What do people mean by "in primary"?

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by Robster, 20 Jun 2008.

  1. Robster

    Robster New Member

    What do people mean when they say they were "in primary" ?

    I've seen it a few times on here from people describing an incident, and not really sure what it means.
  2. domtyler

    domtyler Über Member

    Hi Robster, it means taking the lane and intentionally making it impossible for cars to squeeze by dangerously when there is not room for them to do it without making life dangerous and unpleasant for the cyclist. It is a key tool in staying safe, especially around town.
  3. Tynan

    Tynan Veteran

    what Dom said, plumb centre, makes it clear to following cars that you're not expecting to be passed

    also strong secondary, three feet fro the curb, makes cars overtake you (a bit) rather than just bowl pass like you;re not there which is the problem with what some call 'gutter hugging'

    experience tends to let you know which is appropriate and helpful on any given road and situation, riding faster gives you more options

    I'd most certainly take primary approaching and navigating any major junction that I thought in any way dangerous otherwise
  4. summerdays

    summerdays Cycling in the sun Moderator

    I'll get in first with the read Cyclecraft ... it explains this and many other things to keep yourself safe.
  5. LLB

    LLB Guest

    On blind bends or pinch point where you don't want knobs overtaking and forcing you into the verge, move to about a third to half of the lane width from the kerb (IE take possession of the lane you are in)
  6. danny121

    danny121 New Member

    "Primary" is a rather dangerous way of saying taking the lane. Dangerous because it incorrectly implies that it's the position you should be in most often.

    Essentially it means moving over to the right to ensure motorised traffic can't get past you, useful if turning right, at pinch points, at roundabouts (unless turning left), or on the rare occasion you're "keeping pace" with the traffic (very rare since cars etc generally go at 40+mph regardless of speed limits).

    Taking the lane at any other time though just shows a total lack of consideration for other road users - better to share the lane as often as possible, staying ~3 feet from the curb but allowing faster traffic to get past. If you follow the opinion that "primary" is where you should be at all times, you'll get far more irate motorists cutting you up, performing dangerous overtakes when they finally do get a chance to get past, etc.
  7. yenrod

    yenrod Guest


    I thought it was a sexual position :wacko:

  8. yenrod

    yenrod Guest

    You sure you aint been in one of PatrickStevens porn plicks :biggrin: - yeh know from his website :wacko:
  9. HJ

    HJ Cycling in Scotland

    Auld Reekie
    Cycling in the same road position as you would use if you were driving a car, after all you have just as much right to the road as driver think they have...

    It is actually the safest position to cycle in, as other road users are more likely to saw you and, whether they like it or not, treat you as part of the traffic flow.
  10. HJ

    HJ Cycling in Scotland

    Auld Reekie
    Obviously you have little knowledge or experience of cycling, and have a poor understanding of the responsibilities which come with holding a driving licence.
  11. fossyant

    fossyant Ride It Like You Stole It!

    South Manchester
    Primary is useful approaching lights etc, or if there are two lines of traffic, you are cycling down one, but if a car should try and pass, they would knock you off - i.e not enough room.

    I generally ride a good secondary - 1 metre plus from the curb or parked cars, but riding ascertively is most important !
  12. Maz

    Maz Legendary Member

    Primary is still very useful even if you are turning left at a RAB...it deters the car behind you from trying to overtake you, if he plans on going straight on at the RAB, for example.

    Traffic doing 40+ regardless of speed limit? Most cars generally stick to the limit, I'd say. Forced to drive slower by volume of traffic most times, though.
  13. summerdays

    summerdays Cycling in the sun Moderator

    And ride roundabouts too as if you are a car - in the middle of the lane you need to be in.
  14. danny121

    danny121 New Member

    If you only ever cycle in town centre and cities, yes people are likely to be obeying the speed limits - volume of traffic, cameras, and police presence ensures that.

    If you cycle on any other form of road, no, you'll see plenty of cars and vans doing 40+ regardless of speed limit - even the 20mph school zones have people doing far more than that around here.

    Yeah, I've only been cycling to work (12 mile, 9 mile, then 8 mile each way commutes at various jobs) for about 3.5 years, so virtually no experience at all (although I am new to drop-bar bikes, I used to ride hybrids instead). Hold a driving licence too, but don't waste my money on cars although I used to ride a motorbike.

    Just because someone doesn't agree that a cyclist should take the lane at all times doesn't make them wrong.
  15. Freewheeler

    Freewheeler Well-Known Member

    Just a quick note, primary and secondary positions are with respect to the moving traffic stream, not the edge of the road. Primary is in the centre of the track that cars would take, secondary is 1 -2 feet to the left of where they are running. If you are an experienced rider, it is most likely the position you take anyway.
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