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'road side lane' ok to cycle on?

Joe86Joe86 Posts: 180
edited September 2009 in Road beginners
I have now been cycling for three weeks, but I'm a little confused on something. I have yet to go on an 'A road', but I'm planning a longer journey which I will have to use a few A roads. Anyway, I guess it might be a bit daunting having cars bombing past me all the time. So I remember the roads have a little lane to the left of the road, about a metre width, something like this (not cycle lanes):

cal-road-sides.gif

I have seen a few cyclists use them on smaller local roads, although I have not used them myself, as I find you are out of position if you want to turn off to the right or change lane etc and I like to have a wider area in case of drains, rubbish, or bad potholes. So, is it forbidden to use these virtual lanes? acceptable? or encouraged?

Secondly, what is the technical term for one of those little areas? :D

Thanks

Posts

  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    It's the verge and you don't want to be in it! The general guidance will be not to be shy - put yourself where the car drivers put their left wheels. You have as much right to use the road as they do (and the bit to the left of the white line isn't the road).

    It's understandable to be intimidated a little by busy roads but by cycling that far to the left you encourage cars to ignore you - they'll blast past, very close to you, rather than undertaking a proper overtaking. You'll find that if you are further to the right, the cars will overtake properly and give you far more room. Furthermore, if there is an idiot who cuts too close, you'll still have space to move to the left. On the far side of the white line you have only one place to go and that is off the road.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • Joe86Joe86 Posts: 180
    Hey Rolf, I have been keeping the guideline of not being too tight to the curb, and have always left myself a bit of room to manoveur either side. But you bring up a good point about the fast and close overtaking if you are in the verge lane. I was just curious to know how close people take it when they are on the busy fast roads with only one lane and you are using the road as you should, and because I had seen a few roadies use the verge, I was wondering what the best approach was.

    Thanks man, I will go out on that ride and hopefully have a nice one! :D
  • StefanPStefanP Posts: 429
    Also I have heard a couple stories when people have been cycling in groups near or on the white line and hit potholes and breaking collarbones etc, if you cycle on the verge then it means that you have to swerve to avoid them, possibly crashing into a car, or of course, you can rough it out and break your collarbone instead ;)
  • mikeqmikeq Posts: 141
    If on a road with one of these verges I will use it, the tarmac in them is so much smoother and easier to cycle on.

    I don't feel in any danger in these verges. Roads without them I cycle in the left hand wheel path of cars so that cars have to overtake properly. As the verges are abot 1 - 1.5 metres wide I don't think there is an issue.
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  • InovacheInovache Posts: 61
    I find these verges tend to accumulate debris swept to the side by passing cars. More risk of a puncture I would say. You wouldn't do it on a motor bike so why do it on a pedal bike.
  • DomProDomPro Posts: 321
    Agree with the debris comment. There always seems to be broken glass for some reason as well. Take care mate!
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  • freehubfreehub Posts: 4,258
    I had a go riding in one of these the other day, only because there was this great big cycle lane on the path that I should have being using since it was a busy A road coming up to a roundabout, and the amount of censored in it was mad, puncture city.

    Oh and the road in the pic in the OP looks so amazing, if I want to experience an amazing road surface like that I have to cycle about 25 miles away for a quarter of a mile stretch of amazing road surface then it goes back to hell.
  • Joe86Joe86 Posts: 180
    freehub wrote:
    I had a go riding in one of these the other day, only because there was this great big cycle lane on the path that I should have being using since it was a busy A road coming up to a roundabout, and the amount of censored in it was mad, puncture city.

    Oh and the road in the pic in the OP looks so amazing, if I want to experience an amazing road surface like that I have to cycle about 25 miles away for a quarter of a mile stretch of amazing road surface then it goes back to hell.

    Yep, I don't use the verge at all after reading the advice here. I do notice a lot of cyclists using it, but I find the censored and also drains a big problem. You can't manoveur out of the way if you are in the verge.

    Today I had some rude driver have a go at me and tell me to move over into the verge. I was on an A road and I was keeping about 0.5 m gap to the side of the road, and he had plenty of room to get past, in which he did with no problem. But as he came past he beeped me, I initially thought it was someone I knew so I waved. Then he started pointing at the verge, so I gave him the finger :oops: The right hand lane was also free, so he he was just an anti cyclist person. Do many of you get cars trying to get you into the verge? I do see a lot of cyclists in them.
  • "Do many of you get cars trying to get you into the verge?"

    Short answer..yes. I could go on about them actually trying to knock cyclists off the road but thats not exactly news.

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  • I find that, when it's dry, the white line is smooth as a baby's bottom. :) Generally though, I'll ride at some point in between the white line and where a car's left tyres would be. Although, if I'm fannying about, like getting a energy bar out and opening it, I'll wobble about in the wee verge.
  • andrew_sandrew_s Posts: 2,511
    The white line is an edge of carriageway marker.
    It's in from the edge of the tarmac because heavy vehicles will crumble the tarmac away comparatively quickly if they drive right on the edge, and the white line keeps them away.

    Reasons not to use it are :
    a) it can disappear at any time with very little warning
    b) it accumulates debris
    c) it often has a line of catseyes in the middle of it
    d) as it's not officially part of the carriageway, you'll get nowhere with any claim if you hit a hole or anything, any more than if you were riding on a grassy verge.

    Having said that, is can sometimes be more relaxing to ride in it if it's a good one.
  • bobpzerobobpzero Posts: 1,431
    dont think ill be much help. i try not to ride the gutter/ditch. i would usually ride at least 2 bike widiths from the white line or edge of the curb, not to aggravate drivers but really just to be seen. you will get skimmed by a lorry driver, just hold your line and stay calm, tho if in doubt stop as its not worth the pain/death.
  • redddraggonredddraggon Posts: 10,862
    Just use your common sense - if the road's smoother or the road's busy and you'd feel better riding the other side of the white line go for it, but don't feel compulsion in using it.
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  • andrew_s wrote:
    The white line is an edge of carriageway marker.
    It's in from the edge of the tarmac because heavy vehicles will crumble the tarmac away comparatively quickly if they drive right on the edge, and the white line keeps them away.

    Reasons not to use it are :
    a) it can disappear at any time with very little warning
    b) it accumulates debris
    c) it often has a line of catseyes in the middle of it
    d) as it's not officially part of the carriageway, you'll get nowhere with any claim if you hit a hole or anything, any more than if you were riding on a grassy verge.

    Having said that, is can sometimes be more relaxing to ride in it if it's a good one.
    Hi andy.
    I see your from Gloucester, so you will no the A . that is the same as been previously mentioned. I too have had morons in cars telling me to move over the verge.
    What do you meen you did not see me.
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