Why So Different? I mean, really.....WHY???

Crispybug
Crispybug Posts: 58
edited June 2011 in Road beginners
I'm just back from France, riding from Limoges to Clermont Ferrand and then back again. The most startling difference between riding in France and England is the respect afforded to you by other road users.
It really is staggering, pretty much every time I was overtaken the drivers gave me at least six feet of space between me and them and quite often they would pass me on the opposite side of the road. Everyone....lorry drivers, white van man, motorcycles, everyone. The one single problem I had was when I was 'Buzzed' by a car (There was pretty much just a fag paper between us!) and guess what?? .....yep, you guessed it, the car had a British numberplate....Absolutely un-bloody-believable!!!
Mad as a box of badgers
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Comments

  • rc856
    rc856 Posts: 1,144
    That was one of the most enjoyable parts for me during the couple of times I've had my bike in France.

    Even had two lorries/buses coming towards each other but one would sit back while the other passed by with a lot of room.


    And then you get home............................ :shock: :(

    I guess it just comes down to cycling being such a big sport over there.
    Some people of here might not have even heard of the Tour de France.
    That said though, it is just common decency/good road awareness so it shouldn't be hard to give cyclists room.
  • rdt
    rdt Posts: 869
    In France there's an automatic presumption of fault on drivers if they're involved with a bike collision. So maybe that's a big factor.

    Cycling is also the national sport, so maybe more people have an awareness of cyclists (and personally know cyclists), so that could be a factor.

    Also France is a more egalitarian society, and certainly one where people are far less likely to see their vehicle of transport as a symbol of their status in society (unlike here and in the US), so drivers are less likely to look down on cyclists as a lesser form of road life, and they therefore treat them with greater respect than do many drivers here.

    Whatever the cause, it can be a joy to cycle in France, and the courtesy and respect there shown by many drivers towards cyclists is a big factor. Strangely, this contrasts a lot with their general driving skills, which often seem pretty ropey - but then again, half of them are trolleyed from their 2 hour boozy lunches.
  • MountainMonster
    MountainMonster Posts: 7,423
    Most of Europe is like that with cyclists, here in Austria is a dreamto cycle as well, as everyone has respect for other road users.

    Drivers in Europe are generally much nicer to other road users, outside of other car drivers. You would never hear in England of someone stopping to let a person cross the road, everyone has their self righteous point of view in the UK, and are too stressed.
  • Paul32uk
    Paul32uk Posts: 80
    A lot of UK drivers attitudes to cyclists suck. You only have to visit a motors forum of some kind, there is bound to be a thread ranting about cyclists somewhere and how they dont pay tax and how they shouldnt be allowed on the road bla bla bla. Unfortunately this mentality seems to be on the up too :cry:

    exercise.png
  • P_Tucker
    P_Tucker Posts: 1,878
    Jesus. During the last 8 years or so I must have cycled tens of thousands of miles on UK roads, been passed by countless vehicles and I can only remember about 2 where it was too close for comfort. But by all means continue with the hyperbole and moaning.
  • ShutUpLegs
    ShutUpLegs Posts: 3,522
    P_Tucker wrote:
    Jesus. During the last 8 years or so I must have cycled tens of thousands of miles on UK roads, been passed by countless vehicles and I can only remember about 2 where it was too close for comfort. But by all means continue with the hyperbole and moaning.

    And one of those you had swrved to avoid a pothole :wink:
  • APIII
    APIII Posts: 2,010
    P_Tucker wrote:
    Jesus. During the last 8 years or so I must have cycled tens of thousands of miles on UK roads, been passed by countless vehicles and I can only remember about 2 where it was too close for comfort. But by all means continue with the hyperbole and moaning.

    +1. There are more aggressive drivers in the UK, but they are still a minority. France is a great place to ride a bike, but it's the only place I've been berated by a driver for cycling two abreast, and that was on the Marmotte!

    Also, you do see drivers stop to let pedestrians across. Fairly common occurrence.
  • GeorgeShaw
    GeorgeShaw Posts: 764
    I think it depends where in the country you live. In the Glos countryside, people are pretty good - but it probably due to the fact that there are quite a few people cycling, and there are also a lot of horse riders who appreciate the same kind of respect. That said, on every ride there are always one or two impatient b*stards who would prefer to save 10 seconds and risk killing somebody - I had somebody overtake me on a blind S bend through a short rail tunnel last week - madness.

    If I go back to my parents' in North Kent, it's safer to presume that everybody wants to kill you.

    IMHO, drivers in France, Italy and Spain are, in general, much more considerate.
  • nakita222
    nakita222 Posts: 341
    Riding in London is like playing dodge the bullet. Drivers are so impatient. I might as well stand up in the middle of the m25 in dark clothing at night, and I would most probably be safer than I am on London's roads.
  • the unfortunate truth is where i live oldham ( officially worst roads in britain and proud )
    is that there are too many people living here and the awful roads are like a racetrack and woebetide you if you get in the way.
    that said it's a beautiful day and i'm off out for a ride!
  • CyclingBantam
    CyclingBantam Posts: 1,299
    P_Tucker wrote:
    Jesus. During the last 8 years or so I must have cycled tens of thousands of miles on UK roads, been passed by countless vehicles and I can only remember about 2 where it was too close for comfort. But by all means continue with the hyperbole and moaning.

    Ah yes, because I fogot your experiances mean that it must be the same for everyone don't they!

    I find that probably, based on my commute, 98% of drivers are fine but there is probably one needless/stupid maneuver by a driver per commute.

    The majority of drivers give adequate space and are reasonable patient when required however it does seem to be a feeling on the roads that people simply tolerate each other.

    When riding in france it seems that people go out of their way to give you space etc. A much more friendly experiance.

    I cycled to Italy last year and it was noticable the difference cycling in England one day to in France the next.

    It is a big shame that, as with everything, the minority of idiots ruin it for everyone.
  • Scrumple
    Scrumple Posts: 2,665
    Where did my comment about being excitable, and Monty Dogs comment on sportives go???


    Are we being censored?!!
  • Alibran
    Alibran Posts: 370
    France is a lovely country to cycle in. I'd actually consider moving there just for the cycling. I was constantly amazed at how patient drivers were waiting for a safe place to pass and the amount of room they gave you. I sometimes even felt a bit guilty for holding them up - never felt like that in the UK.

    Here in Spain is quite similar (driving standards in general are terrible, but they're generally respectful of cyclists), but you do get a few passing too close, usually UK plates, though.

    I have noticed the difference between different areas of the UK. We lived in Cornwall, which was great most of the time, but cycling wasn't so much fun during the school holidays with the tourists around. I also noticed that drivers in the New Forest (when I spent a week there) were much more likely to be aggresive and pass close than in Cornwall.
  • soslow
    soslow Posts: 46
    Spent two weeks in Brittany last year,fantastic rides and generally very safe riding conditions.Did have an incident with a builders merchant truck but he was having a go at every one.suffice to say the red mist had fully come down.It was quite funny watching him get more irate with evey obstacle he was faced with.
    I also enjoyed the experiance of drivers giving way to you on roundabouts! confused me at first but soon got used to them waving me out
  • Avezius
    Avezius Posts: 132
    I think it's pretty ironic that the French are well known as good considerate drivers from the cycling fraternity perspective....

    ...Because they are raving lunatics with any other road user!!! :lol:

    Always gets my goat that their drivers don't stop for pedestrians waiting at crossings - if you walk out - they stop, but if you wait, they don't. Very different from this country where 99.9% of cars automatically stop for people.

    I think it's a culture thing - over there, they love cycling & therefore consideration for cyclist's is automatic & in the public's conciousness. Over here we all look out for motorcyclists, but cycling isn't considered much. I'm convinced Its ignorance rather than anything sinister (apart from the very occasional loons & you get them everywhere).

    With the boom of cycling, maybe we need high profile ad campaigns like the motorcyclists get?
  • P_Tucker
    P_Tucker Posts: 1,878
    P_Tucker wrote:
    Jesus. During the last 8 years or so I must have cycled tens of thousands of miles on UK roads, been passed by countless vehicles and I can only remember about 2 where it was too close for comfort. But by all means continue with the hyperbole and moaning.

    Ah yes, because I fogot your experiances mean that it must be the same for everyone don't they!

    I find that probably, based on my commute, 98% of drivers are fine but there is probably one needless/stupid maneuver by a driver per commute.

    The majority of drivers give adequate space and are reasonable patient when required however it does seem to be a feeling on the roads that people simply tolerate each other.

    When riding in france it seems that people go out of their way to give you space etc. A much more friendly experiance.

    I cycled to Italy last year and it was noticable the difference cycling in England one day to in France the next.

    It is a big shame that, as with everything, the minority of idiots ruin it for everyone.

    Ah yes, because I forgot your experiences mean that it must be the same for everyone don't they!
  • sungod
    sungod Posts: 16,887
    P_Tucker wrote:
    P_Tucker wrote:
    Jesus. During the last 8 years or so I must have cycled tens of thousands of miles on UK roads, been passed by countless vehicles and I can only remember about 2 where it was too close for comfort. But by all means continue with the hyperbole and moaning.

    Ah yes, because I fogot your experiances mean that it must be the same for everyone don't they!

    I find that probably, based on my commute, 98% of drivers are fine but there is probably one needless/stupid maneuver by a driver per commute.

    The majority of drivers give adequate space and are reasonable patient when required however it does seem to be a feeling on the roads that people simply tolerate each other.

    When riding in france it seems that people go out of their way to give you space etc. A much more friendly experiance.

    I cycled to Italy last year and it was noticable the difference cycling in England one day to in France the next.

    It is a big shame that, as with everything, the minority of idiots ruin it for everyone.

    Ah yes, because I forgot your experiences mean that it must be the same for everyone don't they!

    you are the one who accused others of "hyperbole and moaning", you clearly have little respect for other's experiences, so you should not feel surprised when this is reciprocated
    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • CyclingBantam
    CyclingBantam Posts: 1,299
    sungod wrote:
    P_Tucker wrote:
    P_Tucker wrote:
    Jesus. During the last 8 years or so I must have cycled tens of thousands of miles on UK roads, been passed by countless vehicles and I can only remember about 2 where it was too close for comfort. But by all means continue with the hyperbole and moaning.

    Ah yes, because I fogot your experiances mean that it must be the same for everyone don't they!

    I find that probably, based on my commute, 98% of drivers are fine but there is probably one needless/stupid maneuver by a driver per commute.

    The majority of drivers give adequate space and are reasonable patient when required however it does seem to be a feeling on the roads that people simply tolerate each other.

    When riding in france it seems that people go out of their way to give you space etc. A much more friendly experiance.

    I cycled to Italy last year and it was noticable the difference cycling in England one day to in France the next.

    It is a big shame that, as with everything, the minority of idiots ruin it for everyone.

    Ah yes, because I forgot your experiences mean that it must be the same for everyone don't they!

    you are the one who accused others of "hyperbole and moaning", you clearly have little respect for other's experiences, so you should not feel surprised when this is reciprocated

    Did you really just reply with that P Tucker?! :oops:

    You slated what everyone else was saying. I was clearly ("I find","It seems") talking aboit my opinion.

    Actually, I am not sure why I am trying to explain! :lol:
  • MountainMonster
    MountainMonster Posts: 7,423
    MMM P Tucker, the hard man trying to proove himself.

    Lovely type of people they are
  • hokum
    hokum Posts: 30
    P_Tucker wrote:
    Jesus. During the last 8 years or so I must have cycled tens of thousands of miles on UK roads, been passed by countless vehicles and I can only remember about 2 where it was too close for comfort. But by all means continue with the hyperbole and moaning.

    You're lucky then. I get close calls with cars every single time, guaranteed. It's not just wankers who drive past with centimetres to spare, it's the unbelievable cretins who overtake on corners or bridges and put oncoming traffic at risk too.

    Amazingly the most recent occurence was the support vehicle for a sportive. It had flashing lights and a sign on the back saying "Caution: Cyclists", and not only came close to hitting a group of us but overtook while there was oncoming traffic, going down the middle of the road with cars on both sides. It was an amazing display of stupidity.
  • T-Rekster
    T-Rekster Posts: 110
    P_Tucker wrote:
    Jesus. During the last 8 years or so I must have cycled tens of thousands of miles on UK roads, been passed by countless vehicles and I can only remember about 2 where it was too close for comfort. But by all means continue with the hyperbole and moaning.

    I'd challenge you to take the A1307 Haverhill to Cambridge Commute at rush hour and still have the same opinion, 20 miles of almost constant near death experiences, done it a few times but decided the laws of averages and chance were stacking up against my chances of surviving further trips.

    Worst is the dual carriageway sections when the car wanting to overtake the HGV does not see me and leaves the HGV no where to go to resulting in a fright for the HGV driver, an oblivious car driver and me the poor cyclist sitting 3 inchs from the 60mph spinning wheels of said HGV..... when this happens 4-5 times in a single journey you start to doubt your ability to continue surviving that route.




    .
  • P_Tucker
    P_Tucker Posts: 1,878
    T-Rekster wrote:
    P_Tucker wrote:
    Jesus. During the last 8 years or so I must have cycled tens of thousands of miles on UK roads, been passed by countless vehicles and I can only remember about 2 where it was too close for comfort. But by all means continue with the hyperbole and moaning.

    I'd challenge you to take the A1307 Haverhill to Cambridge Commute at rush hour and still have the same opinion, 20 miles of almost constant near death experiences, done it a few times but decided the laws of averages and chance were stacking up against my chances of surviving further trips.

    Worst is the dual carriageway sections when the car wanting to overtake the HGV does not see me and leaves the HGV no where to go to resulting in a fright for the HGV driver, an oblivious car driver and me the poor cyclist sitting 3 inchs from the 60mph spinning wheels of said HGV..... when this happens 4-5 times in a single journey you start to doubt your ability to continue surviving that route.




    .

    Maybe my lack of bad experiences is because I avoid unsafe roads.
  • Alibran
    Alibran Posts: 370
    hokum wrote:
    it's the unbelievable cretins who overtake on corners or bridges and put oncoming traffic at risk too.

    We get those here. But they still give cyclists plenty of room.
  • T-Rekster
    T-Rekster Posts: 110
    P_Tucker wrote:

    Maybe my lack of bad experiences is because I avoid unsafe roads.

    No such thing as an unsafe road, this is almost as bad as the speed kills statement...

    Roads don't kill people, speed does not kill people, inappropriate use of either does kill people, in short people kill people..............



    .
  • mattshrops
    mattshrops Posts: 1,134
    two different experiences in 24 hrs. Last night i did a bit of marshalling on a local road race. we stopped a bit of traffic, smiled and thanked them after- not one problem.
    today out for a ride some guy overtakes me on a nice wide road plenty of room and starts giving me the w@nker sign in his rear view.go figure. needless to say i saw him on his way with a cheery wave and a smile :wink:

    On France yes to the above but also its about 5 times the size of uk with the same population- thats gotta help.
    Death or Glory- Just another Story
  • T-Rekster
    T-Rekster Posts: 110
    mattshrops wrote:
    On France yes to the above but also its about 5 times the size of uk with the same population- thats gotta help.


    Now that is the most sensible point in this thread so far...



    .
  • ForumNewbie
    ForumNewbie Posts: 1,664
    Lots of drivers in UK pass too close by trying to squeeze past rather than wait for cars coming the other way to pass. In particular I find that van drivers, taxis and the like that consider themselves professional drivers as they do it for a living, generally pass too close rather than give a wide berth.

    What they don't seem to realise is that we could have a wobble or hit a pot hole putting us right into their path as they are so close.
  • dabber
    dabber Posts: 1,938
    T-Rekster wrote:
    mattshrops wrote:
    On France yes to the above but also its about 5 times the size of uk with the same population- thats gotta help.


    Now that is the most sensible point in this thread so far...



    .

    I think it's very relevant. In the area of France (Dept 46 - the Lot) I regularly visit and cycle in, the traffic is really light. A couple of weeks I cycled along a main(ish) road alongside the River Lot for around 10 miles and not one car passed me ( only a few came the other way. Once I was off this main road and onto the lanes there was just about no traffic.
    “You may think that; I couldn’t possibly comment!”

    Wilier Cento Uno SR/Wilier Mortirolo/Specialized Roubaix Comp/Kona Hei Hei/Calibre Bossnut
  • P_Tucker
    P_Tucker Posts: 1,878
    T-Rekster wrote:
    P_Tucker wrote:

    Maybe my lack of bad experiences is because I avoid unsafe roads.

    No such thing as an unsafe road, this is almost as bad as the speed kills statement...

    Roads don't kill people, speed does not kill people, inappropriate use of either does kill people, in short people kill people..............
    .

    Whereas in the real world, a busy narrow 60mph single carriageway is inherently more dangerous for a cyclist than a deserted country lane. Shouldn't be, I agree, but it is.
  • PhilofCas
    PhilofCas Posts: 1,153
    Isn't it a bit deeper than 'cyclists versus car drivers', I think it's more like 'good people versus wankers', we must have a greater ratio of wankers than the rest of Europe.