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To expect cyclists to keep their hands on the handlebars?

(56 Posts)
M0nica Mon 14-Aug-17 17:16:32

This morning as we drove through a local village on the way to the railway station, we saw a cyclist ahead of us going hell for leather, DH drew out to overtake him and then sharply went to the far side of the road. because the cyclist while cycling as if his life depended on it, did not have his hands on the handle bars because he was busy using his phone, as he needed two hands, presumably texting.

AS DH said, he moved so far out because if the cyclist had come off his bike and been run over the driver (DH) would have been held to blame, not the cyclist.

The cyclist was grey haired and looked as if he he was in his 50s.

Luckygirl Mon 14-Aug-17 17:29:54

Cyclists can be irresponsible and that is deeply disturbing as it puts them at risk and the driver at risk of causing an injury through no fault of their own.

I have no problem with responsible cyclists like my SIL.

But round here they tend to ride in packs, which is hugely dangerous on country lanes.

goldengirl Mon 14-Aug-17 17:42:35

Was in London recently and a cyclist went through a red light at a rate of knots - there was no special cycle lane - and those of us trying to cross the road in a speedy fashion just had to get the hxll out of the way!!! And then they moan they get carved up. Surely it takes two and all that.

ninathenana Mon 14-Aug-17 18:03:46

The common one round here is to bounce up the pavement at a red light and back on to the road the other side without a thought for who is on the pavement or what's behind them on the road.
I confess as a teen to riding my bike with no hands blush but obviously I wasn't using a mobile at the time and in our little town not much traffic.
That's my excuse anyway.

ninathenana Mon 14-Aug-17 18:04:56

no hands on the handle bars gringrin

Baggs Mon 14-Aug-17 20:44:54

Actually it's quite easy to cycle no hands in certain conditions. I used to do it a lot on a certain stretch of, admittedly, cycle-path rather than road. Never came a-cropper. Never tried texting while cycling though.

The balance depends on the bike as well as the rider. Some balance easier than others.

And drivers overtaking cyclists are always supposed to leave enough room for the cyclist to suddenly fall off sideways into the road, which often means driving on the otger side of the road while overtaking, just as it does when overtaking a car so your DH wasn't forced to do something he shouldn't have been doing anyway.

Baggs Mon 14-Aug-17 20:46:33

It was to rest my hands/wrists, in case anyone's wondering.

M0nica Mon 14-Aug-17 21:05:00

*Baggs, We are always very careful around cyclists, my sister was killed when she was knocked of her bike on her way to work. DH was already leaving falling room for one cyclist but he actually ended up leaving enough space for three cyclists riding abreast to fall over. The speed of the cyclist was such he could have been thrown quite some distance if he had come off.

'It is quite easy to cycle no hands in certain conditions' but I do not think these conditions include when you are cycling at speed on a potholed road while texting.

By any standards this was dangerous and negligent cycling and if a police car had come along he would have been stopped and ended up with a charge rather than just a warning. If it is illegal to use a phone while driving it is surely illegal to use a phone while cycling.

AlieOxon Mon 14-Aug-17 21:46:17

I've seen one with headphones on and using both hands to text! So many without lights at night, too, especially in autumn. I call them - suicyclists!

Charleygirl Mon 14-Aug-17 22:12:09

I live in London and today I was pootling behind a cyclist because it was not safe for me to overtake. I had a feeling that when we came to the traffic lights which were on red he would speed up and belt through which is what he did. No helmet and if he came off his bike his thin T shirt would not have saved him. A total idiot.

Oldwoman70 Tue 15-Aug-17 07:44:58

Sorry Baggs but cycling without holding onto the handle bars is just stupid and dangerous - no matter where you are. Whilst most cyclists are sensible there are many who consider themselves kings (and queens) of the road and everyone must make way for them. The things which scare me are the ones who cycle with their eyes fixed on their front wheel and those who ride at night without lights.

gillybob Tue 15-Aug-17 08:22:33

We have cycle lanes galore in our town and surrounding areas. In fact I could use a cycle lane from almost my front door right to my place of work which is in another town. The fact that they are there makes not a fig of difference as the majority of those "hell for leather cyclists" don't bother to use them. They seem to prefer causing a backlog of traffic on the main road while the cycle lane (designed for their safety) goes ignored.

Baggs Tue 15-Aug-17 09:02:00

Oldwoman, I guess you haven't cycled in the conditions to which I was referring. Yes, there's an added risk of falling off a bike if you are steering by balance rather than with your hands on the handlebars. But that doesn't mean it's more dangerous than many another activity that humans engage in, nor that it is a silly thing to do. Try telling unicyclists and circus cyclists that wink.

Cyclists do steer by balance as well as by the handlebars, you know. Some people are good at it, some aren't. Most never do it at all.

Also, it depends, as I said, on the circumstances and conditions. Nothing I said advocates steering by balance on a road where there is other traffic. Nothing I said advocates doing it on a road at all, in fact. I merely commented that it's quite easy. I've had several bikes and one of them was better for it than the others. On some of them I found it impossible.

The thing is, there's nothing in the OP to suggest that the cyclist was causing a danger to anyone else. The OP just found the sight of the cyclist alarming and described what her H had to do when overtaking. I said overtaking drivers should do what he did anyway, at all times. So I don't agree that there was anything to get stressed about. That is all.

There will now follow more rants about bad cyclists, who probably occur in equal proportion to bad motor vehicle drivers. This is possibly because most cyclists are also car drivers so maybe all bad cyclists are also bad drivers or maybe it's the bad drivers who are bad cyclists. Take your pick.

Baggs Tue 15-Aug-17 09:04:57

Oh yeah, and the reason I ever did it was arthritic pain in my wrists and shoulders. I used balance steering in suitable conditions (that seems to need stressing) for a bit of relief. I wasn't doing it to show off.

It was fun though ?

Baggs Tue 15-Aug-17 09:09:37

So, in answer to the thread title, no it's not unreasonable to expect cyclists to keep their hands on the handlebars.

But it is unreasonable to get stressed when they don't but are not making overtaking them any more difficult than it usually is.

Have people got the point yet? You have to leave the same amount of space for a bike as you do for a car. If you don't you aren't driving safely.

Luckygirl Tue 15-Aug-17 10:26:00

So if they are cycling 3 abreast you have to allow 3 cars width! There is barely room for one car on our roads here!

Baggs Tue 15-Aug-17 11:09:54

If they are cycling three abreast you have to stay behind them until you can overtake leaving a car width gap. If such an opportunity doesn't arise thrn you just have to stay behind just as you would behind some other vehicle that didn't allow enough room, or if there were lots of bends in the road.

When cyclists near us cycle three abreast, or even two abreast, most will go into single file to enable overtaking but one might have to stay behind them for a mile or two even then.

Baggs Tue 15-Aug-17 11:11:51

Cyclists are legitimate road users, as are pedestrians when there isn't a footpath.

NanaandGrampy Tue 15-Aug-17 11:23:43

Maybe this is slightly pertinent - read it on my newsfeed this morning

The thing that stood out for me was this comment by the cyclist :*“It is a pretty serious incident so I won’t bother saying oh she deserved it, it’s her fault. Yes it is her fault but no she did not deserve it.*

“Hopefully, it is a lesson learned on her behalf, it shouldn’t have happened like it did but what more can I say.”

Its hard to see how she would have learned any lesson as she's dead !

For those not interested in the link , he was riding a bike without front brakes which is illegal anyway.

I have found some cyclists seem to think the rules don't apply to them just as some car drivers to be fair.

M0nica Tue 15-Aug-17 12:24:34

Oh, for heavens sake Baggs. DH was obeying all the rules. He is a member of the Institute for Advanced Motorists and is a careful driver. The nature of his work means he has driven 20,000 miles a year here and all round the world for nearly 50 years - and is still working and has never caused an accident and I can only remember him being in one, when someone drove into the back of him at speed, and admitted that DH was not at fault.

Why be so picky about minutae about the driver when it was the cyclist who was at fault. I was not complaining about the cyclist causing us problems. He didn't. As an IAM driver DH handled it as he would any other hazard on the road and overtook safely.He was leaving the legal recommended space between him and the cyclist but rapidly increased it when he noted how dangerously the cyclist was behaving.

Let me repeat, we have suffered a cyclist death in our family, I would hate to see any other family suffer as we did and particularly when they knew that their cyclist caused his own demise. W,e at least, were spared that.

We have a lot of cyclist in our part of the world, lycra-ed young men commuting by bike on country roads at high speeds and almost all of them are exemplary cyclists, except, as another poster noted, from their disinclination to use cycle lanes, even when they are newly built and in excellent order.

This idiot, was, I assess, in his 50s, cycling along a village road with parked cars dotted along it intermittently, apart from anything else, if he had miscalulated or not lifted his head in time he could have ridden at speed into the back of a stationary car and that sort of accident can very easily be fatal for a cyclist, even one wearing a helmet.

Baggs Tue 15-Aug-17 12:32:28

I have not accused your DH of anything or sttacked him in any way at all, monica. I merely pointed out that what he did is what drivers are supposed to do and good for him.

And I conversed about cycling without hands on handlebars in places where nobody is in danger from anything else.

Stop assuming I'm criticising.

M0nica Tue 15-Aug-17 15:14:50

Yes, but I started this thread to talk specifically about an occasion when someone was cycling without their hands on the handle bars and texting in a situation where it was dangerous for them to do so.

Discussions about where cycling like that would be entirely permissible are not really relevant.

Baggs Tue 15-Aug-17 18:53:46

I thought I was just chatting. I also thought that what I said was relevant in a chatty inconsequential way which I believe is allowed even when the OP might not have foreseen that.

Given how often I've remarked on the sensibleness of your posts, how often I've agreed with you, and how often I've deliberately been a bit of a mischievous tyke of Gransnet (and everywhere else), I'm surprised you took it the way you have.

The no hands on handlebars really isn't as dangerous as it looks, you know. I've fallen off a few times (ice and stuff like that) and been knocked off by cars (and a bus once) when my hands were on the handlebars and I wasn't doing anything wrong but I've never had a mishap with balance steering. Just saying.

Texting while riding does sound iffy.

bikergran Tue 15-Aug-17 18:59:47

Nanna I read that article myself this morning...sounded quite horrific injuries that she died from! and the arrogance of that lad!

M0nica Tue 15-Aug-17 21:37:33

Sorry, Baggs, but there are times when humour is misplaced. As I mentioned twice my dearly loved sister was killed when she came off her bike.

A lorry clipped her rear wheel when he was turning right out of a T junction, probably travelling at little more than walking pace and looking left for oncoming traffic. The reason he did not see the cyclist was because he was turning into a tree lined road with cars parked nose to tale. She was coming from the right, but hidden from him by the cars and foliage. The driver was driving neither recklessly nor carelessly.

When you see how fragile cyclists are in situations where no-one has done anything stupid you have scant sympathy for those, drivers or cyclists, who risk their lives by acting stupidly.

When you see and suffer the grief that goes with a death like that, elderly parents brought low, friends and family devastated and know how the families of even those cyclists who bring disaster upon themselves will suffer. I am afraid a sense of humour leaches away.