What hope is there for cyclists?

Discussion in 'Commuting' started by NigC, 30 Apr 2010.

  1. Not blaming the victim at all but there is something in that statement.

    Basically what you are saying is that they happen when your guard is down, so there is a defence against that, by being yourself more alert than the drivers around you are

    It's irritating that we can't pootle along happily like Sunday drivers out for the scenery but unfortunately we do have to have one eye for scenery and the other for hazards coming from all directions
     
  2. BentMikey

    BentMikey Rider of Seolferwulf

    Location:
    South London
    Nah, cycling isn't dangerous. Most of the annoying incidents are just that, and not life-threatening. Upping the risk somewhat, yes.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    NigC

    NigC New Member

    Location:
    Surrey
    Probably not life-threatening, true. Pain-threatening, yes - I'm allergic to pain, it brings me out in black and blue blotches or makes me secrete red liquid that stains :laugh:
     
  4. MacLean

    MacLean Well-Known Member

    Location:
    London

    Yeh this is true, it is the one weakness of cycling - being slower than everything else. I have expeirienced plenty of close fast overtakes and my memory tells me they where inches away.... In reality the where probabbly a few feet.

    Boils down to the risk factor, 99.99% of cars will overtake, yes some will be close some with plenty of room. You still gota be pretty unlucky to get hit by overtaking car - and anyone can be a victim of unluckyness no matter how defensive they are. So it boils down to your risk managment - take a look at some statiscs if you can, really study the stats and come to your own decision of weather the reward is greater than the risk. No matter how much we moan we will never have perfect safe roads and people will always get injured/killed on them.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    NigC

    NigC New Member

    Location:
    Surrey
    I didn't mean to make it seem like I'm not on my guard when cycling - I'm very aware of what's around me, but it's the attack from behind that so dificult to predict. 99.9% of motorists pass without any problem, but you don't know what they're going to do until they're next to you.

    Sometimes the traffic noise makes it easier to get prapared (i.e. more time to panic :laugh:) and other times not.

    I suppose a mirror might help give a little advance warning? Or should I be checking over my shoulder a lot more often?

    If I sense there's a lorry/bus/van etc. behind me, I tend to get ready to brake. Probably this is not the best idea as a sudden stop could cause me to skid and make things a lot worse - although it saved me a little while back when on a road with a left bend: a post office van decided to cut the corner while I was there - would have probably hit it had I not braked hard.
     
  6. magnatom

    magnatom Guest

    Personally, I don't think cycling is risky at all. Look at all of my videos, over the last 4 years or so. There are quite a few. However, whittle them down to serious incidents and there are perhaps one or two. Even then I probably had it covered. Only one incident REALLy shook me and that was my tanker incident (not public due to ongoing investigation).

    So one really bad incident in over 4 years of nearly 5 day a week cycling on busy city roads. The only collision I have had was my fault (into the back of a car :laugh:). So is it dangerous? No.

    The biggest problem is not safety, as such, but attitudes, attitudes towards cyclists. The car is most definitely king, and for a proportion of drivers, they see themselves as perfect, never wrong.

    On my new commute as I come into the city, I cycle on fast dual carriageways. I cycle in quite a prominent position, for good reason, on these roads. I would say on average, it is every second commute, where I get a driver hitting their horn at me, or gesticulating that I should be further over to the left. It is annoying, but I generally let it pass (though not always :laugh:).

    So IMO, councils should stop putting down cycle lanes that encourage poor cycling and reinforce the idea that cyclists should cycle in the gutter, and put up road markings/signs that alert drivers of their responsibilities and that often for good reason cyclists may need to be in the centre of the lane.

    My 15p worth.:biggrin:
     
  7. snorri

    snorri Legendary Member

    This thread should be in Campaign, it is not a Commuting specific topic.:laugh:

    Leaving it to someone else is the easy option, if everyone adopts that attitude there will never be any improvements for cyclists, in fact things will get worse as other interests have their voices heard in the corridors of power.
    I suggest you join your local cycle campaign group, if there is no such local group, you have an opportunity to start one up.
    Join the CTC and get involved in campaigning through their Right to Ride section.
    Respond to government consultations on transport and health issues.
    Respond to local transport plans issued by your local authority from time to time.
    Scour the planning applications from your local authority and lodge objection if cycling interests have been ignored.
    Read the statutory notices published in your local newspaper and lodge objection to anything you think may have a negative effect on cycling.
    Write to your MP, write to local councillors.
     
  8. OP
    OP
    NigC

    NigC New Member

    Location:
    Surrey
    I think I'll still continue to cycle for many years to come. I'm actually getting into it a bit more now - it's taken me 18 months to really start to enjoy it a little (still prefer walking though).

    It's not so much the chances of being hit while being overtaken, it's the reaction after seeing a vehicle pass you at close range. I think most humans ordinary will find it very difficult to just carry on regardless - much more likely is that they will swerve out of the way....... straight into the kerb and what happens next it's never going to be pretty. That's my main concern when traffic passes me.
     
  9. GrasB

    GrasB Veteran

    Location:
    Nr Cambridge
    Another thing with close passes is that when you're balanced against the wind or the vehicle passes at speed you get the wash from the car. This destabilises the cyclist & may well make them wobble into the path of the vehicle behind or lose control if they hit a road imperfection etc. For an experienced cyclist it's no more than an irritation but for the less experienced cyclist it can be a real moment.
     
  10. OP
    OP
    NigC

    NigC New Member

    Location:
    Surrey
    I think the first line I've quoted goes a long way to explaining why most incidents can be ignored: You are an immensely experienced cyclist and used to cycling in heavy traffic. So you are far more aware of the dangers faced by cyclists, are much more experienced generally in handling a bike, consequently you are much better equipped to deal with them. I suspect this goes for quite a large number of members here too.

    The fact that you still have "moments" highlights how vulnerable even the most experienced cyclist is (regrdless of how well they can deal with them). Someone with less expeience may find it extremely nerve-wracking and that's when things can go wrong.

    Poorly designed cycle lanes look like a complete nightmare. Worse is that the average cyclist would not recognise it as such and happily use them completely unaware of the potential risks (me included most likely), thus letting their guard down and making things even worse. I'm sure the people responsible for them being there thought they were doing the right thing, but it would appear these people need much better education too.
     
  11. OP
    OP
    NigC

    NigC New Member

    Location:
    Surrey
    Actually, I think the most "at risk" cyclists are those that commute: They are on the roads at the busiest times of the day and almost always have to be somewhere at a given tme - no matter how mcuh time you have, this always adds a little pressure to a journey. A casual cyclist would never normally be on the roads at this time and would most likely pick a route that was much more peaceful anyway.

    As for me? I'm more of a backseat driver when it comes to this sort of thing - hence this thread suggesting somebody else take the reins, sorry :tongue: Besides, I know how fruitless most campaigning really is - all it seems to do is irritate people rather than actually achieving anything (OK, now I'm running for the hills after that comment :smile:. I'm more than happy to add my opinion if I think it's worthy, but I'll be the first one to leave when the riot shields are brought out.
     
  12. MacLean

    MacLean Well-Known Member

    Location:
    London
    When you think about it cyling is just like after passing your driving test...

    When you start you are most at danger due to lack of experience. Unfortunitly only way to gain experience is to get out there, pay attention, be carefull and not be unlucky.

    Unfortunitly the last one is out of everyones control :becool:
     
  13. CharlieB

    CharlieB Junior Walker and the Allstars

    Location:
    Redkiteland
    I recall posting a very similar OP to this one very shortly before I started commuting, as a response to seeing the content of these fora.
    I received similar and thus encouraging response to what's been seen above.

    Having been on those same roads nearly every morning and evening for the past eight months, I guess I can only add that yes, any road user is in a vulnerable position, but it's been a totally rewarding experience.:becool:

    A glance at any tabloid newspaper will tell you that it's the negative stuff that gets the headlines.
     
  14. Sometimes, people post about incidents because they are seeking advice. It's not just posting for the sake of telling what happened.

    Anyone browsing the forum can decide for themselves whether they want to read and respond to what some might regard as 'bad' news.
     
  15. Trevrev

    Trevrev Veteran

    Location:
    Southampton
    Sounds like you're just unlucky.
    I go on the theory , If it hasn't hit you then it's a safe pass.
     
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