Author Topic: Asserting your road space...  (Read 1116 times)

Asserting your road space...
« on: September 17, 2019, 02:16:46 pm »
It seems to increasingly annoy me when drivers behave dangerously, and I'm pretty sure I'm becoming more 'enthusiastic' in asserting my road space.

Just thinking about all this because the other day I had, on a clear B-road, the 'classic' oncoming cars then vehicle heard approaching from behind, with engine note suggesting they were simply going to close pass at speed.  I thought...should I move out and just take the lane - no, too close, too fast..would be like 'blocking' them..probably dangerous...maintain strong secondary, so in the end, I did a fairly rapid right-turn arm signal just before they did close pass me, to make a point.  Not sure what my signal achieved. 

I quite often find myself doing exaggerated 'arm out for a mitt nosewipe', as cars approach from behind, to make myself 'wider'...  I hear some people say they always take the lane, but I tend to stick in a strongish secondary, and take the lane in pinch points/slowish in both directions traffic.  It's a bit depressing to think that probably nothing will change and close passes are a fact of life...

Anyway how 'militant' are you?  Examples of successful 'tactics' being employed?

Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.  EOW.

Re: Asserting your road space...
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2019, 03:19:47 pm »
Anyway how 'militant' are you?  Examples of successful 'tactics' being employed?

Lots of traffic islands round here, leaving not really enough room for a bike and car side-by-side.

I must admit that when approaching one I tend to introduce a slight wobble in my trajectory just to make sure that any cars behind me aren't tempted to try an overtake until we're past it.  It doesn't stop the occasional idiot driving on the wrong side of the island to get past, like yesterday's Audi.

Redlight

  • Enjoying life in the slow lane
Re: Asserting your road space...
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2019, 03:57:26 pm »
A lot of the side roads where I live have cars parked down both sides, with occasional enforced gaps, and just one lane in the middle. Car drivers generally seem to cope with that, with a bit of common sense and courtesy, but a large number seem to take exception to giving way to a bicycle, even if it is already coming down the road when they join it. As a driver, I've had people aggressively overtake me when I've stopped to give way to a cyclist and as a cyclist one has to be pretty determined not to be bullied on to the pavement.  I had one guy today pull out from a parking space and drive towards me, presumably thinking I would vanish. Eventually he reversed - further back than the space he had pulled out of.
Between the Disney abattoir and the chemical refinery

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Asserting your road space...
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2019, 05:50:40 pm »
Anyway how 'militant' are you?  Examples of successful 'tactics' being employed?

I'm conflict-avoidant to a fault, but will claim road space where necessary for safety.

Tactics that appear to be helpful:

- Going fast
- Unusual bikes
- Wobbling
- Looking pointedly at some hazard on your nearside as you avoid it - "I'm not holding you up intentionally, I'm just avoiding this shark-infested pothole."
- Spinning a higher cadence uphill - "Look, I'm trying!"
- Holding an unambiguous line towards the gap between the speed cushions, rather than allowing oncoming drivers to encroach on your side of the road and bully you into the bump.

In general I tend to cultivate a strong secondary, usually somewhere around where a car's left wheel track will pass.  This works well at pinch-points as it's clear there's no room for a stupid overtake, but you're not guilty of "riding in the middle of the road".
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Asserting your road space...
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2019, 06:02:08 pm »
I'll hold a position to stop a close overtake, then move back left when there's plenty of room for them to get past. I also deploy the wobble technique on occasions.  I'll hold my position if someone moves into a bit of "single track" I'm already occupying. It's not being militant it's asserting your rights on the road and keeping safe.

Re: Asserting your road space...
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2019, 06:03:47 pm »
drive towards me, presumably thinking I would vanish. Eventually he reversed - further back than the space he had pulled out of.
Shortly after a corner in a narrow lane I had that approach from the woman driver of a bloat-mobile.  We both had to stop.  She invited me to retrace to a field gateway, which I declined pointing out to her that had she pulled to the left by a foot or so there would not have been a problem and also she was the one with a reverse gear not me.

telstarbox

  • Loving the lanes
Re: Asserting your road space...
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2019, 06:32:04 pm »
If a driver has held back behind me for a while e.g. uphill on a blind bend then I'll try to give them a "thanks" wave - costs me nothing and hopefully encourages them to keep doing that thing.
2019 🏅 R1000 and B1000

CrazyEnglishTriathlete

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Re: Asserting your road space...
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2019, 06:36:37 pm »
Being 188cm tall and 85kg has some advantages, in creating a bigger and more threatening physical presence.  Look them straight in the eyes and pedal furiously.  The predominantly pink colour in my club kit also seems to help.
Eddington Numbers 125 (imperial), 168 (metric) 518 (furlongs)  111 (nautical miles)

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
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Re: Asserting your road space...
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2019, 08:35:59 pm »
I take the middle through restrictions and traffic islands, anything else is an incitement for drivers to squeeze past. You may as well attach a billboard to the back of your bike announcing 'come on, there's LOADS of room!' I'd rather they be annoyed than I be injured or dead through a slight miscalculation on their part.

The streets near me are packed with parked cars on one side and to be honest, they're the worst roads to cycle on (not much fun to drive on, for that matter), combined with the fact they're often (and pointlessly) used as rat runs (the main road is always going to be faster, you are going to meet something coming the other way). This morning some idiot was revving behind me until she finally got to roar past. And then stop at the end of the road, whereupon I – as usual – overtook her. Often, to be honest, I'll wave a car past, it's less hassle than having the prolonged proctological annoyance. There's usually a festival of giving way for approaching cars, I have noted that generally when we're in the car, people will acknowledge you giving way to them (sometimes there are entire politeness battles, no you go first, no you...). On a bike, if I give way, it's fifty-fifty I'll get blanked, presumably because my transport choice has rendered me subhuman. Some cars will simply come at you in the expectation you'll lose an entire dimension, I'll hold my ground if safe, but sometimes discretion is indeed the better part of valour.

I pull out way before overtaking parked cars, buses etc. and take the lane otherwise I find that approaching cars will still attempt to overtake even though it's clear I'm doing the same. I've tried to mini-indication to show I'm about to do this, and to be honest, it seems to encourage them to try a bit harder to overtake, like waving a red flag at a bull while calling its mum a cow.
!nataS pihsroW

Re: Asserting your road space...
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2019, 08:51:29 pm »
Having been overtaken by a minicab which was way too close, I shouted out 'How close?' before I (inevitably) caught up with him at the next set of lights.
The lights changed and I took the centre of the lane through the next traffic island.
As the car passed me I was treated to the sound of FAAAAARRRKKK YOU, YOU FARRRKIN KAAAAAAAAN!!!!!
Not from the driver, but from his fare.
Proper heart seziure stuff  :thumbsup:

To answer the OP's question, I shoulder check and pull into the centre of the lane at all pinch points.

On the other hand, there's one really shitty crossing I have to negotiate, of a main road in Hackney on my homebound commute, where I've decided that it is safer for me to deploy the 24 inch gear, and cross the road on foot.

It works, and it is quicker and safer. I see no shame in that. I'll still be home before most of the cagers are.

Being assertive, or the alternative of having someone feeding me soup for the rest of my life, without me being aware that I'm being fed soup, doesn't really cut it for me.

Basil

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Re: Asserting your road space...
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2019, 10:09:59 pm »
Years of cycling in Brum, much as everyone else has said up thread.  Strong secondary and taking control of pinch points.  Primary on the car line on roundabouts.  But now here, it's very different.  Firstly, people here have much less experience with cyclists.  This can result in either Kim's wtf factor and careful passing, or ignorant disregard with dangerous close passing, in roughly equal proportions.  Primary on the lanes until I hear the vehicle slowing, at which point I'll move over or even stop if that seems sensible.  As someone mentioned elsewhere, Ceredigion is mostly uphill so on long narrow climbs I pull in and stop as soon as I can.
On left hand curves I use primary++ to give earlier sight of me to traffic approaching from behind. Dive left when I hear the engine note change.
Tractors.  They're at work.  In their office.  They won't be stopping.
Hay making.  When the contractors are about, stay at home and do some gardening.
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quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Asserting your road space...
« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2019, 12:28:43 am »
Anyway how 'militant' are you?  Examples of successful 'tactics' being employed?

Pretty damn militant. Enough to over take over a dozen cyclists at a single junction...

Enough to leave a dent in a Merc that came out too far into the fietspad.

Even cycling in the Netherlands, close passes are common, especially in rural areas, the advantage of being a bit further out is you have some space to move right a bit to give yourself some space.

Riding with ACME last week (In Brabant) I did kinda stare down (then shout into the window of), the car coming towards us, trying to over take an over grown golf cart, stuck behind some other cyclists. The BMW in question seemed to be oblivious to the oncoming ACME pelaton.

I'm trying to find the line between preserving my own life, driving the point home that this road is as much mine as anyone elses, and not giving cyclists a bad name...

Now was that light green, or cherry green...

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
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Marco Stefano

  • Apply some pressure, you lose some pressure...
Re: Asserting your road space...
« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2019, 11:05:58 am »

The streets near me are packed with parked cars on one side and to be honest, they're the worst roads to cycle on (not much fun to drive on, for that matter), combined with the fact they're often (and pointlessly) used as rat runs (the main road is always going to be faster, you are going to meet something coming the other way). This morning some idiot was revving behind me until she finally got to roar past. And then stop at the end of the road, whereupon I – as usual – overtook her. Often, to be honest, I'll wave a car past, it's less hassle than having the prolonged proctological annoyance. There's usually a festival of giving way for approaching cars, I have noted that generally when we're in the car, people will acknowledge you giving way to them (sometimes there are entire politeness battles, no you go first, no you...). On a bike, if I give way, it's fifty-fifty I'll get blanked, presumably because my transport choice has rendered me subhuman. Some cars will simply come at you in the expectation you'll lose an entire dimension, I'll hold my ground if safe, but sometimes discretion is indeed the better part of valour.

This sums up my experience here. My response to being blanked is usually sarcastic, 'It's alright, I always stop here...', but I acknowledge any acknowledgement of my giving way, and also try to signal approval of a driver's courtesy of waiting behind me for a safe overtake - I try to encourage the sharing aspect.

I also have the fun of a similar relationship on the river, with me in a single scull and Bloody Cambridge* in eights, or much worse, in pairs (think Audi being driven with the driver facing backwards, not looking round and steering erratically, and that's how safe it feels). Avoidance in time & space is recommended.

*official title

Re: Asserting your road space...
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2019, 11:36:40 am »
I have told a couple of people that they passed me far too close and received an apology.   Most are simply unaware of the size of their vehicles.

My most troublesome bit of road is between Downham and Catford where the road is quite wide and leaves drivers assuming there is room for 2 cars and a bike side-by-side and there's not without getting extremely close to the bike on the left.   I do ride a bit further out on that stretch.

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Asserting your road space...
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2019, 11:53:45 am »
I generally don't interface with drivers, but on the few occasions I've politely requested a bit more space, there's a general surprise and 'but I gave you lots of room.' Drivers have little cognisance of what it's like to be passed closely while riding a bike or understanding that a bike and rider may move unpredictably, unlike cars, we can't simply ride over potholes etc and frankly we have no protection if there is a bump. Our paintjob is flesh and bone. And indeed there's a lack of awareness of vehicle size, those Suburban Main Battle Tanks are often driven like they're the Nissan Micra the driver learned in.

That and simple inconsideration and impatience, they have to go first, the number of cars that squeeze by so they can accelerate to the clearly visible line of traffic up the road or junction. It adds nothing to a journey time for them to slow for a moment while a cyclist goes through a restriction but they'll be there behind you revving impatiently. Entirely pointless, even if you – as a driver – are held up a few seconds, you'll make it up in the next acceleration and even if you don't, it's mere seconds added to your journey.

Close and aggressive passing is probably the one thing that puts people off cycling on the road, that and the fact you have to be assertive and ready to take some abuse, which people are reasonably uncomfortable with. I expect anyone who regularly commutes knows the 'stress points' on their route.
!nataS pihsroW

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Asserting your road space...
« Reply #15 on: September 18, 2019, 11:59:33 am »
That and simple inconsideration and impatience, they have to go first, the number of cars that squeeze by so they can accelerate to the clearly visible line of traffic up the road or junction. It adds nothing to a journey time for them to slow for a moment while a cyclist goes through a restriction but they'll be there behind you revving impatiently. Entirely pointless, even if you – as a driver – are held up a few seconds, you'll make it up in the next acceleration and even if you don't, it's mere seconds added to your journey.

As cyclists we keep banging on about this.  It's easy for us, with our superior powers of fatigue-motivated anticipation, but you have to consider it from the perspective of the humble motorist, for whom the universe in front of their vehicle contains  a) a cyclist, holding them up  and  b) that's it.  It's all very well talking about the futility of accelerating towards a queue of traffic, the closing velocity of oncoming vehicles, or the sturdiness of the bollard on that traffic island, but from the driver's perspective none of these things actually exist until the damned bike's out of the way.  (And even if they did, there's still the imperative of Not Holding Up The Driver Behind, lest they be almost as bad as the BloodyCyclist.)
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Asserting your road space...
« Reply #16 on: September 18, 2019, 12:09:28 pm »
My rule of thumb, at least for That London, is that overtaking drivers will give you 1.5x the space you're giving the kerb. In practice that translates to riding about three or four feet out - if there's a cycle lane, then the white line is a useful guide, and if not, it's approximately the left hand wheel track - and getting five or six feet of space. I drift out before pinch points or parked cars, but make a clear move left after them to demonstrate that I'm not "holding up" drivers behind or "getting in their way."

Re: Asserting your road space...
« Reply #17 on: September 19, 2019, 11:42:07 am »
Yes, I normally use the nearside tyre track, and do a pronounced return to secondary position, having taken the lane through a pinch point.

On road sections of solid double white lines, where there are bends or downhill, I started more and more to take the lane.  On bendy sections - 'even if you are thinking about overtaking - hopefully my road positioning will discourage you...', and on downhill sections 'oi motorist, I'm doing an average of 25-30+mph, so btw that's well above <=10mph permitted for overtaking...'
Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.  EOW.

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Asserting your road space...
« Reply #18 on: September 19, 2019, 12:06:01 pm »
That and simple inconsideration and impatience, they have to go first, the number of cars that squeeze by so they can accelerate to the clearly visible line of traffic up the road or junction. It adds nothing to a journey time for them to slow for a moment while a cyclist goes through a restriction but they'll be there behind you revving impatiently. Entirely pointless, even if you – as a driver – are held up a few seconds, you'll make it up in the next acceleration and even if you don't, it's mere seconds added to your journey.

As cyclists we keep banging on about this.  It's easy for us, with our superior powers of fatigue-motivated anticipation, but you have to consider it from the perspective of the humble motorist, for whom the universe in front of their vehicle contains  a) a cyclist, holding them up  and  b) that's it.  It's all very well talking about the futility of accelerating towards a queue of traffic, the closing velocity of oncoming vehicles, or the sturdiness of the bollard on that traffic island, but from the driver's perspective none of these things actually exist until the damned bike's out of the way.  (And even if they did, there's still the imperative of Not Holding Up The Driver Behind, lest they be almost as bad as the BloodyCyclist.)

It's true, as a pedestrian if there's a couple of oldsters blocking my way to the ATM, I get up close behind and start tutting and cursing under my breath. If they don't move, I squeeze by them at the first opportunity. They shouldn't be in my way. If there's a mother with a pushchair in my way, I just grab it and send it careening down the pavement knowing she'll have to chase it. I have shopping to do. I don't have all day, you know.
!nataS pihsroW