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What would you have done?

Discussion in 'Commuting' started by alicat, 10 Sep 2007.

  1. alicat

    alicat Guru

    Location:
    Staffs
    Part of my commute includes cycling along a narrowish single carriageway in a town. The street usually has a queue of traffic for most of its length leading up to the traffic lights at the end. I usually cautiously cycle up the inside. This morning I decided to cycle up the outside because there was a large lorry half way along and I thought it would not be safe to pass it on the inside.

    After a few vehicles I decided that the road was too narrow to continue with the manoeuvre, especially with oncoming traffic appearing. I pulled in, in front of a smaller truck. I then moved towards the inside of the lane to check out moving up the queue a little on the inside but decided it was unwise and maintained my position in the queue.

    The driver of the truck started revving aggressively, including when the traffic was stationary. The driver then got out of his cab and shouted that I had pulled in dangerously given that he was pulling a trailer. I realise that in hindsight it was not a great idea to pull so far over from the outside to the inside of the lane but the traffic was crawling forward and at no time did I hear the driver behind brake let alone brake hard. I don't think I put him or anyone else in danger but I do accept in hindsight I might have caught him unawares.

    I didn't think there was any point having a discussion with such a heated driver so I calmly informed him that he should stay calm or he would cause an accident later on. The traffic started to move and he got back in his truck. I did make a point of noting his registration number and taking a good look at him. I considered getting out my mobile phone and taking a photo of him and his number plate but I think that would only have inflamed the situation.

    After a few more yards we both turned left and I had the opportunity to note the company name on his truck. He continued driving aggressively. I turned off right soon after and left him to his devices.

    I have decided to revert to undertaking cautiously on the inside since on the few occasions I have overtaken I have risked getting stuck on the outside when the traffic starts moving. What would you have done in the circumstances? Most other cyclists seem to ride on the pavement or duck onto the pavement when it suits them.

    I don't think my cycling was anything to boast about so I am not planning to report him but would welcome suggestions and constructive criticism.

    Thanks
     
  2. bianco

    bianco New Member

    My reaction to that situtation would be, they'd have done it to me. But an eye for an eye and the whole world would be blind.

    If that guy was so concerned about his trailer, he should have been checking it frequently and using his mirrors so should have seen you coming.

    OTOA, If you didn't have room to overtake in the first place you shouldn't have, but we all make mistakes. I tend to only overtake when I'm 100% sure I can move faster than the traffic, and I've got room, otherwise you might as well be an impatient car driver!

    Please don't do as your post states and revert back to undertaking, not good, the drivers especially won't be expecting you from the left.

    Hope that is slightly constructive
     
  3. Cab

    Cab New Member

    Location:
    Cambridge
    Sounds like you may have made a small mistake. Hard to tell. Easy to do though, and no harm done; he could have told you that far more politely and less aggressively! He had no excuse for reacting in the way he did, none at all.
     
  4. Mister Paul

    Mister Paul Honky

    Location:
    North Somerset
    It's difficult to tell without knowing how much space there was. If there was sufficient room to pull in, the driver had time to see you and you didn't cause him to brake sharply, then I think you were fine.

    I filter on the right all the time. It can be hard to anticipate the oncoming situation, and so be hard to get back into the traffic, especially if the traffic is stationary.

    OTOH, I've had people shout at me for pulling in when there was more than enough room. Sometimes people don't like the fact that you're making better progress than them on what they see to be an inferior form of transport. And some people are just startled because they're off daydreaming when you appear in front of them.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    alicat

    alicat Guru

    Location:
    Staffs
    I think you've got a good handle on the situation, Mr Paul. There was enough room to pull in in front of him but he wasn't expecting me to the inside of the lane straightaway.

    One of the things the driver said to me was that if he had hit me he would have been blamed. I think he was daydreaming a little and his mate in the cab may have egged him on to say something.
     
  6. domtyler

    domtyler Über Member

    Sounds like bizarre behaviour to me, I normally make a point of totally blanking nutters like this. He had a problem but why should you get involved?
     
  7. BentMikey

    BentMikey Rider of Seolferwulf

    Location:
    South London
    Alicat, I'm not sure you did anything wrong at all. The driver was just being an aggressive and angry twunt. Bizarre and stupid, IMO.

    I'm with the others, carry on overtaking, it's usually the best and safest way. See the filtering article on www.nuttycyclist.co.uk if you're worried about being stuck on the outside.
     
  8. Cab

    Cab New Member

    Location:
    Cambridge
    If, from the other guys point of view, the cyclist pulled in too close or without warning, I can see why he'd have been jumpy. You can't criticise him for that. Even if he'd wound the window down and asked the cyclist not to do it again, fair play to him, he's done nothing wrong. We all make mistakes, happens all the time.

    Its the aggression that marks the guy out as a twat.
     
  9. Twenty Inch

    Twenty Inch New Member

    Location:
    Behind a desk
    Alicat you MAY have cut in unexpectedly, but there's no excuse for this behaviour. Write to his company, cc your MP and the local coppers.
     
  10. OP
    OP
    alicat

    alicat Guru

    Location:
    Staffs
    Thanks for all your comments. I've checked out the filtering article on the Nutty Cyclist website and I can see it working well if I am going straight forward but at this junction I turn left at the lights.

    I do feel pleased that I stayed calm and didn't let it affect me.
     
  11. BentMikey

    BentMikey Rider of Seolferwulf

    Location:
    South London
    Yes, I don't think I would be overtaking if I was about to turn left. I would think carefully about undertaking for that matter.
     
  12. Pete

    Pete Guest

    Filtering up on the nearside is not an absolute taboo. There are many cases when it is safer than overtaking the queue on the right, for the reasons you give (also for the driver that sees fit to suddenly pull out of the the queue to the right, the wrong side ot the road, taking you out: I've had that happen!).

    I often filter up the queue on the left. So do other cyclists I see, of which I judge many to be experienced. I am very careful not to put myself at any risk, and I believe I have never had a 'near miss' in such conditions.

    You just need to be extra observant and obey a few cardinal rules. Not doing it right could kill you! Only if it's a traffic-light controlled junction. Only move if the cars etc. are completely stationary, and you can see the lights green for traffic going the other way: this gives you a bit of time. Obviously look out for passengers opening doors on you, or pedestrians crossing. With a bus or lorry, especially careful: usually safer to hold back. Remember that a large vehicle being far out from the kerb is no guarantee of your safety, he may need that space to execute a left turn! If you can see your way to passing the bus or truck, before anything moves, plan where you're going to be when the queue starts moving. Being level with any part of the bus or truck is no good and extremely dangerous, you need to be in front of it and level with the front of a car, or the gap between cars. Best is if you can get level with the front car in the queue, if it's not turning left. Or into the ASL if there is one.

    Know where vehicles' blind spots are. Aim never to be in anyone's blind spot when he starts to move.

    Once the traffic does start moving, if you are still back in the queue (alongside cars!), look for a gap, make eye contact with the driver behind, signal and carefully move out, keeping pace with the traffic.

    Remember also that sensible motorists are expecting cyclists to filter up on the inside. Well, I do, when I'm driving (I'll leave it to others to decide how 'sensible' I am!). Of course, assuming motorists all to be 'sensible' is not - er - a very sensible assumption!
     
  13. BentMikey

    BentMikey Rider of Seolferwulf

    Location:
    South London
    Strictly speaking, the best place to be at a junction is not to the left of the car at the head of the queue, but in primary position behind it. The ASL is OK, but not always as good a choice.
     
  14. Jacomus-rides-Gen

    Jacomus-rides-Gen New Member

    Location:
    Guildford / London
    I am also a fan of sitting in primary one or two cars back from the head of the junction
     
  15. Pete

    Pete Guest

    Yes, if you can get into such a position. But the cars are unlikely to leave a gap, unless you got there first!