Traffic Boom - legal?

WheezyRider

Esteemed Pedelecer
Apr 20, 2020
415
170
With the boom in traffic since the end of lock down, the number of close passes and punishment passes I'm getting is increasing again. This is a big problem on certain parts of my commute where there are painted dashed lines demarcating a "cycle lane" (what the Belgians call "murder strips") next to fast moving traffic. This encourages drivers to pass right up to the edge of the dashed line, as I presume they think "the cyclist has his lane so it's fine for me to pass him at 40 mph+ inches from his handlebars..."

Years ago you could get these little red plastic stalks that unfolded about a foot, with a reflective patch on the end. My idea was to solve the boom in traffic with a "traffic boom" - a much longer version of those little red plastic stalks and fit flashing lights to it.

My question is, how long could one be and still be legal? Obviously you wouldn't make one 1.5 m long (the supposed minimum safe passing distance) but you'd want it at least a reasonable length.
 

Gavin

Pedelecer
May 11, 2020
243
125
a much longer version of those little red plastic stalks and fit flashing lights to it.
I've no knowledge of the legality of it, but I suspect you'd just be turning yourself into a target for every cyclist-hating nutter out there....
 

Nealh

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 7, 2014
11,181
4,316
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West Sx RH
Painted lines or flat painted cycles on the road are no means of safety for a rider, either ride further out taking a more prime position or use a long stick 1m minimum and if need be with a nice pointy nail on the end.
Try one of the horse rider vests that look like a police gillet that say's 'Polite Notice' on the back.
 

Nealh

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 7, 2014
11,181
4,316
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West Sx RH
Put a camera on the front and a visible one on the rear.
If you use a mid drive and have 9mm QR's get a mount that replaces the rhs QR nut and use a Go Pro type cam.
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
45,945
22,594
With the boom in traffic since the end of lock down, the number of close passes and punishment passes I'm getting is increasing again. This is a big problem on certain parts of my commute where there are painted dashed lines demarcating a "cycle lane" (what the Belgians call "murder strips") next to fast moving traffic. This encourages drivers to pass right up to the edge of the dashed line, as I presume they think "the cyclist has his lane so it's fine for me to pass him at 40 mph+ inches from his handlebars..."

Years ago you could get these little red plastic stalks that unfolded about a foot, with a reflective patch on the end. My idea was to solve the boom in traffic with a "traffic boom" - a much longer version of those little red plastic stalks and fit flashing lights to it.

My question is, how long could one be and still be legal? Obviously you wouldn't make one 1.5 m long (the supposed minimum safe passing distance) but you'd want it at least a reasonable length.
Probably the only law that can apply is obstruction, but the police are very tolerant on this. A few decades ago we had an eccentric older chap who had a light scaffolding frame around his bike like the outlines of a shed and rode it in London's rush hour traffic to make cars keep their distance. I don't think he was ever prosecuted, most people were just amused by him.

An 18" projection from the centre line of your bike should be ok, but I think two foot would be pushing it.
.
 
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WheezyRider

Esteemed Pedelecer
Apr 20, 2020
415
170
Put a camera on the front and a visible one on the rear.
If you use a mid drive and have 9mm QR's get a mount that replaces the rhs QR nut and use a Go Pro type cam.
I use a camera when cycling, but the police here won't do anything unless someone gets killed or seriously injured, then they blame the cyclist. I'd rather poeople didn't think they could get so close in the first place.
 

Gringo

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 18, 2013
1,136
683
Northampton
A flashing light on a stick could be mistaken as an indicator,
a nail on a stick could turn out to be very expensive (premeditated wilful damage)
Ive considered an egg on a stick or even a large paintball but the truth is the type of people that pass to close are probably already tightly wound and damaging there vehicle wouldn’t end well.
 

WheezyRider

Esteemed Pedelecer
Apr 20, 2020
415
170
A flashing light on a stick could be mistaken as an indicator,
a nail on a stick could turn out to be very expensive (premeditated wilful damage)
Ive considered an egg on a stick or even a large paintball but the truth is the type of people that pass to close are probably already tightly wound and damaging there vehicle wouldn’t end well.

A flashing red light is all that is allowed colour wise (rear facing) under lighting regs and the rep rate would be much higher than an indicator.

In anger, I've thought about a battery powered angle grinder, swinging hammers etc etc...but no, imagine hitting a cyclist over taking you...and you don't want to go down the whole criminal damage path.

My main thinking is that if the extremity of your bike is obviously a bit further out, they will have to think about how close they get. If they do make contact, it's clear evidence of how close they were and it becomes a collision, rather than a "speculative" (although obvious from camera recording!) near miss. The arm would be able to pivot forward in case of a contact event, so not endangering the bike's steering.
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
45,945
22,594
Yes, those are the ones I remember...but they are only about a foot long. Attached to the frame, it only comes out about as far as your handlebars. Something a bit longer is needed.
No, that one plugs into the end of the handlebar adding to its length. I suppose you could fabricate a frame tube to mount it on.
.
 

WheezyRider

Esteemed Pedelecer
Apr 20, 2020
415
170
No, that one plugs into the end of the handlebar adding to its length. I suppose you could fabricate a frame tube to mount it on.
.
Does it? From the blurry picture on the Amazon site, it looked like it was attached low down on the frame somewhere. :)

I wouldn't want something directly on the handle bars, as I'd be worried about that knocking the steering out if it got hit. I think the best place would be on the frame handlebar stem tube.
 
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flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
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Maybe, I only know of other flexible ones, including longer frame mount ones, but they all seem to disappear from the market.
.
 

sjpt

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 8, 2018
1,705
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Still available

I used to have one attached to the back of the rack. I don't think it helped much. As someone else said, a bit over 1ft. (Amazon says 32cm)
 

WheezyRider

Esteemed Pedelecer
Apr 20, 2020
415
170
So, I put together a quick 3D printed clamping system of 3 parts. 1) Part to clamp to the handlebar stem tube 2) pivot part to allow rotation so that the boom is horizontal when folded, as the handlebar stem tube is not vertical 3) a second pivot to allow the boom to be folded backwards when not in use, and also to hold the pole part of the boom.

In my junk pile, I happened to find a broken one of those old tiny red plastic booms, so I cut off the reflector and added it to mine (with gaffer tape at this point of testing :) ).

The 3D printed section is long enough that when the boom is folded, it doesn't get in the way of pedalling, but is shorter than the handle bars, so it won't catch on things.

The Mk1 version was about 60 cm beyond the end of the handlebars. This seemed ridiculously huge...but is only a fraction of the 150 cm a car is supposed to give you.

I decided to shorten it a bit. So I've cut it down to 39 cm. I seem to remember reading somewhere the limit for a projection form a vehicle is 400mm, without special signage.
 

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Gavin

Pedelecer
May 11, 2020
243
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Yowzers Wheezy, that thing's a beast! Will it easily fold out the way if someone hits it?
 

WheezyRider

Esteemed Pedelecer
Apr 20, 2020
415
170
Yowzers Wheezy, that thing's a beast! Will it easily fold out the way if someone hits it?
Yes, the horizontal pivot allows it to fold 90 deg backwards and also 90 deg forwards.

The trick is to do the locknut up tight enough that the wind does not blow it backward, but loose enough so it's easy to pivot it backwards when you need to :)

The 3D printing is only basic PLA, which is quite brittle, so worst case it will be broken off. But printing a replacement would be very easy to do.
 
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Gavin

Pedelecer
May 11, 2020
243
125
10/10 for ingenuity and knocking it up so quick.

I suspect you might raise a few eyebrows when you hit the road with it, but if it keeps the nutters at arms length then it's gotta be a good thing.

Keep us posted with the road test....
 

WheezyRider

Esteemed Pedelecer
Apr 20, 2020
415
170
Got the first chance to try it out on a long trip today.

I've got it set so it extends 39 cm beyond my handlebars, so not ridiculously long.

It worked like a dream! 10 miles and not a single close pass - that's the first time on my daily route without a dangerous incident.

Got some funny looks at times, but otherwise - result! :cool:
 

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