Knocked off for the first time. What can I learn from it?

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  • Knocked off for the first time. What can I learn from it?
  • submarined
    Member

    After 20 odd years of MTB, it’s only taken me 6 months of occasional commutes to get knocked off my new to me road bike
    Queue of static traffic, cycle lane at the edge of the road, me going past traffic in it, guy the other way turning right in a gap in traffic.

    I’m not an angry person, I can see how it’s easily done and that it can be especially hard to see someone on a road bike.

    So, what could I have done to ride more defensively? I saw him coming, I was on the anchors.jist couldn’t stop.

    So, seasoned commuters, any tricks? I guess I need to up my observation, I was wearing a bright blue helmet in broad daylight so not sure I can blame visibility.

    I was going to commute from September, might just stick to trail riding.

    aracer
    Member

    About the only thing I think you can do to prevent that is anticipate it happening and ride slowly enough that you can stop if somebody does pull across.

    Premier Icon cloudnine
    Subscriber

    You need a big **** off flashy light.. even in the day time theres nothing like a bright retina twitching flash to get peoples attention.

    About the only thing I think you can do to prevent that is anticipate it happening and ride slowly enough that you can stop if somebody does pull across.

    This. You can point out that the Highway Code says he should have checked for cyclists before turning right across you, but that’s not going to stop him doing it in the first place.

    Something about being right versus being alive.

    This might sound harsh, but if you can’t identify that as a potentially dangerous situation, and one where you’re likely to come of worse, then yes, maybe you need to reconsider riding on the road.

    Hopefully instead you’ll recognise that, and more importantly other situations as potentially dangerous, and take action to lessen or avoid the risk. Hot tip: in this case it involves riding more slowly.

    Premier Icon dissonance
    Subscriber

    Lights dont always help if you are hidden by cars.
    As aracer says. Generally best to keep speed down when filtering. Especially if its a junction. Harder if a road with just endless drives though.

    nickjb
    Member

    About the only thing I think you can do to prevent that is anticipate it happening and ride slowly enough that you can stop if somebody does pull across.

    This is the way. People will drive across the cycle path exactly as you describe pretty regularly, especially if the driver in the other lane lets them through.

    You need a big **** off flashy light.. even in the day time theres nothing like a bright retina twitching flash to get peoples attention.

    Definitely not this.

    coatesy
    Member

    Assume that a) you are invisible to other traffic, and b) everyone you share the road with is a f***ing idiot that’s out to knock you off, and ride appropriately for those scenarios.

    Premier Icon bigblackshed
    Subscriber

    What can you learn?

    Don’t get knocked off again! It hurts.

    More seriously: Observation, anticipation, filter at a speed you can stop. Oh, assume everyone in a car can or won’t see you and ride defensively at all times.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    Sounds like lights would’ve been useless. Anticipate any gap may well be occupied by a car at any moment. If there’s space consider riding up the outside of traffic, ignoring the cycle lane.

    thecaptain
    Member

    Going up the inside, gap in traffic when passing a side road…it’s a classic danger spot and you simply have to be able to stop. Yes that means going slowly and covering the brakes. Next time a car in the queue will turn on top of you.

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager
    Subscriber

    Yeah that’s one of the most hazardous places to be on the commute – going up the inside of stationary traffic and if someone turns across in a gap they’ll have a very restricted view of you coming up. You can do it, you’ve just got to know the road so when you approach the side street you can slow down and be very aware. Never steam it through here.

    Related position of danger is if you’re going through the lights just off the back of the last car, people waiting to turn right are often very anxious to do so, as the lights are changing, and can cut across v sharply. So either speed up or slow down to avoid being in that position.

    Hope you’re OK. Bike commuting is a great thing so worth persevering with.

    submarined
    Member

    Cheers. Tbh I wasn’t going fast at all. I’d slowed down and was covering the levers. Nobody’s perfect, neither me nor the driver, so I’m more about mitigating risk than apportioning blame.
    In my defence I was going less than 10mph at the time and it wasn’t a side road, it was a driveway, but point taken about observation.

    One thing I’m not trying to be is militant or antagonistic as to me that helps no one. Bright light and all that are all well and good, but I’m not sure they’d have helped or are constructive in the ‘us Vs them’ mentality I’d like to avoid.

    aracer
    Member

    submarined wrote:

    In my defence I was going less than 10mph at the time and it wasn’t a side road, it was a driveway, but point taken about observation.

    I’d probably have been caught out in that case – a turning when filtering is one situation where I will slow right down, but not necessarily for a driveway.

    Premier Icon scaredypants
    Subscriber

    You need a big **** off flashy light.. even in the day time theres nothing like a bright retina twitching flash to get peoples attention.

    [b]ONLY[/b] in daytime IMO – blinding drivers at night is just daft and even if you don’t blind them, it’s really hard to see how far away a single flashing point is.

    OP, shit does just happen sometimes, and even a helmet AND bar mounteed light isn’t always in view to a driver looking “through” a long queue. Some riders would prefer to pass on the outside for pretty much this reason (but then you get the people pulling out from the left and not seeing you, so you can’t win ’em all)

    I think the best bet is to expect poor driving at all opportunities and not try to make decent progress in heavy traffic – budget for that when planning your commute and keep your antennae twitching

    One of the few advantages (from a safety point of view) you have on a bike is that you can see over the top of most cars, so you can usually see if there’s something about to cross your path. If you can’t, slow down.

    In my defence I was going less than 10mph at the time

    Which is too fast if you weren’t able to stop in time.

    There’s a point on my commute where I have to cross a road with usually stationary traffic in one direction. Sometimes I have to go so slowly I can barely stay upright and lean right forward to see if there’s anything coming. But that’s what I have to do to avoid being hit.

    I hope none of this comes across judgemental – good on you for trying to learn from it. Get used the dangers and avoiding them and it’s much less stressful than commuting by car/public transport.

    Premier Icon twistedpencil
    Subscriber

    Depending on the road set up even if there if a cycle lane I’ll filter to the right of traffic, ie in the middle of the road as oncoming cars can see you easier and you can see them better as well.

    Unfortunately you do have to have the mentality that all drivers near you are idiots and ride accordingly, 99% are not but better be prepared for the 1%.

    Take your time recovering and don’t let it knock your confidence.

    Pawsy_Bear
    Member

    Never undertake even on cycle lane. Cycle lanes are dangerous. I ride on the road like other cars and stop when they do. I do use them when safe. You have to ride safe and make the right call. Don’t assume they have seen you, wont stop quickly or wont pull out etc.

    Driving back on m48 towards Severn bridge tonight – roadie being escorted off the motorway. And he was MAMIL. Just for balance 🙂

    thecaptain
    Member

    Multiple driveways is a challenge, but you can still look for gaps in the queue you are riding beside.

    Premier Icon tthew
    Subscriber

    On balance I tend to ride on the outside of a queue as left turner’s on your side can’t wipe you out. But then I got whacked by someone being let out of a side road and turning right, so you still have to be careful and moderate your speed.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    Never undertake even on cycle lane. Cycle lanes are dangerous. I ride on the road like other cars and stop when they do. I do use them when safe. You have to ride safe and make the right call. Don’t assume they have seen you, wont stop quickly or wont pull out etc.

    It’s a good theory, but you often have no choice unless You want to sit in traffic, which is a little pointless. OP – sounds very unlucky, much less you can do with a driveway.

    thecaptain
    Member

    Yeah, I should add that I always filter past queues, cycle lane or no, inside or outside depending on situation. Sitting in the queue would defeat the whole point of riding a bike. But it has to be done carefully.

    edlong
    Member

    I was going to commute from September, might just stick to trail riding.

    Don’t, you’re already learning – it’s going to get easier. Just hope that the lessons can be learnt with less pain.

    You don’t mention injuries or damage so I’m hoping that is because there weren’t any, or nothing significant enough to mention.

    If you’d been going 20-25 mph that would probably be different.

    General advice – assume that if someone could do something stupid that would cause you harm, they will. Then the 1% of the time this happens, you’re ready and expecting it.

    Total hazard scanning, immediate surroundings and as far ahead as you can see. Vehicles and surroundings:

    – passing stationary cars, look at the front wheels – any turned towards you, they are about to pull across your path (assume they’ve not seen you and won’t look)

    – junction approaching? assume someone will pull in or out without warning or indication.

    Add me to the list of people preferring to filter on the outside to the inside – but people being flashed out from side roads across your path are still likely.

    Gaps in the traffic? This is the only thing I can think of in your specific case for learning – for someone to pull across there must have been a gap in the line of traffic – that gap was your first clue to what was about to happen, before you saw the car coming across. If there’s a gap, assume someone’s going to come across it..

    Despite the occasional “oh shit” moment and the odd dickhead driver, I love commuting on the bike, I hope you stick with it.

    Depending on the road set up even if there if a cycle lane I’ll filter to the right of traffic, ie in the middle of the road as oncoming cars can see you easier and you can see them better as well.

    This, you just have to predict when its going to move again by looking a good way ahead. Some car drivers will still get the hump and try and not let you in though. Just go behind them.

    submarined
    Member

    All noted, thanks very much people 🙂

    I guess I was going too quick and despite already doing what I thought was defensive riding, I’ve still got a lot to learn. Gaps in traffic is I guess the thing I wasn’t keeping a hawk eye on.

    Injuries wise mostly ok, big bruise to the hip, knee graze, and cut to the elbow where I smashed the windscreen with it… But I’ve done a lot worse on a hillside on onobblies!
    His insurance may cost him a bit though, quite deep scratches to wing, bonnet, door, mirror destroyed and the aforementioned screen.

    edlong
    Member

    quite deep scratches to wing, bonnet, door, mirror destroyed and the aforementioned screen.

    Blimey! How’s the bike?

    deadkenny
    Member

    submarined – Member 
    I was going to commute from September, might just stick to trail riding.

    Stick with the trail riding, much safer 😀

    Can the commute be done more off-road? CX or gravel bike (or MTB) and use off-road paths etc?

    Understandable if it’s all urban though. I’d still be tempted with a bit of cheeky paths 😉 (not pavements/footways as that would be illegal, if not a marked cycle path).

    skids
    Member

    you would never have been seen by the car driver if the traffic was staionary like that and it is obscuring the view of yourself. You either have to slow right down or don’t undertake at all, rather overtake in the road

    submarined
    Member

    The bike’s alright – I needed to wrench the stem back straight, and the levers need a bit of lining up. Front wheel’s got a kick in it now and I’ve got blood drips all over the frame and bar tape 😀 Needed a wash anyway TBF.

    I’d love to do the commute off road but unfortunately I need to get from roughly Stratford Upon Avon to the Warwick/Leamington border. South side of the M40 is fine and gloriously peaceful, but no matter which way I go, the North pretty much has to include going through Warwick due to where my work is.

    Skid: I’m inclined to agree, it’s one of the many reasons I’m not shouting about the driver – I’m probably partly to blame.

    corroded
    Member

    I’ll second pretty much everyone: in that situation I just approach junctions with extreme caution, in that I expect someone to be turning across me and am pleasantly surprised if there isn’t someone doing that.

    I would add that I think this is where cycling nations such as Denmark and the Netherlands differ from us: most people there ride upright bikes so they’re higher and have a better view of the road (even over car roofs). Whereas the head-down road race style of commuting here doesn’t lend itself to looking around (or slowing down in an emergency). Obviously, I’ve got no idea of what or how you ride, but I think it’s a fair generalisation (and partially explains why most people don’t wear helmets in those country when you’d have to be mad not wear one here).

    aracer
    Member

    submarined wrote:

    Skid: I’m inclined to agree, it’s one of the many reasons I’m not shouting about the driver – I’m probably partly to blame.

    Irrespective of all the above, you’re not at all to blame. It’s entirely the responsibility of the turning driver to avoid hitting things. Hence no reason not to get the driver to pay for damage to your bike.

    The above advice is about avoiding such incidents on the basis it’s better to avoid them even if you are in the right.

    IA
    Member

    A suggestion for something for you to try that might help you out:

    Do your regular commute, but force yourself to ride slow the whole way. Keep thinking about it.

    Check how much longer it took you.

    I’ll bet it’s not much, in any city situation. realising you can ease off a bit more than you think, take more care, and still get there on time helps. Helps you be more cautious, break the MTBer habit of “go go go”. Once you realise you can take it a bit easier and not really cost you any time, it’s easy to be safer with less effort.

    Feel free to ignore me, but it’s a positive thing you can try, which might help you feel you’re “doing something” about getting hit, and not let it put you off.

    Premier Icon root-n-5th
    Subscriber

    Very tough one this as can happen to anyone. But, as people have stated, always assume the worst will happen. Always. Never relax. And don’t blink.

    One thing though – practice emergency stops on the road bike. I’ve seen a number of people newish to road cycling go over the bars, or not brake hard enough for fear of doing just that. It’s a similar principle to mtb – weight through the feet, bum off saddle over back wheel. I’ve often had the back wheel off the ground but stopped in inches, grabbing the brakes with full force. Rim brakes can be pretty darned good.

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