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Stationary traffic - which side to pass?

rodgers73rodgers73 Posts: 2,626
edited September 2010 in Commuting general
I'm never sure whether to pass stationary queueing traffic on the right hand side, ie riding on the white line down the middle of the road, or weave down the left side between the gutter and the passenger doors, sometimes diverting on to the pavement.

Is there some sort of rule here???

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  • nwallacenwallace Posts: 1,465
    Offside
    Filtering is essentially overtaking anyway and that has to be done offside (undertaking is careless or inconsiderate driving unless it occurs naturally as part of traffic flow)
    People expect stuff passing on the offside, not the nearside as well.

    And your
    weave down the left side between the gutter and the passenger doors, sometimes diverting on to the pavement.
    says enough about why it's the wrong thing to do.
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  • spen666spen666 Posts: 17,709
    The sensible rider would use judgement for each situation. In some instances it is safer to filter down the outside, in others, the inside is safer.

    It depends on the road layout, traffic conditions etc.

    Whatever you decide in a particular situation there is danger
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  • No rules apart from the usual one ref use of pavement.
    Personally, I nearly always use the offside but there is one local stretch where for some reason near or fully stationary cages tend to range right out to the centre white line. No idea why it happens there except I s'pose drivers aim for the centre so it tends to leave a yawning door gap on the nearside. I often use that.
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  • Personally, I nearly always use the offside

    Yep, same here, I really don't like riding in the gutter.
    daylight versus night time can change the picture too.

    I couldn't agree more, be *very* careful filtering down the offside in the dark. Even the brightest lights will get lost in a row of car head lights.

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  • It sounds more correct to go along the middle of the road, but I feel much more vulnerable there than on the pavement side. It feels like there is more risk of a car turning right that would never think to check for anything coming that side, particularly in a line of stationary traffic, and you would not see them indicating if it was bumper-to-bumper until you were on top of them. At least on the pavement side, the driver will make a predictable turn to the left as soon as he has reached the turning, rather than waiting for traffic to clear.

    Also, on a narrow road, you are putting yourself almost in the path of oncoming traffic when you filter on the right, with nowhere to go if a lorry comes along and doesn't stop.
  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    For me, it depends on the road. I agree that it's similar to overtaking, but there are certain roads where drivers clearly do not look before turning right (and therefore right-hooking you). The Lower Richmond Road is a classic example of that on my commute.

    Also, there are certain roads where scooters and motorbikes coming the other way often veer onto our side of the road.
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  • thel33terthel33ter Posts: 2,684
    Depends on the road and cars for me, normally I don't go past them unless it's a big queue, but when I do I normally go for the inside as it just works better on my commute.
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  • shm_ukshm_uk Posts: 683
    In stationary traffic I just filter down whichever side of the queue has the room to get my bike through :)
  • I have to say that I generally just judge it when I get there. There are many occasions where you simply don't have a choice.

    The number of times I'm approaching a line of traffic and a car will just past me and then pull in as close to the curb as possible is untrue. Do they not think 'ah I'll just leave enough room for that guy on the bike to come past'........erm.....NO.
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  • asprillaasprilla Posts: 8,440
    cjcp wrote:
    For me, it depends on the road. I agree that it's similar to overtaking, but there are certain roads where drivers clearly do not look before turning right (and therefore right-hooking you). The Lower Richmond Road is a classic example of that on my commute.

    Oddly on LRR I tend to pass on the right when heading west-east and on the left when going east-west. Strange.

    Might be something to do with the traffic at the times when I use that road, but I just find it better to do it that way.
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  • rhextrhext Posts: 1,639
    +1 for use judgement. Mostly I'll use the offside: it feels a bit strange to start with, but has a number of advantages:

    1) Much less chance of getting doored.

    2) You can see traffic movement a long way ahead, and it's dead easy to slot back in when your side starts up again. If you're on the inside, it's not uncommon for cars to start moving without realising you're on their inside, and the next thing you know they're drifting in towards the gutter....

    3) You can usually keep up a much higher speed.

    4) On long lines of traffic, you can absolutely guarantee that someone will be parked with their wheels in the gutter and you'll have to stop and shuffle round if you're on the inside.
  • I use offside, tend not to use the gutter. Cars first response to anything is usually to pull into the gutter.

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  • generally i'd be going where the largest gap is. If single lane traffic usually that's gutter side down here in cardiff but I'm sure that's different in London/Birmingham and big roads and junctions.

    just use your judgement and how you feel more comfortable
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  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    asprilla wrote:
    cjcp wrote:
    For me, it depends on the road. I agree that it's similar to overtaking, but there are certain roads where drivers clearly do not look before turning right (and therefore right-hooking you). The Lower Richmond Road is a classic example of that on my commute.

    Oddly on LRR I tend to pass on the right when heading west-east and on the left when going east-west. Strange.

    Might be something to do with the traffic at the times when I use that road, but I just find it better to do it that way.

    Know what you mean. I tend to do both depending on whether there's a bus or truck ahead west -> east, but never on the way home.
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  • pst88pst88 Posts: 632
    I'd agree with which ever side had the most space available. Be especially careful at junctions when coming up the inside because cars will occasionally leave a gap to let cars coming in the opposite direction turn right across your path who may not see you till it's too late. If you're on the outside they'll see you earlier and you'll see them so can plan ahead better.
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  • Like others said - it really depends. If there were hard rules for these things they'd be a lot more accidents. Knowing the traffic light phasings determines my decision making more than anything else.
    Certainly in London the inside is often choked with absolute numpties in the gutter with a deathwish, so it's safer and definitely faster to stay offside and out of the wobbly dayglo peloton, irrespective of motorised traffic!
  • Nearly caught a cyclist moving up the curbside with the car door when my passenger decided to get out in standing traffic. On the inside you are never sure what the motorist or passengers may do. Drivers expect action on the right hand side of the car and will (hopefully) check their mirror. My experience on the bike is that they are certainly more aware of you on this side. How safe you feel depends on observation, timing, traffic and road conditions.
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