We must use the primary position

Discussion in 'Commuting' started by magnatom, 10 Jul 2007.

  1. magnatom

    magnatom Guest


    I was commuting in this morning when I spotted this chap filtering up the left at some traffic lights. (bottom left of video) A daft move as the lights were about to change and cars do turn left. However, it was his cycling after this that worried me.

    He proceeded to hug the edge of the lane, wandering into a bus stop lane. At the end of this lane he moved back into the gutter. Luckily for him the red car behind decided to brake and didn't try to squeeze past. If it had the cyclist would have been squeezed between the car and the railings, very dangerous :blush: .

    Do you agree that in this situation that the primary position is the only position? Thats where I was.

    Of course I was going at a speed close to that of the surrounding traffic and so I didn't hold anyone up, however, this cyclist might have held people up (a few seconds) but I think he would have been a lot safer holding the primary position.

    I am sure he was oblivious to the danger he was in :rolleyes:
  2. Keith Oates

    Keith Oates Janner

    Penarth, Wales
    I think a bit more effort and in the primary position would have been the right thing for him to have done!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  3. Cab

    Cab New Member

    I see more gutter huggers than I do responsible cyclists. About five times as many I'd say.

    The treffic was rather stop-start, to be in primary position there wouldn't really delay anyone. Its the rational place to be.
  4. alecstilleyedye

    alecstilleyedye nothing in moderation Moderator

    rule of thumb:

    traffic faster than me - 3-4ft out

    traffic same speed as me - primary position

    traffic slower than me - overtake on right

    i also take a primary position if it is likely that cagers will try and squeeze through. i'll move back in when I (with better allround vision) thinks it's safe for them to overtake. you get a few beeps, but nothing a few raised fingers can't compensate for.

    never ever ride like you're apologising for getting in the way.
  5. OP

    magnatom Guest

    Yes I was surprised how slow he was going as it is downhill. I quite happily reach just under 30mph down there. I can almost sense the drivers behind sighing when they are behind me at the lights (damn I'll be stuck behind a cyclist), which soon changes to shock when I don't hold them up!! :rolleyes:

    (Of course this assumes that the following drivers were not intent in breaking the speed limit..... :blush: )
  6. OP

    magnatom Guest

    I probably stick to the same rules, in fact thats quite a nice summary. As you mention though there are times when these rules need to be broken, i.e. approaching certain junctions where you might be left hooked etc.

    In the situation in the video if I was that cyclist I would have broken the 3-4ft rule just because of the risk of being squeezed.
  7. Peyote

    Peyote New Member

    Agree completely, riding like that has prevented me getting squished on many occasions.
  8. Thing is, most cyclists haven't read about or been educated in how to ride in traffic, which is why you so often see positioning that appears dangerous. Thankfully, most motorists are alert enough to compensate, but it doesn't do much for their opinion of cyclists!
  9. OP

    magnatom Guest


    Absolutely! I often refer to it as traffic herding!

    In fact there are times where it pays to look incompetent as well. I have used a well timed wobble to discourage stupid maneuvers. Gives them a bit of a fright and they often back off.
  10. domtyler

    domtyler Über Member

    He was okay to begin with, I often filter up the left if there's more room, I would have moved over to the right before the last car though and then overtaken and assumed primary all the way through the junction at the least.

    I often feel that people like this guy may have an altogether different experience of urban cycling than me though. Modesty aside, I can accelerate faster than almost any car, although 50cc scooters still leave me for dead, and can hold more than 30 mph on the flat for significant lengths of time and 25-27 all day. This gives me all the confidence I need to ride with the traffic, if I lost this ability I know I would feel less comfortable holding primary at 18 mph or less. Sometimes its good to think how things may feel from a different perspective.
  11. Can't say I like this phrase.

    It's confrontational, aggressive.

    There are cr*p drivers, some with p*ss-poor judgement, some with no imagination, a few who are actively hostile and intend to knock you off.

    And there are good drivers, courteous, sensible, give you room, pass when safe and hang back when it's not.

    Using 'cagers' implies a state of mind that all are the enemy.
  12. Cab

    Cab New Member

    I think its a term that suits some of them very well, but, as you say, not all.
  13. OP

    magnatom Guest

    I don't quite go as fast as you domtyler but I do try and keep pace with traffic when I can. However, even if I was traveling at this chaps pace I would like to think I would be assertive enough (where necessary) to take the primary position.

    I can certainly understand that this chap has a different perspective to me, however, that's no excuse for placing yourself in mortal danger. It wouldn't have taken much for that situation to become a lot nastier!
  14. Pista Weasel

    Pista Weasel New Member

    If you can ride at 25-27mph all day, you should be racing at Cat 1.
  15. Tetedelacourse

    Tetedelacourse New Member

    I agree with what Dom says but from the viewpoint of an 18ish speed point of view.

    Sorry I cannot view this clip (not allowed at work) so wont comment on that specifically.

    My experience of safe commuting is definitely about asserting my position and showing an awareness of everything around me. However, I don't translate that as a need to take primary when moving at the same speed as traffic, and I certainly don't see the need to match my speed with traffic in order to be safe. I filter through on the left if there is space (4 feet is enough for me) and I'm not approaching obstacles.

    Does everyone seriously overtake on the right every time? What if there's two lanes of traffic? Surely that's more dangerous than filtering?

    Obviously you should do what feels safe to you and heaven forbid that anything happens to any of us, but for me the emphasis should be on awareness and confident riding rather than prescriptive positioning based on your speed and the speed of traffic.
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