What hope is there for cyclists?

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

  1. boydj

    boydj Guru

    Location:
    Paisley
    +1

    I do think that in most places outside London, commuting cyclists are not so common and drivers get used to the cyclists they see on a regular basis and their driving tends to better - at least that's my experience commuting in Glasgow for the last five years.

    I also believe that drivers commuting in the rush hour tend to be much more 'on the ball' - i.e. alert and aware of what's going on round them and so the standard of driving is better than it is say, when the school run gets going.
     
  2. buggi

    buggi Bird Saviour

    Location:
    Solihull
    i was saying to a guy at work today that when you add up all the things a cyclist has to be aware of on the road, it's a wonder any of us make it home in one piece.
     
  3. Thing is though...

    Today I set off, was waved out of a junction, 1/2 mile on indicated right to move into o/s lane of a dual c/way, car behind patiently waited instead of barging on through, headed up an uphill 2-lane carriageway in the r/h lane to turn right at the next lights with no hassle from the following car. One aborted overtake from a van driver, the overtake was aborted early and though whilst it would have no doubt been marked down on a driving test, showed enough alertness to re-evaluate the situation and pull back and wait until safe.

    I had to think hard about any noteworthy comments because tonight was simply "how it should be"

    Of course, it would still have only taken one idiot to make the journey into a really memorable one for the wrong reasons, but most journeys aren't like that..they are forgettable
     
  4. dondare

    dondare Über Member

    Location:
    London
    I've been cycling in London for 30 years without ever being killed, seriously injured or involved in a fight with a motorist.
    I suspect that the vast majority of cyclists could tell you the same thing. (Well, not necessarily the 30 yrs in London bit but you know what I mean.)



    (I've had some pretty heated debates on cycling forums, but none that I would regard as life-threatening.)
     
  5. OP
    OP
    NigC

    NigC New Member

    Location:
    Surrey
    Almost tempted to let this one die, but not quite just yet. A couple more things I want to say:

    OK, yes, what gets posted here is more than likely the juicy bits we all know we want to hear and as such is going to tend towards the more dramatic. But from my own experiences as a driver and cyclist, I absolutely believe life on 2 wheels is considerably more dangerous than on 4. Here's a brief reflection of my "moments" as a motorist for 24 (wow! ;) ) YEARS:
    • 3 very low speed prangs (none my fault I hasten to add).
    • 1 low speed near miss: car pulls out from side road.
    • 1 Icy moment: Didn't allow for a thin layer of snow and skidded out from a junction - luckily nothing coming.
    • 1 scary moment on a motorway: 3/4 completed an overtake of a lorry (me in middle lane) when the lorry starts indicating and pulling in to my lane. I quickly employ the right foot, check and move to ouside lane.
    • 1 very serious near miss: pulling out onto a mini roundabout with the road to my right perfectly clear. I'm moving, but check to my left and see a 40ft artic hurtling towards me. Thankfully I stopped and just gave him enough room to squeeze past. A "sorry" wave from the driver didn't help me get any sleep that night! That was 8 years ago and I still treat mini roundabouts as regular junctions now.
    • 1 stupid speeding fine: downhill on an empty dual carriageway, I was photographed doing 82 in a 70 limit. Entirely my fault.
    Now my 18 MONTHS as a cyclist averaging (I guess) around 6 journeys a week:
    • 3 very dangerous moments where cars have pulled out from side roads. 1 time I had to brake so hard I almost tipped the bike over - rear wheel in the air for what seemed like an eternity.
    • 4 skip lorries passing me way too close - enough to feel the suction and definitely very scary.
    • Lost count of the times I've been cut up by drivers turning left on a roundabout where I go straight across. It must be in double figures.
    • 1 Bus passing way too close - was expecting more than that, but that's all I can remember.
    • 1 post office van cutting in close on a left bend while I was also there, forcing me to brake hard.
    • 1 jogger crossing in front of me without checking and getting the fright of her life as I swerve to avoid her.
    • Many cars passing too close for comfort (sorry - never kept count of these).
    • 1 car driver thinking about overtaking me, but changeing their mind - choosing to sit with their nearside bumber level with my backside and clearly too close for comfort as they didn't think they had room to pass. This one was particularly stressful as there was no pathway to escape onto had I felt the need.
    And in that same 18 months as a pedestrian:
    • Nearly got hit by a banana skin thrown by WVM.
    • 50 times (at least) got really annoyed when my boot laces have come undone.
    • Almost slipped 3 or 4 times during the winter snow.
    I consider myself a very careful road user, no matter what my choice of transport is, but my own personal stats are testament to the vulnerability of the cyclist. Having said that, I believe my own awareness has improved while cycling and a large number of my "moments" were in the earlier months.

    What worries me is the numbers in relation to time spent on the road when compared to driving. OK, so most have been pretty undramatic, but I know some time sooner or later I'm going to take a spill, which I'm sure, statistically, is likely to just see me home with the odd cut and bruise. But I don't like the odds when compared to taking the car. BUT, I'm still going to take the bike anyway :rain:

    As to this not really relating to commuters on bikes, I'm still of the belief it very much does. As I've said before, the commuter is travelling at the busiest time of the day and often on the busiest roads in the area. Many members here are very experienced cyclists and have no problem handling the odd "moment", but many people are giving the bike a "go" because of various reasons: ridiculous petrol prices; fitness; cycling is quicker! These are most likely people that have ridden a bike as a kid, so know how to handle it, but haven't got the skills they might need for a commute. Learning by your mistakes as a cyclist can be much more painful than as a driver.

    A casual cyclist will almost certainly know their area well enough to know the busiest roads and the busiest times and quite probably plan their cycle deliberately to avoid them. In fact, they'll probably choose a more scenic route entirely where motorised traffic is not permitted.

    Well I think I've said enough on this now, I'm off to bed :rolleyes:
     
  6. hackbike 666

    hackbike 666 Guest

    Why would I want to take the bus?

    It's one reason why I cycle...so I go years without catching one.
     
  7. PBancroft

    PBancroft Senior Member

    Location:
    Winchester
    NigC, out of interest what was your road position during those incidents? I'm by far no expert on this subject, but I'm wondering how much of a bearing it may have had (if at all).

    Forget primary, secondary, etc., perhaps just a description?
     
  8. summerdays

    summerdays Cycling in the sun Moderator

    Location:
    Bristol
    I think in the car we don't notice/assess the risk as well - and note the risk isn't always to ourselves but also our passengers as well as those around the car whether they are in other cars or cycling or pedestrians. I think you become detached from true reality, thinking you are safe in your metal bubble. I think on the bike we are more aware how we can create a risk ourselves or be at risk from other people.
     
  9. ComedyPilot

    ComedyPilot Secret Lemonade Drinker

    Nigc, most of these threads are in the 'Commute' section. Commuting is something people do in cars, buses, trains, vans etc. They are all trying to get somewhere. Cycling isn't just about commuting, it is a very diverse pastime.

    Have a look at touring and racing for two examples, and see how people enthuse about their riding. Commuting tends to bring up a few negatives, as it (in some places) can get hairy. But, it can be like that for all road users, not just cyclists.

    As long as you use the attitude that all other road users haven't seen you and will step out, turn, stop without a thought about you, then you'll be ok.

    Just don't think commuting is the 'be all and end all' of cycling, it isn't.
     
  10. Riding in Circles

    Riding in Circles Veteran

    Location:
    EDINBURGH
    We're doooooomed! If we posted every single uneventful ride on here then you would hardly notice the odd ride where something happened.
     
  11. GrasB

    GrasB Veteran

    Location:
    Nr Cambridge
    +1 most of my rides could be summed up with "nice ride, nothing note worthy happened". Would make for boring reading.
     
  12. OP
    OP
    NigC

    NigC New Member

    Location:
    Surrey
    Ah forget it. I just thought you guys might be interested in making it a little safer for future cyclists by highlighting the dangers we face. But clearly you're all just interested in bitching about how you've been wronged by motons. That's fine by me, have a safe journey in your own little personal worlds :thumbsup:
     
  13. BentMikey

    BentMikey Rider of Seolferwulf

    Location:
    South London
    Calm down dear!

    :thumbsup::biggrin::blush:
     
  14. dondare

    dondare Über Member

    Location:
    London
    Britain's biggest killer is heart disease, which regular, moderate exercise protects you from. This far outweighs the dangers of cycling on the road.
     
  15. GrasB

    GrasB Veteran

    Location:
    Nr Cambridge

    • I doubt this gets close to covering the number of incidents you would have remembered had your vehicle been a bike. When I looked through a video from the Exige going down the motorway for 85 miles 70% of people that pull in front of me were close enough to the off-side front of the car that had they given the same space on the bike I've been very concerned, also there were a number of people who overtook me without even fully crossing the road division. Oh & for over 75% of the time I had someone behind me with less than 2 cars lengths away... that's fairly dangerous at 70mph. Due to the fact that I was wrapped in a metal & fibreglass cage I was far less concerned.
     
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