I’m back on the road, unfortunately on 4 wheels and with an engine. I’ve had some camera mounts for a windshield for quite some time but I’ve not been able to use them because of my broken clavicle. Today was the day that I felt I could drive again and I went for a drive on some of the country roads around me. That’s one of the highlights of living in Croydon, It’s a big town, close to the city but also close to the country side.
Traveling down Shirely Church Road in Croydon when an approaching car flashed me as they where approaching a cyclist on their side of the road. I knew that it meant they didn’t care about the cyclists safety or mine and they just wanted to get passed. My instincts where to brake hard, move as far to the left as possible and sound the horn to A. warn the cyclist of the approaching danger B. to show my disapproval to the driver.
The driver passes only inches away from the cyclist and barely slowed, I honestly thought that we were either going to have a head on collision or the cyclist was going to get knocked over. Luckily neither happened but that won’t stop me from reporting this driver to Road Safe London. Unfortunately I was only able to get half the number plate but I’m hoping that it can still be traced and the driver spoken to about their actions on the road, they are quite clearly a danger to vulnerable road users and are putting their convince before the safety of others!
Is it really worth remonstrating with drivers that put us in danger?
I’ve done my fair share of remonstrating, some would say that I go to far, it’s hard to control what you say when you have adrenaline pumping through your arteries. The adrenaline is usually a result of a near collision experience, a collision which could have resulted in death or serious injury.
Most people don’t like to be criticised by strangers and I think that is fair enough. But some people go to extreme lengths when they have been. Just watch the video below, the driver passes the cyclist far too close and is shortly stuck in traffic. The cyclist remonstrates with the driver about their actions only a few meters behind them and the driver clearly doesn’t like it as they shortly brake test the cyclist and then tailgate them.
They part ways but the driver, unknown to the cyclist, turns around and follows them as they stop at a petrol station, the driver continues past but pulls up on the other side of the road. As the cyclist approaches where the driver is parked, the driver pulls away and quite clearly drives towards the cyclist as they take a side road.
And another example below, where a video camera cyclist confronts a driver that didn’t stop at a zebra crossing, a rather minor driving error in the bigger picture but worth highlighting it, but doing so in person? Not so sure, this driver clearly doesn’t like being told how to drive by someone else and when a note about where to see the offending video is thrown in the vehicle and the driver is then cut up on the roundabout. The driver takes it back on the cyclist by cutting him up. It really isn’t worth remonstrating with drivers, even if these 2 are only 1 in a 100.
I stopped talking to drivers* about their bad driving quite some time ago, I find it’s best just to take a deep breath and get on with it. I have it on video and will report them to the police if need be.
* Well starting conversations, I can’t help it if people get out of their vehicle and confront me.
I’ve often asked cyclists that don’t stop at red their reasons behind their behaviour. More often than not they say something along the lines of
I don’t hurt anyone by doing it and it saves me time
But is that true? It’s been said that drivers often think that all cyclists jump red lights. And they expect that every cyclist is going to continue through a red light which has just changed from amber. This is probably one of the most dangerous things to do and often a cause of collisions at junctions.
It affects those of us who stop at red lights because the drivers aren’t expecting us to stop and they want to get across the junction, this can mean any cyclist stopping at a red light which has just changed is at risk from being shunted from behind.
I was lucky in the video below, the driver just missed me, I presume he thought I wouldn’t stop.
The San Francisco Streetsblog recently posted about a new ‘system’ to keep cyclists out of the door zone which has been introduced by the
San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency on a trial basis. The idea is to add a T next to parking spaces. This is meant to show the area of the door zone but to me it is rather confusing.
Is this really a good way to avoid the door zone? From what I have seen the vertical line of the T is painted out from the boundary line of the parking spaces, so if you cycle outside of the T then you should be just outside of the door zone.
American states have tried several different ways to get work around the door zone. Most of them involving a form of sharrows but many of them don’t have borders so cyclists don’t stay out of the door zone.
Cyclists, like many road users, will stay in the lane markings provided, even if that means putting them in danger. If the lane markings provided adequate space next to parked cars then KSI’s from doorings should be decreased. For example, the image below shows how there is a buffer between the cycle lane and parked cars and there is a boundary line on both sides of the cycle lane. This should keep most cyclists safe from the door zone as they follow the cycle lane away from the danger.
The T to me is another road marking which is confusing and is not self explanatory. The door zone is not known by many cyclists and if the road marking that is meant to save lives is not self explanatory as to what the danger is, then it doesn’t work.