Note: Please bear in mind that whilst this topic does canvass opinions, it is not a fight club. You may disagree with other posters but we do ask you please to stick to our Talk Guidelines and to be civil. We don't allow personal attacks or troll-hunting. Do please report any. Thanks, MNHQ.

Regarding my expectations of a cyclist?

(50 Posts)

I drive to work along a long country road. The road is the link between two towns about 12 miles apart.

For the purposes of clarity, although not relevant to my question there is a cycle path along a disused railway that runs more or less parallel to the road along its entire length.

The road is very busy and fast but bendy with hidden dips. There are only two places where one can safely overtake, and during busy periods is it highly unlikely you can overtake at all. About one third along this road there is a junction controlled with traffic lights.

When there is a cyclist on the road it is clearly very difficult to safely pass, given that you should allow a cyclist as much room when overtaking as a car. So we drivers inch along behind the cyclist and every mile or so the first car manages to pass.

Then when we get to the junction, the four cars that have managed to overtake are stopped at the red light, and the cyclist passes the lot of them on the left, takes up position at the front of the queue, and when the lights change we resume our slow journey, and dice with death overtaking moves behind them.

AIBU to expect the cyclist to maintain their position in the queue of traffic?

Is there a reason they need to leave the junction from the white line, or could they not just hang on to their place as the fifth vehicle in the line?

badguider Thu 29-Nov-12 13:08:30

The problem is that if you try to maintain 'your place' in the queue as a cyclist most drivers just make a super-dangerous overtaking manouver as they start moving, and then the car behind can't see you because you're hidden by the one that's come alongside etc. etc. eventually you find yourself experiencing near death from being on the inside of a lorry when you weren't inside a lorry to start with.. it's MUCH safer normally to start from the front wher eyou can be seen.

On your road it would be better I guess to let cars that have passed earlier pass again but cyclists by habit mostly use the techniques they know are safest most of the time and maintaining your place in the queue is usually not safe.

scurryfunge Thu 29-Nov-12 13:09:15

They will be safer up front ahead of the traffic where they will be seen. Not sure why they are not using the cycle path though. Is it the same cyclist?

badguider Thu 29-Nov-12 13:15:30

The cycle path is likely to be covered in wet leaves which will then have frozen solid (if it's cold where you are as it is here) and will probably not be cleared or gritted by the council. It might be flooded or turned to mud too given recent weather. I use cycle paths but I ride a mountain bike, on a road bike they might be impassable.

thereonthestair Thu 29-Nov-12 13:15:40

Yes YABU. The cyclist is safer in the front of the traffic, that is the normal place for the cyclist at traffic lights. It can be very dangerous to be eslewhere. And while the cyclist possibly could or even should be on the cycle lane they are free to use the raod same as you are. Sorry

ah, I do understand that about being safer at the front

But i would have thought undertaking on the left was a pretty dangerous manoeuver isn't it?

and being crazily overtaken buy frustrated motorists for the second time also dangerous (not me i hasten to add)

Not sure about the cycle path, perhaps it's muddy or something. my problem isn't that they're not on it, i am genuinely accommodating and respectful of cyclists, they have every right to be on the road and I want them to be safe

i just think it's rude to push in, and it seems a bit like they are pushing in. and doing a move that wouldn't be allowed if you were another car

Bestof7 Thu 29-Nov-12 13:21:43

The cyclist should do what every other slow vehicle should do out of courtesy to other road users: pull over periodically, where safe, to let faster traffic pass by. So you all crawl along behind, but not for the whole of the 12 miles. I doubt the cyclist will be aware of precisely which cars overtook by the time s/he reaches the junction.

FredFredGeorge Thu 29-Nov-12 13:24:45

MacaroniAndWalnut The filtering on the left - it's not overtaking as the cars are not moving - is not too unsafe. However as described on your road I would not filter to the front, it is as you say rude. I would maintain a central position in the road to discourage any dangerous overtaking (which I do not see much of) and continue in my existing position.

Cyclepaths in the UK are designed for a maximum speed of 12mph, so assuming your cyclists are going faster than that - almost certainly - then they need to be on the road to be safe.

cumfy Thu 29-Nov-12 14:27:59


Is the penny not dropping that you are not getting anywhere faster since the cyclist is catching up at the lights ?

lljkk Netherlands Thu 29-Nov-12 14:35:45

LOL @ Cumfy.

I suppose if it was a tractor none of these drivers could get past, anyway. Ever.

If there are cross roads at all then the cycle path will stop and force users (cyclists) to give way at each and every road junction. It is profoundly irritating if the regular road does not also stop to give way at each of those junctions, too.

As a cyclist I like to get in front because then everyone knows I'm there. They can bloomin' well see me. Staying stuck in a queue of traffic (aside from the lovely fumes I get to breathe!) means that someone will try desperately to get by as quick as possible; trying to create road space that doesn't exist. By asserting my position on the road I think I make things safer for all because it's harder to pretend I don't take space on the road.

It's a tricky one & I do see where you're coming from, but there's no ideal solution. If all drivers were usually careful about overtaking (ha!! Not just passing cyclists, but overtaking in any situation), then I would happily as a cyclist keep my position in the queue.

Alisvolatpropiis Thu 29-Nov-12 18:33:50

I think cyclists are safer being ahead of the traffic at lights in all fairness.

I do hate it when they don't actually stop for red lights but them going in front doesn't bother me. I'd rather they be where I can see them,safer for everyone involved.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Thu 29-Nov-12 18:40:30

YABU to expect that cyclists might consider anyone else on the road instead of only themselves. They just don't.

GrendelsMum Thu 29-Nov-12 18:43:57

Cyclepaths are a lovely idea but in practice they're often rather poorly maintained. The one near us is also unfortunately not terribly safe - I've actually had three cars hit me while I've been on the cycle path, which has got to be quite an achievement!

AThingInYourLife Thu 29-Nov-12 18:51:35

"Is the penny not dropping that you are not getting anywhere faster since the cyclist is catching up at the lights?"


Also, if they were all doing the journey by car, that would presumably cause congestion.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Thu 29-Nov-12 19:05:36

Maybe the car drivers hope they will get through the lights before the cyclist gets there? Maybe they just want to be able to drive their car quicker than they could run?

joanbyers Thu 29-Nov-12 19:10:35

ooh, a cyclist bashing thread. We get one about every two weeks.

Jolly good stuff.

psychomum5 Thu 29-Nov-12 19:17:56

I have been known to shout out the window to cyclist to use the cycle path. Especially near to us on a short stretch of a dual carraigeway, that is actually to narrow to be a safe one, but too wide to be single lane. There is a cycle path on the pavement, so less than two feet away from many of the cyclists.

one was killed there recently, and he was on the road. Had he been on the pavement cycle bit he would never have been killed.

It pisses me off no end. It is not safe for the cyclist to be on the road, hence the cycle path, and it is also unsafe for the cars trying to avoid said cyclist.

aroomofherown Thu 29-Nov-12 19:24:25

YABU to expect that cyclists might consider anyone else on the road instead of only themselves. They just don't.

Oh outraged its so unfair and inaccurate to make such a sweeping statement.

WilsonFrickett Thu 29-Nov-12 19:24:39

Oh come on psycho. A car hit a cyclist but it's the cyclists fault for being on the road in the first place? Nothing to do with the car at all?

Some cycle paths are poorly maintained, very tricky to use at this time of year due to build up of damp leaves, etc. and they're often used by pedestrians too, which is fine if you're out for a tootle, not if you're trying to get to work at a reasonable speed.

GrendelsMum Thu 29-Nov-12 19:25:16

Unfortunately cycle paths aren't particularly safe in my experience. As I said, I've been hit 3 times by cars on cycle paths, and come off once when I hit a badly maintained bit of pavement. And we're in a town that's considered unusually good for cycling!

natation Thu 29-Nov-12 19:37:32

Ahem most roads are not unsafe, however many roads are made unsafe by cars, lorries not taking into consideration that they are driving huge pieces of metal which at even at low speed can knock over and kill cyclists.

Roads are for bikes, motorbikes, cars, lorries, buses. I absolutely detest it when anyone writes roads are not for cyclists.

psychomum5 Thu 29-Nov-12 19:38:56

I wasn;t the cars fault, that was proven. The cyclist swerved around a drain, the car was unable to swerve due to a lorry next to it, and it was actually to short a time to react, and the road is a narrow dual carraigeway.

if the cyclist had been on the pavement, which is actually VERY wide to allow both pedestrians and cyclist, it would not have had to swerve.

ergo, use the sodding path!!

Cycle paths aren;t made to look pretty, they are there for the safety of ALL road users.

I cycle, and I know how idiotic cars can be, as are many cyclist who feel they have more rights.

I just do not get anyone putting the convenience of the road over their safety.

MavisG Thu 29-Nov-12 19:40:41

The fumes alone are enough reason to filter to the front.

GrendelsMum Thu 29-Nov-12 19:43:27

Well, unfortunately as we've said, the cycle paths are often not particularly safe.

Sadly, you can end up in hospital from an accident on a cycle path, just as you can from an accident on a road. I know that from personal experience, and it's made me very wary about assuming that cycle paths are safe.

psychomum5 Thu 29-Nov-12 19:45:16

walking isn;t safe either I find. Those pesky cyclists and cars and lorries. They just get in the way when I want to walk where I please...

WilsonFrickett Thu 29-Nov-12 19:54:36

I'm surprised that was proven as not being the car's fault tbh, as it says in the Highway Code to leave space for cyclists as they may have to swerve suddenly for obstacles the car driver may not see (like potholes and drains).

psychomum5 Thu 29-Nov-12 20:01:47

I am only repeating what I remember. I didn;t witness, and it was a while back now.

The place where it happened tho, I have had a couple of close calls with cyclists. That one part is where the road suddenly widens into three lanes for a roundabout (with traffic lights) and you can sometimes get past the cyclist if there are not three cars in the road, and the lights are green.

Typing it here makes me think that the actual outcome was that it wasn;t the fault of the car driver, it was accidental death for the reason of the cyclist swerving with no warning. Again not 100% certain.

what is certain, a cyclist died. And if he had been on the cycle path, he wouldn;t have.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Thu 29-Nov-12 20:04:40

Why shouldn't a cyclist have to slow down for things like drains or potholes? Why does the Highway Code infer its ok for them to swerve in front of a car??

TweedSlacks Thu 29-Nov-12 20:06:57

"wasn;t the cars fault, that was proven. The cyclist swerved around a drain, the car was unable to swerve due to a lorry next to it, and it was actually to short a time to react, and the road is a narrow dual carraigeway."

No , cause it wasn't . If the car hadnt been there the cyclist would have died anyway.

Cyclepaths are often poorly maintained , covered in broken glass , branches and leaf mulch . None of which are very plesant to cycle on .

There is often no option but to use the carriageway , then entitled motorists (who do not need to swerve for drains as thier wheels dont disappear into them) drive over cyclist as they 'pay road tax' which allows them to do whatever they feel like.

TiggyD Thu 29-Nov-12 20:09:09

The cyclist can pass as it's a queue of traffic and their lane is moving less slowly than the other.

When cycling normally, the cyclist, like any slow moving vehicle, should pull over and let the queue behind them pass every now and then.

Cycle paths are often best avoided. Sometimes very dangerous things when shared with pedestrians, covered with leaves, constantly having to stop at side roads, parked cars on them, icier than roads, driveways crossing them etc.

Beograde Thu 29-Nov-12 20:10:53

PsychoMum - I can't believe you just said that about it being the cyclist's fault - crikey! As mentioned, the car obviously was driving dangerously if it didn't give the cyclist enough space.

Back to the point of the thread, I really wonder how much time is added to one's daily commute as a result of a bicycle, and how much due to traffic congestion.

TiggyD Thu 29-Nov-12 20:15:14

"what is certain, a cyclist died. And if he had been on the cycle path, he wouldn;t have. "
Unless they had to avoid a child running around on the cycle lane and had swerved...
Or they skidded on wet leaves...
Or a car reversed out it's driveway...
Or a sudden puncture from broken glass on the cycle path...
Or they had to go on the road for a bit anyway due to cars parked on the cycle path...

Fakebook Thu 29-Nov-12 20:19:55

I think cyclists should just be banned during the winter months. Also those bloody flashing seizure inducing "lights" they have on these days need to be banned. Which idiot invented them and why are they all the rage all of a sudden?

psychomum5 Thu 29-Nov-12 20:24:38

the cycle path is on the pavement. There are no houses so no reasons for cars to be on said pavement. It is there due to the dangerous part of the road.

It is massively wide enough for people and the bikes. I have used it. It is well maintained and in fact, given more attention than the road.

I have driven down the road, I do daily on the school run. It is the busiest road in the town, and cyclists have been given a massive priority to keep them safe.

There is at least one accident per week, sometimes several, along that road (it is LONG.....the house numbers that are down that road go up to over 3000!). This particular stretch is by the shops, conversely, and there is in fact four parts where the road splits to allow for people to stop at the shops.

If there is a well maintained cycle lane there is no excuse, ever, to be on the road.

I am obviously not talking about all cycle lanes, some are poor, but this one is not.

Cyclists are not all blameless you know.

cars are not all guilty.

and accidents happen. But some can be avoided.

"Is the penny not dropping that you are not getting anywhere faster since the cyclist is catching up at the lights?"

That's on the first, shorter stretch of the road. On the next 10 miles I might hope to average more than 25mph thus reaching my destination sooner

And no, I'm not bashing cyclists. I like exercise, I like fresh air, i like freedom and personal choice. I'm all for anyone getting around however they like. I just wondered about a particular thing that seemed, for want of a better word, unfair.

The cycle path is smooth, flat, well maintained with a fine gravelly surface. But I did say from the start that my problem is not whether the cyclist should be using the path or not. S'up to them innit

I just wanted to know if it was the done thing to 'jump the queue' and why and I've found out. I see the reasons now

Thanks for e

joanbyers Thu 29-Nov-12 20:32:20

"I have been known to shout out the window to cyclist to use the cycle path."

I shout back "Why don't you walk".

or just "fuck off".

Motorists 'advice' to cyclists is never useful and always unwelcome.

Gosh, I had no idea there was this level of vitriol. Guess I should've done hey? This is mumsnet where a scrap can break out over well um anything

Let's all kiss and make up now and realise that most of us have been both motorists and cyclists

apostropheuse Thu 29-Nov-12 20:43:11

You should cycle in Glasgow City Centre.

It's the done thing to cycle on roads, on cycle paths, on foot paths and in pedestrian precincts - at top speed of course. I think you're awarded extra points for narrowly missing pedestrians. It's also perfectly acceptable to get irate with pedestrians for having the audacity to walk in the precinct. You're allowed to ring your bell and shout and them too!

It drive me bloody insane!

sayayetaeapie Thu 29-Nov-12 20:53:07

also in Glasgow

cycle paths that go nowhere or run for 500 yards then disappear and are covered in broken glass. more punctures from bramble bushes. Lots of fun not getting something thrown at you (or taken off you) by the neds. If it's a busier path then you're sharing with dog walkers and wee kids - no thanks. Splashety splash through slippy leaves and mud or ice at the moment. Try the roads and it's 3 inch deep potholes and drain covers coming loose.

or dodge the other cyclists wearing black with no lights.

Or maybe get the bus ah hang on there isn't one


apostropheuse Thu 29-Nov-12 20:58:43

Maybe you should give up cycling since it's so dangerous then sayayetaepie.

You're obviously not enjoying it any more than the non-cyclists.

dexter73 Thu 29-Nov-12 21:10:58

If the cycle path is gravel then my dh wouldn't cycle on it anyway. He doesn't have a mountain bike and it is very hard for a road bike to cycle on gravel. Can you imagine if the road was gravel?

WilsonFrickett Thu 29-Nov-12 21:12:53

Yep, I've had my worst falls on gravel.

scurryfunge Thu 29-Nov-12 21:13:57

Most cyclists are also motorists - they have every right to be on a road. Slow down a little or set off earlier if your journey is so important .
When cycling, my rule is to make eye contact with the driver - if you can't do that, assume they don't know you are there.

WilsonFrickett Thu 29-Nov-12 21:14:54

Posted too soon. And if there's 3000 houses on a street, does that mean 1500 drives backing on to the cycle path? Because that's 1500 accidents waiting to happen.

<blows op a kiss>

psychomum5 Thu 29-Nov-12 21:16:11

gravel won;t bother cars. They are well hard wink

I will concede to gravel being horrid on bikes. I have fallen off my bike on gravel paths. They are bumpy and slippy. Mind, I have no sense of decent balance so it might be me.

I have also been knocked off my bike by a car. My fault too.....but this was when I was 16 and didn;t actually appreciate that swerving in front of cars is bloody hard for cars to avoid.

I love cycle paths.

joanbyers Thu 29-Nov-12 22:32:06

Not many cycle paths around here. The odd cycle lane, a reasonable bit of muddy bridleway, and a few 'shared' pavements, but not much you could consider a cycle path.

EndoplasmicReticulum Thu 29-Nov-12 22:38:37

"Motorists 'advice' to cyclists is never useful and always unwelcome. "

I don't know about this. I did shout at a cyclist the other day "why don't you have any lights on your bike? It's dark!"

He didn't hear me though as I didn't open the window. I was shouting to myself, really.

He didn't even have a reflector thing at the back, or any bright clothing.

PrideOfChanur Thu 29-Nov-12 22:41:52

"Also those bloody flashing seizure inducing "lights" they have on these days need to be banned. Which idiot invented them and why are they all the rage all of a sudden?"

Possibly because even those cyclists who haven't been in an accident are well aware that anything that makes them more visible to cars might just be a good idea??

JumpJockey Thu 29-Nov-12 22:59:53

I was shouted at, told to "get a move on" and then called a "bloody idiot" by a car driver this morning. My error was to slow down (in order to avoid being run over) after he overtook me, then very soon afterwards indicated left to turn off th road. Apparently by stopping and allowing him to make his maneuvre, I was doing something wrong. Made me wonder, if he was so keen for me to cycle on before he turned, why did he overtake me in the first place?

lljkk Netherlands Fri 30-Nov-12 07:36:48

The cycle path is smooth, flat, well maintained with a fine gravelly surface.

I know the sort OP means. They are ok for tootling, but higher puncture risk and much slower (much higher resistance) than using the road. Like most cycle paths they are meant for children, not vehicles that can easily move at 20-25mph on the open road. Commuters tend to avoid.

OP didn't mention whether the cycle path has to give way to cross traffic at every single junction. Check out Germany or Denmark where the cycle paths are paved in smooth tarmac and often have right of way at cross roads.

PSMo5: I have been known to shout out the window to cyclist to use the cycle path.

That is horrendously rude thing to do. shock

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now