Why primary is so important

Discussion in 'Commuting' started by Jacomus-rides-Gen, 23 Jan 2008.

  1. Jacomus-rides-Gen

    Jacomus-rides-Gen New Member

    Guildford / London
    I've had a bit of a day of it!

    First a kid gave me a heart attack by running into the road from between some parked cars as I was on my way home from my gf's place. My cyclo-senses tingled and I backed off and covered the brakes, so didn't hit the kid, but it certainly gave me a fright!! Then the mother kindly told me to "get away from my child! You nearly killed him!" ;):angry: no, you nearly got him killed as he is clearly too young to make a sentient decision to run into the road.

    Secondly the amoeba at Halfrauds informed me that "no-one uses dry lube in the winter, because it washes off." Oh really? No-one? I only know 1 roadie who uses wet lube, and he uses it all year round as he prefers it. xx(xx(:tongue: so no lube.

    Finally I allowed myself to daydream on the bike whilst approaching a pinchpoint after being released from the relative safety of a bus lane complete with a wide road.

    Next thing I know my cyclo-senses scream at me, and a tipper truck comes past an arms length away from me, and as I was in a low secondary I had very little space to go! :biggrin::ohmy:

    A few seconds innatention put my life in direct danger!

  2. HJ

    HJ Cycling in Scotland

    Auld Reekie
    Glad you survived to give such a good tutorial on the importance of the primary position.
  3. Maz

    Maz Guru

    You've got a very posh voice, Jacomus (or was that just for the vid?).
    Nice footage. Glad you're OK. A very useful lesson.
  4. magnatom

    magnatom Guest


    Thats was a nasty overtake, and you are right about your road position. The video, however, is great and illustrates the point nicely. Well done on the video.

    Sure you made a mistake. We all do (remember my undertake of an hgv!)

    You learn from it and that's what makes the difference. Too many cyclists wouldn't have even noticed the danger :wacko:.
  5. I manage okay.
  6. OP

    Jacomus-rides-Gen New Member

    Guildford / London
    :wacko: Thank you Maz, thats my normal talking voice. Though obviously I think it sounds weird as who doesn't when they hear their voice played back to them!!

    Indeed, hopefully someone can see this video and remember the point about primary, and apply it next time they get to a hazard like this. There is also the chance that a driver could watch this and think about how they deal with cyclists in this kind of situation.
  7. yenrod

    yenrod Guest

    Jac - so true man !

    The prob is on occasion you can get the driver who'll not be wanting to play 'respect' and take you out.

    This is advanced cycling.

    Your vid is exactly how I cycle...talk to myself in my mind when riding...with the odd profanity...

    Brilliant video.

    You should make a film of how to cycle effectivley and safely !!!a
  8. palinurus

    palinurus Guru

    Road surface looks nasty on the approach to the restriction.
  9. LOGAN 5

    LOGAN 5 New Member

    good video

    It's easy to slip into a moment's daydream and find oneself in a compromised position. I have a 12 mile commute into central London and every so many yards there are hazards and pinch points and by the time i get to the office i feel I've really had to concentrate the whole ride in to block dangerous or careless overtakes. Occasionally I lapse and get caught by a swooping taxi or bus. That annoys me that i got a certain pinch point wrong and ensures I work out how best to tackle it the next time.

    Definitely been riding more out from the kerb lately and been signalling to move out too which might sound obvious but is quite effective in getting them to slow down. It's hard work though to constantly think of who's going to overtake when, how and if there's enough room. I do think the faster the bike you're on the easier it is to maintain a good road position.
  10. davidtq

    davidtq New Member

    Totally agree, swapping from my hybrid to my road bike made road positioning so much easier, I now have the speed to be out in primary more or overtake on the right etc etc
  11. Ludwig

    Ludwig Hopeless romantic

    Primary position - I've no idea what it is ...is it something out of the Karma Sutra?
  12. OP

    Jacomus-rides-Gen New Member

    Guildford / London
    Yes, and if you don't do it you are simultaneously missing out on the best sex of your life AND your cycling is suffering too.
  13. davidtq

    davidtq New Member

    Primary position is more important to your chances of survival than the karma sutra :biggrin:

    Its basically taking up the whole lane instead of gutter hugging. Making sure that if a vehicles going to overtake you its going to give you a proper amount of space as per the highway code! Its used to control the traffic around you to ensure your personal safety.

    Primary position isnt something I use constantly I use it where I feel it enhances safety. If I feel a car could be tempted to do something that would threaten my safety I take primary position to either discourage a bad manouvre (they cant help themselves weve got to help them make the right decision) or if they do choose to do it anyway it ensures they give you more space.

    We can affect what the drivers do around us.

    Take as an example the following situation :-

    Im in primary centre of the lane hogging the lane. Damn inconsiderate of me right? Apart from the fact that you will notice that theres a traffic queue ahead. Coming up to a round about where im going straight on. I need to be in the right hand lane to do so. Iknow that Im not actually going to hold up a single car by using my lane position, because they cant get past the queued traffic, they wont gain a single inch by passing me, I also know that if I move over to the right they will be tempted to squeeze up close to me to try to "get ahead of the cyclist" if they do so Im blocked off from taking my future right hand turn. So I take the position knowing to make sure that a driver isnt tempted to squeeze up along side me which is dangerous anyway.

    in this instance you see the full mentality of the "must over take the cyclist" motorist, he overtakes even though im in primary, but because I am in primary he automatically leaves far more room than he would if I had been gutter hugging. he would have had to have moved pulled over to avoid the cars coming the other way even if I had been in secondary (gutter hugging) position. there wasnt room for him to overtak safely leaving room for me and the cars coming the other way.

    By riding in primary I turned a deadly squeeze overtake into a wide pass. He still cut me up, but at least he didnt squash me. For all his dangerous driving he didnt gain a second or an inch.

    Primary position is taking the centre of the lane to discourage squeeze by overtaking and to make drivers follow the highway code when overtaking!

    see the picture attached to rule 163 of the highway code here :-


    Notice the cyclist is in a decent secondary position, even in secondary you shouldnt be gutter hugging, in the real world no driver gives a cyclist in secondary the highway code recommended space, BUT by riding in primary we make sure a good percentage of them do, if they are inconvienienced by our road position its because they were going to break the highway code with their manouvre anyway, WHY should we make it easier for them to break the highway code. A cyclist in primary position is causing no hassle to anyone obeying the highway code!
  14. Tynan

    Tynan Veteran

    medal for most thorough answer of the year!

    and well done too, I endorse it!
  15. A cyclist in primary position is causing no hassle to anyone obeying the highway code!

    Yes but that's in the perfect world.
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