/ 5 dead in 9 days
This the latest. And one other in hospital with life threatening injuries :(
What the hell is going on? This city has never been cycle friendly but this is unprecedented.
I only cycled to work in London twice. It struck me as being like the Driving Theory hazard perception test at high speed, while also having to pay attention to what you can hear, what's behind you, what's over your right shoulder and what's behind you. I'm never cycling in this city again. It's a death trap, regardless of what Boris might say.
I sympathise with you having to ride that every day.
This pic shows why cyclists end up at the roundabout - they've got to choose between crossing two lanes of fast moving traffic from the cycle lane to even get on the flyover. Once on the flyover they've got literally nowhere to go on the left side if traffic tries to squeeze past. Horrifying.
I reckon the best change they could make would be to get rid of *all* the one way systems, or at least providing a marked contraflow cycle lane at all such locations. Cycling in London is vastly more pleasant if you use quiet backstreets (I now know a route between Euston and Paddington that is almost as pleasant as city cycling in the Netherlands), but this is very hard to do when you can end up miles away from your destination by getting stuck in such a system when you don't quite 100% know the route.
Also, cycles and buses are fundamentally incompatible. It would be better to consider moving bus lanes to the middle of the road in some locations, with the stops near traffic lights to allow passengers to reach them. This system is seen in Germany a fair bit.
Round here a lot of the cyclists dont seem to have bothered with lights, high vis etc now the clocks have gone back. Im astounded on my commute with the number of fellow cyclist who are badly lit or not lit at all. Its no wonder that in poor light or night time a few go unotoiced and get totaled.
I'm a London cyclist and have been wondering the same thing. It's bad, but not that bad if you stay alert, we were talking about it in the office and didn't reach any conclusions.
I think if you cycle very passively it makes things worse as vehicles try to squeeze past you, stick yourself in the middle of the lane and that's not going to happen.
> I'm a London cyclist and have been wondering the same thing. It's bad, but not that bad if you stay alert, we were talking about it in the office and didn't reach any conclusions.
> I think if you cycle very passively it makes things worse as vehicles try to squeeze past you, stick yourself in the middle of the lane and that's not going to happen.
A lot of cyclists don't want every outing to feel aggressive but unfortunately in a city like London aggresive lane domination and a fast pace are your best keys to surviving!
Not so sure about fast pace exactly. I see your point, but on a cycle the potential injuries from impact are so much higher with a little extra added speed. Sticking to the middle of the road while plodding along can, understandably, cause impatience in car drivers and only add to the risk. The 20mph maximum speed is possibly helping though.
Unfortunately a lot of the discussion about cyclist/motorists doesn't take in to account how different London is from towns and smaller cities. I have no sympathy for countryside motorists who drive dangerously around cyclsist. But I've been cycling to work from Dalston to Russell Square for 10 years now and couriered before that and have found Londons drivers to be very almost always courteous, in the face of the stupidity from cyclicsts. I can't say the same about many of the cyclists I come across though.
Routinely blasting through red lights, pushing ahead of other cyclists, not checking behind themselves and cycling with iPods on. There is just plain stupidity visible every few minutes. The high mindedness of being a non-polluter seems to have gone to the heads of many and appears to have become a justification for breaking all sorts of laws and a general display of arrogance.
Staying off the chaotic main roads makes a huge difference. And it would be interesting to know what exactly led to the accidents this last week. But increasingly I'm finding myself sympathising more with motorists than I am with my two-wheeled brethren.
...I should add, while I know it is only a (substantial) minority of cyclists who break all the rules, it has an insidious effect.
Those who go through red lights encourage others to do so. And more than once I've seen a motorist lurch forward on seeing a cyclist jump the light, presumably assuming they had missed the light changing to green and about to accelerate off.
Here are a couple of good links:
> Not so sure about fast pace exactly. I see your point, but on a cycle the potential injuries from impact are so much higher with a little extra added speed. Sticking to the middle of the road while plodding along can, understandably, cause impatience in car drivers and only add to the risk. The 20mph maximum speed is possibly helping though.
By fast I just mean you can amend your line of travel quicker! Off course you stop slower but most collisions, if spotted, can be escaped with line changes! I admit you may need a crystal ball for this to work 100% but its a valid factor in the whole debate of surviving A to B in the city!
It's not good out there. The coroners will seek to answer the 'why' for each case but there do seem to be some worrying trends.
After someheated discussions with collegauyes this morning, we stumbled on some pretty good stats which suggest that, on the whole, the roads are safer than they used to be:
Average fatalities/year by decade are:
2010s 13.3 (so far)
Other stats here: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/media/newscentre/archive/28188.aspx
This can be taken against a 150% increase in cylcing in London from 2000-2011
As I said elswhere, no fatalities are acceptable and segragated roads can't come quickly enough, particularly in the locations where serious accident are all too frequent.
As a cyclist, I couldn't agree more.
Without wishing to seem callous it's probably just a combination of the time of year (low sun, wet roads and dark rush hours) with a little bit of chance clustering.
Has anyone else noticed the difference in motorist attitudes to motorbikes & scooters compared to cyclists?
Yes, they are obviously different in terms of speed (although not so much for mopeds), but I have never seen a car or lorry try to squeeze past a motor bike or scooter in the same lane, and never seen a scooter rider given abuse for holding up traffic.
In fact most motorists now go out of their way to make motorcyclists' lives easier e.g. moving out out of the way when in traffic to allow them to filter through etc.
If this is a result of the almost constant campaigning over the last 15 years or so for motorists to look out for bikers, then hopefully if the campaigns aer kept up we might start seeing improvements for cyclists. However, I don't think there was ever the "them & us" culture surrounding bikers.
I do think though that tougher sentancing for causing injuries and deaths of any road user may well go a long way to making people who are driving understand that it's not just a way to get from a to b as fast as possible, it is a privilidge, and with that comes a major responsiblity.
I also wonder how much Sat Navs have to do with this - they are often positioned to restrict a drivers view, and we keep hearing about people just following the instructions without thinking, and I wonder if this is contributing to drivers moving around on auto pilot e.g. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/derby-county/10439952/Derby-County-defender-Andre-Wi...
Of course there's plenty of other things that distract people, kids, radios etc, but driving should be seen like climbers see belaying peoples lives are in your hands - it would be unacceptable for your belayer to be putting on make up, taking phone calls, turning round to check on the kids, fiddling with a radio etc wouldn't it?
I'm baffled at why there hasn't been any concerted campaign to promote not only that drivers should be more aware of cyclists and understanding of the issues that face them but also that cyclists should be aware of how they are seen or not seen by drivers.
I've just had a spell of bike commuting in three different locations, SSW to central London, Bristol and 'mildly urban Hampshire' - the differences were interesting.
Hampshire seems to suffer more from the 'half-pass and forget' overtakers, who then squeeze in or turn left, but generally people give you more room on urban or rural roads.
Bristol - generally benign and courteous, although I did maybe have a 'cluster' effect with motorbikes of all things doing the half pass and forget.
London - people pulling out from side roads and others refusing to let you move over when there's a parked car coming up.
I feel happier going fast - reduces the closing speed, but almost certainly contributes to the half pass and forget which seems to be my personal bugbear.
> Without wishing to seem callous it's probably just a combination of the time of year (low sun, wet roads and dark rush hours) with a little bit of chance clustering.
Yes. Definitely. It's not just cyclists. It's been a mad three weeks. 4 serious lorry crashes shutting the M25, plus countless other accidents. I don't think I've had a morning in the last 3 weeks I've not been stuck in traffic for less than 2hours, my usual commute is hour and a half.
I've started leaving home at 5:30am to avoid the complete idiots who are undertaking, weaving form one lane to another, turning right from left lanes on roundabouts speeding etc and they're not getting anywhere any quicker. As I say it's definitely been on the increase the last few weeks. I just wonder if the more jams there are the worse people dive and so it just keeps getting worse.
>>> Has anyone else noticed the difference in motorist attitudes to motorbikes & scooters compared to cyclists?
That's probably because motorcycles/scooters are (generally...) better ridden and much more predictable in terms of their road behaviour. Obviously I am excluding pizza delivery guys from this!
In reply to nniff:
>>> London - people...refusing to let you move over when there's a parked car coming up.
You mean not teleporting their car 10' away when the cyclist (9/10 in black clothes with no lights on and listening to an iPod...) suddenly darts out of the lane they were in at 90 degrees without signalling??
Sorry, these silly falsities just don't help.
I can't say that scooter riders tend to be well driven or predictable - a lot are illegally running on L plates well beyond the period they are supposed to, as well as probably 50% being basically raced by 16 year olds
> You mean not teleporting their car 10' away when the cyclist (9/10 in black clothes with no lights on and listening to an iPod...) suddenly darts out of the lane they were in at 90 degrees without signalling??
No, I think he meant lookng ahead at obstacles in the road and being able to predict that the cyclist won't be able to magically pass through the parked car like a ghost, and adjusting their speed acordingly
Possibly, it doesn't really help the debate though, you undoubtably get cyclists who thrive on the challenge of riding in the city and give no margin for error, no 'what if'..
I just think the big thing is London just is not set up to be a cycling city, they've put the cycle lanes in as an after thought and its just not working and not safe.
I think perhaps people that don't spend much time driving in these conditions can overestimate how visible they are on their bikes and how well drivers can judge the relative position of a bike especially through rain-soaked windows and mirrors with lights and low sun glinting everywhere. Some evenings when the light is really bad I can barely see well lit bikes let alone accurately anticipate what they're going to do.
Not saying you're one of those people but I am.
>>> (9/10 in black clothes with no lights on and listening to an iPod...)
Sorry, these silly falsities just don't help.
You're right, my bad - I am sure a proportion of them are listening to a non-Apple device...
In reply to balmybaldwin:
>>>No, I think he meant lookng ahead at obstacles in the road and being able to predict that the cyclist won't be able to magically pass through the parked car like a ghost, and adjusting their speed accordingly
You're right, *all* road users could do with reading the road better. However, in my experience the substantial majority of cyclists, when confronted by an obstacle in their lane, do not (as they should) prepare to stop, they simply assume that the rest of the traffic is going to accommodate their actions. Yes, this may be "predictable" to a good driver, but why do this when if it's a bad driver (especially in an HGV) you are going to come off far worse. It reminds me a little of Arthur Dent in Hitchhikers Guide..."have you any idea how much damage this will cause to my bulldozer if I run over you" (I paraphrase)...answer "none whatsoever".
More seriously, forgive me if I adopt a jocular tone, clearly I'd like to see all road users safe, and I try to be as accommodating as possible...but I do wonder (to take the current sad examples) wtf any sensible cyclist is doing going anywhere near an HGV at a junction?
It's not good out there. The coroners will seek to answer the 'why' for each case but there do seem to be some worrying trends.
After someheated discussions with collegauyes this morning, we stumbled on some pretty good stats which suggest that, on the whole, the roads are safer than they used to be:
Average fatalities/year by decade are:
2010s 13.3 (so far)
Other stats here: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/media/newscentre/archive/28188.aspx
This can be taken against a 150% increase in cylcing in London from 2000-2011
As I said elswhere, no fatalities are acceptable and segragated roads can't come quickly enough, particularly in the locations where serious accident are all too frequent.
Or, WTF a HGV is doing anywhere near a cyclist at a junction?
> More seriously, forgive me if I adopt a jocular tone, clearly I'd like to see all road users safe, and I try to be as accommodating as possible...but I do wonder (to take the current sad examples) wtf any sensible cyclist is doing going anywhere near an HGV at a junction?
It's a fair point, but you could just as easily ask what's an HGV doing anywhere near a cyclist at a junction... yes it is spectacularly stupid to squeeze alongside an HGV which is stopped at a set of lights and I would have to say as a cyclist I hate it when I see people doing this it is just plain stupid. Having said that, as a slow moving vehicle it is not normally under a cyclists control when they get overtaken, caught up at a set of lights or cut up.
One of the problems, which is avoided by dedicated Dutch-style infrastructure, is the constant overtaking and re-overtaking each time a set of lights is reached. This causes a lot of frustration to driver and cyclist alike, and each time it happens causes danger. This is why bikes in bus lanes are really not ideal.
Again I wasn't clear - that's what I meant, i.e. when a cyclist voluntarily sneaks up on the inside of an HGV/bus or whatever.
> Again I wasn't clear - that's what I meant, i.e. when a cyclist voluntarily sneaks up on the inside of an HGV/bus or whatever.
They follow the protective blue paint, and it leads them into the jaws of death.
Sadly people don't realize that paint is not infrastructure. When cyclists jump red lights and do other stupid things then the engineers and planners need to look at what is wrong with the system, because human nature makes us do very silly things and clever infrastructure can keep us safe.
> They follow the protective blue paint, and it leads them into the jaws of death.
> Sadly people don't realize that paint is not infrastructure. When cyclists jump red lights and do other stupid things then the engineers and planners need to look at what is wrong with the system, because human nature makes us do very silly things and clever infrastructure can keep us safe.
Which bit do you want me to clarify?
In answer to the why to cyclists end up near HGVs the answer is that in London they follow the blue Cycle Superhighway paint and it invites them into the most dangerous part of the road (the left side of an HGV).
RLJing was mentiond further up the thread. What would you suggest you fix to stop cyclists RLJing? You have 2 options 1)change human nature or 2) change the system human nature interacts with.
Do you really think that so many cyclists would jump red lights if there was decent infrastructure for them?
> RLJing was mentiond further up the thread. What would you suggest you fix to stop cyclists RLJing? You have 2 options 1)change human nature or 2) change the system human nature interacts with.
> Do you really think that so many cyclists would jump red lights if there was decent infrastructure for them?
Or many of the cyclists' attitudes. It's a bit of both, and as a cyclist it really annoys me.
I was cycling on a Boris bike last week, as I often do, and a twit in a suit on a Brompton tried to undertake me because I gave an illegally parked car a wide berth (for my own safety) just before a zebra crossing, which I then stopped for as someone was crossing, and took half a second longer to start off than he would have liked me to. Had he overtaken he would have hit the pedestrians who were still crossing. Impatient idiot.
If you don't like road layouts, there are proper ways of making representations. A bad layout does not justify breaking the law. If it's that bad, get off and push across the junction.
I agree. More enforcement is needed. Obviously can't be done with cameras, but there are certain junctions where if you sat a police car there you'd catch hundreds in a day. A fixed penalty for all of them without exception would be a start.
I think we will have to agree to disagree then. I think if bikes had their own roads in places and/or were taken seriously at junctions then most of the annoying habits that cyclist have would largely disappear.
At the moment cyclists are trying to use a road system which is not designed for them; the result is that the cyclists appear to be antisocial and a problem.
If you want people to obey the system and the rules then you have to design a system that encourages them to do so. At the moments roads just aren't. Punishment isn't a solution at all, a system that encourages the correct behavior is!
I do not find stopping at red traffic lights difficult when cycling, personally. Time consuming, yes, but it's time consuming for cars as well. Tough.
I do not run red lights, and others should not either.
Bit of a sweeping statement. My gut feeling is that the proportion you talk about it quite small. The driver in the latest incident was treated for shock. I also passed an cyclist vs driver incident in Manchester on Tuesday evening and the poor driver was in tears despite no harm being done.
I think we as cyclists perhaps underestimate the consequences to the driver if they are unfortunate enough to hit us, especially if we are fortunate enough to bounce without injury and give the finger before riding off into the traffic.
Pavement cycling seems to be irritatingly common in Switzerland as well, to be fair.
"I also passed an cyclist vs driver incident in Manchester on Tuesday evening and the poor driver was in tears despite no harm being done."
A while ago I nearly got taken out by a driver on a roundabout who didn't see me. I did see them start to pull out right in front, and as it was a dual carriageway went round her right hand side, resulting in contact with her car but bouncing off with no injury nor damage to the car. She pulled into the bus stop just after the roundabout, and being high on adrenaline I went back to suggest she had possibly made a minor error. When I got to her car, she was in tears, so I decided to leave it be after she apologised rather than lecturing.
Personally, the biggest help for me would be a conveniently placed handle/bar at the kerb by the RL stop line so that I don't have to unclip. Can't see it happening though. It would make getting away on Green far easier and safer. However, if you are an RLJ with flats then you are a PITA.
They speed because they think they know better than the people who implemented the speed limits and believe that they are the best judge of how fast they should drive.
They jump lights because they think they can judge what other cars are doing.
The solution is education. Maybe a proper bikeabilty test should happen in every school every year, not just at 10 years old. That road safety should be ingrained from an early age. That way when they become adults they already have years of cycling education before they drive cars or commute into London on bikes.
I love cycling in the midlands. It's so..... peaceful! It was great this morning, watching the sunlight through the various coloured autumn leaves and being blown downhill by the wind while I was trying to cycle uphill.
Personally I hate the CS's, they are never clear and as suggested by someone earlier can lead to a false sense of security.
I don't know the answer, I only know it isn't what we currently have. BJ (fnar fnar - sorry) has made changes and I welcome that, however there is still more to be done.
Cycle safe boys and girls - and ffs stop RLJing!!!
But Paris has even less cycling 'facilities' than London, Copenhagen does seem rather different
What is strange is drink riding.. everyone does it.. the police will stop you and just say 'walk'.. but noone ever gets ticketed for drink driving really. I know one guy who lost his but he fell over at a traffic light with a police car behind him and was hammered.
> But Paris has even less cycling 'facilities' than London, Copenhagen does seem rather different
It's not just cyclists that RLJ in Paris, it seems to be a national sport - never assume that a green light on a pedestrian crossing means the drivers, cyclists, buses etc will stop... most of them seem to speed up when the lights go orange.
Having said that in general france has a love of cycling, and I have always been amazed at how much more pleasant it is than the UK on the roads over there - yes, they have less traffic and smoother roads, but the general public actually seem to enjoy seeing people out cycling
I never had any problem cycling in London (messenger for over 5 years). Tbh probably one of the best things cyclists can do in London is get down to Herne hill for velodrome training, much of what is taught is what keeps messengers alive (I think more cyclists have been killed in London in the last week than messenger's in well over a decade closer to 2 decades)
Talking to someone with kids the other day and shockingly they told me that their kids don't get the old cycling proficiency tests that we got when I was in school.
Cycling proficiency was optional when I was a kid, but if you didn't do it you weren't allowed to cycle to school.
But is it statistically significant?
I find there's a huge difference in the attitude of motorists towards cyclists between the countryside (where motorists tend to be very good) & the larger towns/cities (where they are terrible) - not sure if its the same individuals
What I never understand is this: how many of these deaths with HGVs are actually caused by the cyclist coming up the inside of a stopped HGV at the lights (or indeed in general)?
It seems to me that this is just Darwin in action, whether or not the lorry is indicating to turn left. Is this generally accepted or not? I have the impression that there's a surprisingly large school of thought which thinks that this is acceptable cycling behaviour.
> Talking to someone with kids the other day and shockingly they told me that their kids don't get the old cycling proficiency tests that we got when I was in school.
It's now called bikeabilty. They do 2 or 3 stages. It's the same thing but I think on stage 3 they go out on the road. My daughter (13) has done it. But then I've taken her out on the roads since she was 11. To the horror of Mum.
It's like Godwin's law for cycle thread's , how long before RLJ comes up? The truth is RLJ is less than 6% and not so dis similar to cars. It also has nothing to do with the fatality. Try and stay on topic.
often cyclist get caught in the death zone not due to there own action but the lorry coming past them
You're right, but I reckon it's also one of the things that makes crossing junctions on red on a bike seem less naughty (to the cyclist doing it) than in a car; walking the bike on the green man is okay, but then scooting on one pedal isn't much different to walking fast while pushing. Then you might as well stay on, but just go slowly. Then you might as well just ride at normal speed, but check the traffic hasn't started across yet. Then etc
> It's like Godwin's law for cycle thread's , how long before RLJ comes up? The truth is RLJ is less than 6% and not so dis similar to cars. It also has nothing to do with the fatality. Try and stay on topic.
Absolute no chance. It is way more common. I've never seen a car deliberately jump lights.. I saw 2 bikes do it on todays run.. I do it.. if the roads quiet you go through.. no plates.. no police so its OK..
> But is it statistically significant?
No, probably not, much as I hate to think in those terms. But getting into work each morning this week and seeing the news of another death has really saddened me.
> Absolute no chance. It is way more common. I've never seen a car deliberately jump lights.. I saw 2 bikes do it on todays run.. I do it.. if the roads quiet you go through.. no plates.. no police so its OK..
I never RLJ on my bike, partly because of the duty I feel to be a good ambassador... but on the other hand I don't think red light jumpers should be punished if they don't put anyone at risk, because there are genuine safety/non-selfish reasons for doing it
I see 10s each week - guaranteed I'll see 4 or 5 just on my commute (5 miles each way). Lost count of the number of times I've had near misses now on my bike, on foot at pedestrian crossings or in the car - this summer I was on a bus which parked itself in the drivers seat of an X5 who thought he'd make it despite his light being red (he was lucky and walked out of it; his car was a write off). Seems the accepted way of doing things round here is just to ignore the lights and keep going until traffic starts moving the other way.
There are, I'll give you, selfish safety reasons (getting yourself as the cyclist out of the way of motor vehicles that pose you a risk before they start moving). But what non-selfish ones could there be?
Getting yourself out of the cars way so that they don't have the difficulty or stress of getting past you (it seems pretty stressful to some people!). As a car driver and bike rider I try to make sure the roads are better for everyone - it is a cooperative effort in my own mind, rather than the competitive one it seems to be for some other people.
Unless you're turning off the road they still have to get past you, just a bit further on, unless you are a very fast cyclist. So I disagree, sorry.
I do however strongly agree that it is a co-operative thing. But to me a more co-operative way of dealing with a short queue of cars is *not to pull in front of it* even if there is an ASL and just let them go. If at a set of lights in London there are perhaps 3-4 cars, that's what I'll generally do, but then again I'm normally riding a Boris bike which aren't exactly set up for speed.
> Unless you're turning off the road they still have to get past you, just a bit further on, unless you are a very fast cyclist. So I disagree, sorry.
So you can see that it might be unselfish if you were turning off the road?
I personally don't generally jump lights, I use them as a chance for a bit of stillness in life, but I might use the lights to cross the road - one part of my journey involves crossing 7 lanes of traffic, so not trying to cycle like a car and instead, acting like a pedestrian, certainly makes this a lot less thrilling (for me, and for the drivers, I would imagine...)
If you want to turn right where there are several lanes, if you just sit in your own lane, you can then become a slow moving vehicle as all the cars around you speed up. In those cases, it sometimes seems to be better for everyone if you can get yourself out of the way.
I tend not to stick blindly to hard and fast rules (even the highway code), but look at the sometimes complex and ever changing context and try to do what seems best given each set of circumstances.
> I've never seen a car deliberately jump lights..
Come to Manchester then. I see cars go through red lights every single day on my cycle into work.
"So you can see that it might be unselfish if you were turning off the road?"
Yes, but still illegal.
"I personally don't generally jump lights, I use them as a chance for a bit of stillness in life, but I might use the lights to cross the road - one part of my journey involves crossing 7 lanes of traffic, so not trying to cycle like a car and instead, acting like a pedestrian, certainly makes this a lot less thrilling (for me, and for the drivers, I would imagine...)"
If you want to do that, get off and push?
"I tend not to stick blindly to hard and fast rules (even the highway code), but look at the sometimes complex and ever changing context and try to do what seems best given each set of circumstances."
The Highway Code IMO exists to give a baseline of skill and to make peoples' movements on the road more predictable. I therefore cannot agree. If everyone followed it and people didn't say they knew better, the roads would be safer, IMO. It's unpredictability that causes a real danger.
Never seen a car jump red lights!
I have only a short 3 mile commute to work in Glasgow but I see cars jump red lights every morning and every evening. There are several junctions where it is the norm for one or two cars to go through on the red at each cycle of the lights.
Doesn't affect me as I anticipate this but I've seen bumbling half asleep cyclists come off the footpath (which they shouldn't be on) and cross the junction without checking for this.
This morning I had to emergency brake as a car came through from a minor road crossing the main road I was cyling up. We didn't hit and the car stopped. The driver was a wee tiny ancient man, barely visible over the steering wheel, who probably couldn't see me. Wondering about his eyesight...
Yesterday as I was filtering through slow moving traffic, a white van turned left as I was passing it. The van was not indicating. I had two front lights & a hi-vis jacket. Luckily its slow speed meant I could manouver around it.
I do see lots of cyclist who give us a bad name: no lights, lack of road awareness, cycling on the footpath, even when there is copious room on the road and the footpath is narrow & busy (I often wonder WTF is going through their heads).
But the world itself is a chaotic and unpredictable place. Given the infinity of possibilities that could occur, you must be able to imagine a situation (even if it was an incredibly rare one) when to disobey the highway code would lead to a safer outcome??!! It seems very black and white to think that the highway code is the only way for people to be safe?
There will be such situations, but I would expect not to see such situations on a daily basis.
> There are, I'll give you, selfish safety reasons (getting yourself as the cyclist out of the way of motor vehicles that pose you a risk before they start moving). But what non-selfish ones could there be?
In what way is giving heed to your own safety 'selfish'?
Because you are looking after your own safety/comfort at the possible expense of the safety/comfort of others. The Highway Code exists for the greater good.
One example is that cycling across a pedestrian crossing when the lights are against you may cause a pedestrian to be killed/injured/scared. Or if you misjudge and are hit by a car having run a red light, the mental safety of the driver would certainly be endangered. If I hit a cyclist with my car and hurt them I would find it very difficult to deal with even if it was caused 100% by the cyclist pulling right across the front of me. Or if I swerved to avoid a red-light-running cyclist and hit someone/something else.
For the "greater good" of everyone's safety, cyclists are required to obey traffic lights. If the writers of the Highway Code felt they should be treated as give-way lines, they'd have written that. If cyclists feel that should change, there are legal ways of campaigning for such a change.
As for the anarchistic argument, take a look at the road safety record of countries where an anarchistic approach to road safety prevails. There are plenty of examples.
Personally as a cyclist I don't see any excuse for RLJing except on the rare occasion that you come across a set of lights that will only change when they detect a car e.g. the junction at Whalley Bridge when you approach from Windgather direction.
I know other cyclists see this differently, but I can't see a reason for breaking the law and further annoying other road users.
I had a rather strange experience the other day where me and my cycling companion stopped for a bloke and his kids to cross a Zebra (the one with out lights) crossing, and spent a few minutes having an after you, no after you conversation with him which is in contrast to the usual just step onto the crossing without even bothering to look approach adopted by a lot of people who assume because they can't hear a car the crossing is clear.
> Because you are looking after your own safety/comfort at the possible expense of the safety/comfort of others. The Highway Code exists for the greater good.
Don't be such a pedant, and read what I wrote
> I know other cyclists see this differently, but I can't see a reason for breaking the law and further annoying other road users.
I agree partly- as I said I don't run them myself- but sometimes it's a case of damned if you do and damned if you don't. If you're at the front waiting for the green light, the only way to stay safe is to take the lane until you're up to speed and past any hazards, and that's going to annoy drivers too. And I've had situations when I've nearly been rammed because I stopped when a driver behind me was clearly planning to amber gamble.
To be honest, I think if they actually did 1) properly and thoroughly then there'd be little need to do 2). Very few people would choose to mix it with cars and lorries if there was an alternative that was similarly quick and convenient.
I'd happily take a longer route on a defined and protected bike road if it meant I did not have to directly encounter vehicles - can't see why it should be objected to. I guess the only questions is what need happen on the areas not serviced by such cycle paths, and how to enforce distinctions in law. I had never driven in London until about 1month ago. The traffic was very busy and assertive but didn't faze me much at all. What did scare the sh1te out of me was cyclists nipping in and out of gaps.. ..it was unbelievable, you needed to maintain 360awareness and constant appreciation of blind spots. One guy tried his best to kill himself by coming up the inside fast, and when he was barely 1mtr ahead of me both going about 20mph, he sticks his hand out and turns immediately right in front of me - had to slam on brakes!
and when he was barely 1mtr ahead of me both going about 20mph, he sticks his hand out and turns immediately right in front of me - had to slam on brakes!
It's that sort of character who would refuse to use bike lanes, no matter how well maintained and designed. Also, consider what would have happened if you had hit him and those who want strict liabilities for drivers had got their way.
If there was strict liability does that mean that onus is on car drivers to prove they were not responsible? If that was the case, and I was driving in London, I'd set up cams to record my every journey!
I wish more would! I'd have evidence to screw the cab driver who drove into the back of me last Thursday and completely f*cked my rear rim.
(Junction of eagle wharf rd & New North Rd for Londoners - bad spot, avoid)
Sounds right annoying.. ..at least you were okay though! Are you for strict liability?
I did read what you wrote. Thinking of your own safety *above that of others on the road* and in doing so breaking the law is selfish. It might be justifiable in some cases, but it is still selfish.
"as I said I don't run them myself"
"sometimes it's a case of damned if you do and damned if you don't"
If that is the case, you (generic "you") might as well take "damned if you don't" and not break the law.
I think you've got to build the infrastructure first, then reinforce it with legislation like strict liability. If you bring it in without changing the infrastructure, you'll only succeed in making the wedge between cyclists and motorists wider - without actually addressing the issue.
This is not a bad point. You do see cyclists on the main roads in Milton Keynes, but not many at all. Most are on the segregated Redways.
The majority of the small number of cyclists you see on the roads are road cyclists cycling at high speeds probably more suited for the road (and unsuited to the centre of London in any form).
> I did read what you wrote. Thinking of your own safety *above that of others on the road* and in doing so breaking the law is selfish. It might be justifiable in some cases, but it is still selfish.
I thought that the normal case where people were jumping red lights for their own safety there was fairly negligible risk to anyone else on the road - it's normally pulling away a second or two early (ie after the previous phase of traffic has cleared the junction but before your light has gone green) at a junction to get clear before the HGV that's pulled up alongside you does anything exciting. If there was a chance of them hitting anything else as a result then they probably wouldn't be doing it.
A lot of the time, the safety argument is specious though - most of the people I regularly see jumping red lights are doing it when they're stuck at a pedestrian crossing with noone crossing it or on the bar of a T junction with a nice wide cycle lane that no traffic has to cross, because it's convenient for them and doesn't harm or inconvenience other people. I don't do it myself, but I can't get too worked up about it either, given that they aren't particularly endangering themselves or bothering anyone else.
Good points. But what they also do is hack off motorists, which again promotes the "them and us" and poor behaviour argument, which is to the detriment of cyclists generally.
> This is not a bad point. You do see cyclists on the main roads in Milton Keynes, but not many at all. Most are on the segregated Redways.
Of course they are, who would want to cycle with cars out of choice? I find that the minute I am on a segregated lane the stress levels drop by orders of magnitude, I can actually feel my self becoming able to relax.
Note that those cyclists on the segregated facilities are not running red lights or performing other dangerous manoeuvres amongst cars/lorries (the point I tried to make further up the thread) because the system is designed so that they don't. e.g. The bike doesn't run a red light or get down the inside of a truck if it goes under and underpass rather than across a busy road intersection.
As I understand it cyclists are banned from certain dutch roads, but they are roads no sane cyclist would choose over the bike path alternative. It comes as part of a process of unraveling the infrastructure for different transport modes reduce conflicts and increase safety and gets called sustainable safety.
Banning cyclists from certain roads does have advantages in terms of how they are designed. It's common, for instance, in the Netherlands, to have urban dual carriageways where there is one lane in each direction. These have big safety benefits in preventing dangerous/congestion-causing right turns, but can't work well if there will be slow vehicles e.g. cycles sharing that bit of road, as there's no room to overtake over a very long distance.
As for cycles in bus lanes, they are about as incompatible as you can get. Better to have the cycles on a suitable cycleway, then the bus infrastructure can be designed at its most efficient.
Yes. The issue comes when you have something like this:
and people tut about the bolshy lycra louts who insist on riding on the main road despite the fact that there's a perfectly good cycle path next to it...
I'm not sure I agree with your thoughts on Bus lanes Neil. I tend to find them OK to ride in London, but that could be because the roads are crap. I've certainly noticed a change in behavior from the drivers over the last few years - they tend to hold back rather than overtake and are *usually* vigilant when pulling away from a stop. My only argument with a Bus driver came when he dumped a load of McDonalds rubbish out his window!
I find the bus drivers are generally very accommodative and sensible with cyclists. But you do have to repeatedly overtake buses at stops (which is a risk) and they get stuck behind cyclists, slowing them down. The overall effect is to slow both down more than if they were separated.
The current situation is better than them not being allowed in the bus lanes, but IMO a dedicated cycleway wins every time, provided it is well designed on the Dutch model.
> It's common, for instance, in the Netherlands, to have urban dual carriageways where there is one lane in each direction. These have big safety benefits in preventing dangerous/congestion-causing right turns, but can't work well if there will be slow vehicles e.g. cycles sharing that bit of road, as there's no room to overtake over a very long distance.
We see a flawed interpretation of this approach used here where they deliberately narrow the lanes to "encourage vehicular cycling" result: cyclists on the pavement and hacked off drivers backed up behind bikes.
In town here they popped in a new dual carriageway past the station, the real estate is approx 40m wide, the carriageways are narrow, the footways are enormous but they forgot to put in cycle tracks... so as an afterthought they permitted cycling on the footways which creates conflict, the shortsightedness is unbelievable! The could at least have put in a tree lined boulevard or something like that but no, its ALL tarmac and paving slabs!
> As for cycles in bus lanes, they are about as incompatible as you can get. Better to have the cycles on a suitable cycleway, then the bus infrastructure can be designed at its most efficient.
Yes - mix the vehicles with the least and greatest mass, who came up with that bright idea!? I guess they do it because its cheap.
To a certain extent I'd rather cycle in a bus lane with few buses than the ordinary carrageway with hundreds of cars, but its not the ideal solution. I guess it really doesn't work where there are higher volumes of bus traffic like London.
I realise what you are saying, but there will always be a case for 2 - the reason being the general public don't want to lose 3ft of their gardens (as this is the only way you will be able to provide segregated cycleways to cover all roads) - This is the real problem - this county's infrastructure and towns etc are not built in a way that allows for segregated cycleways.
Somewhere like here: http://goo.gl/maps/EGRhc it's easy to build a segregated lane (move the bank on the left)
Here it's not: http://goo.gl/maps/5tb7y at least not without removing the pavements (and shared use pavements is not the answer)
Both of those roads are part of my commute, and both bumper to bumper with traffic in rush hour.
> I realise what you are saying, but there will always be a case for 2 - the reason being the general public don't want to lose 3ft of their gardens (as this is the only way you will be able to provide segregated cycleways to cover all roads) - This is the real problem - this county's infrastructure and towns etc are not built in a way that allows for segregated cycleways.
Presumably the Dutch only managed it because they were dealing with spacious new-towns like Groningen and Amsterdam?
> Absolute no chance. It is way more common. I've never seen a car deliberately jump lights..
You must live in Camberwick Green, it's endemic. The worst offenders in Leeds are the bus drivers.
True, but certainly all new roads other than motorways should get one, and a programme of building them where they will fit would be a good idea, which to be fair is happening in parts of London.
> I did read what you wrote. Thinking of your own safety *above that of others on the road* and in doing so breaking the law is selfish. It might be justifiable in some cases, but it is still selfish.
No. Breaking the law to safeguard your limbs is NEVER selfish.
Almost by default, a cyclist puts themself at risk if he puts another road user at risk- I can't think of any reasonable situation where this isn't the case- therefore a cyclist acting to keep themself safe can't be putting anyone else at risk.
I don't see why you put so much value in staying within the law at all costs (don't twist that into 'break the law at every available opportunity')
Because the law was not made for a laugh or to comply with when you feel like. We clearly fundamentally differ here.
"No. Breaking the law to safeguard your limbs is NEVER selfish."
Even when there is a legal option to achieve the same end, i.e. to get off and push your bike as a pedestrian across a dodgy junction?
Rod Liddle's piece in this week's The Spectator was badly timed. It is titled "Off your Bike" and the opening line is.......
"Like many people, I am worried that too few cyclists are being killed on our roads each year. "
Here is the full article. Cheap shot for the fee I'd say.
> Because the law was not made for a laugh or to comply with when you feel like.
That's sort of a circular argument isn't it?
Possibly so. More practically, I don't think I would mind so much personally if all cyclists jumping lights did so when there was no other traffic or pedestrians around, such as starting slightly early in the same way just about every pedestrian does at the crossing (though that only gives you about a second head-start, so it barely makes any difference). But I have too many times had to move aside to avoid a cyclist jumping lights onto an occupied pedestrian crossing, particularly in London. I've also had other cyclists cut sharply and dangerously around me when I do stop at lights and zebra crossings in London. I get bored of it all, and if the price of stopping that is that the law has to be enforced strictly, so be it, IMO.
> Because the law was not made for a laugh or to comply with when you feel like. We clearly fundamentally differ here.
I nearly submitted to Godwin's Law there. I still might in fact, it would be merited.
Thanks, sent my mate the Labrador off to sort him out...
That's a bit extreme. Road traffic works to a reasonable degree of safety because people (generally) follow the rules. If you fancy driving in the kind of setting where people (generally) don't, be my guest and try driving in, say, India or Vietnam - but while visiting those places can be quite exciting I don't want to share the road on a daily basis with people taking that view, as it's far more likely that people will be killed or injured than in a country where people drive, ride and walk predictably based on a set of rules, namely the Highway Code and the laws that relate to it.
So yes, I disagree with running red lights, excessive speeding, not keeping your distance, not indicating, not using bicycle lights and most other transgressions of road law and the Highway Code, as those rules are there for the greater good of all road users. If that makes the thread deserve Godwinning, so be it.
...which would be wonderful for everyone if motorists didn't amber gamble frequently (often with the assurance that all cyclists are going to run red lights anyway) and didn't get violently frustrated by being slowed up momentarily by a bike (despite the fact that 90% of their delays are caused by motor vehicles). Ideally the cyclist would wait and the motorist would respect that and everyone would be happy... Fat chance though.
Road laws aren't tailored for every bit of road in every possible set of circumstances. Roads are dynamic beasts, more so for cyclists than for any other type of user, and it would be incredibly naive to think that following the book every time is the best option.
There are specific instructions within it that make use of the words:
EXCEPT IN AN EMERGENCY
Don't get them confused.
I can understand what you are saying and can agree with much of it. It does sound as though it is based on the rather aggressive driving of the south east, rather than the more relaxed driving up here, where 'transgressions'tend to be things like someone letting you out of a side road, when in fact, they have the right of way over you.
However, I do think that thoughtfulness and consideration should take priority over the written law and that 'following the rules'should not be an excuse for people giving up either of these two things. There are places where the law does struggle to keep up - neither the law or infrastructure is designed to deal with bicycles at multi-lane junctions where you might find yourself being overtaken on both sides by fast moving traffic if you blindly obey the rules without thinking.
There are also places where following the rules would make your behaviour less predictable, such as insisting on sticking to 70mph on most motorways, or insisting on your right to ride on the road and to have right of way across slip roadsvas a slow cyclist on many duel carriageways.
In my experience 'emergency' situations occur pretty regularly for cyclists in London. Although I'd put it as situations where you have to rely on intuition, reflex and a bit of luck.
I've always cycled in a manner which is predictable, considerate and keeps me safe, and which is mindful of my experience as a car driver. Just out of curiosity, I went and revised what the Highway Code says for cyclists. I'm less than impressed by a few points:
Not a MUST obviously, but we all know that cycle routes do as much bad as good.
Particularly useful advice if you're using a cycle route as recommended in 61.
That guy pointed out in that video about the cycle superhighway that the advanced lights for cyclists were confusing, and didn't mean the roundabout was clear.
This seems to be suggesting that the default riding position is on the left. There's no mention elsewhere of road positioning.
Why would anyone decide to ride around keeping to the left hand lane (unless duped by a cycle lane)? You should take it like any other vehicle and if you're not confident doing so, get off the bike and cross.
If you ask me, this all seems to be misleading to a new cyclist, or to a driver who might want to understand the road from a cyclists perspective. And of course, there's the fact that rule 163 is regularly ignored...
This is why cyclists cycle the wrong way on one way streets.
"I can understand what you are saying and can agree with much of it. It does sound as though it is based on the rather aggressive driving of the south east, rather than the more relaxed driving up here, where 'transgressions'tend to be things like someone letting you out of a side road, when in fact, they have the right of way over you."
I was largely referring to London - even Milton Keynes (while the roads are fast and so quite scary to those not used to them, but very efficient to those who are) is much more accommodating. And with its extensive network of off-road cycle lanes bikes needn't go anywhere near the main roads, and generally don't unless they are riding a fast road bike and thus able to mix more sensibly with 60-70mph traffic.
Flashing people out has its uses but can of course be dangerous - people tend to take a flash as meaning "OK to go" when in fact only one car has ceded its right of way. In London it's best not done, as a car or van ceding its right of way can hide a cyclist who has no intention of doing so in the next lane, and if alongside the car the cyclist may even have no idea it is being done. Rather dangerous.
"However, I do think that thoughtfulness and consideration should take priority over the written law and that 'following the rules'should not be an excuse for people giving up either of these two things."
Indeed. I don't think that cycling through red traffic lights is thoughtful, though, and this was the main subject under discussion.
"There are places where the law does struggle to keep up - neither the law or infrastructure is designed to deal with bicycles at multi-lane junctions where you might find yourself being overtaken on both sides by fast moving traffic if you blindly obey the rules without thinking."
True - sometimes the best way there is to get off and push. If cycling through the junction, best to take the whole lane. But this is where good Dutch-style cycle infrastructure is needed - British cycle lanes have a bad habit of ending just before such junctions. Same with bus lanes, where in the Netherlands and Germany the bus lane would run right up to the junction, and when the bus arrived everything else goes red for it to proceed unhindered. The UK has some overtake "gates", but these aren't half as good as doing it properly, though a step in the right direction.
"There are also places where following the rules would make your behaviour less predictable, such as insisting on sticking to 70mph on most motorways"
Disagree there. As long as you keep left when overtaking, pretty much any speed between about 50-85mph is reasonably safe. The biggest problem I find on motorways is people speeding up when being overtaken but slowing down if the overtake is aborted, which is probably subconscious but not actively avoiding it is downright rude.
"or insisting on your right to ride on the road and to have right of way across slip roadsvas a slow cyclist on many duel carriageways."
Can be risky for the cyclist, but it is their right - the dotted line at the bottom of a sliproad is a give way line. It isn't hard for a driver to see the cyclist and join the dual carriageway either in front of or behind them. Many dual carriageways have a setup where a cyclist can cross the slip lane on the straight, though, which is a bit better.
Another frustration I have on sliproads (as a driver) is people who will not accelerate to the prevailing speed of the road before reaching the bottom - this is downright dangerous and inconsiderate unless your vehicle (e.g. a lorry) genuinely can't.
"Not a MUST obviously, but we all know that cycle routes do as much bad as good."
Bad cycle routes do as much bad as good. Better designed ones, like the MK Redways or yet better the Dutch systems, are overall a good thing, IMO. There are some examples of Dutch style cycle infrastructure in London, and where present it works quite well.
[pot holes etc]
"Particularly useful advice if you're using a cycle route as recommended in 61."
True. But I never quite understand why people like to ride skinny-tyred road bikes around London - it must be a nightmare avoiding holes in the road even if you don't use the cycle lanes, as the roads are in such bad condition in places. I would want a sit-up style mountain bike based hybrid (like the one I ride in MK) with thick semislick tyres and possibly front suspension to avoid this stuff causing a problem. London cyclists with road bikes must get an awful lot of damaged wheels.
"That guy pointed out in that video about the cycle superhighway that the advanced lights for cyclists were confusing, and didn't mean the roundabout was clear."
That can be the case with car traffic lights if congestion causes traffic to be stuck across the junction - though London's fondness for box junctions probably reduces it a bit. There are a couple of junctions in Slough where for this reason the pedestrian lights are best ignored, because when they go green there is almost always traffic on the junction that has passed the lights and has no idea they have gone green. Very dangerous design, IMO, and in dire need of a box junction or just a second set of lights before the crossing (as some long traffic light junctions do have).
"> 74 On the right. If you are turning right, check the traffic to ensure it is safe, then signal and move to the centre of the road. Wait until there is a safe gap in the oncoming traffic and give a final look before completing the turn. It may be safer to wait on the left until there is a safe gap or to dismount and push your cycle across the road.
This seems to be suggesting that the default riding position is on the left. There's no mention elsewhere of road positioning."
That's not how I read that - I read it as describing single carriageways. You might be riding either in the primary (centre of lane) or a secondary (nearer the kerb, but not in the gutter) position as appropriate (but no further right than the centre of your lane, as why would you want to do that when riding normally?) You decide to turn right, so you look behind you to check, signal right and move to the right of your lane just to the left of the centreline (this is what I think it means by the centre of the road), just as you would if turning right in a car or a motorcycle.
"> 77 You may feel safer walking your cycle round on the pavement or verge. If you decide to ride round keeping to the left-hand lane you should...
Why would anyone decide to ride around keeping to the left hand lane (unless duped by a cycle lane)? You should take it like any other vehicle and if you're not confident doing so, get off the bike and cross."
I'm with you on that one. Riding round the outside of a roundabout on a bicycle is bloody dangerous, and that rule should be taken out.
"If you ask me, this all seems to be misleading to a new cyclist, or to a driver who might want to understand the road from a cyclists perspective. And of course, there's the fact that rule 163 is regularly ignored... "
Then it is better to be clear about that, as the situation is pretty different in most of the country.
Once again, I didn't realise that this was the case. I thought your main point was that it is dangerous to disobey the highway code?
But it is against the highway code to drive over 70 mph - you said that it was more dangerous to disobey the highway code than to decide to break it for yourself?
> Can be risky for the cyclist, but it is their right - the dotted line at the bottom of a sliproad is a give way line. It isn't hard for a driver to see the cyclist and join the dual carriageway either in front of or behind them. Many dual carriageways have a setup where a cyclist can cross the slip lane on the straight, though, which is a bit better.
If you are a slow cyclist, it may be your right, but you really would be putting your life on the line! I wouldn't ride on a duel carriageway if I could help it as people just don't expect to see a bike and are driving at the same speeds as on a motorway, with a similar mentality. The scariest part of my daily ride is going past a 'slip road' off a single lane A road. There is a line of traffic taking this turn, and many of them really think they have right of way. I have my heart in my mouth most days and find the safest thing is to simply put myself in the middle of the lane and be pretty assertive.
6 in 2 weeks now: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-24989985
And this is the Met police response
I presume they also intend to cut down on knife crime by stopping anyone not wearing an armoured vest.
Watched this video - I didn't realise just what a waste of time the "Cycle Superhighway" was
Not a great advert for Travis Perkins drivers, that.
Helmet or no helmet you are pretty fooked when a HGV runs over you. Try educating those without lights riding at night. If you can be seen there is a chance you will be noticed. It would be interesting to know how many of the casualties were well lit and how many were verging on being invisible.
I think they, like me, would prefer them to concentrate on things which are actually likely to increase safety. So instead of stopping cyclists for not wearing helmets (which has a mixed safety argument for, although personally i tend to wear one) to have more of the cops stopping the lorries and cars.
After all when you look at the stats those are where you will make the main gains in safety.
) to have more of the cops stopping the lorries and cars.
They were doing both - 60 lorries apparently caught doing something wrong.
Take that argument to extremes and you get the police focussing on only one problem at a time. Policing doesn't work that way, as you know.
How about instead they do some policing, and prosecute those without lights at night and those running red lights? They can spend their time doing non-policing activities when those activities are reduced to a sufficient extent.
Or if the advice is considered worthwhile, have PCSOs or similar do it.
Thats lorries, now how about the cars?
Lucky you dont need to take it to extremes then isnt it. Now how many stops on cars did they do for being in the ASL with words of advice.
Not reported as far as I can see. If they weren't included, I agree they should have been.
> How about instead they do some policing, and prosecute those without lights at night and those running red lights? They can spend their time doing non-policing activities when those activities are reduced to a sufficient extent.
I love that all RLJ's are assumed to be cyclists all of a sudden.
I wear a helmet every time I get on a bike. But, as pointed out above, it makes absolutely no difference if you get left-hooked by a lorry. An awareness exercise for both HGV drivers and cyclists would be a much better use of resources.
But it also seems a typical "blame the victim" approach, a bit like Boris's remarks. The agenda always gets skewed on to jumping lights, helmets, hi-viz and bike lights, with the notion that if you follow the rules you'll be safe, and therefore those who've died haven't followed the rules. Jumping red lights will anger motorists and is pretty irresponsible, but I bet none of the victims will have done it, so why does it always get mentioned.
"And those drivers on their phones/lighting fags/changing radio channel... or the RLJ's in cars/vans/lorries/motorbikes... or even changing lanes without indicating... chasing cyclists that haven't paid any road tax!"
"I love that all RLJ's are assumed to be cyclists all of a sudden."
In London an overwhelming majority of them are. And I say that as someone who cycles frequently in London and almost never drives there.
Because it is a common piece of behaviour that gives cyclists in London rather a bad name.
Perhaps the red light cameras, where provided, should be modified to enforce ASLs?
Not sure if this has been posted already (I'm typing this on my phone making it awkward to check), but this story sends out all the wrong messages.
In the light of this discussion - this blog post on the Economist is well worth reading: http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2013/11/cycling-v-cars
(and in the light of the first paragraph of that post; this is well worth a read if you're not easily shocked by the utter bizarreness of US justice systems http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2013/11/criminal-justice )
I think there was a long fight to make Boris retract similar comments a few years back - turned out TfL's own data suggested only something like 3% of bike accidents were as a result of the cyclist rule-breaking rather than "most" as he was saying.
The RLJing distraction suits Boris because he can say that the change needs to come from user behavior change (cheap training courses) rather than actually doing anything physical.
Reading between the lines, I think a simple solution would be to ban lorries from overtaking bikes, at the lights or otherwise.
Sure, lorry drivers would moan, but it would remove collision risk.
A much more practical approach would be to ban Lorries between certain hours.... this didn't seem to be too much of a problem when they did it during the olympics
My thought this morning was to have cyclist lights at junctions where possible so there is a cyclist phase after the pedestrian phase. This would remove some of the cyclist/vehicle interaction at junctions.
> My thought this morning was to have cyclist lights at junctions where possible so there is a cyclist phase after the pedestrian phase. This would remove some of the cyclist/vehicle interaction at junctions.
Guess what they use in the NL! After 40 years of development the most sophisticated iteration of this is the "all directions green for bikes" which does what it says on the tin - the lights go green for bikes in all directions. Its incredibly effective and cyclists can be given a go between each phase of vehicle traffic if there is high volume of cycle traffic.
oh and I see that Boris is thinking about banning cyclits using headphones calling such cyclists a 'scourge'.
I suppose that deflects a bit of attention away from actually doing anything practical....
Using over-ear headphones or noise reducing ones is more than a little silly. Using normal in ear ones on a low volume is no different from listening to the car radio, which I assume he will also ban?
No, thought not.
It's certainly not helpful due to the inference that people are getting squashed because they wear head phones, but there is a point in there somewhere... riding with headphones in is dangerous, just as walking or running with them is dangerous.
I also think driving with them in is dangerous (something I see a lot now) as it isolates you from the noise of the road in a way that a car stero does not
Don't talk daft. A cyclist being able to hear a car could save a life. For a car driver, there is nothing to hear - radio or no radio.
> A much more practical approach would be to ban Lorries between certain hours.... this didn't seem to be too much of a problem when they did it during the olympics
Didn't Boris actually propose doing this at one point? Presumably he got some intense lobbying and dropped the idea
Red lobby, yellow lobby.
Your car must be very loud if you can't hear sirens, horns, children at the school gates, crashes or general road & engine noise of other vehicles. Most people can hear some of that depending on the speeds.
Rubbish. You would be able to hear a cyclist screaming or banging on your car as you were about to squish them, but not with the radio turned up loud.
> Reading between the lines, I think a simple solution would be to ban lorries from overtaking bikes, at the lights or otherwise.
> Sure, lorry drivers would moan, but it would remove collision risk.
It's not really that simple- how would the lorry driver know if a cyclist had pulled up alongside them at the lights? And how would this translate to cyclists in cycle lanes or bus lanes?
Agree, I think if you want to bring in legislation you have to implement a proper infrastructure plan beforehand.
I would like to see HGV manufacturers designing cabs with far better visibility. Hopefully they're already doing this.
Have it your way. If you think an in car environment is the same as an outside environment in terms of sound stimulus you either have a very noisy bike or an incredibly quiet car.
> I would like to see HGV manufacturers designing cabs with far better visibility. Hopefully they're already doing this.
They mostly seem to be dustbin trucks, which is as much about operator safety as anything else. I believe construction sites don't like them because they are wedded to tonka toy styling, which gives them (only very occasionally needed) higher ground clearance. Like needing a 4x4 because the Chelsea kerbs can be a bit high
I don't think they are the same, but I do think that in both cases the presence of loud music may block out a shout or bang on the vehicle from someone who needs avoiding sharpish. And a car is more deadly than a bike.
CCTV and parking sensor style radar devices are probably the way to go here.
yes think the CTC or someone had a concept truck design which are similar to dustbin trucks. Not surprising since like you say they were designed around making sure the driver could see the other workers which works just as well for cyclists.
It would appear the bureaucrats can't get their ducks in line
What do you think would be more effective ? asking the cyclist to turn music down for their safety or asking car drivers to turn their music down on the off chance of hearing a cyclist (making no difference to buses or HGVs)? Personally I think concentrating on areas likely to pay the greatest dividends makes sense - even if it means asking cyclists (some cyclists, obviously) for taking a bit more responsibility for their own safety.
> It's not really that simple- how would the lorry driver know if a cyclist had pulled up alongside them at the lights? And how would this translate to cyclists in cycle lanes or bus lanes?
So it's a two way thing. Ban overtaking at lights. Lorries must wait behind cyclists and cyclists must wait behind lorries. Seems a simple solution.
A lorry driver and a bus driver were interviewed yesterday both of them said they get surrounded by bikes at junctions. Inside and outside so they have to wait for cyclists to move out of the way.
Seems to me that the cat and mouse game of racing from one set of lights to the next needs to end.
My view is to reduce all speed limits to 20mph. This stops the Lycra nutters racing at stupid speeds and stops the cars constantly trying to overtake the 'slow' cyclists. The average speed of vehicles would actually increase as the light phasing could be changed.
Just requires some balls, joined up thinking and some application.
Sadly 3 things that are in short supply when it comes to road laws
"What do you think would be more effective ? asking the cyclist to turn music down for their safety or asking car drivers to turn their music down on the off chance of hearing a cyclist (making no difference to buses or HGVs)?"
You speak as if only one of those options can be chosen. There is nothing saying you can't choose both.
Of course it makes no difference to HGVs. Buses, not so much, if there are passengers on board one of them might well shout (so the driver should be listening for that) or start hammering the bell.
"My view is to reduce all speed limits to 20mph."
There are many arguments in favour of that in London. The problem with it is that many cyclists, particularly those on Boris bikes, won't be going that fast. It's also that speed limits do not legally apply to bicycles unless there is a byelaw (e.g. in the Royal Parks), and even if they did you can't use cameras for enforcement for fairly obvious reasons.
"This stops the Lycra nutters racing at stupid speed"
...no it wouldn't.
From a practical standpoint of 'can we make it happen' then yes only one of these can be chosen. If you say we will try to make cycling safer by making cyclists not wear headphones AND to make drivers not have their radios turned on its not going to happen. Better to have one than neither if you are worried about cyclists safety (rather than the fairness of not being able to play your ipod when a driver can). Its all down to practicality.
But to me cyclists' safety is up to cyclists. Safety where you are driving a 2 tonne lethal weapon is what the law is for.
You could, of course, run an education campaign for both.
I agree that the safety of the cyclist is predominantly the look out of the cyclist but that doesn't mean that laws shouldn't also apply to cyclists in much the same way that seatbelts laws apply to drivers.
A lorry driver's perspective:
> I agree that the safety of the cyclist is predominantly the look out of the cyclist but that doesn't mean that laws shouldn't also apply to cyclists in much the same way that seatbelts laws apply to drivers.
Although there's a difference in that cycling is inherently good for your health, and so the safety benefits of a making something a legal requirement have to be balanced against the negative health impact of putting some proportion of people off cycling at all.
Reasonable blog post on the subject here:
> A lorry driver's perspective:
As a mate of mine said in the pub last night "Boris must be crapping himself that some or all of the families of those killed using his blue painted 'cycle highway' will sue him, so he is doing the political equivalent of pointing the other way and shouting 'ooh look everyone, a badger!' hoping we all start talking about badgers and not about his role in the creation* of these lanes"
*I was going to use 'construction' then 'engineering' then 'design' but none of those words fit the bill.
Cycling furiously? Cycling dangerously or carelessly?
If the cyclists then insist on racing in traffic there are other ways of stopping them.
I don't really think the issue is flatline speed of the bikes, it's the way that they get hyped up to do it. Plenty of people here talking about using headphones to 'motivate' them.
The anger is occurring out of frustration from motorists trying to overtake cyclists safely oh to be overtaken at the next traffic lights.
If the cyclist can travel much faster than the car I don't see that as a great problem as the cyclist can get ahead much quicker and stay ahead. Without the need to be a Lycra Looney.
The thing to balance against 'don't introduce any legislation that might put people off' is that although cyclists invariably come off worse in collisions with vehicles (but not necessarily other cyclists and pedestrians)they are not the only victims in such collisions. There is also an impact on property and on drivers involved in collisions.
> But to me cyclists' safety is up to cyclists. Safety where you are driving a 2 tonne lethal weapon is what the law is for.
> You could, of course, run an education campaign for both.
Surely safety of all of us is the responsibility of all of us. If you are relying on the law to prevent accidents then your going to be disappointed.
I heard a motorist say "My responsibility is to me and my passengers." , the cyclist is only responsible for himself. While people act selfishly on the roads accidents will continue to occur.
Just to be clear RE the headphone chat - there is no suggestion yet that the poor 6 people killed in the last 2 weeks were listening to headphones, indeed, the Met's very head of Traffic Unit cannot identify one single serious incident where the the use of headphones can be identified as the cause. All this is doing in deflecting away from the main problem - lorries turning left across cyclists at lights.
I agree. Cyclists have a responsibility. But they can only cycle in the infrastructure that is provided, and if bikes are either ignored, or tacked on as an afterthought, then the infrastructure is sometimes downright dangerous!
Where/how do you think a 13 year old should cycle through London?
> Where/how do you think a 13 year old should cycle through London?
Is it vital that a 13 year old should be able to cycle in London?
Unfortunately the majority of London infrastructure dates back to way before bikes were a serious proposition for transport so of course cycle provisions are an add on. It will take a long time and at least in BoJo you have someone who definitely supports cycling.
> Is it vital that a 13 year old should be able to cycle in London?
No. They should be driven around by their mummies in large 4WD vehicles.
> I agree. Cyclists have a responsibility. But they can only cycle in the infrastructure that is provided, and if bikes are either ignored, or tacked on as an afterthought, then the infrastructure is sometimes downright dangerous!
I agree, headphones don't kill cyclists, lorries do. Cycling is such an inherently safe activity that it doesn't need protective helmets or headphone bans or anything of that sort. Its only when you mix bikes with things much faster, heavier and with poor visibility. Boris is trying to focus on driver cyclist behavior in order to avoid actually doing something.
This is the nub of the matter, no sane parent will allow their child to cycle in London which is training a generation that riding a bike is not to be considered. Its desperately sad that we are fixated on making our cities work for cars when the overwhelming evidence is that cars destroy our towns and cities and destroy our quality of life. It never pays to make room for more cars.
If your streets are full of pedestrians and bikes then footfall and spend in shops is greater, air quality is better, quality of life is better, we spend less on obesity and lung related health problems, we are more productive at work, we spend less on fuel as a nation, travel by car becomes easier for the people that need to... the list goes on. There is no physical, economic or social reason not to make room for greener healthier ways to travel but councils are so blinkered and so scared of offending "motorists" that they can't see the solution. I guess it takes balls to try something new. It will be interesting to see where the active travel bill takes wales' towns and cities.
> Is it vital that a 13 year old should be able to cycle in London?
It is if you want happy healthy children and you want to solve some of the major problems facing the UK over the coming years.
"Cycling furiously? Cycling dangerously or carelessly?"
The speed limit is of no relevance to those offences. You can be doing either of those well under it, or not doing it well over them.
To have large scale cycle speed limits would mean mandatory fitting and calibration of cycle speedometers.
Vital, no. Desirable, yes.
We seem to have a child obesity issue that the Dutch don't. I can think of one very good reason why.
So we should set our long term sights on achieving what the Dutch have.
It's no more acceptable for cyclists to ride with headphones in than for car or lorry drivers to. Why do cyclists always think they are a special case?
> This is the nub of the matter, no sane parent will allow their child to cycle in London which is training a generation that riding a bike is not to be considered.
You realize cycling in London has doubled in the last decade or so?
> Vital, no. Desirable, yes.
> We seem to have a child obesity issue that the Dutch don't. I can think of one very good reason why.
> So we should set our long term sights on achieving what the Dutch have.
Loads of fresh vegetables?
> "Cycling furiously? Cycling dangerously or carelessly?"
> The speed limit is of no relevance to those offences. You can be doing either of those well under it, or not doing it well over them.
> To have large scale cycle speed limits would mean mandatory fitting and calibration of cycle speedometers.
I get weary of people putting up arguments against making things safer.
If you limit the cars to 20mph it will reduce all the frustration from car drivers who see 30mph or even 50mph as an acceptable speed TARGET.
Regardless of whether cyclists are able to or want to stick to the limits, a cyclist riding at full speed will stand out against the other traffic as being dangerous.
So the Boris bike rider will continue at 10mph as before but the speed differential will be reduced and the foot to the floor racing cars off the lights will look pretty stupid racing up to 20mph.
Everyone just needs to slow down, there's not enough room for everyone to race around like mad.
> It's no more acceptable for cyclists to ride with headphones in than for car or lorry drivers to. Why do cyclists always think they are a special case?
Rubbish! If a bike crashes into a car through inattention because of music in their ears who gets hurt? The argument about them is a distraction - cyclists get killed because they share spaces with lorries and cars, not because they wear headphones
I see loads of drivers with headphones on and texting etc. etc. and the repercussions in this case are far more terrible.
But to be honest I don't really care if I can wear headphones when riding, I never do and I never would.
> You realize cycling in London has doubled in the last decade or so?
Yes, the cycling rate in London is still totally and utterly woeful.
Boris is doing as much as anyone could be expected to given the conflicting lobbies he has to contend with. And of course cycling isn't 'safe' even in the absence of lorries. Two wheels is a fundamentally unstable design and the ground is pretty unforgiving.
It's certainly desirable. We want young people to be independent and healthy, to not have to be passively ferried around in a car to everything. It seems a bit odd to create a place for people to live, where it is impossible for a 13 year old to go anywhere under their own steam...
> Unfortunately the majority of London infrastructure dates back to way before bikes were a serious proposition for transport
As bicycles were a serious proposition for transport before cars were invented, I'm not sure why bikes should be an 'add on' to considering any other form of transport?
I don't think having a number of different lobbies to deal with is a valid reason for highlighting what is a non-issue.
> Rubbish! If a bike crashes into a car through inattention because of music in their ears who gets hurt?
Depends. Physically probably the cyclist, pychologically probably the driver. But that is not the point - you can't choose which rules to follow and which not to if you want use the road otherwise you are just a hypocrite. I am endlessly amazed at the number of cyclists who don't see this. After watching cyclists jump lights, cycle with headphones, not have lights etc, do you think drivers are more or less likely to do things like keep out of bike boxes and give general consideration?
No, riding a bike is fundamentally very safe. Its a self righting design and is very stable in motion, hence why even a child can control a bicycle. The ground is indeed unforgiving, but given a flatish surface you are unlikely to hit it whilst cycling.
hmm... When I drive on the motorway, I see nearly every driver going above 70mph. I see drivers speed up to get through lights that are amber. I think that most people out there on the road are hypocrites according to your definition.
and what about our 13 year old, when they want to get around a roundabout? Should they get off and push? Should they dice with death?
Not all cyclists are the same cyclist. It always seems to me that in these conversations, people think about aggressive London cyclists rather than old people, kids, slow people, relaxed people and Tim.
> hmm... When I drive on the motorway, I see nearly every driver going above 70mph. I see drivers speed up to get through lights that are amber. I think that most people out there on the road are hypocrites according to your definition.
Maybe, but there are degrees - there is a difference between pushing though amber and simply ingoring the existance of traffic lights for example.
> Not all cyclists are the same cyclist. It always seems to me that in these conversations, people think about aggressive London cyclists rather than old people, kids, slow people, relaxed people and Tim.
Of course - and those cyclists arguing they should be able to pick and choose which rules to follow should think of the general effect they have on all cyclists.
> Depends. Physically probably the cyclist, pychologically probably the driver. But that is not the point - you can't choose which rules to follow and which not to if you want use the road otherwise you are just a hypocrite. I am endlessly amazed at the number of cyclists who don't see this.
But it isn't illegal to ride a bike wearing headphones!!!!! That why Boris is throwing up his smoke screen "considering" a ban!
Well motorists may well fall into the trap of thinking of cyclist as a group (an out group at that) but cyclists are as disparate as a group as motorists. Nobody shouts at me or gives me less respect when I am driving my car because some other guy in a car ran a red light.
The focus on misbehaving cyclists is throwing out chaff, lets go back to the beginning where I came into this thread. If the infrastructure was there for bikes then the "antisocial" cycling would stop.
> . After watching cyclists jump lights, cycle with headphones, not have lights etc, do you think drivers are more or less likely to do things like keep out of bike boxes and give general consideration?
Equally after having cars pass wihtin inches of handlebars, cut cyclists up, hit a bike whilst overtaking and then blame the cyclist for hitting their car may be you can understand why cyclists are sometimes a bit militant...?
> But it isn't illegal to ride a bike wearing headphones!!!!!
Not a specific law maybe but there will be something about due care and attention. It's also moronic.
> The focus on misbehaving cyclists is throwing out chaff, lets go back to the beginning where I came into this thread. If the infrastructure was there for bikes then the "antisocial" cycling would stop.
I'm not sure that's true but I do agree better infrastructure is the only route to substantially reducing the accident rate.
> No, riding a bike is fundamentally very safe. Its a self righting design and is very stable in motion,
Riding a bike involves stopping and starting and riding the terrain in front of you (potholes, iron works and all), though. In those conditions they clearly are not stable.
> Equally after having cars pass wihtin inches of handlebars, cut cyclists up, hit a bike whilst overtaking and then blame the cyclist for hitting their car may be you can understand why cyclists are sometimes a bit militant...?
Yes. The difference is I can't see anyone defending that.
> Yes. The difference is I can't see anyone defending that.
Unfortunately there are plenty of motorists that would defend it, if only out of a false sense of ownership of the roads.
Yes, well put.
Have to say on a slightly different topic, I've used some of the sustran routes in the midlands recently and they are very good.
Yes, its moronic. But so was the woman texting whilst driving that nearly hit me when I was driving on the M40 on Saturday. But thats the point, humans are morons. The UK is very good at building fault tolerant vehicle infrastructure, but when it comes to cyclists and pedestrians: forget it.
Think about it, who wants to cycle on the pavement pissing off the pedestrians when you have an alternative safe space to cycle in? Who wants to run a red light when you have an underpass or a light system that gives a fair bite of the cherry? Who cares if you have headphones on if you can't get mown down by a truck...?
> Riding a bike involves stopping and starting and riding the terrain in front of you (potholes, iron works and all), though.
I dunno about you but I tend to put my foot on the ground when I come to a halt on my bike, its doesn't lead to me falling over.
Just cycle round the pot hole. The only reason not to is if there is a car or truck bearing down on you. Which is where we get to the infrastructure bit again.
How about this for a stupid idea.
In this day of proximity cards - every car should have a proximity reader mounted on the rear nearside wing. Cyclists have their card in a pocket on their right sleeve. Proximity readers are activated at, say, 25mph. If a cyclist is able to touch the reader they get £200 from the driver's bank account. That should encourage cars to keep away and cyclists to go faster. Cav would make a fortune!
Remind me what the law is banning car and lorry drivers from using headphones, or even just playing their music very loud, can you?
"If you limit the cars to 20mph it will reduce all the frustration from car drivers who see 30mph or even 50mph as an acceptable speed TARGET."
I don't disagree, upthread you will note I say I think a 20mph speed limit within Zone 1 (say) is probably a reasonable idea. However, to be able to include bicycles in said limit by byelaw (rather than just doing the odd nutter for furious cycling as they dart in and out of cars at 35mph), bicycles would need to have calibrated speedometers. Otherwise how does a cyclist precisely know the difference between 19mph and 24mph (assuming 10% + 2mph)?
Driving without due care and attention (assuming they have it at a volume that impairs their driving)... this also applies to drivers who splash pedestrians when driving through puddles (although I doubt this is ever prosecuted due to burden of proof).
Interesting idea, but the financial incentive would lead to certain people deliberately swerving to get some cash - not a good idea.
Better would be two warnings, and then a point on the driver's license backed up by video evidence, but the cost would be astronomical, and would be hugely unpopular.
I still think part of the problem with cycling is that anyone can use a bike (I wouldn't change this for the world), but while you have a situation with people who have no consideration or understanding of the issues involved (kids hurtling around and in and out of housing estates etc) there will always be an element of cyclists misbehaving in the same way these people behave inconsiderately when on foot, and this will always present a problem when arguing about road safety and cyclists behaviour. i.e. there is a difference between a "proper cyclist" and a person on a bike
What I mean is every commuter & Lycra cyclist in London could obey the law to the letter, be lit up at night etc, yet there is always an element that has disconected with society and their responsiblities in the same way there will always be feckless idiots driving cars without licence, insurance or MOT because the penalties that exist don't deter them enough, similarly the idiots on bikes aren't detered by the fact they could be killed because they always think it won't be them.
> It is if you want happy healthy children and you want to solve some of the major problems facing the UK over the coming years.
I may be missing something here but I'm fairly certain that cycling is not the only form of excercise that can improve health and happiness?
For children and adults with busy lives, the best form of exercise is built in to daily life. Travel on foot and by bicycle is an excellent example, and has the added benefit of reducing pollution and traffic congestion, and if taking place on quality dedicated infrastructure is also likely to reduce deaths, both to the traveller and to those walking and cycling around them (because of fewer cars).
I can't see a downside. The Dutch clearly agree!
Any examples where this has been successfully prosecuted, purely on the headphones front? Even just fines?
> It's certainly desirable. We want young people to be independent and healthy, to not have to be passively ferried around in a car to everything. It seems a bit odd to create a place for people to live, where it is impossible for a 13 year old to go anywhere under their own steam...
A bike is not the only way for a 13 year old to travel under their own steam. London seems to have a fairly extensive public transport system.
There are vast areas of the country where it is far harder for a 13 year old to get around under their own steam wIthout a bike.
> "If you limit the cars to 20mph it will reduce all the frustration from car drivers who see 30mph or even 50mph as an acceptable speed TARGET."
> I don't disagree, upthread you will note I say I think a 20mph speed limit within Zone 1 (say) is probably a reasonable idea. However, to be able to include bicycles in said limit by byelaw (rather than just doing the odd nutter for furious cycling as they dart in and out of cars at 35mph), bicycles would need to have calibrated speedometers. Otherwise how does a cyclist precisely know the difference between 19mph and 24mph (assuming 10% + 2mph)?
I don't think you need to include cyclists in the law. All you're trying to do is calm the traffic down and try to prevent the game of cat and mouse.
If I'm 'stuck' behind a cyclist doing 15-20mph there wouldn't be any benefit in me trying to overtake. There isn't in London anyway, but a lot of car drivers don't understand that.
> But to me cyclists' safety is up to cyclists. Safety where you are driving a 2 tonne lethal weapon is what the law is for.
> You could, of course, run an education campaign for both.
there is . the one for driving is called a driving lesson/test . the one for cycling is called bikeability. only one is compulsary though.
> Any examples where this has been successfully prosecuted, purely on the headphones front? Even just fines?
Clearly not, because people fastidiously obey the law at all times when driving, and that's why cars get "respect" and why the majority of roads are designed to suit them. (That and the road tax thing, obviously.)
> I may be missing something here but I'm fairly certain that cycling is not the only form of excercise that can improve health and happiness?
You're absolutley right. But cycling is one of the forms of excersise that can improve freedom and wellbeing of children by allowing them to cover meaningful distances with relative independance. Its beauty is that it is the only option that allows meaningful distances with no cost. Driving our kids to school is absolutely the worst thing that we can do to them. They will grow up with a culture of using the motor car and not building excersise into their daily lives. The end result is an obesity and diabetes epademic which is going to really cost us to clean up.
The travel distance statistics for London show that the journey distances there are no longer than anywhere else (e.g. virtually identical to Amsterdam). People are driving in London because its the least worst option, and cars are creating an urban environment which is quite frankly horrible. London simply cannot meet its air quality targets because of the vehicular traffic.
Timjones: yes there are areas where cycling is not possible, but by a large margin the vast majority of our population live in towns and cities and make short trips by car that they could by bike. In the Netherlands the cycle infrastructure doesn't simply end at the edge of town, cycling is a realistic, viable alternative to the car even over relatively large distances.
What is the reason we are so desparate to stick to a model that is so obviously completely disfunctional. If we build cycle infrastrucutre the cyclists will come, untill we do that then we better get used to sitting in traffic jams paying for increasingly expensive fuel.
Now that is hardly likely to happen, is it, if they aren't considering other people in general full stop?
Why should I be judged by other people's behaviour?
I see pedestrians doing this every day, on a mixed use cycle path and footpath. They can't hear my little dingy bell. But I don't hate them. I simply go slowly and try not to make them jump too much, waiting until it is safe to pass.
Er... that isn't using their own steam? It is using fossil fuels? They could walk, I guess. I thought part of the point was for them to get out in the fresh air, not have to rely on their parents paying for transport, and being able to go where and when they want to go?
That I would agree with. I cycle to work every day, but most people think of this as a horrifying thing to even contemplate. I do it because I got used to it when cycling to school every day, and then cycling to work when I was too broke to afford a car, and now I have a car but keep doing it because I am a bit of a lazy and busy person and would never find the time to get the same amount of exercise in any other way. And because it is a lot less stressful and more fun than driving is. And cheaper! :-)
I was referring specifically to the issue of loud music, either through headphones or the car stereo.
Personally, though, I find if I'm in stressful situations when driving (all of central London is a stressful situation when driving) I turn the radio down or off to aid my concentration, though.
And cycling combined with (off peak) train travel means you have almost as much mobility as a car without owning one. I used to explore like that loads as a kid and young adult.
> Well motorists may well fall into the trap of thinking of cyclist as a group (an out group at that) but cyclists are as disparate as a group as motorists. Nobody shouts at me or gives me less respect when I am driving my car because some other guy in a car ran a red light.
I think this pretty much hits the nail on the head. Cyclists are all lumped into the same group, separate of course from anyone in a motorised vehicle. The annoyances and frustrations associated with a granny crawling along at 5mph, the messenger-inspired hipster weaving between cars and flipping you the finger, the lycra-clad racer refusing to defer the lane and the group of kids making a nuisance of themselves on the pavement, all get projected onto the next person on two wheels.
On the other hand, I've noted that the deaths here are mostly caused by HGVs, and there's nothing to suggest so far these sorts of accidents are anything other than terrible accidents that the driver perhaps could not reasonably have done anything about- in other words the infrastructure, not the attitudes need to change.
There is still plenty of anecdotal evidence of a lot of careless, ignorant or downright malicious behaviour from drivers. I'd imagine these are far more common than lorry/bike run ins, but also far less likely to cause serious harm, and probably there's no real record of how frequent these incidents are. In that definition I'm including incidents where no contact is made but avoiding action has to be taken.
And that is where the difficulty lies - just how do you create the extra space for cycle infrastructure in a city with narrow streets like London ?
One way is to do it by reducing the amount of space for other types of traffic, and to further discourage said traffic.
> And that is where the difficulty lies - just how do you create the extra space for cycle infrastructure in a city with narrow streets like London ?
You create space by slowing everything down to 20mph. You make it no quicker to drive than to cycle. You provide parking outside the North Circular/South Circular with decent privately run bike storage and repair. Make it foolproof and too easy not to cycle.
I still think to go much higher than current cyclist numbers segregation of bikes from other traffic (e.g. buses and lorries) is necessary. But your scheme might discourage more cars.
I suppose an increase in the congestion charge may be an option, as might be a swingeing tax on parking spaces, including those free to employees (Nottingham did this).
The key would be making sure people only drive into London if they absolutely have to. At the moment I certainly take that line, but there are still quite a lot of people who don't.
As for lorries, I think that is something that needs seriously looking at to see how lorry movements during the day can be reduced.
It's a shame the Tube doesn't have any spare capacity, or buses into central London could be reduced as well - I've long taken the view there are too many of them, and the German model of almost no buses in city centres, but instead shuttles from non-rail-served residential areas to railheads, is a better one - but the Tube is full.
The problem is cycling takes effort and occasionaly discomfort when its cold or wet. A lot of people just cant be arsed to put up with that and would rather be stationary, sat in a warm metal box.
In such a case, reducing road space and increasing that congestion isn't going to do them any harm. They can then just be stationary in their warm metal box for longer than before.
See - why can't they build extra tube tunnels and tracks, parallel with the existing ones, so that you could then have more trains? It would be very expensive to do, but would soon pay for itself, like the channel tunnel.
Do you think there is ANY chance of a) making this work (at points roads are only just wide enough for buses)b) making this happen ?
We have to be realistic about this. Spending billions to re-layout London to make it safer for what is a minority group isn't going to happen.
I think the point being made is that while it is presently a minority group, a laudable aim is for it to NOT be a minority group, more similar to the situation in the Netherlands, right?
That would be true if the Tube made a profit. It doesn't, it makes a whacking loss and receives a load of subsidy.
Quite right too because even people who don't use it benefit from it.
Very misleading video "demonstrating" truck blind spot. Note that the lorry is in a turning position so the mirrors are pointing at the trailer. Driver should be checking mirrors BEFORE turning.
> Quite right too because even people who don't use it benefit from it.
No - I meant, why doesn't the tube make a profit?
I agree that it is quite right for it to be subsidised, as after all, roads aren't paid for only by motorists, but by all of use. They aren't a self-sustaining business.
> Very misleading video "demonstrating" truck blind spot. Note that the lorry is in a turning position so the mirrors are pointing at the trailer. Driver should be checking mirrors BEFORE turning.
Do you drive? I check my mirrors all the time. People (cars, motorcyles, cyclists) still move into my blind spots while I'm indicating. And I'm in a car! They think they can just nip round. Idiots.
Because running railways is expensive.
The Heathrow Express is profitable. It's also very expensive. 20 quid Zone 1 single, anyone?
> The problem is cycling takes effort and occasionaly discomfort when its cold or wet. A lot of people just cant be arsed to put up with that and would rather be stationary, sat in a warm metal box.
This a poor argument against doing anything. The Netherlands has arguably worse weather conditions than we do here (both colder and hotter across the seasons) and it doesn't affect the cycling modal share.
The part of their strategy that gets missed here is that its carrot AND stick. The carrot is the subjectively safe, well maintained infrastructure that allows a direct route between urban areas, cycling routes are unraveled from vehicular routes so that they become pleasant to use.
The stick is that driving requires the use of an indirect route as towns are zoned. There is a great incentive to use major roads rather than minor ones because of the relative speed difference. In Britain there is less incentive because A roads have very high speeds.
In Britain we are all stick and no carrot at the moment, we are taxed like hell on fuel, can't park anywhere and the roads are too congested and you can't move for traffic lights but cyclist have to share the same dangerous infrastructure.
Interestingly Amsterdam has a lower score on the World "index of commuter pain" than London - its easier and more pleasant to drive there. In spite of this the modal share of cycling is an order of magnitude higher than here.
Yes Amsterdam is smaller, but as I said further up the thread, travel distances in Amsterdam and London are virtually identical.
Part of the stick aspect then. To be honest I can't commute across town here at more than 10 mph in my car either and that is a town built entirely to please the car.
Sadly because all there is here is roads for cars (which make it a very scary city to cycle in) nobody cycles. If there was a credible alternative through the major pinch points (river and railway) the modal share of cycling might be higher, and car congestion less of a problem.
Milton Keynes, notably, is low on stick (cheap parking and high speed, low congestion road system) and high on carrot for cyclists (very comprehensive dedicated infrastructure) - and the outcome is a relatively high level of cycling for the kind of place it is, particularly e.g. by commuters to the station, where there are large double-deck cycle racks which fill up nicely.
But the argument isn't normally "we can't implement proper cycle infrastructure because our cities are too big", it's "we can't implement proper cycle infrastructure because there isn't enough space in our cramped city centres."
The dutch managed to do it in equally cramped old cities, basically by accepting that it's sometimes alright to make streets safer to cycle on at the cost of making them less convenient to drive on, rather than viewing cycle safety as something that you try to shoehorn in if you can once you've got a road network that's as efficient as possible for motor vehicles.
And I think London is doing that in places - there are a few examples where, for instance, a previously wide two-way street has been reduced to one way for cars, and two way (on dedicated infrastructure) for bikes.
Actually, that is one big dissuader to cycling in London - one way streets are very confusing and mean taking a back street route (safer, as these roads are often very quiet) is much harder.
As an example, Paddington to Euston up the Euston Road on a bike is absolutely horrid and rather scary. Paddington to Euston via some parallel back streets is a very enjoyable, relaxing and not at all scary ride, and doesn't even take any longer. But you have to know which back streets, or follow the small and often hidden London Cycle Network signs (and if you miss one end up very lost).
So time for more such examples on these streets, or at least kerb-separated contraflow cycle lanes on such streets such that as many as possible one way back streets are not one way for cycles? That way you could just rely on a sense of direction, because you'd never get stuck by a one way street?
> Part of the stick aspect then. To be honest I can't commute across town here at more than 10 mph in my car either and that is a town built entirely to please the car.
> Sadly because all there is here is roads for cars (which make it a very scary city to cycle in) nobody cycles. If there was a credible alternative through the major pinch points (river and railway) the modal share of cycling might be higher, and car congestion less of a problem.
And as I pointed out further up the thread, you get people racing away from the lights trying to get to 30mph only to sit at the next set of lights.
The average speed of 10mph doesn't reflect the speeds of the cars. If you limited it to 20mph or 10mph it would make no difference to journey times but it would smooth out the flow and stop the cat and mouse of repeatedly overtaking, being overtaken.
Here is an article comparing cycling in various cities around the world:
Something I think is overdue in Edinburgh: http://www.scotsman.com/news/transport/drivers-face-100-fines-for-invading-cyclist-space-1-3196431
The polis will also be pulling up reckless cyclists. Good.
(I note the woman cyclist in the photo at the top of the article has a handbag over her arm. Christonabike.)
> Here is an article comparing cycling in various cities around the world:
Anyone who cycles round the centre of Beijing needs their head examined.
If they don't get crushed under a truck the air pollution will kill them.
I haven't read the whole thread so don't know if any of these have been posted...
While the deaths are incredibly sad, some cyclists really don't do themselves any favours as shown in the above links, each one could easily have become a statistic that wasn't going to be going home to their family.
I know there are plenty of idiot car drivers out there also.
Ride safe folks.
> I haven't read the whole thread so don't know if any of these have been posted...
Are they of the people involved? If not then what relevance are they? Although I did like the one capturing how little the cops cared about enforcing the ASLs.
I do wonder what the reaction of some of those would be if on some climbing accident thread someone randomly posted some random unrelated videos of climbers and went the whole "brought it on themselves" line.
Thought this was quote a thought provoking article:
Apologies if it has already been posted. Den
I thought it very one sided and doesn't really move the debate on. There are lots of idiots on the internet, a rich source of cut and paste sensation for a good story.
I think the start of this thread was actually a very good discussion where people were looking at pragmatic solutions rather than blaming their fellow human beings for being less than perfect.
I don't think its supposed to move the debate on; it's highlighting the double-standards in attitudes that some people have about cyclists breaking the rules compared to motorists breaking the rules.
I think it is going to be very difficult to have a proper debate whilst this is still going on.
> I don't think its supposed to move the debate on; it's highlighting the double-standards in attitudes that some people have about cyclists breaking the rules compared to motorists breaking the rules.
> I think it is going to be very difficult to have a proper debate whilst this is still going on.
I've said it before- no other group of road users not only takes on so much risk from others and no other group has to deal with so much vitriol, ignorance and intentionally threatening behaviour.
But at the same time, I was just guilty of defining myself as part of a group. I've also experienced incredibly thoughtful, polite and friendly behaviour as a cyclist. I'm willing to bet it wasn't because I'm a cyclist but because I'm a person.
Which leaves me no closer to understanding what the solution is...
What I saw was the overwhelming majority of cyclists being law abiding and safe. Of those which werent only some were dangerous. Fairly noteworthy that most where filmed by cyclists as well.
The only one which wasnt had at least one bit of suspicious looking riding with regards to the ASL. So perhaps they might want to be more considerate first?
I also know what the actual statistics say. Which is dangerous cycling is rarely a factor. Indeed a Tfl study suggested that being overly law abiding might not actually be too good for the health of a cyclist.
The solution lies in separating bicycles from motor vehicles. The trouble is it's very difficult to do in a lot of our cities.
After all, we separate pedestrians from motor vehicles. Anyone who suggested that we could do away with pavements if we just made sure that motorists were a more careful and considerate would be regarded as being in need of psychiatric help.
> I don't think its supposed to move the debate on; it's highlighting the double-standards in attitudes that some people have about cyclists breaking the rules compared to motorists breaking the rules.
Apart from this is so badly about face it is a joke.
Car drivers break the law all the time.
What we dont have is every time there is a car accident is someone popping up and posting random videos of boyracers and going
"While the deaths are incredibly sad, some drivers really don't do themselves any favours as shown in the above links, each one could easily have become a statistic that wasn't going to be going home to their family"
I don't think anything needs to change to road layouts other than people become more tolerant and slow down and concentrate on their riding and driving.
But very, very bad for the disabled, infirm and children. And personally I'd like children to be able to walk and cycle our town and city streets safely.
"I don't think anything needs to change to road layouts other than people become more tolerant and slow down and concentrate on their riding and driving."
Then you won't attract more cyclists. A 20mph limit and more consideration would make it better for existing cyclists who are confident in traffic, but a bus or lorry overtaking you is still terrifying at 20mph if you're not a confident cyclist, and still unpleasant even if you are. If Old Granny Wiggins (or whoever) is going to cycle through central London (and if you take the view that city streets are for people, why shouldn't she?) she'll only start if there are safe-feeling, segregated facilities.
IOW, even if the roads *are* safe, they *feel* really unsafe.
Thats because roads are already being built with their needs first. If you switched it and did all the roads concentrating on cyclist needs first there would be lots of campaigning.
You only need to look at what happens now for gritters etc(or will be in the next few weeks).
Where the road surface is deemed to be substandard there is campaigning.
> The solution lies in separating bicycles from motor vehicles. The trouble is it's very difficult to do in a lot of our cities.
But it isn't that difficult - it just needs the will. That isn't present in our local and national governments and it certainly isn't present in our transport planning departments which are set up to think about cars and provision for cars. Even when we have a supposedly pro cycling politician in charge of something (like Boris in London) they don't have the balls to get on with it. His cycling commissioner runs around after him wringing his hands and making excuses.
Personally I think its unlikely that anything will change in the foreseeable future, there just isn't the desire for it to happen in our short sighted government or voting population.
This comes up from time to time. I have never actually seen the study backing it up, simply claims in newspapers etc that it was very successful and everything worked fine.
Seriously - what do you think it would take to make this happen? I mean really, think about it, give me some idea exactly how you would "make" car drivers be more tolerant? How would you "make" car drivers concentrate?
I just don't see what could be done to achieve it. The anti bike hatred is not made up, its vitriolic and ingrained. Cyclists are an out group and many people aren't sophisticated enough to see it, let alone change their attitudes. Cars are big dirty dangerous things driven by morons (and I include myself as a driver), we shouldn't be letting them dominate the places we live in and they certainly shouldn't share the the road space with unprotected cyclists. Cars will always bully cyclists because they are driven by humans.
> This comes up from time to time. I have never actually seen the study backing it up, simply claims in newspapers etc that it was very successful and everything worked fine.
I haven't seen shared space working, they let the cars in and it becomes a road like any other. The only way for pedestrians to force the space to be shared is by stepping out in front of moving vehicles and most people aren't that stupid.
> Cars will always bully cyclists
Hmm, I wonder where that vitriol might come from?
The big problem is we live in a childlike society where parents have failed over successive generations to instil a sense of self discipline in people.
"It's not fair, he gets away with it, why can't I"
It's pretty simple really.
I disagree (as a regular cyclist, like most days for the past 35 years). Most people that I know are amazed that I cycle and most motorists are very considerate of me. I don't feel part of an 'out' group. Don't mix up what your own experience is with every cyclist. It also depends very much on where you are in the country and on your own interpretation of information.
Or are you talking about a few people who hate cyclists? I'm sure that some exist, just as some people hate olives, or dogs, or buttons.
> I disagree (as a regular cyclist, like most days for the past 35 years). Most people that I know are amazed that I cycle and most motorists are very considerate of me. I don't feel part of an 'out' group.
People are 'amazed' that you cycle and you don't feel a part of an outgroup.
Most motorists are ok and give a reasonable amount of space. I wouldn't describe many of the motorists I come across as 'very considerate'. I think you need certain situations for a motorist to show themselves as very considerate. I.E doing something out of the norm.
Not many cycle haters where I am from but of course not many would mention it to me.
I have had a car block me in, holding up traffic until I got on the pavement. Then at the next junction a different car that had been held up (?) swerved at me, and stopped me turning right (he was also turning right).
I see your point. I don't have a particular axe to grind on driver behavior. I still think that is driven by the infrastructure that makes cyclists an annoyance. (I've dealt with my own personal response to that and I don't think it does me any good to stress about it, I am a keep calm and carry on cyclist, I never pick fights with cars)
The infrastructure is the bit I am keen on. I see cycling as a solution to so many problems and find frustrating that governments don't see that. They don't think realistically about the problems that face them, the advantages of a significant modal shift to cycling range from air quality to productivity at work, to the the cost of the NHS. There is always money to spend on infrastructure in this country (the road budget is something like £32 bn) and it is well proven that spending on cycling pays for its self.
Many motorists are relatively inconsiderate of me and regularly push through gaps that just aren't safe to get past me. Or rather - it doesn't feel safe for them to pass, I haven't been knocked off yet!
I do. I have had people randomly yell at me out of cars and make deliberate moves to try and kill me, but it is the south east, folk are stressed out their brains down here. Mostly its the "those cyclists did this, that, the other" comments both face to face and in the media that I am referring to.
Maybe you are right, I partially agree. I think cyclists are an annoyance for many, but a significant minority genuinely hate them. Its depressing to see some of the media stoke this fire.
Agree. I think a few influential people (& the DM) find it hard to get their head around the idea that mass cycling can play a fundamental part in alleviating congestion & pollution in cities. It would be interesting to see the consequences if all cyclists decided to take the tube, ride the bus, or drive the car to work for one day...
...or if everyone cycled.
Personally I'm not up to the challenge of cycling 300miles a week. I have considered driving the first 30miles and riding the last 10though. Unfortunately the practicalities prevent me from doing this at the moment.
Not all work places have bike parks and showers.
I would suggest that is the carrot that would sway a massive proportion of men.
The girls in my office wouldn't put up with helmet hair. So someone has to think about that one.
> It would be interesting to see the consequences if all cyclists decided to take the tube, ride the bus, or drive the car to work for one day...
Profits for the "public," (how is it if it is owned by private companies?) transport companies would go up? Pressure would be put on politicians to cut down on "free transport," so that all commuters "invest in future transport infrastructure," i.e. profit for shareholders and managers, until pressure gets too much and the government bail them out?
I may have been reading a bit too much of Private Eye recently...
I haven't commuted to work for a few months on the bike, but I'm not sure the experience is that different to driving the car.
I work in Guildford, and my bike commute takes me through the town, and along some fairly light-traffic a roads through another town and to my village. when I drive I get on the A3. both routes are about 8 miles or thereabouts.
Every day in the car this week, I have seen cars and lorrys and vans run the red light opposite where I join the road out of the office (I know this as they are still crossing their stop line when my light goes green!).
Every day as cars are quing in the left 2 lanes to get on the A3 some car or van goes down the free flowing right hand lane, and then trys to push into the queue - resulting in him/her holding up the other traffic that would otherwise have had an uninterupted journey - often resulting in traffic backing up to other junctions. at the roundabout prior to the A3 junction, the yellow hatched box might as well not be there - I've even seen police cars stopped on it.
Each day I see cyclists barrelling along my car commute route on shared use pavements at speeds I would consider dangerous for pedestrians (I also see plenty more cyclists traveling on these pavements at a reasonable and considerable pace)
When I commute by bike, I avoid the more major roads, but they are still busy. I often have cars squeeze past me desperate to join the traffic queue just meters ahead of me, and I often find cars in hap hazard positions in the traffic which make it hard for a cyclist or motor cyclist to run down the outside of a traffic jam - no big problem, I just take my time. I can't say I've had any significant issues when cycling in to work, I find most road users courteous and friendly especially if you give them a cheery wave or a thumbs up. I have though had a very close call (I went to deck) and been shouted at by a pedestrian that walked out in front of me at a crossing (her light was red, mine was green and she pushed through a line of pedestrians waiting for teh green man and observing the fact that some traffic (me) was coming through - fortunately one of those waiting explained the real situation to her and helped me up (I think the words were "what did you think we were all standing here for? the view?")
The point of all this is some people are dangerous to themselves and others and really don't give s#!t for anyone else, some are oblivious to the inconvenience they cause others and do it unintentionally, but most are considerate and follow the rules, and some people go out of their way to help others. The method of transport makes little difference to these peoples' behaviour, and there is little that can be done to change it (yes you can punish, but they'll assume they won't be caught or it won't be them that gets squashed)
Infrastructure that can keep peds, cyclists, and motorists apart will help save lives, but it won't eliminate the problems, there will allways be someone on the extremes that insists on only considering themselves.
Exactly. It's amazing just what a difference personal perception makes! I guess I see everyone as cyclists who just don't realise that they can! :-)
I get treated with consideration most days, with cars waving me through, giving way to me, hovering behind me because they don't want to overtake aggressively etc. Sometimes they are a bit too considerate!!! I would rather they were a bit more assertive and just overtook me! Or I have to be a bit careful about cars waving me through incase there is something else coming!
I do get the occasional driver who brings my heart into my mouth or who actually runs me over, but I think the horribleness of such incidents makes them take up far more room in a cyclists minds than the proportion of drivers who are actually like this. I reckon about 0.01% of drivers are not very nice...
Yes, I would agree all new office buildings should be required to provide sufficient cycle parking and shower facilities, and existing ones where reasonably practicable.
I agree. They recently did MASSIVE changes to a big roundabout near here, only to have to actually redo a lot of work on it at the cost of tens of thousands of pounds because they had made it so dangerous for cyclist and pedestrians. Why don't they just consult relevant people at the planning stage?!!
> I would suggest that is the carrot that would sway a massive proportion of men.
> The girls in my office wouldn't put up with helmet hair. So someone has to think about that one.
My work weren't very cycle friendly, so I started a bicycle users group and have liaised with the relevant people at work to bring about all sorts of changes. We now have free showers, bike repair on site, the cycle to work scheme, emergency bike repair kit on site, a hose for washing bikes, lockers, a pool of bikes, we've had lunchtime cycle rides, mechanics training on how to mend your bike, free kit, a cycle map of the site, discounts at local shops, a cyclists web page and e-mail list and facebook page......
Once you get cyclists together and give them a bit of a voice, it is quite amazing what you can achieve over time...
enjoyed that, although I think you may well be reading a little too much Hislop Express...
> Not all work places have bike parks and showers.
If they had showers, surely they wouldn't have helmet hair?
Has it resulted in an increase in the number of people cycling to your work?
I don't really know, as I haven't counted. I only run the bicycle users group as a voluntary thing and my main interest is to improve my own cycling experience and to give cyclists a voice. However, a whole new stack of bike racks are now full! Our work is quite hard to cycle to, as it is in the middle of nowhere on top of a hill.
It has resulted in cycling being considered more by the people whose jobs it is, and in them working together to improve things for cyclists. And it has resulted in us benefiting when the council is running various cycling schemes, and in us being consulted about road changes.
It depends if the shower rooms also have hairdryers, mirrors, straighteners and space to do all that stuff in. I might not care myself, and my hair doesn't matter in my job, but for other people it is a very important thing and something that will stop them from cycling.
I thought to myself that a good way to promote cycling to some people would be to take photos of what it leaves your bum and thighs looking like!
> I thought to myself that a good way to promote cycling to some people would be to take photos of what it leaves your bum and thighs looking like!
I don't think anyone should be subjected to pictures of my bum and thighs!
> Has it resulted in an increase in the number of people cycling to your work?
In our office it's made a big difference, the cycle racks have had to be expanded 4 fold to make room for all the extra bikes, and now all the lockers are used
CTC have a page about it:
I don't think the point is that only the fit should be able to avoid the cars, one of the worst accidents that can happen is children running into the road I front of a car, if the space is shared then no one can "unexpectantly" run into the cars space. This obviously isn't going to work on major access roads but does work in places were the old, infirm and young would require access, if you have ever observed a pedestrianised high street when cars are allowed access you will get the idea.
I think the utopian long term answer here is that we should be aiming for a transport system where a) cycling is safe enough that a helmet isn't needed and b) you have cycle storage and/or hire near hubs of your fast, convenient and affordable public transport system, so people who don't live very near work can get into the general area via mass transit and then
cycle the final stage, and you don't have to ride fast and get sweaty and mess your hair up if you live more than a couple of miles from the office.
I'm not saying this is a practical thing that I'm expecting to happen tomorrow, but the Dutch seem to have managed a) and London is actually doing alright on b), so it's not inconceivable that we could eventually do both at once...
Ideally. But in practice I reckon it would be more like Indian or Thai streets with pedestrians avoiding cars. For that reason disability groups (particularly deaf and blind related) oppose.
Yes, our work promoted one of those cycle purchase schemes a few years ago and that resulted in an increase in people cycling to work. I think about 10% of the workforce cycle to my office which is located about three miles from Edinburgh city centre and just off a cycle path.
You have to bear in mind that many European cities were bombed flat during the war and so planners were able to design in cycle friendly features when they were rebuilt.
I got sick of sitting on a stuffy bus for an hour in traffic to get to and from work (Birmingham) so I started cycling and it only took me 30 mins, 25 if I got mostly green lights, and was good exercise. I got to work in the morning feeling more awake and alert and didnt feel so guilty about eating desert after dinner.
After about 6 weeks of cycling I was cycling downhill in a bike lane when a car turning right from the other side of the dual carrigeway drove straight infront of me because he wasnt looking properly. I hit the side of the car, my head went through the rear passenger window and I woke up in hospital with a broken jaw, broken collarbone, no front teeth and a massive slice out of my lip which has left a permanent scar.
I had to have 6 weeks off work unpaid, a huge dental bill, my bike was a write off and 3 and a half months later the drivers insurance company have not admitted liability so I am massively in debt just in time for christmas and now im back on the stuffy bus to work
oh and it was broad daylight, I had lights, bright clothing and a helmet, none of them helped me apart from the helmet
"I had to have 6 weeks off work unpaid"
You're a contractor or self employed, I guess? Perhaps something people in such a position should consider insuring against themselves? Could just as easily be a climbing accident or something.
I certainly would, as most of the time a month's lost pay with zero notice would be pretty financially disastrous for me.
Hope you get it sorted btw.
Cat, you should get in contact with the CTC about this, they can point you in the direction of a more helpful lawyer.
Sounds like a very cut and dried case re:liability
Hope you are now recovered at least
That sounds awful :(
Were there witnesses? Or did you have a camera running at the time? What did the driver say? ('I didn't see you' isn't acceptable)
Given the fact that the driver was turning into your lane and you hit the side of his car, you may be able to put together a case in the absence of video evidence or witnesses?
Obviously far stiffer penalties for drivers, and an end to the 2nd class citizen status of cyclists. My mate was deliberately knocked off by a van driver on Saturday. We have witnesses and plate. I'm not expecting justice. But that's attempted murder isn't it?
That would depend if the intent was to kill, or if he reasonably believed it would kill. Probably not.
It is most probably assault, though.
"Everyone should work closer to home, put this nearer the top of your job selection criteria."
Not everyone can select their job. Most people take the one they can get.
True, but also too many folk are content to sit in a tin box and waste their life listening to Chris Moyles. I'm interested in this attitude and have asked innumerable folk. They just don't care, it has no bearing on their job selection. It's madness on many levels.
Surely most people get to either choose their job or where they live? Obviously where you have a family, with jobs in different places, you can't always achieve this, but it has worked for most of history?
I have always chosen to live within cycling distance of work.... it's pretty important to me.
"Obviously where you have a family, with jobs in different places, you can't always achieve this"
My point exactly. Now two people work in most families, the flexibility is not there unless you are single. And if you have children, repeated moves of school is likely to be very hard on them.
The reasonable ability for most family people to live within cycling or walking distance of work ended with the job for life.
You still have some flexibility, even if you have a family! It really does depend on what sort of job each of you do and quite how important travelling and distance is, when compared to other things (money, status, job interest and everything else that helps you choose a job).
I can see that some people make the choice to travel further to work, for very good reasons. And sometimes it may be that they have no choice. But more often than not, it's just that distance isn't the number one priority.
Quite, because the majority of people seem content to sit crawling along the Motorway, they don't prioritise distance to work. In fact from what I gather from these strange folk they rather see it as a plus, all cosy in their lounge on wheels relaxing to whatever media. They see as the only time they have to themselves.
I'd wager that the folk that REALLY have no choice in job, actually don't live too far from it. Those that have the luxury of occupying a niche career... Well it is just that, a luxury.
The average commute distance in 2008 was 9.8 miles.
I actually don't mind a long rail commute (takes me 2 and a half hours if I go into the office, but I only do that two days a week at most), but I hate a long car commute (which is why I tend not to drive even though that's an hour and a half).
I think with modern technology that situation (long journey, but majority of the week working from home) is likely to become more common.
There were witness that gave statements to the police on site, the police sent me a letter saying they need to do 'further investigations' before deciding weather or not to prosecute which was about 2 months ago, heard nothing since.
Dont know what the driver said as I was out of it, all the policeman told me was that he said he didnt see me, no video sadly. Im not a ctc member will that make a difference? Im not sure about the technicalities of having 2 solicitors on the same case at the same time?
Same for me, and seeing Neil's post of average 9.8 miles, a few million live within cycling distance of work but the tin box bewitches them each morning.
Well that's 'driving without due care and consideration'. Given that it cost you serious injury, grief and money, that should result in the removal of the license.
I sometimes feel a bit of vigilante justice is due. A car smashed in with a baseball bat would be a good start
Ive now had to sell my car and take on a second job to pay my bills :(
It was an oldish guy probably late 60s he lives just up the road from me so I go past his house to get to work and within a few weeks I saw that he had his car repaired while Im still waiting on a NHS dental specialist with an 11 week waiting list because I cant afford to pay private
These are the guys that work for the CTC, they have a freephone number, I suggest you give them a call: http://www.slatergordon.co.uk/personal-injury/cycling/
While it doesn't help you now, it's a good example of why cyclists should have insurance.
What speed were you doing?
Do there exist many (any?) cycle insurance policies that are "fully comprehensive" i.e. would cover private medical, loss of earnings etc? I doubt it. The CTC legal protection is probably useful but it's rather separate from the usual "cyclists should have insurance" debate, as legal cover isn't even mandatory for cars (though I personally always take it as it's cheap and reduces stress massively in the event of an accident).
Third party cover (if you crash into a car, and it's your fault, so you have to pay for the damage) is included in most home contents policies so it is pointless duplicating it by taking another policy if yours does cover it.
It isn't, what a crass comment.
Have you tried going and asking him if he'll pay for all the financial losses you've suffered as a result of his 'mistake'?
If he refuses, campaign of defamation and shaming is required! First step is to find out where he works and have a little phone call with his boss.
That's not really going to help matters is it, satisfying as it might be? Cat should be going after the insurance company, maybe he/she has legal cover as part of their home insurance policy?
"First step is to find out where he works and have a little phone call with his boss."
I fail to see why it is any of his employer's business, unless he was driving on behalf of work at the time of the accident.
The Ctc solicitors make fake on your case for a small fee even if not insured. Give them a ring.
If official channels of justice don't work, and the guy shows no remorse, I don't see how this is a bad thing. The guys boss may be a cyclist himself, or possibly just not an arsehole
But I should add of course, try the sensible course of action first.
Of course it's not a crass statement. If you have a family and mortgage and you're not properly insured you're taking a massive risk just stepping outside your front door.
Personal accident insurance is relatively cheap.
Google search found this pretty quickly: http://www.barclays.co.uk/Insurance/Life/PersonalAccidentInsurancefromAviva/P1242614114498
I mentioned that idea upthread...I think the way you worded your post implied the usual "mandatory third party insurance" type whine.
Oh ok. I apologise. It wasn't meant that way.
I see that people have joined in suggesting going round his house and smashing his car up. And they wonder why motorists feel the way they do.
There was a woman on the radio who had had her rear side window smashed by a bike lock. How exactly does that help anyone?
I hope you realise I wasn't being remotely serious. My ring the boss suggestion is. And that's hardly disproportionate. The point of course being that 'I didn't see you' isn't an acceptable excuse, the lack of support isn't acceptable for the victim, lack of punishment is not acceptable as justice.
Fair enough. I agree, vigilanteism is not appropriate.
I think he is probably retired to be honest guys he has a big corner house is in his late 60s and is insured with saga!
Im using co-op legal service that is part of the house insurance that means no fees as im not in a position to pay any solicitors!
They have told me not to contact the guy as it might affect my claim, i suspect he has payed privately for a replacement door as the bike size dent is gone and the window is fixed
My insurance would cover all these things, but it does cost more for my 2 carbon bikes than I pay for my car.
I don't think you should joke about smashing cars in with baseball bats. As I say people do actually do this.
The motorist is not allowed by his insurance company to admit liability and as has been said you shouldn't be contacting each other directly. Blame that on the insurance companies, not the motorist.
The motorist genuinely may not have seen the cyclist. If the speed he was going and the speed the cyclist were going were constant or the cyclist was hidden by the A pillar (I've missed transit vans in mine!)
Accidents happen. Insure yourself against unisured losses, it's your responsibility, no one else's. We don't live in a nanny state, contrary to what the Daily Mail would have you believe.
No, but if the driver has caused the accident through negligence (it's his fault he didn't see the cyclist) then he should pay at least for direct financial loss.
The OP might do well to insure against e.g. loss of earnings, though.
That's my point. He should, but the insurance company will try to worm out, delay payment etc. What if the driver had been driving without insurance?
If you have your own insurance, you get paid out quickly then they go off and argue with the other insurance company over whose fault it was.
If you cycle lots, it's a no brainer.
Fair point, it's precisely why I have fully comp with legal protection on the car, and would still have it even if the value of the car was low.
The main requirement is persistence, you will need a lot of it and also a lot of time. You need to document, with as much supporting evidence as possible, what it has cost you both in terms of actual damage, injury and loss of earnings and other costs, with dates and quotes. Get statements from employers and doctors if you can, so you have objective support rather than your own opinions. With the police, you will need to be determined and polite, but do not let them drop things, sideline them or avoid action. If possible, get the name of the officer concerned and harass him/her in a reasonable but unrelenting manner.
Do not be emotional about it, it has now become an administrative/bureaucratic matter and your opponents will play games, so should you. Justice doesn't enter into it, you are out for the best result you can realistically get. Don't lie, but you do not need to be excessively scrupulous about telling the whole truth.
In the meantime, enjoy the process. Some of the excuses can be quite hilarious in a morbid way, as for example from my culprit :
Him :"Well Mr X, I think I was mostly to blame, but I think you were partly to blame as well"
Me : "How would that be, I was cycling along the road well light and clearly visible, obviously with right of way and you reversed blindly out of a carpark into my path and knocked me across the road?"
Him : "Well I think you were cycling pretty fast and not as careful as you might have been"
Me : "Mr X, I very much doubt if I was exceeding the speed limit and it is hard to see how any amount of prudence could stop some idiot reversing into the main road from an dark corner and knocking me across the road"
The policeman, when I finally nagged him into contacting the culprit, calling him on his mobile : "Hi, can I speak to Alex please"
Alex : "Hi Alex calling, what can I do for you?"
PC : "This is PC nnn from Police Station xxx, investigating a road accident involving injury for which it is alleged you were responsible and have failed to supply insurance details"
Alex : "Sorry, Alex isn't here now, we don't know where he is or when he will be back"
And many more equally funny exchanges, or they would have been funny if they had involved someone else. Eventually after his insurance company was stalling as much as he was, I had to get an ambulance chasing lawyer involved. It then became too much hassle for his insurance company (I did eventually find out who they were), so they settled for at least 3 times the amount I would have initially accepted.
Good luck. The process is neither easy nor quick, but stick to it if you are sure of your case and you should get a reasonable result.
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