Beating the system - the cycling commuting section
I'm new to commuting and riding on the road in general.
I'm just wondering what the feeling is among cycle commuters about filtering through stationary cars at traffic lights?
Is it bad to do it? Is it a grey area, sometimes its OK sometimes not?
Advice would be appreciated.
Only when traffic is stationary, and usually to left of the leftmost lane.
There are maybe one or two intersections on my commute where I *might* on the rare occasion do it when traffic is moving, but only if traffic is moving *very slowly*.
Doing it in moving traffic between lanes is generally a Very Bad Idea... high risk of getting squished. I don't recommend it in moving traffic.
Edited for clarity
Last edited by trailgumby on Thu Mar 28, 2013 11:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.
yep - but depends where I am, there are some areas where I *always* filter through, some places where I might/might not, and some where I *never* filter.....
basically, if you have somewhere safer than a traffic lane to filter to, then filter, otherwise - own the lane.
You'll know when and when not to filter when you can see from driver's perspective, and these can be un-predictable at times while highly predictable at other times. So filter conservatively and you'll be safe. As often told by cyclists to motorist, a slight wait won't make bugger all difference to the overall trip time. Staying alive is more important than the potential minute or two gained.
Yes, but only when cars are stationary. I'm watching the traffic light the whole time and if it changes to yellow as I'm filtering I'll slot in behind a car if I'm not at the front by then. I'm not going to filter while the cars are moving beside me. That's too high a risk for me, IMO.
Most of the roads I commute on have a bicycle lane on the left after the light, so even if I filter I won't be holding up cars. Otherwise I act like a car.
I do sometimes. It depends on the circumstances and there are some gotchas. The intersection nearest my work is pretty 'interesting' with cyclists filtering on the inside and outside of the lane. First thing to watch out for is oncoming cyclists when entering the filter. Next is to avoid cyclists who are 'merging' from the outside. Next it avoiding cars when the lights turn green. The sequence is this: where the bikes wait the ped lights are red but the others turn green, then the lights turn green and cars start to turn through the peds . The guy in front of me just about got cleaned up by a car turning while he was riding through the intersection. Funny thing was that the car could only drive 2 metres before being blocked by the peds. Also if you head out from the lights first, watch out for cars merging into your lane and peds who dart out into the intersection against the red.
I haven't had any issues but I am careful to 1) keep my wits about me and watch for other cyclists, turning cars and peds running the red. I also make sure other cars can see me and I'm ready to take evasive action if someone does something stupid. Also, if I am near the front of the cue, I just jump in and position myself like I would if I was driving. I only filter if I am so far back that I won't make it though the intersection on the next green.
Each situation is unique and your behaviour should be considered as part of that unique situation. If you can do it without negative effects for self and others, then why not?
Short answer: Yes AND No.
I filter because I ride a bike so I don't get caught in traffic. Can't see any reason why I shouldn't. I don't filter unless the cars are stationary, I don't try to filter when there isn't room. You need to be careful but cars block the road so why shouldn't I go around them?
Blimey, I filter everywhere I possibly can. Maybe it's a throwback to my days as a motorcyclist in the UK. Heck, we'd filter in situations you guys would find absolutely horrifying. Having said that, UK motorists do look, then indicate, then move, something I haven't witnessed here in almost 10 years.
I'm another former motorcyclist and filtering is second nature. Frustrating as it can be to be stuck in traffic whilst in a car, it'd be ever more frustrating being on a bike knowing that I could filter but didn't - hell, it was a reason I wanted to start riding on the road.
Cyclists in WA are in the luck position that, as well as passing on the right while moving they can also pass on the left when the traffic is stopped. (Far too lazy to look up which of the three acts it's in this morning)
Motorcyclists are not meant to do that.
Legally, you can overtake other traffic, as long as you can do it safely. Defining "safely" is the key.
I have no guilt about filtering, although these days with a bit of experience I am getting a bit more conservative about doing it. I am increasingly reluctant to filter on the left, unless there is plenty of room, there are no left-turn indicators ahead and the right-side is blocked. Usually I will overtake on the right side, though only when traffic is stationary. There is usually a wider space between cars here then on the kerb-side. I will move right through to the lights and then merge in line or move to the left, behind the first vehicle at the lights. This is to avoid being caught in front of a car just as the lights go green. If I am still on the right between traffic as the lights go green, I will continue riding and as traffic build to my speed, signal and change into the left lane. Very rarely I get an aggro tool who blasts his horn at me. I just wave them by. Most drivers are pretty reasonable.
Often if the spaces are too restrictive, there are lots of trucks in the mix, or the traffic is only queued back 4-5 cars, I will just sit in the lane behind.
The filtering is not the real issue to me. The issue is what you can do once you get to the front of the que. I don't think you should filter if you are going to hold traffic up once the light goes green. If the traffic is banked up past the intersection or if there is a bike lane starting just the other side then ill filter. If not then I think it is rude and inconsiderate.
I filter pretty often, generally I try to do it on the left, but often the gap is too narrow to pull it off, so I do it between lanes, though it's very dependent on the incline, how likely traffic is to start moving, and if I have a clear view of the gap ahead.
Heck, it's nothing to be proud of but we used to routinely filter at 200km/h (the cars were doing 170) in the UK. Filtering at 10km/h on a bicycle is trivial stuff. And anyway, aren't we supposed to be the bad boys of the road? Motorists expect us to hold them up, bunny hop over kerbs and slice unpredictably between them.
Always filtered on my rod bikes (motorised ones) when traffic is very slow on motorway or at a stop.
Never had a drama but see people closing up in Australia.
I think its a disgraceful practice by cars as the bike holds no draw back to the car and is gone in seconds.
On a pushbike, I don't generally do it unless I can get out the way quickly and not be a hindrance and only filter to inside, never between two cars unless on a motorbike.
I will always filter if I won't get through during one set of green lights. I.e if the queue is only short and will get through on one green ill line up behind them. If its a long queue ill filter - usually down the middle of two lanes as I find there is more room - until I'm at the front or at least to a position that will get me through the lights when they change. As others have mentioned if the traffic is moving ill move into the left lane.
This. I wont do it if it means holding up cars on the other side of the filter, I don't want any road rage directed at me becuase a motorist believes that I am holding them up after 'cheating' through the traffic.
One thing I sometimes do (and only on certain roads/intersections) is filter up to the front, cross the intersection on the left once the lights change then go up onto the footpath. Once there, I stop and wait for cars to drive past. Once they're gone, I know I'll have a nice gap I can ride in without fear of holding anyone up. Keep in mind I'm a VERY slow rider though, so holding people up is always very high on my mind.
This only works on certain roads, and generally if I can't do this or go straight to a cycle path/lane/painted strip I don't filter.
In that situation I would filter (nice job BTW), but wowzers, we never see anywhere near that traffic in Ballarat, so I usually just fit in with the flow of traffic so I don't hold people up, like the guys above have said.
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