Saturday, 21 April 2012

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

The number of cyclists injured in accidents on Leicester's roads has increased. Last year, 170 cyclists were hurt in Leicester, compared with 140 in 2010 – an increase of more than 20 per cent.
Leicester City Council bosses have put the increase down to a big rise in the number of cyclists….
And who’s not satisfied with that?

Yup. You got it:
… but bike users believe it is also down to the attitude of drivers.
But not the attitude of cyclists. Oh, no. They are just passive victims.
Cyclists said while they accepted the increase in accidents was partly down to more bikes on the road, they felt tolerance of riders by other road users was at an all-time low.

Mechanic Danny Sorrentino, who works at bike shop Future Cycles
Clearly, an impartial observer…
…said he was regularly cut-up by drivers, and had been knocked off his bike many times.

The 26-year-old said: "To be honest, I think there have been far more than the amount of accidents given in the figures here.

"Most cyclists just won't bother reporting an accident, because they know nothing will be done.

"I think that many drivers just do not care.

"They look at a cyclist, think that they do not pay road tax or insurance, and assume that gives them a right to the road.

"I've been cut up, shouted at, and told to get off the road. I cycle every morning wondering what's going to happen."
And cyclists never do anything wrong, Danny? They are always the innocent party?
Matt Gough, 40, a member of cycling group Critical Mass
Another one!
… cycles with his eight and six-year-old daughters to their school, Water Leys Primary, in Wigston.

He said: "There is obviously more pressure on the roads – more people fighting for space.

"But then, reluctantly, I would say it might be down to increased selfishness and thoughtlessness by road users.
"I'm a driver and I know when I am driving you feel invincible. I think if drivers got on a bike, and saw how scary it can be, they would drive with more consideration, and give cyclists a wider berth."
And what will prompt cyclists to drive with more consideration, Matt?

How come your car journey didn’t seem to make you realise just what a potential for disaster a cyclist shooting through a red light, or failing to wear reflective clothing at dusk, can be?
Aylestone councillor and cyclist Adam Clarke, who asked for the injury figures at a cabinet meeting last month, said more should be done to make roads safer – including looking at introducing more 20mph zones around the city.
Great! So slow everyone down, and if that doesn’t work, what? We all walk? We bring back the man with the red flag?

Sense, as always, can be found in the comments:
by homesickalien

“Just to add my comments about cyclists: The majority of cyclists I come across on a daily basis are well lit, wear high visibility clothing and abide by the rules of the road. However, there is a growing minority that just don't seem to care that their dark clothing and disregard for basic common sense is likely to get them killed. Just last night I was sitting at a red light on a T Junction waiting to turn left. A cyclist flew past me down the outside and went straight through the red light turning left across traffic without even looking. He was wearing high vis clothing but no helmet and I honestly thought I would turn the corner to find him under a car. How he made it I don't know. The trouble is, this goes on all to often and nothing is ever done about it.

I would support the creation of better cycle routes and wider cycle lanes if only they were used. So many times I have travelled along Blaby road from the Foxhunter Island to Whetstone and had to overtake a cyclist on the main road when a perfectly good cycle lane has been created, at some taxpayers expense I might add, and they can't be bothered to use it. Some cyclists are their own worst enemies and it's no wonder they get abuse from other road users. On the flip-side, some drivers are totally inconsiderate towards cyclists and give them no room at all when overtaking. This is so dangerous. Many times I have nearly been taken out by an impatient driver or someone passing too quickly. It's about time we learned to tolerate each other whatever our mode of transport. But courtesy works both ways.”
There! See?

It can be done! It is possible to recognise that there is fault on both sides.

So rather than allowing the media and the cycling pressure groups to imply that fault only runs one way, why not focus on the current abysmal standard of driving of some road users – both four wheels and two wheels – and simply make the penalties for both miscreants so damned high, they are priced off the road?

Let’s face it – if someone’s an aggressive, inconsiderate driver towards cyclists (or cars, or pedestrians) they’re likely to be aggressive and inconsiderate to all other road users too.


Anonymous said...

In any event, they should ban middle aged men from wearing lycra and make it compulsory for women under 30. Not sure how this might reduce accident rates though. Personally, I currently give the former a wide berth and tailgate the latter at 20mph or less...

A salt and battered said...

Good morning, Julia.

I am treating myself to new Shimano racing wheels and some blue lycra. Yes, that might be me passing whilst you boil in one of the coastal road jams.

I feel certain fellow cyclists will join me in wishing you a well deserved weak end.

Anonymous said...

I always adopt a safe posture while driving. No nearside space, which avoids cyclists proceeding down that side. Plus, of course, if they do collide with me I always notify my insurer and claim for damage (although it must be said that getting a name and address from a cyclist is pretty hard, they are not the most pleasant individuals)

JuliaM said...

" Personally, I currently give the former a wide berth and tailgate the latter at 20mph or less..."


"I am treating myself to new Shimano racing wheels and some blue lycra."

I'd never have figured you for a lycra-lout, you know...

"..(although it must be said that getting a name and address from a cyclist is pretty hard, they are not the most pleasant individuals)..."

I think I'd favour registration for cyclists. Why not?

A salt and battered said...

"I'd never have figured you for a lycra-lout, you know..."

I do understand how a defective imagination is preferable to none, Julia ;-)