light.

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Si
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Re: Unwise Undertake?

Postby Si » 3 Nov 2010, 9:02am

However I sensed no risk or danger until the lorry started to move left


I think that we have to concede that there is a difference between not sensing danger and knowing that it is safe.

If one's view is blocked such that one can not see if there are any obstacles down the road that might cause the lorry to deviate then don't take the chance - indeed, given all of the recent publicity concerning cyclists' deaths and lorries' blind spots, you'd expect an "experienced" cyclist to know the risks better than this chap.

By all means, try to improve driver education regarding bikes - but don't increase the risk associated with poor driving by adding poor cycling into the mix.

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hubgearfreak
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Re: Unwise Undertake?

Postby hubgearfreak » 3 Nov 2010, 9:33am

Richard Mann wrote:The main design fault is the narrowing of the traffic lane prior to the refuge, which doesn't give the driver time to slow down in time for the pinchpoint.


they've got plenty of time to slow down, if they're looking ahead whilst they're driving. if they're not looking where they're going, you may have a point

i wouldn't undertake in that situation, however, if you pull out of the 'cyclelane' to primary, you get honked and sworn at, if you stay in it, often someone overtaking pulls over to the left and maybe hits you. it's a waste of paint, better to have no cycle lane than a dangerous one

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Re: Unwise Undertake?

Postby Richard Mann » 3 Nov 2010, 9:45am

The location is here:

http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en&ie= ... 80.49,,0,5

12m road (approx), dodgy cycle lane marking (just a green stripe), 4m traffic lanes, minimal lead in to refuge, and a barely standard gap at the refuge (LTN 2/08 requires 4.3m for a 30mph road).

Of course, if you lot didn't make so much fuss about cycle lanes needing to be wide, there'd be a median strip, 3m traffic lanes and a 1m mandatory cycle lane, and that lorry would have been doing nearer 20mph in the first place (and the lycra-warrior cyclist would probably have been in the primary position).

Something like this:

http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en&ie= ... 55.19,,0,5

(Not as pretty as Chiswick High Street, I grant: ideally the median would be granite setts)

Richard