Snap Quiz!

  • By Stily1 on at 1:47pm 21 December 2011
  • Posted in: General
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Quick! Choose one!

You're riding along in London during the morning rush minding your own business when a pedestrian crosses in violation of your right-of-way. Do you:

A) Tuck and plow into the errant biped? or

B) Swerve and risk being crushed to death under the wheels of a HGV that is fully witin it's own right-of-way?


Neither - because you've taken the sensible and responsible decision to moderate your speed when you're riding in an area where there's a high likelihood that people will step into the road

So when it does happen, all you need to do is brake hard and there's no collision

Also, there should never be a circumstance where you're riding and you're unaware of a lorry behind you - keep aware of road users around you by looking over your shoulder regularly

An admirable response from LCC but the following might be worth considering:

Might be more of a problem after 23rd Jan should this happen in a bus lane and a 16 year old with 'L' plates on a ped takes you out as you brake hard!

I ride a motorbike and a bicycle and I'm not in the least bit convinced that my powered two wheeler friends will make my life safer in the bus lanes on my bicycle. What's the rationale? I don't get it. It won't make any significant difference to 'traffic flow' and it's gonna be scarey sharing the bus lane with the fastest accellerating vehicles on the road coming from a place that a cyclist often won't see without the aid of rear view mirrors.

Any cyclist would need have an articulation about the neck like an owl to have any chance of staying consistantly on top of the whereabouts of fast moving motorcycles and your chances of stacking it are hugely increased if your head is facing the wrong way!

Anyone know a company producing decent sized, bar mounted, shake proof and electrically heated mirrors for bicycles? Answers on the back of a postage stamp please ... !

  • By Stily1 at 9:36am 22 December 2011

@ LCC, yeah yeah, of course, but that's not the point. In my scenario you only have the two options. But yes, I know, you have to say that. And yes, I was being just a wee bit flippant.

@ Whiskey Mick, I, too, ride both bipedal and motorized cycle, and I tend to agree with you. While filtering (aka lane sharing) is, rather surprisingly, allowed and encouraged here, that's not quite the same as allowing motorcycles and scooters to wholesale use the dedicated bicycle lane. Quick side note; bicycle lane does not equal bus lane (where there's much more room).

In California, where I cut my teeth, lane sharing is tolerated if done reasonably (it is NOT legal, as is commonly believed), but even there, you NEVER motorcycle up the curb-side. That *will* get you ticketed pronto.

I'm prepared to share the bicycle lane with motorized two-wheelers when traffic is stopped, and at bicycle speeds, but that's about it.

Although I think LCC has a point, I don't think this can be considered *the* right answer. Pedestrians step into my path without warning where it makes not one iota of difference how fast I'm going (logically of course I could be stationary, but that would defeat the object of cycling). I now have a video camera partly because of this (to provide evidence, if need be). In newly narrowed areas, e.g. Cheapside, I now "take the lane" in order to reduce my chances of being knocked off my bike by errant, recklessly-inobservant, frequently phone-using pedestrians. This causes much annoyance among the motorised traffic behind me who are thus delayed, but I see no alternative. Even so, some pedestrians make such a quick dash without looking, that even this measure is not 100% guaranteed to succed.

Pedestrians do need to take some responsibility here - the numbers of times I see pedestrians turning their heads deliberately to not look before stepping out, is extraordinary. Those hailing taxis from the opposite side of the road are amongst the worst - once they see a taxi stopping for them they rarely check to see if the road is clear before dashing across it to get into the taxi. But I suspect an attitudinal problem amongst city gents and ladies who just seem to think common road sense is beneath them.

As a (tongue-in-cheek) counter measure, I suggest that we campaign for pedestrians to take out compulsory insurance, wear identifiable number plates front and back, undergo compulsory walking training prior to being let loose on the pavements and pay an annual tax to contribute fairly to the NHS who have to pick up the tab for the accidents they cause. Oh, and they should carry lights after dark and be arrested for crossing on the red man - a far higher percentage of offending amongst them here than for cyclists.

  • By gegi at 1:32pm 24 December 2011

Except the insurance wouldn't be for pedestrians. Just as with bicycles and cars we would have to demand it for the vehicle, i.e. shoes. Quite what we would do about walking barefeet I don't know. But you could certainly have a lower rate for flip flops (slower) and a higher one for those souped up running shoes :-)

But honestly, I hardly recognise that pedestrian stepping out scenario and don't think it's a problem at all. I feel it is a construct of the cyclist's mind as we have so much time to think on our journeys. I know because I do it. Ride easy, look out, use your brakes. I'm not even sure there is that 'right of way' you describe. We all have right of way, but who has priority?

@gegi... you can NOT cycle in the City... I think it is a requirement on peoples' CVs there that they promise to walk out in front of moving traffic.  I think their salaries go up... the faster the traffic they step out on - the more they earn... 

@ rarely stable.  I think there should be an offence of jay-walking and fixed penalties should be applied.  I've had loads of cyclists say to me "But it's not life threatening" ... It IS!  If a ped walks into you, you are going to tumble... stands to reason...  whether there's a moving vehicle to your side/behind as it happens is just a matter of luck... I find YELLING helps... they freeze and you can avoid them... It also permeates their stupid phone calls and headsets... 

This is just the type of incident that beninhanwell comes across on a daily basis, and receives thanks from bipeds and vehicles alike!

The most useful piece of advice I can give is to wear a whistle. A whistle really makes a difference, is bloody great at alerting HGV's, cars and pedestrians to your presence with the result that the collision can be avoided. Give it a go.

  • By gegi at 1:11pm 2 January 2012

Jay-walking an offence? I find it amazing how we are prepared to take lessons from the States. It's hardly a cycling/walking paradise.

Last month I did just as CTC suggests and stopped about 2-3 feet from the pedestrian - who also attempted to stop but his shoe slipped and he fell right into where I would have hit him  - he was dazed and appeared to have sprained his ankle badly when he was helped to the pavement.  However, I did not stop to find out - as I had not hit him and decided I was not at fault - so why did I then feel half guilty for the next couple of days?

So yes - keep your speed down when there are any "hazards" around !

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