Slow cycling, bad experience

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flat tyre
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Slow cycling, bad experience

Postby flat tyre » 20 Sep 2020, 8:41pm

I am a fairly experienced cyclist, usually completing several thousand miles a year, so I’m well used to putting up with the fearsome traffic on some of our roads. However today I had an experience of a different kind. I persuaded my wife to accompany me on a ride to a country park, about 5 miles from home and involving a ride to the outskirts of our town and beyond. She’s definitely not the world’s fastest cyclist so we proceeded very sedately but surely to our destination and back. What really was an eye opener to me was how much more vulnerable I felt riding along at less than half my normal pace and the terrible lack of patience and consideration we experienced from passing motorists. The worst example was as we were attempting to turn right at a busy crossroads, something I do on my own 4 or 5 times a week without problems. I was signally right in my usual demonstrative way and as we moved out to the centre of the road a following car decided that there was time for him to overtake us into the face of oncoming traffic and then cut across us to turn left nearly knocking me off in the process. Is this sort of intimidation normal for slow riders and if so is it any wonder that there are still relatively few cyclists on our roads?

chris_suffolk
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Re: Slow cycling, bad experience

Postby chris_suffolk » 20 Sep 2020, 8:53pm

Can't comment directly on whether being slower makes a difference, as I (like you) would normally cycle at a reasonably quick pace.

However, it sort of makes sense, as (I'm guessing and generalising here) slow = cautionary = novice = uncertain (etc), and thus I can quite see that drivers would see such a cyclist as an easier target, and almost certainly one that's less likely to put up any resistance or stand their ground.

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gaz
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Re: Slow cycling, bad experience

Postby gaz » 20 Sep 2020, 9:02pm

flat tyre wrote:Is this sort of intimidation normal for slow riders...
Yes.
flat tyre wrote:... and if so is it any wonder that there are still relatively few cyclists on our roads?
No.

The most obvious demonstrator for me is that there are roads I'll ride when I'm coming back tired from a long run that I rarely consider when I'm hauling 40Kg of shopping in a trailer.

Manoeuvring across two lanes of 30+mph motor traffic whilst I'm climbing at 8-10mph to reach the right turn lane is uncomfortable at best, when I can only manage 4-5mph it's time to find a different route.
There'll be tarmac over, the white cliffs of Dover ...

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tykeboy2003
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Re: Slow cycling, bad experience

Postby tykeboy2003 » 20 Sep 2020, 9:15pm

Whilst I'm nowhere near the fastest; my average speed is about 12mph, however, I've noticed the same thing as the OP when I go out with my partner. When we cycle together, our average speed is generally less than 10mph. On numerous occasions I've had cars overtake me, then realise that they can't then get past Anne due to other traffic/road situation and subsequently tried to cut back in between us. This when we were less than a car's length apart. Result; me shouting warnings at them and raised tensions.....

I definitely think it's the lower speed, coupled with the increased difficulty getting past more than one rider which increases some motorist's impatience and prompts them to do stupid and dangerous things.

rob_wales
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Re: Slow cycling, bad experience

Postby rob_wales » 20 Sep 2020, 10:08pm

If you can hang on for at least 10-15 years most cars on the road should be self-drive. They will be programmed to be ultra careful when approaching cyclists. But thinking about that, perhaps the bikes will be ridden by robots too! Which does make you wonder what we will all be doing?

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Re: Slow cycling, bad experience

Postby simonineaston » 20 Sep 2020, 10:26pm

rob_wales wrote:If you can hang on for at least 10-15 years most cars on the road should be self-drive. They will be programmed to be ultra careful when approaching cyclists. But thinking about that, perhaps the bikes will be ridden by robots too! Which does make you wonder what we will all be doing?
Your comment is both humorous, ironic and sad... My own opinion, shared by a growing number of folk, is that in 15 or 20 years time, our very own home-grown armagedon will have kicked in enough for chaos to reign - but wouldn't it be great if clever-cars would take more care of us cyclists than humans ever could? And wouldn't it be even greater still, if some of us were able to live to see that be the case?!
(rides: Brompton nano & ever-changing Moultons)

flat tyre
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Re: Slow cycling, bad experience

Postby flat tyre » 20 Sep 2020, 10:27pm

gaz wrote:
The most obvious demonstrator for me is that there are roads I'll ride when I'm coming back tired from a long run that I rarely consider when I'm hauling 40Kg of shopping in a trailer.

Manoeuvring across two lanes of 30+mph motor traffic whilst I'm climbing at 8-10mph to reach the right turn lane is uncomfortable at best, when I can only manage 4-5mph it's time to find a different route.

Good point, I realise that I should perhaps have thought about our route and taken into consideration our slow speed. In the case of the crossroads we might have been better becoming pedestrians to get across the road and remounted on the road after the right turn. In general I think that things are much more difficult for slow riders.

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Vantage
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Re: Slow cycling, bad experience

Postby Vantage » 21 Sep 2020, 9:58am

Richard Ballantine made a point in his book that we are safer when keeping up with the flow of traffic. A rare case of being safer the faster we go.
I'm a sedate cyclist averaging less than 10mph and I do find that drivers get impatient with my snail like progress.
I've given up riding on a certain hill due an incident a month or so ago.
I was going uphill about 3-4 mph and gradually being passed by drivers closer and closer until I was 'forced' off the tarmac. Front tyre slid along the road edge and I fell into the traffic, narrowly missed by a Chelsea tractor driver who like the previous drivers before was passing too close. A couple drivers stopped asking if I was OK which was nice of them.
That road though. Never again. At least not in the uphill direction. It's times like that which make me consider throwing in the towel and buying an ebike.
Bill


“Ride as much or as little, or as long or as short as you feel. But ride.” ~ Eddy Merckx
It's a rich man whos children run to him when his pockets are empty.

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Re: Slow cycling, bad experience

Postby Jdsk » 21 Sep 2020, 10:06am

flat tyre wrote:Good point, I realise that I should perhaps have thought about our route and taken into consideration our slow speed. In the case of the crossroads we might have been better becoming pedestrians to get across the road and remounted on the road after the right turn.

How refreshing to see a bit of thoughtfulness in a forum so beset by rants.

How much of the uncomfortableness could have been due to unfamiliarity rather than the absolute speed? We all do very complex calculations of speeds and gaps and angles and hazards, but we do them implicitly and informally.

Fancy trying it again?

Jonathan

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The utility cyclist
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Re: Slow cycling, bad experience

Postby The utility cyclist » 23 Sep 2020, 4:16pm

rob_wales wrote:If you can hang on for at least 10-15 years most cars on the road should be self-drive. They will be programmed to be ultra careful when approaching cyclists. But thinking about that, perhaps the bikes will be ridden by robots too! Which does make you wonder what we will all be doing?

This is a fallacy that people will cling onto, they won't in reality because the programmers don't grasp the root problems and it'll be said that giving enough space/reducing speeds etc is too unworkable/restricts motoring to a 'standstill' or some such BS.
Mercedes a while back already said that their self driving motors would sacrifice the vulnerable to save the lives of those within the vehicles.

Speed limits won't drop and for now motors/motorists still wont be forced to adhere to them ones in place, whilst I'm not saying AI is a bad thing, please don't be lulled into the thinking that it'll be a panacea, far more stricter measures are required.

As for the slow cycling, absolutely agree, when I'm with my partner it's significantly different though she isn't particularly slow, the whole thinking for many about when to get across/make a manoeuvre changes because they are thinking they don't want to be 'holding up' traffic and/or exposing themselves to danger for longer.
You'll notice this even with very experienced cyclists who regularly mention about getting a bit of a move on at roundabouts and other locations to avoid being exposed or to (by definition) get out the way, also the pedestrian 'jog' or fast walk to get out the way when they cross roads.
We've been so brainwashed for over a century that ceding/getting out the way to motors is the done thing or get killed/hurt/abused and forced to adopt certain thinking/strategies just so that we feel we're not going to get hurt. This is why there's so few people cycling and it's not improved one iota in the last 15 years at least. 50% more KSIs as of last year than the mid 00s.

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Slow cycling, bad experience

Postby [XAP]Bob » 23 Sep 2020, 5:55pm

Autonomous vehicles will however have far better awareness of everything going on around them, and will be consistent in their behaviour... those two things alone will be a huge improvement.

At the moment Merc are saying they won’t drive off a bridge to avoid a group of people who jump in front of them... not unreasonable. The advantage is that they will be able to stop a damned sight faster than a human.
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

simonhill
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Re: Slow cycling, bad experience

Postby simonhill » 23 Sep 2020, 6:00pm

I find all this rather counterintuitive. I would have thought that cyclists 'wizzing' about are at more risk than those who are going slowly. Maybe not on the open road, but certainly in an urban setting.

If you are cycling at 20 mph, it takes longer for the vehicle to catch you and a lot longer to overtake than if you are doing 10 mph. I have vehicles pulling in too early even at my slow speed, surely this is worse if going fast. Many motorists don't judge my (cycle) speed very well.

Motorist glances over shoulder before opening door, fast cyclist could be there and hit whereas slow one is still out of sight.

I am a slow cyclist and I often fear for the people who cycle fast through traffic. Maybe I've got it wrong and need to get a move on.

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Re: Slow cycling, bad experience

Postby fastpedaller » 23 Sep 2020, 6:24pm

[XAP]Bob wrote:Autonomous vehicles will however have far better awareness of everything going on around them, and will be consistent in their behaviour... those two things alone will be a huge improvement.


That's the goal, maybe, but will it be the reality? IMHO these technologies should supplement the driver's input (rather than replace it). It's all very well thinking 'if a child runs out the car will stop' but this isn't necessarily going to be the case (physics can't be beaten if the child runs out only yards away. However, if the driver notes parked cars and children on pavement (and others on opposite pavement) he may well slow considerably and he (or the auto system) may then be able to stop without the child being hit - that is an improvement! If the driver ignores his responsibilities and relies on the 'autopilot' the situation may be worse, instead of better than that currently.

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Slow cycling, bad experience

Postby [XAP]Bob » 23 Sep 2020, 7:05pm

When vehicles are fully autonomous then they will have far better awareness than you or I

They’ll have been aware of the kid on the other side of the car, or from the vehicle in front telling them.
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

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Re: Slow cycling, bad experience

Postby fastpedaller » 23 Sep 2020, 7:15pm

[XAP]Bob wrote:When vehicles are fully autonomous then they will have far better awareness than you or I

They’ll have been aware of the kid on the other side of the car, or from the vehicle in front telling them.


So will they 'slam on the brakes', just in case? I'm not trying to be confrontational, but will they (the vehicle computers) ever have the ability?
This all seems like wishful thinking. I've seen several reports of (albeit 'partially autonomous) current production cars which slam on the brakes when they 'see' a distant barrier because of a bend in the A-road.