Road User Hierarchy

At present the UK is very motor vehicle orientated. A large proportion of the population drives, in fact I drive in situations where cycling is not more practicable than taking the car. But because our road system is orientated around vehicles like the car, the drivers behind the wheel seem to think they own the roads. Some drivers believe that everything else should get out of their way and that we should bow down to them and kiss their feet (slight exaggeration).

For me there has always been a hierarchical system on the roads, a pecking order or food chain. The system which I believe is often thought of by the motorists is as follows (with 1 being the most important)

  1. Me (the motorist in question)
  2. Other Motor vehicles
  3. Buses
  4. Cyclists and Pedestrians

As you can see my list puts the self-centred motorist at the top. I see everyday, be it on bicycle or by car, drivers are often very impatient and won’t let people merge into their lane or they tailgate the vehicle in front of them if they don’t think they are going fast enough.
My hierarchy would be as follows (with number 1 being the most important)

  1. Mobility impaired pedestrians
  2. Pedestrians
  3. Cyclists
  4. motorcyclist
  5. Public Transport (buses, trams etc..)
  6. Cars
  7. LGV’s
  8. HGV’s

My system puts the most vulnerable road users at the top and the least vulnerable at the bottom. Things like Public Transport should have road space allocated to them specific and people should let them go as they carry many more people than other forms of transportation. The ones lower down on the list should look out for those higher up. But let us not forget that even HGV’s have requirements on the road and as cyclists, pedestrians and vehicle drivers we must look out for them and provide them the space and time they need.

Take a look at the below video of a single junction in NYC that was filmed over several hours. It shows how all road users make conflicts and issues with each other. I suspect that the US has specific issues with ‘road’ users Vs pedestrians as they have specific jaywalking laws.


Roads are often used by many types of transport, often all at the same time. But the way they have been built suits vehicles such as cars the best. From my point of view this causes conflict when you get pedestrians who want to cross the road. In an ideal world a vehicle on the road would stop for any pedestrian as they are near the top of the hierarchy but in reality this hardly happens. As a vulnerable road user we should look out for them and look after them but even our councils seem to do a poor job of managing where they cross and how long they have to wait.

Too much has been given to the motor vehicle over the past 50 years. It’s time we started claiming back our safety on the roads and making them a safer place to use!

Cyclists on the Bridge

Picture this, it’s 8.30am on Friday the 20th of May and the pavement on the south to north bound side of the bridge is full of cyclists. Cyclists which were called to this location by the LCC and campaigners less than 24 hours ago.

The result was nearly 300 cyclists cycling over the bridge each way as slow as possible. By my Garmin device, we travelled 0.83 miles in 14 minutes and 30 seconds. That gives us an average speed of 3.4mph.

We stopped outside of the TFL building on Blackfriars road, only a stones throw away from the bridge, to voice our concerns to them in person but they didn’t want to talk. I suspect because we caught them off guard, I heard that they didn’t even know we where coming.

All in all it was a good ride and we only had a few minor issues with motorcyclist that where in a rush to get to somewhere. Below is a 3x speed video i recorded.

Something that is hard to make clear, is why we did this.

TFL have rejected several plans which would have suited many people’s needs and instead have tried to push plans through that favour the motorist and fast-moving, dangerous traffic.

The upgrade to Blackfriars station is going to produce a huge increase in pedestrians that are using the area. But in TFL’s plans, pedestrians and not being looked out for, the speed limit of cars is being increased and space is being taken away from pedestrians and cyclists to allow another lane for vehicles. Which resembles a motorway.

Cyclists we will also be affected, our cycle lanes will be smaller and we will have faster traffic moving around us. If you choose to turn right at the north side of the bridge then you will have to cross 3 lanes of traffic which is moving at 30 mph (well that is the limit).

So the reason we grouped together as cyclists, bloggers, cycling groups, road users and people of the city is to voice our concern over the plans to put vulnerable road users at the bottom and allow faster and more dangerous vehicles to have the priority.

We are meant to be going through a cycling revolution in London but as anyone that knows, it was not Boris that came up with or laid the initial plans for the Cycle Superhighways or the Cycle Hire Scheme. The two leading schemes of the revolution. It seems that the cycling revolution can only progress if motorists are not hindered.

I must say a big thanks to the London Cycling Campaign, Mark at i bike london, Danny at Cyclists in the City and the MET Cycle Task Force.

LCC, Mark and Danny have provided us with fantastic information and detailed descriptions about the plans and potential issues with the designs for Blackfriars bridge. And they helped organise and publish the plans for this group ride. Without them, where would we be?

And a big thanks to the MET Cycle Task Force. An ever-growing group of officers that watched over our event and spoke to a few impatient motorcyclist. They are working hard to prevent and catch bicycle thieves and make the roads of London a safe place for any mode of transport to use. I even got my bicycle security marked after the event, a big thanks again for that 🙂

[UPDATES] Missed the time in the post, time added back in.

FPN for Careless Driving

Yesterday it was announced that there is a plan to allow police to issue on the Fixed Penalty Fines (FPN) to road users who driver dangerously, carelessly and inconsiderately.

The fines will be issued for doing such things as tailgating, undertaking and cutting up other road users. They are certainly welcomed but will they have an effect on how people behave whilst surrounded by metal?

It seems that the fines are here to make the roads safer in the UK and to force drivers to act better on the roads. Another angle is that the fines will skip the process with the CPS, which means it’s relatively fast and the paperwork is minimal in comparison. This means it’s a pull you over, ticket you, on your way kind of job rather than lots of desk work filling out forms for all involved. Basically dealt in the same way as speeding tickets.

At present there are minimal amounts of police on the roads. As I’ve mentioned before the roads are essential un-policed and we are in this current situation because drivers are not being fined, cautioned or warned about what they are doing wrong and thus it becomes an everyday part of their driving.

As Roger Geffen, the CTC Campaigns and Policy Director said:

A careless driving fixed penalty notice is welcome, but should only be used where no injury has occurred and the driving is demonstrably careless, not dangerous. We have concerns that too often driving which is objectively dangerous is treated by police and prosecutors as merely ‘careless’.

He raises a good point that dangerous driving is often toned down. Is this just because we are used to it?
I often get comments on my videos that go something like this:

Close passes are a part of cycling, live with it

Just because it’s something we are currently ‘used’ to, doesn’t mean we should put up with it. Passing a cyclist too closely can be very dangerous and is something that is hardly ever addressed!

Unfortunately there are planned cuts in the police force, which is only going to mean even less police officers on the roads.  Looking at the laws relating to mobile phone use whilst in a vehicle which was introduced in 2003, the number of drivers which still talk away whilst driving is not getting any lower. Clearly the message is not getting through and the drivers know there is little chance they will be caught! Is this just going to go down the same road?

On a good note, a lot of clips of bad driving were shown today on the news. And as the list of cyclists that use cameras gets longer, so does the footage of bad and inconsiderate driving.

We need to continue to highlight the issues we are having on the road with dangerous and inconsiderate drivers. So far this year we have had large amounts of media coverage and things can only get bigger!

News containing videos from cyclists

The Decade of Action for Road Safety

Today see’s the UN launch a campaign for 10 years of action on reducing deaths and casualties on the roads across the globe.

It’s certainly a goal that is very large and one which save millions of lives a year if it is achieved. Can the +100 countries involved get there heads together and make the roads across the globe a safer place to travel along? I certainly hope so.

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