Abused For Defending a Group of Cyclist's Whilst Driving

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CREPELLO
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Abused For Defending a Group of Cyclist's Whilst Driving

Postby CREPELLO » 6 Mar 2010, 1:13pm

While driving this morning I found myself holding back to safely overtake a group of 8 - 10 cyclist's, when the car behind all of a sudden became overwhelmingly impatient and appeared top want to overtake me AND presumably the peleton as well. This was on a blind corner approaching a (blind summit) railway bridge. I went to signal (as if to overtake) to prevent this idiot committing to the move. I had absolutely no intention of overtaking though, but to cut off any chance of him committing.

This did stop him, but when I looked in the rear view mirror I could see him shouting at me. I raised my left hand palm upwards to say 'what do you mean?' and he then launched into a load of unpleasant figurative abuse. I just raised my hand upwards again whilst keeping my eyes on the group. I also do this gesture when I get abuse on the bike - it seems a neutral gesture that allows me to remonstrate my disapproval whilst not rudely gesturing back to the driver.

Anyway, I overtook the group after a further 100 yards or so. But it was very unpleasant to be abused like that. I hope the sticker on my car's rear window urging 'GIVE CYCLIST'S SPACE' was legible to him - He was close enough to me! I suppose he took um-bridge that I appeared to thwart his dangerous manoeuvre.

Do the cyclist's help there own safety by cycling in single file in a dangerous location? The road was of a narrow A road design with a lot of solid white lines and bends. They were doing less than 20mph I'd say. A lot of drivers would be tempted (like the idiot here) to nip past because they were in single file. It is difficult to assess the length of a group though, as in 'how long's a piece of string?' Should groups cycle in double for dangerous road conditions? Or should they break into smaller groups to give cars space to pull back in?

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EdinburghFixed
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Re: Abused For Defending a Group of Cyclist's Whilst Driving

Postby EdinburghFixed » 6 Mar 2010, 1:25pm

Undeniably it's safer to ride doubled up (or more really, up to the width of your carriageway). If there's room for a car to pass using the other carriageway, it doesn't make any difference how wide the slow-moving obstruction is - cyclists or tractor or whatever - only how fast it's going. But by not riding in single file, the time cars have to spend in the oncoming lane is reduced.

However, as you've found drivers often become pathologically angry, despite the fact that you're making their life easier, because you're not displaying suitable subservience. IMO this makes it more difficult to balance the pros and cons (lots of angry drivers who only have a simple overtake to make, might be worse than lots of slightly grumpy drivers who have a more difficult overtake). The end result of this is that often when I ride with others, we don't go side by side but either ride staggered slightly, or in a line but further out into the road (i.e. occupy the space that two abreast would take, without making people so upset).

Sadly quite a lot of cyclists seem to have been indoctrinated to believe that shuffling in an apologetic line in the gutter is the only way to ride. When driving I'm forever shouting at cyclists I see to ride a bit wider in the road.

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Mick F
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Re: Abused For Defending a Group of Cyclist's Whilst Driving

Postby Mick F » 6 Mar 2010, 2:10pm

Large groups of cyclists should spread out to allow motor vehicles to overtake in stages. A long line is dangerous and to ride two-abreast can be seen as antagonistic even though it is actually safer.

By spreading out and riding in single file makes the poor motor vehicle driver feel happier as he can see far enough ahead, and has the chance to overtake.
Mick F. Cornwall

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Re: Abused For Defending a Group of Cyclist's Whilst Driving

Postby Tom Richardson » 6 Mar 2010, 2:27pm

CREPELLO wrote:to overtake me AND presumably the peleton as well. This was on a blind corner approaching a (blind summit) railway bridge.



Thats normal driving isn't it? There's something about those situations that compels many drivers to overtake (especially if they want to turn left on the bend!) I've even had a driver pass on the inside with two wheels on the footpath when I've moved out to the middle of the road to discourage them from passing on a blind corner.

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Re: Abused For Defending a Group of Cyclist's Whilst Driving

Postby largeallan » 6 Mar 2010, 2:52pm

I'm an HGV driver and sometimes I don't think cyclists help their cause much by cycling two abreast leaving the lorry struggling to squeeze past AND give the cyclists room....this happens a lot to me especially on the lighter nights in summer on A roads. I AM patient and I AM a cyclist myself but I just feel that some cyclists would rather be arrogantly in the right, than safe. It seems to me that selfishness and bad driving is spread across the board....cars, lorries, buses... AND cyclists

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Re: Abused For Defending a Group of Cyclist's Whilst Driving

Postby mw3230 » 6 Mar 2010, 3:36pm

There are two issues in my opinion. Firstly I defend the right of the cyclist to enjoy a bit of the road. I won't ride in the gutter dropping into drains every hundred yards and I also enjoy riding alongside a companion chatting. However, two abreast cycling is inherently more dangerous especially for the outsider. and I am generally nervous doing it except on very quiet roads. That said however if the road conditions allow, then two abreast it is - but we don't have god given entitlement to do it and those clubs/group who ride and say to hell with other road users are wrong.
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Re: Abused For Defending a Group of Cyclist's Whilst Driving

Postby glueman » 6 Mar 2010, 3:54pm

Some people are gits whether they're holding a steering wheel or handlebars. They delight in annoying their fellow man. Having just come back from a bike ride my hate du jour is a three mile long stretch of local road that has barely any 30mph signs, and those are tiny and/or hidden. The average car speed is about 50. Drivers rarely overtake, they simply pass and stay well inside the central line.

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EdinburghFixed
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Re: Abused For Defending a Group of Cyclist's Whilst Driving

Postby EdinburghFixed » 6 Mar 2010, 4:28pm

largeallan wrote:I'm an HGV driver and sometimes I don't think cyclists help their cause much by cycling two abreast leaving the lorry struggling to squeeze past AND give the cyclists room....this happens a lot to me especially on the lighter nights in summer on A roads. I AM patient and I AM a cyclist myself but I just feel that some cyclists would rather be arrogantly in the right, than safe. It seems to me that selfishness and bad driving is spread across the board....cars, lorries, buses... AND cyclists


Although I agree with what you're saying about selfishness... surely on A-roads there is enough room for a car to pass an HGV, so enough room for an HGV to pass two cyclists? (If there isn't this much room, then I think to ride two abreast is silly, but A-roads near us are generally wide enough for an HGV each way, at least).

mw3230 wrote:we don't have god given entitlement to do it and those clubs/group who ride and say to hell with other road users are wrong.


Here is perhaps the nub of the question for me. Suppose a single rider goes out on a trike, or someone goes cycling with one of the wider two-wheeled models of bike trailer, such that to ride along they are taking up the same space as two abreast. Is this "wrong", or selfish, somehow? I mean, with a very few exceptions people with such trailers could either take a car, or make more trips with a small single-wheel trailer.

Most people I think agree that it is OK to ride a trike, yet most people seem to think it is not OK to ride two abreast, despite the fact that motorists are inconvenienced exactly the same amount (but two cyclists derive pleasure instead of one).

To see why this can end up being difficult, suppose you drive up behind an audax group consisting of a trike, who is following half a dozen riders. Ought the rest of the group to ride in a line, despite the fact that they will take up zero extra room being two abreast? At what point does it become selfish, assuming that we accept the act of cycling, which is fundamentally about taking road space away from motorists, is not inherently "wrong" as a whole?

I don't have a witty answer, but the problem is, neither does anyone else seem to.

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Re: Abused For Defending a Group of Cyclist's Whilst Driving

Postby rower40 » 6 Mar 2010, 6:35pm

It appears that many motorists treat the white dashes in the middle of the road as an obstacle that commands more respect than a human-being in their lane, either a pedestrian or cyclist or two. After all, drivers frequently encounter cars coming the other way, so crossing the white line is a real, here-n-now, obvious danger. Whereas just getting a bit close to a narrow bike - well "meh" and "I didn't hit you, did I?"

That being the case, doubling-up of bikes just puts the outside cyclist nearer to the overtaking car. The motorist is conditioned to remaining inside the white line, because overtaking on single-carriageway roads is so rare that they never do it.

This is the essence of the "safety in numbers" argument. More bikes out there means more motorists used to encountering bikes. Then we can but hope that the motorists will then overtake by giving as much room as possible.
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EdinburghFixed
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Re: Abused For Defending a Group of Cyclist's Whilst Driving

Postby EdinburghFixed » 6 Mar 2010, 7:50pm

I don't know about you, but when I ride on single carriageway roads I generally position myself so even the thinnest car can't possibly get past without crossing into the oncoming lane. If you make it seem like everyone can squeeze past, they will!

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CREPELLO
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Re: Abused For Defending a Group of Cyclist's Whilst Driving

Postby CREPELLO » 6 Mar 2010, 8:24pm

EdinburghFixed wrote:At what point does it become selfish, assuming that we accept the act of cycling, which is fundamentally about taking road space away from motorists, is not inherently "wrong" as a whole?

I don't have a witty answer, but the problem is, neither does anyone else seem to.
I'm compelled to say that cyclist' behaviour is not inherently selfish when they ride two abreast. The argument that it is selfish is only based on the notion that they do have the option of going in single file. Or that they are being pathologically selfish. The real problem is that some groups (4+ riders, say) are obviously not considering what is the safest riding formation for dangerous roads. Small groups with refuge spaces for overtaking cars seems to be the best approach.

Come on motorists!? (addressing the cyclists here who sometimes cycle, including 'Largeallen') When you are prevented from overtaking a group of cyclists, how much longer does your manoeuvre take? This was my thought as I held back from overtaking today, whilst the goon behind me was jumping up and down in demented rage :roll: 8) What, 30 seconds? Thirty seconds to ensure that the move was done safely.

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Re: Abused For Defending a Group of Cyclist's Whilst Driving

Postby Mick F » 6 Mar 2010, 9:00pm

Mick F wrote:Large groups of cyclists should spread out to allow motor vehicles to overtake in stages. A long line is dangerous and to ride two-abreast can be seen as antagonistic even though it is actually safer.

By spreading out and riding in single file makes the poor motor vehicle driver feel happier as he can see far enough ahead, and has the chance to overtake.


Sorry for repeating myself.
Mick F. Cornwall

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Re: Abused For Defending a Group of Cyclist's Whilst Driving

Postby EdinburghFixed » 6 Mar 2010, 9:01pm

I agree.

The fundamental problem with the whole debate is that generally, the safest position for even an individual cyclist is one which demands an overtaking manoeuvre, not a tiny twitch of the steering wheel (if at all). Being too obliging is precisely how the second and subsequent cars in a queue can end up ramming the rider at 60mph, because only the lead driver saw them (and he didn't need to steer perceptibly, so the message wasn't "passed back").

The assumption that two abreast is more considerate than single file is predicated on the concept that single file = in the gutter. If single file position still required a clear oncoming lane, as it often should (not always - nothing is an absolute!) then nothing is lost to the motorist by their deviation around two riders instead of one.

All this is lost, of course, on the British Driver. I bet I could tow a trailer literally 15 feet wide and get less aggression than two riders abreast taking up half that room.

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Re: Abused For Defending a Group of Cyclist's Whilst Driving

Postby largeallan » 7 Mar 2010, 12:18pm

CREPELLO wrote:addressing the cyclists here who sometimes cycle, including 'Largeallen'


What do you mean? I cycle every day provided its not snowing. Is this us getting onto the moral superiority theme? I'm an HGV driver, and a cyclist...that doesn't mean I have a dark side. There are plenty of A roads up here where its difficult enough going past other traffic let alone worrying about giving cyclists two-abreast plenty of room.....I spend too much time in the lorry to give myself a heart attack through ranting at other road users. As I've said, I've nothing but patience where other cyclists are concerned, but common sense says to me that if a lorry is struggling for space to pass, then what's wrong with going in single file for 30 seconds? I've even seen cyclists in single file as i slow behind them, swooping out two abreast intentionally...out of pig ignorance if you ask me. As I've said, once again, this kind of selfishness isn't restricted to motorised road users...I think its a reflection of attitudes in this country in general today...nobody gives a monkey's about anyone else. Nobody's saying drive in the gutter, or over broken mondeo bits by the kerb, I certainly dont, but a bit of common sense and self preservation has to come into play.

....and at the risk of being controversial, the more colourful the lycra, it seems to me, the larger the moral high horse. I've noticed so many of the slim tyre brigade have trouble acknowleging tourers and MTB'ers etc as they pass....so what chance to motorists have?

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Re: Abused For Defending a Group of Cyclist's Whilst Driving

Postby toontra » 7 Mar 2010, 12:57pm

When cycling sportives, or even on a busy Sunday morning, I'm regularly held up by long queues of traffic that build up behind pairs riding 2-abreast. Whatever the legality or morality, on certain roads riding 2-abreast slows traffic down, sometimes considerably, and that is bad for all other road-users, including cyclists.

I'm not advocating riding in the gutter and I will move into a wider position to keep safe if necessary. I also enjoy riding 2-abreast chatting where conditions permit, but it strikes me that some cyclists are indeed arrogant, or perhaps just plain ignorant (like many other road-users!).

Having said that, I applaud the OP for his considerate driving. I regularly see motorists being very aware of cyclists and giving plenty of room and being prepared to slow right down and wait until safe to overtake. All I would suggest is that cyclist sometimes do likewise - for example, going single-file, or even pulling over and stopping if they realise they are causing a tailback on narrow, twisty or blind lanes.