Traffic Pinch Points - A Hazard To Cyclists
Pedestrian refuges / traffic islands - put there for your safety. On the one hand, they mean that pedestrians can cross roads one lane at a time. And drivers, get a greater perception of their speed, which hopefully means that they slow down.
The trouble is, that there isn’t always room for a car AND a bike in these narrows:
In fact, there sometimes isn’t enough room for even a single vehicle:
The real problem for me though is judging the width of the road
Is it wide enough for a bike to ride safely while at the same time a car / bus / lorry / whatever overtakes?
Some of them around here are that wide . . . while others look it until someone does try to overtake you, at which point you find how scarily narrow the road really is.
The official line for cyclists to take on these is to "take the primary position". i.e. pull out into the flow of traffic so that there can be no doubt at all in the driver’s mind: There IS NOT room to get past:
The thing is, I think drivers are getting worse, and you have to be MORE assertive now than ever. Last week, I had a car come past me far too close for comfort, even though I was taking up about 40% of the road on the approach to one of these narrows - roughly the position shown above.
So for the next few weeks, I’m trying a modified technique:
I. Will. Own. That. Road. (Girlfriend).
Never mind this looking over the shoulder and pulling across if it’s safe - my moves will be accompanied by the full arm-out hand signal, and I will be riding through these kill zones at about 50-60% of the distance from the road’s edge. I will be doing this on every single one, and only IF when I get into one, I find that it’s ridiculously wide, will I then pull across to let cars pass safely.
It’s time to reclaim the streets