Proposed Ammendments to Bicycles Safety Regs

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EdinburghFixed
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Postby EdinburghFixed » 12 Jan 2009, 7:26pm

thirdcrank wrote:I think you'll find (as annoying nitpickers are prone to exclaim) that most of the pressure for compulsory bells on bikes - which resulted in in the point-of-sale compromise - comes from people who walk 'off road' and encounter off-road cylists. If the people who have berated me in the past are anything to go by ( and riding on the grass verge is as far as I ever get off road) most of them would ban cycling altogether if they got half a chance. The call for bells is a surrogate for an outright ban.


Really? That is weird!

I'm afraid I am one of these annoying people who would never use a bell - there's too much chance that the pedestrian will jump the wrong way. It's much safer to just pass them IMO.

dan_b
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Postby dan_b » 12 Jan 2009, 7:32pm

I'm not a big fan of the bell. Too many cyclists in shared-use areas seem to use it to say "get out of my way, I mistakenly believe I have priority" rather than "I am approaching you and will pass you with care when it is safe to do so" and I'd rather not be associated with that as a cyclist when it annoys me so much as a ped

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Si
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Postby Si » 12 Jan 2009, 7:51pm

EdinburghFixed wrote:
thirdcrank wrote:I think you'll find (as annoying nitpickers are prone to exclaim) that most of the pressure for compulsory bells on bikes - which resulted in in the point-of-sale compromise - comes from people who walk 'off road' and encounter off-road cylists. If the people who have berated me in the past are anything to go by ( and riding on the grass verge is as far as I ever get off road) most of them would ban cycling altogether if they got half a chance. The call for bells is a surrogate for an outright ban.


Really? That is weird!

I'm afraid I am one of these annoying people who would never use a bell - there's too much chance that the pedestrian will jump the wrong way. It's much safer to just pass them IMO.


Well, you know that just passing them is much safer, and I know that just passing them is much safer, but they don't realise this. In my experience, they just see a bike rocket past (anything over their pace is "rocketing" by default) and thus it frightens them. They will then proceed to relate their tale of nearly being run down by mad cyclists to anyone that will listen.

I'm often tempted to ride past such that I'm well out of the way before they realise that I'm there, but in the interests of good relations I now tend to slow right down and ring the bell and shout a cheery "good morning, may I come past please?", before proceeding with caution. Obviously if there is more than one of them they still both cross to opposite sides of the path and I have a short wait while they organise themselves, but then I'm seldom in a hurry anyway.

thirdcrank
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Postby thirdcrank » 12 Jan 2009, 8:21pm

EdinburghFixed wrote:
thirdcrank wrote:I think you'll find (as annoying nitpickers are prone to exclaim) that most of the pressure for compulsory bells on bikes - which resulted in in the point-of-sale compromise - comes from people who walk 'off road' and encounter off-road cylists. If the people who have berated me in the past are anything to go by ( and riding on the grass verge is as far as I ever get off road) most of them would ban cycling altogether if they got half a chance. The call for bells is a surrogate for an outright ban.


Really? That is weird!

I'm afraid I am one of these annoying people who would never use a bell - there's too much chance that the pedestrian will jump the wrong way. It's much safer to just pass them IMO.


I'm surprised that you should be surprised. Phil Willis, the Lib Dem MP for Harrogate made a big song and dance about this within the last couple of years and it seems to be a regular theme in local papers. Ten yreas ago I did a local radio phone-in in my capacity as the CTC Right to Ride rep. The theme was about a demand for compulsory cycle bells after a grtoup of walkers on the towpath of the Huddersfield Broad Canal had been scattered by overtaking cyclists. ('One of our party nearly jumped in the canal....')

I'd agree that ringing a bell is no substitute for common courtesy.

Incidentally, as someone who has been known to complain on here about inconsiderate overtaking by motorists, I think your comment included in the quote above about overtaking pedestrians is a bit rich.

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Si
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Postby Si » 13 Jan 2009, 8:38am

Incidentally, as someone who has been known to complain on here about inconsiderate overtaking by motorists, I think your comment included in the quote above about overtaking pedestrians is a bit rich.


Not really. He said that he didn't use a bell, not that he overtakes too close. As I've already explained...warning of your approach can often result in the pedestrian jumping into your path. Using the bell/giving polite warning is often not a matter of safety but of courtesy in my book.

If we follow your analogy through then we would expect every car to sound their horn before overtaking a bike....no thanks.

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Postby thirdcrank » 13 Jan 2009, 9:00am

Why do we, as cyclists object to the drivers of motor vehicles overtaking too closely?

I suggest that apart from the sheer fright caused by suddenly having a vehicle pass within inches, there is also a concern that any slight error by the driver will cause a collision in which the cyclist must inevitably be hurt.

Now I'm sure that any exponent of 'trust the driver's judgment' would say that the big problem is cyclists not riding in a straight line (as in 'the cyclists was wobbling all over the road' - we had something similar in a thread on here not so long ago.)

I do not suggest that an overtaking cyclist poses the same level of threat as a motor vehicle, but it is the same type of threat. I for one feel uncomfortable whenever I'm overtaken on a footway by a cyclist - I don't use a rear view mirror when walking and I do not feel I should be obliged to check over my shoulder before changing course. It's donkey's years since I did any sort of walking on land - before mountain bikes were invented - but I do not think I should be pleased to be passed at speed on a narrow path.

The suggestion that the only choice is between bell and no bell is unworthy.

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EdinburghFixed
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Postby EdinburghFixed » 13 Jan 2009, 9:43am

I feel I should clarify a little! :oops:

If it is too narrow to pass safely then I wouldn't just rip past. But nature has equipped me with a voice for a reason and I'd happily say 'excuse me', or 'sorry' (just like I would if I was out running or something) as I slow down.

A bike bell is just like a car horn, you cannot express any meaning through it except that which the 'hearer' assigns. To me when walking, a bike bell is an instruction to move aside accompanied by a lack of courtesy to just ask.

How would you react if a jogger started ringing a bell at you on the pavement? Or if a car beeps its horn at you when crossing the road (quite often this prompts me to stop walking altogether).

Emotionally I am less inclined to move aside for a bell-ringer, even though as a cyclist rationally I understand their motivation is probably benign.

kwackers
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Postby kwackers » 13 Jan 2009, 9:50am

EdinburghFixed wrote:How would you react if a jogger started ringing a bell at you on the pavement?



It's a good idea and works well.

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=rtv2_-2mHck&feature=related

:lol:

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EdinburghFixed
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Postby EdinburghFixed » 13 Jan 2009, 9:51am

Insofar as passing people without warning goes, I don't expect drivers to sound their horns every time they overtake me. If they did the dual carriageway would be a shrieking cacophony and I would be a bag of nerves!

All I ask is that they leave an adequate amount of space when they pass. If not, I don't care whether they sounded their horn or not.

That is what I provide to pedestrians, if not I slow down and alert them.

It seems like these people are being a bit irrational. I bet if everybody did start air-horning them on approach, they would soon be moaning about 'noisy cyclists spoiling their walk'.

I think it boils down to the same selfishness drivers display over the road, "their domain". Walkers do not like to share with cyclists either, fortunately there is less they can do about it.

dan_b
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Postby dan_b » 13 Jan 2009, 10:57am

The difference is that on many (if not all, I don't know) shared use paths, the walkers do have priority. Which doesn't mean we can't all be courteous about it - and I'm sure you are - but it's worth keeping in mind that we're there on sufferance, rather than by actual right as we are on the roads.

Some of the cyclists commuting through Hyde Park in the dark are petrolheads in all but fuel-of-choice and basically a complete menace to everyone else on the path

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Si
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Postby Si » 13 Jan 2009, 10:57am

I'm not sure if the majority of them really object to cyclists, it's just the surprise of a cyclist suddenly appearing without warning that unsettles them, however, as you have said, you give a vocal warning and so I don't see that there is a problem.

As for joggers with bells - would you hear it about the sound of them gasping for breath? :wink:

kwackers
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Postby kwackers » 13 Jan 2009, 11:24am

Si wrote:As for joggers with bells - would you hear it about the sound of them gasping for breath? :wink:


That gasping is the reason I can give many lycra clad Sunday cyclists on their carbon fibre dream machines more than a run for their money on my knobbly clad, commuting MB, resplendent in several Kg of batteries, lights and mud... :wink:

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EdinburghFixed
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Postby EdinburghFixed » 13 Jan 2009, 11:26am

dan_b wrote:The difference is that on many (if not all, I don't know) shared use paths, the walkers do have priority. Which doesn't mean we can't all be courteous about it - and I'm sure you are - but it's worth keeping in mind that we're there on sufferance, rather than by actual right as we are on the roads.


It must be different in England then I think. I'm not aware that there is any hierarchy of outdoor users up here - even anglers have to share with canoeists (which in England, is about as controversial an idea as you can imagine).

It makes sense to me. When walking, I don't feel any need to assert some sort of priority over anyone else, or vice versa. If it was actually impossible to walk due to the volume of cyclists, I suppose it would start to be a problem!

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Postby kwackers » 13 Jan 2009, 11:41am

EdinburghFixed wrote:It makes sense to me. When walking, I don't feel any need to assert some sort of priority over anyone else, or vice versa. If it was actually impossible to walk due to the volume of cyclists, I suppose it would start to be a problem!


Pavements these days seem pretty underused. Town Centers and leisure areas excepted (both of which are accessed via car).

Joggers and the occasional dog walker are the only people I tend to see on them near me.

Even dogs are driven to the park these days...

skrx
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Postby skrx » 13 Jan 2009, 1:03pm

EdinburghFixed wrote:It must be different in England then I think. I'm not aware that there is any hierarchy of outdoor users up here


I've noticed that along the Thames Path (at least, through Richmond) there are the normal blue shared pedestrian/cyclist signs, but with "Pedestrian priority" written below them.
That's fine with me, I'm going faster and can avoid them in good time. If it said "cyclist priority" I'd still do the same, the easiest option is just to drift over to the other side of the path from the pedestrian and pass them, expecting them to move is rude.