Road position discussion from 'Witness or victim' thread

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
DaveReading
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Re: Road position discussion from 'Witness or victim' thread

Postby DaveReading » 8 Aug 2020, 11:34pm

Cyril Haearn wrote:Could be a good strategy, in theory. Any half-intelligent morton would stay back and not risk trying to overtake

I'll confess to initiating a slight wander as I approach a pinch point if I'm aware of a car following who might be tempted to do a stupid overtake.

Cowsham
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Re: Road position discussion from 'Witness or victim' thread

Postby Cowsham » 9 Aug 2020, 9:57am

DaveReading wrote:
Cyril Haearn wrote:Could be a good strategy, in theory. Any half-intelligent morton would stay back and not risk trying to overtake

I'll confess to initiating a slight wander as I approach a pinch point if I'm aware of a car following who might be tempted to do a stupid overtake.


No pinch points -- it was a straight wide road but the cyclist was all over it. Not going slow either -- it was bewildering why he was wobbling about all over the road some drivers had got past but when it came to our turn to be behind him we hung back and just laughed until he turned off another direction without letting anyone know. Worth it for the entertainment value alone.

Pete Owens
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Re: Road position discussion from 'Witness or victim' thread

Postby Pete Owens » 9 Aug 2020, 9:50pm

Vorpal wrote:I would like to clear up a couple of misunderstandings.

There is nowhere that Bikeability insists a cyclist must *always* ride well out. For one thing, there are *recommended* road positions that vary a little depending upon the road type and width. But in general, there are two basic road positions recommended by Bikeability and Cyclecraft.

This.
However...
The first is 'secondary', which is the normal riding position. The recommended distance from the kerb / edge is 1 metre, but this is not strict, and 0.75 is also ok in many circumstances. I used to tell the Bikeability kids to keep at least an arm's length from the kerb because kids have a hard time judging distance without a reference, and that's an easy way to check. I usually ride approximately in the 'groove' made by the inside wheels of motor vehicles.

The other position is 'primary', which is also sometimes referred to as 'taking the lane'. This position is used to contol the lane and/or make the cyclist more visible and/or prevent silly overtakes. It is effective for this purpose, as long as the lane is roughly 3.0 metres or less. Bikeability & Cyclecraft recommend primary position for the approach to junctions and other areas where conflict is likely. There are some exceptions & notes relating to this.

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.

slowster
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Re: Road position discussion from 'Witness or victim' thread

Postby slowster » 9 Aug 2020, 11:27pm

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. I doubt that most cyclists have that level of awareness. I would go so far as to say that the vast majority of cyclists wearing a helmet and without a mirror will often have very poor awareness of what is behind them (helmets typically create wind noise which masks the sound of vehicles approaching from behind). 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).

If someone has that level of awareness of what is happening behind them, it is probably often just as easy and safer to ride in secondary, and instead make a conscious decision about when and where to move into primary, e.g. because there is a road hazard ahead and a car behind will catch the rider up at that point.

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.

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.

Pebble
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Re: Witness or victim?

Postby Pebble » 10 Aug 2020, 12:23am

tim-b wrote:Hi

In a different context there are plenty of drivers who understand overtaking rules in the Highway Code but will overtake cyclists approaching blind bends without thought either for cars oncoming at 60mph or wide vehicles.

tim-b

Most drivers know exactly how to over-take a cyclist, on a wide straight road with good visibility drivers will gave plenty of space, problems begin if the driver has to slow down, this is when the risk taking begins (risks with your life not theirs) . whether it is a pinch point, a car coming in the opposite direction, or a blind bend, the thought of slowing down is so alien to some drivers (the mortons) that they just have to pass no matter what.

This is an interesting one from a few weeks ago, I have no complaint against the driver he did not endanger me, gave me plenty of space, the driver coming the other way may disagree, he was down to walking pace.

Please feel free to criticise my riding, I could see the situation unfurling and as soon as I seen the oncoming van I was on the brakes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRDMi_eog7Q
please don't quote reg numbers or livery, the van passes me regularly and always gives a careful pass -

Pete Owens
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Re: Road position discussion from 'Witness or victim' thread

Postby Pete Owens » 10 Aug 2020, 2:18am

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.
Last edited by Pete Owens on 10 Aug 2020, 5:45pm, edited 1 time in total.

Cowsham
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Re: Witness or victim?

Postby Cowsham » 10 Aug 2020, 6:46am

Pebble wrote:
tim-b wrote:Hi

In a different context there are plenty of drivers who understand overtaking rules in the Highway Code but will overtake cyclists approaching blind bends without thought either for cars oncoming at 60mph or wide vehicles.

tim-b

Most drivers know exactly how to over-take a cyclist, on a wide straight road with good visibility drivers will gave plenty of space, problems begin if the driver has to slow down, this is when the risk taking begins (risks with your life not theirs) . whether it is a pinch point, a car coming in the opposite direction, or a blind bend, the thought of slowing down is so alien to some drivers (the mortons) that they just have to pass no matter what.

This is an interesting one from a few weeks ago, I have no complaint against the driver he did not endanger me, gave me plenty of space, the driver coming the other way may disagree, he was down to walking pace.

Please feel free to criticise my riding, I could see the situation unfurling and as soon as I seen the oncoming van I was on the brakes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRDMi_eog7Q
please don't quote reg numbers or livery, the van passes me regularly and always gives a careful pass -


You're too far out from the hedge for my likens although the van should have waited ( for everyone's safety despite your wide position ) but this is what you'll get when you ride out there all the time. Some boys are in a hurry to get to work or a job somewhere and think they must pass early as possible.
If the road surface is too rough to ride closer then your on the wrong bike/tyres for that road.

tim-b
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Re: Road position discussion from 'Witness or victim' thread

Postby tim-b » 10 Aug 2020, 7:55am

Hi
Please feel free to criticise my riding, I could see the situation unfurling and as soon as I seen the oncoming van I was on the brakes

My point all along has been that when primary doesn't "control" then be sure to get out of the way, or brake, or both so that you're safe. If there's a collision near to you then who knows where the debris will fly and what avoiding action drivers will take. I can't make the point any clearer so I'm out
Regards
tim-b
~~~~¯\(ツ)/¯~~~~

jatindersangha
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Re: Road position discussion from 'Witness or victim' thread

Postby jatindersangha » 11 Aug 2020, 10:28am

Hi all,

Thinking about positioning etc and on the roads I normally ride on - I believe my normal riding position is probably 30cm away from the edge of drains. I do try to avoid riding over large metal covers etc - and so this could be the "wandering" that was mentioned. I always do a shoulder check before pulling out and If I know/suspect there's a vehicle close behind me - then I'll just slow down and go over the metal cover as the last thing I want to do is move out unnecessarily directly in front of a motor vehicle.

When the road is 3m wide or less (majority of the roads near here), then effectively, I'm taking up a 3rd or more of the road whilst riding in secondary. I've seen some riders ride on the yellow lines near the kerb and watch them going up and down over the drains etc - that is not for me. In fact, an acquaintance of mine is a police officer and I used to often meet him whilst we were both cycling home from the train station. I couldn't believe how fast and how close he rode to the kerb without hitting the pedals on them etc.

Other roads, such as one I used to commute on was barely 2.5m wide. In the morning, with very little traffic, I'd ride secondary to allow drivers to overtake until I reached a blind bend when I'd go to primary. The number of drivers who performed close-passes either in the straight section or the blind bends convinced me to go to primary well before the bend. In the evening I'd always ride primary due to the level of traffic in the oncoming lane. Drivers could still overtake but would have to find a suitable gap in the oncoming traffic and move over - 9 times out of 10 there'd be no close passes or incidents.

As I say, on a 3m wide road, any cyclist that's not in the gutter has effectively taken the lane because any overtaking vehicle will have to be mostly in the other lane in order to give 1m clearance.

Re the video from Pebbles, given the speed, bends and the need to be visible - that's exactly where I'd be riding.

--Jatinder

Cyril Haearn
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Re: Road position discussion from 'Witness or victim' thread

Postby Cyril Haearn » 11 Aug 2020, 10:32am

I just fitted mirrors to my cycles, helps a lot
Entertainer, intellectual, idealist, PoB, 30120
Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott
We love safety cameras, we hate bullies

Jdsk
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Re: Witness or victim?

Postby Jdsk » 11 Aug 2020, 11:14am

Pebble wrote:This is an interesting one from a few weeks ago, I have no complaint against the driver he did not endanger me, gave me plenty of space, the driver coming the other way may disagree, he was down to walking pace.

Please feel free to criticise my riding, I could see the situation unfurling and as soon as I seen the oncoming van I was on the brakes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRDMi_eog7Q
please don't quote reg numbers or livery, the van passes me regularly and always gives a careful pass -

Usual caution about interpreting video...

1 No criticism of your position.
2 Precautionary braking doubleplusgood. (Had you heard the vehicle behind?)
3 The overtaking was dangerous.

Jonathan


Vorpal
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Re: Witness or victim?

Postby Vorpal » 11 Aug 2020, 1:48pm

Cowsham wrote:
You're too far out from the hedge for my likens although the van should have waited ( for everyone's safety despite your wide position ) but this is what you'll get when you ride out there all the time. Some boys are in a hurry to get to work or a job somewhere and think they must pass early as possible.
If the road surface is too rough to ride closer then your on the wrong bike/tyres for that road.

I disagree with all points. I think Pebble's position is quite good, especially given that they are going at a pretty clip. Being further in would not have changed the driver's behaviour, and may have encouraged a close pass in order to avoid being too far into the other lane. My experience is that a road position like this greatly reduces the number of close passes.

An argument can be made that road maintenance should be good enough that cyclists can ride wherever in the lane they prefer, but there are many reasons to avoid drains and things like that, not the least of which is that they can be slippery in the rain. You seem to be suggesting that someone should ride further left, even if it means riding through potholes and over bumps, if that part of the road is in poor condition? What if moving a foot to the right, there is a smooth surface?
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

Cowsham
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Re: Witness or victim?

Postby Cowsham » 11 Aug 2020, 3:16pm

Vorpal wrote:
Cowsham wrote:
You're too far out from the hedge for my likens although the van should have waited ( for everyone's safety despite your wide position ) but this is what you'll get when you ride out there all the time. Some boys are in a hurry to get to work or a job somewhere and think they must pass early as possible.
If the road surface is too rough to ride closer then your on the wrong bike/tyres for that road.

I disagree with all points. I think Pebble's position is quite good, especially given that they are going at a pretty clip. Being further in would not have changed the driver's behaviour, and may have encouraged a close pass in order to avoid being too far into the other lane. My experience is that a road position like this greatly reduces the number of close passes.

An argument can be made that road maintenance should be good enough that cyclists can ride wherever in the lane they prefer, but there are many reasons to avoid drains and things like that, not the least of which is that they can be slippery in the rain. You seem to be suggesting that someone should ride further left, even if it means riding through potholes and over bumps, if that part of the road is in poor condition? What if moving a foot to the right, there is a smooth surface?


I cycle a lot closer to the left than pebble and if I'm going to move to pebbles position because of the road condition or other hazard I'll look behind to check out the traffic then give a good clear hand signal and another look to make sure the driver acknowledged it before moving out.

Was out yesterday most of the day ( did about 50 miles ) on my mountain bike mostly on country roads road and have to say I most drivers were very courteous to me.

A couple of times approaching the brow of some steep hills drivers even waited behind till we crested the hill so they could see the road was clear before passing me.

In near the towns people seem to be in much more of a hurry to pass but didn't cause me any concern, some passed closer than jat's or pebbles videos show but I didn't swear and shout at them.

Still going to fit a camera though just cos if something does happen at least there's some evidence as to who is at fault. You see you may have a crash or get knocked off but you may not remember anything about it, as so often happens with a head injury, those last few seconds can be lost forever. A camera will show what happened.

Cowsham
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Re: Road position discussion from 'Witness or victim' thread

Postby Cowsham » 12 Aug 2020, 2:26pm

Has anyone considered the perception of us cyclists or don't they care?

I think my nearside position ( an elbow length away from the verge or kerb) keeps motorists happy which I think in turn keeps me safer because they seem to appreciate that I'm trying not to impede their journey. They tend to wait or give me room and a wave on the way past. I wave back to acknowledge their patience.

Car drivers, stuck behind a cyclist who is too far out to make any kind of pass, probably have a low opinion of them because the cyclist seems to have no consideration for other road users. Because I cycle a lot I know what the mentality of the rider is but other drivers may not be as forgiving.
Just my experience of over 50 years cycling on roads.

Jdsk
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Re: Road position discussion from 'Witness or victim' thread

Postby Jdsk » 12 Aug 2020, 2:31pm

Yes, I think about that. And it leads me to lots of shoulder checks, eye contact and appropriate gestures.

But it doesn't affect my road position.

Jonathan