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How to ride on UK roads like a gentleman? Your advice please.


Derish
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Hello everyone,

A while ago I moved from Spain to the UK and settled down in West Yorkshire. I've been driving here for many years on business trips, but only on four wheels. Every country I lived in so far had a different code of behaviour for riders (not necessarily bound by law), and I'd like to understand the do's and don'ts specific to the UK.

My main questions:

1. During rush hour traffic, is it acceptable to ride between slowly-moving car lanes? What the Americans call lane-splitting. Will it attract negative attention from the police or other road users? Any difference between local roads and highways in that respect?

2. In similar conditions, is the shoulder typically used by two-wheel traffic? Like on the ring roads of Paris.

3. Is parking on sidewalks generally acceptable, assuming it doesn't create any discomfort for pedestrians?

4. If I park on the edges of a paid car park and don't take up any of the marked spaces - do I still need to pay?

5. I assume we're not allowed to use bus or bicycle lanes in Yorkshire, is that correct?

 

This is the kind of info I typically get by observing other riders, but for some reason I don't see many of them in my area. Must be the weather up north.

Anyway, this and any other advice are more than welcome. I'd hate to be 'that guy' who rides like a dick.

Thank you in advance.

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1) Yes, its acceptable generally. Unlikely to attract the police, but be on constant look out for drivers suddenly turning left/right in front of you without looking. Speed probably 10-20% faster than the traffic, give yourself some time to react. It happens, a lot

2) Shoulder? Do you mean pavement? Or the edge of the road, between the kerb and the nearside of the cars? If its the latter, I always leave that to cyclists, car drivers close the gap on you if you move up the nearside

3) Must admit, Ive never parked on a pavement. Likely to get the bike pushed over by scrotes

4) Unsure, but a likelihood of the bike being clamped for not being in a designated area. Many local councils dont charge for motorcycle parking anyway, check in your area

5) Dont know about Yorkshire

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I'll add my two cents -

1) Drivers will suddenly turn with no indication - they assume as they are stuck in traffic and frustrated, no one else is moving - as well as this be wary of pedestrians - I used to live in York and they will walk into traffic whilst filtering. Also cyclists may not be familiar with the 'life saver' check and will weave out in front of you.
Case in point - Filmed in York. (Camera is mounted on top of helmet so although you can see the top of her head I don't think he can see her coming)



2) I would say don't ever ride in the gutter. As above you will get squeezed. - Saw this happen to a guy who came off when a van squeezed him against the pavement.

3) I believe if it is a pathway you could get fined - but this is just common sense really. You can park on pavement in front of motorcycle shops for example no problem.

5) A lot of council are allowing motorcycles into bus lanes. You need to check the sign at the entrance;

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1/. It's perfectly legal according to the Highway Code and acceptable at any time, through slow/stationary traffic. Just remember that all rules of the road still apply and this is considered an overtaking manoeuvre, especially going down the right hand side of single-carriageway traffic, so no crossing solid white lines for example.
For Gentlemen, we also advocate the 20-20 Rule - Never faster than 20mph above the speed of the traffic and never when that traffic is going faster than 20mph. This means you'll filter at a maximum of 40mph.
Also be aware that any crash may put a lot of the fault on you.

2/. If you mean the Hard Shoulder on a motorway then NO, NO and HELL NO!!! This is for broken down vehicles, or emergency vehicles only. You get serious badness for misusing this.

3/. Very big grey area. Most on-street parking restrictions will apply to you. You are more likely to get away with it if you park right up against a shop front on a very wide pavement and do not obstruct pedestrians in any way, but it depends greatly on the local Parking Wardens.

4/. Check the restrictions posted at any car park. If they have marked motorcycle bays, use those. If they only talk about cars, do what you want but be prepared to argue with the administrators over why you didn't buy a ticket.

5/. Look at the signs posted at the beginning of each Bus Lane - If there is a motorcycle, you can. If not, you can't.
My local area has a mixture and they sometimes change their minds, but they also have cameras so you have to pay attention!

 

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7 minutes ago, Ttaskmaster said:

5/. Look at the signs posted at the beginning of each Bus Lane - If there is a motorcycle, you can. If not, you can't.
My local area has a mixture and they sometimes change their minds, but they also have cameras so you have to pay attention!

 

Yea I realised in December that the bus lane I used everyday for 6 months  had changed, someone had stuck a sticker over the motorcycle symbol... I assume it was an official and not a comedian.

Alternatively:

3306935-19th-april-1952-patrick-waddingt

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Thank you. I see the main thing I'll need to be careful with is my Spanish habit of parking on the pavement.

As for #2 - Indeed I meant the hard shoulder on motorways, sorry if it wasn't clear. I remember riding in a Middle Eastern country where using the outer 'emergency' lane was practiced and encouraged by local police, saying they preferred to have all the bikers on one separate lane rather than filtering through busy traffic. It was only allowed during rush hour though, rest of the time they'd get a ticket.

Another take on that subject is what they do in France, mainly around big cities; There they use the inner space between the fast lane and separating wall, and ride with emergency lights flashing. Any of you who visited Paris or Lyon during rush hour would have seen it I'm sure. Personally I don't like this technique as it seems quite unsafe, but evidently it works for them.

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10 minutes ago, Derish said:

Thank you. I see the main thing I'll need to be careful with is my Spanish habit of parking on the pavement.

As for #2 - Indeed I meant the hard shoulder on motorways, sorry if it wasn't clear. I remember riding in a Middle Eastern country where using the outer 'emergency' lane was practiced and encouraged by local police, saying they preferred to have all the bikers on one separate lane rather than filtering through busy traffic. It was only allowed during rush hour though, rest of the time they'd get a ticket.

Another take on that subject is what they do in France, mainly around big cities; There they use the inner space between the fast lane and separating wall, and ride with emergency lights flashing. Any of you who visited Paris or Lyon during rush hour would have seen it I'm sure. Personally I don't like this technique as it seems quite unsafe, but evidently it works for them.

I have seen bikes around Paris doing this, in the UK you should not use your hazards whilst driving. If someone cannot see a bike filtering I doubt hazards will help them, if anything it will confuse other drivers who may think you are turning if they can only see half the bike.

A separate lane for bikes would be great :D but as the hard shoulder is often covered in gravel and bits of debris probably best not to. (Aside from being totally illegal as Ttaskmaster said.)

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2 hours ago, Derish said:

It was only allowed during rush hour though, rest of the time they'd get a ticket.

That requires thinking and our Rush 'Hour' is more like 0800-0945... and then some, depending on the day, whether there's football on, whether you're rushing to work or to drop the kids off, etc etc...

 

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For bus lanes in Yorkshire, as above check signage but in general: You can ride in most in York and Sheffield - these are signposted. Leeds does not permit it (at present) though you can use 2+ lanes - again signposted.

York, Sheffield and Leeds provide specific motorbike parking bays which are free. Whitby also allows free bike parking. Helmsley makes bikes pay for parking in the main square, though free on the road if you can find a spot. I wouldn't park on the pavement as you'll end up with a ticket. Also don't use the hard shoulder for filtering - the police will bollock you for it.

 

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Just my luck then, most of my rides are in Leeds. :D

Starting to realise why nobody rides here. Some of these roads are fine for cars but feel like cheese graters on the bike. And then there are the wind gusts on the motorway.

Oh well, still beats the bus.

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Enjoy Leeds... I used to work at Bridgewater Place, Water Lane (think the building is known locally as the Darlek). Apparently it's created a wind tunnel effect and as a result causes no end of trouble. Someone was unfortunately killed by a lorry that got blown over and they added more divided between pavement and road as people were getting blown into traffic...

Anyway, as I've witnessed for myself it can be mighty dangerous for bikers - so if you ride near there, take it easy.

And as for potholed roads - don't leave Yorkshire and head over to Manchester city centre, it's even worse...!

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Don't worry, I've been badgering Leeds City Council on improving the roads in Leeds for motorbikes for years. They always said bikes couldn't use bus lanes as we'd crash in to cyclists and cars wouldn't expect to see us in the bus lanes so would crash into us. Also the trials in London and other cities are inconclusive.

Anyway, now they've built (or are building) the cycle-superhighway, which has narrowed the roads making it harder to filter, I've told them we're not a danger to cyclists anymore  (not that we ever were). Also pointed out we're vulnerable road users too so they should give due consideration to our safety - which they've never done in the 10 years I've been biking in Leeds.

Latest is they have said they will look to trial bus lane use for motorcyclists. Watch this space but don't hold your breath...

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Oh, so it wasn't just my imagination - roads around here ARE getting narrower. Great. :rolleyes:

Bridgewater Place is one of the busiest entry points to the city for anyone coming from the south, so I'm well familiar with it. Nowadays they just close the road off whenever it gets windy. Less of a problem for me as I usually come in from Hunslet, but definitely something to keep in mind.

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There's due to be remedial work beginning soon at Bridgewater place to combat the wind tunnel effect

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  • Moderator

One of my best friends was a yorkshireman. God rest him.

Always knew where you stood with him. If you had something to say, fkin say it cos he sure as hell would. 

 

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Since we touched on the cultural subject here - I'm trying to find evidence of this English 'class' system I heard so much about, and it's not going well so far. All I see around West Yorkshire is friendly hard-working people who enjoy a pint in the end of the day, similar in mindset to the Dutch or the Flems. Were class differences ever really a thing in this part of England, or was it just historically exaggerated in TV and literature?

Granted, I've only been living here for about 18 months, and had limited interaction with locals. Still makes me wonder.

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Since we touched on the cultural subject here - I'm trying to find evidence of this English 'class' system I heard so much about, and it's not going well so far. All I see around West Yorkshire is friendly hard-working people who enjoy a pint in the end of the day, similar in mindset to the Dutch or the Flems. Were class differences ever really a thing in this part of England, or was it just historically exaggerated in TV and literature?

Granted, I've only been living here for about 18 months, and had limited interaction with locals. Still makes me wonder.

The class system still exists, it's just been confined to a single divide compared to the rainbow of classes we used to have. So, there are now just us people and the occupants of the Palace of Westminster, welcome to 21st century Britain!

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11 hours ago, Derish said:

Since we touched on the cultural subject here - I'm trying to find evidence of this English 'class' system I heard so much about, and it's not going well so far. All I see around West Yorkshire is friendly hard-working people who enjoy a pint in the end of the day, similar in mindset to the Dutch or the Flems. Were class differences ever really a thing in this part of England, or was it just historically exaggerated in TV and literature?

Granted, I've only been living here for about 18 months, and had limited interaction with locals. Still makes me wonder.

Well...

It's a bit blurry, but there are still four basic classes.

Lower Class have benefit cheques.
Working Class have manners.
Middle Class have money.
Upper Class have titles.

Lower Class and Working Class used to be a synonymous term, but recent decades have seen the Lower sub-class become its own distinct and separate entity which people now place right at the bottom of the scale, somewhere below the dog shit you stepped in earlier...
The media will spin differing stories, depending on the general mood of the population at the time, as to whether these people are lazy scum or just poor unfortunates who have been failed by our government.
The Tory line is that these are lazy scum. The Labour line is that they have been failed and we must bolster them with our tax money... Guess who I voted for!!

To stereotype the most frequent portrayal - Lower Class people are those who have never worked a day in their lives, don't give a toss about education, can't even be bothered to speak correctly (often not even coherently) or get dressed, yet know very well how to play the Benefits system that they get large houses and a lot more money coming in than the average person who works for a living. Stereotypically, they spend all this money on cigarettes, cheap alcohol and often other drugs, perhaps even supplementing this income by selling said drugs as a low-end dealer themselves, or through other crime (usually petty theft and muggings).
Children born into such families are often destined to be in and out of prison most of their lives, many having never even been to school.

NOTE: Do NOT confuse these people with those who are making use of the Benefits system for genuine reasons of hardship or misfortune in their perfectly respectable lives. There is a MASSIVE difference.
Incidentally, I worked for the Benefits Agency and spent a number of years ascertaining exactly what percentage of claimants were genuine versus how many were just fucking the system... My own prejudices against the Lower Class come with statistics to back them up.


Those hard-working people who drink beer - Them's the Working Class.
A lot about the Class system has to do with what you do for a living - If you work with your hands and get paid very little, you're likely Working Class. Truck drivers, coal miners, milkmen, farmers, road labourers... all that sort.

If you work with your hands and get paid a lot, you're more Middle-Class, but in other ways very much on the border. It depends what you do - Even rich bricklayers, plumbers and other skilled tradesmen are Working class, while sculptors, painters, surgeons and so on are more Middle due to having lots of education and/or an artistic nature to their work.


If you work in an office and get paid lots of money for not very strenuous work, you're Middle Class. Whether you're lower, middle or upper Middle-Class depends on whether you have School, College or University education... or on how outright rich you are - Golfs and Polos and Corsas are usually driven by lower M-C. High-spec BMWs and Audis are the cockmobiles of choice for the middle M-C. Top of the line Bentleys, Jags and the like are upper M-C.
Fully-specced Range Rovers are upper Middle, while the lesser lot have Chelsea Tractor things like a RAV-4.

Thanks to education and technology, Middle Class covers the vast majority of people nowadays, which is why you don't seem to see that much of a divide any more. You can earn over £100,000 if you have the right technical qualifications, despite having left school with nothing.


Upper-Classes are a laugh - They usually went to a prestigious university, only because that's where their family has gone for generations. They often have titles of some kind and own land, castles and so on. They always talk posh and have little grasp of modern culture. They follow many old traditions, such as serving in the Armed Forces as comissioned officers because their previous generations did. Very steeped in manners and being 'proper' too - The sort that will insist on having afternoon tea, only because "it's the done thing".
However, they are often in old or threadbare clothing and drive crappy, ill-maintained cars - They own lots of land and lots of big castles, but these cost money to maintain. So while they're worth a fortune, it's all tied up in investments and property, so they have very little actual cash to spend.

 

Of course, these are just the sterotypes and the modern UK has all manner of variations along the scales.

I consider myself Working Class in a Middle Class environment.

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