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Road positioning advice needed

theslowonetheslowone Posts: 57
edited July 2011 in Commuting general
I would like to ask some advice regarding road positioning. I regularly find myself in a potentialy dangerous situation. Duing a time of heavy trafic leaving work I travel down a straight road, the trafic is moving at approx 10mph ie. not as fast as me. I feel safer overtaking on the outside, until the traffic starts to accelerate I then find myself in the centre of the road being undertaken by cars moving at maybe 30mph. It goes without saying that it is rare for a driver to hold back and let me in. Should I just allow them to undertake knowing that they will slow again or should I try to "filter" into the trafic to resume my prefered normal riding position (approx 2.5m from the kerb). Of course the other option is just to match my speed to the traffic and not overtake, I Know that my road riding skills need some improvement I have cyclecraft on order, advice appreciated.


  • ThatBikeGuyThatBikeGuy Posts: 394
    By all means filter through traffic if you are travelling at a faster speed. Just pay attention to to the traffic ahead and as soon as the traffic picks up pace do a shoulder check and make a clear arm signal to the left, the driver behind should hopefully let you through.
    Cannondale SS Evo Team
    Kona Jake CX
    Cervelo P5
  • theslowonetheslowone Posts: 57
    Thanks. Now that you say it its sounds obvious but most of my commute is on back roads so I maybe have lacked the experience, and threfore confidence needed to ride in trafic :oops: In fact I occasionaly change my route to use a cycle path and avoid this situation entirely, though that brings with it kerbs, broken glass, BSOs, joggers etc. As long as I know that I am on the right track with passing traffic on the outside I will continue and hopfully confidence and awareness will improve. Besides there is a definate smugness that you get from moving faster than the traffic, or is that just me.
  • MichaelWMichaelW Posts: 2,226
    +1 on looking ahead and adjusting position.
    If you want to cut back to the inside, make sure you get eye contact with the driver behind. Dont cut infront of high vehicles, you will be out of sight.
    Be very careful filtering alongside long vehicles on the inside or outside.
    Be very aware that cars come in and out of sideroads and are not expecting cyclists to filter through slow traffic.
    If a car does turn across you when you are filtering, the legal situation is that if you are on the outside, YOU are in the right, if you are filtering up the inside you do NOT have automatic right of way.
  • beverickbeverick Posts: 3,461
    It's all about timing, matching your speed to that of other road users and 'surfing' the gaps between them.

    Assuming you are already in the overtaking position (ie to the offside of queing vehicles) concentrate in the distance and try to identify the spot on the road where vehicles begin to accelerate. Depending on the speed of the traffic this may be as far as 10 or 15 vehicles in front of you. I'll refer to this as the 'acceleration point'

    If you look closely you'll then see how the increase in speed appears to spread like a wave back down the queue towards you but you will also note that for slow moving traffic, and in general, the 'acceleration point' remains static in relation to the road surface - ie vehicles will generally accelerate at the same point on the road.

    However, in stationary traffic vehicles the acceleration point is where the vehicle has stopped.

    As you approach the acceleration point you have one of two options:

    1) Assuming you can keep up with traffic at the higher speed aim to align yourself with a gap to your near-side as you approach the acceleration point - this will proably mean slowing down to match the traffic flow. As the gap opens up, you can then position more to your near-side to rejoin the flow of traffic - your road position is usually all you need to indicate your intention. Keep concentrating in the distance and then, depending on how long for, and how quickly traffic is accelerating or maintaining a higher speed, either stay directly in front of the driver's eyeline, move further to the near-side to allow traffic to overtake or move back out into an overtaking position.

    2) Assuming you can't keep up with traffic at the higher speed, or if you intend to turn off to the near-side as traffic speeds up, as you approach the acceleration point choose a suitably large gap where you can filter directly to the near-side before traffic to your left increases.

    It's an art and the aim is to be able to position seemlessly anywhere between the overtaking position and a 'normal' near-side riding position. The science is spotting the acceleration point and reacting to it.

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