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AIBU expecting cyclists to use the cycle tracks?

(221 Posts)
NanSue Thu 03-Sep-15 22:49:36

I was driving to my Mum's this afternoon about 3 miles from where I live. I have to use a narrowish long road for the first mile or so on which there is a perfectly good cycle track, halfway down was a man riding a racing bike at a fair old speed on the road right next to the cycle track in his Lycra shorts. As I was about to overtake him he had a bit of a wobble and I'm still not sure how I managed to avoid him and it really shook me. It seems to be a regular occurrence that these "serious" cyclists (I say serious because it's always the ones in the cycling shorts etc.,) always ride on the road. Does anyone have any idea what they have against the cycle tracks?? I am NOT anti cyclist, I ride a bike myself from time to time, but always on the track wherever possible.

ninathenana Thu 03-Sep-15 23:29:46

Do the tracks have a decent surface ?
The coast road where I live has a tarmaced cycle path on the beach side of the road but somehow cyclist think it's better to ride over the other side of the road on the pavement angry

Anya Thu 03-Sep-15 23:30:22

Serious cyclists ( recognisable by their Lycra) don't use the cycle tracks. The track may look 'perfectly good' but up close are less than perfect. I know this as I try to use them as often as possible as so many motorists are a danger to us with two wheels. They forget to allow for wobbles (which they ought to do in law).

The problem is the surface is often broken, small potholes, some not so small, which can catch your wheels. And only yesterday the hedge cutter had been along the track, and there were broken twigs and thorns on the path. I'm always getting punctures on these track due to thorns and broken glass.

It's just about OK for us amateur cyclists - but anyone travelling at speed could come a cropper. Some motorists think it's ok to part on cycle tracks, drive on cycle lanes and stop at traffic lights on the area clearly marked by a picture of a bicycle. Weird ain't it?

However it is perfectly legal to cycle on the queen's highway even dressed in Lycra grin

Anya Thu 03-Sep-15 23:47:11

Rules of the road:-
Leave plenty of space when overtaking a cyclist, i.e. at least a car’s width when overtaking at lower speeds (20-30mph); and allow even more space (a) when travelling at higher speeds; (b) when driving a lorry or any other large vehicle; (c) in poor weather (rain makes it harder for cyclists to see potholes, and wind gusts can cause them to wobble).

rubysong Thu 03-Sep-15 23:57:13

We have a cycle track provided at vast expense and hardly ever used by cyclists of a 'serious' type. If the surface isn't fit for purpose they should take it up with the council. It is there for their safety and I expect them to use it. If they want to race or test their speed they shouldn't be doing it on the public road, they should use a disused airfield. If I want to race in a car I would have to go to a racetrack, not on the road. These speed trials happen a lot near where my sister lives and someone died a few years ago, going like hell, head down, not looking, straight into the back of a lorry which had slowed down for traffic.

sunseeker Fri 04-Sep-15 06:28:34

I am not anti-cyclist either but do get annoyed when cyclists seem to think they own the road. The local council recently spent thousands of pounds putting in a tarmaced cycle track, which many cyclists don't use, seeming to prefer to use the road which is full of pot holes but can't be repaired because of "lack of funds". I live in a village with busy narrow roads and the fair weather Sunday cyclists insist on riding along these roads in bunches, not single file, so it is impossible to pass them. I have been stuck behind these groups and have heard them laughing at the build up of traffic behind them.

I also would be grateful if someone can explain to me why so many cyclists ride staring at their front wheel instead of looking at the road ahead!

thatbags Fri 04-Sep-15 06:36:48

I think pedestrians can walk on cycle tracks. Speed trial cyclists (there is probably another name for them) would not have the freedom to go so fast on a cycle track in case they hit a pedestrian.

Also—this was the case on the Oxfordshire cycle tracks I used to use daily—at junctions cycles have to give way to everybody so, again, they couldn't do their speed trialling practice. They are scum of the road as far as road planners are concerned.

Car users don't own the road. Cyclists pay taxes too (most cyclists are also car owners). Roads are for traffic. Cyclists are part of the traffic. So are pedestrians. Remember that when there is no footpath off road.

Have some patience, folks.

thatbags Fri 04-Sep-15 06:37:41

How often are yo, in your car, affected by a clump pf cyclists in front of you? Once in a blue moon?

thatbags Fri 04-Sep-15 06:41:22

PS I often wish they would use the cycle tracks too but then I shrug and relax.

kittylester Fri 04-Sep-15 07:38:52

We have all sorts of hazards on the road out of our village: cyclists, runners, horse riders, a couple driving a gig and then, yesterday, a woman with an alpaca! confused

Anya Fri 04-Sep-15 07:40:52

Rubysong cyclists are entitled to use the public roads. As bags said 'car users don't own the road'.

vampirequeen Fri 04-Sep-15 07:43:38

Not calling all road cyclists here but a largish group of them seem to think that cycle paths are for others and not for them. They use the road because they can go faster. Road biking isn't really about a relaxing ride and/or enjoying the view. It's about getting from A to B as quickly as possible. If they were on a cycle path they might have to slow down for other cyclists or pedestrians and give way at crossings. They don't like to do that as it affects their overall time. So they would rather take their chances on the road. Unfortunately road surfaces are not smooth and they often wobble. This causes a problem for the motorist as if he hits the cyclist he is will automatically be blamed.

Most road cyclists are polite and courteous but some ride in large clumps that spread out across the road causing problems for all other road users. These are the ones who annoy me the most. They are inconsiderate in the extreme and generally the most vocal if a motorist gets (in their opinion) too close.

My main problem is ordinary cyclists who use the roads when they could use the cycle tracks and don't have adequate/any lights. I'm a cyclist. My lights have been known to stop a Chelsea tractor because the driver thought another vehicle was coming towards him (he then swore at me lol). My lights are bright but not illegal (checked with the police who said they wished everyone had them). A driver cannot fail to see me and I have a well lit road ahead of me. My rear light is also bright and can be set to simply be lit, flash or strobe. I tend to just have it lit as I don't like strobe lighting.

absent Fri 04-Sep-15 07:47:02

If cyclists race on the road, do they break the speed limit? Probably not, although they still have a duty to ride their bikes responsibly and with an awareness of other traffic and pedestrians.

Many years ago I used occasionally to ride my bike to my mother's house. I used back streets and then a cycle track beside a main road. Apart from its dreadful surface and the numerous cars parked on it, the worst hazard I encountered was a lorry directly behind me with a driver hooting his horn and hurling abuse because he wanted to get past.

thatbags Fri 04-Sep-15 07:50:52

I think that's the nub of it: impatience. Cyclists are usually slower (cyclists have been caught for breaking the speed limit in 30mph zones, going downhill) than motorised vehicles so the motorised vehicles find them annoying when they are in the way. Ditto slow-moving farm vehicles, even when motorised.

A lot of drivers are just impatient and grumpy and think that anything that slows them down for a bit shouldn't be there!

thatbags Fri 04-Sep-15 07:54:20

absent, when it is an actual road race or speed trial, I think there are special police permissions just for the duration of the race. I think speed trial cyclists do try to avoid the busiest times on the roads but they can't avoid all traffic.

There is a lot of cycle racing round here. Most drivers are politeness and consideration personified, possibly because there are no footpaths so they are used to having to be considerate about pedestrians walking in the road.

vampirequeen Fri 04-Sep-15 07:57:41

A normal cyclist usually rides at between 3 and 10 miles an hour. If I drove at that speed I would be guilty of causing an obstruction. Sometimes there is no choice but I get annoyed when a cyclist is slowing traffic down on a busy road when a perfectly good cycle trace runs next to it (as happens in the town I live in). I use this cycle track when I'm cycling. It's in perfect condition and is a pleasure to ride on but you have to detour by about 20 feet to get onto it. Those who don't use it are simply being lazy/

vampirequeen Fri 04-Sep-15 08:04:10

I have been in two collisions with cyclists. The first time I was stationary at traffic lights waiting for them to change when a cyclist who wasn't paying attention rode into the back of my car. The second was when I was turning left at a roundabout (fortunately just starting to move). A cyclist undertook me and reached the front of my car just as I started to turn. Each time the accident was the fault of the cyclist but I was on the receiving end of atrocious verbal abuse and had a damaged car.

If cyclists are going to use the roads they have to understand that there are a set of rules called the Highway Code which they have to keep.

NfkDumpling Fri 04-Sep-15 08:11:12

We have a lot of problems with the 'serious' (aka Lycra clad) cyclists on one particular busy B road near us. It's an ancient road so quite narrow in places with high banks. It has no cycle track and goes though several villages. I can understand why it's so popular as it's undulating with gentle bends and a nice fast ten mile stretch so it's often used for events. These are often not publiced, there are no warning signs and a lot of teams use the route for practice at all times of the week.

They ride in clumps, no signalling, weaving all over the place and cannot be seen on the many blind bends and seem oblivious to other road users. The other road users - slow pedalling cyclists, the occasional horse rider, tractors, harvesters, sugar beet/pea/spud lorries (they don't hang about), white van man and cars are there under sufferance as far as they're concerned.

I just wish it could be closed to all other traffic for say Sunday mornings (except through the villages obviously), so the cyclists can have free rein at a set time. It's so dangerous and there have been accidents.

Sorry, this is of the subject a bit. Just a grouse. We don't have cycle lanes. There are some under used ones in Norwich and the council is spending a fortune putting in some cycle only routes. It'll be interesting to see if they will be used.

thatbags Fri 04-Sep-15 08:41:12

Most cars nowadays have nearside wing mirrors (not to mention windows) so drivers can check for bikes on their left at junctions. If cyclists had to wait in the motorised vehicle queue, I think drivers would get even more annoyed with them. It's not unreasonable for cyclists to undertake stationary vehicles at junctions.

Jane10 Fri 04-Sep-15 08:47:06

Don't get me started on cyclists on the pavement!

sunseeker Fri 04-Sep-15 08:52:23

thatbags How often am I held up by bunches of cyclists - in the summer EVERY DAY, in the winter probably once a week. Being in a village I am used to being held up by cows, tractors and horse riders - but none of these take pleasure in causing hold ups. Undertaking is against the law - even for cyclists. I'm not saying all cyclists are like this but a significant minority are.

Anya Fri 04-Sep-15 08:52:56

Most cycle trials take place on Sundays, just a couple of times a year. The average cyclist would certainly prefer to get away from cars if they could.

I've lost two friends to bad drivers. The last was in February this year when my ex-HT, newly retired , was killed on a country road. I have been knocked off a bike when a driver overtook me then immediately turned left into her drive without signalling. It wouldn't have made any difference had she signalled as I wouldn't have had time to escape anyway.

Cyclists have a right to use roads, safely. What some drivers don't seem to realise is how vulnetable a cyclist is. Watching a documentary a few weeks ago, where the images were recorded on the cyclists head cam,,p I wasn't surprised at the near misses, bad driving, swearing, etc.. as this happens all the time. Unfortunately there are some really bad cyclists who ride through lights and speed along pavements which doesn't help.

MamaCaz Fri 04-Sep-15 09:03:58

I'm a frequent but non-serious cyclist. Where a decent cycle path exists, I will happily use it, and really wish that there were more of them. However, in many areas, the tracks have been put in without any thought for the safety of the cyclist and are quite frankly not fit for purpose. The problems can be all or any of the following: too narrow; are full of sunken drains; are full of broken glass and other detritus; are used by parked cars; they frequently end without warning, leaving cyclists stranded. On top of that, they seem to give motorists the impression that they are perfectly within their rights to pass within an inch (if you're lucky!) of a cyclist, as long as they don't go over the separating line.

As for bunches of cyclists, yes, as a car driver I sometimes find them annoying, but I am also aware that cyclists often do this for safety reasons - I have seen no end of stupid car drivers overtake a single cyclist in a place where it is ridiculously dangerous to do so, where they can't see far enough ahead to know if anything is coming the other way and where the road isn't wide enough for two cars plus a cyclist. In other words, if another car were to appear, the cyclist would at best be forced off the road. When drivers have to pass a bunch of cyclists, they make much better decisions, as they would if having to pass, for example, a slow-moving tractor. They are much less likely to gamble on nothing coming the other way.

That's my experience, anyway.

vegasmags Fri 04-Sep-15 09:04:21

Such is the death toll of cyclists on London roads that new rules are to be brought in so that HGVs must be fitted with extra safety features and in addition construction vehicles will be banned from turning left - the major cause of death.

My SiL cycles to and from work in the London rush hour, and I worry dreadfully about him although he is a careful and experienced cyclist. As a mere pram pushing pedestrian in London, I am frequently scared stiff when crossing the roads by drivers who ignore the safety and well being of others, so heaven knows how cyclists manage.

thatbags Fri 04-Sep-15 09:06:07

I don't think that coming up on the inside of stationary vehicles at a junction counts as undertaking. I used the word loosely. It is always the responsibility of drviers to make sure there is nothing in the way of any manoeuvre, even a 'simple' left turn.

sunseeker, I'm sorry you are inconvenienced by cyclists every day in summer but I suspect you are overgeneralising about cyclists, even those in clumps, taking pleasure in being in the way of other road users. They are entitled to use the road and being in a clump makes them more obvious to drivers. It also means that when drivers can overtake them, they only have one overtaking manoeuvre to do instead of a whole string.