Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Friday, 11 August 2017

Cycling: reducing the hostility (part 1)

29th July 2017: 75,000 cyclists rode around the 
centre of London on closed roads

In Wednesday's post I looked at the substantial health and environmental benefits that cycling can bring but also alluded to the very regrettable hostility that too often exists between motorists and cyclists, especially in large UK cities London. 

Cycling has increased enormously in popularity over the past 20 to 30 years both in the number of people that cycle as well as the number who follow cycle sport, especially the Tour de France, which this year was broadcast in its entirety.  Ride London's fun ride in through the centre of London on Saturday 29th July attracted an amazing 75,000 people. 

This is a great development but to encourage even more people to take to cycling we need to build greater understanding between motorists and cyclists. We also need to build suitable infrastructure to encourage cycling by making it feel much safer. A start has been made but much more needs to be done.  It would be great if the UK could become a new Holland

Building a suitable infrastructure takes time but in the meantime, can we reduce the hostility between motorists and cyclists? 

In this post I look at some of the things that pisses off motorists about cyclists. Tomorrow it is the turn of what pisses of cyclists.     

What upsets motorists?

Jumping red lights 
I agree cyclists should obey traffic lights and not jump them, although many motorists go through lights that have turned red. In contrast some cyclists go through red lights at all points of the sequence. 

Riding in the middle of the road 
There are many occasions when riding well out into the road makes perfect sense for a cyclist. You are likely to get more puncture by riding close to the gutter as there is more grit here than in the centre of the road.  

When passing a row of parked cars it again makes sense to ride well out in case someone suddenly opens a car door. 

The last 20 years or so has seen a big increase in road furniture, which is very useful to enable pedestrians to cross the road safely, but is usually an obstacle for cyclists as there is rarely enough space for a car and certainly not a lorry to overtake a cyclist while passing through a piece of road furniture, which is why I ride protectively in the centre of the road when passing through pieces of road furniture. When I can I swing off once I'm through the obstacle – not easy when there are a series of street furniture. 

There is nothing in the Highway Code that requires cyclists to ride in the gutter. 

Overtaking on the inside 
As cyclist you often have to be very careful attempting to pass vehicles on the inside as the driver may well not see you.  
Being visible especially at night
I am amazed by the number of cyclists in London who ride at night without lights and very frequently wearing dark clothing. It is utterly stupid not to make yourself as visible possible to motorists. There is a big choice of both reflective clothing and effective lights, so why take risks by making your self invisible?  

Not paying road tax This is a frequent but ignorant complaint as nobody pays road tax. Instead cars and lorries pay vehicle tax, which has been greatly reduced for people driving 'greener' cars. In any case cars and, especially, lorries cause far more wear and tear on roads than cyclists do and also require much more space. Then if you take into account the health benefits that flow from cycling, so saving on NHS bills, there is a very good case why cyclists don't pay vehicle tax. 

(Tomorrow I look at what upsets cyclists.)

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