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Holding up cars on purpose

Here's an interesting question, chaps. The whole James Martin thing has raised the whole "cyclists holding cars up" debate, particularly on another forum I use. There, there are several people who believe that groups of cyclists regularly ride in such a way to create long tailbacks of traffic (for 5 miles according to one poster) when there are "plenty of places they could stop to let people past.

So I thought I'd ask here whether anyone has ever deliberately continued to ride in a group across the road for a significant distance when there's traffic building up behind them. I don't personally know anyone who would, unless they viewed it as more dangerous to pull over and there's a safer place to allow overtaking.

I don't enjoy having cars up my bum, so if I was on the sort of road where there genuinely isn't anywhere to pass then me and my mates would pull over.

What about you guys? Ever seen anyone ride "assertively" just to piss off motorists? Cos that's what some of 'em think!!


  • lfcquinlfcquin Posts: 470
    I can't say any of our club runs have pulled over to stop and let cars past, but normally there is a shout from the back so you know a car is there and an effort is made to narrow the line.

    When I commute home on my own there is a particularly narrow road that I go down that is always very busy, I quite often pull over and let the traffic past when I am on that road, although I have seen cyclists coming the other way who obviously haven't judging by the long line of cars that follow behind.
  • PorgyPorgy Posts: 4,558
    edited September 2009
    Here's an interesting question, chaps. The whole James Martin thing has raised the whole "cyclists holding cars up" debate, particularly on another forum I use. There, there are several people who believe that groups of cyclists regularly ride in such a way to create long tailbacks of traffic (for 5 miles according to one poster) when there are "plenty of places they could stop to let people past.

    When I was last cycling out in the Kentish lanes I pulled in many times to allow cars to pass me - sometimes risking nettles and thorns to do so - and sacrificing my momentum in the process.

    Not one of the feckers said thanks. Not one!!!!!!!! :evil:

    The worst by far was a woman in a Range Rover who I was about to pull in to a layby for when she passed me anyway - with miliimetres to spare and then stopped a hundred yeards up the road and I couldn;t get past. she looked at me like - "oh! a cyclists! What on earth does he want?" :evil:
  • freehubfreehub Posts: 4,258
    On club runs if I'm at the back I just shout car behind and they usually go single file if needed.
  • KléberKléber Posts: 6,842
    freehub wrote:
    On club runs if I'm at the back I just shout car behind and they usually go single file if needed.

    But moving to single file can obviously double the length of the group of riders and make it just as hard to overtake, the club run becomes like a slow-moving long vehicle. Even so, the onus is on the overtaking vehicle, in this case the car driver, to pass only when it's safe and reasonable to do so.

    Nevertheless, sometimes if a car driver is held up for 30 seconds until it's safe to overtake, it can feel three minutes to them, or at least it does to me when I'm behind a tractor, caravan etc.
  • I have ridden "assertively" on the road on the rare occasion that it would be dangerous to overtake (narrow road, roadwork coned lanes etc) but always let cars past at the earliest safe opportunity.

    You only need one pissed off driver to create a whole heap of carnage: if not for you then for the next cyclist he comes across...
    Commute: Langster -Singlecross - Brompton S2-LX

    Road: 95 Trek 5500 -Look 695 Aerolight eTap - Boardman TTe eTap

    Offroad: Pace RC200 - Dawes Kickback 2 tandem - Tricross - Boardman CXR9.8 - Ridley x-fire
  • That all sounds just like me and my mates - given that it's likely to be only round the next bend before there's a safe overtake then I find these tales of "militant roadies" (a term used on this other forum) holding people up for miles a bit hard to believe - more likely people trying to say safe.
  • davieseedaviesee Posts: 6,473
    Judgement calls.

    On my own, if I feel it would be dangerous to overtake then I will deliberately take up the primary position to ensure they don't try and squeeze by.

    In a group it is complicated. A large bunch is harder to get by but single file makes for a long object to pass which can be as awkward. The trouble is, what often happens is they start to pass, find out they can't and squeeze into the line of cyclists. Therefore I think the bunch is safer but pi$$es drivers off more.
    None of the above should be taken seriously, and certainly not personally.
  • markos1963markos1963 Posts: 3,724
    Got to agree re' club riding, we do single out on a narrow road if a single car has a chance of making it down the longer line but on ordinary 2 laners we stay in formation to present a shorter overtake. Solo I wouldn't deliberatly hold a car up to p*ss them off but I wouldn't pull over either, it sets up precedents that car driver feel they have a right to expect it from us. As with any road user the onus is on the overtaker to behave in a safe manner and to give way. I will move out into the middle of the road to dissuede a driver from overtaking if I think he is putting himself,me or others at risk if he overtakes.
  • The only time I can think of when I've pulled over is for a large truck that would have struggled to overtake on the narrow road we were on. Of course normally I'm faster than a big truck on a narrow road :D
  • gbsgbs Posts: 450
    Just don't do it. Not many drivers can handle frustration. Your fun and games now may have fatal consequences later.
    vintage newbie, spinning away
  • We try to be considerate and let motorists pass. Even the N routes and A roads in Ireland/Northern Ireland are mainly single carriageway and in places quite busy so if we're on a club run we often split the groups into smaller groups over busier sections to allow motorists to jump between us or we pull over from time to time. I have to say that majority of drivers are courteous and we try to acknowledge that with a wave/smile and or wave on traffic if we see route is clear for them. There are exceptions to the rule but you can either get really angry and pissed off or put it down to experience, smile , relax and enjoy your cycling. I think it is different here. There is less traffic and on the country lanes and back roads it seems in less of a rush and people take it that bit easier knowing there may be other obstacles such as tractors, sheep, cattle, walkers on the roads too.
  • afcbianafcbian Posts: 424
    I don't deliberately hold cars up but I will sit further out in the road so that any cars coming up behind me physically have to move around me rather than squeeze past at high speed with inches to spare. I think they call it "The theory of BIG".
    When in a group we shout car then go single file.
    It's surprising how much a little courtesy from both parties will allow everyone to go on there way with little agro, but few people seem to get it !

    Remember people............every action provokes an opposite and equal reaction !
    I ride therefore I am
  • HigsHigs Posts: 105
    Narrow the line, yes.
    Pull over, no.
    (unless I'm flogging up a really steep hill and fancy a rest!)
  • Only time when i have deliberately held someone up was at a set of lights where, the instant it went to green, the bloke behind was blasting on the horn straight away despite the fact i was just pushing off. He then pulled alongside and started shouting about how he was being polite!

    Normally i just try to use common sense. When cycling by myself i reason that if someone is struggling to get past then its better that they go past on my terms than get frustrated and try squeezing past where its not not appropriate. So if the road widens then just easing off the pedals and waving them through, going through laybys, etc if they have been behind for a while.

    I used to cycle with someone who sometimes seemed to enjoy keeping cars behind. Couldnt understand that attitude, we're all just trying to get somewhere.
  • The club I ride with tries to keep groups to a maximum of 12 and generally 2 abreast unless it's narrow. So that's no more of an obstruction than a tractor with a trailer - and we're probably moving faster.

    Deliberately holding people up is just stupid and counterproductive. Saying that, I don't believe that motorists are commonly queuing behind cyclists "for five miles". Still, perception is everything and if someone already believes that all cyclists are selfish bu99ers then they will continue to believe so. And if someone thinks all car drivers are homicidal maniacs then they will continue to believe that.

    All that anyone can do is when walking, cycling, or driving to treat other people with the sort of courtesy you'd hope to be shown yourself. And I'm OK with pulling in and slowing/stopping (particularly on a nasty climb) to let a car past. When I'm doing 27mph in a 30mph zone I'm not really holding them up (although the number of times I've been overtaken dangerously by a car when I'm exceeding the speed limit ...)
    mroli wrote:
    (Michel) Roux has the scary eyes of an inner Begbie...
  • kinesinkinesin Posts: 100
    The only time I purposely hold traffic up is for abouts 7 seconds when approaching pinch points caused by 'pedestrian refuge islands' are other traffic /safely road features. :wink: Tend to take a very wide line further right of the primary position to stop the manic overtake and squeeze issue.
    If I'm riding two up, the I will drift into single file - but it's still amazing how many people don't overtake on dead straight mile long road as they can't judge the width of their car; probably an equal number to those that overtake too close :?
    Club rides get the usual 'car back!'; then it's narrow up, single file etc all depending on situation.
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