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Cyclists bullied

From L Mackay

Monday, 13 July 2020

I've just watched a very large green tractor - you probably know the one that rushes up and down the valley with huge loads - trying to intimidate a cyclist on the A646.  The cyclist was valiantly trying to maintain their place on the road and not end up cycling in the gutter.  The tractor kept revving its engine, moving up close to the cyclist, then pulling back a little, then revving up again - bully, bully, bully, get out of my way!  Eventually the tractor got past, the cyclist had survived this encounter.  

This seems to be an everyday occurrence if you're cycling.  The free-for-all, the arrogance of motorists, the crazy speeds which drivers are going at just now, it is just beyond a joke.  The imminent Corridor Improvement Plan is mainly being conducted in order to help improve the flow of traffic - heaven help us.

The police have their hands tied: they can run speed checks but they need to give the motorists a fighting chance, don't they?  So the police have to be clearly visible and stand out: pointing a speed gun at a vehicle and, funnily enough, any driver who is mildly awake, slows down. 

Do I know any of these speeding drivers?  Of course, I do.  So do you! 

From Sara W

Monday, 13 July 2020

On the other hand, I live in Heptonstall and walk down to HB regularly, and especially at weekends there are cyclists in groups all over the road blocking the traffic, some even tack side to side of the road to make going uphill easier, with little consideration for drivers, and even pedestrians.

Frequently at weekends I see large groups of cyclists on the main road into and out of HB, riding in a bunch right across the whole of one lane.  If they would even just go single file they wouldn't cause such hold ups for all vehicles on this important road. And/or they could pull in occasionally at bus stops and the turning circle to let vehicles pass them.

I'm not a driver, just a dedicated pedestrian, but I see this every single weekend.  Taking this into account, it may not be surprising that drivers find themselves easily upset by the behaviour of cyclists.  I'm certainly not saying that what the tractor driver did was ok - and yes, I've seen that tractor and trailer causing all manner of problems, including in Heptonstall village.

Just that not all the wrongs are down to the drivers in the drivers versus cyclists "war".  I would rather see people cycling, for the sake of the environment, but only if cyclists behave respectfully to other road and path users too.  As a pedestrian on the canal towpath I've had many incidents over the years where cyclists were rude and even endangering pedestrians and dogs.

I think all road and path users need to behave with due respect and caution, not that drivers are the only villains of the piece.

From Ingrid Burney

Thursday, 16 July 2020

Thank you Sarah, for expressing what I feel i.e. that it is about respect for all road and path users.I'm a driver, but ex-cyclist (at my age and fitness, prefer to walk).  Cyclists are not always victims and sometimes behave with a lack of consideration for other road/path users. 

However, when I  came to Hebden, several years ago I was pleasantly surprised by the relative consideration of cyclists on the towpaths. They acknowledged me when I stepped aside for them, and sometimes even thanked me. I had only rarely  experienced this in Manchester, where I lived before, and having returned from a trip to London, didn't experience it there either. 

And Hebden cyclists even use bells, sometimes, to announce their arrival, rather than appearing on your heels, silently, causing you to leap out of the way. A challenge for a seventy year old.

So, please, Hebden cyclists, continue to treat pedestrians and drivers, not as the enemy, but as  co-sharers of common space.

From L Mackay

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Gosh, you could make me feel sorry for drivers having to deal with all those badly behaved cyclists.  However, most cyclists ride carefully, trying to avoid being pushed into the gutter, being hit by a wing mirror or knocked off their bike.  The bottom line though is, cyclists tend not to kill or seriously injure drivers, but drivers do kill and seriously injure cyclists.  
At the moment we have drivers who are enjoying the race tracks that our main roads have become.  Lockdown reduced the number of vehicles. Drivers facing empty roads, speed up. 

They become kings of the road.  Obviously, anyone would enjoy the freedom to get in a vehicle and temporarily escape the virus.  The difficulty is that drivers have learned to ignore speed limits.  I wonder if there is a growing impatience with cyclists and pedestrians when they become impediments to that greater speed?

Please do not blame the victims.  

From Sara W

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

I suspect it's only a small minority of drivers that behave so badly too. Most people I know are careful to drive safely and respect other road users.

It really does come down to everyone using roads and paths showing due respect to everyone else, not making any one group into the villains of the piece.

I'm mainly a pedestrian and occasionally a public transport user, and I too have to show respect even if as a pedestrian, and an ambulant disabled one at that. I'm definably in the very much most vulnerable road and path user group.

From Audrey S

Monday, 27 July 2020

It is advised best practice for groups of cyclists to ride in 'bunches' rather than string out in one long thin line. 

Drivers should find dealing with such a bunch similar to a slow moving vehicle such as a gully sweeper. Wait, then pass in one swift move when safe. 

Passing each individual cyclist of a group of (say) 8, all strung out over 100m, tempts motorists into 'squeezing through' which is unsafe to cyclists and oncoming traffic too.

Remember the highway code says give cyclists as much room as you would when passing a car. So my example of 8 cyclists in a bunch = 1 overtake, versus 8 separate riders = 8 overtakes, if done safely, which it never is in such a case. 

Obviously each situation will depend to a degree, but riding as one close group is the safest for all.