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IAM article (long post)

Discussion in 'Advocacy and Cycling Safety' started by Piemaster, 12 May 2008.

  1. Piemaster

    Piemaster Guru

    UK City of Culture
    I have a relative who is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, and picked up and read her local area (East Yorkshire) newsletter recently. Had a couple of complaining letters in it about some new road markings in Beverley, how they were dangerous,. The council has basically put in wide (about half a lane) broken line cycle lanes and removed the central dividor line. Best onroad cycle lanes I've come across - lots of room given and cars wait for oncoming traffic before passing. Discussed the letters with her and she said "If you feel like that, that they are so good why not write an article for the newsletter?"

    So, err.. Here it is. Any sage comments before I send it off? I'm trying for a cajoling rather than 'us' and 'them' slant.

    "Another perspective...."
    Having recently picked up and read a copy of a relatives IAM local area magazine I noticed the attention being given to some of the road markings in Beverley.
    As a regular cyclist and having used some of the 'controversially' marked roads I found them a joy to cycle on. Let me explain.
    The Highway Code Rule 163 states: "Give vunerable road users at least as much space as you would a car". Unfortunately this doesn't happen often enough with most motorists, close overtakes are unnerving and cause air turbulence which are unsettling on a bike. The larger the vehicle and passing speed the worse this becomes. Could you react in time if a cyclist you are passing veered off after hitting one of the numerous potholes in the area?
    The road markings in Beverley are making drivers think and pay attention to cycles, giving them the road space they are entitled to.
    Imagine this senario. Two vehicles and a cycle on a single carriageway road. The car travelling in the same direction as the cyclist waits behind until the oncoming vehicle is clear, pulls out giving plenty of space and continues on its way, a delay of a few seconds. Unfortunately what happens all too often is a "must get past" attitude towards the cyclist resulting in very close overtake of them.
    Every car that has overtaken me on the marked Beverley roads has waited to pass.
    As a car driver I appreciate the uncertainty the markings cause, it causes me to think, to slow down, to assess road conditions. Surely a good thing? There seemed to be a concern over head-on collisions with not having a central dividor. I look for cars, buses, HGV's - they are easy to see and pull over to avoid. We (as drivers) need to pay more attention to other road users.

    Personally I regard most on-road cycle lanes in the area are far too narrow and useless as they encourage close overtaking. The cycle lanes marked on the roads in Beverley are also nice and wide (DtF recommend 1.5metres)giving a good passing clearance. As drivers we exercise lane discipline, we 'stay in our lane'. If I (as a cyclist) am in my cycle lane green painted strip I am 'in my lane' so can be passed. The markings take little account of Rule 163 above.

    The sun has finally appeared, petrol prices are horrendous (and going to get worse) - go get the bike out of the back of the garage and dust it off! Smile and wish me a "Good Morning" if we pass, you never know, you might even enjoy it! See you on the roads."
  2. Regulator

    Regulator Egregious Professor of Cruel and Unusual Geography

    Nice letter!
  3. sheddy

    sheddy Veteran

    Very good. BTW would it help to illustrate the points by attaching a photo of the road in question ?
  4. Piemaster

    Piemaster Guru

    UK City of Culture

    Thanks for the positive comments.
    The newsletter is only a black & white publication. Photos are only of a photocopy standard and were not very clear on the issue I saw so not sure if it would be practical. Good idea though. I'm working in Norway at the moment as well, so photos would be a bit tricky anyway.
  5. Amanda P

    Amanda P The CycleChat user formerly known as Uncle Phil

    Nice letter. I like your tone and you make some good points.

    If I may make some constructive criticism?

    One or two of your sentences and paragraphs could be clearer or more direct. In a couple of places, we know what you mean right away, but someone less familiar with the issues might flounder slightly. Your opening is great, but you begin to lose your thread slightly towards the end.

    May I humbly offer the following paraphrase of your piece? Feel free to ignore me altogether, or make use of whichever bits you feel are improvements, or the whole thing as you see fit:

    Reading a relative’s IAM local area magazine, I noticed the discussion of some new road markings in Beverley. As a regular cyclist, and having cycled on some of the roads causing the controversy, I found them a joy to use. Let me explain.

    Highway Code Rule 163 says: “Give vulnerable road users at least as much space as you would a car”. Unfortunately, most drivers don’t do this. The resulting close overtaking manoeuvres, and the air turbulence they cause, can be very unsettling. The larger the vehicle and the greater the passing speed, the worse the problem becomes. [Many roads in Beverley are badly potholed: could you react in time if the cyclist you are overtaking suddenly swerved after hitting a pothole? If not, you should have left more space.] This bit’s a bit of a red herring – maybe it’s better not to go into all the other hazards cyclists have to deal with but drivers don’t - stick to your main subject - readers' concentration is often limited.

    The new road markings in Beverley are making drivers think and pay attention to overtaking bicycles, and giving them the road space they are entitled to.

    Imagine this scenario: two cars approaching one another on a single carriageway road. One of them is also coming up behind a cycle. The car behind the bicycle waits behind it until the oncoming car is clear, then pulls out and passes the bike, giving plenty of space, and continues on its way. The driver is delayed by a few seconds at most and everyone stays calm and safe.

    Unfortunately, all too often what happens is that the driver of the overtaking car takes a “must get past” attitude and overtakes the cyclist far too close in an effort to also avoid the oncoming traffic.

    It’s this second scenario that the new Beverly road markings help to prevent: every car that has overtaken me on the roads marked this way has waited until there is no oncoming traffic.

    As a car driver I understand the uncertainty that the new markings cause – but they cause me to think about the road conditions, and to slow down. Surely this can only be a good thing?

    There seems to be a concern that not having a central dividing line might cause head-on collisions. But if the lack of this line causes drivers to be more careful, I can’t see that this is in any way a problem. [In any case, how can a line prevent a collision? It's only drivers' behaviour that can do this. Behaviour can be influenced by a line - or the absence of one - though.] That bit's me, but you might want to use it. Or not!

    Many other on-road cycle lanes are far too narrow to be useful, and can actually encourage close overtaking: drivers feel that as long as they and the cyclist are both in their respective lanes, no further thought need be given to overtaking safely. [That’s not so if the cycle lane is the same width as, or actually narrower than the bike, as many are] that bit's also me, but I think this is what you were getting at but didn't quite say.[(take a look at http://homepage.ntlworld.com/pete.meg/wcc/facility-of-the-month/index.htm if you want proof!)]That's also me - but if readers do actually look at this, they'll get an idea of the problems narrow lanes can cause. The new Beverley cycle lanes, though, are a more comfortable width; in fact the DtF recommend at least 1.5m.

    Meanwhile, the sun has finally appeared and petrol prices are horrendous and going to get worse – so why not get your bike out of the back of the garage and dust it off? Smile and wish me good morning as we pass – you never know, you might enjoy it!

    See you on the roads!
  6. Piemaster

    Piemaster Guru

    UK City of Culture
    Thanks for the help, I'll certainly pinch some of it. Easy to forget not everyone loves their bikes like people on these forums do, just he second opinion I was hoping for.
    I'll be mailing the piece onwards this evening. I really hope it does get published. The thought of a pro-cycling piece in a motoring organisations mag has a certain appeal to me.
  7. Piemaster

    Piemaster Guru

    UK City of Culture

    Just had an email informing me that my article (with help from Uncle Phil) is going to be published. :biggrin:
  8. Regulator

    Regulator Egregious Professor of Cruel and Unusual Geography

    Excellent! Perhaps you can post a copy of the article once it has been published?
  9. Piemaster

    Piemaster Guru

    UK City of Culture
    Can do. I'm just as interested if there will be any replies in subsequent issues.
  10. gavintc

    gavintc Guru

    I was in Beverley at the weekend and cycled the road with the new markings. They do make drivers slow down and give you more room.
  11. Piemaster

    Piemaster Guru

    UK City of Culture
    I'm in print!

    The article has been published in the current edition of the Hull and East Riding IAM magazine

    I'm now looking forward to any replies it might get. Obviously publishing is a tad slower than a forum though.

    Did anyone know they have a cycling initiative?

    and even a cycling development manager

    A motoring organisation that actually seems more concerned for road safety than just motoring. Can only be a good thing.
  12. Cunobelin

    Cunobelin Legendary Member

    The IAM does have cycling initiatives and training. They also have a very reasonable "Sharing the road with Cyclists"

    MY only real qualms is the frequent claim by IAM members that their claims are "Paper only" and that they are not taught or applied in real life. THe clasic is that their statement "Advanced drivers do not Speed" is ignored totally in both training and tests. If this is the case than there is a level of doubt that invalidates any training.
  13. Piemaster

    Piemaster Guru

    UK City of Culture
    Mrs Piemaster Senior is a member.

    She has recently done a speed awareness course as she was caught speeding by a camera.

    She was on the way home from a IAM meeting at the time ;)

    Still, first motoring offence in 40+ years on the road.