Is it safe to cycle on UK roads? - interested in people's opinions
in Public transport & cycling
65 replies 1.6K views
I watched the recent BBC Panorama programme 'Road Rage: Cars V Bikes'. As a result I am very seriously considering getting rid of my bicycle. Perhaps it sounds a bit naive but this programme has given me a whole new perspective on cycling. I have been a cyclist for many years. I fall into the category of somebody who cycles out of a need. I got rid of my car mainly due to not wanting to contribute to climate change ,although cost and lifestyle were also factors.I have regularly used my bike for long trips of fifteen to twenty mile treks through the countryside for special excursions but I usually use it to do necessary local trips of about five miles each way and for going shopping using my panniers. I definitely do not fall into the category of the lycra clad weekenders (in fact I don't own any lycra).When I cycle I am very happy to take my time.I'm quite happy pootling along quite close the edge of the road usually, I can look out and see if there are drains and potholes and slow down accordingly or safely cycle round them.(I did used to drive for many years so I do have an understanding of the roads as a driver by the way) I don't know if I am missing something ,but I've never really understood it when I see that a cyclist will cycle really far over towards the middle of the road. I know that I have a friend who tells me about how when they are cycling they will position the bike further over to prevent a car from passing them etc because they have judged the situation as dangerous. To me this seems a big aggressive ,it's like he is 'making the decision' for how he wants the car driver to act and trying to control how things unfold on the road ,rather than letting the person driving do the driving and fitting in accordingly (obviously if there was something that was definitely dangerous one should take appropriate action rather than putting one's safety in jeopardy) I can sort of understand how motorists get wound up when cyclists behave like this ,I do think driving makes people stressed anyway, I see no reason for cyclists ever cycling two or more abreast in the road ,there's nothing wrong with falling back and cycling single file at the edge of the road ,they can have a chat later on in the pub! I can understand this annoys motorists,it used to really,really annoy me when I used to drive! I feel like I have never really encountered much aggression from car drivers and most drivers seem to be careful to drive around me safely,although,the other day a car drove past me ,so,so closely that his car more or less brushed my leg ,I'm sure he did it on purpose ,and it left me terrified ,it was dreadful! I hadn't done anything at all to provoke and I was right on the edge of the road (as usual) I assume the driver resented me for no other reason than because I was on a busy road near to a complicated junciton and I was an annoyance !! So ,anyway,seeing the Panorama programme and the film footage of the cycling accidents ,it's made me realise that every time I am at a junction or a roundabout I am relying on a driver driving safely and making sure he looks properly or looks up and sees me,if I am on a bicycle I have got no protection and I am at the mercy of people driving safely ,I could be killed or severely injured ,if I am severely injured ,would I even be compensated? The programme makes it seem as though motorists get away without much action taken towards them if they hit a cyclist. The programme said that two cyclists are killed each week in the UK.It feels as though the roads have got more chaotic and dangerous lately and people seem to tear around in their cars and break the rules more than ever.
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Double white lines where the line nearest you is solid. This means you MUST NOT cross or straddle it unless it is safe and you need to enter adjoining premises or a side road. You may cross the line if necessary, provided the road is clear, to pass a stationary vehicle, or overtake a pedal cycle, horse or road maintenance vehicle, if they are travelling at 10 mph (16 km/h) or less.
Laws RTA 1988 sect 36 & TSRGD regs 10 & 26
Been cycling on roads for almost 20 years and only had 1 accident (was hit head on by a guy pulling out of a parallel parking space in the wrong direction and therefore unable to see past a van parked directly in front of him).
It helps to plan ahead and avoid/go round dangerous roundabouts/junction. Sometimes it may be easier/safer to get off the bike and walk past the dangerous stretch and get back on the road later on. Also, use cycle lanes/paths and bus lanes if possible.
"Is it safe to cycle on UK roads? - interested in people's opinions"
Depends on the roads - lots of country lanes with very little traffic round here that I am happy to walk/cycle along but I avoid the main A road which is simply unpleasant to be on regardless of any increased risk from other traffic.
I ride my Bike into town and back which is around 4 miles there and back. I used to ride about 1 foot from the curb but now I ride about 3 feet from the curb.
Main reason for this is that 1 foot from the curb I kept getting punchers. Now I don't. Where a "Cycle lane" is marked it's towards the right side of that. Most people will pass safely now the law has changed. Only time I move across the road towards the centre is when I am looking to turn right. Try to move across within 10 meters of junction. Look round before hand and stick my arm out horizontally.
Whatever I am riding or driving, be it a Bike, Motorbike, Car or Truck I am always looking for the unexpected.
Part of the problem is that many people are in too much of a hurry and don't concentrate enough. I have caught up with Cars at junctions when I've been on my bike and people who have come too close have admitted they did not see me! Strange as if I am on my bike I wear a High Viz jacket!
I have now added a camera to my Cycle helmet and attached one to my seat post. Not had anyone come too close since I attached the cameras. Hopefully I will never have to submit any footage to the police.
If everyone abided by the Highway Code and showed a little restraint, patience and courtesy towards others then maybe there wouldn't be an issue.
I say this as both a driver and keen cyclist (I cycle alone usually). I've also been hit by a drunk/drugged driver and ended up with multiple injuries (including a permanent head injury that affects me on a daily basis). I don't bear the driver any ill-will, even though it took me a long time to go back to cycling on the roads afterwards, I just hope that lessons were learned and the driver managed to get his addictions under control so that it doesn't happen again.
I ride miles on the roads. Up to the point of the accident, I'd covered 12,000 miles in the previous two years and I've done a few thousand since. Mainly roads away from towns but some of them get quite busy.
I'm a motorist and take my responsibilities on the road very seriously. If I have to wait for cyclists to do whatever they want to do, then so be it. If I have to wait for horses and riders - however long (and sometimes it's quite long as I live in the countryside) then I wait. Too many motorists seem to think that they have the right to be impatient and that they take priority over all other road users, and that just isn't the case.
The highway code for cyclists is full of 'you shoulds' rather than 'you musts' - even helmet-wearing is optional. And even though it can be irritating for we motorists when cyclists ride two or more abreast, it's perfectly legal for them to do so. I'd rather wait than overtake. Sometimes motorists behind don't like it and decide to lean on their hooter but I won't overtake cyclists - or anyone else for that matter - if I deem it to be unsafe.
Over my many years of driving I have realised that motorists are usually at fault, even when they aren't. I have often felt 'road rage' because of the silly things some motorists do (and get away with) but now I have to think of my blood pressure so try to be cool and not get het up since that could end badly. And it doesn't change anything.
In a car, though, I do feel there's a modicum of safety - I'm in a cocoon of sorts - something which cyclists and motorcyclists lack. They get knocked off their cycles, they are on the ground. They bounce, they hit cars, trees, walls, you name it.
I guess I do feel more strongly about the danger of bikes - be they push or motor - since my friend's son was killed a couple of years ago by a lorry driver who made a wrong move. My friend's son - aged 43 - didn't even see the lorry that hit him, it shouldn't have been there. The lorry driver, safe in his big vehicle, wasn't even injured. The inquest was heartbreaking, particularly as somehow, even though the motorcyclist was deemed to have done everything right, it was ruled an accident. The poor lad never had a chance, someone else made a mistake and he died as a result. Any cyclist - push or motor - would have died in that situation.
And that is why I say a firm NO, it's not safe. Maybe on quiet country roads but certainly not in busy cities.
My opinion obviously but it's something I feel very strongly about. I have always thought that riding bikes of any description on our roads was a dangerous endeavour. Now I'm totally convinced.