Safety (or lack of) on our roads

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Tim
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Safety (or lack of) on our roads

Post by Tim » 19 Jan 2016 07:55

Just experienced the closest pass ever, by a school minibus, the driver of which then stopped quarter of a mile down the road blocking two lanes of traffic, he got out and came up to me and apologised shaking my hand saying he was so so sorry and would I forgive him and stated that he just didn't see me because I was in his blind spot...but he overtook me!!!!!?????

In light of the fact four (that I know of) members have been involved in collisions with cars in as many months plus the tragic death of the Harborne Sette Dodici rider should we as a club be doing more to campaign about this issue to councils, police, CPS, road planning, magistrates, taxi and bus companies, the public etc to try and make our roads safer for our members?

I love commuting by bike but it's a matter of when not if I will get hit too I believe
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petemarshall
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Post by petemarshall » 19 Jan 2016 09:11

Tim, there are already organisations in Birmingham campaigning for cyclists, the CTC and Pushbikes. I understand Beacon is involved in them.
I think personally Beacon should prioritise the sport and leisure side of cycling rather than spread very limited resources to thinly.
Having been involved in campaigns in the past I prefer to campaign for an overall better transport policy for all, involving investment in public transport and priority for pedestrians rather than focusing on cycling.

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AlanW
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Re: Safety (or lack of) on our roads

Post by AlanW » 19 Jan 2016 11:48

Tim wrote: I love commuting by bike but it's a matter of when not if I will get hit too I believe
Sadly and as much as I hate to say it, but its all part of riding on two wheels, be it pedal power or motorised. I'm not suggesting that its right nor should those that knock you off get away with it.

But at some point the chances are that you will get knocked off or taken out. :cry:
"You only need two tools: WD40 and duct tape. If it doesn't move and it should, use WD40. If it moves and it shouldn't, use duct tape"

Tim
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Post by Tim » 19 Jan 2016 14:54

Yes and I accept the risk Alan and know it's there but if we just accept and do nothing then the risk will never reduce, majority of the threats I encounter commuting are very avoidable and what struck me about the chap this morning was what a normal bloke the guy was, a chap in his sixties with a tache! Yet his job was as a driver and he got it so so wrong and acknowledged it.

The work Dave Cox does representing the club in Birmingham is great but I suppose why I posted this here and not just directed it to him or the committee is I wonder how other members feel? I bet majority have no clue who Dave is or what he does and Dave may not be aware of the 4 collisions.

Hearing about several other riders like me getting hit recently and reading about the death of the lad in Harborne and how Beacon members took part in his funeral riding ahead of the hearse with other Sette Dodici riders has made me a lot more thoughtful and I wonder a lot more about whether I or others should be highlighting the issue more and doing something about it rather than just accepting it.
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Neil Compton
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Post by Neil Compton » 19 Jan 2016 17:10

I feel the same as you Tim. Just this morning i had a chap come past me bibbing his horn and he shouted something out the window. I was just merrily cycling along the Bristol Road heading up to Selly Oak where they are doing some road works. He seemed to be suggesting that i was riding too far out from the curb which i know wasn't the case as had the cycle lane lines been showing i would have been well within them.

Funny thing is as soon as he came past me he had to stop in traffic that tailing all the way back down the road from Selly Oak. Just think he wanted to vent because of the traffic and i was an easy target. Good job i was running late else i would have stopped.

I also think to myself that it's only a matter of time before i get hit.

Colin G
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Post by Colin G » 19 Jan 2016 17:28

Seems to me separation through infrastructure is key, most of my near misses are as a result of driver impatience coupled with a lack of room. I doubt driver behaviour will be easily altered. And I guess infrastructure doesn't come cheap.

I'd come to work every day by bike but in the winter there's no safe route. Instead I'm clogging up the roads in my car, getting podgy - but at least both my headlights work, I think.

What practical steps can we take to make a difference and influence policy?

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keith
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Post by keith » 19 Jan 2016 21:47

Colin G wrote:Seems to me separation through infrastructure is key, most of my near misses are as a result of driver impatience coupled with a lack of room. I doubt driver behaviour will be easily altered. And I guess infrastructure doesn't come cheap.

I'd come to work every day by bike but in the winter there's no safe route. Instead I'm clogging up the roads in my car, getting podgy - but at least both my headlights work, I think.

What practical steps can we take to make a difference and influence policy?
Actually I feel much safer in the dark with lights and high vis water proof . plus many people take more care in the dark. feel a bit vulnerable in a tee shirt with out lights
For the record the only close call I've had recently was yesterday on Ladywood middle way when a guy on a bike hit the brake on the off chance that a car might pull out of a side road( which it didn't ) Time to buy something with disks i think
We could always drive to work sit on the sofa and eat Big Macs ,no danger there at all

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jdtate101
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Post by jdtate101 » 20 Jan 2016 09:05

Been hit twice. First time was a minor trip to A&E and a smashed up bike. The second was a case of hedge diving when my elbow was clipped by a mirror. I don't feel nervous about riding on the roads, however I probably would feel a lot more anxious if I commuted as the loonies seem to come out in force during rush hour, and everyone's patience is non existent. As I tend to ride mostly weekends or the odd lunchtime I don't see that much bad behaviour.

bobg
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safety

Post by bobg » 20 Jan 2016 14:48

I think that part of the problem is that motorists take the view that it is "their" road not to be shared with cyclists. Which of course is not the case. Often when I speak to non cyclists the question of not paying road tax is also used as an argument for keeping cyclists of the road. Riding 2 abreast also irritates car drivers despite the fact that it is legal and often the safest option.
So, I would have thought that a campaign to make car drivers more aware of their responsibility, similar to the seat belt campaign years ago could help improve things.
Also, quite a few cyclists are guilty at times of putting themselves in danger, often through inexperience or nervousness. At times cyclists do need to be quite assertive to claim their bit of road.
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dweben
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Post by dweben » 20 Jan 2016 20:59

I have a car... I still don't pay VED (tax) on it...

I'm so waiting for some dunce to come up and mention car tax to me! I love commuting, it wakes and loosens me up and it's reliable and fun! Plus more opps for bike pr0n. I've been knocked off 6/7 times and once carted off in an ambo with all sorts of broken bits, but I'll never stop!

Most drivers are ok, and with a flashing front light they even pull over. It's just the odd lazy twat that ruins things. I see more of them while driving than when I do cycling

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Post by Dave Cox » 20 Jan 2016 22:16

Thanks for this discussion and the comments above. I did 6,700 miles last year including a lot of town riding (I don't really commute any more) I get relatively little trouble from motorists. The risks of decorating or gardening are greater and a sedentary life probably even worse. However, while cars get safer, KSIs rates for cyclists and pedestrians are starting to increase. Dr Rachel Aldred's of Westminster University's Near Miss study is fascinating just Google it.

I guess some motorists just make mistakes like some cyclists but too many are driving really badly, too fast, too close and using mobiles and so scaring potential cyclists off the roads and leaving kids locked up in doors or "garden reared".

I am pleased to hear about the bus drivers contrition but he didn't look. I've had a bus driving experience courtesy of National Express you have to constantly move your head and check the blind spots.

Please do look at the CTC website we are constantly working on these issues and a subsidiary charity the Cyclist Defence Fund takes up specific legal cases on behalf of cyclists and their bereaved relatives.

By joining CTC as a full member you would be helping to underwrite this work nationally alongside the other benefits and contribution to cycling development.

Birmingham Cyclist website effectively monitors the situation in Birmingham.
I have set up a Bike West Midlands Network to keep in touch with cycling campaigners in other local authority areas and to influence the new Integrated Transport Authority and any emerging West Midlands Combined Authority

With others (e,g.PushBikes where I am now Vice Chair, Campaign for Better Transport) I have met the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner to discuss protecting cyclists by better enforcement of traffic laws and will do so again before he faces an election in May. We also lobby and meet regularly with Birmingham City Council officers and politicians on Road Safety and on better and safer segregated cycle paths, 20 mph limits etc. Every election we launch a write to Councillor or MP candidates Space for Cycling or We Walk We Cycle We Vote campaign.

Yesterday in 47 miles of icy rural roads I suspect I was the only vehicle using the correct tyres - tradespeople in their own vans drove carefully, two cars were in ditches, a Porsche Cayenne driver leaving Lowsonford at great speed was only saved by his electronics and a twat in a Vauxhall decided to flash his lights because I wasn't riding in the icy, muddy and potholed kerb to make space for his speed. Don't get me started on the people dying because of NO2 and particulates from EU 5/6 diesels. 23 so far this year in Birmingham alone.

Most of this stuff gets Tweeted on @davidcox65

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Post by ryan stait » 21 Jan 2016 07:58

Good luck Dave with all of the work that you do. I commute every day into work and have always cycled along busy A roads to get there and feel pretty safe.

Proper segregation is the key, however, to get the masses cycling but when I hear our Council leader expressing concerns that reducing Ridgeacre Road in Quinton to one lane (the other being a new segregated cycle lane) will cause traffic chaos and increased air polution I'm very pessimstic that we'll ever get any decent infrastructure

Colin G
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Post by Colin G » 21 Jan 2016 12:20

Thanks for your comments and suggestions on how best to get involved Dave, no point in me whinging and then doing nothing about it.

Tim
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Post by Tim » 21 Jan 2016 14:12

Yes I feel safe also 99% of time but every three to six months I end up having to deal with something more serious / aggressive etc. and every week I experience very close passes, cars overtaking me whilst I'm going around a roundabout or entering or exiting a roundabout, and cars overtaking me whilst I have my right arm out indicating to turn right. I'm at c20k commuting miles and counting though across busy south Birmingham and Solihull and have only come off bike twice, neither involving anyone else, once on oil and once on sheet ice due to a burst water pipe. Had 6 or 7 serious threats, attempted assaults type incidents though in the 6 years.

The work you are doing Dave is great, I've just seen this which I will try to attend: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_ ... 1407661987
Would be great if lots of the Beacon attend too so our voice is heard.

As well as the incidents I am involved in personally its also the other incidents, deaths and lack of justice stories that I read about that can easily make you feel less safe or that it is you against everyone else out there. Maybe I should avoid Facebook and Twitter!

As examples the guy this month hit by a car in Birmingham that police told wouldn't be pursued with CPS as he wasnt wearing high viz! or the driver given a £30 fine and no driving ban who killed a young cyclist on streetsbrook road in Solihull, a road I use. This shows the police, CPS and magistrates to be clearly anti-cycling/pro the car. I see zero enforcement of driving laws and the minimal attempts at any education by anyone also.

I hate though how non cyclists think it is so dangerous, this is a major barrier. Majority of my work colleagues think "I'm a nutter" for cycling to work. It does have dangers, some far increased by the way that many cyclists ride and driver behaviour and the infrastructure, but overall it is safe and low risk and these risks are massively outweighed by the benefits and enjoyment.

Back to my original question, seems Dave the work you are doing in representing the club/cyclists in Birmingham is well organised and more than sufficient! I will concentrate on riding more!
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dweben
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Post by dweben » 21 Jan 2016 18:44

It's picking up in Highways England too. Quite a few schemes surrounding the main road network.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/40-c ... gest-roads

Tim
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Post by Tim » 29 Feb 2016 23:19

Another killed, an hour after I got back from a ride. He used to work at Taylor Woodrow in Solihull, a very nice lad apparently. Thoughts are with his wife and family.

I hope justice is done if a crime was committed.

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Post by Dave Cox » 02 Mar 2016 09:54

Very sad and thoughts must be with his poor family after such an awful loss.
I will post an update on the campaigning side shortly.

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