Beginner - losing confidence in safety

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
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tykeboy2003
Posts: 1080
Joined: 19 Jul 2010, 2:51pm
Location: Swadlincote, South Derbyshire

Re: Beginner - losing confidence in safety

Postby tykeboy2003 » 11 Jun 2020, 1:42pm

If you've not read it, then read Cyclecraft. I was sorting through some stuff yesterday (I'm moving house) and found 2 copies so if you want one, PM me.

Yossarian
Posts: 18
Joined: 21 Dec 2015, 4:24pm

Re: Beginner - losing confidence in safety

Postby Yossarian » 11 Jun 2020, 4:50pm

If it doesn't feel safe, it probably isn't! I am fine on most roads but I don't think I'd fancy tackling London.

teamonster
Posts: 98
Joined: 21 Feb 2010, 9:04pm

Re: Beginner - losing confidence in safety

Postby teamonster » 11 Jun 2020, 5:45pm

Yossarian wrote:If it doesn't feel safe, it probably isn't! I am fine on most roads but I don't think I'd fancy tackling London.


Being a regular rider in London and on country roads, I'm always more worried on the latter where some of the speeds are silly and where the chance of getting wiped out by large 4x4 coming round a blind bend on a country lane is ever present. In London the traffic is generally slower and with proper positioning and awareness I feel I can keep myself safer by controlling the situation. I appreciate not everyone will feel the same way

drossall
Posts: 4845
Joined: 5 Jan 2007, 10:01pm
Location: North Hertfordshire

Re: Beginner - losing confidence in safety

Postby drossall » 11 Jun 2020, 10:23pm

I'd agree with the Cyclecraft recommendation. There's a perverse feedback mechanism whereby nervous cycling arguably puts you at more risk, and assertive cycling less. That doesn't mean being aggressive or doing what you like. However, riding in the gutter often means that there is just room for cars to squeeze past when (according to the Highway Code) they shouldn't so, for example, in the right circumstances riding further out is safer. Equally, positive riding tends to mean that you move along faster and more with the traffic, especially in London, whereas slow, cautious cycling will itself lead to more drivers wanting to squeeze past.

Do recognise that roads are for people to travel on. Their choice of vehicle (or to walk) is secondary. No choice of vehicle gives more or less right to the road, nor does it give more right to use a traffic lane; your right to the road is as a citizen (or resident or visitor, obviously). As a cyclist, you are part of the traffic and you have the same right to occupy a traffic lane as anyone else. However, of course you'll want to facilitate others overtaking where you can without risking safety, because that's a principle of the Highway Code too. But that stream of cars coming past are by definition not the main traffic lane, because no-one, ever, can be overtaking and in the main traffic lane at the same time (unless on a two-lane road). So it's you in the main traffic lane and others individually responsible for finding safe places to overtake.

It's well worth doing route planning using sites such as Cyclestreets, which offers faster, quieter and medium options.

On bells, I think the problem is that there are two parties involved - the cyclist and the pedestrian(s). Many people fail to allow both sides to have preferences. I find that there are pedestrians who prefer to be alerted by bells, and others who regard them as aggressive. So I differ from those here who say always fit a bell - it's just that, as pedestrians and cyclists, they fall into the first camp and don't (sorry folks) recognise the other. Personally, and especially with horse riders, I like to whistle a merry tune as I approach. The sound carries really well and no-one has yet, to my knowledge, found it as aggressive as a bell. In fact most horse riders give me a grin.

hamster
Posts: 3494
Joined: 2 Feb 2007, 12:42pm

Re: Beginner - losing confidence in safety

Postby hamster » 12 Jun 2020, 8:38am

Yossarian wrote:If it doesn't feel safe, it probably isn't! I am fine on most roads but I don't think I'd fancy tackling London.


I dreaded riding in London when I had to make station transfers to catch the Eurostar. My previous recollection was 20 years ago, culminating in a puncture from a hypodermic needle and being propositioned by a [ personal pleasure consultant ] while fixing the resulting flat. :?
Actually the cycling highway system worked well, and despite crossing Waterloo Bridge at 0815 the traffic was fine. A white van even moved over to save me riding through a massive puddle entering the Strand. It was all rather relaxing, and I was amazed. Subsequent visits have confirmed this view.

Black Cabs tend to be careful - any dent and the taxi has to come off the road, so 2-3 days earnings gone.
Last edited by Graham on 13 Jun 2020, 9:38am, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: degrading to patisseries

drossall
Posts: 4845
Joined: 5 Jan 2007, 10:01pm
Location: North Hertfordshire

Re: Beginner - losing confidence in safety

Postby drossall » 12 Jun 2020, 8:51am

I'd agree, as a relatively recent commuter into London, that it's nothing like it's described. And Central London is arguably better than the suburbs. People's views of riding in traffic seem to have a considerable impact on their experience, making descriptions from two different people almost irreconcilable.