How to stop motorists squeezing past us

How to stop motorists squeezing past us


I believe I have found a solution to the problem of vehicles squeezing past us so they don't have to use part of the next lane.  I've tested it now for several months, and my experiences are 100% positive from a safety perspective.  It's simple & cheap.  I've attached photos, so you all can see what it's about.


You will need the following:

  • A long, straight collapsible rod of some sort -- I used an old manual car aerial.  Car wreckers still have them, but less and less so, since the electric ones are much more common nowadays.  Make sure it doesn't have a pipe that it goes down into -- you want it to be as short as possible when it's fully collapsed.
  • A bright piece of material -- I bought a yellow reflective vest from the $2 shop.
  • Lots of duct tape.
  • A rubber band.

Attach the material to the end of the rod (I folded the vest in half and wrapped duct tape around it and the aerial several times) and attach the rod securely to your bike.  This part may be fairly difficult for some folks -- I have a parcel carrier on the back of my bike so it was simple, I just ran the rod under the carrier and duct taped it on both edges.  If you don't have a parcel carrier, maybe it's worth it for your safety to get one??? :-)

Put the rubber band on the rod and just leave it there.  It's for bunching up the material when you're biking with the rod collapsed, for example along a cycle path.  Then the material won't get caught in your back wheel.


Before I did this I fully investigated it with the MoT.  I found a guy who works on the transport laws and asked his opinion.  First thing he said was Good on ya :-)  After some research, his answer was as follows: so long as the material doesn't touch the ground and the rod when fully extended doesn't stick out further than 1m from your bike, there is no problem.  Mine sticks out 75cm so I'm well within that.  I found that I had to trim the vest a few weeks after I started using this contraption -- the aerial had sagged a little and the vest was dragging on the ground.  But since then there have been no problems.  The reflective strips on the vest make a noise when they drag on the ground, so it was very easy to tell when it needed trimming.


Motorists are significantly more courteous when I have my "flag" extended than they were before I did this, or than when it isn't extended (for example, when I'm going for a very short ride and can't be bothered extending it).  They see that they can't get past in places where they would normally try and squeeze past, so they simply wait.  I always put my hand up to my right shoulder to thank them for waiting, and if they've waited a while, I do it again as they start to pass.  The odd motorist acts as if it's a huge imposition (some, even, when they don't have to wait to get past -- go figure!!!) but it's very rare.  Trucks in particular are very courteous -- although I haven't yet seen what happens when an artic truck goes past.  I suspect the contraption doesn't change anything about what the trailer unit does!!!  But then anyone who cycles on the road knows already to be very cautious of trailer units...


I found that I had to re-educate myself a little in the early stages of using this.  I was so used to thinking of myself on a bike as very narrow, and suddenly I was a lot wider.  I found that it helped to think of myself as a slow-moving Mini.

Another thing I found was that I had to move out to pass parked cars etc, much earlier.  You can't simply move out suddenly with one of these things poking out from your bike!  If I'm away with the fairies a little and I realise too late that I need to move out (including within the distance that, with the rod collapsed, I would start moving out), then I simply brake and wait until it's safe to move out.

Clearly going between lines of cars waiting at an intersection is more difficult with the rod extended.  But you can always collapse it, use the cross signal if you're at lights, etc.


This contraption has made me so much less scared when I'm on the road.  And it's not a false sense of security.  It actually works.  I heartily recommend it to anyone who is as sick as I was of motorists who are prepared to take the lives of cyclists into their hands, just in order to get where they're going a couple of seconds earlier.

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I ride a recumbent trike and I have a flag with a fibreglass pole about 2m long.

This is flexible and I can bent it using my right hand. Steering is easy with one hand on a trike.

Sometimes, when I see a truck coming behind or a silly overtaking on front of me, I bend the flagpole towards the center of the road. Seems to work as car drivers do not want to scratch their paint on the end of the flagpole.


Nice home-made solution! If you can't be bothered making one of these, CAN does sell a "Spacemaker flag" that does a similar trick (only sticks out 30cm though) - see

The proposed design is really serious in "taking the lane"! In fact I'm not sure this is necessary - I've been using a spacemaker flag as for some years (actually bought it in Stockholm) and I believe it's very effective, even though it only sticks out 10cm further than my handlebars - on one occasion I found that extending it made traffic pass me several metres further out than when it was folded back.

I do wonder if with such a wide separation, at night other motorists might notice the flag, but not the bike. This could be dangerous if the bicyclist was in a right hand lane.


I've had a run in with the local trucking firm as one of their drivers was either forcing traffic on to me or swinging his trailer in too soon after passing . The owner/ manager was adamant he was his best driver and did not like it when I said I had seen him doing other stupid things on the main highway , ( next day he gave me a wide birth ) .  He said cyclists should not be on the road as they don't pay road user taxes and some of them were asking to be killed the things they did . I should use the cycle track several miles out of town .

Suggesting cyclists could lobby against truckies brought a most confident " you wouldn't have a show " from him .

I am totally disgusted with his attitude and have been looking for cyclists groups with a bit of guts and rallying of the troups but this is about as good as it gets I see .

Tell each other but don't dare stand up to the maniac vehichular road users .

This is a huge problem, motorists either push you off the road or drive so close up your back which sends shivers down the spine. Riding the main street of Paeroa is certainly not cycle friendly as there are vehicles on either side of street, parked along curb. Speed also plays an important factor, this needs to be looked at if we are to incorporate the masses of cyclist beginning to use both the Rail Trail corridor plus the use of areas of road to get to next point of destination for trail. I find by riding in my lane, the centre of the road down our Main Street, the vehicles have to slow down, trucks and all, this is more safe at a slower speed traveling through town on a buisy day than having a big truck and trailor who travels quite fast, with the expectation that one day someone WILL get run over. A good idea with the flag, both types, yes the longer stick type could cause it to get caught I. Something. The smaller flag, certainly a great idea in which I will get one soon as I get my new bike which is also mesmerizing to the type of cycling I like doing. Yes Gazelle, you look like more and more the choice...but that's for another conversation. All the best.

Motorist must legally pass a cyclist at 1.5meters or wider. Motorists must also allow room for cyclists and be on the lookout for cyclists dodging pothole, paper, car doors, anything which causes the cyclist to veer from its course. This is why the speed limits both around towns and highways especially the country roads need to go back to 80km/hr, lower speeds in town, or if a vehicle sees a cyclist, they should have to slow down to the speed as the same as passing a School Bus, 20km/hr or less.