Since we've moved on to filtering, I wrote this on my blog last night:
Filtering – the practice of passing a line of stationary traffic on your bike – is often advised as good practice and even officially encouraged with advanced stop lanes and other road markings. But is it?
This thought was brought on by an incident today – I was driving a bunch of frame parts to the powdercoaters so using my car. On a dual carriageway I passed a cyclist, courteously giving him a whole lane. A few hundred yards further on there was a red light. The cyclist approached, and with no other traffic on the road he passed my car and stopped in front. Then, when the light changed I had to pass him again.
No big deal? Yes. But annoying and discourteous. He gained nothing apart from one car length.
When I cycle, I rarely filter – it just seems rude to squeeze past cars which will just have to squeeze past me in a minute. We all, as cyclists, find it silly and annoying when a car squeezes past then gets stuck in the next traffic jam. But cyclists who filter through free-moving traffic do the same thing.
So am I saying one should never filter? No, of course not – one big joy of commuting by bike is that you’re free of traffic jams, able to move at your own pace. But more judgement is a good idea – don’t automatically squeeze to the front of a queue, if we want to be treated like traffic we should behave like it, and that includes being “fair”.