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Bikes, lights and left tunrs

calonukcalonuk Posts: 78
edited May 2011 in Commuting chat
My wife just told me of an incident that happened to her a few days ago.
She had been first car waiting for red lights to change and had been indicating for the left turn on the junction. A cyclist then decided to underpass on the left and sit also at the red light. Now my wife being my wife kindly waited for cyclist to go before turning left.
Now me personally would never underpass a car that was indicating to turn left at a red light and told my wife that if i had been driving would of reiterated this fact to the cyclist very loudly !

Am i wrong in thinking that the cyclist should never of done this as it could result in very flat bike and cyclist .


  • This is a tricky one. If there was an ASL then the bike should be in the ASL, in front of the car. There is nothing wrong, IMHO, with filtering on the left per se, its how you communicate to the traffic around you by your actions/positioning. The cyclist could have been going left. If it was me I would have moved up past the car even if there wasnt an ASL to make it clear I was going straight on. Unfortunately the highway code and the design of many bike lanes actually suggests cyclists should filter left even when they are going straight on.

    I would never filter there if it was a high vehicle such as a lorry, they might not see you (asssuming they bothered to look), but with a car its not hard to make eye contact and make the driver aware you are there.

    Having said all that, sometimes its better to take primary behind the lead car even if they aren't signalling, not everyone is as considerate as your wife...
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  • calonukcalonuk Posts: 78
    No ASL on the road. and the cyclist went straight on, if filtering left then i agree that would be fine. To go straight ahead when a People carrier who was clearly indicating left is sitting there just suggests an accident waiting to happen.

    I am now a little confused if no ASL why is it ok to pass the lead car and go in front of them?
  • bails87bails87 Posts: 12,999
    So did the cyclist sit in front of the car or to the side of it? If in front then I don't see a problem. If they stopped next to the car then that's a bit foolish by the cyclist. did they go straight on or left? Were they following a cycle lane?

    And have you checked to make sure your rear indicators are working? :wink:

    What do you think the cyclist did wrong?

    Edit: you posted as I was writing that.

    "As I said last time, it won't happen again."
  • SimonAHSimonAH Posts: 3,730
    Even with no ASL there is almost always enough space to get ahead of the traffic queue (where this is ahead of the line then fine, I don't consider it an RLJ if you stop). Even so the sitch described by the OP sounds like lethal stupidity to me.
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  • HebdenBikerHebdenBiker Posts: 787
    This is a no-brainer IMO.

    In the circumstances described, positioning yourself on the left of a left-turning vehicle is foolhardy and dangerous.

    Furthermore, it shows that the cyclist had completely failed to see the situation from the point of view of the driver. This is something that cyclists often complain of with drivers, when the situation is reversed.
  • bails87bails87 Posts: 12,999
    So the cyclist stopped next to the car while intending to go straight on? That's pretty stupid. stopping in front of the car wouldn't have been.

    "As I said last time, it won't happen again."
  • turnerjohnturnerjohn Posts: 1,069
    hard one to judge without knowing the exact road layout; usually with an ASL it wouldn't be a problem. If the cyclist stopped next to the car thats dangerous as your wife may not have seen them. Stopping right in front of the car would have presented themselves to the driver. If their turning left this would see acceptable, however if their going straight on they need to cut the car up; not sensible !
    Also depends how quick off the mark the cyclist is / can be. I usually storm off the lights leaving the cars stagnent way they would catch me before the bend and as Im ahead they have perfect visibility of me on the bike....not saying its perfect and every junction is different but it works for me round London.
  • shouldbeinbedshouldbeinbed Posts: 2,660
    This is a no-brainer IMO.

    In the circumstances described, positioning yourself on the left of a left-turning vehicle is foolhardy and dangerous.

    Furthermore, it shows that the cyclist had completely failed to see the situation from the point of view of the driver. This is something that cyclists often complain of with drivers, when the situation is reversed.

    this. particularly last bit. Yet another arrogant cyclist who assumes a god given right to be at the front of any queue regardless of prevailing traffic.

    how many times will we see on here a driver slated for not waiting 10-20 seconds for a safer overtake opportunity with the claim 'what is so urgent they couldn't wait' yet hypocritically are far more tolerant of ignorant gits on bikes that do exactly the same in queues. Bullying their way all the way to the front of a queue regardless of whether it woud be more sensible and safe to wait where they joined it or filter up to a gap/spot nearer the front to safely drop in without immediate danger of being left hooked or just assuming that everyone else will wait as you're more vulnerable or morally superior or in a hurry or whatever self jsutification you wish to use to usurp someone elses right of way.

    I get filtering and do it myself but not to the point of potential danger or being deliberately ignorant and bullying people out of my way.

    I can see the point on checking the indicator is working but every single time I'm out riding or driving I see plenty of people who simply don't bother indicating or indicate at the very last last minute or not for one junction and then do for another. As a cyclist you're stupid if you assume that not indicating means not turning especially at a left hook opportunity.

    Bugbeas of mine.
  • prj45prj45 Posts: 2,208
    I generally don't filter left past vehicles that are indicating left sitting at junctions, unless it's clear the car's not going to be able to move for a while and I can get in front of it into an ASL for instance.

    Yeah, bad manners otherwise, but frankly if said vehicle driver squashes cyclist then it's clear they're not making the proper checks before they move their vehicle..
  • jonny_trousersjonny_trousers Posts: 3,588
    But would you filter along the left if the car was not indicating at all? It would be fair to assume they were planning to drive straight on right, but on my route it is very common for drivers to only indicate as they are moving off or not at all, even if they do then turn left. I'm with the get-ahead-of-the traffic-to-make-yourself-obvious-even-if-that means-crossing-a-white-line camp (I very often have to do that even if there is an ASL as it is usually blocked with traffic). I also agree with OB regarding not going anywhere near high vehicles.

    It's probably worth reminding ourselves that not every motorist is at fault and that the vast majority of cyclists have very little road sense.
  • Everyone sometimes makes mistakes (it wasn't an HGV etc etc ) and this seems to be a bit of a grey area, the above posts being examples - fortunately your wife was driving which meant that said cyclist wasn't subject to a loud berating from some bloke in a people carrier further down the road.(you would have had to wait till then to know they were going straight on)

    I can just imagine cyclist returning home - " some bloke in an mpv was screaming at me - and I stopped at the red light"
  • I normally don't worry about getting to the front of the queue but I got it wrong today - I thought there was an ASL but there wasn't so I overrode the line just to keep out of danger.

    But my general rule is that my life's worth more to me than a couple of coffin-lengths gained at the lights.
  • ConfusedboyConfusedboy Posts: 287
    Left filtering is bloody scary and I don't unless I can see there is plenty of room and know that the lights are not going to change while I do it. Even then you have to be able to stop in an instant if a car passenger, generally a type of road user even less aware of thier surroundings than peds, suddenly decides they are going to get out of the left side of the vehicle. If there is no ASL, or some taxi driving git has occupied it, I get right up to the line as far in front of his driving position as possible and look around to establish eye contact, turn my handlebars noticeably to the right, and aim to get away directly into his path when the lights change. This sounds counterintuitive, but he will see you and not wish to scratch his vehicle on you. He will also appreciate your clearing out of his path to his right if he is turning left, and you can easily enough move left out of his way if he is going straight on. You can never ever assume that any vehicle will not try to turn left without having registered your existence, and need to protect yourself.

    My advice to novices or those who are not completely confident in traffic would be to not ever left filter, and to regard both indications and the lack of them with suspicion in the case of an upcoming opportunity to turn left. Unfortunately, novices are encouraged by bike lanes which lead to ASLs to left filter, a manoevre at least as dangerous as a right turn in traffic. No driver should ever left hook a cyclist; it is classic 'driving without due care and attention', but in the real world they do, and I am not someone who wants to be both in the right and in my coffin at the same time for the same reason....

    The sensible thing in many cases is to take your place in the queue; after all if you want to be treated as traffic, you should behave like traffic. Take the primary line, dead centre of the lane, where the driver behind can see you, unless the vehicle in front is a van/truck/bus whose driver cannot see you in his driving mirror. In that case, get out to it's right so that you can see the driver's face in hisright hand side wing mirror.

    In the case of the OP's wife, it sounds like she was fortunately aware of an inexperienced cyclist who had put himself at risk without even being aware of it.
  • prj45prj45 Posts: 2,208
    But would you filter along the left if the car was not indicating at all?

    Yes, with great care, but always watching for signs that the driver may turn, and assuming they will do so basically.
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