An Awkward Situation – Straight ahead bike vs LH turn car

This is something I see quite frequently.  Coming up to an intersection where you must stop (stop sign occasionally, traffic light mostly), you are as far left as is it safe to be (as per the law) and are continuing straight ahead on your journey.  A car pulls up on your right hand side and they are turning left.  Who goes first?  Did the driver see you?  Will they just run you over?  Will they hoon in front of you to get around first?  Not a great situation to be in.

Here are my tips for taking the uncertainty out of the situation for all involved.

  • If you are first in the line of traffic / arrive at the intersection first, move to the centre of the lane and take up the whole lane at the front of the queue.  This means the cars behind will be forced to wait until you have safely made your crossing.

  • If you aren’t first in the line of the traffic, when it is safe to do so, move in to the centre of the lane behind the traffic in front.  Basically, you want to join the queue of cars.  You will be allowing the cars in front to take their turn but the cars behind will have to wait.

  • If you are uncomfortable with these situations, consider walking your bike across a pedestrian crossing or the perpendicular road.

This situation is a bit more tricky if there are two (or more) lanes.

  • If the lanes are marked with turning or straight ahead arrows, move to the middle of the appropriately marked lane.  If more than one is marked straight ahead, choose the left most.
  • If the lanes aren’t marked, move in to the centre of the left hand lane.  Any driver trying to turn left from the right hand lane is a dingbat. (This has actually happened to me)
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