A question for other commuters...

by T_Hawes   June 3, 2014  

...a simple one, that I'm hoping some of you can answer for me.

I've been commuting by bike in London for ten years. In many ways, it has changed a lot for the better. More bikes = more awareness by drivers = safer conditions, I think. For the most part.

*But*. One thing that has got a lot worse as the number of other bike commuters has grown is my experience at junctions / red lights etc. Every day.

I stop at red lights, and am fairly conservative at junctions etc. Largely because if you're commuting in every day, then you're better off not taking risks. Eventually, if you keep taking risks, you'll be unlucky.

Between junctions, I ride fairly quickly. Overtake most bikes, only get overtaken occasionally.

But at junctions, it's now all very chaotic. I stop at a red light, and within seconds, all the bikes I've been overtaking are squeezing past me on my inside, outside, wherever, stopping in front of me, no matter what space there is there.

Meaning of course I then have to overtake them all over again once we get going.


When I get to a junction, if there's a bike there, I stop behind it. It's fine. Why are so many (London) commuters to determined to *always* be at the front of every bunch of cyclists at a junction, no matter what they have to do to get there, and no matter how much slower they are?

I don't understand it. And it's definitely getting worse all the time.

Would be very grateful if someone could explain the logic. Thanks.

6 user comments

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for most part, its because the human race is being over run by a$$holes, but I notice the same thing when riding just about anywhere, there are the people that for some reason just cant be seen behind another cyclist. its the same with modes of transport though, I see it all the time on the way home, cars and motorbikes belting along, swerving in and out, only to be stopped at the next set of lights.

So to answer your question, there is no logic, apart from people are stupid

posted by jason.timothy.jones [303 posts]
3rd June 2014 - 12:22

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Four possible reasons: Impatience, bad manners through not being brought up properly, nowhere else to park in the ACL and/or they're not engaging their brains

posted by Scoob_84 [194 posts]
3rd June 2014 - 13:04

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I know what you mean, although for me it's often the RLJers. I then leapfrog them once moving again. I think the difference is in how you view your cycling:

My view (and possibly yours, given that you're on this site) is that time on the bike is all good. If I have to put in an extra couple of accelerations complete with rucksack, rack and pannier, it all builds towards better fitness.

However, if you're on a bike just to get from A to B, the opposite is true - you don't want to work any harder than required, you don't want to wait in the queue, you just want to get to the front and get across the junction and on your way... etc etc. You also don't have a view on cycling etiquette - the others are just in your way.

Perhaps your rucksack cover needs to say something like "Only pass me if you're quick enough not be overtaken!"

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3108 posts]
3rd June 2014 - 13:40

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Well, guess it's not quite like that for me (that extra accelerations are all good). Not when I'm commuting.

I think because when you're pulling away from a junction, there's pretty likely to be traffic behind and coming past. So it's the one time where it's a bit tricky to get past a bunch of slow bikes, especially if you're not into taking small risks. And therefore it's a bit irritating to sit there and watch as all the bikes crowd past you and in front of you.

Point taken from jtj that car drivers would probably behave the same way if they could. Suppose I just expect a bit more from people on bikes. Wrongly in this case.

Am guessing that London is a lot worse than elsewhere for this. Both 'cos of numbers, and given that people are maybe in more of a hurry here. Is that the case?

Anyway, if you're reading and one of those who do this - stop it.

posted by T_Hawes [9 posts]
3rd June 2014 - 14:15

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"When I get to a junction, if there's a bike there, I stop behind it. It's fine. Why are so many (London) commuters to determined to *always* be at the front of every bunch of cyclists at a junction, no matter what they have to do to get there, and no matter how much slower they are?"

It's because their too stupid to understand that - even if they win the rat-race, they're still a rat! Rolling On The Floor

posted by levermonkey [362 posts]
6th June 2014 - 18:51

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This phenomenon is not restricted to London. I experience it in Glasgow every day.

The other one that hacks me off is the obsession with getting into the ASL box. Don't ride past another stationary cyclist and wriggle down the gutter past that bus. Stop with the other cyclist thus allowing the bus to piss of into the distance rather than the guy who stopped having to wait for the bus to overtake you before he can overtake you.

My eyes prefer Celeste, my bum prefers titanium.

Jack Osbourne snr's picture

posted by Jack Osbourne snr [304 posts]
6th June 2014 - 21:00

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