Unwise Undertake?

George Riches
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Re: Unwise Undertake?

Postby George Riches » 3 Nov 2010, 10:26am

Richard Mann wrote: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).

I'm skeptical about undertaking moving traffic however wide the cycle lane.

I know a cyclist who was hospitalised because he undertook a large vehicle on the approach to a nearside side road. He was hit by a car turning right into the side road. At the same junction other cyclists have complained about near-misses from right turning cars whose drivers haven't seen them as they were hidden behind vans.

Come to that I'm skeptical about undertaking stationary vehicles if that only leads their drivers to overtake you a few metres down the road.

thirdcrank
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Re: Unwise Undertake?

Postby thirdcrank » 3 Nov 2010, 10:33am

mporter wrote:... but putting blame on the cyclist for this woeful state of affairs, ....


I find it valuable to hear the views of cycling lawyer - please post more often. :D On the subject of lawyers, I'm suprised that there has been almost no discussion* on here of <2 Way Street> the joint campaign by the CTC and its solicitors Russell Jones and Walker in the current CTC mag.

http://www.rjw.co.uk/2waystreet/

This includes Ten Top Tips for Urban Cyclists which I think are worth reproducing here in full. (This is from that www and is not a verbatim copy of the version in the CTC mag, but they are essentially the same.) For example, bearing in mind that this is the legal advice from the CTC's solicitors, how long before we find adult cycle training takes on the same significance as helmets? (I suppose we should be grateful that helmets are not suggested as protection from being crushed under a lorry :roll: )

1. Leave that lorry alone
Never ever, undertake a lorry on the left, especially if you are at junction. Don’t do this even if there is a cycle lane.
Remember if you cycle on the left hand side of a lorry you are in the driver’s blind spot and if the lorry turns, you will have no escape. It is difficult for drivers of large vehicles to see you, so don’t hide by the side of the vehicle.

2. Make eye contact
Make eye contact with other road users, particularly at a junction, coming out of side roads and at roundabouts; this may tell you if the driver has seen you or not.

3. Look over your shoulder
Regularly look over your shoulders to see what is happening all around you. Check behind you when moving away from the kerb, before you signal to manoeuvre and at regular intervals to communicate with other road users.

4. Look ahead
Look well ahead for obstructions in the road, such as drains, potholes and parked vehicles, so that you do not have to swerve suddenly to avoid them. Planning ahead helps you to be prepared for junctions, roundabouts and traffic lights.

5. Get out of the gutter!
Your road position should not be less than 1 metre from the kerb and should be further out if it is not safe for a vehicle to pass. If someone does pass you inconsiderately then you have more room to get out of harm’s way. Keeping away from the gutter will enable drivers to see you and also help you miss the drain covers and debris on the side of the road too. Take extra care to hold your position near road humps and other traffic-calming features.

6. Don’t be floored by car doors
Leave plenty of room when passing parked vehicles and watch out for doors being opened into your path.

7. Make your intentions clear
Make your signal and manoeuvre well in advance, and only when it is safe to do so. Keep your position in your lane so vehicles cannot undertake closely on your left.

8. Cover your brakes
Keep your hands on your brake levers, so that you are ready to use them. Always use both brakes at the same time. Take extra care when it is wet or icy.

9. Lights
By law, when it is dark or there is bad visibility you must have lights on the front and rear of your bike. Always carry spare small lights in case your main lights are not working.

10. Cycle Training
If you are a beginner or even if you are an experienced cyclist, you can benefit from an adult cycle training session. Find out more about cycling safely in today’s road conditions by contacting your local instructor http://www.ctc.org.uk/instructors.

*The original survey questionnaire attracted some comment about its poor structure and I've posted on what I think is an incorrect interpretation of the law which would impose a legal obligation to use lights at certain times in daylight (bullet point 9.)

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IMO a narrow cycle lane in a situation like this makes a cyclist's position impossible. If cyclists are not in it, many drivers, including the drivers of lorries and buses will 'discipline' them, with horn blowing at best, reckless overtaking at worst. If they are in it, then they will be even more likely to go unseen, or more often, ignored. In short, a narrow cycle lane stops cyclists from using an important safety tactic - riding in the primary position - just when it would be most useful. To put the brass knobs on, as others have pointed out, an advisory cycle lane doesn't even reserve the space for cyclists. They are a highwayman's solution - daylight robbery of roadspace from cyclists. :evil:

kwackers
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Re: Unwise Undertake?

Postby kwackers » 3 Nov 2010, 10:42am

I think the message to less experienced cyclists watching that clip should be "don't do it".

If we want to discuss the merits/technicalities/complain about the lorry drivers lack of attention/the crapness of cycle lanes then it's a good clip.
But from a cyclists pov it's a blind undertake, you've no idea what's happening in front of the truck and as such it just isn't worth the risk.

mporter
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Re: Unwise Undertake?

Postby mporter » 3 Nov 2010, 11:36am

Re 2 way street.
I have a lot of respect for Paul Kitson who I suspect lies behind the ten tips and I think they offer sound general advice. However I do not always follow them. For instance I undertake lorries if I am in a buslane away from a junction and I do not cover the brakes if I am pulling on the bars to sprint down a dual carriageway with no discernible hazard ahead. As a cyclist I believe there is a balance between doing every last thing to guard against the risks presented by others and convenience. Different people may draw the line differently. However as a lawyer I would defend to the hilt the cyclist who is accused of contributory negligence where bad design and bad driving have got him/her into a accident. It appears to me self-evident that not following the ten tips is far short of carelessness (with the exception of course of lights at night).
I have spoken out in the past and will continue to speak out agsint blaming the victim.

Richard Mann
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Re: Unwise Undertake?

Postby Richard Mann » 3 Nov 2010, 11:51am

thirdcrank wrote:IMO a narrow cycle lane in a situation like this makes a cyclist's position impossible. If cyclists are not in it, many drivers, including the drivers of lorries and buses will 'discipline' them, with horn blowing at best, reckless overtaking at worst. If they are in it, then they will be even more likely to go unseen, or more often, ignored. In short, a narrow cycle lane stops cyclists from using an important safety tactic - riding in the primary position - just when it would be most useful. To put the brass knobs on, as others have pointed out, an advisory cycle lane doesn't even reserve the space for cyclists. They are a highwayman's solution - daylight robbery of roadspace from cyclists. :evil:


I've just seen a lorry overtake a couple of cyclists in the location I posted earlier. Exemplary behaviour by lorry. If you consistently squeeze the traffic, then it goes slower (20mph unless the situation is particularly clear), and goes really slowly (10mph) when faced with a combination of cyclist and refuge (and wouldn't have overtaken the fast-moving cyclist in the video in the first place, pretty much regardless of their positioning).

Richard

mporter
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Re: Unwise Undertake?

Postby mporter » 3 Nov 2010, 12:15pm

Because I was there, I have only just realised what a misleading impression this video might give about the speed and flow of traffic. It was stop/start bumper to bumper. The reason you see a space behind the lorry is only because I am there in the primary position. The lorry had been able to move forward a bit due to the lights ahead being green for a bit before the junction got congested again. Neither cyclist nor lorry was at any point travelling at anything like 20 mph. We were negotiating our way past stop start traffic. Any suggestion of a pointless overtake is misfounded, we both legitimately desired to get past the lorry and other traffic until we finally hit a bus lane further down the road.

Richard Mann
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Re: Unwise Undertake?

Postby Richard Mann » 3 Nov 2010, 12:28pm

George Riches wrote:I know a cyclist who was hospitalised because he undertook a large vehicle on the approach to a nearside side road. He was hit by a car turning right into the side road. At the same junction other cyclists have complained about near-misses from right turning cars whose drivers haven't seen them as they were hidden behind vans.


Agree entirely. Ideally you have "Keep Clear" markings that start just before the junction, especially if there's a downhill gradient and regular standing traffic.

Richard

snibgo
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Re: Unwise Undertake?

Postby snibgo » 3 Nov 2010, 2:36pm

I agree with mporter that the lorry's driving fell short of perfect: he encroached on the cycle lane without knowing it was clear and without indicating. The cyclist didn't break any rules (until reaching the lights). When the lorry starts to move over, the cyclist sensibly pulls back. If there had been a collision, I would have blamed the lorry.

But was the cyclist unwise to ride in the gutter and attempt to pass the lorry very close on the left, probably invisible to the driver, and not being able to see past the lorry's cab, and being invisible to other traffic? Yes.

Does the cycle lane encourage this risky manoevre? Yes.

So, should a cyclist ignore the cycle lane and risk objections by other road users? Yes.

thirdcrank
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Re: Unwise Undertake?

Postby thirdcrank » 3 Nov 2010, 5:13pm

snibgo wrote:... I would have blamed the lorry...


Sorry to be pedantic, but if I can paraphrase how Chief Dan Matthews used to conclude episodes of Highway Patrol
Remember, folks: it's not the lorry that kills, it's the driver.

snibgo
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Re: Unwise Undertake?

Postby snibgo » 3 Nov 2010, 5:42pm

I was aware when I wrote about "the lorry's driving" that something was wrong, but I thought it was the apostrophe.

Your apology for pedantry is accepted.

irc
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Re: Unwise Undertake?

Postby irc » 3 Nov 2010, 7:12pm

mporter wrote:I am surprised that some of these posts focus on the actions of the cyclist ...................

putting blame on the cyclist for this woeful state of affairs, makes me rather regret making the blog post.


As I said in my post, I'm commenting with the benefit of hindsight as are the other posters here. While the primary blame must lie with the road design and the lorry driver I still think the cyclist should have forseen that undertaking in a gap that small was risky.

Nobody is perfect and we can all learn from mistakes. It is better that we don't all have to make the same mistakes before we learn. This was one of my reasons for posting the link here. I think it is a good example of an avoidable near miss. While the cyclist in the video was not in the wrong I still think it was unwise to overtake in those circumstances. Would you think it OK if the lorry had overtaken the cyclist with that clearance? Do you not think deferring the overtake until the road widened a short distance ahead would have been better? If the central refuge couldn't be seen was the view ahead good enough to overtake?

Please keep posting clips and blogging. Clips like these are always interesting. Your post on "Cycling and the CAr Culture" is one of the best bits of writing I have seen on the way the legal system in this country deals with cyclists.
I did try and post a comment on your blog re the video but couldn't figure out the process (I'm very much semi IT literate)

http://thecyclingsilk.blogspot.com/2009 ... lture.html
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?

George Riches
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Re: Unwise Undertake?

Postby George Riches » 3 Nov 2010, 8:21pm

Well I think it's useful to highlight infrastructure which only the most careful can use safely. It may seem a criticism of the user but it's really a criticism of the designer. The more the general public understands about the dangers, the greater the pressure on highway engineers to do better.

It reminds me of the criticism of those cycle paths which are only safe if the cyclist gives way to traffic entering/leaving side roads. Some may say that children should be expected to take more care than adults. But I think the opposite; as cycle paths are used by children, the onus should be on the driver to stop, as adults who have passed driving tests should be more responsible than children who haven't.
Last edited by George Riches on 4 Nov 2010, 9:45am, edited 1 time in total.

thirdcrank
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Re: Unwise Undertake?

Postby thirdcrank » 3 Nov 2010, 8:44pm

I suspect that the provision of all this cycling 'provision' :lol: increases hostility towards cyclists. Perhaps most obviously, if there are shoddy shared-use footpaths, drivers understandably think cyclists should not be on the carriageway (whatever it may say in the Highway Code.) Apart from that, there is the matter of the public £££ being spent, especially in times of cutbacks. My memory goes back to when a shout of "Reg Harris" at a passing cyclist was considered witty. I don't remember anybody having anything to say about cyclists not paying so-called road tax until quite recently.

We are in the bizarre situation that at certain times of the day in many connurbations, the only way to make decent progress is on two wheels; the other benefits to cyclists and society are well-known, but as things deteriorate cyclists are seen as the problem.

snibgo
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Re: Unwise Undertake?

Postby snibgo » 4 Nov 2010, 12:28am

Agreed, TC. Traffic often pressurises us to use these "generous" facilities.

Another take-home message is about our desire to make continual progress, and the risks we are prepared to take as payment for that progress. Each of us will have our own preference on progress versus risk.

Of course, when on the road, a cyclist's progress may be at risk to the cyclist. And a lorry's (sorry, lorry driver's) progress may be at risk to the cyclist. It's not a fair world.

downfader
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Re: Unwise Undertake?

Postby downfader » 4 Nov 2010, 5:10pm

Just watched that video.. thats not a HGV, thats a flatbed truck/van.

Secondly is that an undertake? I technically think not for one very good reason. You have effectively 2 prescribed lanes and the cyclist clearly in his "area", the van in theirs until the road narrows. The van then encroaches on the cyclelane blocking a freeflow of traffic in said lane. So I would imagine that the driver is on a technical basis more at fault.

Doesnt stop the rider putting himself in a dangerous position however. Presuming he knows the route and is able to read the road ahead, even cyclists can fail to do this at times. In an ideal situation braking and waiting would have been better and safer.

As has already been said that cyclelane is a bit naff.