Walkers when you're out cycling & also filtering during busy traffic.

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  • Indigo_and_VioletIndigo_and_Violet Forumite
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    Pedestrians: As you've been told, they're following the highway code. It's a bit rude to stay 3+ abreast into oncoming traffic, but people do it and getting annoyed will only drive your blood pressure up. I get annoyed sometimes about all the hyperbole about how apparently terrifying cyclists are but equally people find us safe enough to step out in front of us when crossing the road or not move over on a shared path, but fundamentally there's limited space available and we've all got to share it. When a car close passes me because they can't be bothered to wait 5 seconds for it to be safe to go wide I wish for patience and consideration, so I should offer the same up too. 

    esuhl said:
    Cycle to the left of the lane, but away from the gutter, so that you're in the flow of traffic.  Whilst you're approaching the split to two lanes, indicate right, look for a gap, and move to the centre of the lane.  Keep indicating, and move across into the CENTRE of the new lane as it appears.  Remain in the centre of the lane. DO NOT allow traffic to squeeze past.  (Otherwise you could be squeezed into the tiny gap between two lanes of 50 mph traffic that hasn't seen you.)  Once it is safe for others to overtake again, move across to the left again.

    This is good advice. Once you've ridden the route a few times you'll get a feel for when you need to start looking for a gap in the traffic. Sometimes you'll miss it and get pinned into the left-hand lane, but generally you get a feel for listening for the traffic and finding the gaps. 

    JustAnotherSaver said:
    I'll move over and nail it as hard as possible to make it 
    Once you are in the right hand lane, there's no need to try and keep up with the 50mph. You are approaching a junction so everyone should be slowing down anyway. You are not holding up traffic, you are traffic. Sit up, make yourself nice and visible, take a confident road position in the centre of the lane and use a good clear arm signal. I've found the more apologetic I am the more likely it is people will try to undertake or get aggro on the horn. If you've timed your lane change well and been clear in your intentions then you are in exactly the right place doing exactly the right thing and they'll just have to wait exactly the same  5 seconds that they'd be waiting if you were making the turn in a car. 
  • JustAnotherSaverJustAnotherSaver Forumite
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    I ask how old you are because I've come to the conclusion this is an age thing.  I walk, run, cycle and drive a lot on our local back roads and I have observed that the people walking in the footpathless road ahead of me with their backs towards me are invariably younger people.  Middle-aged and older people tend not to.  (Maybe that's why they've lived so long... )
    I'm an 80s child who had parents from the early 60s and early 40s so make of that what you will. I remember plenty of look both ways when crossing. I remember plenty of getting yanked by the arm for dawdling as i crossed the road. I remember plenty of being told not to mess around in the road - all giving the image that the road (main road at the very least) is a place for cars, not for people to be hanging about. What I don't remember, because it didn't happen, is being told to walk towards oncoming traffic.
    I'm nearing my 40s with this approach to walking on the road and i'm not dead yet. I'll take my chances for the next 40 years.

    esuhl said:

    2) Tips for filtering across when traffic is busy?
    I try to get out early in the morning when traffic is quieter as i'm not the most confident on A-roads. There's a certain spot on my route where the road splits in to two lanes approaching a roundabout. The limit will be 50mph building up to this. If i see clearance then i'll move over and nail it as hard as possible to make it but if there's traffic then i'll just bump up on the pavement and go the long route.

    This is what I'd do:
    Cycle to the left of the lane, but away from the gutter, so that you're in the flow of traffic.  Whilst you're approaching the split to two lanes, indicate right, look for a gap, and move to the centre of the lane.  Keep indicating, and move across into the CENTRE of the new lane as it appears.  Remain in the centre of the lane. DO NOT allow traffic to squeeze past.  (Otherwise you could be squeezed into the tiny gap between two lanes of 50 mph traffic that hasn't seen you.)  Once it is safe for others to overtake again, move across to the left again.
    Maybe it would help to "practice" cycling over that junction when it is very quiet?
    As a cyclist, roads with 30 and 40 mph limits tend to be relatively safe.  Some 50 mph roads are dangerous or terrifying due to bad design, motorist behaviour or both.  So use your common-sense.  Some things aren't worth the risk.



    My positioning is all wrong then.
    What i've done is make a break for it and get on the left edge of the right lane - so i would be between the two lanes, bang centre. In the instance i'm talking about, the left lane is 1st exit only on to the motorway. The right lane is to continue on or to come back on yourself. I haven't biked in the centre of the right lane as i've not wanted to hold traffic up as i'm not exactly the fastest

    My questioning was coming more from the angle of - what if it is peak time and there is no 'break' in traffic? I don't bike in peak time for such a reason but pretending i did...
    What makes me uneasy is that i signal to shift over in to the right lane but traffic is too busy / fast and people don't let me through and I end up getting clouted. I can't just assume someone is letting me over. That's what has bothered me.
  • FarfetchFarfetch Forumite
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    Cyclists can go all the way around a roundabout in the left hand lane, just ensure very clearly that you are signalling to do so. Otherwise, try and get into gaps in traffic early so you can take the lane and stop people passing via unsafe squeezes

    He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery.

    -Harold Wilson


  • Indigo_and_VioletIndigo_and_Violet Forumite
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    JustAnotherSaver said:
    My positioning is all wrong then.
    Yes, sounds like it is! You're putting yourself in the perfect spot for a cyclist sandwich with cars at 50mph on either side. A gust of wind from one would easily cause a wobble and end up nasty. 

    The key is to clearly and confidently communicate your intent. As you approach the junction, start looking behind you. Once you're in a mini-gap (not so big a gap you could pull out, but not actively being overtaken) give a nice big clear arm signal right. If there is space then move a little bit out, leaving yourself space to swerve back in if needed. Keep checking behind you. One of the cars will realise you want to pull out and let you go, so use your eyes and your ears to look and listen for someone slowing to let you out. Try and make eye contact with the driver to check that they've seen you and are letting you go. Get to 3/4 of the way across the left lane, so you can see what's coming in the right-hand lane but not be undertaken in the left and repeat, ending up in the middle of the right-hand lane.  

    Depending on the junction you might need to be a bit bolshy and start this manoeuvre earlier than you'd ideally like in order to catch a gap in the traffic. It means you'll be sat in the centre of either the left lane (waiting to pull into the right) or the right lane for longer than the minimum, but traffic will just have to tolerate a short slow down because you are cycling safely and responsibly in accordance with the law. If you don't get a gap you've just sat there with your arm out for a bit and have to dismount and wheel round, as you are now.  

    An alternative approach for roundabouts is to just move into the centre of the left lane. This stops cars going round you to turn-off and means you can just pass the exit in the wrong lane and take the next exit. This is sometimes a higher risk strategy because it means you're not behaving as a car: someone taking the first exit might assume you'll take it too and come across and hit you or someone taking the second exit might not check their mirrors properly, not see you coming up and again come across you. For this reason, I generally prefer to act like I'm a car where possible, but it can work if you make sure you signal right as you pass the first exit, if the first and second exits are close, if you're able to look around you as you pass the first exit and getting into the right-hand lane is a proper pain. 

    I city ride quite a lot so have had lots of practice doing right-hand turns in slower moving traffic. It's definitely a skill that takes confidence and good balance (you must be able to take a good look behind you regularly whilst indicating) so no shame if you're not feeling it some days and dismount, but once you get your communication with other road users down it is possible to do reasonably smoothly. 

  • theoreticatheoretica Forumite
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    JustAnotherSaver said:
    What makes me uneasy is that i signal to shift over in to the right lane but traffic is too busy / fast and people don't let me through and I end up getting clouted. I can't just assume someone is letting me over. That's what has bothered me.
    I shared that worry.  Things that helped me were really lurid reflective clothing, especially on the arms, so I knew sticking my arm out was blatantly visible and a rear view mirror so I didn't need to turn my head so much to spot gaps coming up.  And sometimes, when the traffic was much faster than I was yes, hopping off onto the pavement, crossing the road as a pedestrian and remounting.  Do other cyclists use those junctions?  Just standing watching for a while and spotting ones who handle it confidently might be worthwhile, and then copying them.

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  • FarfetchFarfetch Forumite
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    JustAnotherSaver said:
    My positioning is all wrong then.
    Yes, sounds like it is! You're putting yourself in the perfect spot for a cyclist sandwich with cars at 50mph on either side. A gust of wind from one would easily cause a wobble and end up nasty. 

    The key is to clearly and confidently communicate your intent. As you approach the junction, start looking behind you. Once you're in a mini-gap (not so big a gap you could pull out, but not actively being overtaken) give a nice big clear arm signal right. If there is space then move a little bit out, leaving yourself space to swerve back in if needed. Keep checking behind you. One of the cars will realise you want to pull out and let you go, so use your eyes and your ears to look and listen for someone slowing to let you out. Try and make eye contact with the driver to check that they've seen you and are letting you go. Get to 3/4 of the way across the left lane, so you can see what's coming in the right-hand lane but not be undertaken in the left and repeat, ending up in the middle of the right-hand lane.  

    Depending on the junction you might need to be a bit bolshy and start this manoeuvre earlier than you'd ideally like in order to catch a gap in the traffic. It means you'll be sat in the centre of either the left lane (waiting to pull into the right) or the right lane for longer than the minimum, but traffic will just have to tolerate a short slow down because you are cycling safely and responsibly in accordance with the law. If you don't get a gap you've just sat there with your arm out for a bit and have to dismount and wheel round, as you are now.  

    An alternative approach for roundabouts is to just move into the centre of the left lane. This stops cars going round you to turn-off and means you can just pass the exit in the wrong lane and take the next exit. This is sometimes a higher risk strategy because it means you're not behaving as a car: someone taking the first exit might assume you'll take it too and come across and hit you or someone taking the second exit might not check their mirrors properly, not see you coming up and again come across you. For this reason, I generally prefer to act like I'm a car where possible, but it can work if you make sure you signal right as you pass the first exit, if the first and second exits are close, if you're able to look around you as you pass the first exit and getting into the right-hand lane is a proper pain. 

    I city ride quite a lot so have had lots of practice doing right-hand turns in slower moving traffic. It's definitely a skill that takes confidence and good balance (you must be able to take a good look behind you regularly whilst indicating) so no shame if you're not feeling it some days and dismount, but once you get your communication with other road users down it is possible to do reasonably smoothly. 

    Just as a technicality but it's not the "wrong lane" as cyclists and horse riders can use the outside lane to go around per rule 77

    He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery.

    -Harold Wilson


  • martindowmartindow Forumite
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    ...  and a rear view mirror so I didn't need to turn my head so much to spot gaps coming up ..

    Another vote for a mirror.  I've never found it easy to turn to look behind and since getting a mirror I have felt far more confident cycling amidst traffic.  As in driving, glances in the mirror mean you are far more aware of what is happening around you which can only be a good thing.

  • edited 23 February 2021 at 2:54PM
    JustAnotherSaverJustAnotherSaver Forumite
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    edited 23 February 2021 at 2:54PM
    Indeed. I remember watching a video from YouTuber Scooby who has cycled throughout Asia and other countries and said the helmet mirror was his best purchase for cycling. Something on those lines. Think he was talking about the dangers he faces and how to avoid. 
  • cattomcattom Forumite
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    If I'm about n about going to the shop or to the farm to get eggs, I'd sooner walk than drive. I all ways walk facing oncoming traffic, and  if I see or hear a vecihle coming all ways get on the verge, or make for the nearest gateway,makes life easier for everyone. unfortunately not everyone thinks that way, as I have noticed when I've been  driving and people walk in the road,when there's a perfectly good grass verge they could hop on for a few seconds.
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