5 of the greatest dangers facing cyclists in London

Whilst we all go to sleep at night dreaming of better cycling infrastructure in London, until that day comes, it’s worth recognising the dangers and how we can avoid them.

I was luckily enough to receive a GoPro action camera from Argos to go around London, find danger and film it.

The result is the video below, which if you enjoy, please do like it on YouTube and leave a comment – it helps more people discover the tips it contains.

Along with buses, lorries pose a big danger to cyclists in London. It’s why TfL is experimenting with radars that warn drivers when a cyclist or pedestrian is around the vehicle.

Accident reports often involve a lorry driver that has not seen a cyclist in his blind spot, then turned in to the path of the cyclist, trapping them beneath the wheels of the truck.

When you come across a HGV, it’s worth waiting and not squeezing in to the narrow gaps that surround the vehicle.

There was also a case where a HGV driver didn’t see a cyclist in his blind spot in front of the vehicle. The driver ended up driving in to the Boris Bike when the light changed. Fortunately, in this scenario, the cyclist jumped to safety but it’s worth remembering that blind spots are all around the HGV, not just to the side.

2. Avoiding close overtakes at junctions and traffic lights

Correct cyclist position at a junction

When you reach a junction or a traffic light, it’s worth aiming to position yourself in the middle of the lane. This way, when it’s safe to move, you won’t find drivers attempting to dangerously overtake. This is an easy one to remember, but can be tough to implement sometimes, especially if the driver is right at the front of the junction, with no room for you to manoeuvre in front.

3. Avoiding nasty surprises and always being aware of surroundings

I was taught this little tip by a cycle training instructor that has made a huge difference to my experience of cycling in London. Following it makes me feel safer, provides me with a good awareness of surroundings and makes drivers focus on my position.

Every 5 to 10 seconds, depending on where I’m riding, I glance over my shoulder.

It lets me know what vehicles are around, incase I need to move out suddenly to avoid an obstacle. It also means that I won’t suddenly be overtaken by a taxi driver that I hadn’t seen.

The glance, prompts drivers to check what my next move will be and it’s more likely they’ll give me more space, rather than attempting a dangerously close overtake.

4. Watch out for pedestrians and other road users

Pedestrian walking out infront of a bus

I always remember during my first year of riding in London, hitting a pedestrian that was stepping off a bus that wasn’t positioned at a bus stop. Who was to blame? The pedestrian for not checking before exiting the bus? Me for riding too fast, not looking closely enough for dangers?

It doesn’t really help pointing the finger of blame, nor does it really matter. I bumped in to their shoulder and I felt awful. That person would think “These bloody cyclists” and I’ll think “These bloody pedestrians”. Of course, that attitude benefits no-one.

When riding around London, especially when filtering through traffic, beware of pedestrians not looking out for cyclists. Of course, beware also of cyclists not looking out for cyclists, bus drivers not looking out for cyclists and so on.

5. Staying clear of car doors and the pavement

Cycle training instructors will always tell you to ride further out from the kerb and from the unpredictable car doors of parked cars. The distance you give yourself from the kerb, will also be the distance drivers will give you, therefore it’s worth giving yourself a little extra space.

Recently considered riding in your local city? If so, take a look at the bikes available here, they’re perfect for both on and off road. But remember safety comes first, always keep your eyes on the road.

Questions and comments below please!

Join 10,221 fellow cyclists who are subscribed to the London Cyclist newsletter

Sign up for our free newsletter to get...

  • Advice on the best cycling gear
  • A Friday roundup of all the latest London cycling news
  • Exclusive content not available on the blog

Subscribe today, and get exclusive access forever! (It's free)

*No spam, ever!

As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

80 Responses to 5 of the greatest dangers facing cyclists in London

  1. Eddie Lyons 13/08/2014 at 12:39 am #

    The biggest error that cyclists make, and the one that results in most deaths and injuries for them, is overtaking on the inside of stationary or slow moving traffic — what I prefer to call “undertaking”, because of the obvious connection with death. These accidents are the fault of the cyclist, probably through ignorance and a lack of proper training in cyclecraft, rather than the driver.

    As you quite rightly point out with the HGV, don’t squeeze into the space between it and the footpath. But then later in the video you go ahead and pass stationary traffic, including a bus, on the inside — this is where you should move to the outside of the lane and overtake correctly, thus avoiding blind spots, collisions with passengers getting off of the bus unexpectedly, and most conflict with pedestrians. When traffic begins to move again, filter back towards the left but keep a healthy distance out from the kerb — riding in the gutter places a cyclist outside of the zone of interest for drivers coming from behind, and makes you less noticeable for drivers emerging from or turning into side roads. Keep away from the kerb to make yourself more visible to other road users.

    • Andreas 14/08/2014 at 7:47 am #

      Hi Eddie – I agree on principle that the right of vehicles in traffic is the correct place to be when overtaking. Much like is taught to drivers in the highway code.

      However, we have to match the reality on the ground and the safety advice.

      If we provide safety advice where people think “but then, I’d never overtake anyone” I believe people would be put off the advice and be less likely to follow the important principles I’m trying to get across in the video and the article.

      Of course, the safest thing to do, is to stay behind the vehicle. However, this drastically reduces the conveniences and advantages offered by cycling.

      You could argue that overtaking on the right carries its own set of dangers. There are more fast moving, heavy motorbikes overtaking on the right. Should a cyclist attempt to overtake on the right, without accounting for a motorbike, a collision could occur.

      Additionally, there is rarely space in the right side of a vehicle and you may end up trapped on the right as traffic moves.

      I’m not arguing against your comment here Eddie – you are correct that it would be safer, I just wonder how far it’s worth me taking a moral high ground and saying “Stay to the right, if you undertake on the left, you’re in big danger” because as we see daily in London, this is how people cycle.

      • Mark 14/08/2014 at 10:48 am #

        i agree. in reality we cannot always overtake on the right. your decision to overtake on th left was calculated and based on experience, no problem at all!

        • Alan 04/09/2015 at 10:35 am #

          Spot on!

      • Rebecca Olds (@velovoice) 14/08/2014 at 11:32 am #

        One other element that goes into my decision-making process on whether to overtake to the left, to the right, or not at all, is to look at what options are available to the motorists. Is there a side street on the left just a little way up? A motorist may begin edging to the left well before the turn, just to feel he’s getting somewhere (!) and he may just close off what is now a perfectly good gap, right when you’re in.

        Many times the queue of traffic is lined up in such a way, with little room to manueuver left or right even slightly and with nothing to tempt them to do so — so if the gap on the left is sufficiently & consistently wide enough for me to get through as far as I need to go — I’ll take it.

        Most times to be honest, I’m happy to position myself in the exact middle of the lane, well back from the rear bumper of the car ahead — and just sit in the queue myself. Leaving plenty of space in front of me and glancing back at the driver behind at regular intervals has a psychological affect and tends to create a nice buffer of space around me.

      • Jim 17/11/2014 at 2:37 pm #

        Overtaking *cars* on the right is probably generally OK, I would think – it’s larger vehicles that pose the risk. And even these are likely to be dangerous only immediately before junctions, where you might as well stop anyway.

    • Jamie 14/08/2014 at 11:40 am #

      Undertaking is generally not the best idea, especially towards the front of a queue at traffic lights where traffic will be turning left.

      However, 99% of cycle lanes will be next to the kerb, or will occupy the left-most lane, placing the designated space for cyclists right in the danger zone.

      The worst type of situation is when you have abrupt gaps in a cycle lane. When the lane is left free (never guaranteed, sadly), you can pass stationary or slow-moving traffic fairly safely. But when you come to a gap in the lane (usually at narrower parts of the road), you then have to filter through to the outside to overtake, which can put you at odds with oncoming traffic.

      This weaving in and out, left to right, is unnerving for drivers and dangerous, as it makes my behaviour and location as a cyclist harder to predict.

      There are dangers and advantages whichever side you pass traffic on, unfortunately.

      • Mark 14/08/2014 at 12:33 pm #

        which is exactly why taking th centre of the lane is normally the best place to be

    • Cinobite 09/01/2015 at 12:34 pm #

      I am led to believe that passing stationary traffic on the left is considered “filtering” and is perfectly fine and legal.

      Personally, I do both depending on what options are available. Drivers actually expect cyclist to pass on the left as someone else pointed out cycle lanes are on the left, it is also often much safer as you’re not cycling into oncoming traffic.

      I ride with my lights on nearly all the time, I use a strobe on the front (because people identify a white strobe on the road with a cyclist) which catches mirrors and gets attention, often then a car will allow me plenty of room.

    • mark 28/03/2015 at 12:14 am #

      i think i have the answer to the oh so obvious danger of undertaking large vehicles at
      left turning lights…interested?

  2. James 13/08/2014 at 9:07 am #

    No.3 is also the same as the motorcyclist’s “lifesaver” which you have to do ***every time*** you change your position on the road. Doing it every 5-10 seconds is a good idea. Not doing it when you pull out round a stationary bus or something is lethal and I cringe several times a day when I see cyclists doing this.

    It really helps and I’m sure has contributed to 22 years cycling in London with no accidents involving someone else (I did have one cycling in snow, and another cycling drunk, both things I didn’t repeat!).

    • Andreas 14/08/2014 at 7:49 am #

      Thanks James – hugely important to do it when you overtake, undertake or generally do any manoeuvre where you’re unsure what the traffic behind you is doing. I too see it very often in London and hold my breath each time.

    • Cinobite 09/01/2015 at 12:35 pm #

      Isn’t this just looking around anyway? Surely anyone with half a brain who cycles looks around and behind as they go?

  3. Hannah 13/08/2014 at 10:52 am #

    No.3 really does make a difference, I find it works particularly well when approaching a width restriction or narrow part of the road – a quick glance behind lets the driver behind know you know they are there and that there isn’t space for both of you. 9 times out of 10 it encourages them to slow down and wait for while pass through before they overtake. I have four narrow points on my daily commute where this now works a treat. Engaging eye contact with drivers and letting them see you face rather than your back helps to remind them it’s a PERSON on a bike and not just a lump of metal in their way!

    • Andreas 14/08/2014 at 7:49 am #

      Thank you Hannah – no 3 is a real winner and I really hope more people try it!

  4. Jen 13/08/2014 at 10:58 am #

    Andreas, you mention your positioning in no.2 but in the first example you showed, there was – I think – no ASL, whilst in the second there was.

    My question is: do you think your recommended positioning – at the lights – was only possible because of the ASL?

    • Anas 13/08/2014 at 2:05 pm #

      In those situations where there is no ASL, I usually take the primary position well away from the carbs so no vehicle can stop next to me

      • Andreas 14/08/2014 at 7:52 am #

        If you’e been filtering through the traffic on the left, like in my example in number 2, and you reach the traffic light where a vehicle is right up to the line, so there isn’t space to get ahead of them (unless you position yourself almost past the traffic light) I’d probably encourage keeping a close eye on the vehicle, trying to establish eye contact with the driver and very cautiously moving off the junction, in full awareness that the driver may move in to your path.

        It’s not ideal, but it’s the reality of cycling in London.

        • Cinobite 09/01/2015 at 12:38 pm #

          If there are secondary lights (same timings but ahead), I’ll position myself (safely) past the line to give me a head start. Where I live we have some very short timed traffic lights so the sooner I can get through and free up the road for the cars behind, the better and safer it is for everyone.

  5. Neil 13/08/2014 at 11:19 am #

    Good tips Andreas.

    Some comments:

    1) undertaking is dangerous and something I see every day. People are better off overtaking. Car drivers expect to stop and turn left with little or no observation. If traffic is stationary I tend to overtake and look ahead so I can accelerate into a gap if the traffic starts to pull off.

    2) Defensive riding – This is a term I picked up from motorcycle training. It basically distills down to this. Assume everyone is trying to kill you. Every vehicle is about to stop, turn, open a door or do something else. If you trust other road users it will go wrong. People don’t indicate so assume they are turning left or about to pull out on you. Also make deliberate moves don’t fanny around indicate, pull out, turn but do it so it’s obvious what you are doing.

    • Andreas 14/08/2014 at 7:54 am #

      Thanks Neil. Both your tips are rock solid advice I’d encourage everyone to read.

    • Jude 14/08/2014 at 11:40 am #

      “Car drivers expect to stop and turn left with little or no observation”. If that’s the case then why do they have mirrors on that side? This is one of the reasons why so many people – including me – object to those ‘Cyclist stay back’ stickers. Drivers have mirrors and they are supposed to use them.

      We are *allowed* to go up the left-hand side if the traffic is stationary or slow moving. In those circumstances I would often rather stay on the left – paying attention to what’s happening around me and stopping if necessary – than try to weave in and out of moving traffic. I reserve overtaking on the right for times when I’m pretty confident the traffic isn’t moving, and I won’t suddenly find myself on the right of traffic that’s moving faster than I am.

      • Cinobite 09/01/2015 at 12:41 pm #

        Agreed. People don’t expect cyclists to overtake on the right even more than they don’t expect to see a cyclist. Imagine overtaking on the right only to have all of the cars pull away and you, now stuck in the middle of the carriage way, unable to get back over to the left without crossing fast moving traffic

      • Henry 06/10/2017 at 9:08 pm #

        Remember, if passing on the outside in slow or stationary traffic, impatient drivers like to pull u turns without checking their rear view. There are risks on both sides

  6. John 13/08/2014 at 12:15 pm #

    No.4 A little ring of your bell or clicks on your break levers helps to gain the attention of daydreamers or pedestrians deep in conversation with each other or on theirs phones, that are considering crossing the road without paying attention.

    • kimbofo 15/08/2014 at 11:17 am #

      I find that doesn’t always work because people are just so absorbed in looking at their phones that they don’t even register the sound of a bell, but a loud confident call of “BIKE, BIKE, BIKE” (in a cheery voice, rather than an aggressive one) does get people’s attention, something I learnt from a cycle courier in NYC.

      • Ade 16/09/2014 at 1:19 pm #

        A very useful tip given to me by City Police Cycle Squad was use a referees whistle, notice a few out there now, it definitely attracts the attention of daydreaming (texting) pedestrians and cuts through most street sounds and those that need there music on!

  7. Alex BB 13/08/2014 at 12:18 pm #

    The one i find hardest is the door zone. and it does freak me out. There is a long down hill descent near my house and I get up loads of speed. 25 mph+.

    I find cars sitting on my back wheel to the right of me, trying to overtake. They effectively intimidating me into the door zone so they can pass.

    Sadly I think in London we could still do with awareness campaigns for drivers, so they understand why we don’t want to belt down hill less that a meter from a line of parked cars.

    • Tim 14/08/2014 at 8:42 am #

      In this situation you just have to stick to your line, keep your nerve and hold your ground on the descent. Don’t let yourself get intimidated by the following traffic. The onus is on them to have to move to the opposite side of the road, so although they may try and harass you it will make them think twice about trying to pass if there is any chance someone is coming the other way.

    • Mark 14/08/2014 at 10:55 am #

      25mph, down hill, with someone tailgating!?
      move further to the right to completely block any overtake they might try to dangerously attempt. DO NOT MOVE TO THE DOOR ZONE! at 25mp you could easily be killed.
      if the tailgating continues keep glancing over your shoulder and gesture to the driver with the palm of your hand and shout to them “back off and slow down”.
      then get a video camera and report to the police if it continues. you are being endangered twice and its not acceptable. be strong 🙂

  8. Mark 13/08/2014 at 1:00 pm #

    i see so many inexperienced cyclists ride in a bus lane behind a bus, then when it slows to pick people up they move out round th bus without even a glance over their shoulder or bothering to indicate.
    if you are moving to another lane indicate!
    If you are changing position check behind you. as a cyclist sometimes im overtaking someone who moves in front of me without even knowing they have done it! and recently its become more common.

    • Matt 13/08/2014 at 1:40 pm #

      Yep, definitely becoming more common. It’s the ‘close-eyes-pull-out-and-cause-people behind-to-quickly-change-their-path move’.

      I had to remonstrate with a guy on a Boris Bike this morning as we were coming to a green light, he was in the wrong lane, then started to move into my lane without looking. When I said “watch your back”, he merely shrugged and said “you had plenty of space”.

      • Mark 13/08/2014 at 6:08 pm #

        dam that was his response?! that makes me equally as angry as when a car almost left hooks me! which is rare these days because i virtually ride centre lane for my entire 6 mile journey thru central london!

        back to th boris idiot, i would have responded with a choice few swear words. proves the point ive been making for a while, theres idiot cyclists AND idiot motorists out there!

        that guy on th boris bike probably drives a white van and close passes cyclists on a weekly basis telling them “they had loads of space”

        • Matt 14/08/2014 at 10:39 am #

          Yeah, the problem is it forces the cyclist behind into evasive action, which can be very dangerous in fast moving traffic, even if you’ve peformed the life saving glance!


    • Tim 14/08/2014 at 8:45 am #

      There’s also a bit of a trend of simply indicating but not looking first, as though if you stick your hand out everything behind is going to stop. The lifesaver look has to come first before any signal or manoeuvre – it’s not good enough to indicate without checking first that it’s safe to change lanes or make a turn.

      • Mark 14/08/2014 at 10:58 am #

        thats because people who have passed a driving test and also cycle simply forget to think about others. if they even bother to indicate / stick out an arm they dont care about people behind them, they dont bother to look, just indicate and that gives them carte blanche to maneuver!

  9. Mark 13/08/2014 at 1:03 pm #

    look at th cyclist in red trousers move out without looking or indicating, silly cyclist!

    • Eric D 16/09/2014 at 1:20 am #

      She looks back at 0:28

      • Mark 16/09/2014 at 2:25 pm #

        i stand corrected! sorry my mistake

  10. Mark 13/08/2014 at 1:55 pm #

    cyclists make mistakes too (this is very minor) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdoV4z2Dm3M

  11. Anton Tongue 13/08/2014 at 2:03 pm #

    Is there a difference between undertaking and filtering on the inside?
    Sometimes the lights change and your position becomes awkward when filtering, but it certainly feels better to move forward than to be stuck in car exhaust.
    Apart from road awareness, I think that when you glance over your shoulder, you simply become more human to most drivers. They take your motion as some kind of acknowledgement of their existence and feel more inclined to reciprocate with consideration.

    • Mik 13/08/2014 at 2:34 pm #

      > Is there a difference between undertaking and filtering on the inside?

      Just semantics really, if traffic really is stopped dead and there is plenty of room and vision to go up the left, but round the right is difficult then I sometimes do it. But I weigh it against what I’m going to acheive, including the fact that if I’m only going to do a couple of vehicles and then come to a pinch point, do I really want to be holding up the two vehicles I’ve just come past (often if the traffic isn’t moving because of traffic lights my personal answer is ‘no’) or should I just slip out to a good secondary position and become one with the traffic.

      It’s a very special day when I feel secure enough to go up the left hand side of a transit van or anything bigger. It’s too big a dead space to get past.

    • Eddie Lyons 13/08/2014 at 2:36 pm #

      Just as with driving a car, there are some occasions when you are allowed to pass on the inside — look it up in the highway Code. But the default with stationary traffic is that you should overtake on the outside — this is the safe option. Otherwise, stop behind the vehicle in front using the primary position. Once you’re moving again, filter to the secondary position if and when appropriate.

      • Tim 15/08/2014 at 10:15 am #

        If the default should be that you overtake on the outside, why does every single ASL which has a filter lane have it on the left hand side of the box rather than the right?

        • mary 24/10/2014 at 4:03 pm #

          I’m new to cycling in London, and am taking everything very carefully and slowly, but am coming across a few problem intersections where I’ve made errors. I’d appreciate some advice if possible.
          If anyone knows it, it’s the intersection where Penton street crosses over Pentonville road, going south into town. i then have to make a right turn down great percy street.
          Usually it’s pretty quiet, or i get out ahead of people and it’s not so mental, and i have enough room to maneuvre safely and communicate clearly across to my right turn. but once or twice it’s been bumber to bumper with traffic, and i’m in the middle of a big crush of cyclists. I just find myself boxed in. I have recently not even had room to signal my right turn, i slow and look behind me but i just don’t have enough room to move to the right as i don’t want to cut someone off. In the end i ran out of time, and i had to go for it, and a cyclist behind me got a bit close for my liking, which is a situation i don’t want to be in. He was very nice about it, but i feel i need to massively improve my right turn technique!
          In future should i just try to get to the front of the pack at the red light before i cross, and not go for the cycle lane at the left on the other side of the junction? Head for the middle/right side of the road, not only at this point but as a general rule? I’m uncomfortable on that side, because as all the cycle lanes are on the left side, it’s now what i’m used to (being aware of car doors and being pretty heavy on the bell for pedestrians of course). I don’t want to be a danger to myself or others, and love my cycle commute, but this one has me a bit rattled.

        • Mark 24/10/2014 at 5:29 pm #

          you need to get over to the very right at the earliest possible opportunity. forward planning is key.
          if there are multiple lanes (I dont know the road) then get in the right lane a lot earlier than you might otherwise think is necesary.
          it might mean taking a position in the centre of the lane so that you prevent cars from unsafe undertaking/overtaking.

          ignore any cycle lanes to the left. they get you in the wrong position. try cycling in the centre of the “car lane”, you will fare far better

  12. robbie 13/08/2014 at 11:23 pm #

    Good tips.

    I cycle on a very popular cycle route in East London – 3,000 – 5,000 cyclists per day, and at peak times more bikes than cars. I often only see two, maybe three cyclists look over their shoulder! It’s shocking, and the standard of their cycling extremely bad – poor positioning, jumping nasty lights, passing other cyclists too closely. And it’s as much the walk-in-to-Evans-and-splash-two-grand folks as it is the hipster-on-grannies-bike-wearing-grandad’s-clothes.

    Which brings me on to jumping lights. Whilst an empty pedestrian crossing with a red light may seem like fair game to jump it’s worth realising that drivers and cyclists further along the road who are joining it from side roads often rely on these breaks in the traffic to safely pull out.

    Oh, and get a bell and use it (properly!).

    • Andreas 14/08/2014 at 7:58 am #

      Thanks Robbie – I too have experienced these things, especially during rush hour where it seems like a mad dash to get to work or at the end of the day, get home. Often this means little signalling, checking and so forth.

  13. James 14/08/2014 at 8:46 am #

    Nice piece. As for the shoulder checking, it also works to facilitate implied eye contact – even if you can’t actually make eye contact with a driver, just turning your head toward them can establish a connection and make them behave better. Putting them off a dangerous overtake for example.


  14. Phil 14/08/2014 at 9:05 am #

    I have lost count of the number of times I have looked back over my shoulder when manouevring, to see a motorist suddenly slow down and drive safely when they see that they are being eyeballed. They definitely will risk driving too close and too fast, possibly hitting you, if they think they can get away with it.

  15. carolyn 14/08/2014 at 9:30 am #

    Now that I’m in my late 60s I use a mirror which I would feel unsafe without…. I notice an increased number of motorists pulling out to do a U turn, as if they have a right over on coming traffic.

    • Eric D 16/09/2014 at 2:08 am #

      Tip: even with a mirror, glancing back lets them know that you have seen them !

  16. mark 14/08/2014 at 9:58 am #

    Good bit of advice. Two to add to it

    1. For your point 3, get a mirror. So useful – but make sure you spend a bit more on a firm one that doesn’t drop down when you go over a hard bump
    [Oh, and switch it to the left hand side if you cycle abroad)]

    2. Re point 5, look through rear window of parked car to see if there is a driver inside or if rear light have just switched off to indicate driver has stopped and is about to leave. Not 100% tip but useful

    Keep up the good work


  17. Kerena 14/08/2014 at 10:07 am #

    Great video Andreas – some simple common sense tips that I use every day, but really do make a difference. People do underestimate the power of the regular glance – but for me it’s one of the most important things for keeping me safe on my commute!

  18. Sykles 14/08/2014 at 11:03 am #

    Point 3 – I’m always checking, and it definitely makes us all safer. However, has anyone else found that some drivers take it as permission to cut you up in some way e.g. they’ve caught your eye so now they can: overtake dangerously; pull out in front of you etc?

  19. Ree 14/08/2014 at 11:37 am #

    I bought a cycle horn. I use it to alert people, buses, cars etc to my presence. Works a treat and much louder than the average cycle bell! It’s mean, but my favourite thing to do is scare unaware pedestrians. I also squeezed it when a car beeped at me for taking the lane! They weren’t expecting that. I’d rather be sworn at than dead, thanks. Also, controversial I know, but I was informed by a police officer that in most of last summers cycling accidents where the cyclists had died, they were listening to music on their headphones. I don’t do that or run red lights.

  20. Kat 14/08/2014 at 1:53 pm #

    One thing that helps if I am stopped anywhere near a large vehicle at a junction is to smile and wave at the driver. If I get the same back it’s a very good sign, in fact so far they have always acted like a huge mobile guard protecting me when the lights change. If I don’t get that response or can’t see their face, or see they are on a phone, etc. – I get off and walk!

    • Mark 14/08/2014 at 1:56 pm #

      not being sexist, or rude, or anything, but I think that tactic only works if you are a female cyclist

  21. IanB 14/08/2014 at 4:01 pm #

    As a Bikeability instructor one of our biggest problems is getting riders to look behind them.
    Rest of video is good and points appropriate to everyday hazards across the country not just London

  22. Spencer 14/08/2014 at 9:47 pm #

    My own bête noire are drivers overtaking me at local lights in what is a right turn only lane then pulling across me to get into the left hand lane to go straight on!

    Scariest being a bus where I barely missed getting crushed against the barrier alongside.

    Amazing thing with pedestrians are those who are so engrossed in their phones they completely miss the cyclists hurtling towards them. Suppose cars attract more of their senses so cyclists get lost to the little attention they have left.

  23. Eddie Lyons 15/08/2014 at 12:57 am #

    This is all very good stuff. It’s useful to get a different perspective from other cyclists.

    There are a few points I’d like to add:

    Always make eye contact with drivers of vehicles emerging from side roads, or oncoming vehicles looking to turn right into a minor road on your side of the road.

    Check through the back window of parked cars to see whether there is someone in the driver’s seat who might open the door without looking behind — although you should be outside of the “door zone” anyway.

    Adopting some techniques from defensive or advanced driving: keep enough space ahead of you and to your inside that you can escape into in case of emergency, both in moving and in stationary traffic.

    Sometimes it’s quicker, and more audible, to shout a warning than to ring a bell or toot a horn; it’s worked for me on any number of occasions.

    And, finally, don’t give in to road rage — we’re the most vulnerable of road users. Be assertive, use your right of way and hold your position on the road — own the space that you need — but always keep one thing at the front of your mind: stay alive.

    Plus, enjoy the freedom and independence that only cycling can bring!

  24. kimbofo 15/08/2014 at 10:23 am #

    Re: lorries, the best tip I was ever given was if you can’t see the driver’s eyes, he can’t see you. When stopped in front of a lorry, I was always turn around and make eye contact with the driver. (Sometimes, I even do a cheeky little wave.)

    Also, if you are even given the chance to sit up in a lorry (as arranged by the MET every so often) DO IT. I sat up in a cab about three years ago and was ASTOUNDED at how easy it was not to see cyclists that were sitting all around me!!

  25. Toni Blake 15/08/2014 at 3:02 pm #

    Hi Andreas, isn’t it time you took the 4-day instructor training course?

  26. Giles 15/08/2014 at 4:06 pm #

    The regular over-the-shoulder glance is known by bikers, of which I am one as well as a cyclist, as the ‘lifesaver’. Best piece of two-wheeled riding advice I was ever given came from a Met Police m/cyclist – ride as if you believe you are invisible and expect no-one to be looking out for you.

  27. Filippo 15/08/2014 at 5:27 pm #

    I think most people who replied, ignore the fact that vehicles don’t just move side to side, they must move forward, and most vehicle movements, especially big vehicles like buses, are extremely predictable even at high speed.
    Therefore a blanket advice to not overtake on the inside is daft, since it ignores the fact that equal or greater danger might be present on the outside, and equal observation and prevention skills are required in either case.

    • Cinobite 12/01/2015 at 6:26 pm #

      Don’t forget, large vehicles like buses and lorries swing out as they turn as well as cut corners with the body of the vehicle – just because the cab has gone around the line doesn’t mean the middle will

  28. Nelson 16/08/2014 at 11:13 pm #

    1. Themselves

  29. Seb 21/08/2014 at 1:48 pm #

    In Copenhagen, DK, the city council have done a lot to prevent bike accidents, and a lot of other initiatives making it one of the bike capitals of the world. Btw, cphcycling.com is new bike blog based near Copenhagen, they just launched but this could be good!

  30. SteveP 24/08/2014 at 4:34 pm #

    As a motorcyclist and motorist in London, as well as a cyclist, I have to agree that undertaking should be avoided at all costs by cyclists. I think the issue is smugness and laziness – cyclists like to be able to filter to the front without expending any effort. Moving to the centre of the road requires effort, so instead, they just ride up the inside of stopped traffic. Usually, this is OK, but then they get distracted and someone turns left into them. It hurts the cyclist a lot more.

    I rode up Kensington High Street a while ago. Lots of buses, taxis and cars. Horrible junction with Kensington Church Street. In front of me a cyclist on a semi-touring bike (panier bag) so perhaps semi-experienced. She threaded her way between two London buses at the light – maybe six inches of space each side. I think she believed she had divine protection, because I would never place myself in such a position (zero visibility, for one). For what? One bus turned left and the other passed her half way through the intersection. As did I.

  31. Cruff 29/08/2014 at 12:29 pm #

    I cycle every day from Croydon to marble Arch and back – sometimes via Brixton, Streatham & Norbury, sometimes via Stockwell, Clapham & Mitcham

    Both routes are pretty horrendous, and I’ve been taken off on four occasions in the past 18 months or so. As a rough estimate, I’d say that 80% of accidents or near accidents have been the result of drivers turning left/right or pulling into my lane either without looking or without indicating.

    I see ‘commuter cyclists’ and motorists do things that make me wince or shake my head every single day. Riding up the inside of HGVs & buses just before the lights change takes a specific kind of stupidity that you’d like to think would have been filtered out of the gene pool by natural selection, but this seems to be on the increase – as does drivers undertaking other drivers turning right into side roads – swiping cyclists off seemingly at random.

    I will say this though – people who cycle regularly for recreation, as opposed to just those who use a bike to get around London – seem to be far better at anticipating the stupidity of motorists. I’ve witnessed countless near misses as a result of people riding sit-up-and-begs who dawdle along like they’re cycling through the dreamy spires of Oxford – rather than cycling defensively through what is a pretty dangerous city, with an awful road system

    • Mark 29/08/2014 at 12:45 pm #

      agree with everything you say!

      i think the type of person to ride a “sit up and beg” is the type of person who doesnt have a clue about the real world.

      those bikes and riders are ony good for amsterdam or copenhagen.
      that is, until things drastically change in th uk!

  32. bob 12/09/2014 at 10:49 am #

    Agree 100% with this top 5.

    Nuff said. Keep up the good work Andreas and team 🙂

  33. Eric D 16/09/2014 at 1:03 am #

    I think you’re missing a heading from the text of this post ? Otherwise great !

    1. Lorries

  34. Cinobite 09/01/2015 at 12:49 pm #

    Should lights perhaps be in the list? I live in a small rural city where a lot of shift, factory and farm workers cycle to and from work – typically in the dark. However, most of them have no lights what so ever! At best, they have a single white headtorch with the power of a tea light candle and that’s it.

  35. SteveP 09/01/2015 at 5:23 pm #

    It would appear from many of the comments that one source of problems is that many cyclists are not drivers. That is, they are not also familiar with the challenges of driving a car. Car drivers are overtaken on the right thousands of times a day by motorcycles and scooters. Many of the scooters are no faster than a road cyclist (and usually less skilled).

    Overtaking on the right is *normal* – that is the way faster traffic overtakes slower traffic in the UK. I thought that was obvious. If you get “caught” as the light changes you could (legally) “keep the lane`” but of course we are courteous road users and then move to the left when safe.

    When there is a cycle lane in the gutter, by all means use it, but beware of undertaking – that is the situation where most cyclists have been killed and injured in London. Beware a false sense of security.

  36. Cinobite 12/01/2015 at 6:32 pm #

    So after I read this article I went out on my bike and made a conscious effort to pass on the right side more. 6 minutes into the ride, as I was passing a long queue of traffic – on the right, a car emerging from the left to turn right (into me) pulled out, the woman didn’t look right AT ALL until the entire manoeuvre was complete (taking 16 seconds).

    One thing stopped me from being hit – I saw her. Had I of been on the left side “over taking” the traffic, I’m fairly confident that she would have seen me (I had a bright yellow jersey on and strobing lights)

    I’m not saying one is better than the other, but something to think about.

    What do you think? The traffic was at a standstill coming from the right, so it would be reasonable to assume no traffic would be moving. Yes she should have looked, and if I didn’t see her or were a motor bike it could have ended badly – but what do you think?

  37. SteveP 12/01/2015 at 6:53 pm #

    It sounds like there was a gap in stopped traffic and the car driver then turned right – assuming there was nothing coming from the right (stopped cars) they instead looked the other way for approaching traffic?

    That’s just bad driving (you could have been on a scooter or motorbike) but it is a known danger point. It is likely the driver would have seen you undertaking along the kerb as on the outside you are partly hidden.

    It is the turning driver’s responsibility to do so safely, but this is a foreseeable danger are so you should also be careful when you see gaps left at places where cars can pull out. And consider the psychology of the situation. You are trapped in a side road by a line of stopped cars – someone is kind enough to leave a gap to let you out – you don’t want to be pfaffing about holding them up, so you feel compelled to gun it. Danger danger

    When I pass stopped traffic I do so at a reasonable speed as reaction time can be very short

  38. Robert-Paul Hingston 07/12/2016 at 12:19 am #

    I once had someone walk in front of my bike who suddenly appeared from a bus stop back of the advert sign so impossible to know,
    You know at the bus stop..
    so their was no was of seeing him I went flying over the top of the hadle bars..

Leave a Reply