Well, this week I was going to post my next training tip, but something else has come to my attention, so you will have to wait another week, and put up with my ramblings! Unfortunately, my blog won’t be seen by all, but it doesn’t mean we can’t take action.
The problem is, I just don’t feel safe riding on the roads. I feel totally different when I am in Europe, but in the UK I just don’t feel safe. Do you?
Every week (or even every few days) another story appears in the cycling media about another incidence of road rage against cyclists. The recent publicity about café owner Jason Wells is just another of the many examples (http://road.cc/content/news/152934-video-road-rage-meltdown-driver-who-threatened-kill-cyclist-fined-public-order).
These stories are perhaps the extreme cases, at least I really hope so!
What concerns me more, are the posts that appear in the local groups of social media sites such as Facebook. Unlike Mr Wells, these people are not targeted and publicly shamed (a big debate here whether this is a good thing or not), and may be making such posts “in jest”, but they are still potentially incredibly damaging.
These photos and comments were highlighted to me by a friend on Facebook:
Sadly it is people like this that make me feel unsafe every time I ride on the roads. Yes, it is a delicate balance, but what is it costing them? Perhaps a few seconds, maybe at worst a minute. The ultimate cost to the cyclist, their friends and family could be tragic if they put their words into action (intentionally or not).
Clearly, this particular poster has a problem with cyclists as another post on his profile shows he is more than happy to frequently get his camera out whilst driving his lorry even as he suggests here at 3am, so perhaps he is a lost cause?
However, he is far from being in isolation!
However, somehow we need to look to change the attitude of the minority of narrow minded motorists that their vehicle is not a weapon. That said, some how we also need to change the attitude of the minority of riders that they “own the road”! Courtesy, in both directions, will go a long way (hopefully).
I will be the first to say that I won’t be riding in a bike lane, and as a car driver, I understand the frustration when being held up behind a cyclist, horse rider, tractor, caravan etc but I try to be courteous if I can.
- If a car/lorry gives me clear space I will always wave a polite thank you (especially those that use indicators to show others they are overtaking me – double win thanks);
- If I am riding solo I will safely pull tight to the kerb/gutter (if it is safe to) once i know a vehicle has slowed behind me, to give them more opportunity to pass;
- If I am riding two-up, I will try to single-up as soon as possible to allow more passing room (unless in a group where it is easier to pass a short group rather than a longer line);
- and where i think I have held a vehicle up for too long, or it is not safe for them to get past, I have even been known to pull off the road to allow them to pass. This maybe costs me a few seconds but leaves me safe.
Not much, but I want vehicle drivers to start respecting what we do, and be happy to share the roads, hopefully by showing them respect, they will start respecting us a little more.
After all I want to get home safe from my ride today, and maybe an attitude change by all will allow that to happen?
Stay safe, and enjoy your riding!