I live in Manchester, United Kingdom.

I cycle to and from work everyday. On my route there is a staggered crossroad where I have to go straight on.

Staggered Crossroads

Above is the traffic lighted junction I have to navigate, I travel from Liverpool Road to Great Bridge Water Street and vice versa on the way to work.

If I'm the green arrow and a car turning right(North North East in the image) is the red arrow - who has right of way?

Tonight a White Fiesta (New Shape) (red arrow) Thought he would show me who was boss and swerved towards my bike (green arrow) intentionally because he must have thought I was in the wrong.

This isn't the first time someone has done this at this junction

I am quite shaken-up from the intimidation - is there anything I can do?

If I do have right of way - I am only really left with one option find a different route because drivers just don't get it, However if im wrong then how can I approach this junction correctly?

  • 5
    The very heavy car may not have the de-jure RofW, but he definitely has the de-facto. If car hits bike, bicyclist loses just about 100% of the time. Even if you are in the right, pedal with caution. – Ken Hiatt Nov 26 '12 at 20:36
  • +1 Thanks Ken - this is a fact that I have learnt very quickly while commuting and I have a basic saying to stick by which is "judge every situation" – Rob Nov 26 '12 at 20:41
  • I have a similar crossing on one of my routes, I treat it as two independent crossings with the typical right-before-left route ... but for answering I'm too confused about the arrows on the wrong side of the road ;-) – johannes Nov 26 '12 at 22:08
  • There are some intersections near me that aren't quite like that but produce the same "tension" -- signaled divided highway crossings where most people are turning but a few are going straight across. Even cars have trouble here, because there's an assumption of right-of-way when most cars are turning. – Daniel R Hicks Nov 26 '12 at 23:24
  • 1
    After all the excellent comments and material on this question - I think I was in the right but it all goes back to @KenHiatt comment - I think I would lose the fight. I’m glad I acted correctly - I'm just very disappointed that someone felt it necessary to intentionally swerve towards me. On a positive note thanks for all the help guys! – Rob Nov 27 '12 at 14:50

Yes, this is a tricky situation. I think this section of the highway code should cover it, but is very light on details like this.

I think there are two ways to interpret the situation:

1. As two T-junctions a small distance apart, with you turning left and then right.

In this case it's a fairly clear cut - see rule 180. You've turned left, already on the main road and have priority over vehicles trying to join your lane, including ones turning right out of the road you're about to take.

2. As a normal crossroads, with you going straight on, the other car turning right.

For case 1, from Internet discussions like this from Yahoo and this from the RAC there seems to be little consensus on this. Many say that the traffic going straight on has priority, but then add that you have to give way to traffic coming from the right (as you would on a roundabout), which seems contradictory.

My opinion

I think this needs official clarification, but in practice it would seem sensible to interpret it like rule 170: "watch out for pedestrians crossing a road into which you are turning. If they have started to cross they have priority, so give way".

When at a give way line, all vehicles must give way to others not crossing the give way line. So if you arrived at the junction and there was no other traffic coming, of course you would start to cross. Being a bike you're usually slower than a car, so a car which later arrives opposite you at their give-way line should give way to all traffic already on the junction or the other road.

Furthermore, from the look of it this is a box-junction, so the car must not proceed until its exit is clear. In the image below the green car attempting to turn right is in a very similar situation to the one you mention.

From Gov.uk

If you both arrived at the give-way line at the same moment, then given the above image, you might still have the priority (de jure), but it's not obvious and my instinct is to let the faster vehicle go first.

As others have mentioned, us cyclists have to be careful as collisions are usually more serious for us. Whenever cars do show you consideration, always give them a wave or nod of thanks, even if you have priority.

  • 3
    The green car shows the only time when you are allowed to wait in a box junction - when your exit is blocked only by oncoming traffic. – DanS Nov 27 '12 at 16:30

Good answers all round, so I won't add to them. However, you can be 'right' according to the Highway Code all day long, but if White Van Man wants to be a plonker he'll be one...and you will always be on the receiving end. I've nearly been hit on one roundabout where people either don't look or don't care, and as I don't want the experience of feeling that I was perfectly correct...as I lay in my hospital bed...I simply get off and push it across the road at that roundabout.

  • Yeah, getting off and using pedestrian facilities is sometimes the only sensible move. I'm a bit nervous about right turns in general so I'll push it over at crossings instead if there's one nearby. And Audi drivers are as bad or even worse than the van drivers because they also think they're Colin MaCrae or something. – GordonM Nov 27 '12 at 21:06

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