/ Overtaking cyclists

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shaymarriott - on 17 Jun 2013
I am not talking about a car overtaking a cyclist - I refer instead to cyclists overtaking cars during traffic, at speeds significantly faster than the traffic is moving.

The other day I was leaving work, and attempting to turn right at a T-junction. At the junction you can see quite a way right, and approximately 50 metres right. Traffic coming down the hill (the way I wasned to turn) was heavy and travelling at very slow speed due to traffic lights further down.

The road to the right was clear, and a bus came from the left into my vision. The bus driver saw that I was wanting to turn the same way he was driving, and flashed his lights to let me go. I started forwards, but at the last second a cyclist came from round the bend whizzing down the hill at approximately 25 or 30mph at full pelt. I was already half way out into the junction at this point, and immediately slammed the brakes on. As I was travelling so slowly I stopped instantly.

The cyclist made a real point of swerving to avoid me (he had no significant need to) and as he continued off he flipped me the bird.

Now The nature of the traffic was that it was very slow. The bus had allowed me out ahead of it, and I was slowly making that maneuver. The cyclist was certainly travelling within the speed limit, but far faster than the surrounding traffic.

Now I have no problem with cyclists, I am a considerate driver, and I cycle myself. I know first hand what its like to have a car driver behave like a bellend simply because they resent you and your bike. But here it seems like a cyclist put himself in danger by travelling so fast in slow traffic, whilst not really breaking the law.

What would you have done in my situation? Or in the cyclist's? (For the record, if I were the cyclist I would have been travelling more slowly, and in my situation as the driver I let the cyclist go without reacting badly to him). Had I driven aggressively into the space in in front of the bus I would have possibly caused the cyclist to take 'evasive action', but in the event he was well aware that there was no danger as I was moving so slowly, and it was clear that he was making a bit of a show of it. My instinct is to think "arsehole" but then maybe I'm in the wrong?

The same issue could I suppose be raised concerning motorbikes?

NB: I caught up with him a little later - he was swerving through slow moving traffic with no attention to lanes, and eventually joined a dual carriageway in the fast lane. This was where I lost sight of him.

Cheers folks,

Shay.
JLS on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to shaymarriott:

Think bike!
andymac - on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to shaymarriott:

I would agree.

He`s an arsehole.

who is going to come unstuck.

Chris Harris - on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to shaymarriott:
>
>
> At the junction you can see quite a way right, and approximately 50 metres right.

2 x mentions of right, no mention of left


> The bus driver saw that I was wanting to turn the same way he was driving, and flashed his lights to let me go.

Suggest you read the Highway Code. Flashing lights does not mean "After you".
Even if you assume it does, it doesn't mean that the flasher speaks for all road users.

Neil Williams - on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to shaymarriott:

This is the problem with ceding your right of way. You don't know if there's someone else there who doesn't know you have or doesn't wish to.

Neil
Neil Williams - on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to Chris Harris:

It very clearly does by convention, though, whatever the HC and the law say. People do not use their lights to say "I am there" except perhaps on single track country lanes at night.

IMO the Highway Code should be changed to remove this dangerous suggestion. It should explain that people do use it to cede their right of way, however this should not be done and you should be responsible for your own safety as if it had not been done, and that you should not do it yourself.

It is dangerous for the HC to claim it means something different from what 99% of drivers treat it as.

Neil
Trangia - on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:
> (In reply to Chris Harris)
>
> >
> It is dangerous for the HC to claim it means something different from what 99% of drivers treat it as.
>
OK tell me, your driving along a twisty road and a car comes round the corner ahead of you. It flashes it's lights.

Do 99% of drivers treat it as "I'm here and I'm coming through"; or "I'm giving way, you can come on"; or "beware there's an obstacle/pedestrian, cyclist etc just round the corner so slow down"; or "you've not got your lights on"; or " please dip, your blinding me"; or "watch out there's a speed trap ahead (now probably an illegal signal)"; or "Hi I know you!" etc etc

Obviously circumstances might eliminate some of the possibilities, but it's dangerous and foolhardy to jump to conclusions even if 99% of drivers probably know what it means in most sets of circumstances. Hence if there is an accident saying "he flashed me to come on" probably wouldn't constitute a defence in the event of an accident.
Neil Williams - on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to Trangia:

Indeed. Which is why I think the HC should acknowledge that many drivers do use it to call you on, but should clearly discourage giving or acting on it, rather than denying it exists and suggesting it means something rather different.

Neil
a lakeland climber on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to Chris Harris:

How does any vehicle, bike or car, behind the bus know that he's flashed his lights to signal (something) to other traffic?

Agree that the cyclist should have been riding with more due care when approaching a junction.

ALC
FrankBooth - on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to shaymarriott:

One of the biggest problems on the road (indeed, in all walks of life) is lack of courtesy and consideration. In this instance, whereas the bus driver was just applying common sense and showing some courtesy to another road user, the cyclist clearly wasn't.

Whether it's car drivers impatiently overtaking cyclist too-close, or a cyclist cutting up pedestrians instead of waiting at a red light, it's all the same wash. We live in an increasingly impatient, self-centred society and I'm not sure there's much we can do to reverse this trend unfortunately.
timjones - on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to shaymarriott:

Unless I'm mistaken the highway code states that you shouldn't overtake at junctions?
elsewhere on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to FrankBooth:
spot on
knighty - on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to timjones:

100% correct! No-one should be overtaking at junctions. It would be very interesting to find out that if you did hit the cyclist, who would be "at fault" in the eyes of insurance/police.
Mungo Shuntobox - on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to shaymarriott:

Interesting; as a biker, cyclist and exbike instructor (plus Police advanced driver) I'd say Shay you were in the right to start with.

Let's say that intstead of flashing you, the bus driver had simply stopped and courteously left a nice big gap for you; I understand the entire debate about 'flashing' people out, but let's avoid it here. You make a decision to enter the main carriageway based on what you can see, and it is safe on what you can see. No one expects you to be psychic.

Let's look at the cyclist - he's the one making the moves to pass slow or standing traffic, so responsibility rests with him if he leaves the line of traffic and starts to pass slower vehicles. This is especially true if he crosses any white lines marking the centre of the road. Overtaking on the approach to a junction is not recommended - the vehicle in front of you could turn right across your path, someone in the junction might not look both ways and turn into your path - all sorts of things can go wrong. Finally, his speed was inappropriate for the road conditions. Just because you're on speed limit does not mean it's safe to drive ro ride at that speed. Road and traffic conditions need to be taken into account.

From the way you tell it, the cyclist seems firmly in the wrong on a number of counts, and in theory could be prosecuted for a couple of offences. If they live long enough.....
Mungo Shuntobox - on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to knighty:

Sorry - just posted, but in my eyes, the cyclist, although proving it to a criminal standard might be a challenge. Civilly re insurance - tricky again as if it was one person's word vs another, they might just fudge the issue.
deepsoup - on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to shaymarriott:
> What would you have done in my situation? Or in the cyclist's?

The same - I would have stopped. Hopefully, as in your case, in time to avoid a collision. If there was no way you could have seen the cyclist when you began the manoeuvre what else could you have done?

I rarely cycle these days, but as a motorcyclist I filter through near stationary traffic prolly more aggressively than the average but with great caution. Obviously you need to be especially careful around junctions, and anticipate that car drivers may not have seen you (whether or not they really should have).
Dave Cumberland - on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to Mungo Shuntobox:
> (In reply to shaymarriott)>
> From the way you tell it, the cyclist seems firmly in the wrong on a number of counts, and in theory could be prosecuted for a couple of offences. If they live long enough.....
>

In a village near me, cyclists occasionally come down a hill very fast, round a blind bend, then they arrive at the village centre triangle outside the pub.

At this point, they may be confronted with a car doing a 3-point turn, a kid playing, a horse, a biker turning or mounting his bike, a car parking or turning slowly in a loop using both sides of the road.

Sometimes when I have been turning my car, this has happened and the cyclist almost crashes, then gets extremely irate and rude to whoever is in (usually his) way. Their behaviour is pathetically infantile and selfish and grossly dangerous, and I speak as a cyclist.

evilellie - on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to shaymarriott:
I witnessed an accident like this only a couple of weeks ago. In this case, a car was emerging from a side turning, trying to turn right. The traffic was very slow moving. I and another cyclist were filtering slowly at the kerb side. The car in front of us flashed the emerging car out the side turning, who booted it out and hit a motorcyclist who was filtering on the other side of the car (middle of the road). Myself and the other cyclist stopped.
The motorcyclist was OK, though his bike, and the car were damaged and I reckon he had cracked some ribs.

Thinking about it afterwards, the biker was going too fast filtering in a place where there was a lot of traffic and junctions he may not be able to see into much in advance, he just had no chance to stop. When riding a bike of either kind, I am always too paranoid about exactly this kind of thing to go that fast. I don't want to get hurt! The car driver came way too fast out of the turning without looking properly in the direction he was turning into. There could have easily been a pedestrian crossing the road etc which he would not have seen either. The car who flashed him out did not check his mirrors first, or he would have seen two cyclists and a motorcyclist coming along behind him, which would hopefully have made him think it wasn't a good time to stop and flash someone out, as even though that person should check for themselves that it is safe, he must realise that sometimes seeing a flash just makes people go anyway. It just seemed to me like a combination of 3 road users not paying enough attention to everything around them.

These thing are always scary, as it could so easily end much worse.
Rigid Raider - on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to shaymarriott:

Turning car driver was entirely at fault for accepting a flash as an invitation to move out.
GrahamD - on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to Rigid Raider:

An old rhyme from my sailing days:

"Here lies the body of William Day
Who died maintaining his right of way
He held it right and he held it strong
but he's just as dead as if he were wrong"

Sometimes common sense has to prevail and just going on about 'right and wrong' is just being ignorant to reality. Drivers flash other motorists out of junctions because its a very sensible and pragmatic way to help keep traffic flowing. Cyclists have to be aware of the wider road situation - not just their 'rights'.
Jim C - on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to Rigid Raider:
> (In reply to shaymarriott)
>
> Turning car driver was entirely at fault for accepting a flash as an invitation to move out.

Agree to a point, but IF the biker was doing over the limit for that area, (or too fast for the conditions), he/she must share some of the blame, perhaps 80% driver 20% biker.

Bikers can come out of nowhere at times, and it is sometimes impossible for even a careful attentive driver to anticipate, or even see them in time.
deepsoup - on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to Jim C:
> Agree to a point, but IF the biker was doing over the limit for that area, (or too fast for the conditions), he/she must share some of the blame, perhaps 80% driver 20% biker.

I agree. Filtering through traffic is hazardous, if you're going to do it aggressively enough to "make progress", you have to have your paranoid radar cranked right up to maximum. As a biker you have to be able to stop in the space you can see is clear, and in very slow traffic you also usually have to anticipate pedestrians crossing between cars. (They almost never look beyond the car they're crossing in front of.)
Ramblin dave - on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to Jim C:
Question based on the original description, I'm not quite clear what went wrong. Is the problem just that the road bends enough that it's impossible to know that you've got time to complete your manoeuvre without a conflict with something that's travelling at 25-30mph? If the road had been clear and the bike was a car travelling at 30mph on the left hand side of the road, would there still have been problems? Or is it somehow specific to the situation of flashing buses and overtaking bikes?
rodma2000 on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to shaymarriott:

> Now The nature of the traffic was that it was very slow. The bus had allowed me out ahead of it, and I was slowly making that maneuver. The cyclist was certainly travelling within the speed limit, but far faster than the surrounding traffic.

replace cyclist with driver and you still have the same (exceptionally common) scenario, except without the same potential for one of the two parties coming off far worse than the other.

The driving world is full of false signals and certainly is a perilous place to play, like trying to remember that a lorry indicating left whilst on a trunk road doesn't necessarily mean that it is clear for you to overtake.

Neil Williams - on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to GrahamD:

Indeed. Defensive riding and driving has to be the order of the day. Always assume and plan for others making mistakes.

Neil
Neil Williams - on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:

Even if "not at fault" in insurance terms, if an accident occurs due to the idiocy of another driver and you could have avoided it but chose not to, both drivers are muppets.

Neil
EeeByGum - on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to Chris Harris:

> Suggest you read the Highway Code. Flashing lights does not mean "After you".

I suggest you live in the real world where flashing lights does mean "after you". As a cyclist, you need to be uber careful about drivers informally giving way to each other. I nearly got hit filtering to the left of standing traffic where a van ahead of me had given way to a car wishing to turn right from the opposite direction. Of course, I was hidden behind the van until impact time. Completely my fault if you ask me. The poor driver was pretty shaken up by it all even though he didn't hit me.

Pedestrians crossing in front of buses are also an issue to be aware of.

This is one of those joyful situations where being right to the letter of the law does not necessarily win you any brownie points.
Dave Cumberland - on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to Rigid Raider:
> (In reply to shaymarriott)
> Turning car driver was entirely at fault for accepting a flash as an invitation to move out.
>

Total cr*p. There's no common sense in that view. An overtaking cyclist bears almost 100% responsibility.


The New NickB - on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to EeeByGum:

I alway interpret a flashing headlight as check, check and check again. I live just off a busy road and have an awkward right turn approaching traffic lights most morning. Many times I have had someone flash me out but they have not seen the vehicle about to pass them on one side or the other. Thankfully I have managed to spot the problem every time so far.
a lakeland climber on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to rodma2000:

Indeed. There was a thread on here about what a traffic light on green meant - basically it means "Go if safe to do so". So a control signal that is broadcast to many road users at once has a caveat attached. Now move to the case where there is a signal between just two road users and that somehow means that everyone else is aware of the intent of the two parties? This is why it is guarded against in the Highway Code. Yes it may be common practice but you still have to exercise some common sense.

Having said all that: yes, I do indicate to other road users that I am ceding right of way and letting them turn etc and act upon such signals myself (with due diligence of course).

ALC
ads.ukclimbing.com
Chris Harris - on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:
> (In reply to Jim C)
> Question based on the original description, I'm not quite clear what went wrong. Is the problem just that the road bends enough that it's impossible to know that you've got time to complete your manoeuvre without a conflict with something that's travelling at 25-30mph? If the road had been clear and the bike was a car travelling at 30mph on the left hand side of the road, would there still have been problems? Or is it somehow specific to the situation of flashing buses and overtaking bikes?

The driver probably pulled out slowly to ease into a relatively small gap in front of the bus, leaving them in the firing line for an exended period.
If it was a clear road situation, the driver could boot it out of the junction & get up to 30mph pronto, spending less time in the firing line of anything unexpected coming from the blind side.


timjones - on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to Rigid Raider:
> (In reply to shaymarriott)
>
> Turning car driver was entirely at fault for accepting a flash as an invitation to move out.

You need to refresh yopur knowledge of the Highway Code!
unknownclimber6 - on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to shaymarriott:

i think there are faults by both parties here, firstly (in my interpretation) he had right of way and you should have had a second look and should really have seen him especially travelling at that speed, also as everyone knows you should trust another drivers flash as a sign to move.

on the other hand he was being a bellend by over exagerating his "evasive action" and flipping you the bird, another reason people dont get on with cyclists.

in saying this i am no perfect cyclist, i cut lights when its clear, i filter traffic and go most places at full pelt but i am always in control and comfortable in my own ability and judgement in the given situation, i have had bad experiences with drivers pulling out or doing stupid shit which has resulted in a few knocks but i never put myself in a dangerous situation! which by travelling at the speed he was seems he did!
Orgsm on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to shaymarriott:

I would have slowed, I would have acknowledged the fact you stopped having seen me, and proceeded more carefully (assuming I was speeding down the outside to start), and you probably wouldn't have posted this thread.
trouserburp - on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to shaymarriott:

He legally had right of way and got to enjoy a song and dance about it. You will have a long and happy life not in a wheelchair. Everyone's a winner
DancingOnRock - on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to shaymarriott: I think anyone who overtakes a car signalling right at a junction needs their brains testing.

You just would never do it. Car or bike.
andy - on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to DancingOnRock:
> (In reply to shaymarriott) I think anyone who overtakes a car signalling right at a junction needs their brains testing.
>
> You just would never do it. Car or bike.

I don't think he did - he overtook a bus travelling in the same direction. The OP was coming out of a junction into his lane. Still daft, mind - I filter, usually down the middle, but pretty slowly, covering the brakes and always ready to pull back in or stop.
DancingOnRock - on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to andy: Ok. Didn't make much sense to me.

He was turning right onto main road. Bus coming from left let him out. Cyclist was coming from left travelling too fast considering traffic conditions.
shaymarriott - on 17 Jun 2013
In reply to shaymarriott:

Apologies for the second paragraph - as you may have worked out I meant visibility was approximately 50 metres left, not right.

I'm glad I didn't hit him for insurance purposes (and for the obvious reason as well) as it would probably be a nightmare to sort.

He almost certainly wasn't breaking the speed limit, but I would say that he certainly wasn't riding to the conditions either. Overtaking at a junction is potentially lethal, and although there was no oncoming traffic he clearly didn't expect someone to pull out.

For the record, regardless of what the HC may say, to me (and any drivers I know who you might like to ask) flashing your lights at someone is an invitation to advance in a situation where you might not have the right of way. However, for a cyclist who was to far back to see the buses headlights they might as well have just left me a gap. From their PoV its irrelevant. However, they clearly didn't observe the bus enough to notice that it had left me a gap.

I once heard someone say with regard to motorbiking in heavy traffic that you should never move more than 10 miles an hour faster than the speed of the traffic, as this should give you enough to time maneuver evasively in the event that you might need to.

Anyway, thanks for the responses so far. I'm glad I didn't hit him. As I said before I have great respect for cyclists, although this goes straight out the window for those who jump red lights, cycle at speed on the pavement, and think that they're above the rules of the road.

@Rigid Raider - get off your high horse - have you never accepted a flash as an invitation? If not it must take you bloody ages to get anywhere. Thanks to GrahamD for your response!

@Ramblin dave - when pulling out in normal road conditions (no traffic) you have to check right (you can see far enough to know you're clear) and the pull out into this lane so you can see left. I had checked right, and from the left the bus had allowed me to turn. I imagine that many people would just assume that meant a clear road and would then pull out normally, but fortunately I kept an eye out left - this is what stopped me hitting the cyclist.

Obviously I'm not a bike-hatin' white van driver or someone who wants revenge for the behaviour of this two wheeled hooligan - it was an error in his judgement, and an error in mine, and in this case it was mostly my reaction that stopped an accident in which he would have come off far worse. I wonder how many accidents do happen from cyclists overtaking on a road where overtaking in a car would be unthinkable?

Shay
RCJ - on 19 Jun 2013
In reply to shaymarriott:
> (In reply to shaymarriott)

> Obviously I'm not a bike-hatin' white van driver or someone who wants revenge for the behaviour of this two wheeled hooligan -
> Shay

I love this comment as i'm a cyclist and a white van man haha!!! (No dig intended just found it amusing)


As for the original post... I'd say your both as bad as each other. If your on a 30mph road and you have the opportunity to do 30mph, most people will do it, now on modern bikes this is easily achievable.

The cyclist should have ridden with possibly more due care reading the road ahead, and taking the junction more sensibly. However again if there is no "stop" sign there is no requirement for them to stop using their own judgement of safety at the time. (Whether that judgement was right or wrong, due to their fault or yours, only parties involved can honestly answer that).

Drivers often when flashed by other vehicles will 9 times out of 10 automatically assume it is safe to manoeuvre, rather than double check, hence one of the reasons for the massive THINK BIKE campaigns. Again whether the drivers judgement was correct can only be decided by the parties at the time.

As for general speeds of cyclists on the road, i live in Gibraltar at the moment, and riding here is terrifying. No indicators, cars swerving all over the place, mopeds appearing out of every nook and cranny and roundabouts now have police signs as you approach them reminding drivers its a junction and to use indicators as they quite frankly are ridiculous. Quite often i find myself riding faster than the cars/mopeds on the road. I just use my judgement at the time to ride in the safest place, but will never say i make the right call everyday. The one dual carriage way bit in Gib, i'm often riding down the fast lane (in line with the speed limit) as the drivers are too slow, and as stated above likely to turn right without any warning.

Thats my opinion on it, hope it helps
sg - on 19 Jun 2013
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to Rigid Raider)
>
> An old rhyme from my sailing days:
>
> "Here lies the body of William Day
> Who died maintaining his right of way
> He held it right and he held it strong
> but he's just as dead as if he were wrong"
>
> Sometimes common sense has to prevail and just going on about 'right and wrong' is just being ignorant to reality. Drivers flash other motorists out of junctions because its a very sensible and pragmatic way to help keep traffic flowing. Cyclists have to be aware of the wider road situation - not just their 'rights'.

Perfect rhyme and says it all! Everyone has to be cautious when they can't see everything for themselves - otherwise they could be involved in an accident.

Neil Williams - on 19 Jun 2013
In reply to sg:

Indeed. You don't have any rights if you're dead because you got splatted due to another driver not respecting your rights.

Neil
Timmd on 19 Jun 2013
In reply to Neil Williams: Indeed plus 1, you can't argue with a bus or a car.

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