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Road positioning question.

UndercoverElephantUndercoverElephant Posts: 5,796
edited March 2010 in Commuting chat
Right, this morning, I nearly got wiped out at this junction:

http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&sourc ... 84,,0,8.99

Whilst this is quite conveniently positioned near to the crematorium, I'd like it not to happen again.

I was keeping up with a van across the junction, in primary, at about 25 mph. I wasn't drafting it, there was a good five meters between me and it. The car behind me had left a decent gap and a car wanting to turn right into the McDonald's saw this gap and went for it. I assume he hadn't been waiting at the junction, as he was turning right very fast.

Now, as I was behind the van, I don't think the car saw me at all until he was inches from my rear wheel, which luckily, as I was going a decent rate, he missed be by a couple of inches.

How should have I been riding in order for the car to see me? Or at least to give myself a better chance of not being in the way when he flew round the corner. Hopefully he'll be more careful in future, but I'd like to know what you all think.

Posts

  • jongingejonginge Posts: 5,945
    Been there. Many a time. Problem is that if you hang back the car behind may try a stupid overtake into a gap that's just longer than a car... I tend to go extreme primary in these sorts of situations.
    FCN 2-4 "Shut up legs", Jens Voigt
    Planet-x Scott
    Rides
  • jonginge wrote:
    Been there. Many a time. Problem is that if you hang back the car behind may try a stupid overtake into a gap that's just longer than a car... I tend to go extreme primary in these sorts of situations.

    Basically riding on the centre line? I was keeping up with traffic no problem, I guess, so there shouldn't be a problem with where on the carriageway I am.
  • gaz545gaz545 Posts: 493
    move over to the right move. and take a position just next to where the vans right wheels are rolling. this means you should be able to see around it and the car should see you more clearly.
  • hamboneshambones Posts: 407
    Interesting. When I ride at the speed of traffic I am always in the right hand wheel track or along the centre line. That way the vehicle in front can see me in their side mirrors and you have a clear view of the road ahead and you would be seen by the people cutting across as described above. I thought this was called primary position.

    (For me secondary would be riding in the middle of the lane or the left hand wheel line - is that the common definition?)
    Still breathing.....
  • gaz545gaz545 Posts: 493
    hambones wrote:
    Interesting. When I ride at the speed of traffic I am always in the right hand wheel track or along the centre line. That way the vehicle in front can see me in their side mirrors and you have a clear view of the road ahead and you would be seen by the people cutting across as described above. I thought this was called primary position.

    (For me secondary would be riding in the middle of the lane or the left hand wheel line - is that the common definition?)
    Secondary is around where the left wheel of the cars travel. and primary is a centre line. a strong primary position is where the right wheels of a car travel.
  • I think Primary is the middle of the carriageway.

    http://www.bikeradar.com/fitness/articl ... ioning-197

    However, I think I'll be using the right-hand wheel track, as suggested. Thanks chaps.
  • jongingejonginge Posts: 5,945
    hambones wrote:
    Interesting. When I ride at the speed of traffic I am always in the right hand wheel track or along the centre line. That way the vehicle in front can see me in their side mirrors and you have a clear view of the road ahead and you would be seen by the people cutting across as described above. I thought this was called primary position.

    (For me secondary would be riding in the middle of the lane or the left hand wheel line - is that the common definition?)
    Had written a response but hambones stated my position pretty neatly. :D
    FCN 2-4 "Shut up legs", Jens Voigt
    Planet-x Scott
    Rides
  • always_tyredalways_tyred Posts: 4,965
    One for Spidey sense I think. Just as with cars emerging from side roads and driveways, there is always a risk of getting t-boned by a right turning car. You just learn to assume that they ARE going to turn unless you see that they've spotted you.

    Its not a particularly big junction - I can't see it being that difficult to hang back from the vehicle in front and then pull back from the primary.

    To be honest, as I recall, that's a fairly wide road anyway. If you are in the primary and the road is so wide that you are worried that someone is going to overtake, then do you need to be in the primary? If you DO need to be in the primary, then cars aren't going to squeeze by - particularly if faced with cars in the oncoming right filter.

    EDIT - note also that if you go too far right, and the road is wide, then you will get people coming along on your left, to turn left, or worse to go straight on. I also personally notice that the "super primary" causes more anger than merely the primary, for some reason. It shouldn't really be necessary.
  • glad you were ok. when you're taught to ride a motorbike you are told never to ride in the middle of the lane behind another vehicle...mainly so that if they stop abruptly you won't ram straight into them. I always ride behind the right wheel/slightly out where safe, so that you can see past the vehicle and oncoming ones can see you, as well as giving you an escape route if they stop abruptly. that can happen if the vehicle infront of you stops abruptly to let the oncoming vehicle turn right. don't know why anyone would ride in behind the middle of a another vehicle, IMO it's asking for trouble. middle of the lane should only be used when there's loads of room infront and you can see past the vehicle in front clearly.

    interestingly, for cars the stopping distance at 20mph is 6m
    http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAndTr ... /DG_070304
  • ceecee Posts: 4,553
    i know the road well.

    while it is wide as AT says...it is also busy during the rush, so cars take every opportunity to dive off into the junctions at any gap.

    I think he is right about superprimary making drivers more annoyed, but maybe moving out to super for the junction, so the oncoming traffic can see you, then moving back in after the junction is the answer.

    In fact...strike that...i dont know if there is a definitive answer...a bit of spider senses, a bit of good road positioning...and a bit of good fortune...that should see you through most.
    Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I believe in the future of the human race.

    H.G. Wells.
  • snookssnooks Posts: 1,521
    I'd go far right and hang back a little, just so you can see more of the road ahead, and anyone up there can see you.

    If matie in the van had to stop in a hurry, you'll do an endo and head butt his back door...Did that once to a bus, and won't make the same mistake again :roll:

    :D
    FCN:5, 8 & 9
    If I'm not riding I'm shooting http://grahamsnook.com
    THE Game
    Watch out for HGVs
  • acidstratoacidstrato Posts: 945
    stay too far right of the lane your in and just wait for a clever censored to go up your inside

    position yourself where ever the safest position at any given time is!
    Crafted in Italy apparantly
  • Oddjob62Oddjob62 Posts: 1,056
    Basically riding on the centre line? I was keeping up with traffic no problem, I guess, so there shouldn't be a problem with where on the carriageway I am.

    Yup.. When i'm tailing a van where i don't have a clear view in front i usually in the path of their right hand wheel. This way i have a view of the road just to the right so a. Cars coming the other way can see me, and b. it's easier to spot an escape route if a pot hole suddenly appears from under the van heading my way.
    As yet unnamed (Dolan Seta)
    Joelle (Focus Expert SRAM)
  • snailracersnailracer Posts: 968
    Personally I would ride the RH wheel track. I would also have a flashing front light and/or hiviz ankle band - some car drivers simply don't see you, even though you are in plain view :? This is why motorbikes have their headlights on during the day.
  • jedsterjedster Posts: 2,004
    I agree withthe suggestions to ride in the RH wheel track. I also do this when I want to make clear to following traffic that I'm NOT going to be turning left and to try to ward off the left hook (sort of garlic/crucifix kind of thing).

    However, this rung a few bells:
    stay too far right of the lane your in and just wait for a clever censored to go up your inside

    One time I pulled away from lights keeping right as I was going straight on rather than taking the left turn and WVM goes for the undertake just as I was about to pull back to secondary to let traffic through. V scary.

    Just goes to prove that even the best laid plans are vulnerable to utter fookwits.

    J
  • roger_merrimanroger_merriman Posts: 6,154
    depends on the bike on the normal plodding to work bike on which I'm taller than most, i'd be in the middle of the lane.

    with the roadie I'd be faster lower and further out in all likely hood.

    sadly sounds like car looked for cars and only cars.
  • sadly sounds like car looked for cars and only cars.

    Nail and head. Thanks for all the suggestions, guys. I tried staying on the offside wheel track last night instead around junctions. Seemed to work well, though being so much closer to oncoming traffic will take some getting used to.
  • Christophe3967Christophe3967 Posts: 1,200
    Agree that you've got be looking at the van driver in his mirror i.e. pretty much in the centre of the road. This is the only safe place to be imo as you can see ahead of the van and anticipate any obstacles ahead of him, as well as being able to eyeball oncoming traffic. If the van driver decides to take a sudden left turn without indicating, you're again exactlty where you need to be.
  • CafewandaCafewanda Posts: 2,788
    Very interesting comments on road positioning guys.

    I always thought 'primary' was the middle of the lane and 'secondary' was the left vehicle wheel. I tend to leave a gap between me and vehicle in front, whilst covering the brakes just in case, whether it's a van, truck, bus or car*.

    I'll try to remember the right wheel position in situations where I think it would be helpful in future.

    *Might be an idea to increase the gap
  • kurakokurako Posts: 1,098
    Cafewanda wrote:
    Very interesting comments on road positioning guys.

    I always thought 'primary' was the middle of the lane and 'secondary' was the left vehicle wheel. I tend to leave a gap between me and vehicle in front, whilst covering the brakes just in case, whether it's a van, truck, bus or car*.

    I'll try to remember the right wheel position in situations where I think it would be helpful in future.

    *Might be an idea to increase the gap

    I'd add that if there's any chance whatsoever of the car in front turning left you want to be in extreme primary. The one that springs to mind is Clapham Common where you've got 2 lanes and it veers off at Rookery Road. If the cars slow at the corner you nip round the side and no-one gets the chance to left hook you unless they are completely in the right hand lane ( which only the most insane would attempt ).
  • CafewandaCafewanda Posts: 2,788
    Cheers Kurako. I know exactly where you mean and yes, the most insane have attempted it!!!
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