8 comments on “Cyclecraft

  1. The primary riding position is safest but it takes some nerve to hold it. You just have to remember that an infuriated driver is at least one who won’t kill you accidentally, and probably won’t kill you deliberately either. I save it for the most dangerous times – when I think a car might turn left over me without looking, e.g. at traffic lights, on roundabouts, and when it’s too narrow to pass. Other times I am nice and cycle over to the left

  2. We call the primary riding position “taking the lane” over here, and there are times when cycling advocates say you are better off to do it. I think there’s a good article on commutebybike.com about it. I kind of did it for a short stretch on a weird little roundabout the other day, but the speed limit there is 15mph/24kph, and since it was downhill I was probably doing closer to 20mph anyway. The guy behind me didn’t seem to mind, or at least didn’t exhibit any aggressive behavior trying to pass me. I will have to research whether there is a U.S. equivalent of these publications, particularly the first book.

  3. Nice to know the U.S. isn’t the only country where drivers aren’t taught what cyclists are allowed to do, let alone what’s recommended.

    My position on the primary position, or taking the lane, is to do it only when necessary, and for as short a period as possible. I always signal first before entering a lane, then try to match my speed as closely as possible to the traffic around me. And I always give a wave of thanks to any driver who slows down to make room for me.

  4. “Taking the lane” is a very apt description. If motorists are unaware of it, and as it is not in our Highway Code, how would a cyclist get on in Court in a dispute involving our primary riding position?

  5. I call it ‘controlling the lane’ and tend to do it only when I can see that a driver would put themselves, oncoming traffic and me at risk by trying to squeeze past. I often find that putting a hand up in a stop postion helps if the driver is about to pull out into oncoming traffic, then waving them through when it’s clear. This then makes it feel like a collaborative effort between cyclist and driver to stay safe, it also acknowledges that the cyclist knows they are occupying a large part of the road. Drivers always appreciate being waved through, but it has to be done only if you’re sure the driver is safe to move out and has time and space enough to make the move. A thumbs up to the driver when they wave when in front is also a must.

    I will sometimes control the lane when going downhill fast in order to avoid drains etc at the kerb, also very good on 30mph limit descents when a car would need to go 35 plus to get past. There’s a reason why 30mph limits are enforced so I find it best not to encourage drivers to pass if I’m on the limit, controlling the lane keeps them at 30 for the duration of the descent.

    Good post, very informative.

  6. Thanks. I visit your “Highway” blog fairly frequently. Great writing and I enjoyed the Maen Mawr video in particular having lived for many years in Ceredigion close to very similar scenery.

  7. The US instructional guides are the brief Street Smarts (http://bikexprt.com/streetsmarts) by John S Allen, and the more extensive Effective Cycling (http://www.amazon.com/Effective-Cycling-6th-John-Forester/dp/0262560704) by John Forester. The US training program that descended from EC is the League of American Bicyclists’ BikeEd (http://bikeleague.org/programs/education). There is no nationally sanctioned standard like Bikability.

    EC and Cyclecraft share a common heritage, since Forester’s boyhood was spent in England under the influence of the Cyclists’ Touring Club (http://ctc.org.uk).

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