Taking the Lane

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tykeboy2003
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Taking the Lane

Postby tykeboy2003 » 13 Sep 2016, 6:41pm

Or riding in primary position.

What is the legal basis for this?

I can't find any mention in the Highway Code.

I've always understood this to be the right thing to do when the lane is constricted by traffic islands and bollards etc.

Anyone know.

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tykeboy2003
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Taking the lane.

Postby tykeboy2003 » 13 Sep 2016, 6:41pm

Or riding in primary position.

What is the legal basis for this?

I can't find any mention in the Highway Code.

I've always understood this to be the right thing to do when the lane is constricted by traffic islands and bollards etc.

Anyone know.

Bez
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Re: Taking the Lane

Postby Bez » 13 Sep 2016, 6:57pm

The legal basis is very simple. It's that you have a statutory right to cycle on a public carriageway.

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meic
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Re: Taking the Lane

Postby meic » 13 Sep 2016, 7:03pm

I can't find any mention in the Highway Code.


You may have also noticed that the highway code doesnt say that you must keep in to the left either.

While not a legal basis, you can find support for this road positioning from the Institute for Advanced Motoring and what is probably the major cycling instruction manual in the UK.
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Re: Taking the Lane

Postby Vorpal » 13 Sep 2016, 8:48pm

The practice is recommended by Cyclecraft which is the official guide to safe cycling, sanctioned by DfT and published by The Sationary Office.

It is also the practice recommend by Bikeability, as laid out in the manuals for Bikeability and National Standards Cycle Instructor materials. http://bikeability.org.uk/ (note the DfT logo on the Bikeability home page)
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stork
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Re: Taking the Lane

Postby stork » 13 Sep 2016, 9:42pm

meic wrote:You may have also noticed that the highway code doesnt say that you must keep in to the left either.



Although it does say that you should keep to the left (rule 160). This simply means that the default driving/riding position is in the left, or leftmost lane, not that you should ride in the leftmost or any other particular part of that lane.

Note that this is not even a must.

The law does require you to keep to the left of oncoming traffic or when being 'passed' (overtaken?) (s.78 of the Highway Act 1835), but says nothing about where in the road you must or must not be in the absence of oncoming traffic.

So, subject to the rules in law and the HC about obstructing the highway, you can ride where you like in the leftmost lane; riding elsewhere in the absence of oncoming or passing traffic seems to be contrary to the HC but not illegal.

As others have pointed out, within these constraints, there are a range of possible ways of positioning yourself, or a group of riders, in the road, and most authorities see benefits for cyclists and often for other road users in riding, in some but not all circumstances, in an assertive position (primary or 'taking the lane' or riding two abreast in a group).

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Erudin
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Re: Taking the lane.

Postby Erudin » 13 Sep 2016, 10:09pm


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pjclinch
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Re: Taking the lane.

Postby pjclinch » 14 Sep 2016, 8:40am

Have a read through Cyclecraft, positioning is central to a lot of it and it's the basis for the National Standards for Cycle Training where it's fundamental too.

Not read Cyclecraft? Well worth a gander, see http://www.cyclecraft.co.uk/

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Re: Taking the Lane

Postby Vorpal » 14 Sep 2016, 9:00am

duplicate topics merged
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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Taking the lane.

Postby [XAP]Bob » 14 Sep 2016, 9:02am

tykeboy2003 wrote:Or riding in primary position.

What is the legal basis for this?

I can't find any mention in the Highway Code.

I've always understood this to be the right thing to do when the lane is constricted by traffic islands and bollards etc.

Anyone know.



As a road going vehicle you are entitled to the traffic lane - whichever part of it is safest to use.

Frequently the safest part to use is the left tyre track made by other vehicles. Sometimes it is the right tyre track, other times it will be the middle of the lane.

Unfortunately we can't trust drivers to be able to judge relative speeds or distances, and so have to make it very clear that there isn't actually enough room to overtake. You haven't held up the traffic, you've prevented them from making a stupid decision.
Normally I'll then pull back in and wave any following motorists past WHEN SAFE. If there is a continuous line of oncoming traffic then I won't, because it wouldn't be safe.
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drossall
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Re: Taking the Lane

Postby drossall » 20 Sep 2016, 11:30pm

What there isn't is any concept in law of bikes being in some kind of extra traffic lane of their own on the left, with the main lane of motor vehicles passing them (except, arguably, if there is a marked cycle lane). You and motor vehicles are in the same single traffic lane, and each motor vehicle in turn moves out of lane to pass you - so you, and not the overtaking vehicle, represent the main traffic lane.

Hence, within constraints of reasonable consideration to other road users, you are entitled to use the lane.

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Re: Taking the Lane

Postby Vorpal » 21 Sep 2016, 8:03pm


Although I generally like the As Easy as Riding a Bike blog, I do not like that particular blog.

Firstly, he's got the history somewhat wrong. Secondly, It is British infrastructure design that puts cyclists between a rock and a hard place. Vehicular cycling (aka bicycle driving in the USA) is the *response* to both.

In the USA, like in the UK, numbers of cyclists went down drastically with increases in automobile use. By 1970ish, cycling was for children, students, and eccentrics. And, there was increasing public pressure for governments to do something abotu the 'problem' of cyclists who made up a disptropotrionate number of RTC victims. RTCs were at an all time high, and SOMETHING must be done. This was probably driven partly by suburbanization, which put people farther from work and school, and meant that people who cycled, had farther to go, and also probably made cyclists more visible.

So, the state governments in the USA bowed to the motoring public and began passing laws that required pedal cyclists to operate in ways different from other vehicles. California led the way in passing laws about the use of bicycles, creating regulations about 'bikeways', and passing bicycle safety laws that regulated the construction and sale of bicycles (John Foresters says they turned them into 'toy bicycles'). Many of California's laws were adopted by other states, and the bikeways laws and bicycle safety laws were incorporated into federal laws.

John Forester, in the face of these laws turned to campaigning against them, and wrote Effective Cycling, which was partly just a written version of what he'd been teaching to Scouts for 20 years, and partly a response to anti-cyclist laws.

British infrastructure is not designed to be cyclist-friendly as a rule. That makes vehicular cycling the necessary response.

That doesn't mean always riding in primary position, although I would say that he behaved appropriately in both of the videos shown on the blog.

Both John Forester and John Franklin say that taking the lane isn't the safest position when there is a significantly increased risk of being hit from behind. They aren't rules, just recommedations that can make negotiations with other road users easier.

That said, although I have had some overtaking drivers come quite close, the closest I have ever been to collisions on British roads have been at junctions. My experience aligns well with RTC statistics. Approaching junctions, taking the lane is almost always safer than other positions, and it is there that the biggest benefit is to cyclists operating like other vehicles in traffic.
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drossall
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Re: Taking the Lane

Postby drossall » 21 Sep 2016, 11:28pm

+1.

Didn't know about the Scouting connection. Interesting.

matt_twam_asi
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Re: Taking the Lane

Postby matt_twam_asi » 22 Sep 2016, 12:25am

Vorpal wrote:Both John Forester and John Franklin say that taking the lane isn't the safest position when there is a significantly increased risk of being hit from behind. They aren't rules, just recommedations that can make negotiations with other road users easier.


OK, but you and PJ have invoked Cyclecraft as an answer to the question (paraphrasing) "What is the legal basis for riding in primary position?".

I'm coming from a completely disinterested position on Cyclecraft; it just seems odd to me that it would be used as an answer to this particular question. As you said yourself, it's an opinion of a couple of guys. It is not law.

Wouldn't a more accurate answer to the question be basically what Bez said, case closed?

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Re: Taking the Lane

Postby Vorpal » 22 Sep 2016, 6:37am

matt_twam_asi wrote:
Vorpal wrote:Both John Forester and John Franklin say that taking the lane isn't the safest position when there is a significantly increased risk of being hit from behind. They aren't rules, just recommedations that can make negotiations with other road users easier.


OK, but you and PJ have invoked Cyclecraft as an answer to the question (paraphrasing) "What is the legal basis for riding in primary position?".

I'm coming from a completely disinterested position on Cyclecraft; it just seems odd to me that it would be used as an answer to this particular question. As you said yourself, it's an opinion of a couple of guys. It is not law.

Wouldn't a more accurate answer to the question be basically what Bez said, case closed?

They aren't the opinions of a couple of guys. Firstly, they are experts (John Forester is American, so what he wrote is only relevant as part of the history). Secondly, Cyclecraft is mainly about teaching cyclists how to operate like the drivers of other vehicles. Thirdly, taking the lane is not and never has been a requirement. Cyclists have use of the the full lane, but may allow sharing if there is space. Taking the lane simply doesn't allow sharing.

The fact that DfT have adopted Cyclecraft as their official guide to safe cycling in the UK makes that book a legal reference about how cyclists should behave. Ultimately, however, Bez is right. A pedal cycle is a vehicle, and with a few exceptions (e.g. motorways and other special roads), a cyclist has the same rights as people using other vehicles.

edited to add: Cyclecraft is similar in a way to the Highway Code. The HC isn't the law itself, but summarizes the laws that road users are expected to follow. The HC also contains recommendations that make negotiations with other roads users easier. Although the HC certainly has more legal weight than Cyclecraft, since drivers need to know it well enough to pass a driving licence examination, and it is widely accepted as the authoritative reference with regards to using the highways.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom