Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Traffic behaving badly

We sometimes have to point out to people that when riding your bike on the road you aren't just riding in traffic, you are traffic.

Recently when crossing Manchester by bike from Victoria Station to Piccadilly station, a five or six minute ride I was shouted at by a cycle courier, on his retro steel-framed racer, because I wouldn't pass on the inside of some traffic, causing him some delay. The traffic involved was a "bendy" bus, another bus, a tipper truck and another couple of lorries!  I don't take too well to being shouted at by fellow cyclists but I'm afraid that my reply to this consisted only of two words, neither of which I can print here!

Funnily enough I caught up with him after only half a mile. All his risk taking and anger didn't get him anywhere faster than my relaxed and safe approach on my Brompton.

Anyway I carried on to my train and on to London where I was able to get out on my bike a few times. It was great to see so many people on bikes but the behaviour of some of the cyclists made the courier in Manchester seem quite sensible.

In no special order some of what I saw included:
  • passing on the inside of cyclists who are riding in the correct position
  • passing inside large vehicles (including around junctions)
  • Riding on and off pavements to pass queuing traffic
  • disregarding red lights
  • reacting rather than planning
  • not signalling or checking before manoeuvring
  • not allowing pedestrians room
I'm not just having a go at fellow cyclists here but having read so much about the tragic deaths of cyclist in London, especially involving large vehicles turning left, I was surprised by the general lack of care for one's own safety (or lack of sense?). At one point a number of cyclists told me that the next set of lights was regularly policed so it would be best to stop, I've said before that red lights are fairly clear - it is best to stop when the light is red, police or not!

Whenever I was passed by cyclists behaving badly (not only men!) I found that in half a mile or so I was passing them anyway - nobody is saving any time!

Of course the non-cycling London traffic was at least as bad as anywhere else but the following bad driving in no way mitigates the bad cycling.
  • squeezing and driving too close to the kerb
  • really poor and unpredictable lane discipline
  • not stopping at red lights (several vehicles per change)
  • inappropriate parking on roads
  • illegal parking on separate cycle paths and pavements
  • not signalling or checking before manoeuvres
  • not allowing pedestrians room
  • tail-gating and pressurising
  • inappropriate speed
  • sprint - stop mentality
Whenever I was passed by motorists behaving badly (not only men!) I found that in half a mile or so I was passing them anyway, often waiting in a queue - nobody is saving any time!

Hare and tortoise springs to mind!

No comments:

Post a Comment