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Old 11.04.2011, 16:05
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Question on who has right of way (Bicycle or Car)

Hi All,

Had a small theoretical question on a road rule here in CH. I have asked various colleagues, but no one seems to know for sure. I also searched the forum, but could not find the specific situation. So here goes.

Situation:

1) Single lane, fourway crossing with traffic lights. No bicycle lane. So a small inner city street.

2) I (driving a car) stop at a red light and wait with indicator flashing to go to the right.

3) While waiting, a bicycle stops behind me (as I was planning to turn right, my car did not give him enough space to stop next to me) on my right side and waits behind me.

4) Traffic light turns green and I proceed to turn right.

My question is: Do I have to wait for the bicycle to go past me on my right side and then only turn right? Or do I have right of way and therefore turn right, while we waits to go on straight?

I know the rule is clear when it comes to a bicyle lane, that the bicycle has right of way. But what if there is no bicycle lane?

Please note, no incident ocurred, i turned right and the bicycle continued on straight. But I would love to know the official stance.

Nobody seems to be able to give me a concrete answer.

Hope you guys can help

Thanks and apologies if this has been answered before.
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Old 11.04.2011, 16:09
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Re: Question on who has right of way (Bicycle or Car)

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Hi All,

Had a small theoretical question on a road rule here in CH. I have asked various colleagues, but no one seems to know for sure. I also searched the forum, but could not find the specific situation. So here goes.

Situation:

1) Single lane, fourway crossing with traffic lights. No bicycle lane. So a small inner city street.

2) I (driving a car) stop at a red light and wait with indicator flashing to go to the right.

3) While waiting, a bicycle stops behind me (as I was planning to turn right, my car did not give him enough space to stop next to me) on my right side and waits behind me.

4) Traffic light turns green and I proceed to turn right.

My question is: Do I have to wait for the bicycle to go past me on my right side and then only turn right? Or do I have right of way and therefore turn right, while we waits to go on straight?

I know the rule is clear when it comes to a bicyle lane, that the bicyle has right of way. But what if there is no bicycle lane?

Please note, no incident ocurred, i turned right and the bicycle continued on straight. But I would love to know the official stance.

Nobody seems to be able to give me a concrete answer.

Hope you guys can help

Thanks and apologies if this has been answered before.
If there is no bicycle lane, then technically,if the cycle overtakes you on the inside, he is in contravention. My opinion is that you have the right of way and the bicycle does not.
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Old 11.04.2011, 16:13
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Re: Question on who has right of way (Bicycle or Car)

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If there is no bicycle lane, then technically,if the cycle overtakes you on the inside, he is in contravention. My opinion is that you have the right of way and the bicycle does not.
In principle I agree, but in practice I am not sure the police would see it that way. You would have to prove that the cyclist undertook you and that would, IMO, be difficult without a lot of witnesses.

My general rule of thumb is to clearly indicate, make sure there's no cyclist between me and my turn, e.g. by blocking the route as you did, and turn.

If in doubt, I stop and make sure that either the cyclist has stopped or got out of the way, or has seen me and that I want to turn crossing their path.

Clearly if the cyclist is level with you, I slow down and "tuck in" behind them before turning.
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Old 11.04.2011, 16:14
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Re: Question on who has right of way (Bicycle or Car)

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If there is no bicycle lane, then technically,if the cycle overtakes you on the inside, he is in contravention. My opinion is that you have the right of way and the bicycle does not.
I agree. A good way to avoid the situation is to stay as close to the kerb as possible, so he can't sneak up on your inside.
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Old 11.04.2011, 16:14
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Re: Question on who has right of way (Bicycle or Car)

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In principle I agree, but in practice I am not sure the police would see it that way. You would have to prove that the cyclist undertook you and that would, IMO, be difficult without a lot of witnesses.

My general rule of thumb is to clearly indicate, make sure there's no cyclist between me and my turn, e.g. by blocking the route as you did, and turn.

If in doubt, I stop and make sure that either the cyclist has stopped or got out of the way, or has seen me and that I want to turn crossing their path.

Clearly if the cyclist is level with you, I slow down and "tuck in" behind them before turning.
That I would term as good practice and would agree with you. However the OP was asking for who`s right of way it was.
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Old 11.04.2011, 16:18
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Re: Question on who has right of way (Bicycle or Car)

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That I would term as good practice and would agree with you. However the OP was asking for who`s right of way it was.
Aye, but as it is difficult to prove things sometimes, the official "right of way" can be irrelevant

I'm also not sure about whether if a cycle goes past you on the right it is illegal - I mean, otherwise all cyclists would have to wait or go slow in slow-moving traffic or be in contravention of road/traffic laws (not that this stops them anyway...).
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Old 11.04.2011, 16:20
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Re: Question on who has right of way (Bicycle or Car)

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I agree. A good way to avoid the situation is to stay as close to the kerb as possible, so he can't sneak up on your inside.
In general, I do that (when there is no bicycle lane), but sometimes I am amazed by how they squeeze their way through or get almost close enough to my bumper to sit on it. Makes me a bit nervous when I have a bicycle so close, that any stop or minute change in direction would mean him driving up my rear.
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Old 11.04.2011, 16:21
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Re: Question on who has right of way (Bicycle or Car)

I actually took driving lessons here, before taking the practical test, which one does if one comes from a third world country such as New Zealand. There was no way I wanted to fail, and have to pay to do the whole test again(!)

I say option 3.
The driving instructor instructed me to "cut off cyclists" if you are turning the corner right. Even with a cycle lane. You have right of way if you got there first.
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Old 11.04.2011, 16:23
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Re: Question on who has right of way (Bicycle or Car)

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Aye, but as it is difficult to prove things sometimes, the official "right of way" can be irrelevant

I'm also not sure about whether if a cycle goes past you on the right it is illegal - I mean, otherwise all cyclists would have to wait or go slow in slow-moving traffic or be in contravention of road/traffic laws (not that this stops them anyway...).
Actually checked up on that too! Bicycle's are allowed to pass standing traffic on the right if the space allows. But they aren't allowed to weave in between standing traffic. Oh and motorcycles aren't allowed to pass standing traffic, whether its weaving through or on the right.
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Old 11.04.2011, 16:26
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Re: Question on who has right of way (Bicycle or Car)

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Actually checked up on that too! Bicycle's are allowed to pass standing traffic on the right if the space allows. But they aren't allowed to weave in between standing traffic. Oh and motorcycles aren't allowed to pass standing traffic, whether its weaving through or on the right.
But that's a bit grey isn't it? e.g. does standing traffic include slow rolling traffic at, e.g. a busy junction during rush hour - if I am coasting at less than 10 kph, I often have cyclists coming past me (not weaving in and out mind).
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Old 11.04.2011, 16:29
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Re: Question on who has right of way (Bicycle or Car)

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But that's a bit grey isn't it? e.g. does standing traffic include slow rolling traffic at, e.g. a busy junction during rush hour - if I am coasting at less than 10 kph, I often have cyclists coming past me (not weaving in and out mind).
Well in practice, I find the best way to deal with them pesky cyclists is to open the passenger door when they try it. Thats sorts em out and they cant get ahead of you to cause a problem.
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Old 11.04.2011, 16:30
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Re: Question on who has right of way (Bicycle or Car)

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But that's a bit grey isn't it? e.g. does standing traffic include slow rolling traffic at, e.g. a busy junction during rush hour - if I am coasting at less than 10 kph, I often have cyclists coming past me (not weaving in and out mind).
True, but then when it comes to road rules, there are quite a few grey ones here in CH...

As an example, my swiss colleague, mentioned that even though you may have right of way, fault or at least some fault will fall on the car driver. Because he is considered the stronger one, even in really clear situations favouring the car driver...
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Old 11.04.2011, 16:31
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Re: Question on who has right of way (Bicycle or Car)

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True, but then when it comes to road rules, there are quite a few grey ones here in CH...

As an example, my swiss colleague, mentioned that even though you may have right of way, fault or at least some fault will fall on the car driver. Because he is considered the stronger one, even in really clear situations favouring the car driver...
Indeed. That's kinda what I was trying to say (badly) with this...

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In principle I agree, but in practice I am not sure the police would see it that way. You would have to prove that the cyclist undertook you and that would, IMO, be difficult without a lot of witnesses.
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Old 11.04.2011, 16:34
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Re: Question on who has right of way (Bicycle or Car)

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But that's a bit grey isn't it? e.g. does standing traffic include slow rolling traffic at, e.g. a busy junction during rush hour - if I am coasting at less than 10 kph, I often have cyclists coming past me (not weaving in and out mind).
I have a related specific question. In Zurich there is a bike lane that runs on the pavement on the right side of a three-lane, one-way street (bikes and cars going in the same direction). Just before a traffic light, the bike lane directs bike traffic onto the street. The two right lanes are right-turn-only lanes, and only the left lane of traffic proceeds through the intersection. Naturally the bike lane disappears completely once it enters the street. I commute straight through this intersection on my bike regularly and I cross over the two right lanes to position myself between the left lane and one of the right turn lanes, frequently rolling up between cars to the light.

Is this a bad practice? I'll admit it makes my heart race every morning.
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Old 11.04.2011, 16:36
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Re: Question on who has right of way (Bicycle or Car)

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As an example, my swiss colleague, mentioned that even though you may have right of way, fault or at least some fault will fall on the car driver. Because he is considered the stronger one, even in really clear situations favouring the car driver...
It's the same with pedestrians, even if someone is behaving like a complete cock you still have to assume responsibility for their safety because you are in a ton or so of metal.
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Old 11.04.2011, 16:39
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Re: Question on who has right of way (Bicycle or Car)

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Well in practice, I find the best way to deal with them pesky cyclists is to open the passenger door when they try it. Thats sorts em out and they cant get ahead of you to cause a problem.
I prefer the method employed by the Iceni

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Old 11.04.2011, 16:40
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Re: Question on who has right of way (Bicycle or Car)

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I prefer the method employed by the Iceni

That works for me. Can you get them at Halfords?
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Old 11.04.2011, 16:53
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Re: Question on who has right of way (Bicycle or Car)

I guess i have nothing better to do

Article 74.11 of this document says that bikes can all go to the front of the line and be next to each other at a red light, if there is a bike signal.

I am sure there must be something in there about turning right.. but i cant find it.. and its time to start dinner..
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Old 11.04.2011, 16:55
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Re: Question on who has right of way (Bicycle or Car)

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Makes me a bit nervous when I have a bicycle so close,
That's nothing to how nervous I get when I have a car so close!
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Old 11.04.2011, 16:59
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Re: Question on who has right of way (Bicycle or Car)

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That's nothing to how nervous I get when I have a car so close!
I usually give bicycle's a wide berth
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