Am I too passive a cyclist?

r80

Active Member
I've had couple of incidents on my commute recently that I want some opinions on.

The first when I was cycling down a two-lane street where one side is peppered with parked cars, and on the clear side of the road. Then a car comes onto my side of the road and without slowing squeezes through the gap between me and a parked car. I wasn't exactly cycling in the gutter but I had no choice when he steamed past. My question is should I have used my right of way and stayed in the middle of the road forcing him to back out, or gone onto the path?

Another incident (on the same 150yd road) a car reversed out of their drive without looking I had to take avoiding action onto the path. I shook my head a little and carried on, but should I have stopped and given the driver a ticking off?

All thoughts are welcome.

r80
 

fossyant

Ride It Like You Stole It!
Location
South Manchester
Not worth it. You did the right thing as I doubt those drivers would have stopped for a HGV
 

J.Primus

Senior Member
I would say the first one what you did wasn't wrong, but also you wouldn't have been wrong to hold your position in the road and make him wait.
Second one you were about right. Unless you're happy to get off your bike and have a confrontation face to face, shouting at people from your bike isn't always a good idea.
 

Dan_h

Well-Known Member
Location
Reading, UK
I agree with fossyant, sometimes it is better just to get out of the way and put it down to experience. Even if you do have priority you should still not force a confrontation with an impatient driver, in my experience they won't care that they were in the wrong anyway!
 
Well it depends. If you stood your ground and got run over, then no. Playing a game of chicken isn't always the best thing.

Also, for the driver reversing, I'd say just make sure he knew you were there (oh, and that if it was dark, you had your lights on, etc). If he's a half decent driver, he would have realized to himself he made a mistake and hopefully made a mental note to be more careful. If he doesn't care, then it really doesn't matter if you talk with him or not.....

I'm always struggling with how assertive or how aggressive I should be. It is noticeable that the older I get the less inclined I want to be embroiled in a fracas. I tend to lean towards the non-confrontation side of things as you really don't know who you are dealing with, let alone if you can get any kind of positive outcome (will a driver subsequently give more consideration to cyclists anyway?). I think you have to be really, really careful if you want to pursue something -I try to think in terms of politely asking for consideration. Course, I'm only human and when you have some idiot do something really stupid, I do find myself shouting out sometimes.... (fortunately been ages since that happened though!)
 

SomethingLikeThat

Über Member
Location
South London
No point starting an argument. You can't turn these kinds of people anyway. They think they're always right and the soft sentences for poor and even killer driving help encourage that mentality.
 

Stevie Mcluskey

Well-Known Member
Location
East Kilbride
I'd say you have done the right thing. I'm afraid as i head towards the 50 mark its anything for an easy life with me. Cant be bothered with confrontatoin and anyway as stated in the previous posts most drivers that make an honest mistake will ralise it and the others that drive at you , dont give way , close pass etc know what they are doing and doubt anyone elses opinion matters to them.
I would take it as a good positive that you have avoided any trouble with your incidents and i wouldnt get yourself over concerned about them.
 

Cyclopathic

Veteran
Location
Leicester.
I get this a lot in the side streets where I live. Cars parked either side so when a car is comming the other way they are well over the line on to my side of the road and often give less space than one would expect if they were over taking. I can't remember when a driver let me come through first even though it would be my r.o.w and they wouldn't have to wait any longer than I would.
I can't be bothered to even get miffed about it now. Life is too short and I don't want to waste it talking to idiots and I don't want to make it any shorter by playing chicken with them. If their window is open and I can be bothered I might just use withering sarcasm but that's about it. Like others have said, there is no reasoning with some folk.
 

MrJamie

Oaf on a Bike
There's a similar situation about 100m from my house which i ride near enough daily, sometimes primary, sometimes in the gutter and it really doesn't make a whole lot of difference, sometimes people force me to concede from the middle of the lane and sometimes i pull over to the gutter and they still wait patiently for me to pass before they pull out to overtake the parked cars.

Personally I wouldn't bother to tell people off, I doubt id be calm enough to explain it to someone and Id rather avoid confrontation while adrenaline fueled :smile:
 

kedab

Veteran
Location
nr cambridge
i'm with Cyclopathic on this one...let it go. i used to get vexed by ignorant driving. i've had more than a few of arguments about right of way, cycle paths and the general danger any given driver has decided to put me in. it took me about a year to learn it's not worth my time. my usual response these days is to sit up a clap them or give them a big thumbs up...i can still rage internally but unless it's a seriously close call, or worse, i just don't bother with them.
 

trampyjoe

Senior Member
Location
South Shropshire
I've had both of the things happen that have happened to the OP (who hasn't!) and in the first instance I tend to hold the lane unless they look like they're not going to stop. They mostly do and I like to make them wait longer than if they'd waited for me to pass. Of course I have to force myself to stay calm and not shout in their faces but I do calmly explain why I'm in the position I am and that had they waited we would both still be on our merry ways.
In the second instance, when that happened to me there was no talking to the driver, he was insistant there was loads of room (which is why I kicked the back of his car :wahhey:as he drove off, the hundred yards to the shop!).

I think though, unless you are confident that you wont get pummelled by some knuckle dragging oaf, then saying something politely to the driver should be ok. Unfortunately it normally isn't ok. I've had sweet old ladies swear at me and tell me I should be in the gutter/on the pavement. I guess this is just what we have to put up with as cyclists.
 

kedab

Veteran
Location
nr cambridge
an argument in the middle of the road with a driver who lost his temper when i shook my head at him was the last time i really lost it. he'd stuck his nose out of a side road, i had to 'avoid' him while still coping with all the other traffic. he came tearing out of the junction and sat on my back wheel revving his engine and trying to push me into a bigger problem. i got off the bike at the next set of lights and went nuts at him...he didn't fully understand, he wasn't english. that was the last time i let rubbish driving get to me like that.
 
OP
r80

r80

Active Member
Thanks for the responses, I have to agree with you about starting up a row with someone who wont pay attention. But at the same time its saddening that the best thing to do when someone is driving dangerously and breaking a few other highway codes is to just put up with it.

r80
 

mangid

Guru
Location
Cambridge
In situations like that I tend to adopt a position so that they can't possibly get past, forcing them to slow down so we can each get past each other safely. Sometimes you get abuse, I'm getting better at shrugging it off. If you're lucky then they wait to let you past before pulling out. Remember to thank the many decent drivers that are out there, the ones that wait, the ones that overtake with a decent amount of clearance, makes the day feel a lot more pleasant.
 
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