Losing my nerve?

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
robing
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Joined: 7 Sep 2014, 9:11am

Losing my nerve?

Post by robing »

I've been cycling all my life but lately seem to be losing my nerve a bit on the roads. It just seems the roads are busier than ever now and driving standards getting worse. Close passes are definitely on the increase. What used to be an unadulterated pleasure is starting to lose its shine.
Red Kite
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Joined: 10 Sep 2012, 5:20pm
Location: Hertfordshire, UK

Re: Losing my nerve?

Post by Red Kite »

I rather lost my nerve when I more or less gave up cycling owing to a heart complaint. Unfortunately it can be a downward spiral if it leads to creeping along near the kerb instead of riding more assertively - I'm not sure how the psychology works but perhaps inattentive (i.e. most) drivers subconsciously feel they are being invited to pass. I started cycling more (and faster) when I got an e-bike and I have regained confidence and seem to experience fewer scares.

It's still chilling just how bad some drivers are, particularly with inappropriate use of speed.
Cube Touring Hybrid One e-bike, Brompton P6R with Swytch conversion
Stradageek
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Joined: 17 Jan 2011, 1:07pm

Re: Losing my nerve?

Post by Stradageek »

I do know how you feel but I'm still more nervous driving than cycling, 32 million cars in this country and it certainly feels like it!

+1 for cycling assertively, it definitely helps and I ride lots so that the good experiences always outweigh the bad

Secondly, I pick my times (easy when retired) avoiding school runs/rush hour and Friday evenings in the countryside (the BM/Merc set racing home to their country home are a menace).

Finally, I ride a recumbent. They are odd (so wake motorists up) wobble a bit more (no body steering) so scare motorists worried about scratching their cars and many drivers think I must be disabled (and it's not PC to kill a disabled rider :D )
merseymouth
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Re: Losing my nerve?

Post by merseymouth »

Hi there, With all of my health issues I to feel vulnerable, but happily my having a string of tricycles I can still claim my right to ride!
But sadly even with the greater conspicuosity I still have close calls with motor muppets!
Things will not improve until harsher, earlier penalties are applied. They should make it abundantly clear that any incident that causes damage or injury may lead to the suspension of the privilege to use a motor vehicle on the road. If a form of totting up must still be in place then a ban should be triggered a 6 points, instead of the current 12. Also magistrates should make sure that hardship claims are not just a sob story! If a licence is vital for earning the family bread then losing it will mean "Toast"!
Any death on the road should be viewed as an un-lawful death, with proper investigation rules applied.
Worst thing out there is the fact that the Police are doing an awful job, too much leeway given in favour of the cagers! TTFN MM
robing
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Joined: 7 Sep 2014, 9:11am

Re: Losing my nerve?

Post by robing »

Thanks for replies. Looking at some of the other threads here it appears I am not alone in my experience. I am going to move in the next 12 months to a quieter area of the country so that should help.
Last edited by robing on 20 Sep 2021, 7:17pm, edited 1 time in total.
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simonineaston
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Re: Losing my nerve?

Post by simonineaston »

more & more & more cars on roads that are pretty much the same size - see here, RAC research. Depressing to recall that the UK's economy is tightly integrated with the vehicle industry, less so from manufacturing these days but collossal amouts of finance invested and a ton of tax / excise income. Any sort of change will have to overcome very stiff opposition...
(rides: Brompton nano & ever-changing Moultons)
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TrevA
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Re: Losing my nerve?

Post by TrevA »

I think one of the factors in the rise of Gravel riding, is the desire to not mix with traffic. You may not be able to do a 100% gravel/off-road/bridleway ride, but it’s certainly possible to plan a ride with significant off-road sections, depending on where you live.
A cart horse trapped in the body of a man.
http://www.jogler2009.blogspot.com
Mike Sales
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Re: Losing my nerve?

Post by Mike Sales »

TrevA wrote: 21 Sep 2021, 5:21pm I think one of the factors in the rise of Gravel riding, is the desire to not mix with traffic. You may not be able to do a 100% gravel/off-road/bridleway ride, but it’s certainly possible to plan a ride with significant off-road sections, depending on where you live.
Years ago it seemed to me that the same motive helped the rise of mountain bikes.
And of course you can put your gravel or mountain bike on the back of your car and drive to the "off-road facility" to avoid completely having to "share the road" with motors.
simonhill
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Re: Losing my nerve?

Post by simonhill »

Re riding off (the) road: remember those early halcyon days of the pandemic, when we were all told to get on our bikes and that there would be lots of car free cycle facilities constructed.

Re losing my nerve, age is obviously a factor, but I think the much larger cars on the roads nowadays may have something to do with it. The roads feel much fuller, even when there are lowish traffic levels.
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tykeboy2003
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Re: Losing my nerve?

Post by tykeboy2003 »

I think it's time for a radical overhaul of driver licensing. Here are some of the things I feel we should consider;-

1. Driving test candidates must complete 50 miles of cycling in busy traffic before being allowed to take the test. This would raise awareness of issues and dangers faced by cyclists.
2. Compulsory re-tests every 10 years (or possibly 5) including written exam based on the latest edition of the HC.
3. Regular speed awareness courses with a 3-point penalty and fine for non-attendance.
4. Increased punishment for all motoring offences particularly Driving without due care and dangerous driving, instant life ban for the latter.

None of the above will ever happen unfortunately.
Mike Sales
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Re: Losing my nerve?

Post by Mike Sales »

simonhill wrote: 21 Sep 2021, 6:10pm

Re losing my nerve, age is obviously a factor, but I think the much larger cars on the roads nowadays may have something to do with it. The roads feel much fuller, even when there are lowish traffic levels.
It's funny, we are frequently told that our roads are the safest in Europe, or the world even, and getting steadily safer!
Perhaps the trend towards off road riding has helped make the roads "safer" since safety is measured by the absolute death rate.
ossie
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Re: Losing my nerve?

Post by ossie »

Fully support the original poster. There are times I feel like packing it all in, at least in the UK.

I don't commute anymore and when I look back at my old commuting route I understand why my wife and family were so concerned.

I have carefully selected routes that go into some glorious countryside, however the near misses are getting more common. A tractor on a single carriageway road with a large metal bucket attached (like a JCB) bouncing down the road with the driver clearly looking at his phone. Decapitation height if I hadn't had been fortunate enough to have a patch of grass to move onto. Tractors are horrendous they will simply intimidate you off the road.

On todays ride I was missed by a whisker on a close pass, a confrontation a few weeks ago with an impatient driver tooting me, it's endless. I avoid the school run like the plague. The standard of driving from many school run mums is atrocious, the problem is village schools are everywhere.
Stradageek
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Re: Losing my nerve?

Post by Stradageek »

simonineaston wrote: 20 Sep 2021, 5:52pm more & more & more cars on roads that are pretty much the same size - see here, RAC research. Depressing to recall that the UK's economy is tightly integrated with the vehicle industry, less so from manufacturing these days but collossal amouts of finance invested and a ton of tax / excise income. Any sort of change will have to overcome very stiff opposition...
Spot on!

I recall pondering the governments disdain of cycling as a Range Rover passed on the other side of the road whilst I was cycling to work.

I mentally totted up what he was contributing to the tax man in VAT from the purchase, upkeep, and fueling of the car (assuming he's not calling it a company van and cheating) plus VED and IPT. I then compared this to the 20% VAT I pay on £50 of spares for my second hand bikes every year.

There's your answer :(
ChrisP100
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Re: Losing my nerve?

Post by ChrisP100 »

robing wrote: 18 Sep 2021, 7:00pm I've been cycling all my life but lately seem to be losing my nerve a bit on the roads. It just seems the roads are busier than ever now and driving standards getting worse. Close passes are definitely on the increase. What used to be an unadulterated pleasure is starting to lose its shine.
Sorry to hear that.

It's definitely a confidence thing, but it also requires a lot of concentration which can be mentally tiring. For me it's about having an element of control of the situation. Obviously you can't control what other road users are going to do, but the more you ride the more information you'll have in order to help you predict what they might do. It is becoming increasingly difficult though, and I'm not sure why.

For me personally I try to ride assertively, but not aggressively and I try to be predictable. By predictable I mean signalling my intent, such as looking over my shoulder when coming up to an obstruction or hand signals when turning. Also, making eye contact with other road users at pinch points and junctions is vital in informing my actions.

There are obviously things you can't control or predict, but that's the same for any road user, like this morning on my commute. The High street narrows where the pavement juts out and there is no room to safe pass. I looked over my shoulder to check if it was safe to pull into the middle of the road to discourage an unsafe overtake and the car behind duly slowed down and held back. As the road opened out I moved back across to the left and the car came past me at a normal speed. As I waved to acknowledge their patience they IMMEDIATELY turned left across my path. Quick dab of the brakes later and I'm back on my way, totally unscathed (apart from the slight rush of adrenaline).

Chalk it off, put it to the back of my mind and concentrate on the next pinch point. There have been probably no more than 4 or 5 incidents in the last couple of years where it's only been a matter of timing between me and the underside of a vehicle, or clattering into a stray pedestrian, but that's probably about the same when I've been driving. You are obviously just a lot more vulnerable on a bike. I guess it might worry me more if I dwelled on the situation but I try not to these days.
Phil Fouracre
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Re: Losing my nerve?

Post by Phil Fouracre »

An interesting post, and very important to the whole ‘drive to encourage cycling’
ChrisP100 has covered a lot of good points that I would agree with. I’m not sure which has most effect, a driver who also cycles, or a cyclist who also drives!
I totally support the assertive ‘vehicular’ cycling approach, helped if you also drive. If you approach every situation with the mentality of a driver you can anticipate so much. I’m never quite sure about the whole ‘visibility thing’ - I’ve had more ‘appearing to not see you incidents’ when driving the car, and the camper van!! which can be a little counterintuitive.
Typical day today was twenty four mile round trip to our local town, (Taunton) with quite heavy traffic - a mix of winding country lanes, canal towpath, main roads and dual carriageway. Obligatory visit to Screwfix, then wander through town to coffee and cake stop then home.
I almost find heavier traffic more easy to deal with - meaning that the town centre is seriously slow moving - it almost seems to bring home to drivers that there is no point in being pushy and aggressive, as they really aren’t going anywhere!
When you are in moving traffic, look, anticipate, indicate and keep moving - ride in primary, change lanes in plenty of time, just as you would do when driving, and would expect others to do.
Turned out to be a very pleasant ride with no conflict whatsoever, apart from the one driver who was unimpressed with the fact that I stopped to let a woman with a pushchair cross the road (a benefit of riding in primary)!
Despite the above I really am fully supportive of cycling specifics measures - we just have to be realistic, it’s not going to happen.
Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity
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