What hope is there for cyclists?

Discussion in 'Commuting' started by NigC, 30 Apr 2010.

  1. GrasB

    GrasB Veteran

    Location:
    Nr Cambridge
    Following common sense for someone who is experience on a bike will make them do things which other road users don't expect. Such as riding around a very large puddle on the left hand side of the road; I can't see the road surface I don't know what's under the water so I'm not prepared for any pot hole, sunken drain covers etc, thus it's not safe to use that road space & I will avoid it.

    I suppose I should add that before reading cyclecraft I was cycling in primary through pinch points after a nasty accident involving one. But you try & explain to a motorist that it's down right dangerous for a car & a bike to be in the pinch point & they don't want to hear it. It's not about people understanding or not imo, people who kind of remember bits of the HWC only remember the parts that are convenient to them.
     
  2. OP
    OP
    NigC

    NigC New Member

    Location:
    Surrey
    I doubt I'm beyond reproach, but of all the incidents whilst cycling, I can think of only one where I had a genuine chance to make it less dramatic - waiting by the side of the road for traffic to clear so I could cross and make a right turn, I get the space so off I go, but a car pulls out from the road I'm turning into. I assumed he'd pull out to half way and wait for me, but no, he keeps coming and doesn't even appear to see me. Next tiime I'll just let them go.

    The incidents at roundabouts have been discussed in another thread and I have changed my tactics for that junction. I think a combination of my positioning and poor driving made these worse than necessary.

    As for all the close passes, what can I do? I'm at the mercy of drivers wanting to pass me - short of cycling on the path, I have nowhere to hide. I believe I'm in a good position: not in the gutter, but not in the middle of the lane either. I have noticed recently that I tend to pull a bit left when I hear the bigger traffic behind me.

    Maybe it's the combination of busy-ish roads and not a lot of cyclists around for the drivers to get used to passing? I don't know :smile: Things have been easier in the past few months, so maybe my awareness has improved without me realising.
     
  3. BentMikey

    BentMikey Rider of Seolferwulf

    Location:
    South London

    Mate, more looking and less hearing would be a good start.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    NigC

    NigC New Member

    Location:
    Surrey
    I'm not completely blinkered, but I can't keep looking over my shoulder every few seconds either. Surely you have to have little faith in the traffic's ability to miss you?

    Road noise is a good indicator of what's behind you - although I always check if I have to avoid a pothole or other such wonderful obstacle. And I do check behind me from time to time regardless of what I hear or have to avoid.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    NigC

    NigC New Member

    Location:
    Surrey
    Anyway, this thread was never intended to highlight my problems with my journey, more to highlight the general dangers of commuting by bike.
     
  6. summerdays

    summerdays Cycling in the sun Moderator

    Location:
    Bristol
    I move over to the left a bit more sometimes .. but that's the reason for the secondary position to be part of the traffic and to have the area to our left as an escape route.

    The looking behind can be a very useful tool ... quite often if I start looking behind a bit more anticipating a junction coming up ... I tend to find that the following car starts to give me more space - I even end up pulling out earlier than I intended because of the room they have given me. Equally actually making eye contact with someone waiting to pull out of a side road can prevent some of them from pulling out on you and makes you look to see whether you could expect them to pull out... if they haven't looked at you then assume the worst.
     
  7. OP
    OP
    NigC

    NigC New Member

    Location:
    Surrey
    Absolutely correct - I find this a lot too. From a driver's perspective, when you see a cyclist looking around when approaching a junction, you know their intentions and can give them the space to do it.
     
  8. summerdays

    summerdays Cycling in the sun Moderator

    Location:
    Bristol
    I think that may be one of the benefits of cycling in a place where there are a reasonable number of cyclists... drivers are more used to them.
     
  9. BentMikey

    BentMikey Rider of Seolferwulf

    Location:
    South London
    Oh, it's definitely possible to keep looking back. It's not just about seeing drivers, it's about becoming more human to them and forcing them to acknowledge your presence on the road in front. You can often change an impatient driver into one who'll wait for a few seconds.

    If you're using your hearing to decide to pull left when heavier traffic is behind you, then you're definitely not looking enough.
     
  10. OP
    OP
    NigC

    NigC New Member

    Location:
    Surrey
    I'll give it a try, although it's rare I'm in a situtation where I'm holding up traffic (and I think I do look round more when I am).

    I'm on the foot today, so I'll try and remember to sneek more peeks next time :biggrin:
     
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