Discussion in 'transport' started by cybertect, Sep 17, 2009.
More care is not the same as being overly cautious... Whether this is actually true of female cyclists more than male I think needs more investigation, but will explain anyway... Essentially cycling close to the kerb is actually pretty dangerous, you are vulnerable to pedestrians, opening doors, roadside furniture and that area tends to be where things like broken bottles and other random crap accumulates. Often you will need to swerve out into the road and it's all too easy to forget to signal/shoulder-check. Even if you do that signal will be harder to see.
Other road users need to be aware of you and if you're tucked away often that's not easy... Riding with cautious confidence is important, ie not being nervous about using the road, just a well developed sense of impending death and the ability to act on it. You want to be as predictable as possible; a cyclist a couple of cycle widths (I don't actually advocate cycling right in the middle btw, except on some residential streets) from the kerb moving steadily in a straight line is not actually much harder to overtake than one hugging it, and if an idiot does try at a bad time, you have that space to move into.
Quite possible; seen loads of people cycling without lights.
Yep, anyone who's actually driven a car will know how hard it can be to see cyclists. Since learning to drive I've basically had a fucking huge wake-up call in which I realised that, unless someone is a very good driver, it's entirely possible they haven't seen you, especially if you're right next to them. You need to make yourself visible, understand where the easiest places for them to notice you are. This is why I get ahead at lights on my bike, if you are in front of cars they will see you... That's not to say skipping them, which I do much less now (largely because my commute involves Holloway road and it would be suicidal), just getting a bit further forward. NOT recommended for lorries though (blind spot directly in front).
This is the kind of thing I was thinking of. I suspect a lot of people who have never driven a car or taken the test have very little idea about what a driver can and can't see in terms of blindspots, what he is expecting to happen on the road at any given time and therefore where he is looking.
Points of order:
- the accelerator is used to get to the speeds you find 'terrifying' in the first place. Braking after that is a palliative or, more kindly, corrective, measure.
- I'm not convinced that a significant proportion of cars are being driven at grossly excessive speeds (e.g. 40 mph+ in 30 zones). I certainly don't see them that often myself in London. It's a conspicuous event when I do by its rarity.
- In recent years, roughly half of road deaths of female cyclists in London involving another vehicle occur at junctions in low speed collisions with lorries (with a massively high proportion of the victims being women, which is where this thread started). Cars make up most of the rest, though there is no evidence of their speed in TfL data.
I've not been able to discover whether the rise in prominence of this type of incident is because others have been in decline, or whether they have genuinely risen in absolute terms. However, the BMJ suggest that "heavy goods vehicles are estimated to cause 30 times as many cyclists' deaths as cars and five times as many as buses" [Deaths of cyclists in London 1985-92: the hazards of road traffic]. At the moment, in London at least, it's the biggest single fatal hazard on the roads for cyclists.
Anyhow, I certainly don't want this thread to degenerate into yet another bunfight about speeding.
Before we get too doomy and gloomy, there is some light here. TfL's 2009 report finds that "Pedal cyclists killed or seriously injured were 21% below the 1994-1998 average" while conceding that "This is the first year the number of cyclists seriously injured has fallen since 2004". This should be put into the context of an 91% increase in cycling in London between 2000 and 2007.
Considering the number of cycle journeys made in the capital, cycling shouldn't be considered a dangerous activity. The most disturbing aspect is the similarity in the circumstances of female rider + lorry + junction.
Ditto... wearing black clothing on a black-framed bicycle: I only just missed a ninja cyclist near home the other night while I was riding my bike because he was nearly invisible. It didn't help that we'd had a power cut and the street lights were out...
I'm only glad I wasn't driving the car instead.
I'm talking about 30mph in 30mph zones.
The authorities shouldn't need to introduce 20mph zones to tell people to use a few grey cells. 10mph is often the correct speed in a motorised vehicle but you'll almost never see it voluntarily adhered to - I routinely get idiots honking when I do 15mph on my bike.
Once on wider roads, there seems a determination to accelerate to 30mph as soon as possible instead of doing what an efficient cyclist will do and anticipate having to slow down again shortly afterwards. Cyclists are often automatically overtaken as soon as possible.
There's one section of my daily commute where the locals park on the pavement, and walls have to be repeatedly rebuilt.
Sadly, many drivers ought to have remote-controlled throttles - the setting determined by the current road conditions that they're incapable of adapting to by themselves.
My hope is that it will be 20mph zones in the areas where drivers actually live that will see them respecting other people's streets.
Ephraim was actually very seriously injured:
but you are right, the driver of the lorry pulled out of a side road - I didn't put that in the report, as Effri's case hadn't been to court.
you can see differences in strategy as cyclists approach red lights. One lot go round the outside of stationary traffic, reckoning that if the lights change they have the acceleration Diamond mentioned above, or the manouverability, to get out of any trouble. They're probably right, although they're mixing it with motorbikes who occupy much the same space, and with the boy racers revving it in the outside lane.
Most of the others cruise up the inside, on the green strip if there is one, pedalling slowly if at all, not really expecting or anticipating having to do much in a hurry, whether or not the lights change. Some folks hang back behind the traffic or hop onto the pavement or whatever, but there's few of them compared to the two main groups.
Now the thing is that the first lot, the ones who live on their wits, are predominantly young, fit and male. Not all, but most. The cruise up the inside types are much more likely to be riding shall we say lower performance bicycles and are probably older and (I'm gonna get shot for saying) include more women.
At least, that's my observation.
It's easy enough to say that the stats show that the safest strategy is to overtake, but it only works for those who can produce the quick reaction burst of speed. Being caught on the white line as the mo'bikes and white vans move off is very scary at puff puff wobbly speeds, as is moving inside across a couple of lanes of moving traffic.
99.9999% of the time sliding up the inside is safe and works fine, whether lorries are involved or not. A few times a year someone's judgement is at fault, and the result is tragedy. Whether it's the cyclist or the lorry driver who gets it wrong, they've likely done the same thing thousands of times before without mishap.
That's a long preamble to a question:- what can be done to make junctions safer? Would mirrors mounted on the traffic light poles help, or should all railings be removed, so cyclists have somewhere to fall, or what? Any suggestions?
If I drove a lorry I would have some major signage on the back nearside.. perhaps something like a cyclist's "safety arm" ....
I'm old and fat and ride a Volvo estate of a bike, but I don't hang about - but wouldn't dream of doing it.
The inside of lorries, buses and vans is simply not a place anyone should find inviting.
The answer is education...
I frequently have to slow down or stop to allow lorries, buses, taxis etc to pass me so that I don't become squashed into the kerb/railings etc. This is most frustrating as they almost always have accelerated past me and then pulled across me.
Just this morning I had to bunny-hop onto the pavement to avoid being squashed by a HGV.....he came from behind and then pulled across me to avoid oncoming traffic.
I think the insult to injury was that whilst I had my heart in my mouth and was a little shaken, a pedestrian gave me a dirty look and told me to get off the pavement....
The thing is, you should have stood your ground.
It was probably just your perception that you needed to get on the pavement.
I have never done that in 20-odd years of riding.
I took up cycling after 10 years of motorcycling and driving, so I started out with an assertive stance. Others may benefit from training.
True. I think cycling made me a better driver, but also vice versa. Both give you an insight into what other road users can and cannot see, what you can reasonably expect of them, and so on.
I'm sure this is true of lorries as well. I've not driven one but I have ridden in the cab of several. I don't think many people - drivers, cyclists and pedestrians alike - appreciate where their blind spots are, or indeed how difficult lorries are to drive. Some of the remarks about lorry drivers on this thread - especially those who've implied that they kill cyclists deliberately - are frankly idiotic. Lorries are involved in a disproportionate number of fatal accidents but that's not because their drivers are all psychopaths: it's because they're big, heavy, difficult to manouevre, not that easy to see out of and they don't stop quickly.
I've noticed a lot of lorries in London have started sporting signs on the nearside rear warning cyclists about the blindspot to the left. That's a good thing. I also think that removing barriers along the edge of pavements would be a good move. I never liked cycling alongside them, because I was always uneasily aware that if I did come off they'd stop me falling onto the pavement and I'd certainly land in the road. A colleague of mine was hit by an HGV a couple of years ago. It happened just after the barriers had petered out. His bike went under the lorry's wheels: thankfully he fell onto the pavement. Had there been barriers there he'd probably have gone under its wheels as well...
Look it is quite simple....I am on a bike and can not take that risk. As much as it annoys me sometimes, I accept that.
I am going to come off worse if my judgement or brazenness is misguided. I do not want to become a white ghost bike.
fuckin hell didn't know you were on here.
I'm sorry, but sooner or later your approach is going to let you down.
You should have been in such a position that you couldn't have been overtaken like that.
I was riding along a busy road probably 2-3 feet away from the kerb.
A lorry comes from behind me, out and around me...he then swerves back in across me to avoid oncoming traffic.
I see him eating up the road in front of me and bunny hop onto the pavement to avoid getting squashed by his back end.
What did I do wrong apart from not using my batfink wings of steel to knock the fucker back across the road?
There's not THAT much of a difference
It's the "in front of me" bit that's key here - he had successfully completed his dangerous overtaking - I don't see why you felt the need to get off the road.
You would unfortunately just have to swear at the idiot and slow down to leave a decent gap ...
If he was actually about to try to occupy the same space he was guilty of dangerous driving.
Does this happen often ?
.....Because there wasn't any road left for me to be on....he has an accelarator pedal and used it to get in front of me/ diagionally, then ate up my road.
Are you winding me up?
*goes to draw diagram*
Seriously if anyone had done that to me, I would be reporting his registration to the police.
I see incidents like this everyday.
I usually slow down to let them pass. Sometimes I can't do that as they cut in too quickly...like today.
Well...I didn't get his reg. I was busy staring daggers at the pedestrian who had a go at me for mounting the pavement even though I didn't hit or come close to anyone. It was a travis perkins lorry...long trailer packed with bricks, cement etc..
No, I drive as well as cycle and the driver you are talking a bout above is incompetent. Yes, there are blind spots and unexpected eventualities (like kiddies running out into roads). However you have to be both aware and able to expect such things.
Slow down, if you have a blind spot look over your shoulder check another mirror so that you have a wider viewing angle or fit an extra convex mirror to you door mirror.
If you're driving in a city that is a place where people live, children play and other road users use different transport (bikes). It is not up to the vunerable to allow for shit drivers it is up to the motorist to be aware of the vunerable.
If you feel incabable of taking all these distractions and hazards on board then don't drive it really is that Fucking simple.
It's just this kind of aggressive reductionist bullshit that damages the relationship between all road users.
Cars have weakness. Be aware of them as a cyclist. That's what I'm saying.
That goes for everyone, though, not just drivers...
Sorry, yes drive, ride, walk
that's all well and good but get into the cab of a lorry and there will be blind spots, you can't escape that fact, as well as relying on your own driving skills and ability, you also need to rely on other people making sure that they don't do silly things, one of which as a cyclist is undertaking such vehicles, in particular at junctions. give them room to manouevere basically.
Bullshit? I'm not having a go at motorists I'm having a go at people who simply don't know how to drive responsibly.
though i agree it's scary standing your ground is the thing to do: realising it's not nearly the risk it feels like is the key. basically drivers of large vehicles will try to bully you out of the way, revving behind you and expecting you to get out of the way... so they can make it to the next traffic jam first ride in front, stand your ground, if you want him to give you more space look them in the eyes and tap your brakes- watch him hit his hard.
/5 years couriering no collisions or serious injuries
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