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How do you handle...

Discussion in 'Commuting' started by Cab, 31 Jul 2007.

  1. Cab

    Cab New Member

    Ordinary road, you use it at a respectable pace (in the region of 18-20mph), with a few obstacles. First, theres a coach parking lane to the left, its about 60 or 70 yards long. At the end of it, theres a bus stop, then theres a traffic island in the middle of the road with a narrow cycle lane at the edge.

    My own approach has always been to completely ignore the coach parking lane and the bus stop and maintain primary position; those parking areas aren't road and have nothing to do with me. The trouble is that drivers see the approaching traffic island and get impatient to be past before it.

    So, today, I'm bang in the centre of the lane, and two cars pass rather too close. The third vehicle doesn't think he has time to do that so he just sounds his horn. Then he changed his mind, swerved on to the other side of the rodad and made a dash for it. The car on the other side swerved to give him space, I slowed to get this idiot out of the way, he passed me just before the traffic island.

    Obviously I caught up with him queueing at the lights not 50 yards further on, where there is a cycle lane to take you to the front of the traffic (ideal if you're turning left at the junction like I do). I did tell him the obvious ("Get a highway code, read it") to be greeted by plenty more honking from him, sat there stuck in traffic at the junction.

    Seems to be quite common on that road now, the new (year and a half) traffic island makes motorists quite impatient to get past before they get to it, probably knowing that a cyclist who is claiming his road space isn't going to slink into a narrow cycle lane and let them pass between the kerb and the traffic island.

    One thing that has helped has been having a camera on top of my head; a lot of motorists seem to be wise to that. Didn't have it on this morning. Other than that, anything else I can do to reduce conflict on that stretch?
  2. Arch

    Arch Married to Night Train

    York, UK
    There's a point on the inner ring road here where there is a long strip of kerbside parking, used mainly by the vans of market traders, and a traffic island after that - like you, if the parking strip is empty, I still stay out (although I may move into what would be the door zone a little). But I tend to move out just before the island to block narrow overtaking. Don't think I've ever had any hassle, but that might be luck. It is a pretty wide road.

    Luckily, it's a very very slight downhill slope at that point, so I'm usually cranking along quite fast (for me:blush:)

    Amazing how well the camera is noticed, isn't it? Heard several comments from pedestrians on the way over to a friend's house last night. Match it with a Polite waistcoat...
  3. magnatom

    magnatom Guest

    Yup. Thats your problem all right. Once you've used the camera once you've just got to keep using it :biggrin:.

    Seriously though you could try wobbling a little if you notice they are about to go for it, or as I have done on a few occasions quickly glance back at them and stick your right arm out with your palm facing them (indicating that it is not safe to overtake).

    If that doesn't work then I don't think anything will stop them.;)
  4. Cab

    Cab New Member

    I have in the past tried the back facing palm right indicate to tell them not to pass, but that was met by a stream of honking.

    I think a lot of the trouble stems from the cycle lane. Its only a short length, its apperently there to alert motorists to the fact that there are cyclists (this is Cambridge, the motorists know that there are cyclists), but in reality all it does is ecourage cyclists into a less safe road position. And if you don't take that road position in the run up to the cycle lane there may well be a motorist behind you who wants to know why.
  5. magnatom

    magnatom Guest

    Sorry Cab I missed the part about the cycle lane:blush:

    Get some video evidence of the futility of the cycle lane, that could either be by filming your own ride or having someone film you remotely at this point. (Or you could sit next to the lane and film other cyclists). Send it to you council with an explanation about why you don't use the cycle lane (i.e. it is dangerous). Then describe to them the issues that you face when you don't use the dangerous cycle lane, making sure to reference that these issues would not occur if the cycle lane wasn't there in the first place.

    They will probably just ignore you but it might be worth a try.

    I still think we need a depository for videos highlighting the futility and downright dangers caused by some cycle lanes. I could set up a new youtube account which I would be happy to look after where we could post example videos of crazy cycle lanes in action which we could reference. Arch's video is a good example of a video showing poor lanes.

    We could then use this as a reference and education tool.

    What do people think?
  6. Cab

    Cab New Member

    Well, I'll give it a shot. I'll keep wearing the helmet cam... Trouble is, most motorists are quite angelic when theres a camera pointed at them.
  7. fossyant

    fossyant Ride It Like You Stole It! Staff Member

    South Manchester
    Ride past the fool in the cycle lane, non handed and clapping (well I'd do non-handed if I could).

    Or give him the big thumbs up.

    Back to commuting on a regular basis from tomorrow, so I'll try and be a polite cyclist ;)
  8. Andy 71

    Andy 71 New Member

    Basically, what you need is a non-violent way of either humiliating him or scaring the s**t out of him. If you wallop someone, you have lost the moral ground right away.

    But, until the courts and police take offences against cyclists more seriously and stop suggesting that speeding and bald tyres on an icy road were not a factor in the death of 4 cyclists, I guess we are stuck with millions of w*****s like him. The car is king and woe betide anyone who says otherwise.

    It won't be the treasury. The auto industry is worth billions in tax and keeps a significant proportion of the population in employment. No politician in their right mind would compel people to use their cars less.
  9. Cab

    Cab New Member

    Approaching the same cycle path on the same road this morning, look over my shoulder theres a red van. I signalled right, maintained my line, the van had slowed down assuming (I think) that I was going to take the right turn just before the stretch of cycle lane. Followed me along the road to the lights, which were green, I signalled, turned, he followed me. Got to another narrow section where I slowed because there was oncoming traffic (there was a bus in front that had started going through there before I was visible, which although traffic going my way has priority there is fair enough... the two cars and three taxis behind it maybe ought to have known better). Van behind me had to stop too, and sat there revving his engine at me. I continued on when I could (ignoring red van) straight past the rising bollards, and as you might expect I didn't see red van again. Presumably he either turned around (fun on that road!) or took the left turn just before the bollards and spent ten minutes getting back on to a proper road.

    So, there you have it. Claim your road space and don't use the cycle path and a motorist will go out of his way to have a go at you. Turns out this one was pretty timid, I've had way worse.

    Had the camera on; didn't get any good footage of this because, of course, it was all behind me.
  10. magnatom

    magnatom Guest

    Not much you can do about these people unfortunately. However, as you said you held your road space and you didn't get squeezed. That to me is a result!

    Sure he revved his engine at you but just remember, that is a sign of his frustration, his rising blood pressure and his oncoming bad temper which will haunt him for the rest of the day. I actually find it amusing nowadays when I hear someone getting frustrated like that. Just turn around give them a wee smile (or blow a kiss if you feel cheeky enough) and ride off into the sunset.....:biggrin::becool:

    As for the camera, I am seriously considering upgrading mine for the winter. (Archaos type system). If I do I will be placing the atc somewhere on the back of the bike to pick up the action behind!

    Am I going to far......??!?!;)
  11. Arch

    Arch Married to Night Train

    York, UK
    I think it's a good idea. I think the key thing would be to concentrate on the stupidity of the facilities, and to try and avoid any sniping at specific incidents or drivers - not that they don't deserve it, but once you get personal, you lose the interest of a lot of people because they just assume you have a chip on your shoulder. So while I wouldn't say don't post videos of bad drivng, I think it would be productive to present them in a way that says "This guy did this because of this stupid facility...." or perhaps "This person is clearly unaware of what this line means". Does that make sense?

    Re: Youtube - I think it was you, Magnatom, who pointed me to Andy who kept up with a scooter - was that not a sort of personal Youtube page on which all his films were listed, but had access for all? That would be the sort of thing - we might have to send films to one person (you) to upload... I don't really know much beyond the basic uploading personal account stuff. To be useful, the images have to be explained - like the captions on my film, and those on the Warrington CC website...

    BTW, when I showed my cyclelane vid to my sister, a non-cyclist, but otherwise pretty intelligent;) she looked at that narrow one by the wall, and before the caption came up said "That's crazy, making you ride so far out". I think she maybe thought you were meant to ride on the white line of the lane, and to her, even 18" from the kerb seemed a long way out. So you can see how people can misunderstand stuff completely - we all see enough gutter-hugging cyclists to know that. So the education aspect is a very good idea.
  12. magnatom

    magnatom Guest

    Yes Arch I completely agree with what you say. Sniping wouldn't help the cause at all. Reasoned argument highlighting the facts is what is called for. Ideally we would need a web site set up with links to the videos, however, I don't have the time or the skills to do that (if I had the time I am sure I could acquire the skills...;))

    However, to start with I could set up a new youtube account and if people wanted to send me videos I could upload them .Videos could be sent either by e-mail if small enough (<10Mb) or via ftp (it's not difficult to set up).

    I will try and set up an account today with my left hook video as a starter.

    I totally understand why people who have never cycled can get the wrong idea about what is safe and what isn't. I think I read in another thread suggestions that compulsory cycle training in schools would be a good idea and I completely agree. If more people were correctly trained then at least they would understand the issues more, maybe:rolleyes:

    (I seem to be using the :biggrin: smiley a let these days!!)
  13. Arch

    Arch Married to Night Train

    York, UK
    Oh, I like you....;)

    Yeah, me too. I mean I waste all day here, but I really OUGHT to be doing some work. And I don't have internet at home, or I'd try doing something in the evening...

    Not just cycle training. I think it needs to be more radical still. Roadcraft training. Start at 5 or 6 with basic Tufty club stuff, but then continue to include it in the curriculum, becoming more appropriate to age - hazzard awareness, HC knowledge, good road design, all that stuff - even practical sessions riding/driving on racetracks, skidpans etc - so that by 14 or 15, when kids might be thinking about getting a moped, or learning to drive soon, they have the groundwork done. And they also have the skill of looking and imagining and planning. A colleague yesterday was saying that the current first year don't seem able to imagine in 3D - they see a set of post holes and seem unable to imagine the posts that were once in them forming a structure. Is it that the more CGI makes things possible in film and TV, people are losing the ability to imagine for themselves (and hence to empathise?)

    I think a problem is that decent roadcraft isn't seen as a skill that can be learned - there's this idea that you are a good driver by some sort of genetic lottery.

    Phew, that went a bit OT, didn't it? Sorry...
  14. Tynan

    Tynan Veteran

    do people that don't cycle care one iota about cycling?

    it's just one more thing to deal with when driving I'd have thought, let alone understand

    and that's drivers in London
  15. magnatom

    magnatom Guest


    People who drive should care about any road user on the roads, be they cyclists, pedestrians etc. Every (almost every!) car driver has been a pedestrian and so have at the very least and understanding of what issues face pedestrians. Only a small minority of drivers understand the issues cyclists face. Thus the suggestion of cycle training in schools.