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To think in many cases the problem is that Motorists don't look for cyclists, rather than not seeing them?

(76 Posts)
BoysofMelody Mon 15-May-17 01:14:02

Went out for a bike ride and with crushing predictably, I had a near miss thanks to errant motorists.

First one, reversed from a parking space at high speed onto the road I was traveling along missing me by a fraction. Similarly about 15 miles into the ride another, motorist swung across my path to get into their drive way, without indicating or looking around them.

At the time, conditions were clear and not overly sunny, I was wearing a hi Viz orange jersey and had flashing auxilary lights front and rear.

Given that I was riding at a sensible speed and in a defensive manner and there was little else I could reasonably do to make myself more visible to motorists, that the problem more often than not is that Motorists don't look for, rather than not seeing cyclists? Bike lights after dark are a legal requirement and absolutely essential, but why are cyclists and cyclists alone held expected to dress up in all sorts of garish shades to protect themselves from motorists' inattention? If a cyclist gets runs over, the all too predictable cry of 'why weren't they wearing hi Viz and a helmet goesup'' in a similar case where a HGV totals a car, no one would castigate the driver for having a dark grey car that was difficult to see at dusk would they?

caroldecker Mon 15-May-17 01:19:30

Cyclists need to be visible because they are the ones killed. Someone else fault does not bring them back to life.
All the ads/warnings I have seen have been to make drivers aware.

BoysofMelody Mon 15-May-17 01:25:08

Cyclists need to be visible because they are the ones killed. Someone else fault does not bring them back to life.

I am visible, I could scarcely be more visible, but it makes sod all difference. Also if you are hit by a lorry when you're in your car, you'll come off many times worse than the driver in a truck, but no one would victim blame by suggesting it was your fault because your car wasn't painted bright yellow with retro reflective strips or you weren't wearing a crash helmet would they?

FreeNiki Mon 15-May-17 01:31:43

I agree OP. They dont look.

I was on my bike yesterday, quiet road, no traffic. It was broad daylight and I was there to be seen.

As I cycled along side a row of parked cars a door flew open narrowly missing me by a couple of centimetres. The driver said WOAH. So he was startled and just had not bothered to check his mirror. I kept on cycling and yelled "look first" and he said sorry.

If he had opened that door onto me I could have flown over the handle bars and car door or crashed into it. My helmet would make no difference as my arms, shoulder would take the brunt.

JustAnotherPoster00 Mon 15-May-17 02:46:17

As I cycled along side a row of parked cars a door flew open narrowly missing me by a couple of centimetres.

Usually when passing parked cars you always expect a car door to open no matter what transport youre using. Thats what my driving instructor taught me, a valuable bit of advice I've always been grateful for.

FreeNiki Mon 15-May-17 02:51:44

So i should cycle like a snail or cycle up the middle.of the road disturbing other road users?

what is with cyclist hate?

OkPedro Mon 15-May-17 03:07:14

A lot of drivers seem to have issues with cyclists it's like they shouldn't be on the road or actual cycle lane 🙄
I'm not a cyclist but when I'm driving other motorists have no regard for cyclists.. regularly dangerously over taking a cyclist or just not "seeing" them.

However and it's a big however! The risks, blatant "could not give a shit" cyclists on the road out weighs the bad motorists.
Many don't obey traffic lights, they don't wear helmets or protective clothing. Make stupid mistakes when beside lorries. They don't signal if they are turning.
Motorists aren't mind readers.
A pp said about parked cars and a door opening without warning. Same applies to drivers. I'm always mindful that a parked car door may open as I'm driving past. It works both ways

UsedToBeAPaxmanFan Mon 15-May-17 03:12:52

I live just outside Cambridge so motorists are very used to looking for cycists because they are everywhere. I always wear hi-vis and use lights even in daytime so these no reason why I shouldn't be seen. I also have a hi vis helmet with a buiit in light.

In my experience motorists do see me but a few still act like idiots. I cycled to work on Friday snd part of my route is along a NSL road. Cars passed me so close that in a couple of cases I wobbled on my bike. There was no traffic coming the other way so they could have given me far more clearance but chose not to. I also had someone pull over onto a cycle lane in the city and blocking my path in order to drop someone off. He had definitely seen me as he'd just gone past me.

On the other hand, loads of cyclists in Cambridge behave appallingly - cycling through red lights regardless of people crossing the road, riding the wrong way down one way streets etc. So it's not just motorists who are at fault.

BollardDodger Mon 15-May-17 06:38:31

I think a lot of the time motorists under-estimate the speed of cyclists. A lot of cyclists pootle along barely above walking pace, and it is difficult to tell that this one coming towards you is actually bombing along at 30mph

tinydancer88 Mon 15-May-17 06:46:35

Impatient and selfish car drivers are abundant. I drive through the centre of a big town at rush hour and sometimes I genuinely think I am the only driver who knows how to use their indicators. Disturbingly I think some drivers are even more careless around cyclists because there's little risk of serious injury to them in the event of a collision, compared to hitting another car for example. As a car driver your desire to be at your destination 2 minutes quicker should not overrule the cyclist's wish to get to theirs without fearing for their life.

That said, everyday without exception I see incompetent, ill equipped and foolish cyclists commuting. As a road user you need to obey traffic lights, signal before changing direction, and if you cannot cycle in a straight line (by which I mean stay in your lane at a roundabout, not cling to the kerb, I do give cyclists room!) then you probably should not be cycling on the roads, same as you shouldn't if you can't drive a car safely.

Blackfellpony Mon 15-May-17 06:58:31

I don't cycle but I do have horses and have got to the point I just don't really ride on the road as it's too dangerous. I've nearly been took out a few times even with hi viz on me and the horse.
I found country lanes the worst of them all!

Saying that, now lots of the cyclists have moved to the bridle paths and come flying past the horses at 30mph instead hmm

I do sometimes wonder if people have a death wish peddling along 60mph country lanes that seem to be driven on by mostly idiots. Yes it's legal but its really not worth your life sad

BToperator Mon 15-May-17 06:59:08

I think the problem is humans in general, go round in their own little bubble, not paying enough attention to those around them. It doesn't matter whether they are driving a car, riding a bike, or anything else.

I was stuck behind a group of 3 cyclists for a good few miles yesterday, They were bombing along at 35 to 40 mph, and every time there was a straight bit of road, where I could have safely passed them, they would look back, and start riding next to each other. The only way I could have passed would have been by squeezing close to them and risking an accident. Then, to add insult to injury, we reached a village, and I slowed down to the 30 mph speed limit. They continued at the same speed, and pulled away from me. I dread to think what would have happened if any of them had come off!

maddening Mon 15-May-17 07:10:18

The car swinging in to the drive- were they turning left in to the drive or right in to their drive?

savagehk Mon 15-May-17 07:11:09

There are several issues. Genuine not looking, looking but the brain not registering (Google "did you see the dancing Bear" - giving away the punchline a bit, sorry), plus the legitimate selfish maniacs who disobey road rules anyway and could be under the influence of drugs/drink etc.

As a general comment, drivers are more prone to being annoyed by being held up by a bicycle too, to the point of irrationality, for instance in the run up to a red light which will stay red for ages, or a queue of traffic, or in a 20mph zone where the cyclist is doing around that speed anyway.

AwaywiththePixies27 Mon 15-May-17 07:40:38

Cyclists need to be visible because they are the ones killed. Someone else fault does not bring them back to life.

The OP said they were visible. Hi vis orange jersey? The only way the OP could have been more visible was if they were wearing Christmas tree lights as well.

As a pedestrian, I see reckless behaviour from both cyclists and motorists alike.

AwaywiththePixies27 Mon 15-May-17 07:44:27

As I cycled along side a row of parked cars a door flew open narrowly missing me by a couple of centimetres

Also, to a PP, the onus is on both the motorist and the cyclist to be aware of your surroundings and that includes looking for oncoming traffic (cyclists included) when opening your door.

My late friend was left disabled after some idiot opened his car door without looking and sent her flying off her bicycle. She was on her way home from work after doing a night shift (she was a nurse).

ShotsFired Mon 15-May-17 07:55:17

I wear very, er, "vibrant" cycling clothing that would have people reaching for their sunglasses if I wore it normally, and even still I am acutely aware of the SMIDSY defence (Sorry Mate I Didn't See You).

I also stop at every traffic light and obey the rules of the road as I am equally acutely aware that when I am on two wheels, I immediately become the embodiment of every single cyclist on the planet and if I don't, it's just yet more fuel to the fire that we are all lycra lout lawbreaking maniacs vs 100% perfect car drivers.

I get people under/over taking me on mini roundabouts, pushing past me as I am riding through single lane pinchpoints, passing me with cm to spare on a 2 lane road...

Iwasjustabouttosaythat Mon 15-May-17 08:01:28

It's both. Ok you had a bad day and those drivers were awful, but that doesn't mean the cyclist is never at fault.

A few weeks ago I was driving at night on very dark streets and just as I was turning on to a new road a cyclist suddenly appeared. He was wearing all black on a dark street on a dark night, and in his position I would be much more careful if I saw a car about to pull in front of me.

A few days later I was driving on a very busy road at peak hour. Driving fast. Suddenly a cyclist pulled out right in front from a side street. Obviously he can't move quick enough to keep up with traffic and if I hadn't slammed on the breaks I would absolutely have hit him. He just rode along at a snail's pace, holding all the cars up.

I am very careful of cyclists. Their fragile bodies terrify me. I always go slowly when they're half blocking the lane and never overtake unless they have oodles of space. It scares me to see the way some people rush past them.

BUT if there's a cycle path only one block over that takes you all the way into town but adds 10 mins to your trip could you just use it? Big, busy roads are dangerous and when I used to cycle I always stuck to quieter roads if possible. Main roads are so dangerous, and really, it's rude to hold up all the traffic.

So it's both. I have to agree with PP that the onus in on the cyclist to be visible and drive carefully on safer streets/cycle paths. The OP did this, but many cyclists do not.

Iwasjustabouttosaythat Mon 15-May-17 08:02:53

Heh, xpost, Away.

Socksey Mon 15-May-17 08:07:08

Not rtft yet.... but drivers do look for cyclists as well as other hazards.....
Lose the flashing lights for a start.... they are fine as an additional light but are next to useless in terms of making you visible... you need a good solid light fixed front and back. As a cyclist I had always understood this to be the requirement and as a motorist I see why.

Crumbs1 Mon 15-May-17 08:10:06

Leisure cyclists are infuriating on roads around here. They troop out in groups of up to about thirty, shout and wake entire villages at 7.00 am, hold up people trying to get on with their lives by blocking roads and thinking the own the whole national park. They travel either just too fast to safely overtake or like grunting purple snails huffing and puffing up the hills at a pace slightly slower than stationary but refuse to stop in passing places to allow cars past. They leave great cardboard arrows affixed to our historic landmarks, wells, church fences even my fence sometimes. They use our roads as triathlon road races with a silly man in a hi vi vest waving his arm up and down frantically at any car daring to go above 15 miles an hour. They ask to use the landline phone or lavatory too often. What's not to hate?

SoulAccount Mon 15-May-17 08:11:13

I find the small flashing lights harder to spot. I can't understand why cyclists use them.

I actively look for cyclists, but you cannot drive whilst spending your whole time looking in your rear view and wing mirrors. Cyclists weaving about, very fast, undertaking, cutting in, etc make it hard to keep track of where they are.

reallyanotherone Mon 15-May-17 08:13:20

Usually when passing parked cars you always expect a car door to open no matter what transport youre using. Thats what my driving instructor taught me, a valuable bit of advice I've always been grateful for.

After getting hit by a car door I started cycling a little bit further out so as not to get hit if it happened again.

The abuse i got. People would wind down their windows and swear at me for being too far in the road.

Getting hit by the door was far less traumatic than been shouted and sworn at constantly.

I've also been hit by wing mirrors from vehicles passing too close.

Many drivers just don't think cycles should/do take up much room.

SoulAccount Mon 15-May-17 08:13:54

But I hate to see drivers harassing cyclists or squeezing past them on narrow pinch points etc.

SoulAccount Mon 15-May-17 08:15:29

"The abuse i got. People would wind down their windows and swear at me for being too far in the road."

The message needs to be broadcast to drivers: cyclists are advised to cycle in the centre of the lane for a good reason.

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