Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Cycling tip du jour, Wednesday: Never trust people to give-way

This means: give way to traffic
on major road. A full guide can be
found on the Highway Code
Had a nasty little scare on the journey in this morning. I was cycling along George Street just West of Marylebone High Street. Manchester Street was coming up on my left, where there's a set of give-way markings - meaning, of course, that anything coming out of Manchester Street should give way or "cede" to those on George Street. Taking the sign at its word, I cycled past it.

But to my horror, a pretty enormous truck, clearly belting down Manchester Street, appeared on my left, and seemed not to be stopping. I started shouting and waving my hand, and he did actually come to a rest, but with the cab of his truck about 2-3 feet extended beyond the give-way sign. He did nearly hit me, and I'm still not clear whether he actually intended to stop, or just habitually stops beyond the dotted line.

Whatever happens, it led me to think that a good cyclist should not go close to the curb, and indeed should be aiming wherever possible to cycle in the middle of the road so if a car or truck doesn't stop properly, you've a fighting chance of being seen.

And the other thing I learned - just because there's a give-way marking, it doesn't mean they're going to stop. Assume the worst.


Jonathan said...

That's the best advice you can give when riding a bike. Just think that all drivers are idiots and 'will' pull out and you will be okay. When approaching a junction I always pull out into the middle of the road just so that there is a little room to manoeuvre if the worst should happen.

KarmaCycle said...

Jonathan - thanks for the comment. I think you're right about expecting the worst. I always try to remember that I need to act as though I'm invisible. Clearly to some cars, vans and trucks I am ... in spite of having an improbably number of bright flashing lights ...

Asho said...

Dear KarmaCycle

I cycle from Bethnal Green to Chiswick via Shepherds Bush and from reading your blog I'm thinking you may be going in a similar direction?

To cut to the chase, I'm interested in your route; to and from work?


KarmaCycle said...

Hi Asho - that sounds v similar to me, but you have even further to go, wow! I thought I was pretty hardcore ...

V good question re route, and I try to vary it a bit. My favourite route is going along the canal from Viccy Park, cruising up through Islington, then rejoining canal just the other side of Sainbury's. You can then go all the way to Scrubbs Lane, with a few detours. Lovely as it takes you through zoo, but wiggly and takes a long time.

Otherwise, my normal one is Viccy Park canal to Islington, then down through Owen, Chadwell Street, Myddleton Square, Amwell, Wharton ... up through Tavistock Place, across Tottenham Ct Rd and then left and effectively all the way down New Cavendish to Marylebone High Street, then along George street across Edgeware etc. I then either nip down to Bayswater and go along there to Shep Bush, or head up right past Paddington and loop down through NHGate eventually coming out along St Luke's Road, under A40, down Chesterton, St Quintin, North Pole and then on to Scrubbs Lane ... phew. I should probably put it on a map! There are a few variations. I wish there was a good way of getting through Bethnal Green and Old Street without going on huge roads - maybe you know that?

Always keen to hear new routes, so please share!