Near miss on busy road - plea for good lights!!

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Lesaid
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Re: Near miss on busy road - plea for good lights!!

Postby Lesaid » 10 Dec 2017, 4:42pm

Buses - mostly double decker, can be seen from a long way off!

I've yet to see any cyclist that big!!!

But hey - we can all pick on individual situations and circumstances that can be made to seem in support of both sides of this!

Why can we not drop the 'them-and-us' thing and seek a solution that works for everyone - otherwise we just go round in circles and achieve nothing except raised blood pressure!

On a related note - I wonder what will happen when driverless vehicles are in the majority (it is bound to happen, though I'm guessing a couple of decades away at least for urban environments). Driverless vehicles will have to be programmed to avoid collision at all costs (and rightly so). But this means that cyclists, pedestrians, wheelchairs users, maverick teenagers and pogo-stick commuters will be able to meander around busy roads however they like, in the knowledge that the automatic vehicles will do whatever it takes to avoid an accident. The result - anyone (including cyclists) rule the road and congestion could cause the whole system to grind to a halt.

How will that be resolved, other than by completely separating driverless vehicles from cyclists and pedestrians? Interesting times to come ! But I'm sure that driverless vehicles won't have to rely on faint lights and fallible human perception to detect and avoid cyclists!

kwackers
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Re: Near miss on busy road - plea for good lights!!

Postby kwackers » 10 Dec 2017, 4:51pm

Lesaid wrote:Buses - mostly double decker, can be seen from a long way off!

Err yeah, but so can cyclists.
How far back do you need before you feel you haven't time to pull out? 50 meters, 200, 5 miles?

I'm always fascinated by car drivers 'problems' with cyclists, how come I never have them? I drive as well and along most of the same roads.

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Re: Near miss on busy road - plea for good lights!!

Postby Username » 10 Dec 2017, 4:54pm

and what have the Romans ever done for us?!

kwackers
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Re: Near miss on busy road - plea for good lights!!

Postby kwackers » 10 Dec 2017, 4:59pm

Lesaid wrote:On a related note - I wonder what will happen when driverless vehicles are in the majority (it is bound to happen, though I'm guessing a couple of decades away at least for urban environments). Driverless vehicles will have to be programmed to avoid collision at all costs (and rightly so). But this means that cyclists, pedestrians, wheelchairs users, maverick teenagers and pogo-stick commuters will be able to meander around busy roads however they like, in the knowledge that the automatic vehicles will do whatever it takes to avoid an accident. The result - anyone (including cyclists) rule the road and congestion could cause the whole system to grind to a halt.

How will that be resolved, other than by completely separating driverless vehicles from cyclists and pedestrians? Interesting times to come ! But I'm sure that driverless vehicles won't have to rely on faint lights and fallible human perception to detect and avoid cyclists!

I've got some bad news for you.

Forget driverless vehicles, the anti-collision stuff is already being built into top end cars, in a few years all cars will have it.
So long before you need to worry that pedestrians and cyclists will extract the urine with self driving vehicles they'll have had that option for a while.

Worth asking why they don't do it now? After all the poor motorist won't deliberately run them over would they?
Turns out the poor motorist would do exactly that. Horn first, then second then when it's too late apply the brakes. That's the current state of road safety in this country.

Personally I look forward to the balance being shifted the other way. I'm often deeply offended by the attitude of the average driver who thinks their right to make progress is paramount.
I've seen them drive at pedestrians crossing side roads, at pedestrians still crossing when the lights change, (and at each other when the lights change), I've seen them under and overtake on pavements and crash into street furniture and even houses with annoying regularity.
Removing that ability can't come soon enough for me and if they find they get held up by slower traffic then tough.

AMMoffat
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Re: Near miss on busy road - plea for good lights!!

Postby AMMoffat » 10 Dec 2017, 5:10pm

Lesaid wrote:
The result - anyone (including cyclists) rule the road and congestion could cause the whole system to grind to a halt.



This would only be a problem because much of what you've posted seems to assume that motor vehicles should rule the road, otherwise why should it in any way be a problem for a driver to have to wait behind a slower moving piece of traffic until it is safe to pass. I'm both a cyclist and driver and will never understand why my journey should take on such importance that my progress should be unhindered at all cost when I'm in my car but once on my bike suddenly I am, at best, a 3rd class citizen and the same journey is judged to be not important at all.

flat tyre
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Re: Near miss on busy road - plea for good lights!!

Postby flat tyre » 10 Dec 2017, 5:21pm

AMMoffat wrote:
Lesaid wrote:
The result - anyone (including cyclists) rule the road and congestion could cause the whole system to grind to a halt.



This would only be a problem because much of what you've posted seems to assume that motor vehicles should rule the road, otherwise why should it in any way be a problem for a driver to have to wait behind a slower moving piece of traffic until it is safe to pass. I'm both a cyclist and driver and will never understand why my journey should take on such importance that my progress should be unhindered at all cost when I'm in my car but once on my bike suddenly I am, at best, a 3rd class citizen and the same journey is judged to be not important at all.


Yes, totally agree, I often wonder why car drivers seem to have the assumption that their journey is far more important than anyone else's.

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Paulatic
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Re: Near miss on busy road - plea for good lights!!

Postby Paulatic » 10 Dec 2017, 5:26pm

Les,
I’m extremely worried that you are a licensed driver. Yet your vision coupled with attention seems so poor that only double decker buses are easily visible. Your version of the HC must be different to mine in that I thought you had to drive always expecting other slower/ vulnerable highway users?
This country has spent a fortune on providing roads where you can hone your particular driving skills. They are named Motorways. You’ll see, well I hope they are big enough to spot, blue signs directing you to them. I suppose they are like cycle ways in that not everyone uses them though.
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Lesaid
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Re: Near miss on busy road - plea for good lights!!

Postby Lesaid » 10 Dec 2017, 5:30pm

well - on a busy road with a continuous stream of faster traffic in the outside lane, 50m is nowhere near enough to move out unless there happens to be a kind soul to let you in to that lane. And that's true if it's a bike or a bus.

But I don't want to labour this point - it is just an example of a type of situation that happens, and I would agree that where the roads are not more or less at capacity with traffic, there is enough flexibility that this isn't a serious problem (unlike the visibility with poor lighting issue which I think is much more directly serious). It is specifically arterial roads that are full of fast-moving rush hour traffic where this kind of problem can happen.

In general - busy roads work better if all or most of the traffic travels at similar speeds, whatever those speeds are.

I personally don't generally have a problem with most cyclists (as a driver) and nor do I have a problem with most drivers (as a cyclist). But just sometimes, as with the other day, a completely avoidable problem with potentially very serious consequences gives cause to think. Hence my starting this thread.

I'm happy though, that whether we end up agreeing or not about these issues - the very fact the topic is being aired in an amicable way will encourage people to think about it. And that has to be good for safety in itself.

Lesaid
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Re: Near miss on busy road - plea for good lights!!

Postby Lesaid » 10 Dec 2017, 5:45pm

it isn't a question of the importance of individual journeys - it is about avoiding accidents, and about the congestion and capacity of the roads as a whole.

I have seen plenty of crazy behaviour by motorists - and also by cyclists - and even more, by motorcyclists!! and yet more by pedestrians. All are responsible for crazy and/or selfish behaviour - question is - how to manage all this such that everyone gets along somehow, people don't get killed, and they get to go where they want to go. In spite of our general unhelpful and selfish human nature - which I think car drivers and cyclists and everybody else has in about equal measure.

Just to clarify - I have seen cyclists fly out from nearby cycle path into the road without stopping and looking, someone cycled into the back of a neighbour's parked car a while back - don't know where he thought he was going. And disappeared, leaving my neighbour to pick up the cost of repair to the car. And frequently cycling without lights at all in the dark. Trying to undertake a bus in the dark that was in the process of turning left, in spite of the bus clearly signalling and the bike without lights (I was behind them and saw both the event and the yelling match that ensued). And more. Tales of irresponsible and inconsiderate motorists are well matched by irresponsible and inconsiderate cyclists - and thankfully, in my experience, both are outnumbered by those with more sense. Trouble is - the consequences hit the cyclists harder than the motorists.

'Them and us' is not helpful - there is plenty of fault and lack of appreciation of issues on both sides!

drossall
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Re: Near miss on busy road - plea for good lights!!

Postby drossall » 10 Dec 2017, 5:49pm

Lesaid wrote:What I really don't get, is the mood coming over from some of the posts in this thread, that the problem is all the motorists fault so they need to fix they're behaviour or become cyclists themselves while we continue to cycle at night in the dark with hard-to-see front lights. Regardless of where you consider the fault to be - surely it is in our (the cyclists) interests to do what we can to be obviously and clearly visible. A cyclist righteously standing on his pride and blaming the motorist isn't going to save his life when someone doesn't see him in the dark. Regardless of whose 'fault' the accident actually was!

Placing all the fault in one direction is never good. However, we've already covered the point that the available evidence does tend to place the fault more with us as motorists than as cyclists, i.e. in collisions it is more usually the motorist who has broken the rules of the Highway Code, and the cyclist's lack of lights is relatively rarely an issue. This does rather conflict with popular assumption, but then assumption has never worried too much about evidence :? However, it's less a pride thing than that solutions based on false assumptions probably won't work, because they are fixing the wrong problems. So, for example, whilst almost everyone here would use good lights as a matter of course, making all cyclists do so would probably not reduce casualties much (see above).

Regarding the thing about cyclists on main roads, don't forget that neither as cyclists nor as drivers do we normally complete entire journeys on such roads. They function as ways to get us between the lesser roads that connect us to our origins and destinations. So, it makes no sense to offer solutions that, for either group, consider only such roads. Nor, indeed, does it make sense to consider only minor roads, because those usually don't offer complete ways of getting from A to B, at least unless you have a Star Trek transporter on hand to fill in the gaps, or else the time to go via C, D and E, all of which are further away from A than B was.

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TrevA
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Re: Near miss on busy road - plea for good lights!!

Postby TrevA » 10 Dec 2017, 6:39pm

The answer to differential speeds between the inside and outside lanes is to make everyone go at the same speed. This can be achieved by making all car drivers use the outside lane and reserving the inside lane for slower moving vehicles such as buses and cyclists.

Main roads are often the most direct route. Why should the cyclist be forced off the main road and forced to take a longer, meandering route?
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Tizme
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Re: Near miss on busy road - plea for good lights!!

Postby Tizme » 10 Dec 2017, 6:40pm

I have cycled along a country road at night with a VERY bright light, needed as there was no street lighting and the previous week I had come head to front wheel with a deer! I also had another light on my cycle helmet, I was the only "vehicle" on the road, yet it did not stop a driver pulling out of a side road and almost T-boning me! Even after I managed to shine my head torch into his face he still did not stop until I was within an arms length of his bonnet.

Cycling along another country road at 5pm on a sunny Summer afternoon a driver missed me by inches as he overtook, 400metres down the road he has pulled over in to the lay-by, to stop me and berate me for not having a rear light on, making myself invisible to traffic! I did point out that I was wearing a cycle top with a large section that was bright orange and had a bright red pannier fitted over the right rear wheel, so if he failed to see me as I was, what difference was a red light going to make. He also stated he was a cyclist and was only informing me of the error of my ways "for my own protection." At that point I informed him that he either needed an eye test or to re-take his driving test, for the "protection of everyone else on the road".

Until I retired I commuted to work by bicycle, around 150 miles a week, why did/have I less right to be on the road than the driver who jumps in his car and drives less than half a mile each way to the newsagents to pick up his paper (as a chap in my village does every day)? Why when I am riding legally do I have to do more, when the chances are the driver that knocks me down is either driving too fast for the conditions/is on their mobile phone/is driving a vehicle that is not fit for the road? I have had all of these happen to me during my 37 years of cycle commuting. Please excuse me if I do not feel sympathy for you, speed limits are just that, not targets, just because you can drive at 40mph in a 40 zone does not mean it is safe to do so, far too many drivers seem to believe that as long as they are not breaking the speed limit they are "safe" and unfortunately in most cases so do jurors (in the rare instance that a case goes to court).

Steps down from soapbox...

kwackers
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Re: Near miss on busy road - plea for good lights!!

Postby kwackers » 10 Dec 2017, 6:45pm

Tizme wrote:He also stated he was a cyclist

They always are... ;)
I take it as meaning "I once bought a bike that I think is in my garage somewhere".

IMO if you don't commute regularly on busy roads during rush hour then you probably don't have a clue what the real issues are.

Tizme
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Re: Near miss on busy road - plea for good lights!!

Postby Tizme » 10 Dec 2017, 7:17pm

Kwackers wrote:
IMO if you don't commute regularly on busy roads during rush hour then you probably don't have a clue what the real issues are.


I think this is very true, since retiring I have been able to choose where and when I ride, picking non-rush hours and looking for much quieter roads.

I found it quite strange that some drivers that I saw on a regular basis became "road friends" and would wave or flash their lights as they passed or if heading the same way give me plenty of room as they overtook, others would view me as an "obstruction" and deliberately close pass or cut in immediately they overtook forcing me to brake. I always tried to be considerate and would wave vehicles passed if I could see, for instance, that the road around the bend was clear, but I refused to pull in/"get out of the way of the traffic" as my journey to work was no less important than theirs.

I spent a fortune on lights, trying to find the "perfect" set up and always had 2 on both the front and rear, as well as a head torch (in winter, head cam in Summer- it was useless in lowlight) in case one failed.

I wore a helmet due to pressure from family and because I felt that in the event of an accident compensation for injuries would possibly be reduced if I didn't (which is wrong I know but, it seems to me, a fact of life). I dislike(d) hi-viz but when I was working shifts and cycling very early in the morning I would usually wore it, so it does grip me just a bit when someone still complains that we (cyclists) are not making ourselves "safe".

Tell that to the van driver who was on his mobile phone AND drinking a cup of tea/coffee as he overtook a parked car, completely ignoring me coming in the opposite direction, or the van driver who overtook a car as I came towards him, forcing me to cycle into the hedge, or the driver who tried to overtake me between a pair of crossing islands, realised that he couldn't do it, braked and slid across the zebra crossing, causing me to strike the kerb (as I tried to get out of his way) and end up in a heap in the road, he just drove off!

I could go on, but I am sure you get the point, MOST cyclists do everything they can to protect themselves, after all, we are the ones who will come off worst in "a collision with a vehicle" (we are never struck by a vehicle). Most of the stupid, reckless cyclists will become/are already, stupid, reckless drivers, but then, instead being the ones injured, they will be the ones doing the injuring.

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The utility cyclist
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Re: Near miss on busy road - plea for good lights!!

Postby The utility cyclist » 10 Dec 2017, 8:25pm

drossall wrote:That's one of the reasons of course (only one) that current cycle safety training teaches cyclists not to ride in the gutter - because motorists emerging from junctions aren't looking in the gutter for hazards.

On lights, it is frustrating. I started cycling in the age when Never Ready lights were universal. We used to pack batteries round with cardboard (to stop them rattling the light to bits) and so on to cope with their design deficiencies. Modern bike lights are a world apart from those but, as our lights have improved, car lights have continued to get brighter too. That's largely been driven by weak regulations that were based on limiting the power input, whereas improving technology has given more light for less power.

There is evidence that cars with lights in daytime have fewer crashes, but nobody, I think, has studied whether the pedestrians and cyclists around those cars are safer, or whether car lights just say "Look at me!", to the detriment of everyone else who doesn't carry a large lead-acid battery everywhere. So, as a driver, I am reluctant to use day-time running lights.

I'd disagree on that statement.
" Lightmare, (a British web site set up by Roy Milnes and Ken Perham) specifically targets the increasing use of bright lights on British roads and the wider detrimental effect this is having on road safety. They comment that statistics about DRLs from eight European countries over a 15-year period show that road fatality rates dropped faster in non-DRL countries such as Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands than fatalities in pro-DRL countries such as Finland, Norway and Sweden." Austria banned DRLs IIRC