Cyclists/riders & Priorité à Droite

I’m interested to understand how you deal with priorité à droite junctions- if you’re a cyclist or rider in France…

For example, as you approach a junction where you clearly have priorité à droite , and you see a car/lorry/bus heading towards you from your left, do you (bravely!) assert your priority & pull out/carry on regardless etc - or do you act defensively, eg pause and wait to see if the vehicle looks likely to stop before proceeding?

I must admit I invariably fall into the latter category
I usually wait for the driver to clearly signal me to pull out, unless it’s obvious the driver is slowing down/stopping. But I see local cyclists routinely shoot out without deviation, hesitation etc, and probably lots of repetition…

I wonder what best practice is, as opposed to the theory ?

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Definitely not, whatever vehicle I am in charge of, simply because I know that there are so many people who ignore, or are ignorant of, the rule.
Setting myself up for derision again here but I watch body language and the face and if possible the eyes of the other driver. It has served me well for 60 years and I aint dead yet. :smile:

What I do deplore, common in France, is if one driver signals that he/she is giving way, so often the other driver effectively says ‘no, after you’. This can go on until one of you is dead and the moral is, if given way to, accept without hesitation. :wink:


This, in spades, especially when I’m on two wheels either motorised or pedal powered.


Indeed, it is of no use being in the right about priority but crushed beneath the wheels of some pantechnicon that did not stop to let you out.


Shire’s or Cob’s don’t have the same brakes I’d always give way. :grinning:

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Drivers in France are pretty good about cyclists, but I’d still wait until I’d made eye contact!

I’m also cautious about people flashing me to go ahead, as sometime people flash to say “get out of my bloody way”.

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“I had right of way”. An excellent epitaph for individuals who knew their rights but had no sense.


That is definitely true, and much better than my experience in Britain generally. Although I was appreciative of cyclists in Britain when driving, I am much more so now and treat them as I would a car when passing.

I was cycling around Cahors today and there was never a point when the issue came up. Priority was always made clear by signs. They’ve even put in stop signs where I would have had priority. But of course, being English I’ve always stopped there anyway and not just sailed out using my priority.

Where total confusion still reigned, though, was every roundbout big or small. Then looking them in the eye and making sure they saw me seemed to be the only way. Unfortunately which lane of the roundbout - inside or out - could not be relied on as an indicator of anything :slight_smile:


Ha ha, my bugbear in several previous threads and posts. :smiley:


Roundabouts! Do not get me started!

I admired a quick witted driving instructor I met recently. I asked him why France built their roundabouts with two lanes when instructors teach to use the outer lane regardless where you are exiting. ‘For ze eenglish to use’ he quickly replied :grinning:


As a former motorcycle and advanced motorcycle instructor back in the motherland, (sorry for being an anorak) the phrase ‘Right of way’ is never written in the Highway Code. They use ‘Priority’ instead.

Assuming you have ‘right of way’ could end badly, especially if something is bigger than you. Until you are sure that someone has seen you, then proceed with caution.

There, I’ve said it, now back to being le_Pest!


Precisely. :smile:

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Generally French motorists are respectful of cyclists’ nevertheless I always ride defensively. It is best to assume that the driver is drunk and/or poorly sighted. I never turn left from centre of road’, I always wait by the kerb until my way is clear. On roundabouts I go around the outside. I always stop at junctions even if I have priorité a droit


Thank you for all your thoughts and comments. I’m very reassured. I thought I might be seen as totally over-cautious/too English in stopping and waiting defensively at junctions where I have priorité. I also follow the points made above by @rabbit about going round the outside of roundabouts, and on busy roads pausing on the right hand side kerb, before crossing a road to turn left.

Generally I also try to avoid planning bike rides along any road where there are white lines down the middle, except where unavoidable, preferring lovely quiet country lanes wherever possible…

I always tell myself that I might be legally in the right to pull out, but that won’t help me if I’m subsequently run over and killed, or lying in a coma. In those situations, preservation of life is primordial.


Or at least, that’s how it can feel as you become very old. :wink:

I’d say that PaD makes France a more dangerous place for cyclists, since one can’t predict driver behaviour, and getting off to manoeuver past the junction - though a ridiculous thing to have to do - is going to be much safer.

Very true. Many collisions are caused by party A assuming that they can predict what party B is about to do.

As a practical example, if one is waiting to turn right at a T junction stop sign, and a vehicle approaching from the left has its right indicator on, many would assume that the driver is going to turn right and they may then decide to move off and join the main road.
Whereas the only thing you actually know from the fact that the right indicator is on is that the car’s right indicator works…

The moral of the story: never predict!


True Brian, and that is what I mean about body language, you can often tell by the way the vehicle is being driven, slowing down or not for instance, and if you can see the driver, where he is looking.

On the subject of indicators, many years ago someone pulled out of a side road onto a main road and was hit by a police car indicating that it was turning into the same side road. The waiting driver assumed he was clear to pull out but it turned out that the police driver had made a mistake. The poilce force was sued for damages, and lost, the judge said you should not assume what someone else is going to do, you should still give priority anyway to the main road and proceed with caution.

Which is what I do. :smile:


Hi Rob, not surprised at all you turn out to be a super advanced motorcyclist coach as well as your many other talents :slight_smile:

Commuting 10 years in London traffic to work on 2 wheels was of enormous help when BP thought they might send me to Iraq and sent me on a mini- survival training course - how to look out for IED’s by the roadside, be aware of places where a sniper might take a shot at you, and how to get out quickly if the vehicle taking you to work came under attack…all good stuff well trained for by 10 years travelling to work on a bike in London …