: The overflow valve for my mind
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  Page 2 Cycling - Filtering - Page 3 of 4
Updated 28/2/05 to include Chris Juden's document
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Filtering. Step 2, discussed.
2. As I approach the front, I carefully watch the lights (the sequence of which I know) and slow even more. I come almost to a halt 5 cars back from the line. As the lights are about to change I start accelerating. When they go green I am 1.5 cars back from the line and able to check the junction is clear. The front car pulls away, leaving a biggish gap behind it as the second car starts moving.

The whole point about step 2 is to arrive at the junction correctly and safely but with the least effort.

Some people say that the safest place to be when stopped at red lights is out in front of the traffic, some Highway Authorities even paint Advanced Stop Lines for cyclists (those red boxes you see across the carriageway). I am of a divided opinion on these as although yes they are good in enabling the cyclist to be seen when legally stopped they have two main disadvantages. Firstly drivers seem to stop in them so the cyclist cannot filter into them. Secondly, when the lights change the cyclist can pull away, but there is then a rush for the other side of the junction with the car driver trying to overtake.

Other people advocate dropping into the queue one or two cars back so that the lead car can pull away and concentrate on the junction, and the cyclist can just merge with the traffic.

It has been suggested by Chris Juden of the CTC that every time a cyclist stops from 10 or 12 miles an hour, the effort of restarting is equivalent to adding 100 metres to the journey. See here for that report

This is why it is my preferred technique to allow some speed to drop off, but to time the approach to the lights so that I am still moving when they change and allow traffic through. Thus using less effort to get back up to speed, as well as maintaining a good speed that enables me to take any position in the traffic queue.

The whole concept is the reversal of the speed crossover mentioned in step 1 above. As the traffic speed increases to match mine I slip sideways and merge back in.


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