Driving, with oncoming cyclist about to be overtaken

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DaveP
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Driving, with oncoming cyclist about to be overtaken

Postby DaveP » 18 May 2009, 11:24pm

The title describes a scenario that I find myself in quite regularly. I'm never quite convinced that I make the best response.
It happened again on Sunday. I was on a straight stretch of a fairly respectable rural A road. I was doing 60mph - no reason not to. There was nothing travelling in my direction in sight, either in front or behind. There was a cyclist coming towards me with a group of 3 cars coming up behind him. I automatically eased over to the nearside, and the first car overtook the cyclist just as he and I were level. He came much closer to me than I expected, leaving me thinking "What a ..."
I dont know how much space he left for the cyclist, but I couldnt have given him any more without risking running onto the grass verge, which is not a good thing to do at speed.
If I had been in his place I would have hung back slightly so as to avoid overtaking in the face of oncoming traffic. In fact I usually have to because I have noticed that most cars dont pull over in such circumstances. But I have seen other drivers squeeze past cyclists on the same road, regardless.
In pulling over, am I encouraging a dangerous situation? The opposite approach, pulling out in an attempt to discourage overtaking seems likely to lead to a game of chicken with potentially multiple losers.
What do you recommend?
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stewartpratt
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Re: Driving, with oncoming cyclist about to be overtaken

Postby stewartpratt » 18 May 2009, 11:32pm

I'd say you're doing the right thing. The driver doing the overtaking is probably either the sort who goes anyway or waits until there's plenty of space - I suspect the number who would be swayed into an earlier manoeuvre by an extra foot of space are few. Best to allow space where possible - you never know when it might be needed.

iamanidiot
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Re: Driving, with oncoming cyclist about to be overtaken

Postby iamanidiot » 19 May 2009, 12:28am

I usually maintain my road posisition. If he decides to overtake and cross the line then i'll take avoiding action which i'll be ready for, but i'm not going to encourage the squeezy overtake by making room for it.
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Gisen
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Re: Driving, with oncoming cyclist about to be overtaken

Postby Gisen » 19 May 2009, 1:42am

You are doing the wrong thing. If there isn't space to overtake, don't encourage people to do so. It's the act of moving over that encourages them, rather than the space, I think. When I drive - which isn't that often, TBH, but I used to a fair bit, I would probably narrow the gap slightly, if anything, making it clear that there is not enough space to overtake. Yes it requires intestinal fortitude, but if you don't feel comfortable doing so then at least stay on the route you are on.

The oncoming driver thinks "oh, they have moved over to let me overtake, I'll overtake then"

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squeaker
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Re: Driving, with oncoming cyclist about to be overtaken

Postby squeaker » 19 May 2009, 8:23am

Gisen wrote:You are doing the wrong thing. If there isn't space to overtake, don't encourage people to do so. It's the act of moving over that encourages them, rather than the space, I think. When I drive - which isn't that often, TBH, but I used to a fair bit, I would probably narrow the gap slightly, if anything, making it clear that there is not enough space to overtake. Yes it requires intestinal fortitude, but if you don't feel comfortable doing so then at least stay on the route you are on.

The oncoming driver thinks "oh, they have moved over to let me overtake, I'll overtake then"

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Re: Driving, with oncoming cyclist about to be overtaken

Postby byegad » 19 May 2009, 8:52am

iamanidiot wrote:I usually maintain my road posisition. If he decides to overtake and cross the line then i'll take avoiding action which i'll be ready for, but i'm not going to encourage the squeezy overtake by making room for it.


Yes, my response too.

I think in most cases taking the full lane on a two lane road will discourage an oncoming car from overtaking the cyclist. Better for the cyclist in that they don't get squeezed. The determined nutter who will overtake a cyclist at any cost at the risk of a head-on is rare, mostly it's a matter of seeing the oncoming driver cooperate by running as far left as possible as an open invitation to overtake the cyclist no matter the margins involved.
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Ron
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Re: Driving, with oncoming cyclist about to be overtaken

Postby Ron » 19 May 2009, 11:18am

DaveP wrote: I automatically eased over to the nearside,

It scares me when I know there are vehicles behind and I see an oncoming car go towards their nearside. Even when cycling in primary I take a quick glance behind and if there is time pull out towards the middle of the road to prevent being overtaken and finding myself in a three abreast situation with two motor vehicles. Sometimes there is no time to look back and I just have to hope for the best.

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Re: Driving, with oncoming cyclist about to be overtaken

Postby Flinders » 19 May 2009, 11:38am

As a driver in these circs, I do hold my road position to discourage any reckless overtaking, but keep ready to move quickly as far left as possible if the oncoming traffic decides to do something stupid.

If I'm behind a cyclist, it isn't safe to overtake, and there are cars behind me, I keep a bit over to the right, so cars behind me will register that there is something in front of me, and I keep my car a good distance behind the cyclist, not only so the cyclist doesn't feel hassled, but also so that any idiot who still hasn't realised there's a cyclist and overtakes has space to get between me and the cyclist if something is coming the other way. I don't know if that's the best thing to do, but that's what I'd prefer traffic to do when I'm on the bike.

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Re: Driving, with oncoming cyclist about to be overtaken

Postby glueman » 19 May 2009, 11:39am

Very much depends. I hold my line wherever possible but cars frequently approach the rear of the oncoming bicycle at such speed that pulling in is the safest option for the rider. You have to make a call on whether the approaching vehicle has any intention, or indeed is able to pull in in time to halt a serious situation for the cyclist.

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DaveP
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Re: Driving, with oncoming cyclist about to be overtaken

Postby DaveP » 19 May 2009, 6:32pm

Ron wrote:It scares me when I know there are vehicles behind and I see an oncoming car go towards their nearside. Even when cycling in primary I take a quick glance behind and if there is time pull out towards the middle of the road to prevent being overtaken and finding myself in a three abreast situation with two motor vehicles. Sometimes there is no time to look back and I just have to hope for the best.


Well that's very clearly put, and supported by other voices too. I guess I'd better start considering the modification of a long established behaviour!
At the time I didnt think of it as encouraging reckless overtaking, I was just leaving as much space as possible to other road users. This was considered to be good manners when I was learning to drive. The other users were supposed to assess the resulting space and modify their headlong hurtle accordingly...
And for what its worth, I'm not altogether convinced that the road was too narrow for safe passing, but I will concede that to do so might require more skill than many drivers seem able to demonstrate these days. I'm sure we have all noticed drivers whose approach to an obstruction such as a parked car is to drive as close as possible before stopping, with the result that they need all the remaining road to swing round it. :roll: I wonder if this could have been a factor.
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drossall
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Re: Driving, with oncoming cyclist about to be overtaken

Postby drossall » 19 May 2009, 8:31pm

I'm with iamanidiot and byegad, but also with glueman on the caution.
DaveP wrote:And for what its worth, I'm not altogether convinced that the road was too narrow for safe passing, but I will concede that to do so might require more skill than many drivers seem able to demonstrate these days.


Remember that they should be at least into the opposite carriageway on most roads when overtaking a bike, and often completely across the white line (rule 163 and picture).

Actually I think there has been an improvement in this recently. Most drivers are quite good anyway, but there's always that percentage who squeeze past in the face of oncoming traffic. That's happening less now. The ones who used to squeeze past still overtake, but give more room, thus forcing the oncoming car to brake sharply instead of running the bike off the road :roll:

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Re: Driving, with oncoming cyclist about to be overtaken

Postby Ivor Tingting » 20 May 2009, 2:16pm

These can be short staining monents if you have two approaching vehicles playing chicken and you are in the middle where they will meet :shock: . Closing speeds can be anything form 80-200 mph. In my area this is a constant worry where many roads are long and straight and many have suffered subsidence, the consequences of drivers making a dangerous manoevre can be instantly fatal :( .
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Re: Driving, with oncoming cyclist about to be overtaken

Postby CREPELLO » 20 May 2009, 3:03pm

There seems to be two types of overtaking that increase danger to the cyclist. Obviously overtaking the cyclist with inches to spare is hostile lunacy. But there are the drivers who have a misguided sense of safety towards the cyclist at the expense of clipping the oncoming car. I've seen this countless times and wonder how many inches were between the two vehicles. I'm thinking "cheers mate, but how stupid is your driving?"; they run the risk of taking the two vehicles out and the cyclist as well if they did loose control of their vehicle.

This happened to me outside Lewes recently when I heard an almighty crack and looking behind me I saw plastic flying into the air (wing mirror?) as two cars passed each other. The one overtaking me wasn't close but obviously too far to the right.

On the original question as a driver I would maintain position and ease speed a little (too much could equally encourage the incorrigible!), but be ready to take evasive action if the oncoming driver decide to overtake.

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Re: Driving, with oncoming cyclist about to be overtaken

Postby thirdcrank » 20 May 2009, 4:58pm

drossall wrote:... The ones who used to squeeze past still overtake, but give more room, thus forcing the oncoming car to brake sharply instead of running the bike off the road :roll: ...


I suppose this is one I'd never really thought through. In the last few years I've had several incidents when I've been overtaken on my bike and a car driver coming the opposite way has had to stop in very short order to prevent a head-on collision. I'd just put it down to increasing impatience. I can see the logic in the idea that it's just the same old impatience, complicated by poorly thought out 'consideration.' It's no good just following rules, you have to understand the reason for them as well.

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DaveP
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Re: Driving, with oncoming cyclist about to be overtaken

Postby DaveP » 20 May 2009, 6:19pm

I find it a very tricky issue altogether.
On this occasion, for example, a slight reduction in speed wouldnt really have helped. I would just have found the second or third car in the bunch sandwiched between me and the hapless cyclist.
As for holding my original position... when it eventually becomes apparent that the idiot is going to go for it anyway, I'm taking avoiding action on the other side of the road, the cyclist possibly doesnt know whats going on... is there any reason to believe that, having once convinced himself "I can get through there!" he will modify his path at the last minute in order to give a cyclist more room?

As for moving out to prevent unwise overtaking - I dont think I've got the bottle for it anymore! The number of drivers I see who insist on hugging the centreline until the last few feet, when I'm coming the other way in a truck that actually needs the entire half width...
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