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Road position in the right lane - advice please!

DonDaddyDDonDaddyD Posts: 12,689
edited March 2009 in Commuting chat
This happened to me twice yesterday and though I don't think I've done anything wrong I think its best to ask....

Yesterday morning stopped at the lights before Clapham common tube heading towards Clapham High street I was in the right lane. My intention was to stay in the right lane until the second set of lights which then turn right onto Clapham park road leading to Acre Lane. -This is the exact same thing you would do in a motorised vehicle.

I was stopped at the lights, couldn't get to the ASL so waited behind a vehicle and positioned myself in the middle of the lane. I position myself there because I don't want to get sandwich between car's in either lane. The guy behind me had a real issue with this claiming I'm not going to accelerate as fast as a car so I showed move, he was swearing revving his engine etc.

On the journey home same situation only in Colliers Wood. I'm in the right lane, stopped at a red light, behind a massive van and positioned in the middle of the lane.

In both situations once safe to do so, I move back to the left side of the lane so that the vehilcle behind can pass. When in the right lane, planning to turn right, I hold a primary position so that the vehicle behind cannot under or overtake me and therefore cut me up during the turn. I also hold the absolute central position so I'm not clipped by oncoming traffic or cars on the left positioned too close to the right lane. Is this wrong? Where should I position myself?

What gets me with both these situations is that even if I moved to the left or right of the lane the cars behind me wouldn't actually move anywhere because the lights were red.
Food Chain number = 4

A true scalp is not only overtaking someone but leaving them stopped at a set of lights. As you, who have clearly beaten the lights, pummels nothing but the open air ahead. ~ 'DondaddyD'. Player of the Unspoken Game

Posts

  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    Simple - you were correct, drivers were to**ers!
  • bigmatbigmat Posts: 5,111
    Agreed - they basically don't want you anywhere on the road so ignore them and do the right thing for your own safety.

    I got an agressive beep for pulling in front of a bus yesterday morning, thing is I was cruising past him at 30mph, left him for dead - just why did he think I was going to get in his way? People see a bike and are a bit clueless about how fast we can move, especially away from junctions.
  • SpaceBadgerSpaceBadger Posts: 113
    I have often wondered that too - I do exactly the same as you DDD and usually get the same response from drivers. I was once told "you won't live long riding like that" by a bus driver who had just cut across me and stopped, pinning me between him and the curb (clearly the man to be taking road safety advice from!) when I then took up primary position in the right hand lane to turn right at a roundabout. The way I understand it, you should use the same lanes as you would when driving a car and use primary in that lane whenever needed to avoid the situation of being stuck between two cars.....am I doing the right thing?
    "I think the phrase rhymes with Clucking Bell"

    FCN = 4
  • DonDaddyDDonDaddyD Posts: 12,689
    I have often wondered that too - I do exactly the same as you DDD and usually get the same response from drivers. I was once told "you won't live long riding like that" by a bus driver who had just cut across me and stopped, pinning me between him and the curb (clearly the man to be taking road safety advice from!) when I then took up primary position in the right hand lane to turn right at a roundabout. The way I understand it, you should use the same lanes as you would when driving a car and use primary in that lane whenever needed to avoid the situation of being stuck between two cars.....am I doing the right thing?

    To my understanding there is the primary road position and the primary road position for bicycles. The latter doesn't often leave you visible.

    On a roundabout I think you are supposed to stick to the left side of whatever lane. Personally, given that no one knows how to take a roundabout I would take up what position leaves me safe and visible. This is often the primary position for vehicles, with me banking to the left (when its safe to do so) so car's can pass.
    Food Chain number = 4

    A true scalp is not only overtaking someone but leaving them stopped at a set of lights. As you, who have clearly beaten the lights, pummels nothing but the open air ahead. ~ 'DondaddyD'. Player of the Unspoken Game
  • roger_merrimanroger_merriman Posts: 6,148
    i ride a bike very much like a car, so i'd most likely be in the same position, most bikes certianly ridden by fit folk can keep up with traffic, on the old mtb i i take the old warhorse out i can quite often have cleared the junction before the rest of the traffic has got moving...
  • Christophe3967Christophe3967 Posts: 1,200
    DDD - you're doing everything right in the situations you've described so don't worry about a few nitwits. Ultimately they may want to run you off the road but even the dimmest of them understand that the resulting hassle is simply too great. So they resort to feelings of fuming impotency. Which is their problem. :)

    One of the side effects of wearing earphones is that drivers think that you can't hear them (not true) so tend not to bother yelling at you. Or maybe I just look hard. :wink::wink:
  • BhimaBhima Posts: 2,145
    You did the right thing. I do this all the time, although, more recently i've been able to accellerate as fast as cars for the first 50m or so - tires me out big time, but it's worth it in order to establish your position to the drivers and show them that they can't push you around. Although, if you go too far and it looks like you're getting tired, they just think you're being silly and racing them. :?

    When i'm riding with my mate, of course, we shelter behind each other and use the FULL lane when switching positions. We can get pretty fast so, usually, the cars behind have been overtaken by us at the previous 3 sets of lights so we never get the problem of drivers hassling us because they know we're not slow.

    So ride faster! :P

    To be more practical though - you say you were behind a vehicle - I know it's risky, but you could always try and move ahead one and get in front of that, or try to get in front of ALL the cars to put as much distance between you and the nutter. On my commute, I know the rhythm/speed of the lights and am able to tell if I have enough time to do that or not.

    If in doubt, just ride at a comfortable, slow pace right in front of them. Show em who's boss! :D If they do decide to get violent and run you off the road, it's safer to be travelling slowly when you get hit. :!:
  • beverickbeverick Posts: 3,461
    What's the distance between the two sets of lights? I'd only expect to be in the right hand lane if it was a short distance between the two sets of lights (ie 100m or so) or the traffic was likely to be moving so slowly between the two sets of lights that I could keep up.

    Irrespective of the above, my positioning would depend wholly on circumstance. My default position where there is an ASL reservoir is to be in it but, on at least two junctions on my way into the office and one on the way home I will usually queue in the lane I was travelling in.

    Depending on circumstance I will queue anywhere in the lane I am in but I will usually take up a postion which makes following traffic queue behind me. My default position is usually to the left hand side of the lane, moving back to a more "standard" postion (ie 1m-1.25m from the kerb) soon after moving off. The idea is to give me sufficient space if I wobble on moving off but to allow following traffic to pass as soon as possible. However, on a number of junctions I will move towards the centre right or even wide right of the lane (especially if I'm following a vehicle who's driver has to rely on their door mirrors) or if I or other road users are turning right in the immediate area.

    The decision as to where abouts to position depends on, amongst others the following factors:
    Primary considerations
    - Which lane is safest to be in on approach to the junction considering my ability to keep up with traffic flow, my lines of vision, my visibiity to others;
    - At what point is it safest to cross the path of traffic in left hand lanes to get into my target lane;
    - At what point is it safest to join my target lane (which is different to the above); and
    - Considering traffic flow, my lines of vision, my visibiity to others, what is the safest position to be in once I get into my target lane.

    Secondary considerations
    - What position do I want to take through the junction, considering mid-junction hazards such as filters, road markings, ironwork, traffic islands, other road users, sight lines and expected exit route;
    - Are there any environmental considerations (wind, rain, lighting conditions); and
    - What is my anticipated position into my target exit.

    The decision as to where to position in any lane depends wholly on the propensity of following drivers to try to share the same road space.

    Bob
  • AidanwAidanw Posts: 449
    It sounds like you did right, though I don't know the roads you mention.

    I try and cycle like the advice in http://www.cyclecraft.co.uk/ a fantastic book that I re-read every now and then to refresh my memory and feeling of 'right' about taking up my space as part of the traffic on the roads.
  • HeadhuunterHeadhuunter Posts: 6,494
    I always take primary road position, unless it's clearly safe for me to move to the left without leavnig myself open to being run into curbs as motorists pass through "squeeze points" where traffic islands have been built in the centre of the road. Only very rarely do I get beeped by cars, but if I do, I just ignore and do what I find safe.

    In London, even if you let motorists accelerate past, invariably you end up passing them again at a junction or when they catch up with slow moving traffic ahead. This constant passing and being passed by traffic is more dangerous than putting yourself in primary road position. Ayway, I can say 100%, without reservation, my average speed through London in rush hour is faster than motor traffic.

    At lights I make the utmost attempt to filter through traffic to the front, regardless of whether there is an ASL box or not (they're usually blocked anyway), as someone else said, if I manage to clip in efficiently, I can easily accelerate away from lights faster than cars for the first 30 or 40 metres.
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  • gtvlussogtvlusso Posts: 5,112
    Sod everyone else! As long as you are in the right lane for what you want to do who gives a censored !

    I get the same on a laned round-a-bout everymorning - except most car drivers ignore the lanes, go in the left lane and turn right anyway......Always good fun for beepage and a near miss. Hence I jump the lights a bit to get away from the mellee......

    But ultimately, I don't give a f*ck if someone has to stay behind me for 10 seconds or so......Primary road position and that!
  • you were right. end of story.

    I adopt a very assertive riding style i.e. in the middle of the lane or sometimes in multi-lane roads to the right hand side of the lane to prevent motorists from passing me without giving me much space.

    I am not a [email protected] about it and as soon as it is safe, I move over.

    You have to put your safety first and there is no way you or anyone else should compromise that because some nobber wants to accelerate quickly or whatever.

    I have found that riding assertively angers some other road users but I see this as their problem not mine. The trick is to not allow their anger ignite your own rage...
  • bigmatbigmat Posts: 5,111
    Anyone familiar with the Wandsworth one way system? Heading back from Putney, where it curves round to the right, I need to be in the right lane as I need the second turn off for Balham. This basically involves me riding in the third of four lanes along a stretch where traffic frequently exceeds 40mph. My usual practice is to adopt "primary" but it can feel pretty scary sometimes, best tip is to pedal like hell!

    I think as long as you aim to move at the same pace as other traffic when leaving junctions, you should be OK in whatever lane you need to be in provided you then have a plan to get back out of the way as soon as possible.
  • jongingejonginge Posts: 5,945
    MatHammond wrote:
    Anyone familiar with the Wandsworth one way system? Heading back from Putney, where it curves round to the right, I need to be in the right lane as I need the second turn off for Balham. This basically involves me riding in the third of four lanes along a stretch where traffic frequently exceeds 40mph. My usual practice is to adopt "primary" but it can feel pretty scary sometimes, best tip is to pedal like hell!

    I think as long as you aim to move at the same pace as other traffic when leaving junctions, you should be OK in whatever lane you need to be in provided you then have a plan to get back out of the way as soon as possible.
    Kingston anyone? Heading back from surbiton, through kingston centre and trying to get onto the richmond road is my favourite ;) Have to sprint to get across 4 lanes of traffic...
    FCN 2-4 "Shut up legs", Jens Voigt
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  • nationnation Posts: 609
    For me, primary for junctions ( That is to say, middle of the lane, occupying the fullest amount of road space). Always.

    If you hang to the side of a lane it's not obvious what your intentions are and cars will try to pass you unsafely.

    The guy in your example sounds like one of those people who mistakenly believe that cars have right of way over bikes.
  • Christophe3967Christophe3967 Posts: 1,200
    jonginge wrote:
    MatHammond wrote:
    Anyone familiar with the Wandsworth one way system? Heading back from Putney, where it curves round to the right, I need to be in the right lane as I need the second turn off for Balham. This basically involves me riding in the third of four lanes along a stretch where traffic frequently exceeds 40mph. My usual practice is to adopt "primary" but it can feel pretty scary sometimes, best tip is to pedal like hell!

    I think as long as you aim to move at the same pace as other traffic when leaving junctions, you should be OK in whatever lane you need to be in provided you then have a plan to get back out of the way as soon as possible.
    Kingston anyone? Heading back from surbiton, through kingston centre and trying to get onto the richmond road is my favourite ;) Have to sprint to get across 4 lanes of traffic...

    Yep, that's a good one, and then immediately after you've got that nice sweeping right hander if the lights are green with cars trying to cut across to the car park :)

    Hyde Park Corner is always good fun too as is the Holland Park gyratory. Oh and don't forget the dual carriageway (A24?) if you ever need to get from the Stepping Stones at Westhumble to Mickleham and Box Hill - difficult to judge the speed of two lanes of oncoming traffic moving at 60 -70 mph :(
  • BassjunkieukBassjunkieuk Posts: 4,232
    DDD - As has been said I think you where in the right, from your description of the road and knowing what its actually like along there I think you just found a couple of bell3nd drivers!
    At the end of the day as long as your happy with your own safety your fine. I consider myself a fairly assertive rider and think I have become quite good at reading traffic. There have been times where I have deemed it too dangerous or don't think there is room to get to the front of a queue safely so I'll wait in the traffic. When it comes time to move off my higher position usually means I can see the lights have changed before the driver in front so I can be moving off before they shift and can normally keep pace!
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  • snookssnooks Posts: 1,521
    DDD Mate, you're right, use the primary as you would use the lane in your car :0)

    You have the same amount of right to use the road, as they do...If it's any consolation at all I've found the worst drivers round the Clapham common area

    I had some to$$er on my right both stationary at lights, accelerate all of 2 metres when the lights went on orange and turn left just before the Clapham sth tube, Very nearly smashed into the side of him.

    Then another driver going towards tooting from 2 lanes to one overtake and then edged his car towards me, hitting my wing mirror at the time..I was stationary in traffic!

    Yep I was in my car on both times

    Could always do what I do...give em a nice big smile and wave as you disappear into the distance :D
    FCN:5, 8 & 9
    If I'm not riding I'm shooting http://grahamsnook.com
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  • Jay dubbleUJay dubbleU Posts: 3,197
    Turning right I'm on a one way street positioned in the right hand lane about 1m from the kerb - I give a clear signal that I'm turning right and still get hooted at by some twonk in a camper van - I felt obliged to give him the finger in the interest of cultivating inner peace (mine):evil:
  • DuduDudu Posts: 4,637
    DDD et al - You're doing it right.

    IMHO the safest way to ride is as if you're driving a small car with good acceleration but low top speed. Manage the traffic by taking the road when riding at low speeds, for instance when slowing or accelerating at lights. Then magnanimously wave cars past when they can keep up with you - if there's enough road - once you've got away from the junction and up to your 'cruising' speed (in my case about 30kph).
    ___________________________________________
    People need to be told what to do so badly they'll listen to anyone
  • biondinobiondino Posts: 5,990
    Any car who is sitting behind you beeping you has at least seen you and, unless they are a 100% certified psycho, isn't going to drive through you. It ain't fun but it's safe and it's legit and f*ck'em.
  • nielsamdnielsamd Posts: 174
    I find I get the same good/bad treatment from car drivers for my safe/conscientious road use, whether I am on a bike or driving a car myself. As others have said above, I tend to believe it is better to carry on being safe than to either fear, or join in the agro-fest. I always smile to myself in the certain knowledge that sooner or later the psycho types must meet and conflict with each other. As long as no innocents are harmed in the ensuing conflagration thats fine by me.
  • DonDaddyDDonDaddyD Posts: 12,689
    Thanks guys, I doubted myself and my positioning on the road.

    After reading this thread, I now just zone out the person in the car and just acknowledge the car itself and my safety. This way I find that I can maintain my zen-like cycling bliss and not allow people to destroy my mood.

    @Biondino, you're right, I could have stood my ground but stopped at the lights he could have easily got out and though I'm not one to run away, I just didn't fancy a wrestle that day....
    Food Chain number = 4

    A true scalp is not only overtaking someone but leaving them stopped at a set of lights. As you, who have clearly beaten the lights, pummels nothing but the open air ahead. ~ 'DondaddyD'. Player of the Unspoken Game
  • R_T_AR_T_A Posts: 488
    Hi All,

    Newcomer to the site, so be gentle :oops:

    I'm not sure if anyone has ever read through this before:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehicular_cycling

    I'm pretty lucky that I've only got mad Saxos, tractors and squirrels to contend with for most of my commute. Most people are pretty considerate, but those damn squirrels have no consideration for the Highway Code.
    Giant Escape R1
    FCN 8
    "Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life."
    - Terry Pratchett.
  • The thing i do, which always works for me, is turm my walkman up.
    Dan
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