slowster wrote: Pete Owens wrote:
It is better to think of primary as the normal riding position (primary means first after all) and secondary as second. I used to think it was splitting hairs as in any situation you will be deciding which position to adopt until mjr explained it in a different thread.
The point is that moving to secondary should always be a deliberate conscious decision to share the lane to facilitate an overtake. It is often the case that roads will be wide enough for this in which case moving across is fine. However, if you normally ride in secondary you can find yourself in a situation such as described by pwa.
pwa wrote:I agree that moving further out before the car drew level would have been better, but I was caught out, perhaps being a bit tired, and didn't register the car closing in from behind. On a generally fairly quiet bit of road there had just been a flurry of traffic for some reason so I missed the sound of that car nearing.
Being in primary requires a continual high degree of awareness of what is behind the rider.
Of course it doesn't. There is no obligation to scurry off the road the second someone might want to come past. Indeed it is more important to be aware of following traffic if you are riding in secondary as at any point you might need to move right to take the lane.
All you are doing is riding along - if someone comes up from behind it is up to them to find a place to overtake - by riding in primary your are making it obvious to them that that involves changing lanes - thus preventing close passes. If you ride in secondary you are signalling to them that you are happy to share the lane. Fine if the lane is wide enough - but it is up to the cyclist to judge what constitutes wide enough.
Of course it depends on how much importance you attach to not delaying motorists and how tolerant you are to close passes. If you think the most minimal delays to motorists are very important and you are quite happy to have your elbow skimmed by a wing mirror then by all means encourage them to overtake by riding close to the edge. But those of us who attach a greater priority to our own safety will tend to take the lane.
This is not needlessly obstructing motors. If the lane is wide enough for a car to pass while leaving me sufficient clearance then I will move to the left to let them. But, I would never criticise a cyclist who had a lower tolerance of close passes than myself continuing to ride in primary in a lane that I would happily share.
Defaulting to riding in primary for long periods requires that level of awareness and concentration to be maintained continuously (in the same way that a good driver on a motorway will maintain a constant check in the rear view mirror to see what vehicles are behind them and whether any are closing on them).
Have you ever driven a car? If you drive on any road complying with the speed limit then most of the time there will be a vehicle following you with a driver wanting to go faster. It makes no difference to how you simply drive along whether there is or isn't someone there. Of course if you are driving a slow vehicle and someone has been following you for several miles then it is courteous to find a safe place to pull over - but this doesn't require a state of heightened vigilance to what is behind you.
What do you suggest this good driver does with a constant state of vigilance for faster vehicles approaching from behind? - pull over to the hard shoulder at the first sign of any other traffic?
As pwa said, the reason why he did not do that was because he was tired at the end of a long hard day. If someone is tired and their concentration and awareness are not good, staying in primary is likely to be potentially very dangerous.
Wrong, being in primary is the safe option. There are any number of circumstances where it is the wisest choice of position - and one of those is when a car approaches from behind and there isn't room to overtake. If you are tired and riding in secondary you need to be constantly alert. If you are in primary the only consequence is causing a motorist to slow for a few more seconds than absolutely necessary.
I suspect a significant percentage of the worst close passes, i.e. the type that I call a 'drive by overtake' because the driver does not change speed or move out even slightly, occur because the driver has not even registered the presence of the cyclist. Even in perfect conditions I simply would not trust drivers enough to default to riding in primary, and I find the thought of doing it in less than perfect conditions - such as rain, low sun or at night - terrifying.
If you constantly ride close to the edge that will be how it feels to you. But the one place motorists pay attention to more than any other is where they are going. It is not that they don't see you it is that they see the car sized gap to your right that you have invited them to use to overtake.