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Primary Position

h i r 0h i r 0 Posts: 76
edited July 2007 in Commuting chat
I've tried the search, but can only find references to, but not a definition of, primary position.

I assume it means that you're taking a position in the middle of a lane, like a car would? A position that guarantees you will be visible in rear views and side mirrors (assuming anyone ever looks in them)?

Am I right?

Posts

  • BentMikeyBentMikey Posts: 4,895
    That's roughly it, think more in the middle of the flow of traffic, because the lane isn't always where the traffic flows. I would suggest getting Cyclecraft by John Franklin.

    It's more about making sure people at junctions see you, and giving yourself enough space for safety, rather than the person in front seeing you in their mirrors. Sometimes it's about discouraging someone behind you from overtaking when that would be stupid/dangerous, and then if they do overtake anyway, leaving you with enough space to dive left and avoid a crash.
  • NgalbraiNgalbrai Posts: 279
    I have found cycling here in Sydney that I HAVE to adopt the primary position at all times. Every single time I have given an inch I get some ludicrously close overtaking, the other day some prat in a van was nearly brushing my pannier as he tired to squeeze past me (at 25 mph....ffs!). I do wonder if many drivers see me in this position in the road and get enraged, having no clue as to why I do this and just assuming that I'm deliberately blocking their way?
  • andrewc3142andrewc3142 Posts: 906
    What BentMikey says.

    It helps if you are confident/assertive (not aggressive) and that you keep up a good speed, ideally with the flow of traffic.

    IMHO this is the principal way of keeping yourself out of trouble, especially in cities and towns, better than relying on helmets, HiViz or voodoo.
  • BentMikeyBentMikey Posts: 4,895
    I should point out that if I've accumulated a few vehicles behind me, or held up someone for a bit, I'll quite often pick a gap to pull into and wave them through. That usually gets loads of goodwill from drivers. Tolerance and sharing innit.
  • Hairy JockHairy Jock Posts: 558
    Agreed BentMikey's definition is a pretty good one, it is about being part of the traffic (you have as much right to be there as anyone else). Cycling in the gutter is really dangerous as it encourages other road users to ignore you, then they really stop seeing you, until they hit you. Every adult cyclist should read Cyclecraft.
    **************
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  • h i r 0 wrote:
    I've tried the search, but can only find references to, but not a definition of, primary position.

    I assume it means that you're taking a position in the middle of a lane, like a car would? A position that guarantees you will be visible in rear views and side mirrors (assuming anyone ever looks in them)?

    Am I right?

    No, not the middle of the lane. It's true that in wide lanes courtesy requires you to share with motorists, and in narrow lanes self preservation requires you to keep motorists out, but there's an art to that.

    You want motorists to think that they have to stay out because the lane is too narrow. You don't want them to think that they have to stay out because you are being a dog in the manger.

    A good postion is usually about where the near side car tyre tracks would be. In fact, you can often see that position, worn into the road.

    Jeremy Parker
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