Sunday 12 May 2019

Are a few seconds really worth so much?

This weekend has been maybe the worst for cycling safety.

So many close and/or dangerous overtakes have occurred it is depressing.

I like to take photographs of my cycling, but today I just wanted to get home safely and as soon as possible.

I have posted before about the inconsiderate and downright dangerous  behaviour of some other road user. But this weekend was ridiculous.

This is from yesterday.

Just a pause of a few seconds was all the driver needed to make. Instead the car was driven over the raised round about and I was forced to brake to avoid the car or the curb.

I have reported the driver to the police, but I doubt anything will be done.

Today was worse.

An oncoming car didn't slow the Seat. My life, the people in the other car and the Seat's drivers life all put at risk to save a few seconds.

Here again the driver drove on the wrong side of the road towards a right hand bend with no way to know if anyone was coming the other way.

And then on a series of bends a pickup truck overtakes the car patiently waiting for a safe overtake  and me to save a few seconds on his trip.

No-one in Surrey seems interested in dealing with this.

The NHS has said they will give bicycles to the obese to get them to lose weight. I don't think most obese people are that way because they can't afford a bike. But suppose some of them do go out for a ride.  It's not likely they will do it for very long once they see how dangerous it is. Another wasted opportunity not to mention money.

The super cycle highways consuming huge sums of money, I don't think they are the complete answer. Are they maybe a partial admission that the law isn't being enforced? They can't be added to most roads, and when constructed; where do the vehicles go that use to park or drive there? Are they built more to make it harder for people to use the roads? It's doomed to fail if that's the case, it is a pipe dream to hope that everyone will walk, cycle or use public transport. It's just not an answer for everyone. Don't get me wrong, everyone should make changes to cut congestion and pollution. But even wishing really hard wont remove all cars and lorries from the road.

Another example of a solution that may not be as successful as it should to justify the cost is the twenty miles per hour limit applied to most minor roads in Croydon. I don't live in Croydon but do use the roads affected. I'm sure it cost a lot of money to put up all the signs. But it wasn't well publicised. Whenever I travel along at twenty, I always have a queue of cars close behind. And then it's like I'm cycling again; they try to overtake no matter the dangers. Bends in the road, or oncoming traffic doesn't stop them.

Both are examples of those that make the decisions thinking if you throw enough money at a problem and wish really hard it will be fixed. At least you can say you are doing something, or you would if you just had some money.

Of course the standard response is cyclists jump red lights, ride on the pavement etc. I don't, so how can you justify subjecting me to dangerous driving?

Then there is cyclists don't pay road tax. No-one does; it's called Vehicle Excise Duty and is based on emissions. So cyclists would be zero rated. Does it also mean any zero rated vehicles shouldn't use the road, or the driver potentially injured or killed?

Registration is a contentious issue, I'm not totally against it. Just not sure if it's not another opportunity to throw a lot of money around without actually changing much. All cars are registered and they still commit offences. And kill and injure more people than bikes.

The media has a terrible record on this too. Always trying to build a conflict between cyclists other road users. But then the media generally has a very poor record on research, and unbiased reporting.

Cyclists aren't just the victims though.

Don't jump red lights or ride on the pavement. If a junction or stretch of road is unsafe, don't make it worse by breaking the law.

Ride at appropriate speed and take into account other road users. Can they see you, can they react in time?

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