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Passing on right

suzybsuzyb Posts: 3,449
edited August 2010 in Commuting general
I've read on here that when your passing queuing traffic you really should do so on the right hand side so the drivers can see you better.

But should you do so when on a single carriageway with traffic coming the other way. For example if roadworks are causing a long queue of stop/start traffic. When your lane is stopped (and on a bicycle you'll want to pass) the other lane will be moving. If your filtering on the drivers side of the car you're pretty much in the middle of the road.

Wouldn't you in that case be safer filtering up the left. Or do you filter when there is no oncoming traffic and stop when there is.

Posts

  • rml380zrml380z Posts: 244
    Oh yes, filter on the right; given the choice, I'd always filter on the right. It's safer, you usually have more space than on the left, it's where car drivers expect motorbikes to be so they check slightly more, less chance of being left-hooked, no parked cars, no passenger car doors opening, no pedestrians stepping of the kerb without looking.

    If traffic is coming the other way, it's a judgement call if there's enough room, but normally there's massive amounts of space; pull back into the stationary traffic if you feel there's not (easy on a bike as there's always a gap between the stationary vehicles). Once there is space, pull out and carry on. If there's nothing coming the other way, I like to position myself near the middle of the opposite lane as it separates you from the stationary traffic and makes you more visible, and it also gives you more options if cars decide to u-turn or pedestrians step out through the stationary traffic (and it's perfectly legal). Remember to look look behind more often as you're in the same place as motorbikes and need to look out for them, especially as you pull out or in. Oh, and watch out for bikes and motorbikes filtering from the other direction.
  • wgwarburtonwgwarburton Posts: 1,863
    suzyb wrote:
    I've read on here that when your passing queuing traffic you really should do so on the right hand side so the drivers can see you better.

    But should you do so when on a single carriageway with traffic coming the other way. For example if roadworks are causing a long queue of stop/start traffic. When your lane is stopped (and on a bicycle you'll want to pass) the other lane will be moving. If your filtering on the drivers side of the car you're pretty much in the middle of the road.

    Wouldn't you in that case be safer filtering up the left. Or do you filter when there is no oncoming traffic and stop when there is.

    Depends if you're "filtering" or "overtaking". If the opposing carraigeway is clear (or your lane is sufficiently wide) then you can overtake the slow traffic that's on your left. You're taking advantage of having a small vehicle but you still need somewhere to pull over to when oncoming traffic appears. Hence, if there is a solid wall of cars to your left and no space, you don't go.

    If there isn't space to pass properly, then you're filtering... to whichever side is safer... in the situation above that might well be to the left. Care required. You're still on your own side of the road and can move away with the traffic stream if it sets off.

    Does that help?

    Cheers,
    W.
  • spen666spen666 Posts: 17,709
    It depends on the road, the conditions etc.

    As with most road use, there are few absolutes. It is not easy to say what you should do other than use your judgement, and or observe others at the same locations.
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  • spen666spen666 Posts: 17,709
    rml380z wrote:
    Oh yes, filter on the right; given the choice, I'd always filter on the right. It's safer, you usually have more space than on the left, it's where car drivers expect motorbikes to be so they check slightly more, less chance of being left-hooked, no parked cars, no passenger car doors opening, no pedestrians stepping of the kerb without looking.
    Far more chance of being right hooked though!

    This is probably more of oa risk than being left hooked. Motorists MAY look left before turning left, but are less likely to look behind to the right before turning right as they are less likely to find traffic trying to overtake them as they turn

    If traffic is coming the other way, it's a judgement call if there's enough room, but normally there's massive amounts of space; pull back into the stationary traffic if you feel there's not (easy on a bike as there's always a gap between the stationary vehicles). Once there is space, pull out and carry on. If there's nothing coming the other way, I like to position myself near the middle of the opposite lane as it separates you from the stationary traffic and makes you more visible, and it also gives you more options if cars decide to u-turn or pedestrians step out through the stationary traffic (and it's perfectly legal). Remember to look look behind more often as you're in the same place as motorbikes and need to look out for them, especially as you pull out or in. Oh, and watch out for bikes and motorbikes filtering from the other direction.
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  • OldSkoolKonaOldSkoolKona Posts: 655
    Right is normally safest, though as already pointed out, there are no absolutes. It took me a while to feel comfortable with it as it is one of those counterintuitive o) things, like how taking more space on the road means motorists give you more space.
  • Oddjob62Oddjob62 Posts: 1,056
    rml380z wrote:
    Oh yes, filter on the right; given the choice, I'd always filter on the right.

    Same
    As yet unnamed (Dolan Seta)
    Joelle (Focus Expert SRAM)
  • tjwoodtjwood Posts: 328
    (Almost all) drivers are sat in the right hand side of their car. So if you overtake on the right you will be much more visible to them - both the traffic you are overtaking and any traffic coming in the other direction.

    If you overtake a driver and then pull into a space in front of him/her, you have to pass right through his eyeline, so he's almost certain to see you. If you undertake and sit somewhere to his left he may well not notice you...

    A driver should also expect that he could be overtaken and therefore should always be checking his right hand mirror (and blind spot) before turning right, pulling out etc. Most drivers should also check to their left before pulling in, turning left, etc, but many will not expect anyone to be there and therefore might not look properly.

    The only time it is safe to pass traffic on the left (unless you have a clear lane on the left e.g. on approach to a junction with a left filter lane) is when traffic is stationary and definitely going to be staying that way for some time. So if you've seen the lights turn red and know you'll have enough time to get to the front and into a visible position before they turn green. Otherwise you have to assume that cars may start to move off without looking at any point, in which case if you're passing on the right you can find a gap between cars and pull into it, right in the driver's eyeline, at the appropriate moment. In any case I'd still prefer to overtake on the right if it is possible to do so.

    On a similar point I would only overtake a large vehicle (bus, lorry etc), where the driver's eyeline is higher than in a car, if you have space to get well forward of him/her (i.e. several car lengths) so that he can see you. If the large vehicle is the first or second vehicle at the junction it is safest not to overtake them at all.
  • suzybsuzyb Posts: 3,449
    It is a bit counterintuitive, putting yourself in the middle of the road. At least when there is traffic coming towards you. And when stuck in roadworks recently I wondered just how you would filter pass in those kind of stop/start situations.
  • rml380zrml380z Posts: 244
    spen666 wrote:
    rml380z wrote:
    Oh yes, filter on the right; given the choice, I'd always filter on the right. It's safer, you usually have more space than on the left, it's where car drivers expect motorbikes to be so they check slightly more, less chance of being left-hooked, no parked cars, no passenger car doors opening, no pedestrians stepping of the kerb without looking.
    Far more chance of being right hooked though!

    Ah yes, I wondered who was going to spot that one! If you're filtering left, you'll most likely be in a narrow gap if someone left-hooks you, whereas if you're filtering on the right, then you have a whole lane in which to react and manouver, and you have far more escape options.
  • OldSkoolKonaOldSkoolKona Posts: 655
    suzyb wrote:
    It is a bit counterintuitive, putting yourself in the middle of the road. At least when there is traffic coming towards you. And when stuck in roadworks recently I wondered just how you would filter pass in those kind of stop/start situations.
    suzyb completely agree with you and there is a bit about getting back into traffic when it starts to move again. Mrs OSK says this is something she struggles with but ultimately following the rule of only filtering when you feel confident and comfortable about it will keep you safe. This is something you develop with time.

    Often newbies feel they must always filter and this gets them in trouble, particularly at junctions
  • hstileshstiles Posts: 414
    I feel much safer filtering on the right for the simple reason that there are too many poor drivers with little or no lane discipline and I'm sick of having to suddenly brake or bunny hop onto the kerb to avoid getting hit by some idiot that has suddenly stopped concentrating and is veering towards to the kerb.
  • spen666spen666 Posts: 17,709
    rml380z wrote:
    spen666 wrote:
    rml380z wrote:
    Oh yes, filter on the right; given the choice, I'd always filter on the right. It's safer, you usually have more space than on the left, it's where car drivers expect motorbikes to be so they check slightly more, less chance of being left-hooked, no parked cars, no passenger car doors opening, no pedestrians stepping of the kerb without looking.
    Far more chance of being right hooked though!

    Ah yes, I wondered who was going to spot that one! If you're filtering left, you'll most likely be in a narrow gap if someone left-hooks you, whereas if you're filtering on the right, then you have a whole lane in which to react and manouver, and you have far more escape options.
    Oh yes, that will be lane with traffic heading TOWARDS you. Not very safe to swerve in front of them is it?
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  • SewinmanSewinman Posts: 2,131
    I am sure you are all correct, but I feel much safer filtering on the left. If you get it wrong passing on the right - its going to be very wrong.
  • bails87bails87 Posts: 13,317
    spen666 wrote:
    rml380z wrote:
    spen666 wrote:
    rml380z wrote:
    Oh yes, filter on the right; given the choice, I'd always filter on the right. It's safer, you usually have more space than on the left, it's where car drivers expect motorbikes to be so they check slightly more, less chance of being left-hooked, no parked cars, no passenger car doors opening, no pedestrians stepping of the kerb without looking.
    Far more chance of being right hooked though!

    Ah yes, I wondered who was going to spot that one! If you're filtering left, you'll most likely be in a narrow gap if someone left-hooks you, whereas if you're filtering on the right, then you have a whole lane in which to react and manouver, and you have far more escape options.
    Oh yes, that will be lane with traffic heading TOWARDS you. Not very safe to swerve in front of them is it?

    Assuming there's one lane going each way, if a car you're overtaking turns right, then surely it'll be turning into the lane with oncoming traffic. Therefore you'd expect the lane to be empty. And even if it's not, the car will block anyone heading towards you from hitting you.
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  • itsbruceitsbruce Posts: 221
    In central London, at least, filtering on the right is much more likely to bring you into conflict with motorcycle couriers. It's not a reason to avoid right-hand filtering altogether but it does make it more chancy.
  • biondinobiondino Posts: 5,990
    Passing on the right puts you in way more situations in which you could be killed*. Passing on the left puts you in way more situations where you have to prepare for the unexpected, left hooks, peds etc.

    I know which I prefer.


    *to explain - anything that could fling you into oncoming traffic could kill you. That's my biggest terror when riding. The speed differential between me and vehicles in my lane is usually 10-15mph tops. Me vs a car coming at me head on - maybe 50-60mph.
  • salsajakesalsajake Posts: 702
    hstiles wrote:
    I feel much safer filtering on the right for the simple reason that there are too many poor drivers with little or no lane discipline and I'm sick of having to suddenly brake or bunny hop onto the kerb to avoid getting hit by some idiot that has suddenly stopped concentrating and is veering towards to the kerb.

    I suspect from your post that you might be riding a bit aggressively in traffic - motorists do move about a bit and have a right to, make sure you ride with anticpation of hazards and at an appropriate speed, or if they are squeezing and chopping you up, sounds like you need to take more of the road yourself and not be in the gutter. I think its safst to think of filtering as a privilege on a bike because it is narrow, but shouldn't be taken as a right where everyone should get out and stay out of our way. Also, what happens if someone veers to the right when you are on the right? I am very cautious around slow moving traffic, but as soon as it stops and I have worked out my route to the front, then I speed up. Again counter-intuitive, but makes sense - a stationary car isn't much of a hazard.
  • SimonAHSimonAH Posts: 3,730
    On the right every time.

    The biggest problem with on the left is that car drivers never consider being overtaken by bicyles, it doesn't even occur to them that anything could be moving faster than them on the left and they just do not look. They are however used to looking right because they are regularly overtaken by motorcycles.

    I've got back into biking just over a year ago and started left hand filtering and on two heart stopping occasions I have been watching my gap to the curb narrow to zero as I'm shoulder barged by a people carrier and had to slap the side of the vehicle to gain attention and avoid death.

    So I've said 'sod it' and now ride my bike the way I ride my motorcycles (was a motorcycle courier in London many years ago. I dominate lanes on the approaches to roundabouts and junctions, filter on the right and basically only ride in the 1/5 over on the lane position if I'm happy it's safe for a vehicle to overtake me.

    I don't much care if this is seen as agressive riding - I'm shifting at traffic speed not pootling and feel 150% safer. I don't however RLJ and indicate wherever possible so I've only been honked at once or twice when some idiot thinks it's their right to overtake me twn metres from a roundabout.

    SOrry if I've gone a little OT here.... :oops:
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  • mudcoveredmudcovered Posts: 725
    SimonAH wrote:
    On the right every time.

    The biggest problem with on the left is that car drivers never consider being overtaken by bicyles, it doesn't even occur to them that anything could be moving faster than them on the left and they just do not look. They are however used to looking right because they are regularly overtaken by motorcycles.
    +1. In the scenarios where you are concerned about oncoming traffic creating a lack of space you shouldn't be filtering anyway and in the middle of the road you a have a chance to see it coming and tuck into a gap until the hazard has passed.

    If you filter on the left a car might tuck into the kerb unexpectedly for a vehicle filtering in the center of the road as well as lane drift issues. That + the left hook/pedestrian issues make it not worth thinking about.
    If you filter on the right it has been my experience that cars in either direction will often actually make space for you :)

    Mike
  • salsajakesalsajake Posts: 702
    SimonAH wrote:
    On the right every time.

    The biggest problem with on the left is that car drivers never consider being overtaken by bicyles, it doesn't even occur to them that anything could be moving faster than them on the left and they just do not look. They are however used to looking right because they are regularly overtaken by motorcycles.

    I've got back into biking just over a year ago and started left hand filtering and on two heart stopping occasions I have been watching my gap to the curb narrow to zero as I'm shoulder barged by a people carrier and had to slap the side of the vehicle to gain attention and avoid death.

    So I've said 'sod it' and now ride my bike the way I ride my motorcycles (was a motorcycle courier in London many years ago. I dominate lanes on the approaches to roundabouts and junctions, filter on the right and basically only ride in the 1/5 over on the lane position if I'm happy it's safe for a vehicle to overtake me.

    I don't much care if this is seen as agressive riding - I'm shifting at traffic speed not pootling and feel 150% safer. I don't however RLJ and indicate wherever possible so I've only been honked at once or twice when some idiot thinks it's their right to overtake me twn metres from a roundabout.

    SOrry if I've gone a little OT here.... :oops:

    sounds like you ride sensibly to me - I too thought people would think I was being aggressive by dominating the road, but most people accept and dare I say actually seem to understand it. The people that blast at you are the ones who would have ran you off the road if you were over to the left!
  • tjwoodtjwood Posts: 328
    mudcovered wrote:
    SimonAH wrote:
    On the right every time.

    The biggest problem with on the left is that car drivers never consider being overtaken by bicyles, it doesn't even occur to them that anything could be moving faster than them on the left and they just do not look. They are however used to looking right because they are regularly overtaken by motorcycles.
    +1. In the scenarios where you are concerned about oncoming traffic creating a lack of space you shouldn't be filtering anyway and in the middle of the road you a have a chance to see it coming and tuck into a gap until the hazard has passed.

    If you filter on the left a car might tuck into the kerb unexpectedly for a vehicle filtering in the center of the road as well as lane drift issues. That + the left hook/pedestrian issues make it not worth thinking about.
    If you filter on the right it has been my experience that cars in either direction will often actually make space for you :)

    Mike

    Absolutely agree with both of you.

    It might seem counter-intuitive but oncoming traffic isn't that much of a risk. The drivers of oncoming vehicles can see you, and you can see them. In the few cases where you are overtaking with oncoming traffic close to you, it will be moving slowly or not at all, and you can often even make eye contact with the driver.
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