Cycling plan to blame drivers for all crashes

reohn2
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Re: Cycling plan to blame drivers for all crashes

Postby reohn2 » 19 Nov 2009, 12:37pm

kwackers wrote:
Si wrote:Catch 22 ennit - you won't get more people cycling unless you tell them it's safe. You won't get it made safe unless you are prepared to point out that it's dangerous. If you can come up with an answer that satisfies both problems then you are doing better than me!

All I can say is this: life threatening situations do occur - I have to, on occasion, take emergency action to avoid being splatted. Yet, if I thought that cycling was so unsafe that such situations were likely to occur where I could not keep myself safe, then I'd give it up.

There is a difference between real danger and inconvenience - for instance I was watching a vid the other day where a drive, coming the other way, turned right across the front of a cyclist who had priority. The cyclists had to brake moderately sharply to stop before coming into contact with the bus. To my mind, despite the fact that the cyclist would have been splatted if they hadn't have stopped, the act that they could stop easily meant that it was more an inconvenience than a near-death experience. I'm not saying that the driver's action was correct, should not be tolerated or should not be commented on, but if we dress up all such incidents to be near-death experiences then it has the potential to frighten off a lot of potential cyclists.

That's exactly it. Just the other day I had a guy come flying out of a T junction nearly taking me out - he saw me at the last moment and locked all his wheels up. But I'd already figured out what was going to happen and had veered into the middle of the road. If I was honest I'd say I was suspicious slightly earlier judging by the speed he was approaching the junction - but I'm fairly bloody minded when it comes to occupying my space. If I'd been attired in black and with no lights - I suspect I'd have eased off well before and let him on his way. :wink:


But that driver would have been far more cautious if he was well aware,by a change in the law and a public information campaign leaving him in no doubt of the fact, that he was to be blaimed until proven otherwise for any collision with a vulnerable road user.
And that if found guilty he would face a real penalty for doing so.
Instead we have a situation where the cavalier attitude of motorists is almost backed up be the leniency of penalties dished out by judges.
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Si
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Re: Cycling plan to blame drivers for all crashes

Postby Si » 19 Nov 2009, 2:09pm

and the counter would be: there is already a law that specifies that turning across a cyclist who has priority is wrong and if he had hit said cyclist the driver would have been to blame. What you are basically saying to new cyclists is: "yes there are laws to protect you, but everyone ignores them, hence needing new laws, so safest not to go cycling after all".

and the counter would be: but if the laws really don't work then there is no way we will get new cyclists unless we get some new laws that do work.

and the counter would be:.........<add comments here>

etc etc

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CJ
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Re: Cycling plan to blame drivers for all crashes

Postby CJ » 19 Nov 2009, 2:15pm

Si wrote:I was watching a vid the other day where a drive, coming the other way, turned right across the front of a cyclist who had priority. The cyclist had to brake moderately sharply to stop before coming into contact with the bus. To my mind, despite the fact that the cyclist would have been splatted if they hadn't have stopped, the act that they could stop easily meant that it was more an inconvenience than a near-death experience. I'm not saying that the driver's action was correct, should not be tolerated or should not be commented on, but if we dress up all such incidents to be near-death experiences then it has the potential to frighten off a lot of potential cyclists.

But as soon as your potential cyclist gives it a try he'll begin to experience similar examples of motorised bullying, which given his lesser experience and skills will seem much nearer to death than they do to you, and most likely frighten him off anyway.
kwackers wrote:That's exactly it. Just the other day I had a guy come flying out of a T junction nearly taking me out - he saw me at the last moment and locked all his wheels up. But I'd already figured out what was going to happen and had veered into the middle of the road. If I was honest I'd say I was suspicious slightly earlier judging by the speed he was approaching the junction - but I'm fairly bloody minded when it comes to occupying my space. If I'd been attired in black and with no lights - I suspect I'd have eased off well before and let him on his way. :wink:

reohn2 wrote:But that driver would have been far more cautious if he was well aware,by a change in the law and a public information campaign leaving him in no doubt of the fact, that he was to be blamed until proven otherwise for any collision with a vulnerable road user.
And that if found guilty he would face a real penalty for doing so.
Instead we have a situation where the cavalier attitude of motorists is almost backed up be the leniency of penalties dished out by judges.

I'll second that, and venture that the bus driver's behaviour would likewise be moderated by the change in the law, which even if it does not deal with criminal liability will nevetheless lead to a change in public perception that makes juries more liable to convict in cases like this and the CPS more likely to prosecute cases like this (more details here).

The point is that the continual too-close-for-comfort passing, the occasional near miss, that for seasoned cyclists may be no worse than annoying, feels much more threatening when you're not used to it. That kind of driving puts a lid on potential cycling. And something must be done to make that kind of driving just as socially unacceptable as drink driving. Only where drivers are genuinely scared of running into people, can people cease to be scared of being run into.

The drink driving problem was tackled by a combination of changes in the law that were reinforced by incessant public information advertising. I'm certain this problem can only be tackled in just the same way. So maybe it can't be tackled, but we've at least got to try.
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Sares
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Re: Cycling plan to blame drivers for all crashes

Postby Sares » 19 Nov 2009, 2:31pm

Re. natural justice, I can see to some degree that any assumption of liability does go against a principle of natural justice. However, in this case there is a large and frequently encountered group who is overwhelmingly likely to be injured in any collision with another large and frequently encountered group, who is very unlikely to be injured. There is frequently a lack of evidence available (impartial witnesses) to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that one party or the other was at fault. The group less likely to be injured, due to laws requiring insurance, has more resources to fight the case.

It is reasonable to think that there are many more cases where justice is not done where the vulnerable party should have been compensated, than the other way, as the party which has to prove is always at a disadvantage. Therefore, overall, to acheive the most just outcome, a shift in requirements to prove to the more resourced and less likely to be injured party is fair, and to do so for civil liability only is an appropriate response. Otherwise, consistently, justice is not being done.

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Re: Cycling plan to blame drivers for all crashes

Postby Sares » 19 Nov 2009, 2:39pm

There are also too many cases where the evidence seems clear enough but there is no penalty. There was a case in Canada where a drunk driver hit a young boy who wobbled, killing him. The judge acquitted him of causing death whilst driving drunk because the boy wobbled in front of the car so quickly that a sober driver would have had no time to react. Therefore, the fact that the man was impaired was held to not have contributed. Of course a sober driver, if careful, would not have overtaken so close!

thekelticfringe
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Re: Cycling plan to blame drivers for all crashes

Postby thekelticfringe » 19 Nov 2009, 3:12pm

[quote="reohn2I would ask him:-
why might is right.
why people convicted of some of the worst cases of taking life get such small sentences.
why isn't anything that doesn't have massive lobbying power treated with any respect.
why isn't public transport an absolute priority.
why haven't we looked/thought outside the box(on four wheels) to move people and goods around our small island.

I suspect I already know the answers to these questions,its the same (real) reason we are in Iraq and Afganistan,
OIL
If you think this a simplistic assesment its nearer than you think.[/quote]

Relevent and heartfelt by the sound of things, but not quite what I meant really.

Asking questions sets things up for a debate or an argument, whereas making suggestions sets out a route forward. So what I was trying to suggest (not very clearly, I concede) is whether there's merit in making constructive suggestions and whether we could agree on them.
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CJ
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Re: Cycling plan to blame drivers for all crashes

Postby CJ » 19 Nov 2009, 3:23pm

Sares wrote:There are also too many cases where the evidence seems clear enough but there is no penalty. There was a case in Canada where a drunk driver hit a young boy who wobbled, killing him. The judge acquitted him of causing death whilst driving drunk because the boy wobbled in front of the car so quickly that a sober driver would have had no time to react. Therefore, the fact that the man was impaired was held to not have contributed. Of course a sober driver, if careful, would not have overtaken so close!

And according to whom did the yong boy wobble? The driver or the boy? A silly question, but it goes to the root of the injustice in leaving the burden of proof of negligence with the vulnerable party.

Whether the victim be whisked from the scene in an ambulance or merely left battered and bruised, the motorist remains in an infinitely better position to go looking for witnesses etc. And given the public perception in this country, that cyclists are a bunch of law-breaking dare-devils, how difficult can it be to prove that one such was the author of their own misfortune?
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Si
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Re: Cycling plan to blame drivers for all crashes

Postby Si » 19 Nov 2009, 4:29pm

CJ wrote:But as soon as your potential cyclist gives it a try he'll begin to experience similar examples of motorised bullying, which given his lesser experience and skills will seem much nearer to death than they do to you, and most likely frighten him off anyway.


So, we are saying that cycling is too dangerous for newbies then?

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Re: Cycling plan to blame drivers for all crashes

Postby kwackers » 19 Nov 2009, 4:54pm

Si wrote:So, we are saying that cycling is too dangerous for newbies then?

I reckon it's more dangerous, but is it too dangerous??? Who knows, would my little incident have got a newby? Probably not - they wouldn't have been cycling anywhere near as fast so would have been in plain view longer and could have stopped easier plus their nervousness may well have had them back off before getting to the junction.

I do think the roads put people off - and big time too. By far the most common reason anyone has ever given to me for not cycling is "the roads are too busy and full of nutters".
Like em or lump em, cycle paths do encourage new cyclists.

reohn2
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Re: Cycling plan to blame drivers for all crashes

Postby reohn2 » 19 Nov 2009, 5:28pm

Si wrote:
CJ wrote:But as soon as your potential cyclist gives it a try he'll begin to experience similar examples of motorised bullying, which given his lesser experience and skills will seem much nearer to death than they do to you, and most likely frighten him off anyway.


So, we are saying that cycling is too dangerous for newbies then?


No,whats being said is that potential "newbies" are put off by potentialdangers as they see it,because whats "normal"* by experienced cyclists standards is frightening for "newbies"

If people with power treated people without power as equals there wouldn't be a problem,but we're in a situation where they don't, so whats needed is a mechanism to stop that happening,its called law.Law(when its enforced)has the capability of sharpening up one eyesight,responses,respect and courtesy for others,instantly!

*Normal in this case shouldn't even be normal ie; cars "not seeing" cyclists,driving within 5ft(couldn't resist) of cyclists,opening doors as cyclists pass,in fact completely diregarding cyclists as human beings and seeing them as insignificant "vehicles" and a host of other potential life threatening situations.
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Re: Cycling plan to blame drivers for all crashes

Postby reohn2 » 19 Nov 2009, 5:36pm

thekelticfringe wrote:[quote="reohn2I would ask him:-
why might is right.
why people convicted of some of the worst cases of taking life get such small sentences.
why isn't anything that doesn't have massive lobbying power treated with any respect.
why isn't public transport an absolute priority.
why haven't we looked/thought outside the box(on four wheels) to move people and goods around our small island.

I suspect I already know the answers to these questions,its the same (real) reason we are in Iraq and Afganistan,
OIL
If you think this a simplistic assesment its nearer than you think.


Relevent and heartfelt by the sound of things, but not quite what I meant really.

Asking questions sets things up for a debate or an argument, whereas making suggestions sets out a route forward. So what I was trying to suggest (not very clearly, I concede) is whether there's merit in making constructive suggestions and whether we could agree on them.
[/quote]

The questions I'd ask would be the same as I don't see them in any way confrontery,but reasonable given the country's infastruscture is groaning under the weight of motorised transport,most of it uneccesary as our children develope asthma,and cancer becomes the norm,etc,etc.This isn't rocket science its there for all to see.
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Si
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Re: Cycling plan to blame drivers for all crashes

Postby Si » 20 Nov 2009, 10:55am

reohn2 wrote:No,whats being said is that potential "newbies" are put off by potentialdangers as they see it,because whats "normal"* by experienced cyclists standards is frightening for "newbies"


So, we are saying that if us "experienced" cyclists keep saying that cycling is dangerous then what hope have newbies of over coming their perceptions of danger?

No, I'm not arguing either way, I'm just using examples to point out the paradox concerning the effects of suggesting that cycling is either dangerous or safe.

It is, indeed, possible to produce a text that explains the levels of perception and risk, and the trade off between them. In fact, such a text is spread across this whole thread. Obviously, "Is cycling dangerous?" is not a straight Yes or No question in this context. But the problem with such a text is that it is not, as far as I have seen, an easily digestible sound-bite. It is an explanation that needs some work to understand, and thus is easily twisted to suit the needs of whoever is using it - much like the way that strict liability seems to have been intentionally misreported to suit particular parties' agendas.

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Re: Cycling plan to blame drivers for all crashes

Postby Sares » 20 Nov 2009, 12:40pm

CJ wrote:
Sares wrote:There are also too many cases where the evidence seems clear enough but there is no penalty. There was a case in Canada where a drunk driver hit a young boy who wobbled, killing him. The judge acquitted him ...a sober driver, if careful, would not have overtaken so close!

And according to whom did the yong boy wobble? The driver or the boy? A silly question, but it goes to the root of the injustice in leaving the burden of proof of negligence with the vulnerable party.

Whether the victim be whisked from the scene in an ambulance or merely left battered and bruised, the motorist remains in an infinitely better position to go looking for witnesses etc. And given the public perception in this country, that cyclists are a bunch of law-breaking dare-devils, how difficult can it be to prove that one such was the author of their own misfortune?


I don't know who said he wobbled, but it does show just how much of a disadvantage the cyclist or pedestrian is at, once a collision happens. Even for an adult who is hit, it's hard to keep your wits about you after the crash, as I remember from my hit & run experience. I also find it very disturbing that a 7 year old is considered to be more responsible for their own death because they wobbled than a drunk adult. That sets all priorities backwards, in my mind. Now that case is used in the area for a reason why people (and their kids) don't cycle on the road.

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Re: Cycling plan to blame drivers for all crashes

Postby orbiter » 20 Nov 2009, 1:48pm

Sares wrote:There are also too many cases where the evidence seems clear enough but there is no penalty. There was a case in Canada where a drunk driver hit a young boy who wobbled, killing him. The judge acquitted him ...a sober driver, if careful, would not have overtaken so close!

And sadly, I suspect 'strict liability' wouldn't get rid of that sort of idiotic judgement.

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Re: Cycling plan to blame drivers for all crashes

Postby glueman » 20 Nov 2009, 2:10pm

CJ wrote:The point is that the continual too-close-for-comfort passing, the occasional near miss, that for seasoned cyclists may be no worse than annoying, feels much more threatening when you're not used to it. That kind of driving puts a lid on potential cycling. And something must be done to make that kind of driving just as socially unacceptable as drink driving. Only where drivers are genuinely scared of running into people, can people cease to be scared of being run into.


Exactly so. Those who feel confident negotiating motor traffic are often people who actually enjoy the brinkmanship and psychological jousting of city riding. Indeed it's necessary to develop such an approach if you intend to survive traffic jamming for an extended period.
OTOH there is no reason cyclists should be exposed to playing chicken with powerful vehicles or that gamesmanship should be a necessary factor in A to B transport.