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Biggest Threats to Cyclists?

edited 30 November -1 at 12:00AM in Public Transport & Cycling
799 replies 39.3K views
sdavies13sdavies13 Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 12:00AM in Public Transport & Cycling
In the build-up to my commuting by bike had loads of people warn me about car, lorry and bus drivers, but have to say apart from a couple of near misses the biggest threats to me have been other cyclists and pedestrians!

As an example twice whilst riding home last night I had pedestrians step out in front of me at crossings. The lights had changed to green, I had started peddling, there's traffic moving behind me and people STILL stepped out into the road!

One case the guy was too busy messing with his phone to notice (I hadn't seen him as he stepped from behind a couple who were waiting) and although I braked and swerved to avoid him I nearly came off due to the clipped in pedals.

The second, same scenario but in this case the guy had stopped then decided he had right of way and stepped into my path. Again managed to avoid but sure got the adrenaline flowing!

Other case are other cyclists. So far have been hit twice by other cyclists. First was a guy coming up behind me on a rise where the path was constricted. I lost my balance and hit a wall on my side, he picked himself up, swore at me for being in his way then peddled off. Second was a cyclist overtaking on a cycle path when there was oncoming bikes then quickly swerved to avoid them, knocking my front wheel which affected my balance (thankfully no pedestrians on the pavement alongside otherwise I would have hit them as I tried to regain my balance).

OK I'm no Bradley Wiggins, but surely other cyclists can be a bit more patient with me and wait until it is safe to pass?

I'll admit I have weaved a couple of times, though thankfully not when anyone's been near me. Either I wasn't concentrating or was going too slow up a rise.

I dunno, maybe I'm just too cautious and being an aggressive biker is the correct way to be...
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Replies

  • interstellaflyerinterstellaflyer Forumite
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    Impatience is the biggest threat to cyclists and it works both ways, far too many motorists are impatient, however, on the other hand, far too many cyclists are impatient, especially in urban areas.
    I hate football and do wish people wouldn't keep talking about it like it's the most important thing in the world
  • edited 3 October 2013 at 8:48AM
    AndyBSGAndyBSG Forumite
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    edited 3 October 2013 at 8:48AM
    Lorries are without a doubt the single biggest risk to any cyclist.

    Last year 106 cyclists died in Britain as a result of an accident involving a vehicle, a record high, and 25 of those deaths were caused by HGV's.

    So they were responsible for roughly a quarter of all cyclist deaths despite HGV's only making up 4% of the traffic on the roads.

    I've overcome most of the 'fears' I had when I first started cycling, mainly as a result of learning from experience, but i'm still incredibly wary around HGV's.

    Also, as much as I may not like admitting it, most cyclists are also guilty of causing risks themselves due to a lack of experience or formal training.

    IMO, no cyclist should be on the road if they have not had bikeability training because the amount of cyclists that clearly do not know basics like when to take primary or secondary position and how to navigate roundabouts or right hand turns is worrying.
  • AndyBSG wrote: »
    Lorries are without a doubt the single biggest risk to any cyclist.

    Last year 106 cyclists died in Britain as a result of an accident involving a vehicle, a record high, and 25 of those deaths were caused by HGV's.

    So they were responsible for roughly a quarter of all cyclist deaths despite HGV's only making up 4% of the traffic on the roads.

    I've overcome most of the 'fears' I had when I first started cycling, mainly as a result of learning from experience, but i'm still incredibly wary around HGV's.

    Also, as much as I may not like admitting it, most cyclists are also guilty of causing risks themselves due to a lack of experience or formal training.

    IMO, no cyclist should be on the road if they have not had bikeability training because the amount of cyclists that clearly do not know basics like when to take primary or secondary position and how to navigate roundabouts or right hand turns is worrying.

    More worrying is the drivers out there who have ALL had formal training and yet cannot safely operate their heavy, high-powered vehicle correctly which causes danger to other people.

    Personally I think the biggest threat to my own safety is me. Using the road incorporates a long line of decisions I make that affect my safety. If I make the right choice I'm likely to be safer than if I make the wrong one.

    This means not hugging the kerb so I can be seen better from further away. It means not riding close to parked cars to avoid being doored. It means not going up the inside of large vehicles, especially at junctions. It means riding with lights when visibility is poor. More than anything though it means being observant to the world around me and riding to the conditions.

    If someone 'just stepped out in front of you' why did you not see them and expect it to happen? If you ride slightly further away from the kerb it gives you the additional space to compensate for the mistakes of others. SMIDSY is no excuse. Ever.
    It's only numbers.
  • AltarfAltarf Forumite
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    Biggest Threats to Cyclists?

    Themselves normally (and I speak as a cyclist).

    Driving to the train station this morning at 6am in a dark country town, I saw around 10 cyclists and only two had lights on their bike (and one had the rear light on the "wrong" side making it difficult to see).

    Only one cyclist was wearing any reflective gear, most were dressed ninja style.

    In London where I work you see cyclists dicing with death trying to get up the inside of buses and lorries. Do they not think that if the truck moves left they are going to be squashed flat?

    Cyclists behaving unpredictably, and made worse by wearing earphones, so they have no idea about the traffic around them.

    On the whole cyclists just seem very poor at understanding the difference between probability and impact.

    It is improbable that riding up the inside of a bus will have any impact. But in the unlikely event it does have an impact, it is likely to involve a lot of blue lights and a priest.
  • thelawnetthelawnet Forumite
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    Biggest risk to you is yourself.

    Other cyclists and pedestrians are annoying but I'm not aware of a single cyclist fatality caused by a fellow cyclist or a pedestrian.

    Cyclist fatalities caused by cyclist error, car/lorry driver error however are numerous.

    Moaning about idiotic pedestrians and/or cyclists is no different to motorists moaning about cyclists - misguided and misdirected.
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  • elmerelmer Forumite
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    The only time I was ever hospitalised as a cyclist is when a large teenager ran between a line of slow moving traffic into my path.

    I was sent flying and clipped by a car coming in the other direction, my beloved hand built bike was a write off.

    Always watch out for the pedestrian who is not looking.

    elmer x
  • edited 3 October 2013 at 11:02PM
    ElsewhereElsewhere Forumite
    752 posts
    edited 3 October 2013 at 11:02PM
    I was discussing cyclists on a local forum just a couple of days ago.

    I think that cyclists over the age of - say - fourteen should have to take a theory test on the Highway code and not be allowed on public highways unless they pass - the "license" to be displayed on whichever bike they are riding. Cyclists below this age would be permitted to ride - with care - on the pavement (obviously on the road as well if the pavement was very narrow or non-existant). Cyclists breaking the law would be fined or lose their license, just like car drivers. I feel that cyclists would thus get a lot more respect from other road users as vehicle drivers would be confident they knew the rules of the road and would behave predictably.

    The test could be organised and taken at school - after all, some schools already do cycling proficiency, so it could be a formal extension of that. As a sweetener, if the theory test is passed and the person later wants to use a car or motorcycle they would not have to re-take the theory test.

    nb. The biggest problem I have with cyclists as a pedestrian is that they are too quiet - I have to depend on seeing them and don't have the added backup of hearing them approach. And what happened to the bell? Cyclists come virtually silently up behind on bridleways, for instance, and seem to expect me to know via psychic communication that they need me to step aside.
  • thelawnetthelawnet Forumite
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    Elsewhere wrote: »
    I think that cyclists over the age of - say - fourteen should have to take a theory test on the Highway code and not be allowed on public highways unless they pass - the "license" to be displayed on whichever bike they are riding. Cyclists below this age would be permitted to ride - with care - on the pavement (obviously on the road as well if the pavement was very narrow or non-existant). Cyclists breaking the law would be fined or lose their license, just like car drivers. I feel that cyclists would thus get a lot more respect from other road users as vehicle drivers would be confident they knew the rules of the road and would behave predictably.

    Drivers don't really follow the rules of the road. It's quite selective. Red lights usually yes, speed limits usually no.

    The test could be organised and taken at school - after all, some schools already do cycling proficiency, so it could be a formal extension of that. As a sweetener, if the theory test is passed and the person later wants to use a car or motorcycle they would not have to re-take the theory test.

    This test doesn't appear to serve any useful public policy goal. Cyclists are not by any objective standard dangerous to others (cars on the other hand cause £billions in damage/deaths in year). Driving tests don't really do a very good job of stopping people driving like [email protected] either - you find that young drivers drive dangerously and older ones more safely, this even having passed a test.
    nb. The biggest problem I have with cyclists as a pedestrian is that they are too quiet - I have to depend on seeing them and don't have the added backup of hearing them approach. And what happened to the bell? Cyclists come virtually silently up behind on bridleways, for instance, and seem to expect me to know via psychic communication that they need me to step aside.

    Bicycles don't come with bells on the most part these days. The bikes sold aren't really fit for the purpose they are more like fashion items.
  • thelawnet wrote: »
    Bicycles don't come with bells on the most part these days. The bikes sold aren't really fit for the purpose they are more like fashion items.

    ALL bikes sold from a shop have to come with a bell by law. Whether people keep them or not, or use them or not, or they can be heard in traffic is another issue.
    It's only numbers.
  • CycrowCycrow Forumite
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    unfortuatlly alot of pedestrians (and cyclists) dont know the proper use of a bell on the bike.

    so many, when hearing a bell, assume it means they need to move out the way, and will jump out the way, often in the path of the cyclist.

    a bell should be used as a warning of your approach, not as a message to move out the way (the same as a car horn)
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