March 22, 2011 at 11:39 am #83019March 22, 2011 at 12:02 pm #83020
I feel much safer when I’m sitting beside someone else in an ASL,
That’s if you can get into the ASL in the first place. Half the time a taxi, car or van has already taken up the space.
Once last year I was waiting at lights and the driver in the van behind me took off before they changed. The wing mirror whacked my shoulder! Nothing too serious, but it’s clear avoiding me wasn’t among his priorities.March 22, 2011 at 3:16 pm #83021
Paco de BangoParticipant
I’ve had plenty of close passes and near ‘left hooks’ (as I believe the cycling fraternity calls them ) but I’ve never been in a situation where simply slowing my bike down to avoid a collision hasn’t been an option.
Except once, when a pick up was driving straight at me cos he hadnt seen me, but that wasn’t in London or on a Boris Bike so it doesn’t count.March 24, 2011 at 11:26 am #83022March 24, 2011 at 3:44 pm #83023March 24, 2011 at 10:18 pm #83024
I don’t use sun block either, and I’ve never had sun burn. Once I thought I did while hiking in the Alps in August, but it was my t-shirt chafing on my neckMarch 24, 2011 at 11:33 pm #83025
ChapParticipantQuote:@ Chap: Unfortunately it’s not as simple as that, and IMHO your advice is partly misleading. Stay away from lorries is the most important advice, and stay away from major junctions / roundabouts like Old Street and Elephant & Castle as well as busy roads.
A rather (unnecessary) literal interpretation, I’d say, but we all emphasis/promote our points in different ways.
A big issue is the undertaking of vehicles, or rather ending up in that unfortunate position. Avoidance is a method (and advisable where there are viable alternatives) but it is also an idea to learn positioning. Whilst, I am far from being a vehicular cyclist, there is a lot of wisdom to be gained from cycling in an assertive manner which commands space and gains one visibility. It probably won’t make you the most liked person on the road, but this is London – almost everyone hates everyone on the road – and it is unlikely that we are going to have sensible paths laid down anytime soon – Supercyclehighways are single blue lines for parking/temporary stopsMarch 26, 2011 at 12:34 am #83026
I’m going on holiday for a week and offered my sister my Boris key to use for the week, but she thought it was too dangerousMarch 27, 2011 at 9:14 pm #83027
I think the danger of cycling in London depends upon a lot of factors. Personally I feel safe, but I’ve been riding a bicycle since I was four and I only take back roads in London. I’ve seen some newbies on Boris Bikes who haven’t figured out what their seat hight should be and don’t know how the gears work — and I’m really happy they’ve decided to give cycling a try, but I can understand how that would add a new level of fear to cycling on London’s roads. Some of my friends are not so much afraid of cars hitting them as they are afraid of falling off a bicycle into the street and then being hit by a car. But a couple practice runs through Hyde park could sort that out.
The first time on a bicycle in London is similar to the first time you drive a car by yourself. You have that initial ride/drive of terror where you realize you’re sharing the road with lots of other vehicles, but then you get used to the idea and the fear goes away. I actually feel better on a bicycle than in a car, because I like having my sense of hearing. In a car, you really only have your sight to guide you. On a bicycle, you can see (without any blind spots) and have the added benefit of being able to hear when someone is coming up behind you.
Also, as someone said before, most of the traffic in central London isn’t moving very fast. I still wouldn’t cycle down Euston Road, but you can get almost anywhere in London via back streets.March 28, 2011 at 10:50 am #83028
I think the best thing to do if you are concerned about cycling in London, is to drive around Central London at rush hour, in a car, just once or twice. Seriously, driving around cyclists makes you realize what you should and shouldn’t do on a bike.
For example, you quickly realise how damn annoying and dangerous it is when a cyclist undertakes you when moving, when there’s only a couple of feet between your car and the kerb, and they sit nicely in your blind spot. Also, when waiting at lights to turn left at a junction, with indicators on, and 10 bikes park themselves between you and the kerb or just in front. And, more positively, how it’s better for all road users if cyclists take a dominant, mid-lane position at junctions and when overtaking parked cars. You may also learn that safety is almost entirely about how you ride, not what you wear when riding.
I also would love all vehicle drivers to spend a day on a bike in central London to see what that’s like, too.March 28, 2011 at 10:56 am #83029
I agree bbb – provided traffic speeds permit, cycling “like you are a car” seems the safest thing to me, however tempting it might be to undertake.
It does seem to entrage some drivers when I ride in the centre of the lane, however, even when I am cycling at the same speed as the car in front….March 28, 2011 at 5:15 pm #83030
@bbb I absolutely agree that a lot of cyclists are reckless. However, at least with regards to fatal accidents, the press reports only very rarely mention severe misconduct of cyclists like jumping red lights or cycling with head phones. see my spreadsheet here: http://bit.ly/ecYPVK
With regards to left turning cars (I’m not talking about not lorrys, here.): I’m always surprised that almost no driver in London makes a shoulder check before he turns left. I’ve made my driving licence in Germany almonst 20 years ago and the “Schulterblick” was one of the most important things they thaught us. Forget it once in the exam, and you would not get your licence.March 29, 2011 at 1:09 pm #83031Quote:You may also learn that safety is almost entirely about how you ride, not what you wear when riding.
I couldn’t agree more. I daily see cyclists on the road who are fully geared up with every safety equipment they can possibly attach to their body but do the most risky things. For those, impatience is their biggest enemy, not lorries. The amount of agitation displayed whenever they need to stop behind vehicles or junctions is extraordinary. I often watch in wonder as they poke their head left/right/centre like mice sniffing for cheese, hoping to find a tiniest gap between vehicles they can squeeze through, even when it endangers their lives. What’s the hurry? I mean really, what’s the hurry?
I surprise myself slightly when I say I’m actually feeling pretty safe cycling in London. I find when you let go of the desire to compete with cars (which you never can) and just flow with the traffic peacefully, the energy you get from motorists seem to change. There are occasional exceptions, but I find drivers generally courteous and friendly. They often smile and say hello, particularly from lorry drivers. Not saying that I would never get run over by someone who is drunk, on drug or psychotic, but assuming that 99% of people on the road are sane and sober, I feel safe.March 29, 2011 at 2:32 pm #83032
I agree – I feel perfectly safe cycling in London. It’s often not particularly pleasant and can be very frustrating, but I don’t feel endangered. By contrast cycling along a busy road with high speed traffic really does feel grim. Battering along a rural A-road with cars whipping past your elbow at 60+ mph is really grim.April 6, 2011 at 6:29 pm #83033
Sad news: another cyclist has been killed by a lorry yesterday in Camden Town, reports the Evening Standard. Will 2011 become a dark year for cyclists in London?
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