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Cycling hazards

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Joined 19-05-2004
Posted on Tuesday, 18 September, 2007 - 11:04 pm:   

I am now going to surprise viewers by being a little sensitive, and of course setting myself up for some abuse. Whilst championing cycling for many a year, and pouring scorn on the rest of society, I am now encountering an even bigger problem than bendy buses and ignorant (rude, not ill-informed) drivers. Pedestrians. Now BD of course knows that many pedestrians are innocent when they walk out in front of cyclists, clearly trying to avoid cars mounting the pavement, particularly where there is a police chase involved (OK poor taste...).

But he is coming across an increasing number of pedestrians who simply don't look when the cross the road. He is used to having to avoid tourists, and well used to Fleet Street and Oxford Street where shoppers seem to be in a world of their own. But tonight a classic when a gaggle of commuters ran across the road to chase a bus at the stop (NKR). After the third yell and braking so hard I almost went over the handlebars, one of them still hadn't turned to look what was happening and I hit her. In retrospect I wish I'd given her more of a shock as she continued to run, still with mobile phone to her ear, despite some pretty direct language from me. As someone who swears too much, I had a rare excuse that I was actually in shock.

OK so perhaps not the best site to air my views, and not SE23 specific. Some of you are queuing up to give me a kicking but perhaps the dozen or so cyclists may have a view - and others as well. And perleese don't go on about pavement cycling, that is an issue, but not one that I am raising here.
Joined 25-11-2004
Posted on Tuesday, 18 September, 2007 - 11:35 pm:   

Pedestrians don't look properly when they cross the road.
Motorists don't look properly when they pull out at junctions.
But I cycle to work everyday and virtually everyday I find myself swearing at another cyclist for one thing or another.
We're all guilty. No group is worse than another... except bus drivers... they can all die horrible deaths as far as I'm concerned. And mobile phone using drivers too.
Joined 04-03-2005
Posted on Wednesday, 19 September, 2007 - 08:36 am:   

I make a point of getting in the way of cyclists when I am crossing the road, but only when there is a green man in my favour. I am fed up with cyclists jumping the lights, especially in areas where they know pedestrians are using the road.

I have a lot of respect for cyclists, but those who jump traffic lights, ride on pavements, go the wrong way down one way streets, and ride without lights at night are a very visible (or in the last case invisible) minority.

And would it really have hurt you to allow pedestrians to cross the road to catch a bus? You may have been delayed by a few seconds, but they may have saved 10 minutes each. The rules of the road do not rule out courtesy for other road users and pedestrians.

Thanks BD for the opportunity for a mini-rant.
Joined 04-03-2005
Posted on Wednesday, 19 September, 2007 - 09:32 am:   

This could almost move into a bigger issue of general, self-absorbed rudeness. I like to call it the 'I'm the only one on the planet syndrome'. You see it everywhere, cyclists, pedestrians, (very scary with car drivers) in the supermarket. People who wouldn't consider themselves rude, but incredibly unaware of anyone else on the planet besides themselves. I am constantly amazed by people who push in front of the elderly, or exit a train and stop directly outside the doors, completely blocking shopping aisles...(the list could go on). And when you talk to these people (excuse me, can I get by?) you get such a look of surprise as if it never occurred to them that other people may want to shop, use the bus, walk down the street, cycle to work etc.. etc.. etc...

Sorry, thought this would be a good place for my mini-rant.
Joined 16-07-2004
Posted on Wednesday, 19 September, 2007 - 09:46 am:   

Michael, I suspect it was the case that BD was going, perfectly naturally, at a decent speed and the pedestrians suddenly ran out in front of him to cross the road giving little time for any reaction other than shout loudly and slam on the brakes. That is hardly a question of him being discourteous.

I quite agree that there are bad road users of every variety but I think that a big part of the problem is that so many pedestrians don't realise that cyclists actually go quite fast so mistakenly think they have lots of time to walk out in front of us even on the fairly rare occasions that they bother to look. I've taken to riding in the middle of the road on some sections of my ride just so that I have suffiecient reaction time if someone decided to walk blindly across the road.

And don't get me started on pedestrians walking on the cycle path...
Joined 08-05-2007
Posted on Wednesday, 19 September, 2007 - 10:40 am:   

I'm not condoning people walking out in front of cyclists, they should of course look first, but I believe there is a very simple reason why people do it, which is that they can't hear you coming. Compared to a motor vehicle, a bicycle is of course relatively silent and you'd be surprised how many people, when they don't hear anything approaching, just step off the curb. However, when they've got a mobile phone or personal stereo occupying their ear you really haven't got a hope in hell. I ride a motorcycle and they still walk out in front of me all the time.
Joined 19-05-2004
Posted on Wednesday, 19 September, 2007 - 01:13 pm:   

I feared that this would digress into a number of different directions and all that I was after was a little comfort at a vulnerable time.
What I was after was a view from fellow cyclists whether it is getting worse or not – I think that I have a fairly objective view.

As for the points raised – most of us on two wheels will only be two aware that most pedestrians rely too much on their ears not their eyes and wont always look when crossing the road if they don’t hear cars. I am constantly watching out, particularly in crowded shopping areas. The person I hit last night would have had to be deaf not to have heard me, and as she was on her mobile ‘phone clearly wasn’t.
Like many of us I use the shared cycle lane, footpath along the canal and one thing we are not good at in the UK is doing exactly that – unlike the continent where pedestrians and cyclists seem very much more aware of where they should be on shared facilities. So dodging pedestrians and their dogs is the norm.

Onto other hazards, scooters, buzzing in and out of the traffic. Very nippy but a pain, as they are so flexible and relatively quick they get in your way and appear out of nowhere. Need a big fly swat for them.

Implicit in all this is that there are dodgy cyclists, nowhere near as many as some people talk about particularly in the tabloids (I’ll find out where you live Clarkson and Parsons).

Thanks for making me smile Mandy (and long time no hear). Michael, we used to have a stall at our school fete where you threw old wooden hockey balls at crockery (seconds). Perhaps that is what you need to do instead of rant (oooh, pot calling kettle black methinks)
Joined 04-03-2005
Posted on Thursday, 20 September, 2007 - 09:09 am:   

Were either of you hurt?
Joined 19-05-2004
Posted on Thursday, 20 September, 2007 - 01:11 pm:   

No fortunately both of us are fine, that is me and the bike, although it did take me a few minutes to get over the experience. Fortunately I managed to brake just in time.