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When you should and shouldn't take the lane.

  • 07-10-2021 8:18pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 390 ✭✭ Jeremy Sproket


    Hi all.

    Whenever I cycle I usually take the lane to avoid close passes. However, not being what you could describe as an experienced cyclist, I often find it hard to discern when to take the lane and when it's not necessary. I know the general rule of thumb is to take it when there is a possibility of a close pass, so narrow roads or roads with blind bends.

    I live in Malahide (almost 😜) and I cycled out as far as Lusk and I ended up on some bypass road (can't remember the name of it or the R number). The speed limit is 60 km/h but most people appear to be travelling far, far, far in excess of that speed. I got two close passes, very frightening. I'm not sure if that's normal for that road or I just happened to be unlucky.

    The "cycle lane" is rubbish there. On my two times cycling there I saw joggers in it, dogs with extendable leads in it shítting whilst the owners saunter merrily and obliviously along on their phones and cars come out from adjacent estates to see if it's clear to emerge and sit across the lane when doing so. That's why I refuse to use it.

    The next time I cycled on it a few days later, I decided to take the lane and cycled in the middle of the lane all the way along it. Cars built up behind me and one or two beeped aggressively and pointed to the cycle lane I "should be using".

    Was I unnecessarily blocking traffic in doing this? How can I keep safe and prevent being bullied or close passed without feeling guilty for being a hindrance on the road and blocking traffic. Is there magic rule?

    Thanks all.



Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,960 ✭✭✭ blackbox


    Mr Feg?



  • Registered Users Posts: 19,473 ✭✭✭✭ Tell me how


    Think there isn't a hard and fast rule as roads, traffic volume, time of day, the cyclists experience all come in to play. Sometimes I end up taking the lane on one occasion, but another time don't. The changing condition of the situation can also influence the matter with things such as standing water creating a hazard within which a pothole might be problematic for example.

    I always try to make my decision on 2 factors, one, how comfortable do I feel as I ride, two, how likely is it that me taking the lane will not create an issue for motorists. My own safety is priority, but if I make things unnecessarily difficult for them then I feel they are more likely to be aggressive and attempt a close pass whereby technically they are in the wrong, that is of small consolation to me if I end up being hit.

    Sometimes I see other cyclists where I ride consistently stay ouf the shoulder (not technically a bike lane) even if moving in to it would make it easier for cars to pass and while technically they might be correct, I think facilitating traffic in passing is a reasonable approach in the long run as long as in doing so I do not put myself at significant risk.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,574 ✭✭✭ chicorytip


    You were cycling on the road on the second occasion, I think you meant to say. There is no law to prevent you doing so, if that is what you wish. Just get your elbows out and don't get intimidated by the odd irate motorist. However, in my opinion, if a cycle lane is present it would sensible and safe to use it. The surfacing on many tends to be in poor repair with potholes and cracks and, of course, nobody can legislate for dopey pedestrians who can't watch where they are going. A bell on your bicycle can be very useful, I find. If you see an obstruction up ahead give a couple of rings and people will move out of your way sharpish.



  • Registered Users Posts: 8,832 ✭✭✭ markpb


    I take the lane where I know or can guess that people will overtake and put my life at risk. Blind corners or coming up to the crest of a hill are typical places where idiots will try to overtake so I do my best to stop them. Everywhere else I cycle a safe distance from the kerb that still facilitates being overtaken.

    Even when I’m in the middle of the lane, idiots will still try to overtake. I tend to put my arm out (as if signaling to turn right) as an indication that maybe they should open their eyes and their brain instead of their accelerator. Works about 10% off the time.



  • Registered Users Posts: 208 ✭✭ sandyxxx


    There’s a cycle lane around my area, dual lanes both sides of the road…..grass verge between it and the road,well maintained,not overused….must have cost a fortune….the road itself has a number of traffic calming islands along it making overtaking tricky.…….seeing cyclists avoid the lanes boils my blood…

    I cycle regularly,recreationally….it’s the wannabe chris Froome and cycling club packs that are most guilty


    I used to react by pointing out said infrastructure through my car window,however now I find a close pass at high speed more effective!



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  • Registered Users Posts: 450 ✭✭ Elvis Hammond


    Assuming you're a genuine poster; what's your idea of a close pass? Someone who overtakes into oncoming traffic, say, or maybe just someone who doesn't go to the far edge of the road to accommodate you?



  • Registered Users Posts: 208 ✭✭ sandyxxx


    did I mention breaking a speed limit?…..as for minimum passing distance,can’t be certain 🤷….bit of a vague concept that one,no measuring tape alongside my car!

    as for making a point….this guy comes to mind!

    https://youtu.be/gfh40Hy8dUs



  • Registered Users Posts: 9,520 ✭✭✭ Murph_D


    It doesn't really matter what the OP's definition is. There is a safe way to pass a cyclist and there is an unsafe way. When you are on the bike yourself it's not hard to distinguish between the two. Maybe it's more difficult for motorists, which is why there are guidelines around how close is too close.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 390 ✭✭ Jeremy Sproket


    I was cycling on the road on both occasions. By default I don't use the cycle lane unless I see that it's good, then I'll use it going forward if it looks good when I scope it out.

    When I got close passed on my first spin, I moved further out on my second spin. I irritated some cars on my second spin by being too far out.



  • Registered Users Posts: 390 ✭✭ Jeremy Sproket


    Is anyone familiar with the road in question?



  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 42,853 Mod ✭✭✭✭ magicbastarder


    do not post in this thread again. any questions, do not respond in thread, take it to PM

    everyone else, as sandyxxx cannot respond to you, please do not respond further to them.



  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 42,853 Mod ✭✭✭✭ magicbastarder


    if you're talking about the road from blake's cross to lusk, i avoid that at the best of times anyway. it carries most of the traffic from rush and lusk back and forth to dublin.



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,803 ✭✭✭ Tombo2001


    Not quite taking the lane - but around where I live there are a number of 30k zone roads. With good reason, these are 30km residential roads. There are parked cars on either side and for example kids crossing cant see over the parked cars.

    Anyways, what Ive noticed a lot recently is that a very high % of traffic coming towards me is driving down the middle of the road. They dont drive in their lane. Reason being that the lane is narrow. Its fine to drive in lane at 30k per hour, but these drivers want to get up to 40k/50k an hour so the middle of the lane gives them a bit more room to do this.

    And they are saying to ongoing traffic - you get out of my way.

    This annoys me no end, both when Im driving and when I am cycling, especially as these people are rat runners by and large.

    So in that instance I make a point of staying in the middle of the lane, so that the driver basically can choose between a collision and / or moving into their own lane.



  • Registered Users Posts: 8,395 ✭✭✭ Macy0161


    Prioritise my safety, but don't be a dick by making it unnecessarily hard for motorists to overtake safely is my approach.



  • Registered Users Posts: 11,602 ✭✭✭✭ tomasrojo


    As others have said, taking the lane is a good idea to prevent opportunistic close passes, but it raises the likelihood of punishment passes and road rage incidents on the other side of the pinch point/blind corner/etc.


    I guess my rule of thumb is don't do it for a long stretch, and let motorised traffic enter the pinch point if you're going to arrive about the same time and pretend you're being courteous.

    The point raised about taking the lane to discourage motorists coming from the other direction from straddling two lanes through a pinch point is one I think about a bit, as it's very important to discourage people blasting through narrow gaps and the attendant risks of misjudging the pass, but it also carries the distinct but small possibility of the oncoming motorist being a total nut who'll see the pass through regardless to remind you what the pecking order is, in their own minds. I do get more weird comments out of car windows for blocking oncoming motorists than blocking following motorists, presumably because I'm doing something equivalent in their mind to being "on the wrong side of the road" (that is, my side of the road, but the bit of my side of the road that they want to use). Also the driver window is better positioned for the witty threat to kill me the next time.



  • Registered Users Posts: 24,695 ✭✭✭✭ Wishbone Ash


    I'd say he is referring the the Rathmore Road around Lusk as it has a cycle track (northbound only). I use that road very regularly and get the occasional moron beeping and pointing to the cycle track. It wide enough for motorists to pass safely without going over the center line.

    https://www.strava.com/segments/851178



  • Registered Users Posts: 24,695 ✭✭✭✭ Wishbone Ash


    I should have added that it wouldn't be appropriate to 'take the lane' on it except at junctions/roundabouts etc.



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,368 ✭✭✭ JimmyVik


    Only yesterday a cyclist overtook me and went into the middle of the lane coming up to the junction and got rear ended by a car coming up behind him.

    I called the ambulance. Sounded like he had a broken leg and a broken arm. You could see the bone in his leg through the gash in it. I nearly got sick.



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