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The essential guide for new commuters

Discussion in 'Commuting' started by jonny jeez, 3 Jun 2010.

  1. crdf

    crdf Active Member

    south croydon
    I realise now why the drivers were so close to me. I wasn't in primary. Well they can hate me as much as they want, but they can have the other two lanes!
  2. It's tricky to answer without knowing the circumstances, perhaps drop this question into the "commuting" section and try to include a google map link or street view screenshot.

    Taking primary on a three lane road sounds risky to me, the fact that its three lanes suggests that it's a fast road, occupying a whole lane of a fast road doesn't sound like a good idea. Also, primary (in my opinion) is only really used to control following traffic whilst you negotiate a hazard, like a pinch point or dodgy bend, cruising along in primary for a long period of time will cause conflict with other drivers,

    What is is it that is making you uncomfortable, is it close passes, if so perhaps a position just in from primary, that gives you some escape space on the left whilst not taking up the entire lane?

    Like I say, perhaps drop this question into commuting.

  3. crdf

    crdf Active Member

    south croydon
    Yes it is fast road and I find it very hazardous, at least for the section where I'm going uphill. I don't cruse on it for a long time - it's a short climb to the top and downhill is not a problem). Also it has not caused any conflict so far as the other two lanes are often empty, and the drivers have plenty of space to overtake me. No one is honking me or shouting at me. When I take primary they seem to react in a more sensible manner.
    Going downhill is not a problem, except with the very rare fast overtake and sudden stop on the red light.

    What makes me uncomfortable is the over speed an inch or two away overtaking when there is two more empty lanes.

    I've tried different scenarios in a period over 3 weeks, and I will keep to the primary. It is actually much less dangerous then the other two options and I do consider it as negotiating a hazard. I've tried the following and came to the conclusion that 99% of the cars on this section of the road overtake me in the same manner.

    1. Secondary position: cars don't bother leaving space when overtaking even if the other two lanes are empty (which is the majority of the time I've been on this road);
    2. Between both positions: the result is the same. They speed up so I have no time to move away. In fact this makes it more dangerous as I am taking more space and if there are tree cars passing (one in each lane, which happens rarely but it does) the car doesn't even have the option to leave me space.
    3. Primary position: prevents the cars from speeding and eventually they overtake me with enough space (fully moving in the second lane).

    To be noted: I don't ride in this manner on any other road and I was very hesitant to take primary on this road.

    This is where I move from the left lane (on Old Town) to the one that joins the flyover (from Rectory Grove) : https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.3731142,-0.1069335,138m/data=!3m1!1e3
    Last edited: 28 Sep 2014
  4. Ah, I know that section of road.

    It sounds as if you have already worked out the best solution, trying different approaches and the like. I would say that the fact that you are aware of the threat of close passes here and are doing active things to increase your safety makes you a much more aware and competent rider than many.

    The last time I rode this I was traveling south to Croydon and the approach road from reeves corner was a little long and worrying.
    shouldbeinbed and crdf like this.
  5. Ganymede

    Ganymede Veteran

    Rural Kent
    @jonny jeez, I've just passed on your guide to a young friend who is cycling in London, mostly on Boris bikes. She wants to cycle more when she gets her own proper bike but was telling me how nervous the traffic makes her as she has never learned to drive - this is more and more typical now of twenty-somethings as it is not affordable. She is really thrilled to have been sent the info and I feel all grandmotherly now! Thank you so much, I know it will keep her safer. xx
    jonny jeez and crazyjoe101 like this.
  6. Thank you, it's a real pleasure to know that the guide helps people, makes all the work worthwhile.

    Ganymede likes this.
  7. pjperez

    pjperez Regular

    Reading, UK
    Just finished reading the document. It's an excellent resource, thank you!
    jonny jeez likes this.
  8. solan

    solan Regular

    Can I say a massive thank you for this! I admit that I'm a little scared to go on city roads due to some road users.
    But this has given me a positive guide on how to follow rules.
    Ganymede and jonny jeez like this.
  9. pleasure. Makes it all worthwhile to hear that it has helped.

    solan likes this.
  10. JackTheStripper

    JackTheStripper New Member

    Absolutely brilliant guide, have shared it at work, thanks!
    jonny jeez and Ganymede like this.
  11. Cheers
  12. Tfletcher62268

    Tfletcher62268 Regular

    I've read part of this already, it's a great guide! Time we'll spend producing this, gives a wealth of info! Thanks
    jonny jeez likes this.
  13. cheers
  14. mjr

    mjr Wanting to Keep My EU Citizenship

    Finally, I've read the thread and I'd like to offer a few suggestions that I don't think have been made yet. Starting with what I think are three less controversial ones:

    Which Bike? - Would you add city bikes to the list, please? They're increasingly popular (Pendletons, some Bobbins, Pashleys, probably many more) and are of course ideal for a certain type of commuting, riding tall, planted on the road, with luggage racks, skirt/coat guards, mudguards, chain guards and often low-maintenance gears and brakes. It would also be brilliant if you could at least mention that tricycles, recumbents, handcycles and others are available if someone can't balance/ride a typical upright bike.

    Red Lights - we only have to stop at the round ones. The red bike/man ones (seen at Toucans, Puffins and a few others) basically mean give-way rather than stop and some highway authorities assume that bikes will jump them if the carriageway is clear, so set the signal timings so that if you wait for all of them to show green bikes, then it will make for an annoyingly slow walking-speed journey through them.

    Secondary position - I'm not sure the comment "around the same position as painted cycle lanes" is wise. It might be if cycle lanes were painted consistently, but I'm sure we've all seen lanes that are dangerously narrow. Similarly, some highway authorities paint very narrow yellow lines, so "just out past the yellow (or red lines)" isn't clear either - and I just noticed that closing bracket's in the wrong place anyway.

    I'd describe it as where the left of your leftmost wheel would be when driving a car reasonably close to the left, but I guess that doesn't explain it well to non-motorists. Can anyone describe it well, maybe in terms of distance from the left edge of the lane?
  15. Yep, happy to add city bikes. But want to check your comment on red light as I am not sure that's right?

    On the position issue, well the position of secondary itself is subjective, so I dint think we need to be too specific about widths of lines and lanes...generally secondary is near the kerb, primary is more near the middle of the lane.

    Now all I need to do is find the original file...hmmm, its been a while.