Sick to death of cycling British roads. Is there anything to be done?

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  • Sick to death of cycling British roads. Is there anything to be done?
  • Have been cycling our roads since got my triangular proficiency badge on a blue Raleigh Tomahawk. Commuting, leisure, shopping, touring, everything except road racing/club riding. That’s 37 years.

    Only been knocked off twice with minor injuries (touch wood). Both driver’s fault, both over twenty years ago.

    But lately? Lately (over the last decade) I have noticed not only the marked increase in day-long motor traffic – but the quite frankly terrifying DE-crease in road awareness, signalling, just driving standards in general.

    Add to this another marked increase – selfishness/entitlement on the road.

    Add to this one more – everyone is in more of a rush. It’s like a perfect storm out there. My eyes are on stalks, I’m constantly shoulder checking, scanning every eye ahead, have even taken to night-riding and empty pavements where available.

    3 times this week I’ve nearly been taken down, literally as if I’m invisible.. Once cutting me up as turn into a sidestreet in front of me as I wait to exit – they cut into my lane in front of me (cutting corners on right and left turns into minor roads is very common, I notice)

    This happened twice the week before, I had to literally yank my (stationary) bike and self out of the way to avoid collision

    And twice as I travel a main road downhill and two cars, on two occasions have simply pulled out across the road, one just missing me as I braked (didnt stop or acknowledge), the other nearly t-boned me but we both slammed brakes on. They just carried on, not even an apology.

    The other thing is dangerous passing, impatient, speeding, close passes. Often illegal ie as I’m cycling past a column of parked cars.

    Sick of it all.

    Frankly I’m at the point of ‘Falling Down’ The Movie sick of it. This latest ruling ie the 18 year old killed by a van driver.

    When does this stop?

    Why/how do we put up with it? What is there that can be done? i don’t wish to get into a fracas with all these ignorant twits, but something has to change. What do you do? Bash the car with your hand? Wave a fist? (I usually stare at them in horror and hold both arms up in the air, that is if I’ve managed to brake in time/avoid being smeared against a parked car)

    Does that ever achieve anything?

    I drive too, but I’m a ‘boring’ driver who signals and gives consideration to non-motorised road users. And the phone stays in the cubby hole.

    Rant over. But WTF?

    bikebouy
    Member

    Me too sunshine, me too 😐

    TurnerGuy
    Member

    I keep thinking of that list that Homer Simpson kept, of people that he was going to get his revenge on.

    5thElefant
    Member

    How about a mountain bike?

    Premier Icon ton
    Subscriber

    i ride on pavements if they are quiet, i ride through park and wasteland and also the canalside on my commute for this very reason.

    i honestly think that british car drivers are the most ignorant selfish drivers i have ever experienced.

    whatnobeer
    Member

    You need to move somewhere quieter. Grew up in Dumfries and Galloway where you’d be able to ride 100 miles on nice quite country roads and not see more cars that you could count with your fingers. I’m sure Somafunk will attest to how quite the roads round here could be.

    Even in Fife most of the roads were pretty quiet and almost never had any aggro with driver.

    Premier Icon cloudnine
    Subscriber

    Maybe the only answer is multiple cameras and report the shit out of every incident. Every car will suspect every bike has a camera and possibly take more care.

    coastkid
    Member

    Fatbike and along the coast-sorted 😉

    Forgot to say – like most people who regularly ride bicycles, I see myself simply as part of the Highway ecosystem, no less or more entitled to courtesy respect than other road-users, pedestrians, motor vehicles,horse riders etc…

    My rant is at the MINIMUM levels of safe driving that are being customarily breached every split second, it affects and endangers everyone, obviously those of us without airbags/a tonne of steel around us are at greater risk from cars than anything else.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Perhaps it’s where you live that’s the issue. I suspect that when an area gets richer and busier and/or starts attracting rushed stressed commuters fro .some big city, the driving probably gets worse. Not noticed any issues where I live and ride.

    Premier Icon joat
    Subscriber

    Sticking your thumb up can make them red with rage, so I do this. Seriously though, it will make them question their decision more than shaking a fistful of beans at them. I have, fairly recently smacked the side of a car at a mini roundabout after taking primary position when I felt a wing mirror bumping my elbow. The only options available to the driver before I whacked the wing were, hit the pedestrian refuge or knock me off. Thankfully they had a re-think and braked. I can but hope this will modify their behaviour in future.

    Premier Icon ton
    Subscriber

    my commute is into leeds city center…. it is hatefull.

    5thElefant
    Member

    I did 1150 dull miles doing lejog last year. One slightly dodgy pass by a lorry that probably only seemed bad because it went dark.

    Are you sure it’s not you?

    How about a mountain bike?

    How about two ;-). Ok one is a hybrid and do use that on the road also.

    I use the ‘strictly MTB’ mostly offroad, ie not fetching goods, not personal transport per se. I know I know, staying off the road is safer. Join the growing mass of 7-mile radius ‘short car journeys are all journeys’ user-base. If you can’t beat ’em join ’em, when in Rome etc.

    But am not trying to ‘beat’ anyone, just stay alive. And this isn’t roam. It’s my home and I have a legal right to cycle on the road coupled with a need and desire to cycle places to do things. As do you.

    Premier Icon everyone
    Subscriber

    5thElefant wrote:

    I did 1150 miles doing lejog last year. One slightly dodgy pass by a lorry that probably only seemed bad because it went dark.
    Are you sure it’s not you?

    And how many city/town centres did you ride through? Just today I had a taxi driver pull out as if I wasn’t there then give me a look like I was in the wrong.

    Are you sure it’s not you?

    Yes. When I’m driving I’m well aware of the marked decrease in consideration on the roads from far too many drivers. Increasing numbers of drivers still cut corners, don’t signal, pass others dangerously, txting, do not a f***.

    Unless my lying eyes deceive me!

    stumpy01
    Member

    Yep, it is generally pretty shit out there, to be honest.

    I do a lot of driving (400 miles per week, used to be 600) and the bad driving is not only aimed at cyclists.
    I reckon on every journey I have to take several evasive manoeuvres to avoid a collision from people who decide to do a risky move, don’t use their mirrors, poor discipline on slip roads, blindly following the car in front and hoping for the best etc….

    It seems to be getting worse too. I find it pretty depressing.

    project
    Member

    Why/how do we put up with it? What is there that can be done? i don’t wish to get into a fracas with all these ignorant twits, but something has to change. What do you do? Bash the car with your hand? Wave a fist? (I usually stare at them in horror and hold both arms up in the air, that is if I’ve managed to brake in time/avoid being smeared against a parked car)

    Shout loudly drunk driver at the offending driver,to shame them, get the camera phone out and take their picture, did this to a taxi driver last year who overtook and imediately signalled left but got halted by car in front,he wound window down and asked why i was taking his picture, i told him for my website of crap drivers, http://www.fatbastardsdrivingtaxis.com, he said he would look it up when he got home, and that id better look out.
    Or ride witrh a camera , cheap enopugh now, ion pro about 60 quids from Staples.co.uk.

    Report all serious near misses to the police.

    oldnpastit
    Member

    I could be wrong, but I think drivers in and around Cambridge are better than they ever used to be.

    Bus drivers definitely are, I think they must have all been sent on a course, as I routinely have buses give way to me in situations where they have right of way.

    I’ve even had BMW drivers give way to me, on multiple occasions.

    And I think the reason is that there are just so many cyclists, especially in the city centre, which is crawling with them (a fair proportion cycle like idiots it has to be said).

    Having said that, there are still plenty of idiot/incompetent drivers around, and I know two people who have been quite badly injured by car drivers fairly recently.

    5thElefant
    Member

    And how many city/town centres did you ride through?

    Quite a few, including straight through the endless post-industrial shit hole that is the north west. In the rain. Preston, St Annes (?), other grim names I’ve managed to erase. It was dull, grim, cold and wet. But incident free.

    We were chatting to a couple in jog. They had three weeks of non-stop incidents. It wasn’t the trip. It was them.

    Premier Icon oliverracing
    Subscriber

    I’ve gone back to my mtb, last year I did over 95% of my miles on my mtb/cx bike and barely anything on my road bike. I was planning on getting out on the road bike to start building the miles up this year, but nearly died of boredom on a 70km ride so I’ve found that I reach for an off road bike every time I go out, even if I plan of doing 100km+ rides

    Edit: This isn’t *Rome*

    And no, will not/don’t ever want to be this guy, that’s a lifetime occupation doing the job everyone should be doing ie giving a f*** about road safety.

    jekkyl
    Member

    9/10 good rant Op, lacking spelling mistakes and swearig.
    What’s to be done? well on the bike I just try to keep out of the way as much as possible and as safe as I can be, ride on pavements when I need to/can and try not to get angry if I get wronged, just carry on with your ride and get on with your life…

    project
    Member

    I could be wrong, but I think drivers in and around Cambridge are better than they ever used to be.

    Bus drivers definitely are, I think they must have all been sent on a course, as I routinely have buses give way to me in situations where they have right of way

    Our local council fund free training for bus and lgv drivers to ride bikes on the road, to experience what its like outside the cab, spooted 15 of them at the weekend, having a laugh doing it and learning valuable lessons.

    scraggy
    Member

    Post industrial shit hole that is the north west! Hmmm where’s that lake district slum hole?

    Premier Icon Nobeerinthefridge
    Subscriber

    All depends where you live. Ayrshire is still pretty quiet traffic-wise, there’s very few roads I wouldn’t cycle on.

    butcher
    Member

    Had my closest call yet today when someone failed to see me on a roundabout (daylight, lights on..). Had all the usual stuff before; close passes, post-overtake left hooks, people pulling out in front. Sometimes it’s scary. A lot of the time it’s just annoying, the disregard people show for you. But it is something else when you can see something unfolding (that may well involve your death), knowing there is not one thing you can do about it other than pedal like ****. And that’s exactly what I did. Missed my back wheel by inches. The guy immediately put his hand up and apologised, but a fat lot of good that is gonna do when I’m spread over the road. I’m not a **** margarine.

    So, yeah….that’s how I feel today. Come Monday morning I’m going to be punching pedestrians out of my way on the commute.

    whilst waiting on a 90 degree blind bend up a residential street today, a car came flying up the road, single lane, parked cars at the side doing well over 30. We signal to slow down as he cant see the transit van coming round the other way, he mouths F8CK off, tears round the corner and emergency stops literally touching the transits bumper. He reverses pulls round and wheelspins off. The van driver looked as puzzled as us. Whilst there are people like that driving its always going to be a gamble riding on the road. That said not going to let the bastids stop me just yet!

    Premier Icon bigshep
    Subscriber

    Better not watch the item on BBC news at 10 then.
    Road rage in the Thames Valley up 300%, looks like they’re going to show attacks on cyclists also 🙁

    Premier Icon scaredypants
    Subscriber

    Why/how do we put up with it? What is there that can be done? i don’t wish to get into a fracas with all these ignorant twits, but something has to change. What do you do?

    Must admit, I’m becoming a bit confrontational; accommodating contemptuously inconsiderate behaviour by biting the metaphorical lip isn’t really doing it for me these days.

    In the car, I typically drive 4x30minute motorway journeys each week.
    The number of erratically driven cars, where the only plausible explanantion is that the driver isn’t looking, is terrifying. Undertaking, weaving and just generally being a **** are also at all-time highs.
    If I’m overtaking at a similarish speed and spot them in time, I’ve taken to driving alongside drivers who are on the phone whilst sounding my horn – average once per trip at least.

    On the bike, I recently “stopped” an oncoming car at a pinch-point where my direction had priority and asked the driver why she thought she could force me off the road and I’m getting close to starting to belt roofs if they get too close (this morning a car cut me up, turning right across me as I approached directly towards it, signalling to go into the same road it was joining – took a lot of missing and I had a bloody good shout at the driver once I’d got control, undertaking it round a tight bend through the gutter. If I could’ve spared a hand off the bars I’d have merrily taken a swing on the way).

    I still enjoy road riding (I don’t commute, this is for “pleasure”) but it’s rare that an hour can pass on a rural ride without me having to make allowances for somebody’s shit driving

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Subscriber

    I’m not sure drivers are getting worse to be honest.

    I think most leave a decent gap when passing and it’s just one or two on each ride who come too close.

    Is it possible you are just riding more? Or getting older and more aware of your own mortality?

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Subscriber

    The problem is that all these not guilty verdicts just reinforce the view that the motorist is king and can do no wrong.
    Texting, generally shit standards of driving, virtually zero enforcement and almost literally getting away with murder just leads to ever worse standards of driving and an ever greater sense of driver entitlement.

    A lot of my road riding now is taken up with accommodating other people’s mistakes and shit driving. 🙁

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
    Subscriber

    It’s bad driving across the board – too many people too busy and rushed, and too distracted by satnav, music, phones and passengers.

    Plus too many vehicles on the road due to real or imagined lack of alternatives.

    Sadly as cyclists we are the most vulnerable to it. Though having said that, I did just shy of 5000 miles last year, 4500 on road, half of that rush hour commuting, probably only 3-4 genuine near misses and never been hit by a vehicle. (Just once by a driver!)

    Absolutely no way to prove otherwise, but it does strike me that cars are so warm/quiet/comfortable etc now, that people “forget” they are driving and as such pay as much attention as they would doing any other autopilot daily activity, use phones etc and then get caught out because turns out you actually need to be properly concentrating to drive safely. Only issue is that cyclists/horse riders/motorcyclists can die when you hit them, how inconsiderate, they don’t even pay road tax yknow.

    thecaptain
    Member

    It’s been said above, but a lot depends on where you live. I’m enjoying a lot of rural riding with no stress, and not missing the urban commuter lifestyle one bit. Only poor incident I can remember is one rather close overtake, just a couple of days ago (in small town, not travelling fast). I think that’s it for the past year or so.

    wiggles
    Member

    I got overtaken on a blind corner by two cars, wouldn’t like to of think what would have happened if something came the other way, I’m not sure “I better not swerve back into the correct lane there is a bloke on a bike there” would have been their train of thought…

    Then another overtaking on a blind crest past parked cars and then overtaken under a bridge/corner pushing me almost into a wall!

    All in a 3 miles commute home where I use a pavement/cycle lane for at half the journey.

    Usually I don’t have much issues but today was terrible.

    Premier Icon scaredypants
    Subscriber

    I’m not sure “I better not swerve back into the correct lane there is a bloke on a bike there” would have been their train of thought…

    You’re correct, it would have been **** ’em

    Looks like Worcestershire has very slightly higher percentage of drivers with penalty points than other similar cities/urban conurbations.

    Interactive map check yr postcode

    Kilmarnock is worse!

    But as ever, statistics might reflect falsely – ie an area might have heavier policing rather than heavier offending.

    Anyone have access/link to per capita traffic accident (England) statistics spanning a few decades or more? Not sure how useful it would be but …

    Premier Icon Bustaspoke
    Subscriber

    OP I’ve had this discussion at work regarding the mentality of the Great British road user & most colleagues me included are of the opinion that in the last decade drivers have got more and more angry/selfish,to the extent that driving is far more stressful than it used to be.
    I drive a 44 ton artic for one of the supermarkets & these days I don’t like driving,our depot is in the North West, seeing as I drive for a living this is a problem 😯 . I’m trying to transfer to shunting in the depot just to get off the road,it’s not just cyclists who think it’s getting worse.
    I also think a lot of it is down to where you cycle,I’ll be out on the road bike tomorrow around the country lanes of West Lancs & it’s a pleasure,really quiet but I’m not naive,even though I’ll be on quiet B roads I know of at least two serious accidents on them in the last 3 years…

    Premier Icon somafunk
    Subscriber

    I echo regarding whatnobeer says on the first page, I figure your perception of road safety is dependant on where in the country you are cycling, in the area i stay (kirkcudbrightshire) i can head out for a 3 hr run on the back roads (mostly single lane B roads/unclassified) and very rarely see a car never mind have an altercation that needs aversive action – i also cycle to work every day on narrow country roads so thats a total of 10 miles and whilst i do get the occasional driver passing too close (in my opinion) i have never felt threatened and i’ve never encountered any road rage from drivers or had abuse thrown at me – pretty much 90%+ of the drivers round here are content to hold back and pass when it is safe and i always indicate to them when it is safe to overtake and acknowledge thanks with a wave when they do so.

    Saying that i do understand there is more folk in 1 sq mile of the city of London than there is in the 2481 sq miles of Dumfries & Galloway so obviously there is going to be far less traffic about to interact with up here.

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