Cyclists and other road users

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A thread on another forum re the above subject is turning into a bit of a heated debate - I thought I would open it up here for wider discussion , starting with my contribution to the other thread :-

"I can see both sides of the above 'discussion' , but do see it as a sad reality that the conduct of the conspicuous minority of cyclists who flout the laws tarnish the reputation of the well behaved , and less noticeable majority . Equally , the poor conduct of some drivers creates hostility from some cyclists , giving rise to a 'them and us' attitude . As an occasional cyclist I would say that the vast majority of drivers are responsible and considerate towards cyclists , but it only takes one irresponsible driver to knock you off and kill you .

I have long been of the opinion , and have previously stated both here and elsewhere , that so many people on bikes get away with bad conduct because they cannot be identified and , for this reason , would support some form of numberplate to be displayed , perhaps something that is worn on the cyclist's back ( maybe a high-viz tabard with the number printed on it ? ) , an obligation to wear some sort of hi-viz attire can also only be a good thing - I think it should be the RIDER who is registered , though , rather than the bike because so many people have multiple bikes , or swap bikes with mates to try each other's out etc . I feel it is a shame to have any disincentive for people to get on bikes , but perhaps the admin costs of the above , plus some form of compulsory insurance ( perhaps insurance could be part of the registration scheme and be covered by the admin charge ? ) would weed out the reckless and dangerous people who ride bikes ( they are not 'cyclists' ) .

In the case of the 4x4 driver mentioned above ( EDIT , for info , in an earlier post on the other thread a member who was out cycling with friends was deliberately honked , shouted at then driven at by a 4x4 ) , Steve and his friends will have been able to note his number and complain to the police - with two corroborating statements , action can be taken against him . On the other hand , a bike rider can damage a car in the city , then disappear through traffic without ever being traced and brought to account .

My notion of such a scheme would need only to apply to those who actually ride on the roads amongst other traffic , and would be optional for those who only ride on cycle tracks ( converted ex-railway lines etc ) , young children ( primary school age ) who only cycle on pavements would not need to register until old enough and responsible enough to cycle on the roads .

Besides registration/insurance of 'cyclists' , there is also the matter of roadworthiness of bikes . I , like a lot of others , always make sure my bike is well maintained with tyres , brakes etc all in good order and always have at least one permanent front light plus a flashing LED , as well as a permanenent rear light plus flashing LED if likely to be out after dark , besides having extra LED's I can clip onto my clothing . I'm sure we have all seen the 'stealth riders' out at night with no lights , dark clothing etc ; I can also remember once being shouted whilst walking across a pedestrian crossing by the rider of a bike telling me he had NO BRAKES !!!

I wonder if there should not be some sort of 'bike MOT' which could be operated by bike shops , or maybe some clubs could do their own for members - for those who already take good care of their bikes it would be a very quick inspection ; for others who don;t know one end of a spanner from the other , it would get bikes in for at least an annual service and generate some business for the bike shops - good for the shops and good for the riders who ought to be safer as a result . Whilst people might not be charged solely for not having a roadworthiness certificate , a valid certificate showing the frame number of the bike could be asked for by insurers before any payout would be made .

Another open question - should it be compulsory for someone to have passed the Cycling Proficiency Test before being allowed to take a bike out on the roads and mix it with other traffic ?

I know that a lot of regulation , and some cost , would put some people off cycling at a time when the activity needs to be encouraged , but making people safe , visible , identifiable and accountable , as well as insured at least to a minimum level , can only be a good thing for all concerned .

I don't want to see life made difficult for anyone - I just want everyone to be SAFE .

Out of interest , as someone who cycles recreationally semi-regularly in the summer and rarely in the winter , usually on the country roads near my home , with a bike which originally cost around £500 some 10+ years ago and nowadays worth maybe £100 ?

What sort of ballpark figure would I be looking at if I wanted cycle insurance ? Are there any websites I can look at for cycle insurance ?

SWMBO also has a bike which is lucky if it comes out a couple of times a year ( maybe on holiday ) and Harris at two years old now has a bike but won't be going on road for a good few years yet so will only be cycling in the park or seaside prom for now - are there 'family' packages ?

Does cycle insurance help with the cost of injuries/loss of earnings in the event of an incident ( ie fully comp ) or does it tend to be third party cover ? "
 
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MOCAŠ

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What sort of ballpark figure would I be looking at if I wanted cycle insurance ? Are there any websites I can look at for cycle insurance ?

SWMBO also has a bike which is lucky if it comes out a couple of times a year ( maybe on holiday ) and Harris at two years old now has a bike but won't be going on road for a good few years yet so will only be cycling in the park or seaside prom for now - are there 'family' packages ?

Does cycle insurance help with the cost of injuries/loss of earnings in the event of an incident ( ie fully comp ) or does it tend to be third party cover ? "

Evans Cycles offer a policy including personal liability and with varying levels of public liability for riders aged 16+: £58 (£1m cover), £69 (£2m) or £92 (£5m) per year. [Quotes based on a bike valued at £500 and using notional postcode KA6 5AA.]

Their policy provides:
  • Cover against theft, loss and accidental damage up to £10,000
  • Replacement on a new for old basis for bicycles up to 3 years old (older cycles are subject to depreciation)
  • Bicycle hire - until items are replaced or repaired (subject to an approved claim)
  • No excess as standard
Public liability cover
Public liability cover protects you against third party claims for injury or damage to property. Evans Cycles Insurance offer a chioce of £1, £2 and £5 million public liability cover as an option. You can also choose to extend liability cover to family members. If you don't have a bicycle to insure but still require liability cover, you need our Evans Cycles Roadcare cover.

Personal accident cover
If you were to personally suffer injury whilst using your bicycle, Evans Cycles Insurance provides cover up to £10,000 for death and permanent total disablement and £5,000 for loss of limb or eye. This is included as standard if you choose to take the public liability option with your Evans Cycles Insurance cover.

Options
You can cover up to three cycles owned and used by you, and can add family cover for an extra £6 pa.

Cover for Europe can be added for a further £8 (90 days; 30 day max. trip), and world cover for a further £12 (for 45 day max. trip), so £20 extra for both Europe and world cover.
 

GordonTarling

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I agree that something needs to be done to make cyclists behave more responsibly. There's a set of traffic lights close to my house, which also happens to be the junction leading to a Royal Mail delivery office - I don't think I've ever seen a Postperson on a bike stop at a red light here and that applies to most other cyclists too. As to what can be done, I don't think there's any easy answer, but registration of some sort plus insurance would certainly be a step in the right direction.
 

Noodle-Pulp

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Another open question - should it be compulsory for someone to have passed the Cycling Proficiency Test before being allowed to take a bike out on the roads and mix it with other traffic ?

A good start would be licensing - that is, I believe that ALL road users should obtain a licence before being allowed to venture out..and a test that they need to pass. This at least would highlight many of the rules of the road during their learning about lawful road use.

As for the Cycle Proficiency Test, it's a bit basic in its approach, it should be more comprehensive (of course I'm referring to the one I took in the late 1970's, I'd like to think it has improved since).

In my opinion so many cyclists in London (and elsewhere in the UK) have never even looked at the highway code, and frankly don't give a hoot about it - they should, it's their life they're putting at risk too.
 

markjay

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There isn't a day that I don't avoid hitting a cyclist jumping a red light while driving in central London.

In fact, normally when approaching a junction and with a green light I do keep an eye on traffic but I sort of half-expect other cars to stop. With cyclists, I found that when I see one approaching I immediately slow down as I actually except that - more often than not - he/she will not stop.

But - unfortunately I don't think that much can be done about this.

A cornerstone of any road traffic measure is some form of enforcement (and not necessarily an overzealous one), or at the very least - accountability. Merely by driving a car displaying your registration plate you know you are accountable.

However, in the current political climate, cycling will never ever be accountable.

Anything that requires registration, insurance, license fee, etc etc will be seen as counter-productive by those who wants to encourage cycling at the expense of driving.

I predict that cycling will remain for the foreseeable future a free-for-all no-strings-attached activity. And cyclists do not require any formal training in order to ride a bike either. Unlike drivers, who need to demonstrate reasonable knowledge of the Highway Code, cyclists can roam the streets without having the slightest clue as to who has the right of way or why.

This is not to say that all riders are clueless offenders. Some are very careful and responsible riders, and may very well be experienced car drivers as well. However it is enough for 1% of riders to be rouge in order to create havoc on our roads.

So the price we have to pay for cycling to be more common is that cyclists will never be accountable. Without license plates or any form of registration, there is no prospect of enforcement, and no motivation for thrill-seekers adrenalinic risk-taker riders to behave.

So we should all stop complaining... just watch out for that cyclist.
 
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R2e

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Hopefully the 'cyclist' gene will be found soon and a test created so cyclists can be identified soon after birth and strangled immediately. :D

I admit to a personal interest having been knocked down a few years ago by a cyclist while I was crossing the pedestrian crossing outside the National Portrait Gallery just off Trafalgar Square. He didn't even stop, just sped off without looking round. Other people on the crossing were shocked, but there was no way of identifying the guy other than the fact that his parents weren't married when he was born.
 

jefrs

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Lets look at a few facts.

Use of bicycle is covered by Road Traffic Act e.g lights at night are compulsory, so are traffic lights and zebras etc.

Bicycles are supposed to be ridden on the road, not the pavement (unless it has a cycle path). A bicycle does not have to use the provided cycle path or cycle lane. These have to be put in by local government to meet some quota. Cycle paths and lanes are usually unsuitable, too narrow (min width 1.5m), full of marbles and street furniture, and designed by idiots.

You have to have a licence to operate a motor vehicle, because of the damage it can do. A cyclist does not have to take a test nor a possess a licence any more than a pedestrian does. You can be a ped or cyclist too, most adult cyclists are licensed car drivers. Most peds get run over in car parks, go figure. Peds have a nasty habit of stepping out in front of bicycles when crossing when they would not do so with an approaching car: the bike simply cannot stop! - applies to zebras too.

You pay a vehicle excise licence on a motor vehicle, not a road tax. It does not imply some right to use the road.

You are supposed to give a cyclist as much room as a car, that means to over-take one, you are supposed to cross the centre line (highway code).

There are many, many more ill-mannered, incompetent and downright dangerous vehicle drivers than likewise cyclists.

Regarding kids riding idiotically, at night w/o lights or on the pavement etc: they're your kids too, so who is training them to ride a bike?
 

A140driver

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I'm a relatively keen cyclist, going out on my bike most days for leisure when the weather allows. Luckily, living where I do, I don't need to worry too much about motorists being silly, but I have been knocked off my bike in the past, which resulted in a wrist fractured in three places, a chipped tooth, various nasty cuts and bruises, not to mention a compacted cycle helmet, and a twisted bike. I was cycling through a built up area during the day, wearing light coloured clothes, and riding on the road carefully, when all of a sudden, as I got level with a Vauxhall Vectra, the driver opened their door right in front of me, but rather than hitting the door I swerved to avoid it, catching a pothole and skidding across the road before landing on the kerb on the opposite side of the road. In this instance the car driver just drove off, leaving me lying in the road, with a ruined bike and helmet, and feeling rather uncomfortable. Luckily a very nice person in a house saw the incident, but was unable to see the Vectra's plate, so the person was never caught.
I refused to even ride a bike for six months, and it really did knock my confidence. I think I've always had a reasonable amount of road sense, and regard myself as a cyclist, rather than a seated pedestrian. I'm now very wary of riding my bike where there's a lot of traffic, but I can honestly say I've never bumped into anyone, or upset other road users while on my bike.
As a motorist, some bicycle users can be something of a nuisance in towns. Recently when I was going for lunch, I stopped at a set of traffic lights, and a cyclist pulled up, and sat leaning on the bonnet of my car despite tooting at him. He then cut me up when the lights changed to green. Bike users who cycle along pavements are putting other members of the public at great risk, and often have a total disregard for any motoring laws; including traffic lights, zebra crossings, and even one-way streets!
I think there should be some way of pursuing cyclists who flout the law, but quite how this could be done is another issue altogether. In so many cases, where a bike and car are involved, the car driver is inevitably the one who is prosecuted, rightly or wrongly, and I'm sure in at least some of these incidents, the cyclist has been at fault.
 

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A good start would be licensing - that is, I believe that ALL road users should obtain a licence before being allowed to venture out..and a test that they need to pass. This at least would highlight many of the rules of the road during their learning about lawful road use.

We can't even govern this for car/vehicles drivers so there would be no chance if you added cycles/cyclists into the equation.
 

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We can't even govern this for car/vehicles drivers so there would be no chance if you added cycles/cyclists into the equation.

Maybe my original thought was lost somewhere in translation to keyboard..
In my view licensing (I don't even care about the cost implications) and a test (again the administration of this needs to be met by the cost) would at least mean that there was an acceptable way to learn to ride safely on the roads.
Ladies and gentlemen I offer you the cycle proficiency test - while it's not mandatory it goes some way to showing people how to ride safely and to recognise the laws of the road - is it widely acknowledged? No.

By making riding any vehicle on the road an activity that has socially acceptable rules (whether policed or not), it would go a long way to making people more aware that there IS a correct way to use the road and that deviation from it is not only unacceptable to other road users but also their peers.

In summary:
I accept 100% that this whole concept would be difficult to police; I never thought otherwise, I was just making a point that peer group pressure (because of a socially accepted norm) can often lead to social policing of this activity, and that this activity NEEDS an official socially accepted norm.

Bring forth the guillotine..erm.. I mean official test.
 
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Lets look at a few facts.

Use of bicycle is covered by Road Traffic Act e.g lights at night are compulsory, so are traffic lights and zebras etc.

I agree - but the point is that a great many people on bikes flout all the rules and get away with it because they are anonymous and can disappear in traffic with little chance of ever being traced .

Bicycles are supposed to be ridden on the road, not the pavement (unless it has a cycle path).

I agree , for adult cyclists - but would never want to see young children on small bicycles out in the road amongst cars , buses , trucks etc. Although difficult to know where to draw the line , I think once of secondary school age , youngsters ought to be able to ride on the road , with primary school children sticking to the pavements .

A bicycle does not have to use the provided cycle path or cycle lane.

I , and many others , think it is high time the law was changed on this particular point . A great deal of money is spent on these paths/lanes for the benefit of cyclists who then in a confounding demonstration of ingratitude refuse to use them . Any cyclist who is hit by another vehicle whilst cycling on a road where they could have been on a separate cycle path deserves not one penny in compensation and ought to be held automatically at fault since any collision would not have occurred had they been using the provided lane .

These have to be put in by local government to meet some quota. Cycle paths and lanes are usually unsuitable, too narrow (min width 1.5m), full of marbles and street furniture, and designed by idiots.

Road layout and available space may not always allow for optimum lane width - it is unlikely the designers are idiots , but usually have their hands tied by conflicting regulations .

You have to have a licence to operate a motor vehicle, because of the damage it can do.

Cyclists can also cause plenty of damage when they cycle badly , either by knocking down pedestrians or by causing other road users to avoid them when they flout the rules of the road - so the case for them receiving proper training and taking a test is no less compelling .

A cyclist does not have to take a test nor a possess a licence any more than a pedestrian does. You can be a ped or cyclist too, most adult cyclists are licensed car drivers.

Most peds get run over in car parks, go figure.

Simple enough - unlike roads , car parks are one of the few places where pedestrians walk willy nilly amongst moving vehicles with no separation or regulation - blame for these incidents are probably pretty equally divided between pedestrians who are not looking out for moving vehicles and drivers either reversing without proper observation ( especially those who drive into spaces then reverse out without being able to see properly ) or travelling at inappropriate speed for the surroundings .

Peds have a nasty habit of stepping out in front of bicycles when crossing when they would not do so with an approaching car: the bike simply cannot stop! - applies to zebras too.

A pedestrian on a crossing is entitled to step out - it is the responsibility of the driver/rider to take proper observation on the approach to a crossing and be prepared/able to stop - a bike can stop a lot quicker than a car ! Moreover , motor vehicles can generally be heard coming , cycles ( and electric vehicles ) approach in silence - and lots of bikes these days have no bell/horn with which to warn of their approach .

You pay a vehicle excise licence on a motor vehicle, not a road tax. It does not imply some right to use the road.

Road Fund License , as it used to be called , was originally brought in to pay for road infrastructure . VED as it now is just goes into government collective coffers .

You are supposed to give a cyclist as much room as a car, that means to over-take one, you are supposed to cross the centre line (highway code).

Six feet of clearance required which , depending on road width , may or may not mean crossing the centre line .

There are many, many more ill-mannered, incompetent and downright dangerous vehicle drivers than likewise cyclists.

That is a matter of opinion with which I would disagree .

Regarding kids riding idiotically, at night w/o lights or on the pavement etc: they're your kids too, so who is training them to ride a bike?

I can't speak for other peoples' children , but my son will be taught (by me) to ride responsibly , won't go on the road for a while yet ( he's only two just now ) and only under my direct supervision to begin with . For now , he'll ride his small bike with stabilisers on the pavement without harming nor endangering anyone .
 
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Noodle-Pulp

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For now , he'll ride his small bike with stabilisers on the pavement without harming nor endangering anyone .

Sorry to burst your bubble - I was mowed down by a toddler on his bike+stabilisers just the other week as I was walking to work.

While not directly endangering me; it did provoke me to dive for cover towards the busy road - lucky for me he hit me before I got to the kerbside.
 

markjay

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...Use of bicycle is covered by Road Traffic Act e.g lights at night are compulsory, so are traffic lights and zebras etc....

I agree - but the point is that a great many people on bikes flout all the rules and get away with it because they are anonymous and can disappear in traffic with little chance of ever being traced...

How very true - and with enforcement nowadays carried-out mainly by CCTV cameras, and not by real-life traffic cops, cyclist can ride with impunity.
 

markjay

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Regarding cyclists with no lights at night - of which there are quite a few in central London, since the streets are well-lit, and the cyclist don't need to have lights to see where they are going - my auto-dimming right-hand and rear-view mirrors prevent me from seeing any cyclist that rides behind me or overtakes me on my right-hand side, if there are other cars behind him/her. Big problem.
 

Noodle-Pulp

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Regarding cyclists with no lights at night - of which there are quite a few in central London, since the streets are well-lit, and the cyclist don't need to have lights to see where they are going - my auto-dimming right-hand and rear-view mirrors prevent me from seeing any cyclist that rides behind me or overtakes me on my right-hand side, if there are other cars behind him/her. Big problem.

What's more of a problem for me (and my auto-dimming mirrors) are the drivers who drive on sidelights around London at night.. are they crazy? and what are the police doing about it? (sorry - going off topic, but it drives me crazy).
 
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Sidelights at night in a built up area are perfectly legal , and preferable to headlamps since they do not mask pedestrians and cyclists .

If everyone learned to drive on sidelights in town , the world would be safer , plus there would be a saving in energy used .
 

jeffwebb

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I think it is self evident that there needs to be some sort of licensing/identification of cyclists but, as with a lot legislation these days, it would be useless if not enforced eg. the no driving/phoning law.
(nice reasonable debate though folks!)..............SO FAR:D:D:D
 

moralcrusader

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Firstly, I'd like to see the government address the scourge of unlicenced/untaxed/uninsured drivers before they even think about tatooing a number into my forearm in return for my "right" to cycle. Given the registration plates and the introduction of automatic numberplate registration, there is no reason for any untaxed/insured/MOTd cars or unlicenced drivers to be on the road. I'm sure anyone whos been hit by one would agree!

Secondly, I'd be more than happy to pay some sort of tax on the purchase of a new bike or a yearly "bike tax" - provided that the full proceeds plus the usual amount from national taxation went toward improving cycle lanes in the UK and seperating them from traffic. Most cycle lanes at present are build by councils soley because they get subsidies for doing so - thus many cycle lanes are not suitable for purpose and in many cases dangerous. A quick search on Google for "pointless cycle lane" will back this up. Here's an example of one that's both poinless and dangerous:

2901702664_ee0ae7c919.jpg


So, give me some proper infrastructure - cycle lanes seperated from traffic with kerbs such as in the Netherlands and I'll pay some tax.

Once again, we can look to Switzerland for somewhere that's got it right on this issue - the cycling infrastructure is superb and all cylclists are obliged to buy a "tax sticker" for 20f a year for every bike they own. This is a good idea.

Numbered hi-viz, no thanks (I sweat enough with one layer on in the summer without the government adding to it!)
 

LTD

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The crux of the whole issue is that, in the main, cyclists do have lights, high-vis clothing and ride in a manner that is conducive to road and pedestrian safety by obeying the regulations.

However, the problems we discuss, are those that are not 'cyclists' but Pedestrians-On-Bicycles.
 

moralcrusader

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The crux of the whole issue is that, in the main, cyclists do have lights, high-vis clothing and ride in a manner that is conducive to road and pedestrian safety by obeying the regulations.

However, the problems we discuss, are those that are not 'cyclists' but Pedestrians-On-Bicycles.

Exactly. I've never even had a close shave with a car/bus/van etc in London, however I have had a major accident with left me in casualty and my bike a write-off. The culprit? A POB who jumped off the pavement 4ft in front of me, leaving me with no time to do anything but t-bone him while doing 25mph. And he left me lying in the road in a puddle of my own blood, and buggered off.

People like that won't bother getting a bike licence - hell, they've probably not got tax/insurance etc for their cars.
 

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