Cycling - too dangerous?

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Warwickc, Jan 26, 2003.

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  1. Warwickc

    Warwickc Guest

    I enjoy cycling for fitness but I am seriously thinking about giving it up before I am seriously
    injured. Almost every time I go out there seems to occur an issue of some kind with a motor vehicle.
    Things like being overtaken very closely, and/or being cut in just before a junction by a car
    turning left seem to happen almost every time.

    Some of this may be down to the way I ride so I would be interested to know what others do to avoid
    these scenarios. I want to improve my fitness so I don't want to pedal cautiously and stop and wait
    until the road is clear in every direction at each road junction.

    I would also like to know what more experienced cyclists would have done in this latest incident
    which took place yesterday.

    I try to keep off main roads and out of towns for the above reasons. I was cycling along a country
    lane when an articulated lorry about 0.5m narrower than the width of the lane approached from the
    opposite direction. The lorry stopped centrally in the lane leaving about 25cm on either side
    between the lorry's wheels and the verge.

    The verges are next to farm fields, and are unsuitable for riding on so I slowly edged my bike down
    the gap between the lorry and the raised verge. When I had passed the tractor unit and I was level
    with the front of the trailer, the lorry started forwards again leaving me facing the oncoming
    wheels of the trailer. To avoid being run over I steered by bike into the raised verge where I
    immediately lost my balance and fell on to the verge.

    I limped back to the front of the lorry and pointed out to the driver with feeling, but without
    swearing, that I was not happy that he made no room for me to pass but stopped centrally in the
    lane, and that he drove on whilst I was still attempting to squeeze by, causing me to be knocked
    off my bike.

    The driver only asked if I had "finished". He did not ask if I was hurt or show any concern. I
    said if that was his attitude, no I hadn't finished, I wanted to make a complaint about him. At
    this point he shrugged and drove off. I shouted after him that I was injured and wanted his name
    and address. He did not stop but drove on leaving me standing bruised, wet and muddy by the side
    of the road.

    How to avoid these dangerous (to me) confrontations? Should I have dismounted and carried my bike
    onto the verge and waited for the lorry to pass? Or should the lorry have pulled over so that I
    could have ridden by more easily? Should I complain to the police or is this just a waste of time?
     
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  2. warwickc <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I enjoy cycling for fitness but I am seriously thinking about giving it up before I am seriously
    > injured. Almost every time I go out there seems to occur an issue of some kind with a motor
    > vehicle. Things like being overtaken very closely, and/or being cut in just before a junction by a
    > car turning left seem to happen almost every time.
    >
    > Some of this may be down to the way I ride so I would be interested to know what others do to
    > avoid these scenarios. I want to improve my fitness so I don't want to pedal cautiously and stop
    > and wait until the road is clear in every direction at each road junction.
    >
    You need to ride with a certain amount of assertiveness and presence. Don't make the mistake of
    riding too close to the gutter. You're fully entitled to be on the road and so long as your as
    visible as possible, well positioned and giving clear intent of your direction you'll find you get a
    lot more respect. Ride too close to the gutter and cars will not change direction or speed ever!

    > I would also like to know what more experienced cyclists would have done in this latest incident
    > which took place yesterday.
    >
    > I try to keep off main roads and out of towns for the above reasons. I was cycling along a country
    > lane when an articulated lorry about 0.5m narrower than the width of the lane approached from the
    > opposite direction. The lorry stopped centrally in the lane leaving about 25cm on either side
    > between the lorry's wheels and the verge.

    Sometimes you just have to get off and stand clear

    >
    > The verges are next to farm fields, and are unsuitable for riding on so I slowly edged my bike
    > down the gap between the lorry and the raised verge. When I had passed the tractor unit and I was
    > level with the front of the trailer, the lorry started forwards again leaving me facing the
    > oncoming wheels of the trailer. To avoid being run over I steered by bike into the raised verge
    > where I immediately lost my balance and fell on to the verge.
    >
    > I limped back to the front of the lorry and pointed out to the driver with feeling, but without
    > swearing, that I was not happy that he made no room for me to pass but stopped centrally in the
    > lane, and that he drove on whilst I was still attempting to squeeze by, causing me to be knocked
    > off my bike.
    >
    > The driver only asked if I had "finished". He did not ask if I was hurt or show any concern. I
    > said if that was his attitude, no I hadn't finished, I wanted to make a complaint about him. At
    > this point he shrugged and drove off. I shouted after him that I was injured and wanted his name
    > and address. He did not stop but drove on leaving me standing bruised, wet and muddy by the side
    > of the road.
    >
    > How to avoid these dangerous (to me) confrontations? Should I have dismounted and carried my bike
    > onto the verge and waited for the lorry to pass? Or should the lorry have pulled over so that I
    > could have ridden by more easily? Should I complain to the police or is this just a waste of time?

    Did you get his number and how injured are you? I would definately report him to the police. It
    could be a waste of time but it will make you feel beter.
     
  3. Albert Fish

    Albert Fish Guest

    "warwickc" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I enjoy cycling for fitness but I am seriously thinking about giving it up before I am seriously
    > injured. Almost every time I go out there seems to occur an issue of some kind with a motor
    > vehicle. Things like being overtaken very closely, and/or being cut in just before a junction by a
    > car turning left seem to happen almost every time.

    best stay in then. when outside (with all it's nasty dangers) seems like a place that's too much to
    handle it's time to take up knitting.

    <snip>

    > I would also like to know what more experienced cyclists would have done in this latest incident
    > which took place yesterday.
    >
    > I try to keep off main roads and out of towns for the above reasons. I was cycling along a country
    > lane when an articulated lorry about 0.5m narrower than the width of the lane approached from the
    > opposite direction. The lorry stopped centrally in the lane leaving about 25cm on either side
    > between the lorry's wheels and the verge.

    I'd have sat right in front of it until it moved.

    > The verges are next to farm fields, and are unsuitable for riding on so I slowly edged my bike
    > down the gap between the lorry and the raised verge. When I had passed the tractor unit and I was
    > level with the front of the trailer, the lorry started forwards again leaving me facing the
    > oncoming wheels of the trailer. To avoid being run over I steered by bike into the raised verge
    > where I immediately lost my balance and fell on to the verge.

    !

    > I limped back to the front of the lorry and pointed out to the driver with feeling, but without
    > swearing, that I was not happy that he made no room for me to pass but stopped centrally in the
    > lane, and that he drove on whilst I was still attempting to squeeze by, causing me to be knocked
    > off my bike.

    !

    > The driver only asked if I had "finished". He did not ask if I was hurt or show any concern. I
    > said if that was his attitude, no I hadn't finished, I wanted to make a complaint about him. At
    > this point he shrugged and drove off. I shouted after him that I was injured and wanted his name
    > and address. He did not stop but drove on leaving me standing bruised, wet and muddy by the side
    > of the road.

    he's a lorry driver. what did you expect ? tea and biscuits ?

    > How to avoid these dangerous (to me) confrontations? Should I have dismounted and carried my bike
    > onto the verge and waited for the lorry to pass? Or should the lorry have pulled over so that I
    > could have ridden by more easily? Should I complain to the police or is this just a waste of time?
    >
    >
    >

    I would have either :

    a/ thrown something at his windscreen causing him to get out of the cab, then
    given him a piece of my mind ( & body, you can guess which bit )

    or if that wasn't an option ( as it isn't for you )

    b/ taken his registration number and reported him for hit & run claiming he ran you off the road,
    grinning as he did it. it's your word against his but as you are the cyclist and can affect a
    limp & bent wheel he'd be in deep do do's ( and you'd have his home address)

    did you get his reg number ? did you report him to his employers ?

    are you a bloke ? if so, how does it feel to have let slide natures gift for ensuring this kind of
    thing doesn't happen ?

    victims (sometimes) are as much a victim of themselves, imho.


    Albert
     
  4. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    warwickc wrote:

    > Some of this may be down to the way I ride so I would be interested to know what others do to
    > avoid these scenarios.

    "Cyclecraft", by John Franklin, is widely quoted as being The Bible on good cycling practice.
    http://www.lesberries.co.uk/ccraft/ccraft.htm has details, probably worth a look.

    > fitness so I don't want to pedal cautiously and stop and wait until the road is clear in every
    > direction at each road junction.

    Generally not necessary. The usual problems are caused by not cycling assertively enough. One of
    those things that's easier to say than do, given the presence of high speed steel boxes around you,
    but it does seem to be true. IME almost all drivers respect assertive riding as long as it shows due
    consideration for other road users.

    > I would also like to know what more experienced cyclists would have done in this latest incident
    > which took place yesterday.
    <snip>

    Difficult to be sure without being there. In practice I'd probably just dismount and pull my bike on
    to the verge: I'm not generally in a tearing hurry and this sort of thing isn't likely to be common.
    I wouldn't cycle into a space less than a foot wide next to an artic lorry that hadn't bothered
    trying to make room though... If you've got a good description of the truck, yes, I'd go to the
    police. Might be a waste of time, but it might not be.

    Pete.
    --
    Peter Clinch University of Dundee Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Medical Physics, Ninewells Hospital
    Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK net [email protected]
    http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
     
  5. Pete Biggs

    Pete Biggs Guest

    warwickc wrote:
    > I enjoy cycling for fitness but I am seriously thinking about giving it up before I am seriously
    > injured. Almost every time I go out there seems to occur an issue of some kind with a motor
    > vehicle.

    There isn't with me. I doubt it's all luck.

    > Things like being overtaken very closely

    /Occasionally/, a motorist will pass me so close that I would have been danger if I had only swerved
    a few inches at the time, but it's rare for cars to actually pose this sort of danger for me. If
    you're new to cycling, then you might perceive that there's more danger than there really is.

    There are things you can do to to reduce them doing this. For a start, ride out further from the
    edge of road most of the time, and ride in the middle of the lane at the times when it would be
    dangerous for cars to overtake at all (this will physically prevent overtaking).

    > and/or being cut in just before a junction by a car turning left seem to happen almost every time.

    The above technique will also help a lot with this (as will cycling at a good speed if can manage
    it), and keep a beady eye on all traffic to your right as you aproach the junction so you can react
    in time. If you do get badly caught out and a car is actually cutting you up, go with the flow: turn
    left with the car rather than trying to brake or whatever.

    /snip lorry incident
    > How to avoid these dangerous (to me) confrontations? Should I have dismounted and carried my bike
    > onto the verge and waited for the lorry to pass?

    YES. With a stopped lorry in front of me on a narrow road, I would only proceed if I was sure there
    was enough room to do so safely even if the lorry started up and steered hard to my side as I was
    passing. If that's not on, then if I was sure the lorry could overtake safely, I might stop wait for
    lorry to overtake ME (depending on what the driver says/indicates/gesticulates/looks like, etc).
    Otherwise, I would GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY (for the sake of safety and courtesy). Climb a fence
    if necessary! What's the alternative? Make him reverse?

    If you were not able (or willing) to clear out the way immediately, then you should have stopped in
    the middle of the lane where the driver could clearly see you and indicate with an outstretched palm
    (briefly, firmly but casually) that you wanted him/her to stop and wait. They won't run you over
    then! Be polite, cool and generous then truckers will be your friends not enemies - which I think is
    desirable!

    Be particularly careful with lorries on inside bends. Cyclists get killed here.

    > Or should the lorry have pulled over so that I could have ridden by more easily?

    Maybe it should have done (if that was possible), but it's too late now. You have to work with
    things and people as they are, not stop try and stop the planet because things are different to what
    you think they /should/ be.

    > Should I complain to the police or is this just a waste of time?

    No offence, but are you winding us up with this whole post?

    If not, then sorry for my strong tone but I think you need to change your attitude. Please take it
    as constructive criticism. Good luck and don't give up the cycling.

    ~PB (cycling in and around London for 20 odd years ...and still slowly improving)
     
  6. Stephen \

    Stephen \ Guest

    "warwickc" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I enjoy cycling for fitness but I am seriously thinking about giving it up before I am seriously
    > injured. Almost every time I go out there seems to occur an issue of some kind with a motor
    > vehicle. Things like being overtaken very closely, and/or being cut in just before a junction by a
    > car turning left seem to happen almost every time.
    >
    > Some of this may be down to the way I ride so I would be interested to know what others do to
    > avoid these scenarios. I want to improve my fitness so I don't want to pedal cautiously and stop
    > and wait until the road is clear in every direction at each road junction.
    >
    > I would also like to know what more experienced cyclists would have done in this latest incident
    > which took place yesterday.
    >
    > I try to keep off main roads and out of towns for the above reasons. I was cycling along a country
    > lane when an articulated lorry about 0.5m narrower than the width of the lane approached from the
    > opposite direction. The lorry stopped centrally in the lane leaving about 25cm on either side
    > between the lorry's wheels and the verge.
    >
    > The verges are next to farm fields, and are unsuitable for riding on so I slowly edged my bike
    > down the gap between the lorry and the raised verge. When I had passed the tractor unit and I was
    > level with the front of the trailer, the lorry started forwards again leaving me facing the
    > oncoming wheels of the trailer. To avoid being run over I steered by bike into the raised verge
    > where I immediately lost my balance and fell on to the verge.
    >
    > I limped back to the front of the lorry and pointed out to the driver with feeling, but without
    > swearing, that I was not happy that he made no room for me to pass but stopped centrally in the
    > lane, and that he drove on whilst I was still attempting to squeeze by, causing me to be knocked
    > off my bike.
    >
    > The driver only asked if I had "finished". He did not ask if I was hurt or show any concern. I
    > said if that was his attitude, no I hadn't finished, I wanted to make a complaint about him. At
    > this point he shrugged and drove off. I shouted after him that I was injured and wanted his name
    > and address. He did not stop but drove on leaving me standing bruised, wet and muddy by the side
    > of the road.
    >
    > How to avoid these dangerous (to me) confrontations? Should I have dismounted and carried my bike
    > onto the verge and waited for the lorry to pass? Or should the lorry have pulled over so that I
    > could have ridden by more easily? Should I complain to the police or is this just a waste of time?
    >
    I would say report him if you have his number. He failed to give you details at an accident. I'd
    break something off the car/lorry if I was faced with constant hassle eg wing mirror or run my keys
    down the side of it - something like that.
     
  7. Cycling can be dangerous, but so can walking :) This is not to minimise the fear/hurt/anger you feel
    at what happened to you - I've had similar happen myself.

    It's difficult when you get such a large object on a narrow road. When faced with such a situation,
    *where possible*, I definitely give way to the large object, even if I have right of way. Not always
    possible though if said large object comes at you with speed round a bend, or from behind, as just
    two examples.

    One way to help yourself is to cycle assertively. This means to ride, taking up as much room as a
    small car - so drivers in vehicles *have* to take account of you being there. Whatever you do,
    don't ride in the gutter - it gives drivers a feeling of having sufficent room to drive round you
    without having to move out to overtake - a very dangerous scenario. To ride assertively you don't
    have to cycle down the middle of the road - just well out from the gutter. One advantage of this is
    that if someone does overtake too closely, you generally have a bit of safety space on the left to
    cycle into.

    I highly recommend reading Myra's bike tips on safe riding - see
    http://www.myra-simon.com/bike/tips.html and also investing in a copy of "Cyclecraft". Read and
    inwardly digest both - they are excellent.

    Another way to help yourself is to be as visible as possible. If you aren't wearing bright clothing,
    please seriously consider doing so - there is a reason why many cyclists favour wearing fluorescent
    clothing during the day & reflective items at night - although there is a school of thought that
    thinks wearing such immediately renders the wearer with a Klingon cloaking device ;-)
    O)h, and don't forget the lights at night and during the day if foggy.

    Riding on the road has its dangers - but so has riding on cycle paths - riding off road - driving -
    walking... on the whole cycling is relatively safe and can be extremely enjoyable. Where I live,
    there's a lot of country lanes and a lot of HGVs. My tip - when a driver shows you courtesy - give a
    friendly thank you wave and a smile - it really does work wonders. The local HGV drivers where I am
    usually show me courtesy - I've even had one stop the traffic on the main A47 to allow me to cross
    over safely from a layby :) There's one or two who wave to me as they pass. They probably feel sorry
    for a fatbirdonabike, but what the heck, I figure a bit of friendliness seems to go a long way.

    The worst ones for me are the old dears in their cars, pootling along, who have seriously defective
    eyesight and seriously deficient concentration... and the range rover types pulling trailers who
    seem to think they own everything, and the boy racers who think their Vauxhall Novas with a go
    faster stripe painted down the side somehow turns their car into a F1 motor and them into
    Schumacher... And they are just as much a danger to me on bike, in car or walking.

    Cheers, helen s

    ~~~~~~~~~~
    Flush out that intestinal parasite and/or the waste product before sending a reply!

    Any speeliong mistake$ aR the resiult of my cats sitting on the keyboaRRRDdd
    ~~~~~~~~~~
     
  8. Tony W

    Tony W Guest

    "warwickc" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I enjoy cycling for fitness but I am seriously thinking about giving it up before I am seriously
    > injured. Almost every time I go out there seems to occur an issue of some kind with a motor
    > vehicle. Things like being overtaken very closely, and/or being cut in just before a junction by a
    > car turning left seem to happen almost every time.
    >
    > Some of this may be down to the way I ride so I would be interested to know what others do to
    > avoid these scenarios. I want to improve my fitness so I don't want to pedal cautiously and stop
    > and wait until the road is clear in every direction at each road junction.
    >
    > I would also like to know what more experienced cyclists would have done in this latest incident
    > which took place yesterday.
    >
    > I try to keep off main roads and out of towns for the above reasons. I was cycling along a country
    > lane when an articulated lorry about 0.5m narrower than the width of the lane approached from the
    > opposite direction. The lorry stopped centrally in the lane leaving about 25cm on either side
    > between the lorry's wheels and the verge.
    >
    > The verges are next to farm fields, and are unsuitable for riding on so I slowly edged my bike
    > down the gap between the lorry and the raised verge. When I had passed the tractor unit and I was
    > level with the front of the trailer, the lorry started forwards again leaving me facing the
    > oncoming wheels of the trailer. To avoid being run over I steered by bike into the raised verge
    > where I immediately lost my balance and fell on to the verge.
    >
    > I limped back to the front of the lorry and pointed out to the driver with feeling, but without
    > swearing, that I was not happy that he made no room for me to pass but stopped centrally in the
    > lane, and that he drove on whilst I was still attempting to squeeze by, causing me to be knocked
    > off my bike.
    >
    > The driver only asked if I had "finished". He did not ask if I was hurt or show any concern. I
    > said if that was his attitude, no I hadn't finished, I wanted to make a complaint about him. At
    > this point he shrugged and drove off. I shouted after him that I was injured and wanted his name
    > and address. He did not stop but drove on leaving me standing bruised, wet and muddy by the side
    > of the road.
    >
    > How to avoid these dangerous (to me) confrontations? Should I have dismounted and carried my bike
    > onto the verge and waited for the lorry to pass? Or should the lorry have pulled over so that I
    > could have ridden by more easily? Should I complain to the police or is this just a waste of time?

    Cycling is not excessively dangerous so you should be able to continue doing it without too much
    fear. However, your comment that "I don't want to pedal cautiously and stop and wait until the road
    is clear in every direction at each road junction" suggests that you do, indeed, need to modify your
    behaviour. You are the soft target on the road and riding with an attitude that others must get out
    of your way is a good way to become road kill.

    Do you also drive? If so (or indeed if not) put yourself in the driver's position. Cyclists heads
    down, knees pumping emerging from god knows where are a hazard.

    I suggest you read Cyclecraft or a similar book, try to adopt an assertive but defensive cycling
    style -- i.e. don't be afraid to control the traffic by your positioning and actions, but make those
    clear and predictable but don't put yourself into dangerous situations (even if you have the
    technical right of way) and always be ready to bail out if necessary.

    I have cycled in many towns and cities (London (inner & outer), Southampton, Norwich, Düsseldorf to
    name just a few) and simply do not recognise your description of daily brushes with death. Yes there
    are some stupid drivers out, yes some get closer than I would like. Yes, I need to cycle in such a
    way as to predict their movements and give them more space than they should need -- but I'm still
    alive after 35 - 40 years of cycling and (touch wood) have not had a serious injury as a result of
    being hit by a car. And I don't cycle like Mary Poppins!!

    As for your lorry driver, from the situation you describe he would have been well advised to
    wait until you were past. However, I think you were VERY wrong to place yourself in such a
    hazardous position. Given the circumstances you describe the better course of action would have
    been to get off the bike, move it and yourself onto the verge and wave the lorry through with a
    cheery smile. If the verge was very wet, turn round and cycle back to a gate way or other
    suitable spot before doing so.

    T
     
  9. In article <[email protected]>, warwickc
    <[email protected]> writes
    >
    >I would also like to know what more experienced cyclists would have done in this latest incident
    >which took place yesterday.
    >
    >I try to keep off main roads and out of towns for the above reasons. I was cycling along a country
    >lane when an articulated lorry about 0.5m narrower than the width of the lane approached from the
    >opposite direction. The lorry stopped centrally in the lane leaving about 25cm on either side
    >between the lorry's wheels and the verge.

    I don't want to sound unsympathetic, but if there was only 25cm on each side of the lorry the lane
    wasn't wide enough for both of you to pass while moving. The only serious option is to stop, get off
    your bike and stand on the verge until the lorry has passed you. 'Steam giving way to sail' only
    applies at sea. There was no especial right for you to go first, rather than him -- and he was
    bigger than you
    >

    --
    The Big Baguette
     
  10. David Pipes

    David Pipes Guest

    In message <[email protected]>, warwickc
    <[email protected]> writes

    <Snip>
    >I want to improve my fitness so I don't want to pedal cautiously and stop and wait until the road
    >is clear in every direction at each road junction.
    As a fat fifty+ year old who has returned to cycling after 25 years, I too want to improve my
    fitness but crossing junctions is the place for caution.

    >I try to keep off main roads and out of towns for the above reasons. I was cycling along a country
    >lane when an articulated lorry about 0.5m narrower than the width of the lane approached from the
    >opposite direction. The lorry stopped centrally in the lane leaving about 25cm on either side
    >between the lorry's wheels and the verge.
    25cm. That's approximately half the width of my shoulders. There's no way I would attempt to
    get through.

    >How to avoid these dangerous (to me) confrontations?
    Don't cycle into gaps narrower than you are!

    >Should I have dismounted and carried my bike onto the verge and waited for the lorry to pass?
    Yes.

    > Or should the lorry have pulled over so that I could have ridden by more easily?
    With such little room for manoeuvre ? No.

    > Should I complain to the police or is this just a waste of time?
    Do tell you them you tried to cycle through a 25cm gap. What do you think their reaction might be?
    --
    DP
     
  11. warwickc <[email protected]> wrote:
    >I try to keep off main roads and out of towns for the above reasons.

    This is not necessarily best. On main roads there is typically plenty of room and good visibility,
    and one has at least nominal right of way over traffic emerging from side streets.

    The most pleasant part of my commute is straight up the A329.

    >I was cycling along a country lane when an articulated lorry about 0.5m narrower than the width of
    >the lane approached from the opposite direction. The lorry stopped centrally in the lane leaving
    >about 25cm on either side between the lorry's wheels and the verge. The verges are next to farm
    >fields, and are unsuitable for riding on so I slowly edged my bike down the gap between the lorry
    >and the raised verge.

    I think this was unwise. In such a lane the lorry driver is very constrained, and it would be best
    to have dismounted onto the verge, or attempted to establish eye contact with the driver and arrive
    at a definite idea of who would do what.

    ... which is not to say that the driver wasn't a bit obnoxious afterwards.
    --
    David Damerell <[email protected]> flcl?
     
  12. David Pipes

    David Pipes Guest

    In message <[email protected]>, Peter Clinch
    <[email protected]> writes
    >David Pipes wrote:
    >
    >> As a fat fifty+ year old who has returned to cycling after 25 years, I too want to improve my
    >> fitness but crossing junctions is the place for caution.
    >
    >At least wariness, but not really any more than is the case in/on any other road vehicle. I don't
    >want to be in a collision in my Volvo any more than on my bike, even if I'm less likely to come off
    >badly, so I treat other vehicles largely the same whether I'm cycling or driving. And I find that
    >works the other way too (and that treatment tends to be good in most cases).

    I couldn't agree more. My comment above was in reply to this from the OP, in particular the last two
    lines: "Some of this may be down to the way I ride so I would be interested to know what others do
    to avoid these scenarios. I want to improve my fitness so I don't want to pedal cautiously and stop
    and wait until the road is clear in every direction at each road junction. "
    --
    DP
     
  13. warwickc <[email protected]> wrote
    > I enjoy cycling for fitness but I am seriously thinking about giving it up before I am seriously
    > injured. Almost every time I go out there seems to occur an issue of some kind with a motor
    > vehicle. Things like being overtaken very closely, and/or being cut in just before a junction by a
    > car turning left seem to happen almost every time.

    I cycle every day in and around Cambridge and by and large don't have problems. Yes, often people
    overtake me closer than I would really like them to, but rearely do I feel very at risk from this.
    Non cyclists are often amazed at this: they think cycling around Cambridge is astonishingly
    dangerous.

    Let me give you some tips. First, as others have mentioned, don't cycle right next to the edge of
    the road, as cars tend to give you less space and squeeze by when there is not enough space. When
    there are road narrowings, be even more assertive. When you see a road narrowing coming up (due to
    an island in the road, or just an extrememly narrow part of the road) merge in with the traffic, and
    occupy the middle of the lane. If the lane narrows while a car is to the right of you, you have to
    determine whether to speed up to try to get in front of it, or brake to get in behind it. Always
    choose and do one or the other. Never ever go through a road section that is too narrow with a car
    to the right of you. It's just asking for trouble.

    Do not get caught to the left of a left-turning car! If a car to the right of you slows down, alarm
    bells should go off. Look at, see if it's signalling left. If it is, then you've got to avoid it.
    See if you can tell whether the driver has seen you and is aware of you. If the driver is in front
    of you (say you're even with the back end of the car) he probably has forgotten about you. Brake,
    fall behind him, and pull out a bit further, so you can go around him to the right when he slows
    down to turn left. If you're pretty sure the driver has seen you, go a bit faster and get out of the
    way. The stupidest thing I've seen recently is a deadlock where some cyclists got themselves to the
    left of a left-turning car, and they wouldn't go ahead for fear of being hit, and the car wouldn't
    turn left for fear or hitting them! They blocked traffic for everyone behind them.

    > I would also like to know what more experienced cyclists would have done in this latest incident
    > which took place yesterday.
    >
    > I try to keep off main roads and out of towns for the above reasons. I was cycling along a country
    > lane when an articulated lorry about 0.5m narrower than the width of the lane approached from the
    > opposite direction. The lorry stopped centrally in the lane leaving about 25cm on either side
    > between the lorry's wheels and the verge.

    Even if it had pulled all the way over to one side of the road, 50cm is not enough space for you to
    pass. Either you had to get off the road, or it did. Since it's easier for you to get off the road
    (by dismounting and standing on the verge) to let it go by, that is what you should have done. Don't
    think of it as a "me vs you" thing, think of it as a courtesy thing. What happened later is the
    usual thing of neither of you admitting that you were wrong. It's best to be aware, take
    precautionary maneuvers (like pulling in behind a car if you're approaching a road narrowing point
    rather than trying to fight for more space with it beside you), and avoid these problems in the
    first place.

    Awareness, obeying traffic laws, and visibility are the keys to safer urban cycling.

    -Myra
     
  14. Mark

    Mark Guest

    "warwickc" wrote
    > I would also like to know what more experienced cyclists would have done in this latest incident
    > which took place yesterday.
    >
    > I try to keep off main roads and out of towns for the above reasons. I was cycling along a country
    > lane when an articulated lorry about 0.5m narrower than the width of the lane approached from the
    > opposite direction. The lorry stopped centrally in the lane leaving about 25cm on either side
    > between the lorry's wheels and the verge.
    >
    > The verges are next to farm fields, and are unsuitable for riding on so I slowly edged my bike
    > down the gap between the lorry and the raised verge. When I had passed the tractor unit and I was
    > level with the front of the trailer, the lorry started forwards again leaving me facing the
    > oncoming wheels of the trailer. To avoid being run over I steered by bike into the raised verge
    > where I immediately lost my balance and fell on to the verge.
    >
    > I limped back to the front of the lorry and pointed out to the driver with feeling, but without
    > swearing, that I was not happy that he made no room for me to pass but stopped centrally in the
    > lane, and that he drove on whilst I was still attempting to squeeze by, causing me to be knocked
    > off my bike.
    >
    > The driver only asked if I had "finished". He did not ask if I was hurt or show any concern. I
    > said if that was his attitude, no I hadn't finished, I wanted to make a complaint about him. At
    > this point he shrugged and drove off. I shouted after him that I was injured and wanted his name
    > and address. He did not stop but drove on leaving me standing bruised, wet and muddy by the side
    > of the road.
    >
    > How to avoid these dangerous (to me) confrontations? Should I have dismounted and carried my bike
    > onto the verge and waited for the lorry to pass? Or should the lorry have pulled over so that I
    > .bavardages.linux:104325

    Nicolas LS <[email protected]> writes:

    > Le Thu, 16 Jan 2003 16:29:14 +0100, syco a écrit :
    > > Quiche au Munster ( pour 8 à table )
    >
    > Cool. D'ailleurs, a ce sujet, quelqu'un pourrait m'expliquer un peu comme fonctionne l'intégration
    > d'un Linux en NIS. Parce je regarde sur le
    Comme sous fribi...

    --
    Mouarf.
     
  15. Chris French

    Chris French Guest

    In message <[email protected]>, Myra VanInwegen
    <[email protected]> writes
    >warwickc <[email protected]> wrote
    >> I enjoy cycling for fitness but I am seriously thinking about giving it up before I am seriously
    >> injured. Almost every time I go out there seems to occur an issue of some kind with a motor
    >> vehicle. Things like being overtaken very closely, and/or being cut in just before a junction by
    >> a car turning left seem to happen almost every time.
    >
    >I cycle every day in and around Cambridge and by and large don't have problems. Yes, often people
    >overtake me closer than I would really like them to, but rearely do I feel very at risk from this.
    <snip>
    >
    >Do not get caught to the left of a left-turning car! If a car to the right of you slows down, alarm
    >bells should go off.

    Indeed, much of safe and effective cycling (in town/traffic esp.) is about this almost '6th sense'
    awareness of what others are doing, and more importantly might be going to do.

    Being prepared for the car turning left, or pulling out or slowing down etc. makes conflict less
    likely and if something does happen, you have more time to take the necessary avoiding action. I
    often find that I've taken some precautionary action almost before I've even really become fully
    aware of what a car is doing. For instance moving out a bit into the road when a car looks like it
    might pull out of side road to give myself more scope fro avoidance if necessary.

    >
    >> I would also like to know what more experienced cyclists would have done in this latest incident
    >> which took place yesterday.
    >>
    >> I try to keep off main roads and out of towns for the above reasons. I was cycling along a
    >> country lane when an articulated lorry about 0.5m narrower than the width of the lane approached
    >> from the opposite direction. The lorry stopped centrally in the lane leaving about 25cm on either
    >> side between the lorry's wheels and the verge.
    >
    >Even if it had pulled all the way over to one side of the road, 50cm is not enough space for you to
    >pass. Either you had to get off the road, or it did. Since it's easier for you to get off the road
    >(by dismounting and standing on the verge) to let it go by, that is what you should have done.
    >Don't think of it as a "me vs you" thing, think of it as a courtesy thing

    I wouldn't have even dreamed of going down the side of the lorry, unless there was obviously space
    for me to get past safely (doesn't sound like it here). Most likely, I would have just hopped up
    onto the verge and let the lorry drive past .

    My rule (learnt in my Motorcycling days) is never to go into a gap that you can't get out of. Esp.
    when it involves a large vehicle like a lorry or bus etc. it's just too dangerous, esp. from behind
    as they well not realise that you are there.

    --
    Chris French, Leeds
     
  16. Graham

    Graham Guest

    warwickc <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > I enjoy cycling for fitness but I am seriously thinking about giving it up before I am seriously
    > injured. Almost every time I go out there seems to occur an issue of some kind with a motor
    > vehicle. Things like being overtaken very closely, and/or being cut in just before a junction by a
    > car turning left seem to happen almost every time.
    >
    Strange it never seems to happen to me. Actually a lot of inexperienced cyclists believe mistakenly
    that the type of accident that they are most vunerable to is being hit from the rear by a car,
    whereas in truth only something like 3% of car/bike accidents are of this type. But this belief
    causes some cyclists to ride very close to the curb, which is not good because it encourages
    motorists to overtake too closely, and to turn left right in front of you.

    Try wearing something flourescent to make yourself seen clearly (A good flourescent waistcoat with
    reflective strips only costs about £10) And try to ride about 50cm-1 metre from the curb.

    >I would also like to know what more experienced cyclists would have done in this latest incident
    >which took place yesterday.
    >
    > I try to keep off main roads and out of towns for the above reasons. I was cycling along a country
    > lane when an articulated lorry about 0.5m narrower than the width of the lane approached from the
    > opposite direction. The lorry stopped centrally in the lane leaving about 25cm on either side
    > between the lorry's wheels and the verge. (snip) facing the oncoming wheels of the trailer. To
    > avoid being run over I steered by bike into the raised verge where I immediately lost my balance
    > and fell on to the verge.
    >
    > I limped back to the front of the lorry and pointed out to the driver with feeling, but without
    > swearing, that I was not happy that he made no room for me to pass but stopped centrally in the
    > lane, and that he drove on whilst I was still attempting to squeeze by, causing me to be knocked
    > off my bike. (snip) How to avoid these dangerous (to me) confrontations? Should I have dismounted
    > and carried my bike onto the verge and waited for the lorry to pass? Or should the lorry have
    > pulled over so that I could have ridden by more easily? Should I complain to the police or is this
    > just a waste of time?

    I often have a simlar situation, I often ride along a narrow country lane which seems (for some
    reason) to be frequented by large coaches which take up about 3/4ths of the single track lane, I
    usually just get in as close to the edge as possible and stop as soon as I see them coming, (best
    not to argue with things much larger than you) does'nt seem to be a problem.

    Graham
     
  17. G S Banner

    G S Banner Guest

    "warwickc" <[email protected]> wrote in message

    > How to avoid these dangerous (to me) confrontations? Should I have dismounted and carried my bike
    > onto the verge and waited for the lorry to pass? Or should the lorry have pulled over so that I
    > could have ridden by more easily? Should I complain to the police or is this just a waste of time?
    >

    In the circumstances that you've described, I probably would have dismounted, got onto the verge
    and waited.

    It's a good idea to be assertive, make sure cars make room for you etc. BUT... it sounded like you
    were miles from anywhere, and it was him and you. You can "think" a good confrontation (cf "talk" a
    good fight) after the event, but that gets you nowhere in the there and then of the incident. It's
    far too easy to get wrapped up in the "I've got just as much right/I'm not going to let him boss me
    around" adrenaline of the moment.

    What I try to think is "what do I want to be doing in 10 minutes/1 hour/tomorrow". Continuing my
    ride/returning home/going to work? Or examining the tread pattern on my chest/breathing through a
    ventilator? AND dismounting would, most likely, have meant you wasted least time.

    If you'd stood your ground, and he'd run you over and driven off, do you think you'd've proved your
    point about having a right to pass?
     
  18. In message <[email protected]>, warwickc
    <[email protected]> writes
    >
    >How to avoid these dangerous (to me) confrontations? Should I have dismounted and carried my bike
    >onto the verge and waited for the lorry to pass?

    Yes. Preferably discussing the options with the driver first. Like "Please stop until you see me
    wave in your wing mirror."

    >Or should the lorry have pulled over so that I could have ridden by more easily?

    Yes also. He should definitely not have moved on so as to threaten you with his trailer.

    >Should I complain to the police or is this just a waste of time?

    Might as well, but next time, negotiate assertively and politely. Lifelong learning... and most of
    these situations are avoidable, or less dangerous than you think.

    To answer the title, _not_ cycling is far too dangerous. The extra deaths from lack of exercise are
    many more than the deaths from cycling. The overall death rate among cyclists is 40% lower than
    among non-cyclists. (Andersen LB, Schnohr P, Schroll M, Hein HO. All-Cause Mortality Associated With
    Physical Activity During Leisure Time, Work, Sports, and Cycling to Work. Arch Intern Med.
    2000;160:1621-1628, sorry to quote this again so soon, but it bears repetition. I've an electronic
    copy if anybody wants one.) That's 40% lower allowing for the roadkill.

    On yer bike!

    --
    Richard Keatinge

    http://www.keatinge.demon.co.uk/pedal.htm
     
  19. Dr

    Dr Guest

    "warwickc" <[email protected]> wrote
    >
    > I try to keep off main roads and out of towns for the above reasons. I was cycling along a country
    > lane when an articulated lorry about 0.5m narrower than the width of the lane approached from the
    > opposite direction. The lorry stopped centrally in the lane leaving about 25cm on either side
    > between the lorry's wheels and the verge.
    >
    > The verges are next to farm fields, and are unsuitable for riding on so I slowly edged my bike
    > down the gap between the lorry and the raised verge. When I had passed the tractor unit and I was
    > level with the front of the trailer, the lorry started forwards again leaving me facing the
    > oncoming wheels of the trailer. To avoid being run over I steered by bike into the raised verge
    > where I immediately lost my balance and fell on to the verge.

    He stopped for you. He did everything required of him. Sorry but it looks like your mistake.

    There is another issue for the group herehere. Did you hit the lorry? This would have been an RTA.
    Details need to be exchanged. Injured? Then it's reportable. The difficulty is that a) its the
    driver's livelyhood, b) you're incapacited or in shock. How does an amicable exchange occur -
    particularly when you think you have been wronged?

    David Roberts
     
  20. Bob Flemming

    Bob Flemming Guest

    >I try to keep off main roads and out of towns for the above reasons.

    Personally, I'm the complete opposite - give me a nice big main road any day of the week. Friends
    think I'm crazy, 'hell, why don't you take the country lanes...much nicer'. Well, picturesque they
    may be, but you have to pick the right ones. There's a lane near me that leads from Chesham to
    Ricky, it's a lovely ride in the summer, really beautiful, but it's narrow, and in rush hours it's a
    death trap. It's long, straight, and fast, and cars have to alter their path to pass you - it's a
    death trap :-( Interesting thing is when the boot's on the other foot and I find myself in the car
    on that very road...with some materials for work the next day...in a rush....I'm just the same.
    Remember this is England, some of these roads were only built to accommodate a horse and cart!

    I've just come back from a couple of weeks in Sacramento, visiting my girlfriend. It's no suprise to
    me that I feel so much more comfortable cycling in some of those busy boulevards with all those
    crazy SUV's busily guzzling the earth's precious fossil fuel, than I do cycling on this road I've
    just described. At least vehicles DON'T have to pull out to pass you - they just need to keep within
    their lane !!

    >I was cycling along a country lane when an articulated lorry about 0.5m narrower than the width of
    >the lane approached from the opposite direction. The lorry stopped centrally in the lane leaving
    >about 25cm on either side between the lorry's wheels and the verge.
    >
    >The verges are next to farm fields, and are unsuitable for riding on so I slowly edged my bike down
    >the gap between the lorry and the raised verge. When I had passed the tractor unit and I was level
    >with the front of the trailer, the lorry started forwards again leaving me facing the oncoming
    >wheels of the trailer. To avoid being run over I steered by bike into the raised verge where I
    >immediately lost my balance and fell on to the verge.
    >
    >I limped back to the front of the lorry and pointed out to the driver with feeling, but without
    >swearing, that I was not happy that he made no room for me to pass but stopped centrally in the
    >lane, and that he drove on whilst I was still attempting to squeeze by, causing me to be knocked
    >off my bike.
    >
    >The driver only asked if I had "finished". He did not ask if I was hurt or show any concern. I
    >said if that was his attitude, no I hadn't finished, I wanted to make a complaint about him. At
    >this point he shrugged and drove off. I shouted after him that I was injured and wanted his name
    >and address. He did not stop but drove on leaving me standing bruised, wet and muddy by the side
    >of the road.
    >
    >How to avoid these dangerous (to me) confrontations?

    To be honest, this sounds like a very hazardous situation, as you obviously found out.

    >Should I have dismounted and carried my bike onto the verge and waited for the lorry to pass? Or
    >should the lorry have pulled over so that I could have ridden by more easily? Should I complain to
    >the police or is this just a waste of time?

    Well, who's right and who's wrong, who knows? But this is for sure - when a cycle comes into contact
    with a lorry, there's only going to be one winner, rightly or wrongly. Personally, I believe that
    being a tad defensive when cycling is no bad thing. I don't mean indecisve, or hesitant or whatever,
    just careful, and when you need to, just pulling right out of a situation.

    And those left hand turns are a real killer....and again knowing how car drivers think [because I am
    one], they will always think they can just 'pip you at the post'...because 'they're not going that
    fast on that thing are they'.

    Doing all you can and 'road awareness' is all we've got, but those things can get you a long way.

    Be safe.

    bob
     
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