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Archive for March, 2011

I was speaking to my colleagues at work on Friday and a conversation started about why motorists hate cyclists and why cyclists hate motorists. As I both cycle and drive I can see these arguments from both sides. I have put some of these below and my personal view of them.

Cyclists do not pay road tax, they have no right to be on the road.

Can we please get rid of this one straight away. Apparently car tax pays for motorways etc not local roads, local roads come out of your council tax. So as long as cyclists are paying council tax, they have a right to be on the road. If cyclists start cycling on the motorway, then you can complain.

I hate the way cyclists will be driving on the road and suddenly decide they are a pedestrian and drive on the pavement.

If you are not a child and you are able to cycle on the road, you should. I must admit, I have done this in the past and for me it was mostly lack of trust of drivers on large intersections, so instead I would hop onto the pavement. I over came this by learning how to reserve space on the road etc. It must be said that cycling can be dangerous, especially if drivers are not making giving them room etc, self-preservation is a good reason to hop onto the pavement sometimes.

Why do cyclists have blinking lights, it is annoying?

I used to have blinking lights on my bike because I was under the impression that it was safer as drivers would see you better. After speaking to other drivers and cyclists, especially when one member of the CTC didn’t want to cycle behind me as my blinking light would give him a headache. I decided not to have them blinking anymore. Blinking lights are a double edged sward, if  your lights are annoying other road users, especially drivers it will make it less safe as they may be blocking your lights from their view with their hand. Now they cannot see you at all. They know you are there, somewhere, but not your exact position. This driver is now driving one handed, until they pass you as quickly and probably not as safely as they can. Cyclists with rear blinking lights make me fitter, as they annoy me so much, I have to increase my speed so that I can pass them. Don’t put your lights on blinking, no-one likes it.

Why do cyclists go through red lights, the law applies to them as well

Cyclists go through red lights for 3 reasons:

  • They may go through a red light at a busy junction when the crossing is allowing pedestrians to cross. This us usually because the cyclist does not feel safe at that junction and needs to go before the cars have a chance to hit them.
  • They may go through a red light where you have a pedestrian crossing with no-one on it. This is because it takes a lot more leg energy to stop and start again then to continue at the same speed. I think of this as loosing more weight and strengthening my leg muscles by stopping at every red light.
  • Some cyclists go through every red light, do not wait at crossings etc. This is irritating to me as a cyclist, especially when they go around my bike to skip the light, I then make it a challenge to catch them up and overtake them. If the truth is told, most of the people that do this are not difficult to catch up. I have never seen any one in proper cycling gear going through red lights unless they felt unsafe at a busy junction.

The rules of the road should apply to cyclists as much as drivers. But drivers have to acknowledge the vunerabilities of cyclists as one of my mates said to a driver, I have two kids at home, I don’t want to make them fatherless tonight. Drive carefully.

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