The primary and secondary position

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by Bigtallfatbloke, 13 Jul 2007.

  1. Bigtallfatbloke

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    ...what are they? Sounds like something out of the Karma Sutra!

    I am probably doing them but jus tdont know what they are....can anybody explain so that i know what others are talking about on the forum?
    Ta. :?: :?:
  2. chris42

    chris42 New Member

    Deal, Kent
  3. Cab

    Cab New Member

    Primary position is out in the lane. Where exactly it is depends on the road, of course. Its appropriate where you're going at a pace that isn't vastly slower than the rest of the traffic, i.e. on city roads thats most of the time! It means you're closer to the centre of the lane than to the side. Some people ride right in the middle, more ride a little left of centre. Its the place thats most visible and which requires most effort from the motorist in getting past you. It is important if you ARE in primary to avoid holding others up needlessly. Someone been stuck behind you for a while? Find a place where its safe to move over and let them go, its only polite. Generally, experienced cyclists find this by far the safest place to be on most busy roads.

    Secondary position is no closer than eighteen inches from the kerb. Any closer than that and very often you're putting yourself at risk. Its appropriate where the traffic is much faster, and on many roads where there is poor visibility. You should never be so close to the kerb that motorists don't have to overtake you, i.e. if they don't have to pull out at all you're far too close to the kerb. In some ways secondary puts you at greater risk, in that people will try to overtake more closely, you're not as visible, and you're often out of the line of site of vehicles coming in from side roads. But on faster roads that risk is counterbalanced by the fact that faster traffic might struggle to overtake safely if you're in primary (and may struggle to slow down enough to avoid hitting you).

    Hope this helps. Choice of where precisely in the lane to be should always depend on conditions and speed.
  4. domtyler

    domtyler Über Member

    I really hate it when you go into secondary position out of respect for the guy in the car behind and then he just revs past with inches to spare. The more that happens to me the less inclined I am to ever be considerate to others on the roads in London, it's just too them and us.
  5. Cab

    Cab New Member

    I agree, sometimes if you've held them up for a second they'll pass too closely on purpose. But I don't find that to be a common occurrence. You can to an extent minimise the risk of that by choosing passing places carefully, but ultimately if the other guy is an peanut theres nothing much you can do.
  6. OP

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    Thanks for clearing that up for me. I thought it had something to do with how you sit on th ebike :?: :?: :sad:

    I tend to ride about 3 feet off the curb in fasat traffic, on small lanes I am in the 'primary' postion, which I will also ride in as I approach roundabouts and junctions where I need to turn right....I hav eto say that I feel a high vis shirt is a must in the primary position... white van man is also totally farking blind! :rolleyes:
  7. punkypossum

    punkypossum Donut Devil

    If you get a copy of Cyclecraft, it will tell you all you ever wanted to know about various positions! :?:
  8. Lardyboy

    Lardyboy New Member

    One of the funniest instances of taking up the primary position happened to me back last year.

    There's a long set of road works with temporary lights on red. So I stop in the primary position behind line of cars.

    Car pulls up behind me. We wait for the lights to change, then off we go, I'm still in the primary position about two feet behind the car in front. We are travelling at 20 m.p.h. for about 100m.

    Now at this point in the middle of single lane road works, the driver behind thinks now is the time overtake me. I'm looking at him as he draws level with me, fair play he has given me plenty of room.

    Unfortunately, he hasn't given himself enough room and promptly starts knocking down the cones and is heading for a very deep and large hole dug by British Gas! :?:

    Laugh? I nearly fell off the bike! :?:
  9. OP

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    excellent!! :?:

    ...I enjoy it when a car trys to overtake when there are bollards in the centre of the road...I haven't yet had th epleasure of seeing one actually hit a bollard but that day will come soon I am sure...they judge it so fine and squeeze past with just cm's to spare thinking I am going to budge over...when I don't they have a problem....either brake hard or squeeze through....usually they decide to let their pride do their thinking for them and narrowly miss the bollards...and then we sit next to each other at th elights up ahead and it was all for nothing....but i have the biggest smile on my face. It's a worrying game to play though when I've got a lorry parked up my arse :?: :rolleyes: :sad:
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