Secondary Road Position
This is when you are riding along the road and you are about 60cm (two ruler lengths) away from the pavement. This helps makes sure you are away from gutters, potholes and rubbish in the road. It is also far enough out, that if a cars wing mirror brushes against you when they overtake you, you have room to wobble without hitting the pavement. You are also far enough out into the road to stop drivers trying to ‘squeeze’ beteen you and a car coming towards them.
Primary Road Position
This is where the cyclist cycles further out into the road and blocks the road to stop traffic overtaking them; they will be positioned in the middle of their half of the road. Being so far out into the road helps to control the traffic behind you and also makes it much easier for drivers to see you.
When do you Move into the Primary Position?
- When you want to make a left or right hand turn.
- When you are approaching a junction.
- When you don’t want traffic to overtake you because it would place you in danger if they try to.
- When overtaking a parked car or slow moving traffic.
Dealing with Side Roads
When approaching a side road, cars often overshoot the stop or give way lines. Unfortunately, traffic coming out of side roads do sometimes hit cyclists because they find it difficult to see them. It is therefore very important to move away from the secondary riding position and move to the primary riding position so it is easier for them to see you and leaves a bigger gap between you and the driver at the junction. You need to do it early, never leave it until the last moment.
- Look all around to make sure it is safe to carry out the turn.
- Move from the secondary riding position to the primary riding position if safe to do so.
- Signal left if you need to. The signal should be long enough, so that other road users have a good chance of seeing the signal.
- Begin slowing down. Keep an eye out for traffic that may be turning in to your road, in case they try to ‘cut the corner’ and put you in danger.
- Ride into the primary riding position on the main road.
- When safe return to the secondary position.
- Well before the junction look back and all around to see if it’s safe to carry out this turn.
- Look back again to ensure it is safe to move to the primary riding position.
- If safe, gradually move from the secondary riding position to the primary riding position. When in the primary position and if you need to, give a clear right hand signal to inform other road users of your intention to turn right. Keep an eye out for traffic that may ‘cut the corner’ when turning into your road. As you approach the give way line, if you can clearly see the road is clear, you can ride out onto the main road and make your turn. However, if you don’t have a clear view of the road, you should come to a stop to check if it is safe to turn into the road. If you are approaching a solid white stop line you must stop here.
- When it is safe, ride ‘straight’ out into the road. Make sure you don’t cut the corner, if you do, it places you in danger for longer.
- Take up the primary position look back over both shoulders and when safe gradually move to the secondary position.
- Well before the traffic island, check back and when safe move into the primary position so as to block your lane.
- As you approach the traffic island, have your brake levers covered as pedestrians may step off the pavement without looking. They may also not hear your approach, remember many pedestrians wear head phones to listen to music and are very unaware of what is happening around them.
- Once you have ridden through the island and you feel it is safe, check back over both shoulders and if safe move back to the secondary riding position.
- Well before you get to the traffic lights, check back and when safe to do so, move into the primary riding position to block the lane and stop traffic getting past you. (If there are lanes to choose from, make your decision and move into the lane, taking up a primary position in that lane).
- Maintain the position until you are through the junction.
- When you think it is safe, check back over both shoulders and when safe move back to the secondary position.
- Well before the junction, check back and move to the primary riding position in the left lane, block the lane so traffic cannot overtake you.
- As you approach the junction, begin to decide if it is safe to ride onto the roundabout, if it is safe, ride onto the roundabout and take up the primary riding position in the left lane. If it isn’t safe, wait behind the give way line.
- As you approach a lane of traffic waiting to drive onto the roundabout, try and get eye contact with them, if you think it necessary, give a clear right hand signal so that they know you are continuing around.
- Signal left as you approach your exit, turn into your exit. Stay in the primary riding position until you think it is safe enough, check back over both shoulders and if safe return to the secondary riding position.
You may use a bus lane provided that there is a picture of a bike with the bus. If there isn’t a picture saying you are allowed to, then you aren’t allowed to. In busy cities or towns, this can improve your safety and help you progress through traffic. Remember though, if you have to overtake a stationary bus picking up or dropping off pass them very carefully as you may have to stray into the next lane that could be very dangerous.