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Too long a gap between postings again, but at least it’s a new one now!

New topic for me to post on, and it’s cycling.

Why pick this as a new topic, well I have a bit of an interest in it.  In my previous job I used to cycle to work each day.  I’ve also cycled in for my current job on a number of occasions.  Finally I’m looking at moving on from marathons and possibly the next challenge will be Triathlons.  I won’t be posting on the latter of these just yet, but will do in time, but it’s the work commute that I want to focus on.

Now I know that a lot of posts have been made on cycling to work, there have been lots of news stories as well.  I doubt that I will cast any new light on the issue, nor am I going to suddenly  find the solution to everyone’s gripes.

Cycling in Brighton and Hove can be a mixed blessing.  There have been lots of cycle lane work by the council.  Some good, some less so.  Cycle lanes on a major road that are so wide they take out a lane of traffic in both directions is possibly overkill.  I know that it’s caused a lot of aggravation for drivers, most of which gets taken out on the cyclists rather than the council.  However cycle lanes that go ‘behind’ bus stops so that busses aren’t cutting across cyclists to pull over and stop are quite a good idea in my mind.  We’re also lucky that we have a seafront that can have a cycle lane along it, taking cyclists off of the road.

Returning to the bike last week in what will probably be our short summer window, it didn’t take long (2 days) for me to be yelled at but someone.  (Happened to be driving a white van, but I’m sure that was just chance!).  What had upset them.  The fact that I was moving across a lane (in line with another car) and I had held him up for all of about 10 seconds.  He probably wasted more time slowing down to yell at me.  I happily ignored him and carried on my way.  This is not uncommon in town, though I think in 2 years of cycling I’ve only been yelled at 4 times.  I consider myself quite a responsible cyclist and know that each time I was in the right.  (I will happily list why in another post if I need to).  However it is interesting that with some drivers the default position is that the cyclist is in the wrong.

Chatting to a colleague at work, they pointed out that it’s a size thing and that the ‘conflict’ always works in terms of the next size up on the road, or at least that is where the conflict normally exists. Pedestrians v Cyclists, Cyclists v Cars, Cars v Busses and so on.  Often I feel that cyclists actually get it from both sides.  I’ve been challenged to a fight by a pedestrian who felt I should have stopped because they wanted to cross the road (no formal crossing area), and by a bus driver who felt that I should have come to a complete standstill despite being ahead of him and let him go past and then resume my cycle to work.  As far as the highway code is concerned I don’t believe I was in the wrong in either situation, but am willing to be pointed to a bit that says otherwise.

So this brings me onto the last bit for now and that’s my top 5 dislikes as a cyclist.  Maybe some will be surprising, and hopefully some will show that I’m one of the more responsible cyclists out there.

1)      Cyclists going through red lights.  This happens often and I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been waiting and someone else goes past.  I often feel like trying to point out that I’ve not stopped just to have a rest.  (I’d also include cyclists who ‘pavement hop’ while still on the bike to avoid lights.  If you’re on the pavement you should be off the bike and walking it)

2)      Cyclist who ignore one way signs.  This goes back to when I was driving and went to turn up a one way street and I nearly hit a cyclist speeding down the road in the wrong direction.  No apology from them, just a grin!

3)      ‘Squeeze’ drivers.  These are the drivers who believe that the right course of action when they see cyclists coming up to lights will purposefully (when they don’t have to) move over as close to the curb as possible.  While unlike the other two there is nothing illegal in it, it really is quite childish.

4)      ‘I’m Right’ drivers.  These are the ones who assume they are correct in their road usage and that everyone else is correct.  Normally it’s from lack of knowledge of the highway code or even something as simple as the local area where they don’t know how the traffic signals are working.  Just because there is a red light in once direction it doesn’t mean it’s the same in the opposite one!

5)      MP3/Mobile Zombies.  These are the ones who pay no attention to the outside world.  They will be listening for traffic rather than looking for it and most bikes tend to be quiet.  When electric cars become the norm, things could be dangerous for this group.  (As a sub group here there are the drivers who are listening to their MP3s/mobiles with headphones when they are driving and therefore totally unaware of what is going on even inside their own car rather than the outside world).

Hopefully those 5 show that I’m quite even handed with the good and bad on the road of all users.  I trust this doesn’t seem like too much of a rant, but it is meant to be quite serious.

Whatever mode of transport you use though, may it be safe and considerate to all!