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Hello all

The other day I was confronted with a situation I never thought I would encounter, I was travelling downhill pretty rapidly and was forced to brake quite a bit as the car in front was tootling along at about 15 to 20 mph. My question is, should I have overtaken the car? and If I had tried to overtake and the buffoon sped up, who would be in the wrong? If any of you have any experience of these issues I'd be very glad to hear it! Thanks!

31 comments

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CXR94Di2 [1154 posts] 1 year ago
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Hell yes, if the road way clear and safe to do so. Think about the kudos for you and shame for the driver being passed by a push bike.:)

Only at the time you were there weighing up all safety concerns ie driver looking for a side street, messing with phone, chatting with passenger can you make a judgement call. Legally I overtake vehicles all the time, when possible, not often as they most obviously travel faster than me.

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cbrookes75 [30 posts] 1 year ago
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Thanks for the input!!  1

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Joeinpoole [439 posts] 1 year ago
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I think you have to be *very* careful in such situations. Cars going slowly often mean the driver is trying to make a decision over what to do next ... and that can be absolutely anything ... usually without warning. They will probably be oblivious to the presence of a cyclist and may suddenly accelerate, veer left, or veer right or just stop dead.

If you do decide to overtake then make sure you overtake correctly on the right, leaving lots of space, and then only when you can execute the move quickly, can see the road clear well ahead (and ideally have somewhere to escape to if the unpredictable happens). Overtaking cars is always a risky manoeuvre.

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Tinternet_tim [118 posts] 1 year ago
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Excellent advice from JoeinPoole! I agree with everything he says.
My only other comment would be....just because you can doesn't mean you should. How many times have you as a cyclist been on the road when a car can't wait behind you for 10-15 seconds and MGIF?
We as cyclist are the first to say 'be patient' (I'm being polite...its usually "F$^& idiot") or to fling our arms in the arm or shake your head as they overtake and then join the back of a queue of traffic.

I guess what I am saying is, we are all road users and need to show a bit of courtesy to slower traffic.

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felixcat [472 posts] 1 year ago
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I once took four cars and a lorry on the Llanberis Pass, when the lorry slowed for Pont y Cromlech (the bridge halfway down).
This was youthful foolishness and Joeinpoole's advice is good. All I can say in my defence is that there was nowhere for the vehicles to turn, their future course was pretty clear.

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cbrookes75 [30 posts] 1 year ago
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Thanks for all your experiences, I appreciate it! I tend to err on the side of the caution, but I am rapidly becoming angry with cars who feel the need to overtake me five yards from a roundabout especially when I am almost in the middle of the lane to try and cross the roundabout! Grr!

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cbrookes75 [30 posts] 1 year ago
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On the note of this thread, is there a good online guide to roadcraft for cyclists anywhere?

Thanks.

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pablo [110 posts] 1 year ago
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If i come up behind a car thats going slower than me i'd think like others have said they are looking to turn or do something crazy. keep well clear.

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paulrbarnard [182 posts] 1 year ago
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Not had the situation with a car but have passed tractors on a couple of occasions. Treat it just as you would if you were driving a car. If you can pass safely then you are free to do so.

I share your view on the must get past idiots. I have lost count of the number of times a car has passed me right on the lead up to a junction only to be forced to stop in front of me. There is a spot on my commute on a hill leading to a roundabout that often causes this. I finish up stuck on the slope rather than at the flatter transition to the roundabout needing a much tougher hill start. The road is narrow enough that I can't filter either. I don't know if it is a deliberate action on the part of the cars or just a result of a compulsion to get in front coupled with absolutely no ability to consider what it means opt other road users.

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nuclear coffee [209 posts] 1 year ago
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Perfectly fine, in principle. As others have alluded to, the rationale "if someone's slowing down there's probably a reason" is not a bad one in terms if keeping you alive.

In general, try and work out that reason first.

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ajd [34 posts] 1 year ago
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Best article on road craft is Effective Traffic Riding eBooklet - British Cycling.
It's the bible for road cyclists.

http://www.britishcycling.org.uk/insightzone/techniques/balance_and_coor...

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S13SFC [134 posts] 1 year ago
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I had a similar going down Penkridge Bank on Cannock Chase.

I was doing around 65kmph when the car 100m ahead started to really slow, as on that stretch there is only 2 left hand turns I make the rapid decision to pass it on the right judging if that they wanted the 2nd turn (which they did), then I'd be past them before they accelerated.

Simply a judgement call that you sometimes have to make in a split second when travelling at speed.

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Leeroy_Silk [128 posts] 1 year ago
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I overtook a steamroller a while back after deliberating a good few mins before making my move. My primary concern was what would happen if my chain snapped as I was cranking or slipped a pedal (I was on flats). Being hit by a steamroller was pretty low on my wish list that day.
Overtaking stationary traffic is one thing, having to accelerate to overtake brings a few more 'what ifs' to consider.

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OldRidgeback [2620 posts] 1 year ago
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Leeroy_Silk wrote:

I overtook a steamroller a while back after deliberating a good few mins before making my move. My primary concern was what would happen if my chain snapped as I was cranking or slipped a pedal (I was on flats). Being hit by a steamroller was pretty low on my wish list that day.
Overtaking stationary traffic is one thing, having to accelerate to overtake brings a few more 'what ifs' to consider.

A steamroller?

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Leeroy_Silk [128 posts] 1 year ago
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One of these bad boys!

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truffy [653 posts] 1 year ago
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Reminds of a time a school (many years ago) when one of my class mentioned that he'd been slipstreaming a milk float. My how we pissed ourselves!  24

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glynr36 [637 posts] 1 year ago
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Just pass them on the right, crank up the speed a bit and don't pull straight in so they have time to see you.

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WiznaeMe [35 posts] 1 year ago
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I may be in a minority of one, but I'm not convinced that the British Cycling guide to filtering is a clever way to move through traffic. It advises cyclists to overtake on the outside of queuing traffic adjacent to oncoming vehicles. I can't see how this gives us a big enough gap. Their diagram shows the rider four cars lengths away from an oncoming car with no place to return to a safe place. Perhaps I've picked this up wrongly and there is an example of how to do this somewhere on YouTube.  7

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glynr36 [637 posts] 1 year ago
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It's common sense really, if something is coming the other way you'll have to wait till it's safe to do so.

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pants [238 posts] 1 year ago
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Joeinpoole wrote:

I think you have to be *very* careful in such situations. Cars going slowly often mean the driver is trying to make a decision over what to do next ...

What this guy said, this morning I was nearly hit by a van driver on the phone who rolled out onto a round about as I was approaching, because he was going so slow I assumed he was stopping (It was my right of way anyway as I was on the roundabout). I had to shout to avoid being hit.

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OldRidgeback [2620 posts] 1 year ago
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Leeroy_Silk wrote:

One of these bad boys!

Aha, a soil compactor then. Steamrollers haven't been built since the 1920s. I thought you'd overtaken an old roller going to a traction engine/steam event.

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farrell [1950 posts] 1 year ago
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OldRidgeback wrote:
Leeroy_Silk wrote:

One of these bad boys!

Aha, a soil compactor then. Steamrollers haven't been built since the 1920s. I thought you'd overtaken an old roller going to a traction engine/steam event.

I've done this though, up in Cheshire.

For something referred to as a traction engine, they don't half slide about the road an awful lot.

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tom_w [204 posts] 1 year ago
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I think the standard good advice of making eye contact with the driver before executing the manoeuvre probably applies here. Keep an eye on their rear-view and wing mirror, if there not glancing at you they are probably oblivious to your presence.

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DaveE128 [546 posts] 1 year ago
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What others have said - be careful. One scenario to watch out for is that they may be about to make a U-turn. You wouldn't necessarily spot this in the same way as an upcoming right turn as obviously a side road is not needed.

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sodit [91 posts] 1 year ago
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Never overtaken a car but have passed a tractor but I think it was about 500 years old (ok 50)

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Sit at the back... [17 posts] 1 year ago
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I can't really remember ever overtaking a car on my push bike but I have done it many (thousands of) times on my motorcycle in 40+ years of "shiney side up" riding. With experience you develop a sort of "sixth sense" about whether it's OK or not.
General advice though; car drivers who are driving a bit strangely are worth giving a wide berth 'cos it usually means they aren't concentrating and they're about to do something unpredictable and potentially dangerous.

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Sit at the back... [17 posts] 1 year ago
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OldRidgeback
Yes they DO slide about an awful lot don't they. Look at the steering mechanism and you will see a collection of worm gears, drums and chains, more like the steering mechanism on a 19th century sailing ship than anything that would normally be considered roadworthy! Also most of them don't have brakes, apart from a parking brake!

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Sit at the back... [17 posts] 1 year ago
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OldRidgeback
Yes they DO slide about an awful lot don't they. Look at the steering mechanism and you will see a collection of worm gears, drums and chains, more like the steering mechanism on a 19th century sailing ship than anything that would normally be considered roadworthy! Also most of them don't have brakes, apart from a parking brake!

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nuclear coffee [209 posts] 1 year ago
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Think I've overtaken a couple of learners  16

Okay in principle, but as others have said err on the side of caution until you know WHY they're going slow. Quite often it'll mean lost.

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andrewduffy [13 posts] 1 year ago
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WiznaeMe wrote:

I may be in a minority of one, but I'm not convinced that the British Cycling guide to filtering is a clever way to move through traffic. It advises cyclists to overtake on the outside of queuing traffic adjacent to oncoming vehicles.

I got taken out by a passenger door whilst passing stationary traffic on the left. Badly broken finger, bruising and bent bike. 3 months later my finger is still stiff and I'm only just back into cycle commuting. I now think VERY carefully before passing on the left. Passing on the right you are unlikely to encounter a door opening (who gets out in the middle of the road at lights?) and you can clearly see oncoming traffic.

Of course, sometimes it's just best to be patient and wait!

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