Tag Archive | "cycle safety"

The Streets Of San Francisco


With the news that our government is considering making some of our streets 15mph, no-overtaking zones where the car will play second fiddle to the bicycle it would not be unreasonable for British drivers to cry, ‘Why is it always us?’

Well, if it makes you feel any better, it isn’t. The motorists of San Francisco, in the USA, are also under the sanctimonious cosh of the car-hating fraternity. Unlike British motorists however who protest meekly and then shrug, our American friends are not going down without a fight.

In this Californian city drivers have become, in their view, totally marginalised by their authorities in favour of the bicycle and there is now a burgeoning backlash from motorists. In fact, there is now in fact a growing political movement being mobilised to fight for drivers’ rights. Why, they even have a manifesto.

Basically they are sick of having roads narrowed to allow for cycle lanes and the loss of parking spaces to make cycle routes and pavements wider. They have also complained vociferously that while drivers are being penalised for breaking the rules of the road, bike riders are getting away with it without penalty. One rule for them and one for us, would seem to be the motto.

This organised protest has produced a list of demands under the less than catchy title of ‘Restoring Transportation Balance in San Francisco’. These demands have been presented to the City Attorney and have caused a community-splitting stir in the city that bought us the greatest car chase ever in the movie Bullit.

One embittered driver even went on to say, “The sleeping giant has awakened. Making the roads more congested for cars… by taking out parking spaces and removing lanes increases greenhouse gas emissions and pollution… If biking is such a great alternative, why are so many of them so surly?”

It is not the place of Motor Blogger to take sides. Our view is that it should be ‘fair play for all’. Nevertheless it has become a very contentious issue in the USA – more so even than here. With our typical British reserve we may not go to these lengths but it may well be time for drivers to speak up before the car is totally marginalised.

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Transport Department’s New Cycling Safety Campaign


As someone who, in a former life, wrote about and participated in the world of mountain bikes and cycling in general, I like to think I am qualified to pontificate on the subject of cycling road safety. As, today, a driver and enthusiastic petrol head of many years standing I also like to think I am qualified to pontificate on the subject of cycling road safety.

I love cycling. The fresh air, the smell of the flowers in the countryside, the burning legs and the rasping lungs all aid and abet a healthy lifestyle. That is until a car slices across your bows as if you aren’t there, or worse, actually has you off. It has happened to me more than once.

Conversely, I like to make sure that I go for a long walk every day to clear the mind and the tubes. In the last week I have had three near misses from cyclists riding on nbso the pavement or the forest path who have approached from behind with no advance warning. I walk in a straight line, small children do not.

The whole point is that both groups, the two wheeled and the four, are both sinners and sinned against. The positions are polarised. Red-faced drivers rant against cyclists and Lycra-clad monomaniacs hate all things motorised. So, once again, the Department for Transport at the time of writing is having a crack at a new ‘Think’ campaign designed to improve safety for cyclists. Some city dwellers will see signs and posters in the near future.

Certainly we could all do better. The fact is that these things are always slanted towards the two-wheeled community because, quite rightly, they are far more vulnerable but the bad road behaviour of some cyclists is overlooked because of that vulnerability. There is no need to cycle on pavements on quiet roads. There is no need to buzz past pensioners who are not too quick on their feet. There is no need to ignore the rules of the road.

The Highway Code is there for all. We don’t want to see a rise in cycling fatalities but equally we don’t want the motorist shouldering all the blame.

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