I’ve noticed some particularly aggressive drivers – especially in the mornings – passing, following and harassing cyclists in central London.As my commute has recently doubled in length meaning I’m now cycling a 20 mile round trip a day, I’ve got to be alert and make sure I know the best ways of dealing with this sort of road behaviour.
Here follow some tips to make your ride a bit safer:
- As a cyclist you have the right to take up to a one car’s breadth of lane space (often achieved by 2 cyclists riding side-by-side). You are still traffic, just as motorcyclists are, and so have a right to your space. Saying this, don’t push it.Traffic still needs to flow and you’re often travelling at only half the speed of a motorised vehicle-
- On single-lane roads, try not to take up more than half the lane, allowing traffic to pass you safely.
- Use bus lanes where available but don’t put yourself out-London buses seem to stop every 100m but you shouldn’t have to.
- Watch out for potholes and drains. Don’t ride right in the gutter or you’re liable to go down them, which in turn is likely to cause you to swerve making you a hazard to other cyclists and motorists.
- Coaches are difficult vehicles to judge the width of and lots of those driving through London have driven from the continent and so are driving on a alien left-hand side of the road. Try to stay in front, rather than behind, them as much as possible, especially going down slip-roads to avoid a tight squeeze or potentially fatal crush against the roadside.
- Indicate! I cannot emphasise this one enough. Nothing riles pedestrians, other cyclists and drivers up more than being cut up or forced to come to a sudden stop. You have a responsibility as a cyclist to let other road users know where you’re going and when. This includes:
- Pulling round buses and parked vehicles
- Overtaking other cyclists
- Turning (obviously)
- Pulling into the side of the road to stop, check your phone, adjust something…anything
- Pulling around potholes (although, I’ve tried this one and they so often take you by surprise that it’s hard to indicate in advance)
- Changing lanes at a roundabout
- Please, please, please don’t jump red lights. If you want to be treated with due respect as a road user, then fulfil your part of the bargain by adhering to the highway code.
Do you have any other tips or ideas?
a good piece on cyclist-driver disharmony