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Cyclists V motorists Vpedestrians part 638

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Current: 9 of 16
Friday 29 August 2014 2.29pm
I was in Cambridge the other day, described by the Guardian a few years ago as 'a model cycling city' http://www.theguardian.com/environment/bike-blog/2011/aug/17/cambridge-model-cycling-city

According to the Cambridge News http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Thousands-people-enjoying-freedom-pedal-power/story-22515496-detail/story.html 31.9% of people living in Cambridge (and not counting students) use a bicycle to get to work. (The huge cycle racks outside Cambridge station suggest that many of these cycle from home to the station to catch a train.)

Certainly seemed to be even more bikes than I remember from cycling round its streets 50 years ago (and it's not even term-time at the moment). A lot more cycle racks and stands - all of them full; long gone, the practice of leaving your old bike leaning against the nearest wall in the hope it (or a reasonable replacement) would be there when you came back. Lots of marked cycle tracks; lots of one-way or pedestrianised streets; rising bollards that only go down in the presence of a bus or other official vehicle. Driving a motor vehicle through central Cambridge and out the other side must be a bit tricky - if inexile thinks Trinity Church Square is a 'private road' then the whole centre of Cambridge is 'private'.

What I noticed:
Cyclists not cycling on the pavements (they don't need to, the roads are safe);

Cyclists waiting patiently at red lights (the lights seem to be reasonably phased, and don't leave you sitting there with a big dumper truck snorting behind and a total absence of traffic on the crossing road).

And motorists seemed ready to accept that in this limited area they share the road with other users, and behaved accordingly.

Seen:
A motorist stopping and waving to pedestrians to cross - no zebra, pelican or other marked crossing, just politeness.

A cyclist wheeling his bike down the middle of King's Parade while chatting to a friend who had a dog on a lead; a taxi-cab following them sedately at a walking pace.

On the other hand, there are still grumpies in this cycling paradise - see http://cambridgecyclist.blogspot.co.uk/ and http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/2011/11/truth-about-cambridge.html for a couple of alternative views.
Friday 29 August 2014 2.41pm
eDWaRD WooDWaRD wrote:
Guy's street wrote:
My complaint is that we all get tarred with the same brush, whether that's about behaviour on (or off) the road, or our attitudes.

I think that there's enough evidence on here that not everyone tars all cyclists with the same brush, however, although some cyclists agree that there a small minority of cyclists whose behaviour is wrong, in my opinion they don't really make any clear, visible, strong effort to distance/differentiate themselves from the bad eggs but instead isolate the community by indulging in some collective "poor cyclists against the rest of the world" self-victimisation. That creates the perception that instead of condemning rogue cycling, it is condoned across the cycling community. I totally agree that everybody, from BoJO to other road users, should work to make cycling safe, but cyclist can not just demand this, they have to do their bit as well. If, at the moment, people come down harder on cyclists than on others, then that may be harsh and unfair, but to large part it's up to cyclists to change that perception in order to create a level playing field. Otherwise, the pointless responding to accusations with counter accusations will never stop and the mutual hostility with all its lethal consequences will only escalate further.

I condemn those who cycle irresponsibly, and I have no problem with the media, motorists, guide dogs, or anyone else criticising and villifying them either.

What I do take exception to is using the term 'cyclists' to describe these irresponsible people, because that just lumps everyone who rides a bike into the lowest-common-denominator. As a society we don't tend to do this with motorists or pedestrians - as referenced above they get called louts, drunks, boy-racers or whatever if they act in a manner that befits that title. Cyclists are just referred to as cyclists.

You are right that it is up to those cyclists who behave irresponsibly to change attitudes - unfortunately that minority seems to have tarred the majority, but I don't see how the majority can do any more to change attitudes other than just continue to use the roads responsibly, and hopefully we reach a critical mass!
Friday 29 August 2014 2.50pm
Guy's street wrote:
You are right that it is up to those cyclists who behave irresponsibly to change attitudes - unfortunately that minority seems to have tarred the majority, but I don't see how the majority can do any more to change attitudes other than just continue to use the roads responsibly, and hopefully we reach a critical mass!

There are so many cycling demonstrations, maybe one could be organised where the responsible cyclists take a public stance against irresponsible ones. The irresponsible minority hides behind the majority which however gets punished for their behaviour, maybe it's time to single them out. It would send a massive signal if an initiative came from within the cycling community.
Friday 29 August 2014 3.52pm
I'm sorry Guys's street that I did not put "some" in front of the word cyclists to indicate that I did not mean every cyclist doth protest too much, but I think you proved the very point I was making.

As a pedestrian and as a motorist and as a member of the travelling public I do not take offence when those terms are used indiscriminately because I know the intention is not to accuse the innocent but to address those who are the offenders which I accept.
Friday 29 August 2014 4.48pm
Well said, EW. This debate should be about ways to move forward and make things safer for everyone.
In order to do that, I think that we all need to accept our shortcomings. No one is infallible.

...if you press it, they will come.
Friday 29 August 2014 5.14pm
EW i think that is the best idea to come up in this debate, the more I consider it the better it becomes and I cannot find fault with the idea at all. Well done.
Zoe
Friday 29 August 2014 9.24pm
Edward, could we also have a demonstration of drivers about the speeding in SE1, as I'm finding it difficult to stick to 20mph, as so many are speeding and getting aggressive to me.
Saturday 30 August 2014 2.04am
Slightly tit-for-tat, but perhaps we could invite the cyclists along to Zoe's proposed rally. I was passed at some speed this evening whilst driving by a thuggish-looking Lycra-clad chap who was cycling well in excess of 20mph and thought he would pass through cars as though he was doing some sort of traffic cone challenge, weaving in and out.

That said, I also observed some very responsible cyclists whose roadcraft was commendable - maintained position in a safe, visible and consistent way.

I think the upshot is there's good and bad and it's easy to take one bad egg as representative of a whole group. It's the stance taken by our resident car-hater that I really don't agree with.
Zoe
Saturday 30 August 2014 7.25am
I don't hate cars, I just need to not speed for another two years and am finding it a challenge as almost all car drivers speed. I hadn't realised quite how much until I was forced to stop speeding and realised that speeding happens constantly and we are all so used to it we don't even notice anymore (I know I keep saying this, but I am totally amazed by it and how little I realised previously). I recall the teacher on the speed awareness course I attended said that most drivers speed all the time and all the drivers present strongly objected, but I have realised he is totally right. It wouldn't be so bad, but some car drivers are also aggressive nob heads and get very pushy when I stick to thirty.

I actually realise how appalling car drivers are much more as a driver than I ever do as a cyclist, where I find most drivers are very pleasant. Oddly though, I don't generalise and say all drivers are to blame for the aggressiveness of some, just as I don't say all cyclists are to blame. I would upset if I was expected to answer for those who behave badly in cars and I am unclear why some are posting aggressively to demand all cyclists apologise for those who behave badly.
Saturday 30 August 2014 9.56pm
Zoe wrote:
I am unclear why some are posting aggressively to demand all cyclists apologise for those who behave badly.

Thank you Zoe
EW, can I ask you a question? When you were driving your taxi, did you feel it was your responsibility to 'correct and police' irresponsible drivers??

Also bear in mind that on a bike you are standing 'in the road' defenceless, not sitting in a powerful enclosed vehicle. Its quite disincentive to shout at people behaving badly, as you might well end up with more than verbal abuse back....

Gavin is right, the best action is to carry on cycling courteously.

btw - lycra.... why has this become a term of abuse? Some of us like to cycle fast 18-25Mph where conditions allow) on a light bike, and this means you sweat. Lycra cycling gear is designed not to chafe, to wick sweat and has padding where it matters... !
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