Today's commute – What else can I do?

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  • Today's commute – What else can I do?
  • Premier Icon The Pinkster
    Subscriber

    I’ve been back on the bike commuting for about 4 weeks now after shattering my left proximal humerus a few months ago, but after today’s journey I’m beginning to wonder if it’s worth the risk.

    My normal commute is about 4 miles through back streets where I rarely see many cars moving. Because of some road works blocking the whole road, including barriers across the pavements, the last couple of days I’ve had to come down the main road, which is actually a shorter journey of only 3 miles, which you’d expect shouldn’t be much hassle.

    Not today though… first I had a Volvo saloon clip my bar end with a door mirror when overtaking me.

    Then I join a big tailback of traffic, only to have a Fiat 500 reverse onto me while I’m passing it, as it attempts to turn round and head the other way.

    This is then topped about 100yrds further on by a **** in a Focus suddenly pulling onto the pavement in front of me to also turn and head the other way. My front wheel was level with his back end when he did this.

    I could sort of understand it if I was wearing dark clothes but I’m wearing a florescent yellow jacket, a florescent orange helmet, have a flashing front & rear light, pedal reflectors, frame reflectors, spoke reflectors and reflective walls on my tyres.

    How the chuff can they not see me?????? Who lets these brain dead feckwits on the road????

    I’m now thinking of painting a target on the front & back of my jacket to give therm something more obvious to aim for!

    How close to the pavement are you? Maybe try riding a bit further into the road to force drivers to think more about the overtake?

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Subscriber

    Not today though… first I had a Volvo saloon clip my bar end with a door mirror when overtaking me.

    Adopt the primary position.

    This is then topped about 100yrds further on by a **** in a Focus suddenly pulling onto the pavement

    Don’t ride on the pavement

    a Fiat 500 reverse onto me while I’m passing it, as it attempts to turn round and head the other way.

    Never filter on the inside.

    NZCol
    Member

    I had somebody go round the other side of a traffic island to get past me this morning he was in such a rush to get to the red light 100m up the road. We had a wee chat about that.

    Premier Icon The Pinkster
    Subscriber

    1. I was in the primary position.

    2. I wasn’t riding on the pavement, he cut across me to turn up onto the pavement.

    3. I would have passed on the outside but didn’t fancy a head on with multiple HGVs heading the other way.

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Subscriber

    Don’t undertake/filter on the left!

    It will pass, there’s a period of about a month around clock-going-back time where drivers are completely unaware of anything.
    It coincides with bad weather, darkness, drop in temperature (and therefore misted windows, need for wipers) and most drivers are far too incompetent to cope with all those variables all at once.

    Use two front lights, one constant, one flashing. If you can see the flashing one reflecting off traffic signs ahead, you’re doing OK – that way even if drivers aren’t looking, it’s still eye-catching. Doesn’t need to be a million lumens, I just have an Exposure Flash which is still plenty powerful enough.

    (Wonders why the brand of car is relevant at all here)

    As above, I reckon road position is the main thing here. Don’t make a nuisance of yourself, but make it clear that they need to think more about a pass.

    Premier Icon cloudnine
    Subscriber

    Maybe theres a bounty on your head.
    Ride even more primary. Think zen thoughts.

    Keep using back roads to avoid the roadworks. Even if it is the long way round.

    Premier Icon The Pinkster
    Subscriber

    I generally ride well away from the curb, have been commuting long enough to know the correct positions, etc.

    (Wonders why the brand of car is relevant at all here)

    It isn’t, just thought I’d add it in to give the tale a bit of character, or is this a bit of sensitivity from a Volvo driver? 😉

    As said above, filtering on the left is the only option on much of these roads due to the size of them.

    Premier Icon The Pinkster
    Subscriber

    Keep using back roads to avoid the roadworks. Even if it is the long way round.

    It’s because of the roadworks on the back roads that I needed to go this way. My normal commute is the long way round.

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Subscriber

    I would have passed on the outside but didn’t fancy a head on with multiple HGVs heading the other way.

    I think you solved your own problem. If it’s not possible to overtake safely then don’t overtake. how you get this accross to other drivers is another problem. 2 out of 3 of your issues were you filtering on the inside. The first I’d go for ‘even more primary’ if that’s a thing. When I’m commuting on the roads I addopt a position that if I’m slightly embarrased to be that far from the kerb I’m probably in the right place.

    Premier Icon Paceman
    Subscriber

    Keep using back roads to avoid the roadworks. Even if it is the long way round.

    Do this. It’s a pain in the @rse that we have to avoid certain routes but it’ll cut down the inevitable risk of an accident.

    I’ve ridden some pretty knarly trails around the UK in my time but nothing is as dangerous as my road commute in rush hour unfortunately.

    allthepies
    Member

    You could have just been very unlucky to have that many incidents in one commute.

    Or….the way you ride is putting you into dangerous situations (undertaking for example).

    Premier Icon The Pinkster
    Subscriber

    OK, I get this ovetaking thing and primary position thing, but what if the traffic going your way is at an absolute standstill as it was with me? Do I just sit on my bike 30 – 45 minutes waiting to move or do I make use of the fact I’m on a bicycle and ride past it?

    I refuse to believe that the STW massif would just sit in a queue on their bikes waiting for the traffic to progress at a snails pace until they got their destination. I may as well sit in comfort in my car.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    I had somebody go round the other side of a traffic island to get past me this morning he was in such a rush to get to the red light 100m up the road. We had a wee chat about that.

    Would you rather he squeezed you out by coming your side of the island…?

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Subscriber

    I’ve ridden some pretty knarly trails around the UK in my time but nothing is as dangerous as my road commute in rush hour unfortunately.

    This, in theory my commute is nice B roads, and at the weekends it is, at 8am and 5:30pm though it’s a bloody gauntlett! I’ve started going the long way through town (heading in the perpendicular direction to where I want to go) on the main road then picking up a cyclepath the other side to get to work.

    It’s longer, but so much less stressfull.

    Would you rather he squeezed you out by coming your side of the island…?

    There is a third option… 🙂

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    I think you solved your own problem.

    Exactly. So you’ve bounced back everyone’s answers with “I know” “I’m doing this already” “I can’t do that” etc, so YOU have to work out what to do. Why did the F-wits drive into your path? Clip you? etc.
    I don’t see how people who don’t ride the same route as you can help!

    Sounds like driving isn’t an option, due to the shitty traffic and 4 miles is sod all, so extend it to nicer roads?

    Premier Icon neil the wheel
    Subscriber

    I addopt a position that if I’m slightly embarrased to be that far from the kerb I’m probably in the right place.

    That’s about the best way I’ve ever heard that described. I was experimenting during a ride down the A68 in Northumberland last week to see how far out I had to ride to prevent drivers trying to squeeze between me and the oncoming traffic. It was a surprisingly long way.

    allthepies
    Member

    nzcol wrote:

    I had somebody go round the other side of a traffic island to get past me this morning

    Get that quite often on my commute unfortunately.

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Subscriber

    I refuse to believe that the STW massif would just sit in a queue on their bikes waiting for the traffic to progress at a snails pace until they got their destination. I may as well sit in comfort in my car.

    Nope, but I’d go up the outside. Going up the inside is just suicidal, I’m nervous even doing it on painted cyclepaths.

    gonzy
    Member

    (Wonders why the brand of car is relevant at all here)

    maybe because not all the asshats are driving Audis nowadays… 😉

    I was experimenting during a ride down the A68 in Northumberland last week to see how far out I had to ride to prevent drivers trying to squeeze between me and the oncoming traffic.

    That’s akin to the kind of self-experimentation practiced by scientists in Marvel Comics. The A68 is a hideous road.

    davesmate
    Member

    “first I had a Volvo saloon clip my bar end with a door mirror when overtaking me.”

    Surely if you were riding in Primary position you could’ve moved over to avoid this?
    Not wanting to have a pop at the op but I just don’t get half the complaints some cyclists have about other traffic. I ride busy town centre streets regularly and don’t have anywhere near the amount of grief some others seem to have.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    but what if the traffic going your way is at an absolute standstill as it was with me?

    Wait, then slip by a few cars at a time when it’s completely clear and safe.

    Sometimes I do make progress through traffic queues, but sometimes when it’s just too tight and too busy, I just have to back off and take it easy. If this means waiting, then I wait.

    g5604
    Member

    It’s the time of year, it will pass.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    In general, I try not to pass any car unless they’re definitely not going to move into my path or I’m sure they’ve seen me.

    If someone looks or sounds like they’re going to force their way past, I turn and look at them – seems to really help.

    As for the OP’s Volvo, hard to tell if there’s anything that could have been done, but another possible advantage of the primary position is that you have somewhere to go if they do get too close!

    Junkyard
    Member

    Whilst position helps nothing you can do will make an inconsiderate inattentive nobber see you…just be as safe as you can

    I filter on the left in stationary/slow movong traffic
    IME on the outside[ right] if they drift out [ why do they do that ?]then you are facing oncoming traffic which is even worse than falling on to the pavement

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    Nope, but I’d go up the outside. Going up the inside is just suicidal..

    Yeah, but… really? Everytime? Everywhere??

    In my experience there is no general rule, it all depends where, the road conditions, what the traffic’s like, the weather, my mood…

    g5604
    Member

    Why is going on the inside “suicidal”, most bike paths run on the inside…

    2tyred
    Member

    OK, I get this ovetaking thing and primary position thing, but what if the traffic going your way is at an absolute standstill as it was with me? Do I just sit on my bike 30 – 45 minutes waiting to move or do I make use of the fact I’m on a bicycle and ride past it?

    I refuse to believe that the STW massif would just sit in a queue on their bikes waiting for the traffic to progress at a snails pace until they got their destination. I may as well sit in comfort in my car.

    You know when you hear a car behind you DESPERATE to pass you because they ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO PASS THE CYCLIST before roaring by and whatever? That sounds kind of similar.

    I love these threads. Have an unnerving incident on the commute, come on here to vent your frustration then watch as everyone tells you its your own stupid fault!

    Last night riding home I was in a line of cars approaching a red line going slightly uphill, just behind a layby-type bus stop with a bus in it. No traffic moving, red light, bus indicated to pull out, car ahead of me (I’d left a gap of about 3m) was about halfway up the length of the bus at the time. Car driver decided to reverse towards me, to the point where I had to move out of the way and tapped the rear windscreen. Passenger window goes down and the driver shouts “I’m just letting the bus out!” Strange behaviour.

    2tyred
    Member

    Why is going on the inside “suicidal”, most bike paths run on the inside…

    Yes, its a terrible design!

    Stevet1
    Member

    Why is going on the inside “suicidal”, most bike paths run on the inside…
    Think the op has demonstrated why. Passing a side road drivers do not check their offside mirror before turning.

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
    Subscriber

    I probably lose 5 minutes on my commute by being cautious, using the crossings instead of running the gauntlet when I have to turn right at a three lane roundabout, waiting here and there in a queue of traffic to make sure it is safe to filter past etc, taking the longer, quieter route.

    I rarely have any incidents that upset me on my commute. Just because we commute by bike does not give us a divine right to get there in “x” or “y” minutes. To believe so makes us as bad as tbe drivers we like to complain about.

    Not convinced by the “time of year” scenario either. It gets a little busier after tbe clocks change, but here in Nottingham it doesn’t seem to get any worse from a driving perspective.

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Subscriber

    Why is going on the inside “suicidal”, most bike paths run on the inside…

    You’ve made the fatal (unfortunately quite literally sometimes) mistake of assuming that cyclepaths are there for the convenience of cyclists.

    They’re not, they’re there because the council had some money left over in the “green transport” budget and they contracted out the design and build to the lowest bidder who delivered a piece of work designed to get those pesky non-road-tax-payers out of the way of all the honest hard-working car drivers who absolutely need to get to their destination without encountering a lycra lout in their way.

    I’m paraphrasing slightly but the basic principle of ^^ is accurate.

    NZCol
    Member

    Would you rather he squeezed you out by coming your side of the island…?

    No I’d rather he engaged his pea like brain and looked 100m up the road then waited the 3 seconds it took for the road to widen. Although that would have been hard seeing as his windows were totally steamed up and he was driving through an envelope sized gap. Pathetic really, esp as it was outside a frickin school as well. It was an Audi by the way just to complete the STW bingo.

    amedias
    Member

    Rather than just have this turn into a theoretical investigation of events nobody but you witnessed, and general driver bashing, I’m going to offer something in the spirit of actually trying to answer your question ‘What else can I do?’

    [disclaimer]

    If you check my posting history you’ll see that I am not the kind of person to be sticking up for bad driving, or trying to victim blame cyclists.

    However…

    [/disclaimer]

    Even if none of these incidents this morning were your fault in any way shape or form (we can’t know we were’t there), it is worth considering if you can improve your riding and observational skills as well, and not put yourself in a position where a dingbat in a car is likely to hit you. It could even be a confidence thing to help your ride more assertively.

    I’ll be the first to back you up if you scream “but I shouldn’t need to! people should drive safely”, I agree 100%, but if you can improve your skills on the road then it’s gotta be a good thing right?

    Check to see if your local council offer adult Bikeability or if there is any formal training available in your area, possibly even approach a local club or charity project if there is one.

    If you approach training with an open mind you may actually find you learn from it. The worst that can happen is you have an interesting time with another rider and confirm to yourself that you’re awesome, the best that can happen is you come out of it with skills and as a safer rider.

    It sounds like you had a rough ride to work this morning, we’ve all had them, and hopefully they won’t all be that bad.

    Ride asafe.

    dunmail
    Member

    My commute can vary by 10% just due to wind direction so I’m not particularly bothered by being “held up” for a minute or two if I can’t filter past. Some parts of my commute are narrow two way streets and it’s not safe to filter past (on either side) but other parts it’s fine.

    I’m not going to filter past on the left or right to get in to the ASZ if I think the lights are about to change – it’s not worth the hassle of trying to figure out if a vehicle is going to turn left or right without indicating.

    There’ll always be some idiot road users, just let them go their angry little way.

    tomlevell
    Member

    Not convinced by the “time of year” scenario either. It gets a little busier after tbe clocks change, but here in Nottingham it doesn’t seem to get any worse from a driving perspective.

    I’ve noticed the driving standards around me commuting is worse in the last 2 weeks than the rest of the year. Plenty of close passes and passing on blind corners (well they’ll see the oncoming car lights won’t they…) but nothing too outrageous. Hopefully it’ll calm down again soon.

    My only suggestion for the OP is filter up the inside slower. Luckily I don’t have to deal with any heavy traffic as I have a decent bike path once into the town.

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