Commuting into work by bicycle can be a serious challenge if you’re anywhere other than Amsterdam.
I commute by cycling in London, about 6 km each way through busy parts of central London. Although I try to avoid cars and pedestrians by taking quiet roads, protected cycle ways and closed roads, inevitably you will come across some cars at some stage.
Even when I take these quieter routes, cars sometimes are still travelling fast (>45 kmh), so it is still dangerous. I try to travel slow (< 15 kmh) so I have enough time to react if anything should happen.
Sometimes though, I still get drivers cutting right across me when I want to go straight and they are turning left over my lane.
I wear a helmet, bright flashing lights in front and back, high vis vest and I have a bike horn. I don’t think there’s much else I can do to be more visible.
What can I do when a driver cuts me off? It’s extremely frustrating because it’s so so dangerous, and scary when it happens. I’m not doing anything wrong, but they still cut in front of me (or fellow cyclists). I see red and I want to go bang on the window and yell at the guy.
Is there a better way to deal with this type of situation? I’m not exactly asking how to avoid it - sometimes I see the driver indicating up ahead and I know they won’t bother to look behind them, so I slow down to let them pass. Other times they don’t indicate and I still keep my distance for safety. Other times still, they don’t indicate, are very close to me, but still turn in (almost) too quickly for me to react - one day, I will be hit by a car.
How can I let the driver know what they are doing is very dangerous? In my opinion, they should be fined for such offences, but it’s so hard to catch them doing it.
Based on some of the comments, I wanted to clarify some points.
- Why am I cycling so slow? Perhaps it would be safer somehow if there was a smaller speed difference between me and the driver, by me cycling faster, so they would be aware of me? While I couldn't find any evidence or studies online to back this up, IMO cycling faster, in general, is more dangerous because reaction times need to be faster and collisions are more severe. I'm not driving a car on a highway trying to merge into the main lanes where speed matching is required. There is nothing in the UK highway code to say I need to match the drivers speed. And finally, I commute by cycling; I don't wear lycra and I don't want to sweat - I wear my suit to work and so I cycle slow.
- Lights: Flashing vs. Continuous. I am open to suggestions here. Having lights, flashing or not, is safer than having nothing at all and is required anyway by UK law (rule 60). It seems there is a small advantage to having a continuous light in terms of visibility . This answer suggests that it is easier to see cars rather than bicycles, not just because of their size, but because they have two lights in front and two lights in the back. To me this makes sense, so I'm open to getting more lights (set to continuous mode ;) ) to make it easier for drivers to estimate my position and velocity.