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Traffic – what would you do?

January 26, 2013

After being eloquently reprimanded by a kind and gentle-person, I review my attitude and from henceforth, I aim to:
…always employ due-care and attention.
…stop behind vehicles when there is not room to pass.

…only pass cars when it is clear and legal to do so.
…stop appropriately behind red-lights etc.

When in a queue of traffic, I previously have either continued in the left-hand side if traffic, or if it’s not free and overtaking is an option I have overtaken the stationary/slow traffic.  I am cautious, observant and have lights front and rear at all times.  Sitting in the fumes of stationary traffic on a bicycle or riding on the pavement is not an option. Whenever there is cycle path provision I use it.
I feel I am doing the best thing given the circumstances.

i. Should a cyclist sit in the queue of traffic?

ii.  Should a cyclist, with caution, ride up left hand side of the traffic if there’s room?

iii. Should a cyclist, with caution, right up right hand side of the traffic if there’s room?

iv. Should a cyclist, with caution, ride on the pavement?

Catherine Street – Busy Commute:

Catherine Street – Frosty commute:

I’m not a Grawniad reader but can I draw your attention to this article:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/bike-blog/2011/apr/04/cyclists-pass-traffic

#keepcycling #getbritaincycling ?

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11 Comments
  1. Rachel Parkinson permalink
    January 26, 2013 9:57 am

    Will be interested in answers. Can only say what I do, which is probably not right. i) not unless I have to. ii) surely yes. I take the fact that there are “cycle boxes” at the front of the traffic queue at junctions to be my invitation to go and sit in them. iii) don’t know the rights and wrongs of this – rarely do it as there’s so many situations in which it becomes risky, not least then getting from outside of traffic to inside again. iii) very rarely but I do hold exceptions – for instance if there’s temporary traffic lights at roadworks causing a long stretch of one-way, it’s not going to suit anybody for me to wait a long time and then ride in the flow of traffic. But then only if there’s no-one on the pavement

  2. January 26, 2013 10:50 am

    IT’s been suggested: “undertaking of slow moving/ stationary traffic is ridiculously hazardous for so many reasons, particularly on the approach to the ever increasing number of mini-roundabouts where nobody seems to have a clue anyway”

    I agree – it’s not straight forward, you are faced with a few cars stopped or moving slowly.
    The H W Code recommends that you overtake where it’s safe and legal, and also appears to allow you to undertake if you’re in a queue and moving faster than traffic on your right (or if the car you’re undertaking is turning right). So, legally speaking, cyclists essentially have a free choice as to how to approach stationary traffic.
    Yes undertaking is hazardous, riding a bicycle on a road is hazardous. Bicycling needs constant awareness, observation and caution. I agree undertaking near a junction or roundabout is inadvisable….

  3. Rachel Parkinson permalink
    January 26, 2013 11:24 am

    But overtaking, and riding in the narrow corridor between opposing traffic (especially if traffic in the opposite direction is free and much faster flowing) feels even more risky to me. And if I’ve been overtaking, but then the traffic queue starts moving quickly again, I feel like I’m in totally the wrong place, and you have to almost stop the traffic to get back over to the left again, which involves having to eyeball the driver behind you as well as signal…..ahhhh…..nightmare! Don’t remember cycling proficiency encouraging me to move away from the kerb!!

  4. Mat S permalink
    January 26, 2013 11:36 am

    No, yes, yes, no.Don’t envy your commute and I don’t know of any safer / more pleasant options. I’ll bet a substantial percentage of those cars carry just 1 person who would cycle if the conditions were right too.

  5. Rachel Parkinson permalink
    January 26, 2013 1:28 pm

    I never said “buy a car!!” I’ve never been a properly commuting cyclist but have ridden my bike extensively for work and leisure for 30 years now – in Cambridge, Leeds city centre, in rural lanes around Northallerton and now Leicester. I’ve never had a RTA. Having said that, I usually ride quite slowly. As my speed has increased recently, I’ve felt my risk factor rise….

  6. February 6, 2013 5:01 pm

    I tend to favour the outside of traffic – i think it *feels* more risky but i’m not convinced it is. certainly anecdotally i’ve never had an issue with it, although i have been hit filtering up the inside more than once, by cars turning left. you need to anticipate cars turning through the queue, and cars turning right. you also have to be confident enough (and fast enough, i guess) to move into the main traffic flow when things start moving.

    to be honest i do all of i, ii and iii depending on the situation. never iv.

    • February 6, 2013 6:21 pm

      Thanks Dave, I agree anticipation of everything around you is important. While not getting overconfident. #keepcycling #safe

  7. February 6, 2013 5:17 pm

    I know it’s a pain, but I think there are times when sitting in a queue of stationary traffic is the right course of action. Not all the time, but if there isn’t a cycle lane or sufficient space to filter on the outside, I’m not going to scoot along, undertaking in the gutter. Very slow moving traffic tends to result in drivers doing stupid things like unsignalled u-turns and passengers opening their doors without looking. Getting off and walking on the pavement, or behaving like traffic, even if that means queuing, are the safest ways to deal with the risk of drivers not paying attention.

    Also, when you’re filtering you should be aware that the zigzag lines on the approach to a pedestrian crossing indicate where you should not attempt to overtake the leading vehicle in a queue of traffic. So unless there’s an ASL, you should aim to get back in lane before those marks.

    • February 6, 2013 6:31 pm

      Thanks Liz, I agree with all of the above. It’s a judgement call when there is no provision for a person on s bike. Yes occasionally I do stop on the queue, then when it’s just crawling it seems ridiculous and so a decision has to be made… Yes, the most important thing is to be constantly aware as much as possible. I don’t rely on it but I consider the strong flashing front light essential at all times. The video gives a false impression of the trip, it looks more precarious than reality. I agree and most of the time I sit behind the front car at a stop. I am far from perfect and we can’t be expected to be perfect. I intend to improve. But, Provision is needed for bicycle traffic. #keepcycling

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