Letter in Auto Express



M

Mark Tranchant

Guest
In this week's Auto Express, P Jenkins asks who is responsible if a
motorist hits a cyclist whilst that cyclist is in an "on-road" cycle
lane; that is, does the presence of a cycle lane obviate the requirement
for the driver to keep a reasonable distance? Is the motorist
responsible, or is it the council's fault for providing inadequate cycle
lanes?

I've already written to make the comparison with pedestrians on
pavements, and pointed out my objections to the implementation of most
on-road cycle paths.

You may choose to do likewise. editorial at autoexpress dot co dot uk.

--
Mark.
 
Mark Tranchant wrote:
> In this week's Auto Express, P Jenkins asks who is responsible if a
> motorist hits a cyclist whilst that cyclist is in an "on-road" cycle
> lane


As if I could resist!



The obvious answer to P Jenkins' query re cycle lanes (of course the driver
is at fault!) masks an interesting question: for whose benefit are cycle
lanes constructed? There is a substantial body of evidence showing that
cycle lanes are less safe on average than riding in the main flow of
traffic, and many on-road lanes are not only significantly narrower than the
recommended minimum width, they may be narrower than a bike. Remember, too,
that a bike needs to weave in order to stay upright (which is why the
Highway Code advises giving cyclists plenty of room, and even offers a
pretty picture of How It Should Be Done).

The Stationery Office publishes a book called Cyclecraft (ISBN 0 11 702051
6) which is the nearest thing we have to an official manual on cycling. The
advice is clear: a cyclist needs to choose a road position which ensures
their safety, and this usually translates to roughly the left-hand
wheeltrack of motor traffic (although it may well be much further out at
hazards such as width restrictions).

The reasons for this advice are clear and obvious: it places the cycle in a
position where it is likely to be seen by drivers scanning for traffic; and
it gently reminds following drivers that the cyclist is not a theoretical
construct of zero thickness and infinite rigidity, but a vehicle, which
should be overtaken properly or not at all.

Both of these benefits are subverted by many on-road cycle lanes, and almost
all shared-use facilities.

Happily there is now a programme run by the CTC, Britain's largest cycling
organisation, which seeks to spread best practice in cycle provision.
Ironically, cycle-friendly changes are often substantially cheaper and
easier to introduce than poorly designed "farcilities" which introduce
precisely the kinds of conflict which Mr Jenkins noted.
 
"Mark Tranchant" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> In this week's Auto Express, P Jenkins asks who is responsible if a
> motorist hits a cyclist whilst that cyclist is in an "on-road" cycle
> lane; that is, does the presence of a cycle lane obviate the requirement
> for the driver to keep a reasonable distance?


It's hard to believe people so stupid are allowed to be in charge of any
road going vehicle!

He may as well ask who's responsible if a motorist hits a kerbside skip in
good visibility.
Imagine trying to explain to your insurance company you drove into the skip
because it wasn't a motor vehicle but was on the road anyway.
Of course we know that Jenkins wouldn't drive into a skip because it would
damage his car and maybe even hurt him....hmm....on second thought maybe
someone that thick would drive into anything he/she/it thought had no right
to be where it is ;-)
--
Regards,
Pete
 
On Thu, 20 May 2004 13:34:36 +0100, Mark Tranchant
<[email protected]> wrote (more or less):

>In this week's Auto Express, P Jenkins asks who is responsible if a
>motorist hits a cyclist whilst that cyclist is in an "on-road" cycle
>lane;


"Who is responsible if a motorist hits a parked car whilst that parked
car is 'on-road' when parked?"

The crassness guilt-avoidance of this question beggars belief.

>that is, does the presence of a cycle lane obviate the requirement
>for the driver to keep a reasonable distance? Is the motorist
>responsible, or is it the council's fault for providing inadequate cycle
>lanes?
>
>I've already written to make the comparison with pedestrians on
>pavements, and pointed out my objections to the implementation of most
>on-road cycle paths.
>
>You may choose to do likewise. editorial at autoexpress dot co dot uk.


--
Cheers,
Euan
Gawnsoft: http://www.gawnsoft.co.sr
Symbian/Epoc wiki: http://html.dnsalias.net:1122
Smalltalk links (harvested from comp.lang.smalltalk) http://html.dnsalias.net/gawnsoft/smalltalk
 
On Thu, 20 May 2004 16:39:13 +0000 (UTC), "Peter B"
<[email protected]> wrote (more or less):

>
>"Mark Tranchant" <[email protected]> wrote in message
>news:[email protected]...
>> In this week's Auto Express, P Jenkins asks who is responsible if a
>> motorist hits a cyclist whilst that cyclist is in an "on-road" cycle
>> lane; that is, does the presence of a cycle lane obviate the requirement
>> for the driver to keep a reasonable distance?

>
>It's hard to believe people so stupid are allowed to be in charge of any
>road going vehicle!
>
>He may as well ask who's responsible if a motorist hits a kerbside skip in
>good visibility.
>Imagine trying to explain to your insurance company you drove into the skip
>because it wasn't a motor vehicle but was on the road anyway.
>Of course we know that Jenkins wouldn't drive into a skip because it would
>damage his car and maybe even hurt him....hmm....


> on second thought maybe
>someone that thick would drive into anything he/she/it thought had no right
>to be where it is ;-)


There are people who feel this way, and who do act on it.

When I was on the advanced and defensive driving course run by the
Corporation of London, we were told of lots of genuine incidents of
the recent past.

Including one driver (in a fast Escort) who, when confronted with some
pedestrians crossing ahead (at a red man) speeded up so that he was
able to hit them before they finished crossing to show them that they
"shouldn't have been there". He did hit them, ambulances called,
police statements taken etc.,






--
Cheers,
Euan
Gawnsoft: http://www.gawnsoft.co.sr
Symbian/Epoc wiki: http://html.dnsalias.net:1122
Smalltalk links (harvested from comp.lang.smalltalk) http://html.dnsalias.net/gawnsoft/smalltalk
 
On Thu, 20 May 2004 13:34:36 +0100, Mark Tranchant wrote:

> In this week's Auto Express, P Jenkins asks who is responsible if a
> motorist hits a cyclist whilst that cyclist is in an "on-road" cycle
> lane; that is, does the presence of a cycle lane obviate the requirement
> for the driver to keep a reasonable distance? Is the motorist
> responsible, or is it the council's fault for providing inadequate cycle
> lanes?


My first reaction to this is neither shock nor horror, but simply
confusion. If the cyclist is hit whilst in the cycle-lane, then clearly
the driver must have been encroaching into the cycle lane. Whether or no
the cycle lane was mandatory I would have thought even the dimmest or
most self-righteous of drivers would have realised it was bad practice to
drive into it and knock someone down from behind (which seems? to be the
relevant scenario) - so perhaps P Jenkins was thinking of something
different. There could be at least a little merit in the question "is
it OK to pass someone closer than you otherwise would, if there is a clear
dividing line that shows where each party should be" - for example.

Could you post a link to the original letter?

It sounds as if P Jenkins is thinking (in some fashion) about cyclist-car
interaction and has some awareness of the problems many cycle-lanes have.
Advanced stuff for many people on the roads.

AC



>
> I've already written to make the comparison with pedestrians on
> pavements, and pointed out my objections to the implementation of most
> on-road cycle paths.
>
> You may choose to do likewise. editorial at autoexpress dot co dot uk.
 
In article <[email protected]>,
Gawnsoft <[email protected]> writes:

>>In this week's Auto Express, P Jenkins asks who is responsible if a
>>motorist hits a cyclist whilst that cyclist is in an "on-road" cycle
>>lane;

>
> "Who is responsible if a motorist hits a parked car whilst that parked
> car is 'on-road' when parked?"
>
> The crassness guilt-avoidance of this question beggars belief.


Erm, I think you've missed his point. His comment looks to me like
a very valid one about many so-called cycle lanes.

--
Nick Kew

Nick's manifesto: http://www.htmlhelp.com/~nick/
 
anonymous coward <[email protected]>typed


> My first reaction to this is neither shock nor horror, but simply
> confusion. If the cyclist is hit whilst in the cycle-lane, then clearly
> the driver must have been encroaching into the cycle lane.


He might not have encroached the cycle lane. Cyclists are wider than
their wheelbase. The motorist would, of course, have passed *far* too
close to the cyclist, whatever silly paint stripes were on the road.

--
Helen D. Vecht: [email protected]
Edgware.
 
"Nick Kew" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> In article <[email protected]>,
> Gawnsoft <[email protected]> writes:
>
> >>In this week's Auto Express, P Jenkins asks who is responsible if a
> >>motorist hits a cyclist whilst that cyclist is in an "on-road" cycle
> >>lane;

> >
> > "Who is responsible if a motorist hits a parked car whilst that parked
> > car is 'on-road' when parked?"
> >
> > The crassness guilt-avoidance of this question beggars belief.

>
> Erm, I think you've missed his point. His comment looks to me like
> a very valid one about many so-called cycle lanes.


Sorry I'm not with you. If I'm driving and can see something encroaching
into the marked lane I'm using I try not to collide with it regardless of
any other factors.
If I can see it but still collide with it I think I'd feel a prat.
--
Regards,
Pete
 
Peter B wrote:

> Sorry I'm not with you. If I'm driving and can see something encroaching
> into the marked lane I'm using I try not to collide with it regardless of
> any other factors.
> If I can see it but still collide with it I think I'd feel a prat.


....and we all know how rare prats are on the roads. ;-)

--
m.
 
Helen Deborah Vecht <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
> anonymous coward <[email protected]>typed
>
> > My first reaction to this is neither shock nor horror, but simply
> > confusion. If the cyclist is hit whilst in the cycle-lane, then clearly
> > the driver must have been encroaching into the cycle lane.

>
> He might not have encroached the cycle lane. Cyclists are wider than
> their wheelbase.


ITYM "than their track".

> The motorist would, of course, have passed *far* too
> close to the cyclist, whatever silly paint stripes were on the road.


This of course is one of the many problems with cycle lanes. Many
motorists think they can get as close as they like to the cyclist as
long as they don't actually cross the line. I'm often more aware of
cars passing uncomfortably closely when I'm in a cycle lane. The one
type of collision that cycle lanes are supposed to protect us from -
being hit from behind - is made more likely, not less, as indeed are
many other types.

--
Dave...

Dangerous places, cycle lanes.
 
On 24 May 2004 07:45:56 -0700, Dave Kahn wrote:
> Helen Deborah Vecht <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
>> anonymous coward <[email protected]>typed
>>
>> > My first reaction to this is neither shock nor horror, but simply
>> > confusion. If the cyclist is hit whilst in the cycle-lane, then clearly
>> > the driver must have been encroaching into the cycle lane.

>>
>> He might not have encroached the cycle lane. Cyclists are wider than
>> their wheelbase.

>
> ITYM "than their track".


Not always, I'm nearly wider than my wheelbase!

--
Trevor Barton
 
On 24 May 2004 07:45:56 -0700 someone who may be
[email protected] (Dave Kahn) wrote this:-

>Many
>motorists think they can get as close as they like to the cyclist as
>long as they don't actually cross the line. I'm often more aware of
>cars passing uncomfortably closely when I'm in a cycle lane.


You have cycle lanes wider than your handlebars?


--
David Hansen, Edinburgh | PGP email preferred-key number F566DA0E
I will always explain revoked keys, unless the UK government
prevents me using the RIP Act 2000.
 
David Hansen wrote:

> You have cycle lanes wider than your handlebars?


There is one near me that's about 30 yards long and a glorious eight-ish
feet wide at one end, tapering down to the usual two-foot gap. Red
tarmac, solid white line, swept by the council sweeper (aside from the
gap, but we can't all be perfect).

It leads right up to a cyclist dismount sign, and is often used as a car
park by visitors to the small business beside it.

As an aside, here in sunny Sheffield I saw a driver today who didn't
wish to park down a side street and walk 20 yards to his shop, or
double-park on the tram tracks, so preferred instead to completely mount
the pavement (over one of those hefty kerbs that discourage this sort of
thing), manouvre between several signposts, and park across the front of
the shop...

....and then put on his hazard lights.

R.