For goodness sake!

A sorry tale this morning of no thought for either personal safety or other road users.

Another day on the front seat of the bus. In rush hour, roads are very busy, of course, with the usual mix of road-going craft. Everyone really needs to think about their own safety and being reasonably considerate to other road users to keep the traffic flowing.

So this morning we have a paricuarly considerate bus driver. He has waited for traffic to pass in the opposite direction, leaving space to keep everything flowing; he has already carefully slowed behind cyclists along Praed Street outside Paddington to allow them to progress as we near bus stops rather than pull out and pass and stop in front of them.

We turn right onto the Edgware Road. This is a 4 lane main route (2 in either direction) but not a dual carriageway (there is no median for our American friends). Both lanes heading towards Marble Arch are incredibly busy and there are the usual significant numbers of cyclists. As we approach George Street there is a cyclist ahead going a little more slowly than others but our driver decides he will allow him to progress as we near the bus stop – very considerate.

But………we get slower…….we get slower still……..we are practically crawling but still our driver is being very patient.

Then…….the cyclist stops. Stops completely in the road blocking the carriageway. This must be important. What is is? A mechanical failure? An injury and can’t pedal?

No you guessed didn’t you. You are ahead of me. He is listening to music on his iphone. We have to change tracks!!!!!!!!!

Unbelievable. And on so many fronts. For his personal safety it is madness (he is not wearing a helmet by the way). He is listening to music on a busy road. He cannot hear a thing about what is going on around him. I know this is a contentious point. I know motorists listen to music but with the exception of the odd mobile concert system amplifiers car the volume and indirect means of listening means they can still hear other sounds around them and react to them – emergency vehicles for example or the warning blast of another vehicle. But a cyclist with an enclosed sound system. Lunacy! If our driver had been impatiently hooting he would not have had a clue. If an ambulance was trying to get by he would not have had a clue.

Secondly – in that sound enclosed world how can you possibly consider just stopping. Just coming to a rest. No thought to what is around him and rapidly approaching. He was lucky our bus driver was in a genial mood today.

Finally, the complete lack of consideration for other road users. Is it any wonder motorists get frustrated with cyclists from time to time? Stupidy and lack of self awareness has completely brought to halt a major route into central London at peak time.

Oh and just as a footnote. When he noticed the bus – eventually – he pulled the bike onto the pavement and proceeded to ride along it.

I despair.

Apologies for lack of pictures. I think I was too shocked by this to reach for the camera quickly enough (and video was needed to really capture the tale).

So just for effect an unrelated pavement snap – surprised the wall poster was not a distraction!

pavement

Outraged

As regular readers will know, all I want to see is a degree of responsibility from cyclists. Respect for other road users – especially pedestrians – and a bit of thought for the majority of the law abiding.

So I was pretty outraged this morning to read a series of articles on what purports to be a responsible cycling site for London – The London Cyclist. I hesitated to provide a link to their irresponsible content but you should all see the nonsense they peddle (hope you liked that little pun).

http://www.londoncyclist.co.uk/cyclist-fined/

The link will take you to an article discussing the relevance of the rules of the road to cyclists but see the additional links at the bottom as well. No wonder we see such appaling behaviour on a daily basis.

Lets consider some of the points:

There is an article on traffic light strategy. It includes the comment that “I don’t make a habit of jumping red lights”. Don’t these idiots know that even once is wrong? No one is expecting to see traffic (and yes, you’re ‘traffic’ on a bike) on a bit of the road ‘closed’ by a red light. Don’t they know the consequences of getting this wrong for pedestrians or themselves? The argument goes that bikes take up less space than 4 wheeled vehicles so laws should be more lightly enforced. Don’t they realise that the consequence of getting it wrong BECAUSE 4 wheeled vehicles are bigger and heavier is DEATH! And does no one spare a thought for how traumatic it must be for a car driver to kill or injure a cyclist under ANY circumstances? So how selfish is it to risk that just to steal a bit of a march on the rest of the traffic? (Oh and hiding behind the ‘hardly anyone gets killed by cyclists, so it’s ok to weave around the place with impunity’ line is cretinous in the extreme).

Elswhere the blog positively promotes occupying the space ahead of lights to wait for an early getaway. Don’t cyclists realise that is exactly where pedestrians expect to cross unimpeded in safety and not to work through a maze of spokes?

A second link argues that riding on the pavement should not be an issue and nor should riding against traffic on one way streets. The pavement argument is appalling. Try walking on a pavement and facing oncoming bikes. Plenty of cyclists decry the behaviour of motorists who put them in danger but here is an article by a seemingly respectable website positively promoting putting pedestrians in danger.

Come on guys. Behave yourselves. Do the right thing and cycle with respect for all.