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  • FIRST POST
    • sdavies13
    • By sdavies13 3rd Oct 13, 8:19 AM
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    sdavies13
    Biggest Threats to Cyclists?
    • #1
    • 3rd Oct 13, 8:19 AM
    Biggest Threats to Cyclists? 3rd Oct 13 at 8:19 AM
    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...
Page 1
    • interstellaflyer
    • By interstellaflyer 3rd Oct 13, 9:06 AM
    • 1,801 Posts
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    interstellaflyer
    • #2
    • 3rd Oct 13, 9:06 AM
    • #2
    • 3rd Oct 13, 9:06 AM
    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
    • AndyBSG
    • By AndyBSG 3rd Oct 13, 9:33 AM
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    AndyBSG
    • #3
    • 3rd Oct 13, 9:33 AM
    • #3
    • 3rd Oct 13, 9:33 AM
    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.
    Last edited by AndyBSG; 03-10-2013 at 9:48 AM.
    • Marco Panettone
    • By Marco Panettone 3rd Oct 13, 10:49 AM
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    Marco Panettone
    • #4
    • 3rd Oct 13, 10:49 AM
    • #4
    • 3rd Oct 13, 10:49 AM
    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.
    Originally posted by AndyBSG
    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.
    • Altarf
    • By Altarf 3rd Oct 13, 4:51 PM
    • 2,876 Posts
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    Altarf
    • #5
    • 3rd Oct 13, 4:51 PM
    • #5
    • 3rd Oct 13, 4:51 PM
    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.
    • thelawnet
    • By thelawnet 3rd Oct 13, 6:59 PM
    • 2,466 Posts
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    thelawnet
    • #6
    • 3rd Oct 13, 6:59 PM
    • #6
    • 3rd Oct 13, 6:59 PM
    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.
    • elmer
    • By elmer 3rd Oct 13, 10:57 PM
    • 829 Posts
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    elmer
    • #7
    • 3rd Oct 13, 10:57 PM
    • #7
    • 3rd Oct 13, 10:57 PM
    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
    • Elsewhere
    • By Elsewhere 3rd Oct 13, 11:54 PM
    • 734 Posts
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    Elsewhere
    • #8
    • 3rd Oct 13, 11:54 PM
    • #8
    • 3rd Oct 13, 11:54 PM
    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.
    Last edited by Elsewhere; 04-10-2013 at 12:02 AM.
    • thelawnet
    • By thelawnet 4th Oct 13, 12:08 AM
    • 2,466 Posts
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    thelawnet
    • #9
    • 4th Oct 13, 12:08 AM
    • #9
    • 4th Oct 13, 12:08 AM
    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.
    Originally posted by Elsewhere
    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 tw@ts 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.
    • Marco Panettone
    • By Marco Panettone 4th Oct 13, 8:15 AM
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    Marco Panettone
    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.
    Originally posted by thelawnet
    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.
    • Cycrow
    • By Cycrow 4th Oct 13, 10:37 AM
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    Cycrow
    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)
  • WiggyDiggyPoo
    Lack of common sense?

    There are many questionable decisions I see daily, luckily few end in tears. These are made by all road users from peds to truckers and all sizes in between.
    • Cycrow
    • By Cycrow 4th Oct 13, 11:13 AM
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    Cycrow
    Lack of common sense?
    Originally posted by WiggyDiggyPoo
    no such thing as common sense, as its clearly not very common at all
    • sdavies13
    • By sdavies13 4th Oct 13, 9:58 PM
    • 100 Posts
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    sdavies13
    Well cycling home tonight had three more pedestrians stepping in front of me as I rode along (ok I had predicted they were going to do so and had slowed down and unclipped ready for them, none of them looked in my direction just stepped off the pavement into traffic).

    Mind did have my scariest moment tonight. Cycling through lights and the bus behind decided to overtake me. Ok, not a big issue but the problem was the road narrowed so he starts to overtake then pulls across me to get into the lane completely ignoring the fact he has just overtaken me. Slammed on my brakes pretty sharpish and just avoided going under his rear wheel (I came to an almost instant stop and the rear of the bus was barely an inch or two away from me as it went past).

    Now THAT got the adrenaline flowing!!!
    • armyknife
    • By armyknife 5th Oct 13, 12:22 AM
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    armyknife
    Well cycling home tonight had three more pedestrians stepping in front of me as I rode along (ok I had predicted they were going to do so and had slowed down and unclipped ready for them, none of them looked in my direction just stepped off the pavement into traffic).

    Mind did have my scariest moment tonight. Cycling through lights and the bus behind decided to overtake me. Ok, not a big issue but the problem was the road narrowed so he starts to overtake then pulls across me to get into the lane completely ignoring the fact he has just overtaken me. Slammed on my brakes pretty sharpish and just avoided going under his rear wheel (I came to an almost instant stop and the rear of the bus was barely an inch or two away from me as it went past).

    Now THAT got the adrenaline flowing!!!
    Originally posted by sdavies13
    Scary stuff, glad you were prepared to take prompt action.

    My attitude to cycling has changed over recent months, in the past I used to encourage people to take up cycling for all of the health and well being benefits. Now I no longer promote it, as I feel in many locations and situations, it's too risky an activity for many people to cope with and enjoy.

    I say this, because increasingly I experience other road users carelessness, disregard for more vulnerable travellers and occasion determined mean-spiritedness.
    I'll continue to cycle myself, as it's the way I get about and I'm prepared to take calculated risks, hopefully generally stacking them in my favour. But for new to it or those returning to cycling I say treat it as a leisure activity and do in largely vehicle free places.
    • hugheskevi
    • By hugheskevi 5th Oct 13, 12:37 AM
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    hugheskevi
    Cycling through lights and the bus behind decided to overtake me...but the problem was the road narrowed so he starts to overtake then pulls across me
    Sounds like you should be taking a road position such that buses (and probably other vehicles) cannot overtake you there?

    That isn't to excuse bad driving, but it is inevitable so you have to deal with it.

    On my cycle home, I go through this set of traffic lights. It is routine for cars to get themselves in the wrong lane and then cut across traffic, which is lethal for cyclists. The safest route to turn right is to start ahead of traffic in the right lane (in a position that they can't overtake) then as you round the corner, make sure you don't take the left lane until you have checked that a car hasn't turned right from the left lane and is undertaking you, and only then move left in the lane. Just tonight a BMW did that, undertaking at speed after turning right from the left lane.

    I wouldn't say being an aggressive rider is necessary, but you do have to be assertive when necessary. Even that has its risks - I've had a guy pull his car across me forcing me to a stop and getting out of his car because I rode through 2 pinch-points in the centre of the road (as it is not possible to overtake but some drivers think it is, try to overtake after the first pinch point and then either they or I have to slam on brakes as the second pinch-point approaches). For a minority of drivers out on the roads, it truly is war

    My attitude to cycling has changed over recent months, in the past I used to encourage people to take up cycling for all of the health and well being benefits. Now I no longer promote it, as I feel in many locations and situations, it's too risky an activity for many people to cope with and enjoy.
    I take a similar approach, I'd encourage those with confidence, but folk who may be nervous about it are probably better off avoiding it, the risks are just too great.
    Last edited by hugheskevi; 05-10-2013 at 12:45 AM.
    • Norman Castle
    • By Norman Castle 5th Oct 13, 10:01 AM
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    Norman Castle
    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.
    Motorists lack of respect towards cyclists is simply resentment at having to slow down. Being licensed or qualified to cycle will not change this.
    If motorists had to pass an on road cycling test before being allowed to drive attitudes might change.
    Don't harass a hippie. You'll get bad karma.

    Never trust a newbie with a rtb tale.
    • fannyadams
    • By fannyadams 5th Oct 13, 10:08 AM
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    fannyadams
    you are frequently your own worst enemy...


    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-24401099

    And as a cyclist myself I shout loudly (EXCUSE ME PLEASE) if they don't appear to have heard my bell warning them of my approach.
    just in case you need to know:
    HWTHMBO - He Who Thinks He Must Be Obeyed
    DS#1 - my teenaged son
    DS#2 - my other teenaged son
    Barkin Things - my two retired greyhounds
    • Marco Panettone
    • By Marco Panettone 5th Oct 13, 10:12 AM
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    Marco Panettone
    Motorists lack of respect towards cyclists is simply resentment at having to slow down. Being licensed or qualified to cycle will not change this.
    If motorists had to pass an on road cycling test before being allowed to drive attitudes might change.
    Originally posted by Norman Castle
    Agreed. Licences are generally required for things that can cause great harm to others (cars, lorries, guns, explosives, etc). How would bicycles fit in that list?

    I'm not against cycle training - it should be compulsory for kids to learn in school, and again as part of driver training.

    What is certainly required is stronger sentencing for drivers that kill cyclists. A £300 fine and 180 hours community service for taking someone's life is unacceptable, and wouldn't happen in any other situation. The excuse of "I didn't see them" should only ever be answered with "why not?" If the driver cannot see properly whether it is safe to move a tonne of steel around, and subsequently kill or injure someone they are at fault. This should be the first thing taught when people learn to drive.
    It's only numbers.
    • GwylimT
    • By GwylimT 5th Oct 13, 10:24 AM
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    GwylimT
    I cycle to work everyday, it can be an utter nightmare, the biggest problem I have found here is over taking, so a motorist will over take me, however they will pull back in so quickly that sometimes they are just a couple of feet in front of me, or sometimes I have to throw myself onto the pavement as they are going to hit me. I don't get it, I drive a car, I'm well aware that cyclists are in fact moving, just as I'm aware that cars I am over taking are moving, it really isn't difficult.

    I have been knocked off my bike quite a few times, most of time it has been when traffic has been stopping or slowing down significantly and the vehicle behind me has hit me because they hadn't stopped in time.
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