Primary position

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  • Last night I was in the middle lane as I approached a junction, because I wished to go straight on when the lights changed.

    The lights were red on my approach, but the car behind was beeping at me to get past, so I waived at the car. At the lights the driver went apeshit, "did you fucking waive at me? you think you own the road? get a life you sweaty tramp, i stopped riding a bike when i was a teenager, i fucked your mum last night...."

    "So do you actually own the road? You are so fat that sitting in your car you are sweating, are you a necrophiliac? my mother is dead, but i fisted yours last night..."

    Clearly my responses to his communications were not appreciated as he pulled over twice to try to get out of his car to hit me, but being a fat retard he could not run fast enough.

    Possibly not my finest hour.

  • I like the "see your mother insult and raise you" attitude.

  • @prancer good to see the cycle instructor.training works , you're managing to pitch your communication better

  • Have emailed the DSA asking for guidance on what I should be saying to instructors. Highway code point 61 & 63 are the key:

    "Use of these facilities is not compulsory and will depend on your experience and skills, but they can make your journey safer."

    &

    "Use of cycle lanes is not compulsory and will depend on your experience and skills, but they can make your journey safer"

    ^good work - look forward to hearing their reply/stance.

    Update, a response:

    Thank you for your email of 25 July.

    This Highway Code applies to England, Scotland and Wales and it is important that all road users are aware of the Code and are considerate towards each other.

    Rules 61 and 63 make it clear that use of cycle facilities or lanes is not compulsory.

    All Approved Driving Instructors (ADI’s) must be registered with the Driving Standards Agency. Instructors are subject to ‘check tests’ every so often. Their instructional ability is assessed and graded. It would be expected that an ADI would have a wide ranging knowledge of the code.

    If this should happen again we can only suggest that you politely remind them of rules 61 and 63 and if this should lead to a similar situation occurring you can ask for their details.

    A fully qualified ADI must display a green badge on the windscreen of the car while teaching. Some trainee driving instructors are given a trainee licence so they can get experience before their qualifying test. They must display a pink badge on the windscreen.

    If this is not forthcoming you should make a note of the vehicle details and any other helpful information and send this with details of your complaint to us at the above address. We will then look into the matter.

    In the case of any threat of assault or abusive behaviour you should also consider reporting this to the Police.

    I hope this is of assistance.

  • Is it a cyclist's right to 'take the lane'?
    yes,
    next

  • Thanks for the update, rhb.

  • Horribly, the dangers of not riding in primary position seem to have been illustrated yesterday


        [http://www.islingtontribune.com/news...­river-arrested](http://www.islingtontrib­une.com/news/2011/aug/cyclist-dies-after­-collision-bus-holloway-road-car-driver-­arrested)
    
  • found this thread by reading that one ^^^
    very sad and very scary.

    i always try to "take the lane" if i can, and let drivers pass me at the next safe break in the parked cars. seems to work ok, other than the occasional pinchy moment on rejoining.

    i do get honked at sometimes, but i have started to be more communicative with waving / thumbs-up / apologising when it's my fault, kind of stuff.

    the main rule with taxis, in my book, is to give them as much space as possible. too many close calls has made me wary. a keen eye for those stickers in the back windows of non-black cabs helps too. and another keen eye for people flagging them down just before they drift suddenly across three lanes of traffic and right into your riding line.

    i know that not all cab drivers are irrational, unpredictable, unobservant etc, but i think it's healthy to establish a mindset where you presume that they might be, and just stay at a safe distance. after all, it's not too easy to concentrate on the finer points of the highway code when you drive for nine hours every day. same goes for saturday night curb-stumblers and boris bike tourists: spot them, and presume they'll do something remarkably stupid. then get as far away from them you can.

  • you gotta wave. thumbs up. smile. etc.

    it's all courtesy. don't stoop to the cunts level.

  • you gotta wave. thumbs up. smile. etc.

    it's all courtesy. don't stoop to the cunts level.

    that's all that's needed, I don't get the lack of courtesy, if someone lets me out in my car when I'm driving they get thanked, same goes on my bike, taxi,car,lorry, sees me signalling , moving out and leaves me room to manoeuvre they get a quick thank you thumbs up, hardly had any issues riding round London doing on average 150+ miles a week. Show respect you'll get some back.

    Most problems I've had are cyclist not paying attention and not signalling and then looking surprised when you say something or they nearly get mown down by a motorised vehicle.

    The idea of giving 'taxi' driver cycle training could go both ways - I really think some cyclists need to learn to drive instead, would give them a glimpse into the daft stuff that goes on whist you're behind the wheel.

  • I have stayed silent all of this time, and thought several times of having private communications with some of the cycle instructors on here, but this is my problem - I just disagree with the Primary Position design and purpose.

    People I massively respect, like Festus, Will, and Oliver all clearly are singing from the same hymn sheet, but somehow (and I have tried), I've failed to agree with it all. I want to understand it, but my experiences and my method of analysis leave me with a conclusion that appears to be opposite to everyone else.

    In essence, I find the Primary Position is not more safe, as I see it, but less. In most situations, and when one can be clearly seen, then yes, its superior. However, in some situations, I fear the worst, for example, when a car is speeding around a blind corner, or over a crest. Would a vehicle then have the time to react quickly enough to a cyclist in the middle of the road in front of them? I don't know. I'd rather not risk it, so I cycle always as far left as possible.

    There is also the psychology of it. Where do most drivers expect to find cyclists in the road? Isn't it on the left? Isn't this reinforced by cycle lanes being on the far left? Wouldn't this subliminally educate drivers that that is the place for cyclists?

    I apologise for my very contrary view, but I just think of it this way - If a driver gets distracted and looks away from the road for a second (which does happen, I'm sure you will all agree), then a cyclist is then in danger from this driver. I don't want to feel secure that an insurance payout will favour me, as the driver may be in charge of an articulated lorry, and the insurance company wouldn't be paying me anything if I were pushing up daisies?

    I'm sure someone will show me how wrong I am, but without meaning to cause contention, I do remember that someone has perished, cycling here in London, and they were in the middle of the road at the time....in broad daylight. I think the I didn't see the cyclist defence has far too much success for me to take the view that cycling in the middle of the lane will always be okay. I am just doubtful is all.

    Please keep in mind that I am a regular commuter (500 miles per month), and used to be a cycle courier for several companies, so I am very comfortable cycling London's streets. What do I need to learn to overcome my negativity?

  • Please keep in mind that I am a regular commuter (500 miles per month), and used to be a cycle courier for several companies, so I am very comfortable cycling London's streets.** What do I need to learn to overcome my negativity?**

    The obvious, ask for a cycle training lesson and see how that work.

  • For me Ed, its more about the theory, than the application. I see exactly how the Primary Position works, and do adopt it if traffic is slow moving. I could adopt it at all times, but I just don't have the faith in drivers to always be aware of my positioning. That is the problem, not how to apply Primary Positioning - I can do that already.

  • The other factors is that there's a lots more to just riding in the centre of the lane (or near it), it's about your risk assessment, riding at a certain speed to allow you enough error room, understanding the limitation of certain senario, positioning yourself accordingly to reduced certain risk for example, blind corner, what do you think would be a good solution? drop speed a bit and move further out so you can see ahead.

    You can't just smack bang on the centre of the lane and hope for the best as Festus said (although better than near the kerbs and hope for the best frankly).

    What about communication? how do you know a drivers is being erratic? so if you don't know, what do you think is the best way to find out?

    I know you can do primary position, but you still worried about it, you questioned it, you wondered about whether it's good to teach in cycle training, so why not take the lesson and see how it work for other? working with a trainer isn't the same as teaching yourself how to do it, there's quite a lots of factor to be considered (even an experienced cyclists were surprised to realised certain trait they had were considered risky).

  • What I find is that the further to the left I ride the closer the cars come as they have to make less of an effort to move the car to avoid the cyclist in the first place. I usually ride at least 1/3 into the lane - usually that's where the vehicles l/h wheels have worn a smooth stripe in the road. I ride a lot of large A roads and some inner city stuff. I always have lights on the bike and as soon as the sun starts to get to a shallow angle where it might dazzle drivers the lights come on, I do the same when I drive a car. I don't want to give anyone the space for excuses so if they do hit me the fault can only be laid on them.

  • Ed, I have very good roadcraft, I promise you that. I look round at drivers behind me when I am about change direction. I also never wear headphones our listen to music, or use my mobile while cycling, because I want 100% of my concentration to be on the road, and on my fellow road users.

    You do make at least one good point Ed, so I may examine it.

    My own safety has never been in question, only my understanding of the risk assessment of the Primary Position design.

  • oz's example show one way of riding in primary - doesn't have to be smack bang on the middle of the lane, just further out enough to be seen by other people, and enough for driver to slow down and wait till it's safe to overtake.

    it also worth noting that oz's positioning won't look, what's the word? imposing, i.e. taking up 'too much space' on the road, to the driver's eyes, it look quite a normal position, unless there's a bicycle lane is when they'll probably honk and shout at you.

  • Ed, I have very good roadcraft, I promise you that. I look round at drivers behind me when I am about change direction. I also never wear headphones our listen to music, or use my mobile while cycling, because I want 100% of my concentration to be on the road, and on my fellow road users.

    If you want 100% concentration, then I would recommended you to put some earplug on, see how you adapt, removing one sense mean you're forced to look back more often because you won't hear says, a car coming from behind, or a cyclists, or a speeding motorcyclists.

    My own safety has never been in question, only my understanding of the risk assessment of the Primary Position design.

    you may claim to have very good roadcraft and I'm not doubting that, thing is, don't you want to have some feedback on how your road behaviour appear to other? some kind of reassurance that what you do is perfectly safe?

    I claim to be perfectly fine, and claim that I do know enough to ride safety without the need of cycle training, in the end I took it because there's no harm in having my own road behaviour assessed by a trained instructor, I was glad that I took it as it made me understand even more about road behaviour more than ever.

  • People I massively respect, like Festus, Will, and Oliver all clearly are singing from the same hymn sheet, but somehow (and I have tried), I've failed to agree with it all. I want to understand it, but my experiences and my method of analysis leave me with a conclusion that appears to be opposite to everyone else.

    Ashe, your post contains a number of the most frequent misunderstandings of cycle training. And yes, you should take a cycle training lesson. Merely thinking about it isn't going to help you understand it. It takes a good instructor to assess you and tailor the training specifically to you. We all do something right and something wrong, and even very experienced cyclists can learn a lot.

    In essence, I find the Primary Position is not more safe, as I see it, but less. In most situations, and when one can be clearly seen, then yes, its superior. However, in some situations, I fear the worst, for example, when a car is speeding around a blind corner, or over a crest. Would a vehicle then have the time to react quickly enough to a cyclist in the middle of the road in front of them? I don't know. I'd rather not risk it, so I cycle always as far left as possible.

    Firstly, and this is one of the things that gets misunderstood most of the time, no-one has ever said that you should always adopt the primary position, just that your own risk assessment may inform you that the pp is appropriate/desirable in a given situation. Perhaps you instinctively already take the pp when it's appropriate--however, you then contradict your assessment that there are situations in which the pp is 'safer' by claiming that you 'cycle always as far left as possible'.

    There is also the psychology of it. Where do most drivers expect to find cyclists in the road? Isn't it on the left? Isn't this reinforced by cycle lanes being on the far left? Wouldn't this subliminally educate drivers that that is the place for cyclists?

    Well, it already has. There's plenty of evidence that where cyclists are marginalised in the carriageway, there are more crashes. A lot of crashes happen because a driver has relied on lazy expectations. As you know, 'sorry, mate, I didn't see you' is the most frequently-heard claim when a driver crashes a car into a person on a bike. This is because when cyclists ride far to the left, in a 'I'm not really here' position, drivers will notice them less easily than if they are in the centre of the lane, where they are clearly visible.

    I'm sure someone will show me how wrong I am, but without meaning to cause contention, I do remember that someone has perished, cycling here in London, and they were in the middle of the road at the time....in broad daylight. I think the I didn't see the cyclist defence has far too much success for me to take the view that cycling in the middle of the lane will always be okay. I am just doubtful is all.
    Tragic crashes have occurred in all sorts of ways, but the most frequent crashes, and often fatal crashes, happen with left-turning vehicles, particularly lorries, at junctions. If you remember to apply primary position thinking to your behaviour in motor traffic queues, you remember to take the lane behind such vehicles and not to pass them, inserting yourself prominently into the traffic stream.

    Please keep in mind that I am a regular commuter (500 miles per month), and used to be a cycle courier for several companies, so I am very comfortable cycling London's streets. What do I need to learn to overcome my negativity?
    Simple, take a lesson, see if the trainer points out something that you didn't already know, and apply it. skydancer trained me ages ago, and while I already knew a fair amount of theory, and I'd cycled around London for ages, I still learned a lot. I should probably go for a refresher sometime soon.

  • Oilver summed it up much better than I did.

  • What Oliver said +1

  • how much is a lesson?

  • Depends where you live. Some boroughs subsidise them or offer them free.

    cycletraining.co.uk/index.php­?pg=100#.TltsxjuLbjM
    or
    tfl.gov.uk/roadusers/cycling/­11689.aspx

    (or tell me which borough you live in)

    ^^^Well put Oliver...can I quote you:?)

  • It takes a good instructor to assess you and tailor the training specifically to you.

    This is a good point Oliver. Sadly, several of the most dangerous cyclists I have ever riden with have been cycle instructors. These are cycle instructors who have applied the theory too rigidly at the expense of over time forgetting how to read the road and traffic appropriately. One of the more dangerous examples of this was an instructor who insisted on taking primary in fast flowing traffic where visibility was extremely limited as GA2G suggested could happen. I watched in horror as several vehicles, travelling at over 40mph, had to drop the anchors to avoid killing this person. This is one example of instances where I have seen cycle instructors put themselves in danger through not adapting the theory to the circumstances they find themselves in.

    Before anybody starts to try to guess which instructors I am talking about, please note that I do know some who are not on this forum or from London. I am also in no way saying that all cycle instructors are dangerous riders, I am talking about a minority.

    Primary position is a very useful tool that I can use when the circumstances mean that it will put me in a safer position. If there is space for me to safely be out of the way on the left I will do so instead.

    Like all safe cycling theories, they must only be used where appropriate rather than as a rule.

  • ^^^Well put Oliver...can I quote you:?)

    You're most welcome. :)

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Primary position

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