Blue Light Danger

Discussion in 'Commuting' started by middleagecyclist, 29 Jul 2012.

  1. middleagecyclist

    middleagecyclist Call me MAC

    Doing about 20mph in a cycle lane (dangerous things I know) while filtering past some slower moving traffic, I heard a siren approaching from some way behind. Several of the drivers obviously heard it/saw it and decided to pull into the kerb and stop to give the ambulance more room on its mercy dash. Shame they didn't check their nearside wing mirror first. Very glad I was prepared to stop. Could have been nasty!
     
  2. summerdays

    summerdays Cycling in the sun Moderator

    Location:
    Bristol
    I tend to try and get off the road for that very reason if I can. (And you never know if it is a police car involved in a chase).
     
    MontyVeda likes this.
  3. Boris Bajic

    Boris Bajic Guest

    As a young cyclist and later a motorcycle courier, I could often make good time in heavy traffic by staying in the wake of emergency vehicles.

    They flashed their lights and wailed their sirens, as if to say "There's a chap behind us in a hurry!"

    The only safety issue I ever had was other idiot couriers thinking they'd join me. Some of them were already in when I arrived, but they were fools for joining too early! There was usually only room for one bicycle or motorcycle in that little traffic vacuum, so it seemed reasonable I should get the space.

    This traffic-busting measure was most effective in one-way systems such as that in Wandsworth.
     
    compo likes this.
  4. Miquel In De Rain

    Miquel In De Rain No Longer Posting

  5. The advantage of being on bike, you usually hear the sirens first and can start plotting your escape route.
     
    downfader and Pat "5mph" like this.
  6. sheddy

    sheddy Guru

    Location:
    Suffolk
    Some motons don't see/hear the 1st blue light vehicle and most don't anticipate the 2nd one.
    When driving I always drop the windows and listen just in case there's another
     
  7. Miquel In De Rain

    Miquel In De Rain No Longer Posting

    I didn't hear the sirens as they weren't on.
     
  8. I hadn't watch your video but I like to think I would have spotted the flashing lights on my left but I wasn't there and don't know what the visibility is like, take care :smile:
     
  9. Miquel In De Rain

    Miquel In De Rain No Longer Posting

    That probably wasn't taken into account by the rljing ambulance,I saw it very late.
     
    HLaB likes this.
  10. If I see/hear a siren on a bike or in a car, I quickly move out of the way, to allow both clear access for the emergency vehicle, and to allow other road users to do the same safely. If there were a lot of cars, I'd move off the road on a bike, to allow the cars to move as far to the left as possible to create a lane for the emergency.

    Continuing to travel on the inside of cars at 20 mph when there is an emergency vehicle approaching seems to be both putting yourself in danger, and not doing all you can to let the vehicle get to their destination. If the driver did look in the mirror, and see you barrelling through, then he'd have to wait and that might hold up the vehicle.

    If you've ever been waiting for an ambulance, fire engine or police to arrive in an emergency, you'd know every second feels like a lifetime to those waiting - and those seconds could add up to the difference between life and death.
     
  11. OP
    OP
    middleagecyclist

    middleagecyclist Call me MAC

    I work in A&E. I know about ambulances. Most are going to collect people with sore throats who feel their problem needs emergency treatment. I am still happy to give way to them whether in the car or on the bike whatever the issue.

    I was doing about 20 mph when I heard the siren and was fully prepared to stop. The cycle lane was a dedicated one and the cars moving more slowly on my outside were not hindering the ambulance in any way. There was no opposing traffic and the van went past on the opposite carriageway. No driver needed to pull over. My point is none cared to check their mirrors or did and still didn't care.

    Thanks for your lecture though.
     
  12. As a driver, I still wouldn't expect someone to be overtaking at 20mph on the inside when there was an ambulance approaching (even though I would check). So as a cyclist, I assume that that would be unexpected to drivers, and wouldn't do it.

    Compared to the several-times-a-day left-turns-without-indicating that are part of London commuting (and Manchester, too, I bet) this is seems to be predictable and rare.

    Oh, but not so rare at the moment. I was passed by 6 blue light vehicles on Thursday night. I suspect that will continue until the closing ceremony.
     
    CopperBrompton likes this.
  13. OP
    OP
    middleagecyclist

    middleagecyclist Call me MAC

    *sigh* Perhaps I should be clearer. I was doing about 20 mph when I heard the siren. I never said I continued at 20 mph. I did say I was fully prepared to stop which I did. My point is some drivers panic and stop without thought/looking when they hear a siren when sometimes the best thing might even be to increase speed to get to a place where stopping or slowing down might be of actual benefit to the emergency vehicle driver. I have seen drivers slam the anchors on actually in a pinch point when the road ahead was clear! Moronic behaviour I hope you agree.

    So, blue lights/sirens signal potential danger for cyclists and we need to take extra care when we hear them. Is that OK?
     
    GetAGrip, Hawk and Pat "5mph" like this.
  14. oilyormo

    oilyormo gettin warmer??

    totaly agree. ive seen drivers stop at green lights to allow emergency service vehicles behind struggle to get through busy traffic when the best course of action would be to carry on and allow the traffic to flow through and pull over when through the junction.

    i think , if you hear sirens, to expect car drivers to completely lose all common sense an be totally unpredictable. slow down, match the speed of the car in front and be prepared to stop
     
  15. ufkacbln

    ufkacbln Guest

    The use of sirens is not always pertinent, we used to assess the situation, and in some cases the noise and tension that sirens cause was not conducive to the care of the patient

    We certainly never used them with heart attack patients unless desparate
     
    middleagecyclist likes this.
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