City Cycling skills.

jonny jeez

Legendary Member
Apology's for the long thread, but i think this is important.



I’ve learnt a massive amount about safer, more efficient city cycling from these pages , It’s a great forum and very, very active so there’s always plenty of help and knowledge (and debate) on tap.

However it has taken me a year to learn what I have so far and a lot of that could be summarised (or peculated) into a succinct guide …a bit like an abridged cycle craft for beginners. I also learn new stuff every day (as i have this week)

With this in mind, I thought it would be a good idea to try and start a TOP 20 CITY CYCLING TIPS section. I’m talking about tips for city commuting in particular (hence not posting this in Beginners and Riding section), this is advice specifically for those COMMUTING on a bike.

I’m not trying to re-write cycle-craft here, rather I envisage a collaboration of ideas on topics and associated advice, succinctly put into short sections that are easy to read and clear to understand.

We don’t seem to have a specific Tips section for city riding, at least not one I have found.

If you are interested, then perhaps you could send me a PM with suggested topic and associated advice (no more than a paragraph or two please).

Once I have received all entrants I can format these and ping them across to admin for them to have the final choice on whose advice “gets in” and whose doesn’t …it is their site after all.

For starters I have thought about the following topics

1. Positions - (Primary, Secondary) What do they mean and when should you consider using them.

2. Traffic Lights – and the A.S.L (or A.S.Z) How to use these safely.

3. Right Turns – How to achieve a safe and efficient right turn in busy traffic.

4. Left Turns – How to “Stay Alive” at junctions and in moving traffic.

5. Roundabouts – How best to “control” a busy roundabout.

6. The hidden perils of the Cycle Lane – Why it is sometimes best to use your own judgement on road position (rather than that of the D.O.T).

7. The art of traffic negotiation – How to communicate and interact with other road users to make your journey safer.

8. Traffic Jamming (threading or weaving)- Can I do this?...how…when.

9. Attitude – The different approaches and attitudes required to ride in the city.

10 Accidents (or collisions)- How best to protect yourself physically during (and .legally after) a collision.

11. Rain- specific skill for riding in the wet.

12. Kit – Some basic suggestions for useful (or essential) city cycle kit.

13. Distance - How far is a long ride and how do you best prepare (mentally and physically).

14. Confrontation – How best to avoid confrontation and enjoy your ride.

15. Which type of bike for the city – The pro’s and con’s of the many varied flavours of bike. (perhaps Andyfromotley can provide a section from his excellent sticky in the beginners and riding section)

There are plenty more “slots” for sections available (and I’m not prescriptive about the ones I have suggested) If I don’t get any offers I shall attempt to write them up myself…but I can't imagine I would do anywhere as well as the rest of you lot, so please…contribute, I think new riders would find this really helpful

You never know, we could actually help to keep someone safe

Please feel free to offer content on as many sections as you wish (perhaps admin will credit the author of each section…so your words will be forever immortalised on the cc pages!!).

PS, WARNING…I’ve read cycle craft, so no cut and paste please!!!

thanks

Jonny
 

HJ

Cycling in Scotland
Location
Auld Reekie
Personally I would refer them to my thoughts on cycle safely, but then those are just my thoughts on the subject not everyone might agree. Feel free to cut and paste anything you think useful.
 

Origamist

Legendary Member
Location
Sandbach
I'd bore people stupid if I tackled all 15 points, so I'll limit myself to number 8 on your list, "Traffic Jamming":

Actively look for signs of danger when filtering - do not passively observe traffic dynamics - be ready to act.

Have an escape route in mind, but remember it can disappear. What then?

Moving traffic presents greater problems than stationary traffic. I prefer to filter if the traffic is stationary or crawling along.

Look ahead and see what is causing the queue - traffic lights, zebra crossing, congestion, accident etc and then plan ahead. Keep an eye out for when traffic starts to move as it is advisable to rejoin the lane.

Watch out for passenger and driver doors - either create a 4ft + buffer (measured from the car mirrors to your left elbow/shoulder) or cycle in the door zone v slowly and watch out for signs of an imminent dooring (check mirrors, windows, engine sounds, lights - look for the activity of occupants), or simply don't filter.

Look out for pedestrians - they don't just "come from nowhere". Consider using your bell/voice.

If it's dull and/or wet, I often use my front light to make me more conspicuous to drivers. Watch out for road markings, drains/man-hole covers, smooth tar etc when filtering in the wet.

Obey road markings and signs prohibiting overtaking; if you don’t, be prepared for the consequences if it goes tits up.

Don't force other traffic to brake or swerve, but be prepared to brake or swerve suddenly.

Show courtesy to other road users when filtering.

Cycle lanes may or may not help you to filter depending on the direction in which you are travelling. Remember you do not have to use them and you do not have to use the ASL reservoir (although strictly speaking if you want to use the reservoir you should use the filter lane). Do not assume because you are using a designated lane that you can be less vigilant.

Lane-splitting - be very wary if traffic starts to move as you then have threats from both sides. Slot back into the moving traffic lane before vehicles pick up speed.

Look back before you filter (particularly for motorcyclists and other cyclists filtering), and a life saver just before, and again before you rejoin the lane. Eye contact and negotiation is often effective.

Don't filter at junctions and def not to the left of left turning traffic. If you do filter near junctions, watch out for gaps that turning vehicles will take advantage of (vehicles that are not indicating will still turn into side roads and drivers will force their way out from minor roads, so watch out...). If it's dark, look out for car headlights - you can often seen them before the emerging vehicle.

U-turning and lane changing vehicles - look out for indicators, wheel angles etc

Slot in before the front if possible, particularly at RaBs. Drivers at the head of a queue are going to be focussed on finding a gap and pulling away; they're less likely to be looking for cyclists in their mirrors

Generally, use the opposing lane when overtaking. If there is oncoming traffic either don't filter and wait in line or filter closer to the same direction traffic in your lane (but more circumspectly), or consider undertaking.

High-sided vehicles - be extra careful if you're going to filter beyond them as not only can you not see ahead of them, but they might not see you and can kill you at crawling pace...Better to stay behind them in a position that they can see you in their mirrors - do not go on their left.

Are you near a school when it's arrival/going home time - don't filter!

Finally, you don't have to filter if you're not comfortable with it. I will wait in the queue if there's little benefit to making a small amount of progress
 

dondare

Über Member
Location
London
Positioning: Personally I do not find "Primary" and "Secondary" useful terms.

Traffic Lights. Red means stop behind the stop line. Do this unless you've a really good reason for not stopping.
Red+Amber is the same as red.
Green means you can go if it's safe to do so. Sometimes it won't be.
Amber is the same as red but everyone else treats it as green and will expect you to do the same.

AZs are confusing. The HC tells you how to use them correctly, but in this case correctly is not always safely. Don't get cross with motorists who ignore them.

Right turns. Signal your intention, act decisively and remember that cycling is a lot safer than it sometimes seems. Very few cyclists get killed turning right.

Left turns. Expect the left hook. Never get between a lorry and a pedestrian barrier.

Cycle lanes. These can be death-traps. It's best to ignore green paint.

Be considerate and polite to all other road users. There's a big feel-good factor here, even if it costs you a minute or so. Some people are peanuts. Getting cross with them won't help anything. You'll be cross and they'll still be peanuts.

Pedestrians always have priority.

Weaving. When you're good enough. You can still make good time without all that lane-changing. When filtering watch out for pedestrians crossing, traffic cutting across, other cyclists weaving, doors opening &c. &c.

Be wary of gaps. If theres a gap in the traffic, there's a reason for it.

Accidents. Don't cause these and don't be part of someone elses.

Distance. Whatever you feel like doing.

Kit. Full puncture outfit and pump unless you're SMP shod.
Multitool with pliers or grips.
Allen keys and small spanner.
For longer rides WD40 and Gaffer tape will usually get you home.
 

Brains

Legendary Member
Location
Greenwich
I think a section required on showers, lockers, suits, shirts, drying stuff and all things associated with superman type change from Lycra Lad to City Gent.
 

Moodyman

Guru
Jonny - great idea.

But, this internet awareness game might be better:

http://www.crucial-crew.org/safe-cycling/
 

Cubist

Still wavin'
Location
Ovver 'thill
Does it need a section on taking responsibility for your own safety? We all acknowledge that many times other road users will be in the wrong, so we have to anticipate that they WILL do something stupid. If we anticipate in this way then they will be wrong, but we will still be alive/uninjured.

Railing against the fact that they shouldn't have been doing what they did won't help. We must react to them being wrong to stay alive.


So we might be dead right, but we're dead, right?
 

dondare

Über Member
Location
London
Cubist said:
Does it need a section on taking responsibility for your own safety? We all acknowledge that many times other road users will be in the wrong, so we have to anticipate that they WILL do something stupid. If we anticipate in this way then they will be wrong, but we will still be alive/uninjured.

Railing against the fact that they shouldn't have been doing what they did won't help. We must react to them being wrong to stay alive.


So we might be dead right, but we're dead, right?
As I said, don't be part of someone else's accident. But be careful how you use the word "responsibility".
Some people will tell you that cyclists are themselves "responsible" for becoming accident victims because "cycling is dangerous" or "cyclists don't take a test" &c. even if the accident has obviously been caused by the motorist's error.
The thread concerning the Look East report is a case in point. According to a great many people it's always the cyclist's fault "because they don't pay road tax".
Don't reinforce this attitude by suggesting that it's the cyclist's own responsibility to avoid being killed or injured rather than the motorist's responsibility to take care not to kill or injure cyclists.
 
OP
jonny jeez

jonny jeez

Legendary Member
User3143 said:
What a great idea, not sure about writing a whole guide but various gems could be added - I'll start:

6. Cycle lanes, don't always assume that a cycle lane is wide enough......
in, thanks ....sorry I cant get your quote to work ...must have deleted a bracket or something:blush:

adds21 said:
I'd add "painted lines" to the avoid list too.
in, good point

Origamist said:
I'd bore people stupid if I tackled all 15 points, so I'll limit myself to number 8 on your list, "Traffic Jamming":

Actively ........
all in (thanks Origamist, major input there:biggrin:

dondare said:
AZs are confusing. ....
.
all in, I especially like the comment on a$$holes always being a$$holes!!

HLaB said:
I don't know if its been said, but surely the number one rule is dont undertake HGV's.
very true...in (with its own special section "How to stay alive at Junctions") we will need toa dapt this for general undertaking

Cubist said:
Does it need a section on taking responsibility for your own safety? We all acknowledge that many times other road users will be in the wrong, so we have to anticipate that they WILL do something stupid. If we anticipate in this way then they will be wrong, but we will still be alive/uninjured.

Railing against the fact that they shouldn't have been doing what they did won't help. We must react to them being wrong to stay alive.


So we might be dead right, but we're dead, right?
it has five spare sections, so it can have whatever we think is best...I've added sections on "Pavements, speed, the correct attire, filming your ride and tyres"...but I was getting a little desperate to find 20 so any of these could easily be dropped

martint235 said:
I just tried this. I took the turning right from a major to minor road. I did a lifesaver, did another one, signalled right, did another lifesaver, pulled right to the centre of the road, and got run over by a car from behind on the Zebra crossing!!! :rolleyes:
Crikey, well I guess even the most cautious and skilled riders can still be taken off by utter muppets, at least we can give "new" riders a chance.
 
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