How to handle oncoming cars?

taxing

Well-Known Member
I've had this problem come up twice in the last few days. I've been riding down a residential street with one lane, where if another car was coming towards you you would pull in between the parked cars while they passed. In both cases I've already been cycling down it when a car has started coming up the other end, and I haven't had a passing place big enough to pull into. On one occasion the other car had one on his side of the road but chose not to pull in, and on the other there was nothing on either side of the road. So what do you do when a car is bearing down on you and you have nowhere to go? On both occasions there was just barely enough space for me to fit in between the parked cars and the oncoming car and that's what I did, but I don't like doing it, I think it's dangerous. Any advice?

I had a I-want-my-mummy moment earlier in the week too where I was going down a busy street with two lanes (one for each direction). My lane is clear so I'm tootling along in secondary. The other lane is a massive jam of cars. Suddenly one of these cars indicates and pulls out, so she's coming straight towards me. I have no idea what she's doing, overtaking a traffic jam...? There's nowhere for me to go until I reach the next side street, which we get to at about the same time. I start to turn down it to get out of her way, then she flicks her indicator on again and starts turning down it, sees me, and we both brake. Obvious in retrospect that she had decided to jump the jam to get to the street that she wanted, but at the time I had no bloody clue where she was going. The most annoying thing was instead of a sorry I get a hand wave, the kind that you'd get as a thanks, then she drove off down her street. Having not seen me until I had started turning down the street I assume she thought I had wanted to turn down there, then braked when I saw her coming to let her through. Absolutely oblivious to the fact that I thought I was about to be mown down, and if I hadn't have started turning to avoid her I would have gone right into the side of her car.
 

slugonabike

New Member
Location
Bournemouth
I'm a newbie and stll learning, so take whatever I say with a large pinch of salt! However, I have wondered whether I am better off in primary in the 2nd type of scenario, that might help control oncoming traffic more?

No suggestions as to your first scenario, would be interested to hear the replies.
 

PBancroft

Senior Member
Location
Winchester
In the second scenario I'd like to say I'd have been in Primary. Truth is I probably would have been just as taken aback by the dodgy manoeuvre and left floundering just like you.

With the first scenario that's just as much a problem for motorists as cyclists. There are a lot of people on the road who seem to take the view of I'm Bigger / Faster / Going Somewhere More Important Than You and won't give way. If this kind of situation happens when I'm on my bike I react the same way as when I'm in my car - I move out of the way veeeeeeery sloooooowly. But then I'm a knob.

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mcshroom

Bionic Subsonic
Probably not the safest approach but if I have someone pull out when the cars are on their side I see that as trying to bully me so I take primary and stare them down.
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Hasn't failed so far but I'm not sure how wise it really is.
 

XmisterIS

Purveyor of fine nonsense
Several years ago I had an oaf in a Range Rover bearing down on me when I had priority ( me already cycling along when he aggressively pulled out onto my side of the road and accelerated towards me) ... so I got into primary and just stopped and stared at him. He shouted "get out of the fakking way", so I said, "make me". Of course, he didn't. There were plenty of witnesses had he decided to use his car as a weapon. Once he'd stopped shouting I pulled into secondary, he drove past and I grinned and loudly told him he was a fat, ugly, impotent b*stard who aggresively drove an executive 4x4 because he had a tiny dick which didn't work.
tongue.gif
 

Gandalf

Veteran
Location
UK
Several years ago I had an oaf in a Range Rover bearing down on me when I had priority ( me already cycling along when he aggressively pulled out onto my side of the road and accelerated towards me) ... so I got into primary and just stopped and stared at him. He shouted "get out of the fakking way", so I said, "make me". Of course, he didn't. There were plenty of witnesses had he decided to use his car as a weapon. Once he'd stopped shouting I pulled into secondary, he drove past and I grinned and loudly told him he was a fat, ugly, impotent b*stard who aggresively drove an executive 4x4 because he had a tiny dick which didn't work.
tongue.gif

Quality insult but given that he was driving a 4x4, I feel I have to deduct points for stating the obvious :biggrin:
 
OP
OP
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taxing

Well-Known Member
In the second scenario I'd like to say I'd have been in Primary. Truth is I probably would have been just as taken aback by the dodgy manoeuvre and left floundering just like you.

Do you mean you would already have been in primary, or you would have got into primary when the car pulled into my lane? I wouldn't ride down the whole street in primary because there's not normally any need, there are no pinch points or anything and I've never had any problems before, the traffic is slow moving, and there are lots of pedestrians and buses. I've never had a dodgy overtake down there. If you mean you would have got into primary, yeah, I think that makes sense because she might have seen me. But that takes a bit of bravery, it feels like moving into the path of danger. So I'm not sure whether I'd be able to do it if it ever happened to me again, though I think it's a good idea in theory.
 
The first situation depends upon the space but I like to adopt a scenario and it usually works out that either them or I giveway; I've never had a head-on, touch wood.

In the second situation ideally I'd adopt a primary and make eye contact, I don't like to deviate it sends out a more confusing signal to the driver, although if I have time I'll present them with side view of my bike (turning right slightly) or stand up and make my self look bigger. You'll know now that drivers pulling out like that are either going to do what she done or have got frustrated with the queue and decided to u-turn and will react appropriately in future.
 

Jezston

Über Member
Location
London
I think the answer to both of those situations is: airzound.
 

PBancroft

Senior Member
Location
Winchester
Do you mean you would already have been in primary, or you would have got into primary when the car pulled into my lane? I wouldn't ride down the whole street in primary because there's not normally any need, there are no pinch points or anything and I've never had any problems before, the traffic is slow moving, and there are lots of pedestrians and buses. I've never had a dodgy overtake down there. If you mean you would have got into primary, yeah, I think that makes sense because she might have seen me. But that takes a bit of bravery, it feels like moving into the path of danger. So I'm not sure whether I'd be able to do it if it ever happened to me again, though I think it's a good idea in theory.

I mean that I would like to say I'd have been in primary the whole way. If the parked cars on one side of the road make it your priority but there is a risk of cars coming the other way despite the fact that there's not enough space for both of you then there's your pinch point, its just that the cars are coming from the other way.

As I noted before, I probably wouldn't have been doing that in reality though if I'm honest. I'm quite bad at keeping to primary.
 

GrasB

Veteran
Location
Nr Cambridge
I've had this problem come up twice in the last few days. I've been riding down a residential street with one lane, where if another car was coming towards you you would pull in between the parked cars while they passed. In both cases I've already been cycling down it when a car has started coming up the other end, and I haven't had a passing place big enough to pull into. On one occasion the other car had one on his side of the road but chose not to pull in, and on the other there was nothing on either side of the road. So what do you do when a car is bearing down on you and you have nowhere to go? On both occasions there was just barely enough space for me to fit in between the parked cars and the oncoming car and that's what I did, but I don't like doing it, I think it's dangerous. Any advice?
Assuming the car technically has priority if it's wide enough to semi-comfortably pass I'll pull to the kerb side of the road & stop letting them pass, if I feel it's narrow for the car to pass at any kind of speed I'll simply stop still in primary & then slowly scoot passed which ever side has more space.

If I have priority I'll not go if a vehicle has already gone beyond the end of the parked cars. If I'm entering with priority I'd take primary (middle of the lane) & if the driver looks like they're going to ignore priority then the front light goes on (I have a button on the hood which lets me control the lights). If the motorist then ignores my presence I'll then act as above.

I had a I-want-my-mummy moment earlier in the week too where I was going down a busy street with two lanes (one for each direction). My lane is clear so I'm tootling along in secondary. The other lane is a massive jam of cars. Suddenly one of these cars indicates and pulls out, so she's coming straight towards me. I have no idea what she's doing, overtaking a traffic jam...? There's nowhere for me to go until I reach the next side street, which we get to at about the same time. I start to turn down it to get out of her way, then she flicks her indicator on again and starts turning down it, sees me, and we both brake. Obvious in retrospect that she had decided to jump the jam to get to the street that she wanted, but at the time I had no bloody clue where she was going. The most annoying thing was instead of a sorry I get a hand wave, the kind that you'd get as a thanks, then she drove off down her street. Having not seen me until I had started turning down the street I assume she thought I had wanted to turn down there, then braked when I saw her coming to let her through. Absolutely oblivious to the fact that I thought I was about to be mown down, and if I hadn't have started turning to avoid her I would have gone right into the side of her car.
I've slowed down early & acted as above really. Thing is I'm acting with years of experience & confidence so my road presence is naturally quite high, but for someone who simply doesn't have the experience to do it with confidence it's harder to pull off as their road presence won't be as forceful.
 

skudupnorth

Cycling Skoda lover
I take the position as if i were driving my car and came across a dickweed on the wrong side of the road.....i do not move,they do ! I had another pencildick behind me at the lights the other evening reving his "extension" whilst waiting for the lights to change,again this sort of action does not faze me and he had to wait whilst i pottered around the potholes....they will learn that we have equal rights on the road !
 
OP
OP
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taxing

Well-Known Member
Assuming the car technically has priority if it's wide enough to semi-comfortably pass I'll pull to the kerb side of the road & stop letting them pass, if I feel it's narrow for the car to pass at any kind of speed I'll simply stop still in primary & then slowly scoot passed which ever side has more space.

If I have priority I'll not go if a vehicle has already gone beyond the end of the parked cars. If I'm entering with priority I'd take primary (middle of the lane) & if the driver looks like they're going to ignore priority then the front light goes on (I have a button on the hood which lets me control the lights). If the motorist then ignores my presence I'll then act as above.


I've slowed down early & acted as above really. Thing is I'm acting with years of experience & confidence so my road presence is naturally quite high, but for someone who simply doesn't have the experience to do it with confidence it's harder to pull off as their road presence won't be as forceful.

In the situation I was describing neither has priority automatically as there are no signs, so I have priority as I'm already going down the street whereas they could have waited at the end but didn't, so that's where the confusion came in.

Good point about the road presence. I'm a natural conflict avoider as well, making it even worse.
 

Arch

Married to Night Train
Location
Salford, UK
In the situation I was describing neither has priority automatically as there are no signs, so I have priority as I'm already going down the street whereas they could have waited at the end but didn't, so that's where the confusion came in.

As I understand it, the vehicle on the side with the obstruction (Eg a parked car) is the one that should wait - IE the vehicle with the unhindered road has priority - there don't have to be any specific signs.

I'd play it by ear - assert my priority if I had it, but give way if it just seemed like less hassle. I often ride up a street with parked cars on both sides, so neither vehicle has priority - although it slopes very slightly, so the vehicle coming down should give way to the vehicle coming up - but it's so slight I doubt most drviers would notice the gradient. Often there won't be room for a car to pull in anywhere, but there will be room for me to do so - in that case, it's daft to force the issue.

As for the other idiot - I don't know what you can do - there are just some idiots out there. Console yourself with the fact that one day they'll do it and meet an oncoming bus which refuses to give way and they'll have to back up...
 
I'd play it by ear - assert my priority if I had it, but give way if it just seemed like less hassle. I often ride up a street with parked cars on both sides, so neither vehicle has priority - although it slopes very slightly, so the vehicle coming down should give way to the vehicle coming up - but it's so slight I doubt most drviers would notice the gradient. Often there won't be room for a car to pull in anywhere, but there will be room for me to do so - in that case, it's daft to force the issue.

That's the way I'd play it too and occasionally you get a pleasant surprise when a driver goes out of their way to hold back :smile:
 
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