Is it a, see how close we can get the HGV to the cyclist ?

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
Forth Tom
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Re: Is it a, see how close we can get the HGV to the cyclist

Postby Forth Tom » 22 Jun 2015, 10:43am

In a built-up area with drains, railings, parked cars etc. I can see the reason for cycling well out from the kerb. However on rural roads I can also see a benefit in keeping well into the side of the road - avoiding being hit by drivers who haven't seen you. If you ride in the track of their near-side wheel then a distracted driver may hit you. If you are closer to the side of the road they may well miss. Unless there's a headwind or you have a hearing impairment you can usually hear a car coming from behind and move in a bit so you don't have to ride in that position all the time.

I had a near miss a couple of weeks ago and actually caught up with the driver at some traffic lights. He had a coffee in one hand and a phone in the other. I asked if that was why he had passed me so closely and he admitted that it wasn't but that it was because he hadn't seen me (I'm not inconspicuous). If I'd been a couple of feet further out into the road I doubt I'd be typing this right now.

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horizon
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Re: Is it a, see how close we can get the HGV to the cyclist

Postby horizon » 22 Jun 2015, 7:16pm

Forth Tom wrote: If I'd been a couple of feet further out into the road I doubt I'd be typing this right now.


Had you been a couple of feet further out he would in all likelihood have seen you as that is where he would have looked when he looked. Alternatively he would have seen or crashed into the back of the car waiting to pass you - both better options for everyone than hitting you.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

Flinders
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Re: Is it a, see how close we can get the HGV to the cyclist

Postby Flinders » 22 Jun 2015, 9:13pm

horizon wrote:
Forth Tom wrote: If I'd been a couple of feet further out into the road I doubt I'd be typing this right now.


Had you been a couple of feet further out he would in all likelihood have seen you as that is where he would have looked when he looked.


I'm not all that sure that's necessarily the case. :(
Often there is just no safe place to be, and with an idiot like that driving I'd say this was one of those times.

Forth Tom
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Re: Is it a, see how close we can get the HGV to the cyclist

Postby Forth Tom » 22 Jun 2015, 11:04pm

horizon wrote:
Forth Tom wrote: If I'd been a couple of feet further out into the road I doubt I'd be typing this right now.


Had you been a couple of feet further out he would in all likelihood have seen you as that is where he would have looked when he looked. Alternatively he would have seen or crashed into the back of the car waiting to pass you - both better options for everyone than hitting you.


Sadly neither you nor anyone else can guarantee that. I'll stick to my approach.

beardy
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Re: Is it a, see how close we can get the HGV to the cyclist

Postby beardy » 22 Jun 2015, 11:10pm

I'll vary my approach depending on traffic volumes, speed, road width, curvature, my speed and energy levels.

You dont know what is going to come along and meet with you but you can work on probabilities.
In my experience there are plenty of times when one of the two approaches is the wrong one and plenty of times where you are making a fifty:fifty bet.

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horizon
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Re: Is it a, see how close we can get the HGV to the cyclist

Postby horizon » 22 Jun 2015, 11:30pm

Forth Tom wrote:
horizon wrote:
Forth Tom wrote: If I'd been a couple of feet further out into the road I doubt I'd be typing this right now.


Had you been a couple of feet further out he would in all likelihood have seen you as that is where he would have looked when he looked. Alternatively he would have seen or crashed into the back of the car waiting to pass you - both better options for everyone than hitting you.


Sadly neither you nor anyone else can guarantee that. I'll stick to my approach.


What we rarely find out from bike accident reports is what the road position was when the cyclist was hit (and it may even be impossible to know in a fast moving situation). My impression is (and that is all it is) is that most cyclists stick to the far left and that is where they get hit. They may have been struck whatever their road position of course but moving out will influence traffic behaviour (IMV) in a way that remaining at the side won't.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

pwa
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Re: Is it a, see how close we can get the HGV to the cyclist

Postby pwa » 23 Jun 2015, 9:13am

About 25 years ago I experimented with my positioning on a fast rural (A483) road with a fair bit of traffic and my conclusion was that riding in or close to the gutter resulted in vehicles passing closer and faster. Riding with my wheels about 75cm from the edge resulted in vehicles passing wider and not so fast. My guess was (and still is) that an object (me) in the gutter can be dismissed as almost requiring no change of behaviour from the driver, but an object in the path of the vehicle demands attention, resulting in a deliberate overtaking manoeuvre rather than a subtle twitch of the steering wheel. I have since increased this distance slightly. I taught this to my children and I tell it to anyone who will listen. I'm not advocating riding in the middle of the road, just up to about a metre out to be noticed.

There are other advantages to not riding close to the gutter, which others have covered.

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horizon
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Re: Is it a, see how close we can get the HGV to the cyclist

Postby horizon » 23 Jun 2015, 10:14am

pwa: I'm glad you said that (and better than I did). To be fair to Forth Tom, no-one is suggesting you ditch your common sense in these situations.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

Forth Tom
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Re: Is it a, see how close we can get the HGV to the cyclist

Postby Forth Tom » 23 Jun 2015, 2:17pm

I'm not advocating riding in the gutter. I would guess that my normal riding position on rural roads is about 60cm out from the gravelly stuff. That's probably near enough what you are suggesting pwa. Maybe the roads round here are wider. We'll probably never find out the road position of people struck from behind. It would, I agree, be helpful. Any concern for that kind of useful detail is drowned out by other voices calling for helmets, high-viz etc. etc. All I can say is that I don't see cyclists riding singly well out in the road around here and my positioning is pretty well exactly the same as we adopted in club and Audax rides albeit they were/are usually two abreast.

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Is it a, see how close we can get the HGV to the cyclist

Postby [XAP]Bob » 23 Jun 2015, 2:47pm

No one is ever struck from behind, they swerve out at the wrong time see, and the sun was in my eyes, oh it was night time? The moon was in my eyes....
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.