May 19, 2011 at 6:50 pm #74702
I had an unhappy cycling moment today.
There I was, cycling up Shaftesbury Avenue when I was tooted by a woman driver. Actually it wasn’t clear who the driver was actually tooting at because there were three cyclists, me and another on the left hand side, and another cycling on the right hand side of the lane. It’s kind of slow moving up that section anyway due to the lights so I caught up with her. We had a conversation through her closed window.
After unfriendly gesticulating from her she finally wound down the window (with accompanying sigh) to tell me that I’m ‘supposed to be on the left hand side of the road! And that’s why she pressed the horn’. Actually, that’s where I was. I was cycling approx 1 to 1 & 1/2 metres away from the kerb due to the road surface at the far left being really uneven. There was easily enough space for her to pass but I wonder whether I think this was more about her wanting me out of her way. It was a fruitless exercise (as she discovered) because the traffic, buses, and lights will keep her going at a slower pace than I could cycle.
But it left me thinking. Who is right? Do cyclists belong at the left hand side of the road? Or are we allowed full use of the road. I would have happily cycled near the kerb if the road was decent. But it isn’t and it’s easier and safer to cycle a little way in. Do cars own the rights to that part of the road?May 19, 2011 at 6:53 pm #83817May 19, 2011 at 6:54 pm #83818
Sorry – I amended my post while you were typing. Can you explain?May 19, 2011 at 7:02 pm #83819
You were as far to the left as you could safely be, due to road conditions. The fact she had room to overtake is unimportant, but makes her gesticulating and tooting even more absurd. If she couldn’t overtake, you should still hold your line.
Even with perfect road conditions, 1m from the edge of the road is totally acceptable, and encouraged by the highway code.
I would have issue with the guy cycling on the right side of the lane, unless he was turning right. But you were doing exactly the right thing.May 19, 2011 at 7:15 pm #83820
Thank you for explaining. I’ve just checked the highway code and you are right, it says 1m from the kerb or middle of the left hand lane.
What has become clear is how motorists seem to think the only reasonable place for cyclists is on the left hand side. It’s puzzling. Why do motorists think this?
I’ve added a poll.May 19, 2011 at 7:17 pm #83821Quote:Do cars own the rights to that part of the road?
No! But sadly, many think they do (normally with the flawed “road tax” argument). We cycle to the left where safe because frustrating drivers doesn’t normally work out well for us, and is a bit antisocial. But there are times I do ride in the middle of the lane. Bad road conditions, passing parked cars (keeping out of the door zone), approaching traffic islands, queuing traffic or red lights etc etc. I ride in the middle to control the lane, in situations where overtaking would be dangerous. Then, as soon as I can, I move to the left, allow the car to pass, maybe even give them a friendly wave if they’ve been patient!
There’s no advantage to being militant about it, but you have to be assertive. Just ignore any driver who gives you grief about it!May 19, 2011 at 7:20 pm #83822
I try not to antagonise drivers (after all they can do more damage) but there are times when cycling on the far left is not the safest place to cycle. I’m a realist, so I try my best, but it became clear that the driver *really believed* the place for cyclists was on the left, only on the left, and as far left as possible. Odd.May 19, 2011 at 10:19 pm #83823
Positioned courteously to other road users but overridingly maintaining maximum safe position for yourself.May 20, 2011 at 7:06 am #83824
I stay well clear of the gutter and am probably about 1/3 in on my side of the road. I’m part of the traffic and I take my place accordingly. If other road users don’t like that then tough Sounds like you were well placed and just encountered an idiot.May 20, 2011 at 8:12 am #83825May 21, 2011 at 10:48 am #83826
I voted for “anywhere that makes the most sense.” Sometime there are serious dangers on the left (eg potholes) to be avoided. And my visibility is key. I agree with you that most motorists seem to think they own the entire road. It can be very intimidating to hold your ground when you have traffic honking and speeding past you. I wish before handing out driver’s licenses, each individual was required to spend at least 15 minutes on a bicycle in London traffic. Maybe then they would understand just how vulnerable we really are.May 25, 2011 at 12:19 pm #83827
I just wish they’d put cycle lanes in the centre of the road and section them off, with cones or something. That way you can expect to find cycles on the left and the right hand side of the road.May 25, 2011 at 1:05 pm #83828May 25, 2011 at 2:29 pm #83829May 25, 2011 at 4:58 pm #83830
Just saw the video
As for the original post, the driver should only be beeping the horn to make you aware of their presence. Any other reason is against the highway code they seemed to be preaching (incorrectly).
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.