As today is the big Cycle Safe debate in the House of Commons (if you can call it a debate when people duck in and out and miss all the previous and later points)* here are a few observations from the saddle and the car which may help put some reality on the politics:
- Some motorists have overlooked/ignored/are ignorant to the bit of the Highway Code which allows cyclists to ride 4ft from the kerb/gutter and that they should give room equivalent to the width of their vehicle when passing a cyclist.
- Nobody should overtake when it is unsafe to do so. Blind bends are particularly unsafe and it is best to hold back rather than swerve into the cyclist you are overtaking.
- When being held up behind a cyclist because it is unsafe to pass, revving your engine does not make a cyclist go faster.
- The speed limit is just that it is not a minimum requirement.
- 4×4 drivers tend to assume that in poor driving and road conditions (e.g. snow and ice) that their vehicle is immune to accidents and drive accordingly putting other road users (cyclists, pedestrians, other drivers) at risk from their actions.
- Parents who place “baby on board” signs in their car seem to have an unhealthy disregard for other road users.
Yet just as these issues are probably brought to us by a minority of motorists, there are those amongst us cyclist who fail to help. Whilst being a passenger in the car in the last 2 weeks I have noticed:
- Several cyclists riding through red lights and across the stream of traffic – not a smart move for self preservation and brings a bad name to the rest of us
- Cyclists riding at or after dusk without lights – come on people, be safe be seen isn’t for the hell of it and it only stokes the fires of the “compulsory lights” brigade.
So there we have it. A few observations from both perspectives. Some motorists clearly view the roads as their own and never to be shared but if we are to be able to stand our ground as cyclists we need to put our house in order at the same time. A bit of give and take would make the roads a safer place.
*60 out of 650 MPs attended the debate, less than 10% of our representatives in the House of Commons.