Cycling Fatalities... What should be done about them?
I read that a number of cyclists in London have been killed on the roads in the last three weeks.
I believe that cyclists should have to pass a test and need to carry cycling licences.
I also believe that either the bicycle OR the rider needs to carry a registration number or an ID number so that offenders can be prosecuted.
As someone who has driven trucks in London, I can tell you that cyclists are their own worst enemy. The most dangerous manoeuvre is the left turn - cyclists, in spite of seeing the flashing indicators, will persist in riding up the nearside. When the lorry turns left, the cyclist gets crushed. It doesn't help that many junctions have fences on the pavement edge stopping the cyclist from escaping.
Dennis's suggestion is appealing but simply not practical - the bureaucracy would be a nightmare for a start. Perhaps this clever software that recognises faces could be used to find and prosecute (or offer training to) misbehaving cyclists. Maybe just rounding them up at known danger spots and making them take some immediate training would deter and improve.
Being an ex racing cyclist with the NCP certificate, I can honestly say I have never seen such poor roadmanship displayed by ALL cyclists. Riding on pavements, ignoring red lights, riding the wrong way up one way streets to name but a few. Most are car drivers as well and should know better.
It is a sad fact of life that the majority get tarred with the same brush as the thoughtless minority.
There is an 'Atheletics Club' about a quarter of a mile from where I live and it is quite common to see them out on their cycles on Sunday mornings in the Summer. About thirty or so riding down the road in a clump blocking the road so noone can pass them. When they turn at a junction, whether going left or right, not one of them indicates, and they turn onto other roads en masse with no apparent concern for other road users. I have never seen any one of them look over their shoulder before carrying out any manouevre. I would have thought a 'Club' would be more stringent about, if not following the Highway Code, at least the safety of their members. The last few years I have noticed some younger members with them, and this is seemingly the way they are taught to ride.
Not far out, Trainman. There are cyclists who use the roads correctly, but are probably so much in the minority that they are not noticed. For the last 9 years before my retirement, for exercise reasons, I took to cycling to work (year round and all weathers), 11-mile round trip daily. In all that time, I never once made contact with a vehicle; must have been doing something right, and I always obeyed traffic lights, pedestrian crossings, etc.
Originally Posted by Trainman
One thing I did notice, and have continued to notice since is that, when two cars pass on a narrow road, many seldom to avoid passing a cyclist at that precise moment.
Add to your observation the practice of cyclists cutting across roundabouts instead of going around them, going through red lights at pedestrian crossings even when people are using the crossing, and going over a crossing when its lights are at green, and vehicles approaching very close.
I have seen them riding two (even more) abreast and, when a driver coming up behind them gives a toot for them to make way for him/her to pass, the result has been a two-fingered reply. This often causes a driver to swing very closely by them - not a clever move, but drivers are still only human and can be riled just as easily as any other member of the species.
I do give cyclists due consideration, and act in the interests of their own safety when they do something stupid that could affect me.
Apart from not wishing to hurt anyone, I also do not want the resultant hassle - time-wise or financially.
An on-going development on the edge of our town is the ******** of traffic signals on the roundabout of the main road. The council claim this is largely due to injuries (or death) of cyclists. Our local councillor has reservations about the development, and I have agreed with him. The lights will worsen the situation because, as we are all aware, most drivers will go ahead regardless when they have a green light in front of them.
One thing I saw on the BBC news in relation to cyclists, was the view of road lanes. It showed a cycle lane going left with a vehicle lane following it on its right, then another cycle lane for straight ahead with that having a vehicle lane on its right. This means two vehicle lanes with a cycle lane between them. What happens when there is a cycle in that lane and a driver takes a direction contrary to the lane that he (the driver) is in? How dangerous is that? And introduced by highway "specialists" who are supposed to be making things safer for cyclists!!!
One other thing - about cycle training. Last week there were two fellows (I think police related) who had a string of youngsters riding up and down the road opposite our home. The kids were wearing hi-viz vests, but this road is fairly busy as it, and our road, are feeder roads for much of the estate. Off the road they were using are three cul-de-sacs which are straight, level and which would have been much safer to use for the training purposes.
On the question about what we should do concerning cyclist fatalities, my first thoughts are that serious consideration is needed; and by a truly competent panel of experts, and without the current knee-jerk reactions that might politically show concern but in reality produce nothing.
On the continent, I believe that traffic laws favour the cyclist, and drivers 'carry the can'. Would this work for the UK? I doubt it, without a significant change to mind-set. At present, drivers view cyclists with unreasonable disdain. Add to this the behaviour of some cyclists who actively demonstrate their "rights", and who might possibly extend this attitude with cyclists being given too much favour, and this being widely publicised.
The already documented TV programme of cyclists wearing CCTV headgear, and aggressively contesting vehicles comes to mind.
Understanding and co-operation in equal measure from all sides is a first priority before any improvements can be achieved.
When I was young, I, along with friends, and most of the kids from miles around, used to go to a section of road that was very long and steep, with a sharp-ish left-hand bend at the bottom. It was quite common to fall off at the bend through going too fast, which meant sliding into the other lane for traffic coming up the hill. As I grew older and started to drive, I was aware that using this road at a weekend or summer evening I was likely to meet a kid sliding towards me. I slowed down in anticipation, not a problem. Yet some of my childhood friends would go like the proverbial bat to get up the hill. I pointed out to some of them what we used to do. I remembered this when I began to wonder how many motorists who treat cyclists with disdain, were cyclists themselves in the past, and if so, why do they act the way they do?
With the building of the M25, the long slope has almost disappeared now and it is a kind of 'stepped' section with longer but less steep inclines.
In 1983 I wrote to then transport minister, Lynda Chalker, suggesting a white line about 1 yard from the curb to make a cycle lane for safe cycling. I was told that it was a non starter as it would cost too much. This was in about 3 pages of waffle. Now look, cycle lanes all over the place!
I too got involved with teaching The National Cycling Proficiency Scheme to youngsters. I did one course because I thought the senior course leader was teaching bad practice. I informed the police officer who was in overall control that I was quitting and why. He was not very pleased at what I told him. Whether she (the course leader) was told off or not I don't know.
Some of the cycle lanes in our small town are formed by means of splitting the pavement into two lanes with a white line - one lane for pedestrians, and the other lane for cyclists. When these lanes change from one side of the road to the other, there are even special markings at the appropriate light-controlled pedestrian crossings.
So what do cyclists do? They either ride on the opposite (wrong) pavement, or the road itself. Often they will be in a bunch - there are senior schools on one particular road - and take up both lanes of the pavement with pedestrians having to move out of their way. And, if they feel like it, they will ignore the crossings and cross where they please between moving traffic.
Is there really any chance of introducing education and common sense in young cyclists with attitudes like that?
We have those split cycle/pedestrian pavements and the same happens. The funny thing here is the largest one is near me and was instigated after I complained to the council about the poor state of the pathway. They investigated and renewed the whole length about a mile or so as the dual purpose route. Another example of complaining about poor standard road or footpath. If they don't know it doesn't get repaired. (see potholes thread)