Julian writes: > I got hit and run last night. Riding down the Mile End Road (E London) > at about 9.30pm, the car I was overtaking changed lanes into me, pushing > me into a traffic island, and then buggered off. > How do those of you that do cope with riding in London ?I used to live and ride in London, where I suffered my only serious accident. It was similar to yours, except that I didn't avoid the oncoming traffic. Since then, in an effort to avoid that kind of accident, I try to obey the following safety rule:
Never overtake without escape routes in the event of the overtakee doing somthing silly.
This means never overtaking with a traffic island in my path, never overtaking in the face of oncoming traffic I could not avoid, always overtaking with enough space and/or low enough speed difference that I can react to silly moves by the overtakee (by backing off for example), and of course, when overtaking, _watching_ for something silly. Of course sometimes you can overtake too fast for the guy to have time to do anything silly.
I don't succeed in doing this all the time, but I'm working on it. The more general rule behind this is:
Anticipate possible hazards and _always_ have an escape route.
Sometimes I find in the thick of traffic that things are happening too fast, and I can't do this kind of thing. I take that as an indication that I am going too fast.
----- Begin Included Message -----(Dave Restall) At 5pm on Saturday 27th March he was filtering through heavy traffic in Scarborough. As he was passing a line of cars, one of them turned across him, into a junction on the right. He took evasive action by jumping off the bike, not very risky at 15mph, unfortunately a car was also pulling out of the junction and this hit Wayne, seriously injuring him, he died in hospital a few hours later. The bike looks as if it's fallen off its stand. ----- End Included Message -----That's really awful. The current version of Roadcraft more or less points out this sort of situation (fig 17, p64, 14th impression). One of the biggest dangers that can get the unwary biker are junctions. In particular, overtaking on the right at junctions to the right. It is specifically forbidden in the highway code. And every biker in London does it because the traffic is so constipated here. Some bikers do it safely, some don't.
Don't do it unless you are certain that nothing can move and get you. You have to look out for people who will move out in a squeal of tyres without indicating or looking people who'll come tearing out of the side junction without looking, people who'll turn at high speed into the side street you're waiting at and pass you on the wrong side (can you believe that one? It happened to Angelos).
If you aren't watching out and ready for these and other possibilities you are relying on luck and will sooner or later get hit.
Be prepared to avoid any of these situations well before the last moment - it may look uncool and slow you down, but is actually really smart. If you do end up with having to hit the car, try going over it, not through it - this will damage you less.
PS I've almost endorsed overtaking at junctions. I'd like to repeat once again that it is usually forbidden. (- for very good reasons).
PPS I've mentionned Roadcraft. I confess I don't believe it is paranoid enough for London; ie it is not realistic in some ways, but it makes you think very hard about how to ride. Roadcraft would say about these overtaking situations - "If in doubt, hold back." I'd say: "If in doubt, stay well clear of any possible lunatics"
Subject: Re: removal of right foot .... rest (phew!)
Slipping along the inside of an HGV is one of the most common ways cyclists get killed in London (and 56% of all cyclist deaths over 1985-1992 were HGV-related). (Is a bus an HGV? - probably not, but the same sort of thing applies I guess).
There was one case last year where a cycle courier got killed on Oxford St going along the inside. The HGV turned left ignoring the no-entry signs (he saw them - but just ignored 'em). The driver got a slap on the wrist from the court, while a family lost their father.
So be careful with HGVs at junctions, even if they're not indicating, even if they're indicating the other way and even if they're forbidden to turn.
Even on a bike you can't see past a bus like you can past a car. Since the bus driver was indicating left and any number of peds could have been crossing in front (and remember some mad muthas seem to use their prams like a battering ram too) you should have looked at the wheel base of the bus beforehand and figured out what the safe position to be in was if the bus started turning. Your escape route in this case was the pavement, but what if there had been metal railing along the pavement? Have you ever noticed the number of squashed metal railings on these sort of corners - almost all due to HGVs. You may be tough, but steel is tougher.
Ok, so the bus driver should have looked to the inside before setting off, but it's not something you should expect anyone except a biker to do, even though the HGV accident rate would drop enormously if they all did that. I reckon it's more your fault for putting yourself in that position initially, (sorry, but at least you'll never make that mistake again) than the bus driver's fault for not looking before moving. Since you are so much more vulnerable you really need to try and be more paranoid about other vehicles rather than expect them to look for you or be sensible, regardless of who is right or wrong.
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 93 15:58:42 BST From: email@example.com Subject: Re: maniac bikers? Tim Stickland writes: > A car driving friend recently had a go at me (mildly), saying that he > thought bikes shouldn't overtake queues of traffic stuck behind a slow > vehicle. He thought the vehicle behind the slow thing ought to be allowed > to go whenever it wanted, since it was "that car's turn to go".Silly, since whether or not you can "go" depends strongly on your vehicle. It would be silly if a vast queue had to wait behind a Morris Minor trying to get past a lorry. Your friend is understandably annoyed when he decides to "go" and finds he can't 'cos some sod in a more powerful vehicle is already steaming up behind. But in that case your friend simply moved too slowly -- if it was clear for the guy behind, and there is enough time for your friend, then he clearly hesitated for at least a few seconds, thus ceding his place in the queue. It's the same logic as applies to small roundabouts -- he who moves first holds the right of way.
> Far as I can see, if a vehicle in front starts to indicate to overtake > before/at the same time as you, you have to let them go. Your own superior > acceleration is no excuse for trying to get past them! But if you're > already out there and going past, nobody in front should think they can > come out in front of you. Another thing: don't do more than about 20mph > in excess of the speed of the queue (more like 10mph if that's possible), > for your own preservation...And if the other side of the road is clear, swing right out into it. Gives you much more margin, and takes you out of their blind spots.
But of course, as previously discussed, it's much safer to undertake these vehicles unobtrusively on the left, while they are all jostling about with frayed tempers on the right :-)
> if it was clear for the guy behind, and there is enough time for your > friend, then he clearly hesitated for at least a few seconds, thus > ceding his place in the queue. It's the same logic as applies to small > roundabouts -- he who moves first holds the right of way.Just don't expect the car immediately behind the slow vehicle to use their mirrors - they have probably been sat behind for so long they don't give a shit what's behind *them*. They just go. Always give htem tjhe beneift of the doubt when overtaking.
> A car driving friend recently had a go at me (mildly), saying that he > thought bikes shouldn't overtake queues of traffic stuck behind a slow > vehicle. He thought the vehicle behind the slow thing ought to be allowed > to go whenever it wanted, since it was "that car's turn to go".When overtaking a line of traffic, I always wait behind the front vehicle (excluding the obstacle, of course), and won't overtake until he does, unless it's clear that I can get past before the next bend but he can't.
This achieves two things : firstly P.R., see above. Secondly it avoids the situation that I've seen many times following other bikes: Bike pulls out and starts overtaking car. Car sees his chance, and pulls out - indicating as he does so. Either doesn't look in mirror, or bike is in his blind spot - biker gets pushed almost off the road. This seems to happen mostly to riders who don't drive cars, and therefore don't appreciate how difficult overtaking can be in a car.