on your bike

I drive a car. I also ride a bike to work a couple of days a week (an 18km round trip each time). And this is not a post on the science of either, but a plea to some car drivers for a bit more consideration (& road space).

Today I consider myself lucky to have got to work in one piece. To the driver of the white company van who came up fast on my right & turned left in front of me – yes, I know you indicated as you pulled alongside, but I still had to brake hard to avoid being collected as you shot down that side road. Were you really in such a hurry that waiting a couple of seconds for me to clear the intersection was going to cause an unbearable delay?

And the car driver who cut into the cycle lane ahead of me on that sweeping bend between 5 Crossroads & Southwell School – I wear a fluoro reflective jacket & have a cover of the same on my back-pack, there are reflective strips on my panniers, and my flashing lights were going front & back, so "I didn’t see you" would not have done you much good had you hit me with all the inevitable consequences of a heavy moving object hitting a much smaller one. 

And don’t get me started on the idiots who think it’s a good idea to chuck bottles into the marked cycle-way, so that at rush hour cyclists have the choice of an almost inevitable puncture or to move onto the carriageway & take their chances with the cars.

Yes, there are cyclists who don’t obey the road rules & take foolish risks – just as there are car drivers who do the same. But most cyclists – like most motorists – are careful: we can imagine all too well the consequences if we aren’t. It would be wonderful if everyone thought about those consequences too – in an accident involving maybe 90kg of cyclist+bike travelling at 25kph, & a tonne or of car doing 50 (or even 25), the cyclist is always going to come off very much the worse for wear.

And I’d rather we all did our bit to avoid those consequences.


Actually, while I’m on my hobby horse erm, I mean ‘soapbox’ – could those cyclists who come rushing up at speed behind other cyclists (& behind walkers on the river paths) please please let those ahead know you’re coming? Ringing the bell would be good, or just calling out a cheery ‘excuse me’. It’s incredibly disconcerting to have someone whoosh past when you haven’t heard them coming (modern bikes really do run quietly). Thank you 🙂

/vent over

4 thoughts on “on your bike”

  • Marcus Wilson says:

    All sounds terribly familiar – not that I’ve done much cycling in NZ – the situation for cyclists here is far worse than in the UK (but there are still morons in the UK however).
    The changing road rules should cut out one of the biggest dangers to cyclists – a car overtaking you, then turning left, comes to a sudden halt in your path because he has to give way to a right-turning car. At least after 25th(?) of March the car has a sporting chance of getting out of your way before you hit it.

  • Alison Campbell says:

    Yep, I gather (from Facebook, of all places) that the road rules regarding left turns change over at 5am on March 25th. Then all we’ll have to worry about is confused motorists! I predict a few accidents before everyone gets their head around the changes.

  • Waiting for traffic at a roundabout recently I spotted a most conscientious-looking cyclist, decked out in a visibility vest  and using hand signals to tell me exactly where she was going.  The very model of a modern cyclist.  Dr Campell sailed on in front of me, and I wished more cyclists were like her.  Maybe the trouble starts when cyclists start wearing lycra.

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