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Cycling: How to make it safer?

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43074

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I found this article on the BBC News website:
BBC News Magazine said:
8 radical solutions to protect cyclists

There's been intense debate after a spate of cyclist deaths in the UK in the past two weeks. Here are eight of the most radical solutions suggested to improve safety.
Bicycle licences and even number plates

The idea that cyclists should sign up to a national register - and display something equivalent to a number plate - has been suggested on several occasions. Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone suggested it in 2006, and more recently UKIP floated the idea and mentioned third-party insurance for cyclists in its 2010 manifesto.

Such a scheme would make it possible to track and identify cyclists on camera, supposedly encouraging them to ride more safely for fear of being caught out.

The idea is wildly unpopular with cycling groups, however, and would be ineffective in reducing fatalities, according to Mike Cavenett of the London Cycling Campaign. "The evidence is that only 2-3% of cyclist collisions are caused by those who break the law, so I can't see what the purpose is," he says.

Critics believe the scheme would almost certainly deter many people from cycling altogether, and nudge some cyclists back into their cars, or on to public transport.

Ban vehicles from city centres

Many cycling advocates say banning lorries from town centres during rush hour - as Paris has - would massively improve safety.

But some would go further and restrict all motor vehicles. Liberal Democrat Norman Baker - formerly transport minister - recently bemoaned the predominance of cars in British city centres and called for motor vehicles to be banned from the High Street.

Brian Macdowall, of the Alliance for British Drivers, says that Baker's proposal is a knee-jerk reaction. "Banning vehicles from the city centre just doesn't work," he says. "It just makes that traffic go somewhere else and it can affect trade. We've got to accept the car's been invented."

But dramatic improvements could still be made, says Paul James, author of the Pedestrianise London blog. By eliminating direct routes through particular segments of a city and making walking or cycling much easier, driving can be strongly discouraged if not banned. In the Netherlands this type of road design is already in use, James says. He suggests Soho in London as a potential "segment", and thinks that by barring motor vehicles from driving directly through it, the area could be freed up for other road users.

Heavy goods vehicles making daytime deliveries - which are involved in a large proportion of cyclist fatalities - should unload at depots outside city centres, he says, as they do in a number of Dutch towns. From there private companies are paid to deliver the cargo to local businesses using smaller electric vehicles.

Allow cyclists to jump red lights


In May 2012, Paris began a trial in which cyclists would be allowed to carry straight on, or turn right at a small number of traffic lights in the city - even if they were red. The scheme extended what was already common practice in much of the Netherlands and Belgium, where cyclists can turn right (it would be left in the UK) at a red light as standard.

The Parisian authorities say the trial has been a success and that discussions about extending the scheme to the rest of the city are now under way.

Cyclists who jump red lights illegally in the UK already cause both drivers and pedestrians to seethe with anger, but could relaxing the law in certain cases make the roads any safer?

"As long as pedestrian safety was considered... we would give it a cautious welcome," says Cavenett, who stresses that sufficient evidence needs to be gathered before a similar trial is undertaken in London.

Cycle on pavements


Cycling on pavements in the UK is an offence currently punishable with an on-the-spot fine. In Japan, by contrast, most pavements alongside main roads are shared between pedestrians and cyclists.

It is common to see much older cyclists, winding their way along one side of the paths, as well as parents who may be carrying two children at a time - one each on the front and back of their bikes. The pace is very much slower, of course: "I'd hazard a guess at about 8mph," says Danny Williams, a member of London Mayor Boris Johnson's road taskforce, who saw the Japanese system at work on a recent trip to Tokyo. "The way they cycle is very different."

He suggests that the solution could work on large paths running between villages and towns in the UK, but envisages problems in trying to replicate the system in a city like London.

"The thing with Tokyo is, it has very wide pavements," says Williams, who thinks you need about 2.5m to accommodate both cyclists and pedestrians - a luxury that few British pavements can offer.

Ban headphones


In the wake of the spate of deaths in London, Johnson called for a ban on cyclists wearing headphones as they ride, calling them an "absolute scourge" on the roads. "Call me illiberal, but it makes me absolutely terrified to see them bowling along unable to hear the traffic," he told BBC London 94.9.

His point is that cycling with any of one's senses wilfully impaired seems inherently more dangerous, so putting an end to the practice would appear to improve the safety of the cyclists concerned.

"I'm inclined to agree with him because that closes up your ears, and you need your ears to work to listen out for traffic," says Macdowall.

Cavenett isn't so sure. "I'd like to know what kind of evidence base the mayor is using. I'm not aware of a single fatality where headphones were implicated."
Body armour

As the debate over the benefit of bike helmets continues, a team of Canadian doctors has gone one step further, and suggested that some cyclists should consider wearing protective body armour.

The proposal came following a study of injury patterns among 258 cyclists who sustained serious injuries over a 14-year period. "Almost half of the injuries we noted were either to the chest or abdomen, suggesting that greater physical protection in those areas could also help reduce or prevent serious injury," said Dr Chad Ball, one of the authors of the research paper, which argues that "thoracic protection" should be advocated in addition to helmets.

Very little research into the effectiveness of chest pads, for example, has been carried out, but it could give some cyclists pause for thought. After all, motorcyclists frequently don protective armour in addition to their helmets.

Cavenett thinks the suggestion is absurd, however, arguing that additional padding would not have reduced the danger for those seriously injured in road accidents. "Cycling at 10-12mph is not dangerous. The danger is inherent in the lorries and the cars driven at speed. If a 32-tonne lorry runs over your chest it would make no difference."

Elevated cycling routes

Effective segregation of road traffic is central to most campaigners' demands for greater safety, and SkyCycle is one of the most extreme methods of separating bicycles from cars on the agenda. By building a new network of cycle paths high above existing roads and railways, the scheme would create a series of cycle superhighways across London, with specific entry and exit points throughout the city.

"Any long distance bicycle commute would be less likely to encounter large heavy goods vehicles if we are able to build a few of these elevated cycleways," says Sam Martin, founder of Exterior Architecture, the firm behind the designs.

Brian Macdowall, of the Alliance for British Drivers, thinks the project could work in principle. The problem with inserting cycle lanes at the roadside usually means narrowing the road itself, which can aggravate congestion. "If the cycle lanes could run along major routes without loss of road space to motorists, then it would help." He is concerned that the cost would prevent the plans becoming a reality, however. Martin estimates the initial cost at £200m for the first 6.5km artery.

Scrap traffic lights and road signs altogether


Advocates of the notion of "shared space" suggest that traffic lights, road markings, railings and pavements all conspire to dull motorists' sense of responsibility. By replacing them all with a simple flat open space, drivers, pedestrians and cyclists would all be more aware of one another, and use the space with more respect.

The scheme was pioneered by the late Hans Monderman in the Netherlands, and Ben Hamilton-Baillie from the UK, and has proved highly controversial.

Cavenett dismisses the idea as a red herring. "Those kind of shared space solutions really only work successfully where you have low speeds and low volumes of motor traffic." They cannot be widely implemented in major cities, he says.

Hamilton-Baillie vehemently disagrees, however. "It's a very frequent myth that shared space can only work in low traffic volumes," he says, referring to a recent project in the town of Poynton in Cheshire as an example.

By coaxing traffic to move more slowly, cars, bicycles, pedestrians and heavy goods vehicles now safely pass through the busiest shared space junction in the developed world.

I am pro-cyclist, and not being able to drive a car yet, use my bike a lot as a mode of transport to get around my area, partly because bus fares are ridiculous in my opinion and it's a form of exercise as well.

But, after the recent spate of cyclists' deaths in London, I don't think enough is being done on behalf of Westminster to improve things for cyclists.

What do you think could be done to improve cyclists' safety and how could they be enforced, without putting people off cycling?

For example, what effect would making helmets a legal requirement be? Maybe if the government subsidized the production of helmets more would be sold at a cheaper price and so more people would use them... I quite like the idea of Dutch roundabouts myself like this:

 
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455driver

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Everyone(1) else who uses the road has had to undergo training or at least be licenced escept cyclists so that would be a start.

More CCTVs so that any accident can be scutinised to see who was actually at fault, any cyclist found to be at fault would have to pay for the damaged vehicle to be repaired, not as it is now where it is always the motor vehicles fault regardless of whose fault it actually was.

Cycle helmets compulsory and any cyclist not wearing one should be fined (minimum £100 to make it worthwhile), any cyclist who turns up in hospital with head injuries because they were not wearing a helmet will be billed for the costs of the care they receive(2)

Any cyclist not giving way, stopping etc when the signs say they should would also be fined, probably twice as much as a driver because the driver will be given some points on his licence as well as the fine.

Hows that for a start. ;)

Please note none of these will have any effect on the decent/ law abiding cyclists but will clip the wings of the '4Q Jack I am alright and can do what I want' cyclists.

(1) horses etc dont count, we are talking about city centres so all you pedants can sod off. Oh and them poxy 'disability' scooters should be taxed and insured as well! <D

(2) Everyone who turns up in hospital because of their own stupidity should be charged, ie drunks, druggies etc because its these idiots that are costing the NHS lots of money.
 

Butts

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I think Cyclists on the pavement and jumping lights are the most annoying aspects of some users behaviour.

In Falkirk we don't have to many cyclists (on the roads at least).

My own view is they should be banned from busy roads and restricted to dedicated cycle paths.
 

wbbminerals

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Cycle helmets compulsory and any cyclist not wearing one should be fined.

Right, so I should have to wear a helmet on a quite country road?

Any cyclist who turns up in hospital with head injuries because they were not wearing a helmet will be billed for the costs of the care they receive.

Let's bill every smoker who is having lung cancer treatment then?

Everyone who turns up in hospital because of their own stupidity should be charged, ie drunks, druggies etc because its these idiots that are costing the NHS lots of money.

They are also the kind of people who don't have any money generally, so you wouldn't get anything back anyway!

Having critisised those points it is amazing how many people lack common sense. For example I have seen cyclists in hi viz at night but without lights on!
 
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43074

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Cycle helmets compulsory and any cyclist not wearing one should be fined (minimum £100 to make it worthwhile), any cyclist who turns up in hospital with head injuries because they were not wearing a helmet will be billed for the costs of the care they receive
...
(2) Everyone who turns up in hospital because of their own stupidity should be charged, ie drunks, druggies etc because its these idiots that are costing the NHS lots of money.

I agree with the helmet thing, surely who should pay for the costs of the care they receive ought to depend on whose fault it is... there is no reason why a cyclist wearing a helmet and who gets knocked off by a careless motorist and ends up being hospitalised for a while should have to pay for the costs of the care for this.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Let's bill every smoker who is having lung cancer treatment then?

Well, yes because it's their fault isn't it - whether or not anyone smokes is their decision.
 
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Right, so I should have to wear a helmet on a quite country road?
what about motorcyclists then? should we be allowed to go without our helmets on quiet country roads or when going slowly in housing estates?

They are also the kind of people who don't have any money generally, so you wouldn't get anything back anyway!

Having critisised those points it is amazing how many people lack common sense. For example I have seen cyclists in hi viz at night but without lights on!
I agree about the lack of common sense, but the other thing is, the lack of money would be an incentive for them to behave, especially when they don't have much money and the fines are hefty. I know it could be seen as harsh, but I have very little time for people who flout the law.
 

Drsatan

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I agree with the helmet thing, surely who should pay for the costs of the care they receive ought to depend on whose fault it is... there is no reason why a cyclist wearing a helmet and who gets knocked off by a careless motorist and ends up being hospitalised for a while should have to pay for the costs of the care for this.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---


Well, yes because it's their fault isn't it - whether or not anyone smokes is their decision.

The only problem with a helmet is that, to the best of my knowledge, the structural integrity of a helmet decreases after three years. In other words, a three year old helmet is less likely to adequately protect your head in a crash compared to a new one.

Having said that, I'm a cyclist, and I accept I'm liable if I don't wear a helmet and injure myself in a collision with a vehicle (assuming the other party isn't liable), or any other accident. Typically, I don't bother wearing a helmet if I'm cycling into town, but I will wear one if I'm cycling further afield.

Nonetheless, I would support greater fixed penalties for cyclists who don't use lights at nighttime.
 

yorkie

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Everyone(1) else who uses the road has had to undergo training or at least be licensed except cyclists so that would be a start.
Not true, and you offer no justification for that anyway.
More CCTVs so that any accident can be scutinised to see who was actually at fault, any cyclist found to be at fault would have to pay for the damaged vehicle to be repaired, not as it is now where it is always the motor vehicles fault regardless of whose fault it actually was.
In fact the Dutch system would actually be far more effective in making cycling safer, as it would make people drive much more considerately, and at safer speeds.
Cycle helmets compulsory and any cyclist not wearing one should be fined (minimum £100 to make it worthwhile), any cyclist who turns up in hospital with head injuries because they were not wearing a helmet will be billed for the costs of the care they receive(2)
Ridiculous. If I had to wear a helmet then there are many journeys I simply would not make by bike.
Any cyclist not giving way, stopping etc when the signs say they should would also be fined, probably twice as much as a driver because the driver will be given some points on his licence as well as the fine.
Again ridiculous. It is wrong for people to do this, but I see car drivers doing dangerous manoeuvres every day and the potential for injury or fatality is far greater with an exponentially heavier vehicle.

Please note none of these will have any effect on the decent/ law abiding cyclists but will clip the wings of the '4Q Jack I am alright and can do what I want' cyclists.
None of it actually addresses the topic.
(1) horses etc dont count, we are talking about city centres so all you pedants can sod off. Oh and them poxy 'disability' scooters should be taxed and insured as well! <D
We are going off-topic, but disability scooters are obviously not going to incur VED, but I agree that they cause serious cause for concern.
(2) Everyone who turns up in hospital because of their own stupidity should be charged, ie drunks, druggies etc because its these idiots that are costing the NHS lots of money.
That is well off-topic, I suggest you start a thread, and I'll be among the first to agree.

I think Cyclists on the pavement and jumping lights are the most annoying aspects of some users behaviour.
It is annoying when any road user does this, but again I frequently see car drivers doing this which is in fact far more dangerous to vulnerable users such as pedestrians.
In Falkirk we don't have to many cyclists (on the roads at least).
Probably because it's not made safe enough?
My own view is they should be banned from busy roads and restricted to dedicated cycle paths.
How on earth does that address the OPs question? It's also absolutely bonkers. Why not ban cars from busy roads and restrict them to dedicated roads (e.g. motorways)? :P
 

455driver

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Yorkie, so your defence is that everyone else should watch out for cyclists but the cyclists themselves shouldnt have to!

As for not wearing a helmet, I wonder if the same rules could be applied to motor bikes/ scooters, I mean a pushbike can get up to the same sort of speed as a moped and a moped rider must wear a helmet by law so why shouldnt a pushbiker have to wear one?
It takes about 5 seconds to put a helmet on so why would having to put one on mean you wouldnt make the journey? That is ridiculous!

I see you also say it is ridiculous that pushbikes should obey give way and stop signs, what makes a pushbike so special that they can ignore the rules of the road!
 

Harlesden

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Right, so I should have to wear a helmet on a quite country road?



Let's bill every smoker who is having lung cancer treatment then?




They are also the kind of people who don't have any money generally, so you wouldn't get anything back anyway!

Having critisised those points it is amazing how many people lack common sense. For example I have seen cyclists in hi viz at night but without lights on!

Another person who has swallowed the myth about smoking and lung cancer.
Many lifelong smokers live until their 80's or 90's with no significant health issues other than the usual advancing age issues.
I am 58, have been smoking literally 40 years and have a full medical every two years which I am happy to pay for - to satisfy myself both that I remain in excellent health and that I am right in my long held suspicion that this smoking/lung cancer business is a load of baloney.
Many people each year diagnosed with or dying of lung cancer are people who have never touched a cigarette in their entire life.
 

yorkie

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Yorkie, so your defence is that everyone else should watch out for cyclists but the cyclists themselves shouldnt have to!
No I don't say that.
As for not wearing a helmet, I wonder if the same rules could be applied to motor bikes/ scooters, I mean a pushbike can get up to the same sort of speed as a moped and a moped rider must wear a helmet by law so why shouldnt a pushbiker have to wear one?
It takes about 5 seconds to put a helmet on so why would having to put one on mean you wouldnt make the journey? That is ridiculous!
But there's the storage of it. It's rather inconvenient. I am collecting a bike from London soon, should I carry a helmet with me all weekend so I can cycle it back, or do you want me to walk back?

The question was how to make cycling safer, your suggestion does not make cycling safer. It would, however, result in a reduction in cycling.
I see you also say it is ridiculous that pushbikes should obey give way and stop signs, what makes a pushbike so special that they can ignore the rules of the road!
No I don't say that.
 

Bevan Price

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In my opinion, there are too many idiotic cyclists and drivers - some of them being accidents just waiting to happen. I think that:
1. Cyclists should obey all traffic signals and directions.

2. Cyclists should have adequate lights at night time. I once did a quick survey some yeats ago. Only 10% had lights that were clearly visible to other road users; another 20% had poor lights that were barely visible. The remaining 70% had no working lights.

3. Cyclists should keep off pavements. They are a dangerous hazard to less mobile pedestrians. I have even seen cyclists careering through the pedestrian area of bus stations.

4. Cyclists should have compulsory third party insurance.

5. Any parent who allows young children to cycle on busy roads is a bit irresponsible.
 
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No I don't say that.
it does appear to be strongly implied though, and all road users should have to look out for other road users. As a motorcyclist who has black bike gear and a black bike I will admit that I'm not the most visible of road users, but that does not mean I'm not constantly on the look out for other road users who might not have seen me.
But there's the storage of it. It's rather inconvenient. I am collecting a bike from London soon, should I carry a helmet with me all weekend so I can cycle it back, or do you want me to walk back?
how d'ya think motorcyclists feel? at least a cycle helmet will fit in an average sized rucksack, a full size motorcycle helmet won't and I have to hook mine around my arm

The question was how to make cycling safer, your suggestion does not make cycling safer. It would, however, result in a reduction in cycling.
have you got any evidence for that? I'm sure there are countries with compulsory cycle helmets, could you provide any statistics to show that?
No I don't say that.
no, you didn't, you avoided the question by stating that car drivers do far more dangerous maneuvers which are more likely to kill them, I fail to see how at low speed (up to 30mph) a collision in a car is more likely to kill its occupants than a collision involving a cyclist, besides using that logic more people would have been killed in an incident such as grayrigg.
 

Wait

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Only way to make it safer for cyclists is to only have cyclists, realistically I can't see that ever happening in my life time

Where you have traffic you will have accidents, where you have heavy traffic you will have much more accidents, that is a plain fact, regardless of whoever drives/rides/pedals you will have the good and the bad all thrown in which makes us all trying to 'get along' a tad bit difficult

My advice (from a lucky so far London driver/rider/peddler (?) :lol: is either get over it and do the best you can or you will probably end up under it
 

yorkie

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how d'ya think motorcyclists feel? at least a cycle helmet will fit in an average sized rucksack, a full size motorcycle helmet won't and I have to hook mine around my arm
Well, exactly, that's probably why there aren't that many motorcyclists around, because of the inconvenience of it. Which rather proves my point, doesn't it?

have you got any evidence for that? I'm sure there are countries with compulsory cycle helmets, could you provide any statistics to show that?
I could turn it round and say that if you think that making helmet wearing compulsory would not result in a reduction in cycling, then perhaps you should provide statistics to back that up. It's clearly surrealistic.

But if you want a case study, how about New Zealand?

Colin F Clarke in THE NEW ZEALAND MEDICAL JOURNAL said:
For the period 1989–1990 to 2006–2009, New Zealand survey data showed that average hours cycled per person reduced by 51%
no, you didn't, you avoided the question by stating that car drivers do far more dangerous manoeuvres which are more likely to kill them, I fail to see how at low speed (up to 30mph) a collision in a car is more likely to kill its occupants than a collision involving a cyclist, besides using that logic more people would have been killed in an incident such as grayrigg.
The thread is discussing how to make cycling safer. Some members have responded by posting off-topic suggestions which do not address the question posed by the OP. I am unsure what question you claim I have "avoided" but I would suggest that whatever question it was is probably off-topic and/or 'loaded' anyway. As I said before, it is wrong for people to do [the behaviour described] but I maintain that the suggestion that a fine for cyclists in certain circumstances should be "double" that of car drivers, is inappropriate because a car undertakes a dangerous manoeuvre the consequences are potentially far more serious compared to a pedal cycle, for rather obvious reasons.
 

Butts

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Another person who has swallowed the myth about smoking and lung cancer.
Many lifelong smokers live until their 80's or 90's with no significant health issues other than the usual advancing age issues.
I am 58, have been smoking literally 40 years and have a full medical every two years which I am happy to pay for - to satisfy myself both that I remain in excellent health and that I am right in my long held suspicion that this smoking/lung cancer business is a load of baloney.
Many people each year diagnosed with or dying of lung cancer are people who have never touched a cigarette in their entire life.

You forgot to mention the amount of tax paid on each packet more than chips in to the cost of treatment - the poster probably does not realise the level of taxation which is also regressive and on any other product would cause an outcry.

I think you like I have been lucky so far, there is a link between lung cancer and smoking - a bit like Russian Roulette :p

Oh by the way Yorkie, I am bonkers as you well know !!!
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
In my opinion, there are too many idiotic cyclists and drivers - some of them being accidents just waiting to happen. I think that:
1. Cyclists should obey all traffic signals and directions.

2. Cyclists should have adequate lights at night time. I once did a quick survey some yeats ago. Only 10% had lights that were clearly visible to other road users; another 20% had poor lights that were barely visible. The remaining 70% had no working lights.

3. Cyclists should keep off pavements. They are a dangerous hazard to less mobile pedestrians. I have even seen cyclists careering through the pedestrian area of bus stations.

4. Cyclists should have compulsory third party insurance

5. Any parent who allows young children to cycle on busy roads is a bit irresponsible.

Agree with all the above :p - whatever happened to "Cycling Proficiency"
 
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Well, exactly, that's probably why there aren't that many motorcyclists around, because of the inconvenience of it. Which rather proves my point, doesn't it?
my non motorcycle friends say that they don't bike because they would be too scared, not the inconvenience, if you have somewhere to store your gear it only takes an extra minute or two
I could turn it round and say that if you think that making helmet wearing compulsory would not result in a reduction in cycling, then perhaps you should provide statistics to back that up. It's clearly surrealistic.

But if you want a case study, how about New Zealand?
in which case I accept that I am mistaken and retract my earlier statement.

The thread is discussing how to make cycling safer. Some members have responded by posting off-topic suggestions which do not address the question posed by the OP. I am unsure what question you claim I have "avoided" but I would suggest that whatever question it was is probably off-topic and/or 'loaded' anyway. As I said before, it is wrong for people to do [the behaviour described] but I maintain that the suggestion that a fine for cyclists in certain circumstances should be "double" that of car drivers, is inappropriate because a car undertakes a dangerous manoeuvre the consequences are potentially far more serious compared to a pedal cycle, for rather obvious reasons.
I never said that the fine should be double that as car drivers (I acknowledge that it may well have been implied), I do agree that car drivers can do some truly stupid things (having narrowly avoided major incidents in the past because of inattention on their part).

the other thing of course is that the vast majority of car drivers would have had to take a test and prove their skills at some point. (I do think that compulsory re-testing every 10 years or so would help but thats for another topic).

I do wonder what happened to the old cycling proficiency tests, but again I think that there should be re-testing every so often to make sure that people are safe and up to date on the rules of the road.
 

Zoidberg

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...

I do wonder what happened to the old cycling proficiency tests, ...

I, too, wonder what happened to that.

We were not allowed to bring our bikes into school unless we'd passed the test - which included having a working bell on the bike - not so sure about the need to have working lights, though, although they'd have been needed at coming and going times in the winter months. But I had them - dynohub operated.
 

Mojo

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I had to do one when I was in year 6 at school, admittedly this was in 1999, over a couple of Saturday mornings!!
 

maniacmartin

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I'm a cyclist who can drive but does not currently own a car.

I'm generally against mandating cyclists must always wear helmets for the reason cited by yorkie - it greatly reduces passenger-miles on bicycles. People can't just get on a bicycle (such as a Boris Bike) if they aren't carrying a helmet. Those journeys are instead by other forms of transport, resulting in more congestion and less exercise for the rider. The Cyclists' Touring Club did some analysis on this, and concluded that the health benefits from the exercise of cycling outweigh the risks of death or injury by not wearing a helmet. That said, I always a helmet and would advise others to do so.

A similar argument applies for licensing and mandatory training of cyclists. We should be lowering the bar of entry to cycling as much as possible as its green, healthy and cheap. Also, enforcement would be very difficult.

The main thing I think would make the most difference is stricter enforcement of the current laws. Its not so much as a problem elsewhere, but in London many cyclists love running red lights, weaving in traffic, not using lights. Also car drivers (especially taxis in London) stopping in the advance stop box at traffic lights and doing dodgy overtakes followed by left turns. They aren't there for cyclists to get ahead, they're to help cyclists turning right get in the right hand side of the lane. Luckily I understand that London is getting dedicated enforcement officers for this in the near future.

Safe cycling should be taught in schools. I look over my shoulder often when making turns or changing lanes, and signal with my arm continuously fully extended for at least 5 seconds, whereas I often witness people turning blindly after maybe flapping their hand a centimetre. And as for undertaking vehicles, just don't do it! Why is this so difficult for people to understand. If you're on the inside at traffic lights, be very wary and look over your shoulder. I always position myself in the advance stop box or next to a vehicles bonnet where the driver can see me.

I also think we should more tightly regulate bicycle lights. At the moment, cheap lights that are too dim to comply with the relevant British Safety standard can be sold if the wording of the package doesn't explicitly say "bicycle lights" or if they are marketed as 'supplementary lights' or similar. As any car driver will know, bicycle lights can look very dim in the glare of a car headlight, and you sometimes have to be very close before you notice them. Everything happens fast in a car, so you want to know of any cyclists as soon as possible.

As for road layouts, councils currently have a box-ticking style policy to cycle lanes, aiming for quantity not quality. They love to but a bicycle lane along a wide road where it isn't necessary, just to vanish at a complex junction where you need it the most. Surely it's best to save up and splash out on a few schemes that are actually useful. In an ideal world we'd have tons of cash and have grade separated junctions like they do in Harlow (a pleasure to ride through), but obviously retrofitting them isn't that easy. Instead, I think a network of one-way side-streets should be turned into urban cycle networks. They'd work something like this:
  • No motor vehicles, except for access to properties on those streets
  • Lots of signage. One of the main reasons I take main roads is I can follow the number of an A road all the way across half of London and the boroughs are signed. I can't remember 10 miles of side street directions, so I can't take the side streets. A signed network with numbered routes and occassional network maps (and no missing signs) is cheap and solves this. Sustrans were the main driver for this before the government cut their budget
  • Signalled crossings to cross intersecting main roads
  • No massive detours. If there's a section of main road thats unavoidable, route the cyclist on the main road. If cycle routes are too convoluted then commuters wont bother with them
  • A minimum of tight alleys and space-sharing with pedestrians - if a route is too slow commuters won't use it.
This would be much cheaper than bridges, tunnels and elevated cycleways.

I don't think cyclists belong on conventional pavements for a few reasons:
  • Most pavements are too narrow to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians. It's not fair on pedestrians.
  • Urban pavements have too many obstacles such as lamp posts, as well as houses where people might appear from
  • Rural pavements have overgrown hedges, thorns and the like
  • The surface of pavements is often bumpy
  • Side roads means you have to be constantly stopping and giving way, making journeys stupidly slow, and using too much energy
That said, some pavements can be suitable if they are wide and open and are signed as such.

Some serious thought has to be given to roundabouts, a very british idea that's great for motor vehicles. Some, such as the one at Elephant and Castle, are truly awful to turn right on (and no signage for cyclists means you have no hope of remembering another route if your journey is something like Windsor to Dartford*). I do it the Highway Code way, by going to the right hand (central) lanes and then spiral out, but you really have to be in the right gears and even then its dicey! Adding traffic lights annoys motorists but allows bicycles to get in the right lane in the bicycle box without having to cut across moving traffic. Other than that, I'm running short of roundabout ideas that don't excessively slow down journeys or use loads of land.

(My downhill pushbike record: 47mph)
* I recommend this ride. It's really interesting to watch London change as you follow the Thames downstream
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Another point:
I was fortunate enough to grow up in the countryside where my parents could teach me to cycle properly on quiet country roads and tracks. Those growing up in cities don't always have that option, so learn as children to use the pavement and then never progress to the road. I'm not sure what can be done about this. Perhaps only bicycles with stabilisers allowed on pavements could be a compromise?
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
You forgot to mention the amount of tax paid on each packet more than chips in to the cost of treatment - the poster probably does not realise the level of taxation which is also regressive and on any other product would cause an outcry.

Don't smokers contribute more in taxes on cigarettes than they cost in their extra NHS burden?
 
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hairyhandedfool

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....Any cyclist not giving way, stopping etc when the signs say they should would also be fined, probably twice as much as a driver because the driver will be given some points on his licence as well as the fine....

Tbf, cyclists can already be fined for not obeying road signs and signals, the problem is not the punishment as such, but enforcement. There are simply not enough officers in a position to deal with the potential number of incidents.

....Please note none of these will have any effect on the decent/ law abiding cyclists but will clip the wings of the '4Q Jack I am alright and can do what I want' cyclists....

Would you say the rules and laws that apply to car drivers and motorcyclists prevent bad driving practices occuring and make sure all drivers have insurance, MOT and a driving license?

.... 3. Cyclists should keep off pavements. They are a dangerous hazard to less mobile pedestrians. I have even seen cyclists careering through the pedestrian area of bus stations....

I can't say specifically about those bus stations, you will have to ask the local authority or check local signage, but cyclists are not automatically banned from pedestrianised areas, contrary to popular belief, only footways, areas where vehicles are not permitted or areas where a byelaw is in force.

Do you not think, though, there is a slight contradiction between 3 and....

....5. Any parent who allows young children to cycle on busy roads is a bit irresponsible.

They shouldn't cycle on the roads and can't cycle on the footways, where do you suppose they should cycle?
 

jon0844

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+1 maniacmartin.. You've summed things up brilliantly.

Cyclists could be a lot safer if they appreciated that a) drivers will make mistakes and b) they're not invincible. Riding defensively and preparing yourself as best as possible (lights, protective clothing, well serviced bike etc) is most likely going to keep you alive and avoid being involved in any of the accidents that have happened in close succession recently.

I can't remember if it was someone on here that gave me this link, but it's worth reading (both drivers and cyclists) - http://www.londoncyclist.co.uk/raf-pilot-teach-cyclists

Sure, if a driver was to say 'I didn't see you mate' they'd be at fault, but if you can understand how it might happen then you can be prepared, just as a car driver would have been taught to look at the little things to predict what might happen... from seeing the 'WAIT' light on a pedestrian crossing on, looking for shadows on the underside of cars to suggest someone in front of a vehicle that might step out, looking at if a car is dipping to brake or not, checking if someone makes eye contact with you and acknowledges you are there etc etc etc.

Besides the many arrogant cyclists that London seems to breed, there are many that are simply ignorant and clueless - and I do think that those on Boris Bikes are perhaps the worst. They don't know the laws, so don't even know it's not okay to jump lights or cycle anywhere they like. They never had compulsory training, or thought they should get it.

Sadly, if cyclists don't do more to protect themselves on the basis that you can't possibly guarantee someone else will take more care, then deaths will continue to rise as more people cycle in cities (and primarily London).
 

Bevan Price

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.


They shouldn't cycle on the roads and can't cycle on the footways, where do you suppose they should cycle?

Nowhere unless accompanied by a responsible adult, or until they are old enough to comprehend the dangers involved - probably at least age 14 to 15.
 

yorkie

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Nowhere unless accompanied by a responsible adult, or until they are old enough to comprehend the dangers involved - probably at least age 14 to 15.
That's crazy. How do you think kids should get to school? Should all who don't live really close be driven? No wonder this country has such problems with obesity. I was cycling reasonable distances at younger ages than that.
 

Buttsy

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Isn't that where you're most likely to come across a nutter in an Audi doing 80 round a blind corner?

And then tweet about knocking the cyclist off... http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-norfolk-25000788

A woman who posted a message on Twitter about knocking a cyclist off his bike has been found guilty of two charges related to the incident.

Emma Way, 22, clipped cyclist Toby Hockley with her car in Norfolk in May.

She then tweeted: "Definitely knocked a cyclist off his bike earlier. I have right of way - he doesn't even pay road tax! #Bloodycyclists."

Norwich magistrates convicted her of failing to stop after an accident and failing to report it, which she denied.

Way, of Watton, was acquitted of driving without due care and attention.

She was ordered to pay a £337 fine, £300 in costs and was given seven points on her licence.

'Biggest regret'

She said: "The tweet was spur of the moment. It was ridiculous and stupid and I apologise to all cyclists.

"It is the biggest regret of my life so far."

The court heard Mr Hockley suffered bruises and minor damage to his bike in the incident at Rockland All Saints on 19 May, when he was riding in the 100-mile Boudicca Sportive with his friend Jason [Jay] Sexton.

Describing the trial as a relatively routine case of driving without due care and attention, prosecutor Stephen Poole added: "Why it becomes notorious is because the suspect went home and tweeted.

"It was that tweet which has put this into the public arena."

'Loud crunch'

Mr Hockley said: "A car came around the corner, narrowly missing Jay.

"The car was heading over to my side of the road.

"I was hit on the leg by the wing and on the arm by the wing mirror and tried to slam on my brakes to regain control."

He said there was a loud crunch and he was knocked into a hedge.

Claiming the collision was Mr Hockley's fault, Way said she had been driving at 15mph and her road positioning was as far to the nearside as possible.

"Afterwards I looked in my mirror," she added.

"I did not think he was injured - if I did I would definitely have stopped."

The court heard she lost her job as an accountant as a result of the tweet.

Way refused to comment as she left court, saying she had signed an exclusive television deal.

As a cyclist I would reconsider the amonut I cycle if I were required to wear a helmet. My biggest bug-bears with other cyclists are riding on pavements, no or almost invisble lights in the dark and jumping red lights.

As a motorist, I try to give cyclists roomn and try to be aware of all road users at all times.
 
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90019

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The big problem I find is that to use any other form of trasport on the roads requires at least some form of training, whereas you can go and get a battered, unroadworthy bike and ride it about with no experience of roads at all.

What still amazes me is the number of cyclists I see on a daily basis who seem to have no awareness of anything going on around them and no concept of self preservation.
It's frustrating, because there are plenty of good cyclists out there, but there are also a lot of totally useless ones, including some who seem to be trying to get themselves killed.

My main bugbears are;
  • Those who use headphones while using the roads - and that goes for everyone using the roads, not just cyclists.
  • People using bikes with either no or inadequate lights (such as the man I saw last night who did have lights front and back, but they were both red, both very dim single bulb lights, and the rear one was mounted behind a rack so it wasn't actually visible from behind).
  • Cyclists who pass vehicles on the left at junctions, especially large vehicles, and even more so when they're indicating left. I actually had two Police cyclists do this to me at work yesterday, at a junction with no ASL - quite frankly I expected better of them.
  • Cyclists that ride down the middle of the two lanes on roads such as this. When there's anything coming the other way it means it's impossible to pass safely, so you end up stuck behind the cyclst dawdling down the road at 10mph. It isn't thast unusual to find someone cycling down the white line there.
  • Cyclists that ignore road signs and traffic signals. Again, only yesterday, I nearly hit a guy who sailed straight through a red light without looking and rode straight into the path of my bus as I passed the green light going the other way. I saw that he hadn't been slowing down and wasn't looking, so was braking already.


I think the fact there aren't more cyclists killed and injured on the roads says a hell of a lot more about the standard of drivers on the roads than that of a worryingly large number of cyclists.


Oh, and before anyone says anything, I could also have a rant about the standards of driving seen from car drivers in particular, but this isn't the thread for that. ;)
 

gordonthemoron

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speaking as a cyclist, I think it's important to avoid accidents and really helmets are only of use once you've had an accident. So I do the following and would encourage others to do likewise:

1. Were bright clothing
2. Don't obscure bright clothing with dark back pack, use panniers or bright back pack
3. Buy the brightest lights you can, this means that in the dark you can see where your going and other road users can see you
4. Avoid busy junctions/roundabouts wherever possible
5. get your brakes fixed

ofcourse there are others
 

90019

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3. Buy the brightest lights you can, this means that in the dark you can see where your going and other road users can see you

Though I would add to that, don't have the front one angled upwards blinding everyone going the other way, as a few do.
 
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