: The overflow valve for my mind
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  Page 3 Cycling - Filtering - Page 4 of 4 Cycling Index  
Filtering. Steps 3 and 4, discussed.
And another summary
3. I slip gently sideways into that gap and claim the whole road width (in preparation for the next junction) but then as the traffic settles down and I see the next junction is also clear I slip further sideways back to the normal cycling position on the road.
4. I repeat this exercise at every junction I come to, and the net result is that I overtake hundreds of cars on my commute, never stop, never jump a red light and am the fastest person on the road. Sometimes I get the approach absolutely spot on and so go through the green light at 25 to 30mph (having checked it's clear) whilst at other times I filter back into the traffic a few cars back from the lights.

When the cars are stationary they are bumper to bumper, but when they start moving gaps open up between each vehicle. The whole technique is to time the approach so that at the time the gap opens up and starts travelling at the same speed as me I can slip sideways into it and control the whole width of the lane. I am travelling at the same speed as the traffic through the junction and there is no risk of conflict with traffic that tries to overtake me as it cannot overtake.

If, once we are through that junction the traffic speed increases above a speed I find comfortable I can drop back to the normal cycling position where the traffic can pass me.

However if the traffic starts slowing again, for example for the next junction, then it is time for me to move back to step 1 and consider pulling out to pass the next queue.


So in summary my cycle journey through heavy traffic results in me maintaining a good average speed, little braking or accelerating, no stopping and a smooth path around each queue. However it remains a safe route as each small section is broken down into segments and heavily analysed before the action is taken.

Of course this brings me onto another point. All situations on the roads vary. A fixed and measurable piece of advice cannot be taken and applied in every situation. The advice above is applicable to most situations, but care has to be taken to ensure it is thought through carefully before each manoeuvre.

For example,

- if the queue is only one or two cars long, then I tend to stop at the back of the queue and take the opportunity to have a drink from my bottle.
- if there is a road on the right then (as I said before) I do not overtake in case a car turns right at short notice without indication.
- if there is a road on the left then I take care when passing it, especially if the queuing traffic has left a space there (a car could be pulling out)
- I take more care when passing a high sided vehicle (such as a bus) in case a pedestrian is stepping out and crossing the road.
- if there is a cycle lane down the inside I might consider using it, but then only if there is clear visibility, no side roads on the left, and the surface isnít too full of debris and detritus.

But above all, I wonít take any manoeuvre if I consider it puts me at risk.


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