Nice when riding in primary REALLY works

@vickster and I found ourselves on the A243 on Saturday morning. Big oops!. It's dual carriage way, national speed limit and most of the drivers have probably just left the motorway. But the traffic was very quiet, and visibility was good. After a couple of close passes when the other lane was free, I decided to move into primary. It worked as it should, and drivers changed lanes and gave us plenty of clearance. As vickster was still in secondary, we ended up riding 2 abreast. A van came up behind us and tooted and flashed his lights. As a couple of cars were passing in the outside lane, he was held up for a moment behind us. I did a sweeping gesture with my hand, indicating he should use the other lane. I braced myself for shouted abuse, a close pass, pulling in front of us and braking or whatever. No, nothing of the sort. He changed lanes, passed us quietly and only moved left with a hundred metres or more space behind him.

I'd like to think after thinking we were holding him up, he worked out why we were riding that way, and saw the sense in it.

Another day when I nearly, but not quite, got @vickster killed :smile:
 

vickster

Legendary Member
He was well behaved. The other van driver who virtually touched my elbow less so!
 
Newbie here, could you explain what primary and secondary mean in this instance (sorry if i am I being really thick :biggrin:)
Riding distance from the kerb.

Secondary is quite close to the kerb, but not quite in the gutter.

Primary is further out, but not quite in the middle of the lane.
 
Primary is right near the centre of the lane, otherwise known as taking the lane. Secondary is more to the left, about where the left tyre of a car would be.

Newbies often feel they are safer in or near the gutter, or feel that is where they should be. But you should never ride there, it's usually full of rubbish, you are less visible there, if there is a pothole, you have no where to go. Also it puts you in the door zone of parked cars which is very dangerous.

You can use your road position to control vehicles behind you. If there is room to pass you safely in your lane, keep to secondary. If the lane is too narrow for that, move right into primary. On normal suburban roads I will usually be in secondary, but if the road narrow - for a traffic island - I will counter intuitively move closer to the middle. This stops cars passing me in the narrowest section, and then I move left again once the road widens. I'll even give a friendly wave to the passing car as if not over taking me at the pinch point was his idea.

Anyway, it's good to learn about these things if you are a newbie. Good road position makes cycling a lot safer - though it can feel scary.

Have a look for the book Cyclecraft. And this looks ok too https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/knowledge/skills/article/izn20130830-Effective-traffic-riding-part-1-0


Edit: Every body above this seems to have covered this pretty well :smile:
 

Lonestar

Veteran
Newbie here, could you explain what primary and secondary mean in this instance (sorry if i am I being really thick :biggrin:)
You aren't,lots of cyclists don't know.
 

vickster

Legendary Member
We've done it 3 or 4 times before and always say never again!
Next time we go right at leatherhead common and figure from there or go via Cobham
 

Fubar

Guru
Ok @jefmcg (and anyone else who cares to comment) here's a question for you, a situation I got in the other day commuting home - I am willing to accept I may be in the wrong...

at the very start of my commute home there is a left turn onto 2 lanes (NOT a dual carriageway) outside the hospital which, after a set of lights goes down to one lane - it gets very busy in the evening so the left lane is normally queueing. If that is the case I move out into the outside lane and take a strong primary up to the lights - normally cars in this lane are aiming to push in after the lights as there is nowhere else for them to go, and I am turning right onto a cycle path after the second set of lights.

On Friday I did this however a driver who was obviously unhappy with me being there close passed between me and a car coming the other way, causing the other car to swerve and almost taking me out, gesticulating at me as he went. He then had to slam his brakes on for the lights, and as I pulled alongside he leaned out and swore at me. Hmmm, I didn't initially react as there was nowhere for me to go, though I got fed up with him ranting at me so eventually gave him the finger when I knew I was safe - which made me feel a bit better.

THIS is the junction, I reckon he overtook me between the first and second island, but - I am in the wrong being in the outside lane, even though I am faster than slow moving traffic? TBH I've considered just cycling up the pavement as the road is a bit of a nightmare.
 

Simontm

Veteran
We've done it 3 or 4 times before and always say never again!
Next time we go right at leatherhead common and figure from there or go via Cobham
If you're coming from Chessington there's a bike path on your left just before the junction that goes under the A243. When you come up the other side, straight to the end of the road, second exit on the roundabout, over the next two and it gets you to the Ashtead/Epsom roundabout where you turn right for Box Hill.
 

vickster

Legendary Member
If you're coming from Chessington there's a bike path on your left just before the junction that goes under the A243. When you come up the other side, straight to the end of the road, second exit on the roundabout, over the next two and it gets you to the Ashtead/Epsom roundabout where you turn right for Box Hill.
We were coming from oxshott, esher to leatherhead road
 

Cuchilo

Prize winning member X2
Location
London
Most TT's that i have done are on duel carriage ways and i find the drivers very well behaved towards the riders . I guess the mindset of a driver changes when they get on a faster road ? That or most of the nobbers stay off duel carriage ways .
Anyway they are getting boring now so ive started to wander onto the Motorways ^_^ https://www.strava.com/activities/396085889
 
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