mjr wrote:Lesaid wrote:Having said all of that - I know that many accidents are caused by negligence and carelessness too. But you cannot assume that because you 'think' you should be visible, that an oncoming driver will actually 'see' you - and it will not always be the 'fault' of the driver, but a consequence of the way human physiologogy and perception works. So as cyclists, EVERYTHING we can do to draw attention to ourselves, whether or not legally 'required', would seem to be a good idea!
It can SEEM that way, but it really isn't a good idea. Two example ways it isn't: 1. if we give in to the argument that we should use brighter headlights to defend against motorists failing to follow the highway code, then it will quickly become expected that we do so and anyone who merely complies with the lighting law will be seen as negligent - it will be rear lights all over again; 2. if we do something to draw attention to ourselves, it will probably mean that anyone walking around us doesn't get the attention we draw to ourselves, so they will be at greater risk from the not-attentive-enough motorists - is that fair? Do we really want to engage in an arms race with our friends and neighbours, rather than restrict the killer motorists?
I must respectfully disagree - while it sounds plausible, I think it misses the point about perception - and I suggest that talking about restricting killer motorists is the kind of unnecessarily inflammatory language that helps nobody. As is talking about motorists who genuinely are paying attention but still not 'seeing' as 'not following the highway code'. I think that is missing the point! Though I know that is only part of the story and there is plenty of negligent and reckless craziness out there too!.
mjr wrote:[Lesaid wrote:Another solution could be to introduce speed limits that prevent cars from going faster than the average cyclist. That would solve the overtaking problem, but probably make the congestion as a whole far worse!
No, it would probably reduce congestion greatly: cars travelling at 20mph need something like 12m of stopping space in front of each one, so you can fit many more on the same stretch of road than cars travelling at 60mph needing 73m in front of each, plus they would build up at any obstructions much more slowly. That's why "managed motorways" aim to lower speed limits before congestion occurs, in the hope of temporarily increasing the road's capacity to avoid a build-up. So 20mph limits on any road forming part of a cycle route would reduce the overtaking problem and probably also reduce congestion greatly!
Interesting - I stand corrected that sounds very plausible. I have a caveat though - if you have a stream of cars following each other at the minimum distance that each driver considers is safe - with no 'slack' in the system, then a slight reduction in speed of one car can be enough to cause a greater reduction of speed in the car behind them, and more behind that, as each car overshoots its position more than the one in front. Some way further back, the traffic stops completely, and you have a kind of stationary 'wave' of traffic rippling back along the road - potentially turning into 'emergency stops' for the cars coming up behind! This came from some traffic modelling I did myself of motorway traffic on a computer, after wondering why phantom traffic jams seemed to afflict busy motorways, and I've since seen the same thing reported more formally by professional researchers. I was modelling at speeds of 50MPH and upwards, so I don't know what the effect of this at 20MPH would be. But if a fast moving stream of traffic with some extra gaps in it is slowed to 20 mph - I could imagine that they'd end up following each other more closely, such that unexpected stops become more likely.
mjr wrote:When driving, I don't drive onto a piece of road unless I can see it's clear and I expect other drivers to do the same... but when cycling, I try to be ready for them if they don't, having practised emergency turns and stops. I will continue to criticise other motorists who react to nearly hitting a cyclist by suggesting the cyclist should use even brighter lights, rather than resolving to take more care - and yes, as a result of not driving out until I can see it is clear. Why wouldn't you?
Again, I think this might be missing the point about perception.
mjr wrote:sometimes nowadays I can't turn right onto a busy road at peak times because safe gaps are few and far between so I turn left and U-turn where convenient instead. Why wouldn't you?
Actually - the situation I described in my first post was my turning LEFT onto a major road. That is the road from where I live, to the 'outside world' and it is NEVER possible to turn right there safely except at very quiet times. So the answer to 'why wouldn't you' - is 'I do' !!!! And the first safe place to turn around is a good mile along the road! Very frustrating sometimes! I'm very lucky that there is a separate cycle route away from the road that enables me to bypass that piece of road when I am going anywhere on the bike.