Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Two wheels good, four wheels bad

I see Chris Froome was forced off the road and had his bike wrecked by an impatient hit-and-run driver. Shouldn’t happen and there is no excuse when vehicle drivers lose their cool or whatever it is that snaps when they deliberately endanger the life of a cyclist.

We see large numbers of cyclists while driving around Derbyshire, especially the Lycra-clad, hunched over the handlebars variety. Nothing wrong with that, but there is another side to this coin. Here’s an example.

The other day we were driving along a country road behind a few slow-moving cars. The reason for our slow speed was obvious, a large group of club cyclists had decided to ride in such a way that passing them was virtually impossible. It wasn’t a big deal, obstructions happen on country roads all the time. However, this one was obviously deliberate. 

It was easy enough to see that it was deliberate from the way the cyclists occupied slightly more than half the road until a vehicle approached from the other direction. No doubt their justification was that they rode that way for their own safety. If so then that is an understandable reason but obvious risks are passed on to other cyclists. This kind of behaviour adds a negative aspect to the image other road users have of cyclists. If the cyclists concerned don't realise that, then they are being obtuse.

We see many cyclists who ride as if their safety is the responsibility of other road users, especially when riding in groups. They ride as if they occupy some kind of moral high ground, well above those dirty, polluting vehicles trying to pass them safely. The attitude is bound to increase resentment felt by at least some drivers. 

The consequences we see all the time, but this is a politically incorrect aspect of road safety and seems to be officially invisible. 


wiggiatlarge said...

All very true and as someone who was a racing cyclist, albeit a long time ago it is something I have noticed.
Not all but as you say some groups take a strange attitude when out training that the piece of road they occupy is theirs and no way are they going to be "helpful" by going into a single line so people can pass.
In my day on it must be said much less crowded roads it was an automatic action to ride close to the kerb in a single line in heavy traffic on narrow roads, so why this strange "because I can" attitude now.
There is a similar thing with scooter riders on L plates, are they told to ride a thirty MPH in the middle of the road on unlimited roads, many do !

Demetrius said...

It is a long time ago now but once I used to paint pictures of cycles on the bonnet of my car much as RAF WW2 pilots marked up the engine cowlings of their fighters. I gave up when someone pointed out it could affect the costs of my insurance.

A K Haart said...

Wiggia - groups of cyclists often seem to cycle as if they are racing under controlled conditions where roads are closed to regular traffic. It's as if they think they are on TV.

Demetrius - surely it raised the prestige value of the car though.

Longrider said...

There is a similar thing with scooter riders on L plates, are they told to ride a thirty MPH in the middle of the road on unlimited roads, many do !

10 May 2017 at 08:52

I answered this one for you elsewhere. We teach them to dominate their road position because this is the safest thing for them to do - otherwise people will pass them in the face of oncoming traffic. If you cannot pass a car at that location, then you do not pass them (Highway Code Rule 163). Exercise some patience rather than risking the life of a vulnerable road user.

I will continue to teach my students to do this and make no apology for it.

wiggiatlarge said...

Were do I say I have passed them ? and I don't care what you teach your students, making passing impossible by "dominating" the road will not bring them friends and could well prove a lot more dangerous as many drivers will lose patience, a little discretion in road placement a little common sense perhaps or is that not in the agenda.
And as an ex motorcyclist I am fully aware of the risks in traffic which has I hope helped make me a better driver, so no animosity from me towards any one group of road users.

Longrider said...

I teach my students to look after their own safety. By dominating their road space - which is they are entitled to do - minimises drivers passing dangerously. Hugging the kerb actively encourages dangerous overtaking (which is what you are advocating here) and I would never - ever - teach students to do this as it is one of the most dangerous things they could do. So, I repeat, if a driver cannot pass a car at that point, then they should not be passing a two-wheeler and the two-wheeler needs to dominate the space to discourage such overtaking. The Highway Code is clear on the matter. Motorcyclists are not there to make friends, our primary aim is to stay alive and that means taking an assertive approach to roadcraft. Dominating one's road-space is an essential defensive roadcraft skill. And I really don't are over much if a driver is delayed by a few moments waiting for a suitable overtaking opportunity. What I care about is my students having the skills to stay alive and that means dominating their road-space. As I do.

I cannot control the actions of those who will try anyway, merely equip my students with the skills to minimise the risk. If necessary, pulling over where it is safe so that drivers may pass. But it is up to them to decide where and when that applies, not the following driver.

Still, your experience does tell me that they are taking notice of what we teach, so that's a good thing.

wiggiatlarge said...

Oh dear, a bit touchy on this this and I still say regardless you are entitled to your opinion and me mine , and again at no point have I said that motorcyclists or cyclists should be overtaken in unsafe conditions, and still reply as if I have never been a cyclist or a motor cyclist which is a wrong assumption.
As to quoting the highway code you were not so keen on adhering to that when speed limits were raised in an article some time back when you thought "quote" that speed according to conditions was more important, which to a degree it is assuming, that word again that everyone on the road is aware of those conditions and acts accordingly, but of course they don't hence speed limits, do you tell your students to break the speed limit as that is OK in certain conditions before they pass their test, ending in court and telling the judge I was told it was OK to break the limit after they had run someone over would go down really well ! and yes you did say that .

Longrider said...

Rather than hijack someone else's blog, I've responded in ore detail here:

Nessimmersion said...

Canada has an excellent and common sense attitude to use of a common good - If any vehicle is doing less than the legal speed limit for any vehicle on the road and there are 4 or more vehicles behind them, then they MUST pull over to let the others pass. You have a right to use a public road, but you do not have the right to deny legal use to any others by your behaviour.

A K Haart said...

Nessimmersion - sounds extremely sensible. Now you mention it I'm sure I've heard of another country with a similar law but I can't remember which.