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Cyclists on the road

Just two points I want to make.

1) Everyday when I am driving I am beginning to see more cyclists on the road which is a good thing but a lot of them don't have safety helmets on or lights on at night. I think we should have a policy where each cyclists must have helmets and lights on for their own saftey. If we should have our seat belt on in the car and have lights on for other drivers to see then surely a law should be introduced. Even Britains current greatest Cyclist Bradley Wiggins has called for a law on this.

2) I live on a small Country lane where cars pass by and some of them drive like lunatics so some people are too scared to go out for that reason. I know Cyclists can be a nightmare when they go too far out and don't make room for cars to drive by but these cycling lanes are not really helping and I would love the Goverment to help make it more safer for Cyclists to cycle on the road.

For example, in Amsterdam and Copenhagen they have cycling roads where cars are not allowed to drive on and passengers are not allowed to walk on. I know it would be very cost effective and un-feasible to make the whole of London like this picture below but it would certainly help commuters get around and they don't have to pay for transport fees..

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Comments

  • My father in law is a very keen cyclist. Never wore a helmet then last year he came of his bike and broke his hip. He took this as a warning and finally bought one and has been wearing it then a couple of weeks back he "forgot it" and ended up going into the back of a car at a junction resulting in this.

    I've just bought a bike and want to get into my cycling and wouldn't dream of not wearing a helmet or riding in the dark with no lights.
  • I am enjoying cycling more and more now as I see more and more cyclists about on the roads. It's a good way of travelling about town. However the rise of the Boris Bike has meant that I have noticed more people riding without helmets. Mostly because they are ad hoc users or tourists who won't have helmets with them. Frankly I am surprised there haven't been more accidents reported. Perhaps the increase in cyclists has made more drivers aware?
  • Lights are a legal requirement for riding at night. The helmet (as a legal requirement) debate has been going on for years, personally I find them uncomfortable.
  • Lights are a legal requirement for riding at night. The helmet (as a legal requirement) debate has been going on for years, personally I find them uncomfortable.

    They maybe are but I would rather feel uncomfortable than the threat of getting severely injured or getting killed.

    One of my ex primary school teacher's husband got killed on the road without a helmet on.
  • A lot less uncomfortable than not being able to wipe your own arse or having to eat your dinner through a straw for the rest of your life though baldy.
  • The only reason it's not a legal requirement to wear a helmet is that some people question whether they actually do anything. I always wear one for my own peace of mind though.


  • The first Boris Bike fatality happened a couple of weeks back, I'm not aware of the details other than the cyclist was hit by a lorry, maybe in that instance wearing a helmet might have made no difference.

    As to the legality of wearing a helmet - although it's not mandatory some insurance companies might argue that failing to wear one could be deemed to be contributory negligence, leading to a reduction in any insurance claim you make.

  • buckshee said:

    A lot less uncomfortable than not being able to wipe your own arse or having to eat your dinner through a straw for the rest of your life though baldy.

    True enough.
  • The bike helmet debate rages on in most cycling forums with strong evidence on both sides for wearing or not wearing. Personally I do wear a helmet pretty much all of the time but don't believe in compulsion.

    Logically if cyclists have to wear a helmet then shouldn't pedestrians also have to?

    Not using lights is just plain stupid, I would have my lights on well before dusk and also wear some sort of hi vis/reflective clothing whenever I'm on the road.

  • The helmet debate is an interesting one. Personally, I feel if you're noddying about on a Boris bike, then wearing a helmet is probably not that much more likely to save you from serious head injury. For any 'serious' cyclist (over 25 k/h, weaving in and out of traffic, smashing it down hills etc), if you don't wear a helmet, you're a fucking idiot. And I say this as a 'serious' cyclist.

    For instance, I came off last week ago after pinch flatting right at the bottom of a hill at a tad over 60k/h. Straight over the bars, over a hedge and landed in a field. If that had been a road, the helmet I was wearing might just have saved my life.

    There surely can't be even a hint of a debate about lights. Anyone riding in the dark without them deserves - no positively demands - to be removed from the gene pool.
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  • iainment said:

    The bike helmet debate rages on in most cycling forums with strong evidence on both sides for wearing or not wearing. Personally I do wear a helmet pretty much all of the time but don't believe in compulsion.

    Logically if cyclists have to wear a helmet then shouldn't pedestrians also have to?

    Not using lights is just plain stupid, I would have my lights on well before dusk and also wear some sort of hi vis/reflective clothing whenever I'm on the road.

    What strong evidence does the non-helmenters have though? Apart from it's un-comptable?
  • Heres a good link. http://www.cyclehelmets.org/1052.html

    Talks a lot of sense.

    A lot of the problem in 'proving' helmets save lives comes in trying to find a good representative sample. This is nearly impossible due to not all cycling accidents being similar. There is, for instance,a big difference between me banging out a 40 km commute in 1hr 15 mins, including central London in rush hour, and a bloke poodling back and forth to the shops down country lanes at 10 k/h
  • I am a keen MTB rider and frankly cannot comprehend going ten yards without a helmet. I regularly hit 40mph on road and 25 / 30 off road. I am staggered by the amount of cyclists who don't bother with a helmet.

    The other day on Denmark Hill I saw a mum with a two year on a rear seat , and a five year old on the handle bars ... Not one of them wearing a helmet....
  • I always wear a helmet, saved me from a nasty head injury about 5 years ago when the chain snapped on the bike when I was whacking along the Old Kent Road, went skidding on my head, and the helmet took the impact.

    As for compulsory issue, the effect in Australia has been for less casual cycling, and the benefit of helmets hasn't been completely proven. For example I wouldn't make them available with Boris bikes, cause you could never trust anyone not to have dropped it.

    Lights, legally required at night, the police love nicking people for it, buy some nice LED USB ones.
  • edited July 2013
    holyjo said:

    I am a keen MTB rider and frankly cannot comprehend going ten yards without a helmet. I regularly hit 40mph on road and 25 / 30 off road. I am staggered by the amount of cyclists who don't bother with a helmet.

    The other day on Denmark Hill I saw a mum with a two year on a rear seat , and a five year old on the handle bars ... Not one of them wearing a helmet....

    She should have the child removed from her care. Any parent who lets a small child get carried on a main road without a helmet needs shooting.
  • I'm with Leroy on this one. As a very keen Amateur/semi pro club cyclist whenever I train or race and reach high speeds then of course my helmet is an absolute necessity. However if I'm taking my short 5-10 minute cycle to 6th form then there is significantly less risk to me. It also means I don't have to lug my helmet about with me at 6th form all day. There are many different types of cyclists and that has to be factored in when thinking about making helmets compulsory.
  • Years ago I cycled everywhere without a helmet. Got into motorbikes, stopped cycling and had to wear a helmet.

    Some prick turned right out of stationary traffic without looking, indicating and if it hadn't been for quick thinking of another driver he wouldn't of stopped either.

    He smashed into my back wheel. I landed on my helmet. A top of the range Arai. I was doing 25 - 30 mph. The damage to the lid properly scared the shit out of me. No doubt in my mind without it I'd be dead or brain damaged.

    Have been cycling again for 5-6 years and I wouldn't even cycle half a mile up the road to the shops without a helmet.
  • 1) anyone not wearing lights is plain stupid.
    2) Australian studies have shown helmets only effective for small children just falling off. Most crashes no other vehicle tend to be facial. Hit a car, helmet is no help.
    3) cars need to only overtake when safe to do so. Don't hug kerb so they try to squeeze by.
    4) I live in country so don't ignore traffic lights (there aren't any) but still get regularly cut up.
  • Years ago I cycled everywhere without a helmet. Got into motorbikes, stopped cycling and had to wear a helmet.

    Some prick turned right out of stationary traffic without looking, indicating and if it hadn't been for quick thinking of another driver he wouldn't of stopped either.

    He smashed into my back wheel. I landed on my helmet. A top of the range Arai. I was doing 25 - 30 mph. The damage to the lid properly scared the shit out of me. No doubt in my mind without it I'd be dead or brain damaged.

    Have been cycling again for 5-6 years and I wouldn't even cycle half a mile up the road to the shops without a helmet.

    me too, the kids as well - same goes for skiing....still can't believe it when people bomb around on the slopes (particularly beginners) with only a wooly hat to protect their skulls
  • I find the helmet uncomfortable and only wore it under protest, when my wife and my friends wife moaned at me. Recently a colleague at works husband came off his bike. His helmet split, if he had not been wearing it, it would have been his skull, for want of a better phrase, its a no brainer .. I always wear my helmet, although the other day i was cycling and realoised I had not put it on, I had the same feeling as I do if I ever forget to buckle my seat belt in the car
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  • Helmets are compulsory here in Oz and the Old Bill just LOVE nicking people for not wearing them.

    I am not sure about the stats but we all wear them now without even thinking about it and its surely better to play it safe.

    The bloke who fixes up my bike is an ex-Pro cyclist and he says that his helmet (the one on his head) has probably saved his life at least twice in road crashes SINCE he retired and has been cycling as a weekend fun rider!
  • The helmet debate is an interesting one. Personally, I feel if you're noddying about on a Boris bike, then wearing a helmet is probably not that much more likely to save you from serious head injury. For any 'serious' cyclist (over 25 k/h, weaving in and out of traffic, smashing it down hills etc), if you don't wear a helmet, you're a fucking idiot. And I say this as a 'serious' cyclist.

    For instance, I came off last week ago after pinch flatting right at the bottom of a hill at a tad over 60k/h. Straight over the bars, over a hedge and landed in a field. If that had been a road, the helmet I was wearing might just have saved my life.

    There surely can't be even a hint of a debate about lights. Anyone riding in the dark without them deserves - no positively demands - to be removed from the gene pool.

    This is one of the reasons why car drivers get annoyed with cyclists. When they do weave in and out it makes it very difficult for car drivers to see them. On roads where there is no cycle lane, car drivers do not expect to be overtaken on the inside and so are less likely to see a cyclists.

    Also it is infuriating when a cyclist refuses to use a path designated as a cycle lane and drives in the road, slowing up motorised vehicles.
  • Helmets are compulsory here in Oz and the Old Bill just LOVE nicking people for not wearing them.

    I am not sure about the stats but we all wear them now without even thinking about it and its surely better to play it safe.

    The bloke who fixes up my bike is an ex-Pro cyclist and he says that his helmet (the one on his head) has probably saved his life at least twice in road crashes SINCE he retired and has been cycling as a weekend fun rider!

    In Calgary there are a lot of cycle paths, some have speed limits for cyclists & the cops will give you a ticket for speeding - they use radar guns like they do for motorists on the roads - does that happen in the UK these days?

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/story/2008/08/07/calgary-cyclists-speeding-pathways.html
  • Imo cyclists were a pain in the arris when I was a pedestrian and an even bigger pain in the ass now im riding my scooter into town.

    Ill be the first to agree that im prob a pain in the ass on my scooter but when you have red lights and I see little old grannies/school kids crossing the roads and lance armstrong is smashing through the red light with wiggins closesly behind, it sort of gets right on my tits.

    Then you get the ones that wait at the red light and take about ten minutes to get out of my way, they get on my tits too. So I wish they could travel at a safe speed, stop at reds and zebra crossings and get out of my farking way when the lights go green :D
  • Oakster said:

    Helmets are compulsory here in Oz and the Old Bill just LOVE nicking people for not wearing them.

    I am not sure about the stats but we all wear them now without even thinking about it and its surely better to play it safe.

    The bloke who fixes up my bike is an ex-Pro cyclist and he says that his helmet (the one on his head) has probably saved his life at least twice in road crashes SINCE he retired and has been cycling as a weekend fun rider!

    In Calgary there are a lot of cycle paths, some have speed limits for cyclists & the cops will give you a ticket for speeding - they use radar guns like they do for motorists on the roads - does that happen in the UK these days?

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/story/2008/08/07/calgary-cyclists-speeding-pathways.html
    My son was stopped by a cop because he was doing 30mph in a 20mph zone. I don't think there was any radar involved just the speedo on the squad car. He wasn't fined or charged, my guess is that without a registration number making anything stick would probably involve arresting someone and is probably more trouble than it's worth.

    For me, the biggest problem with cyclists is without a doubt the high numbers of them that ride around at night with no lights. I'm sure there's a whole level of them who are too young to drive and don't therefore have the first clue that the main purpose of bike lights is so that they can be seen rather than for them to see with.
  • Stig said:

    Oakster said:

    Helmets are compulsory here in Oz and the Old Bill just LOVE nicking people for not wearing them.

    I am not sure about the stats but we all wear them now without even thinking about it and its surely better to play it safe.

    The bloke who fixes up my bike is an ex-Pro cyclist and he says that his helmet (the one on his head) has probably saved his life at least twice in road crashes SINCE he retired and has been cycling as a weekend fun rider!

    In Calgary there are a lot of cycle paths, some have speed limits for cyclists & the cops will give you a ticket for speeding - they use radar guns like they do for motorists on the roads - does that happen in the UK these days?

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/story/2008/08/07/calgary-cyclists-speeding-pathways.html
    My son was stopped by a cop because he was doing 30mph in a 20mph zone. I don't think there was any radar involved just the speedo on the squad car. He wasn't fined or charged, my guess is that without a registration number making anything stick would probably involve arresting someone and is probably more trouble than it's worth.

    For me, the biggest problem with cyclists is without a doubt the high numbers of them that ride around at night with no lights. I'm sure there's a whole level of them who are too young to drive and don't therefore have the first clue that the main purpose of bike lights is so that they can be seen rather than for them to see with.
    There aren't speed limits for cyclists - they can be charged with wreckless riding though
  • surely cyclists have to adhere to the speed limit of the road if not then the law needs changing
  • edited July 2013

    surely cyclists have to adhere to the speed limit of the road if not then the law needs changing

    I must admit that on training rides I regularly break the speed limit but I've never thought I was breaking the law. Now you've mentioned it though I probably am. Still doesn't stop other cars speeding past me even when I'm doing 5mph above the speed limit though!!!

    It seems that I'm not breaking the law: http://www.astounding.org.uk/ian/cyclelaw/speed_limits.html

    Even though I can get done for 'cycling furiously' which sounds pretty cool.
  • I guess you could call me a serious cyclist. I've cycled about 12,000 miles in 2.5 years.
    Wouldnt dream of riding 5 yards without a helmet. I had a fairly serious crash as a teenager after going over the handlebars of a road bike which left me having to have a skin graft just under my nose.

    My view is that all cyclists should be tested for a road cycling licence. If you dont pass, you arent able to ride on the road. Simple as that. Unfortunately, lycra, a helmet and a decent bike doesnt make you a decent cyclist. So many riders in my old club had sweet FA in the way of road savvy and are just an accident waiting to happen. This would stop all of that. With the cycling licence comes the requirement for insurance too.

    On the other side of this argument, anyone taking a driving test should be forced to take a cycling awareness test as part of the test too. The number of drivers on the roads that are completely oblivious to cyclists is beyond a joke. I've taken to wearing a helmet cam for peace of mind. Whenever I'm riding my bike, its recording. I've had far too many near misses to count now.

    It also requires a complete change in attitude from drivers. For example:

    Also it is infuriating when a cyclist refuses to use a path designated as a cycle lane and drives in the road, slowing up motorised vehicles.

    Infuriating it may be but there is no legal requirement for a cyclist to ride in a provided cycle lane. At the end of the day, its about harmony on the roads, both drivers and cyclists need to get on together and accept that both are present on the road and have a bit of bloody patience. Does it really matter that a driver has been held up for something like 20-30 seconds stuck behind a cyclist before finding a safe place to overtake? Interestingly, the last time I went out on my bike last Monday evening on a 2.5hr 50 miler, my mate and I had an articulated lorry behind us on Darenth Hill (going towards Longfield). We was pedalling up at 17-18mph so pretty decent pace yet this lorry decided to overtake us on the brow of the hill, forcing a car to take evasive action coming the other way! If I know someone has waited behind me for a safe place to pass, I'll always acknowledge thanks by raising a hand and for the most part I'll get acknowlegment back. But then they can properly tell I'm a serious cyclist as I ride properly and safely including stopping at red lights (shock horror!)

    However its not just about drivers changing attitudes, its the cyclists too. They have to be accountable for their actions. Adults riding on pavements when they should be on the road, Adults taking non-foldable bikes on trains, riding through red lights, riding the wrong way up one-way streets (common place in Whitechapel and Mile End)...all of which make my blood boil.

    As for hi-vis clothing, scientific research suggests that mainly black lycra with white trim is far more eye catching to the majority of drivers than fluro-yellow/orange.
    Oh and as for lights, all three of my bikes are lit up like a xmas tree.

    At the end of the day, anyone thinking Boris is really going to spend billions on turning London into Amsterdam (which was an amazing cycling experience btw!) need to take a reality check. If drivers and cyclists were more lenient and more appreciative towards each other, we'd all get along much better in some sort of harmony.

  • edited July 2013

    The helmet debate is an interesting one. Personally, I feel if you're noddying about on a Boris bike, then wearing a helmet is probably not that much more likely to save you from serious head injury. For any 'serious' cyclist (over 25 k/h, weaving in and out of traffic, smashing it down hills etc), if you don't wear a helmet, you're a fucking idiot. And I say this as a 'serious' cyclist.

    For instance, I came off last week ago after pinch flatting right at the bottom of a hill at a tad over 60k/h. Straight over the bars, over a hedge and landed in a field. If that had been a road, the helmet I was wearing might just have saved my life.

    There surely can't be even a hint of a debate about lights. Anyone riding in the dark without them deserves - no positively demands - to be removed from the gene pool.

    This is one of the reasons why car drivers get annoyed with cyclists. When they do weave in and out it makes it very difficult for car drivers to see them. On roads where there is no cycle lane, car drivers do not expect to be overtaken on the inside and so are less likely to see a cyclists.

    Also it is infuriating when a cyclist refuses to use a path designated as a cycle lane and drives in the road, slowing up motorised vehicles.
    Puncture alley, you mean? If cyclists rode everywhere in cycle lanes they'd get a flat every 5km. Absolute magnets for broken glass, raised manhole covers and potholes four inches deep.

    I get your point about cyclists weaving in and out of traffic, but, like most drivers, you fall int the trap of failing to differentiate between cyclists who know how to ride, and those who don't. Granted, there are plenty of cyclists who haven't got a Danny - but more accidents are caused by impatient drivers changing lanes at lights without looking in their mirrors than cyclists deliberately weaving in and out of traffic.

    I don't get your point about drivers not expecting to be undertaken on the inside on roads with no cycle lane - would you prefer we rode on the outside?

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