Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Destination Positioning

Cycling, like most anything that requires you to be in a certain spot at a certain time, has certain basic rules.

There are those in this world that think the rules don’t apply to them and actually try to live outside those rules.  They may get away with flaunting the rules for a long time, but those rules will come back to find them.

In the case of cycling, those times could likely prove to be catastrophic.  This year alone, there have been several times where the cyclist has been killed due to errors made.  That isn’t to say it was wholly the fault of the cyclist, or for that matter wholly the fault of the driver.  I am going to venture a guess that the answer is somewhere between those two points.

 The CAN-BIKE program also has some basic rules.  Those rules are the cornerstone of safe defensive cycling.

We have spoken previously about the first set, the Four Core Values –

               Manoeuverability, Visibility, Predictability and Communication

I have also referred to these as   

                   See, Be Seen, Be Heard, Be Predicable.

For those of us that are spelling challenged.

 The rules I want to refer to in this installment is Destination Positioning.

These are the Five Basic Traffic Cycling Principles.  They are adapted from the book Effective Cycling, by John FORRESTER.  Effective Cycling is now into its 8th edition.

1)      Ride on the right side of the roadway

2)      How and When to yield to crossing traffic

3)      How and When to yield to same direction traffic

4)      Destination positioning at intersections

5)      Positioning between intersection


Attached below is a copy of the list that I put into each training manual that I give out at each CAN-BIKE course that I teach.






All drivers regardless of the type of vehicle they drive, follow the same basic traffic principles.  The size and speed of your vehicle may influence how you apply these principles, but the reason is the same: to reduce conflicts between road users.


Understanding the following basic traffic principals will enable you, as a cyclist, to ride safely in MOST traffic situations.


01)       Ride on the right side of the roadway.  DO NOT RIDE ON THE LEFT, OR ON THE SIDEWALK. Cyclists who ride facing traffic are more vulnerable because other drivers do not expect wrong way traffic.  Sidewalk riding is also very hazardous because each driveway or laneway becomes, in effect, an intersection. It’s also against the law in many places, and people are not expecting a cyclist on the sidewalk.

02)       How and when to yield to crossing traffic. Yielding means deciding if you must yield and, if so, waiting until it is safe to go. There are two basic rules for drivers who meet at intersections: (a) the driver on the minor street or lane yields to the driver on the main street, (b) at an uncontrolled intersection, the driver who arrives first, goes first. The driver who arrives last, yields, or if the vehicles (this includes bikes) arrive simultaneously, the one on the left yields.

            FIRST IN..  FIRST OUT....


03)       How and when to yield to the same direction traffic.  Every driver who wants to move into a new line of travel must yield to the traffic already in that lane.  Before moving sideways on the road   YOU MUST LOOK BEHIND YOU (SHOULDER CHECK)          TO ENSURE THAT IT IS SAFE TO DO SO.

04)       Destination positioning at intersections. This depends on your intended direction beyond the intersection.  At a simple intersection, start a left turn from near the centreline, and a right turn from near the curb. At a multiple-lane intersection, choose the right most lane that serves your destination.

05)       Positioning between intersections.  Your positioning, while travelling between intersections depends on your speed relative to the rest of the traffic. Also on the usable width of the road.  On a lane that is too narrow to share, ride in the middle.  On a wide lane, if you are the slower vehicle, move to the right.  If you are the faster vehicle, pass on the left.


  It is okay to pass a left turning vehicle, if it’s safe, on the right side.

I felt this topic was timely after watching cyclists riding about all across the Greater Vancouver
Region, and that does include the City of Vancouver.
I have added the explanation above to show there are rules to be followed.

These rules were written by the father of modern safety, defensive, traffic cycling, John FORRESTER. 

I refer to John FORRESTER as the Guru of safety cycling in North America. I use this term with the greatest of respect to John FORRESTER and what he has written.

Please remember, the CAN-BIKE program, along with Police, EHS, and Security cycling across North America is based on the teachings and principals of John FORRESTER. It shows that his principals are accepted by the main stream of the millions that do cycle in traffic. Need I say more?

I realise there are those that don’t hold the same opinion as I do, and that is okay. Everyone has an opinion, and you have seen mine. The above cycling traffic safety rules are time tested and work, and work very well.

With the addition of separated bike lanes and bike paths the rules are the same. The rules don’t change, just the venue. 
You still don’t ride into oncoming traffic or on sidewalks and not expect to cause yourself problems… or worse. You ride as far to the right as practicable and practicable being safe.

Safety comes in many aspects to cycling. Like a good recipe when all the parts are put together properly it works great, but leave one part out, and Nothing Good Can Come of It.  The results are not what you expect or were hoping for.


  Thanks for stopping by,

     Safe Ride Home









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