Know your enemy - a guide to other road users

secretsam
secretsam Posts: 5,117
edited August 2015 in Commuting chat
I thought it might be useful to noobs on here to get a quick guide to other road users. So here is the definitive guide, complete with a “risk rating” out of 10, where the higher the score, the more life-threatening they are to the average cyclist…(note that the below is written with major cities in mind). Enjoy, but be careful out there…

Lorries: generally well driven and prefer straight lines, awareness suffers due to their size. Catastrophic blind spots, however – those little signs on the back about “if you can’t see my mirrors…” should be observed and the advice followed. Risk rating: generally a 5 unless on an open road (8). 10 if you’re daft enough to crawl up the inside of one that’s turning left…

Van Drivers AKA undiagnosed psychopaths in transit: beware smaller vans “driven” by builders/plumbers where more nimble means more dangerous. Typical behaviours include non-functioning indicators/brake lights/reversing lights/lights in general, darting across lanes, sudden left turns, RLJing etc. Verbal abuse to all and sundry inevitable, regardless of whether person in question is in the right. Risk rating: 9 +1 for white and small vans

Cars (private, good condition): depending on the driver, usually fine if you behave yourself. Awareness of bikes and the needs thereof not good, however…so: Risk Rating: normal: 6. Driver over 65+1. Driver under 21 +2. Driver on mobile +4.

Cars (chavvy pimped-up MaxPower): remember the equation: [size of exhaust] x [volume of music played] is inversely proportional to driver skill. Donor cards should be mandatory for all drivers and their passengers. Risk Rating: 10

Cars (private, tatty): the car reflects the driver. Avoid like a wet manhole cover. Likely to be driven erratically, taking out anything in its path. Risk Rating: 9
Buses: have mirrors for decoration only. Not so much beset by blind spots as "not bothering to look" spots. Drivers drive with invisible blinkers on, use of turn signals usually instantly followed by a change of direction, regardless of approaching traffic, ambulances, width of road, etc. Occasional encounters with low bridges can be messy. Best to give a wide berth. Risk Rating: 9

Taxis (London black cab): driven by the self-proclaimed “best drivers in the world”. Reality is that they are driven by Daily Mail loving self-centred loons, who will cut up bikes, cars, other taxis, ambulances on a shout and anything else that dares to get in their way. However, rarely seem to actually HIT anything…Risk Rating: 7, but +2 in heavy traffic as passengers likely to open doors and de-camp without looking…

Taxis (other, including private hire): as for London cabbies, without the driving skill. Stay several miles away from these. Risk rating: 9

Motorbike (courier): they know the score, take calculated risks and have the scars to prove it. However, usually self-employed so will avoid life-threatening manoeuvres on the whole. But will dive for a gap like a pigeon dives on a loaf of Warburtons. Risk rating: 6

Motorbike (non-courier): most commonly seem to be ridden by middle aged men these days. More power than (road) sense. Erratic lane changes a speciality. Risk Rating: 7, but +2 if not wearing full PPE (leathers, boots, etc.). +1 if it’s raining.

Scooter: rin-nin-nin-nin-nin zoom zoom zoom. All ridden as if the other traffic is only virtual. Riders generally seem intent on keeping paramedics in gainful employment. No gap too small, no cutting-up opportunity too good to miss. Avoid like the plague. Risk rating: 9. +1 if suited and booted and wearing trendy helmet. +infinity if rider’s plums not fully descended.

Cyclist (courier): all mental. Red lights, pedestrian crossings, pedestrians, none apply. Only vaguely sensible when going home, i.e. off duty. Otherwise absolute biscuit-copulators (i.e. f**king crackers). Unlikely to actually hit you, though…Risk rating: 7

Cyclist (other (excl. Boris bikes)): huge variation, ranging from lycra fiends to fakengers to basket toting dodderers. Generally harmless but there are exceptions. Risk rating: 6, but +1 for fakengers and +2 for BMXs. +3 if bike obviously stolen (e.g. bike has SPDs but rider wearing jeans and trainers). +4 if ridden at under walking pace on clear road. + 1 if RLJ, using headphones, have a basket, etc.

Cyclist (Boris bike): a bit London specific, but should those of you lucky enough never to enter the M25 ever change your minds…anyway, usually ridden by people with only a vague grasp on the joys of balance. Seem to have the directional sense of a shopping trolley. Avoid. Risk rating: 9.

Pedestrians: lemmings. All of them. Assume they WILL step out in front of you. Bells totally pointless, shouting usually best…Risk rating: 9 but + several million if they have a headphones and / or mobile phone in use.

Emergency vehicles: you know what to do. If you're in the way, you get what you deserve. Risk rating: 10.

Pigeons: catastrophically stupid. More unpredictable than the accuracy of a Met forecast. Despite near 360-degree vision, seem incapable of seeing bikes. Unlikely to cause a fatal collision, but extremely messy to clean off your bike. Risk rating: 3

New improved - Rural riders options!

Horses: the 4 legged equivalent of a caravan, the barely controllable ridden by the probably certifiable. Unpredictable and lethal, rather like a bus but more likely to emit poo. Risk rating: 9

[b}Sheep:[/b] Intensely stupid, same lemming tendencies as pedestrians (see above), although less likely to wear headphones. Risk rating: 7

Cows: like a slower moving horse, sans rider. Same rules apply. Poo quotient exponentially increased. Risk rating: 3

Pheasants: the rural equivalent of pigeons, see above.

It's just a hill. Get over it.
«13

Comments

  • Gussio
    Gussio Posts: 2,452
    You have way too much time on your hands :lol:
  • Gussio
    Gussio Posts: 2,452
    Oh, and buses are missing from the otherwise comprehensive list.....
  • It's nonsense, lorries are proportionately a small percentage of London traffic yet have killed five cyclists this year. They pose easily the greatest danger and flat bed tippers and scaffolding and skip lorry drivers often appear to be raving sociopaths.
  • gbsahne001
    gbsahne001 Posts: 1,973
    ...so are horses, which is pertinent to those of us in the sticks
  • Gussio
    Gussio Posts: 2,452
    We have horses on the Kings Road some mornings....cheers me up no end.
  • thecrofter
    thecrofter Posts: 734
    Well done SS, brought a smile on an otherwise boring Friday morning. Hope you've got your tin hat on as I suspect some will take this seriously.

    The more I see of some of the threads on here the happier I get I don't have to travel in London. Some of the helmet cam footage is just scary, and I'm pretty confident on the road. But the attitude of some of the road users, cyclists included, is horrendous.
    You've no won the Big Cup since 1902!
  • EKE_38BPM
    EKE_38BPM Posts: 5,821
    It's nonsense, lorries are proportionately a small percentage of London traffic yet have killed five cyclists this year. They pose easily the greatest danger and flat bed tippers and scaffolding and skip lorry drivers often appear to be raving sociopaths.

    However, for the miles driven, HGVs are the safest vehicles on the road. The majority of that mileage is on motorways though and bikes aren't allowed on there so the stats are skewed.
    Maybe someone should redo the accident stats to account for the amount of collisions in an urban environment?
    FCN 3: Raleigh Record Ace fixie-to be resurrected sometime in the future
    FCN 4: Planet X Schmaffenschmack 2- workhorse
    FCN 9: B Twin Vitamin - winter commuter/loan bike for trainees

    I'm hungry. I'm always hungry!
  • Confusedboy
    Confusedboy Posts: 287
    Another category: Police vans. Like taxis but driven with less skill, total arrogance, and complete lack of spacial awareness-these WILL hit you. Like taxi drivers, their drivers have no concept of what the little orange flashing lights on the corners of the vehicle are for. Scores 9 minimum, risk increases the closer it is to shift change time. Police cars are usually driven reasonably well.
  • dhope
    dhope Posts: 6,699
    EKE_38BPM wrote:
    It's nonsense, lorries are proportionately a small percentage of London traffic yet have killed five cyclists this year. They pose easily the greatest danger and flat bed tippers and scaffolding and skip lorry drivers often appear to be raving sociopaths.

    However, for the miles driven, HGVs are the safest vehicles on the road. The majority of that mileage is on motorways though and bikes aren't allowed on there so the stats are skewed.
    Maybe someone should redo the accident stats to account for the amount of collisions in an urban environment?

    Passenger airliners are extremely safe for the miles covered but I don't fancy filtering around one in Bank :wink:
    Rose Xeon CW Disc
    CAAD12 Disc
    Condor Tempo
  • secretsam
    secretsam Posts: 5,117
    Gussio wrote:
    Oh, and buses are missing from the otherwise comprehensive list.....

    Now corrected, thanks for the heads up (now there's a phrase that is unfamiliar to bus drivers)

    It's just a hill. Get over it.
  • t4tomo
    t4tomo Posts: 2,643
    Special category needed for 4X4s driven by yummy mummies. Usually obligatory to be on mobile phone whilst driving one of these, and be facing backwards taking to the kids. And you expect them to actually see you on you're bike?
    Bianchi Infinito CV
    Bianchi Via Nirone 7 Ultegra
    Brompton S Type
    Carrera Vengeance Ultimate Ltd
    Gary Fisher Aquila '98
    Front half of a Viking Saratoga Tandem
  • secretsam
    secretsam Posts: 5,117
    gbsahne wrote:
    ...so are horses, which is pertinent to those of us in the sticks

    Don't even start me on horses, the 4 legged equivalent of the caravan. It's an interesting thing that most people treat them with reverence on the road, yet will happily cut up a bike...

    Have kept them out as OP is unashamedly city-centric, but feel free to do a write-up.

    It's just a hill. Get over it.
  • secretsam
    secretsam Posts: 5,117
    Gussio wrote:
    You have way too much time on your hands :lol:

    I've been planning this for some time, it's been fermenting in my otherwise empty mind :lol: I type fast, anyway, so took about 10 minutes from brain to PC :shock:

    It's just a hill. Get over it.
  • EKE_38BPM
    EKE_38BPM Posts: 5,821
    dhope wrote:
    EKE_38BPM wrote:
    It's nonsense, lorries are proportionately a small percentage of London traffic yet have killed five cyclists this year. They pose easily the greatest danger and flat bed tippers and scaffolding and skip lorry drivers often appear to be raving sociopaths.

    However, for the miles driven, HGVs are the safest vehicles on the road. The majority of that mileage is on motorways though and bikes aren't allowed on there so the stats are skewed.
    Maybe someone should redo the accident stats to account for the amount of collisions in an urban environment?

    Passenger airliners are extremely safe for the miles covered but I don't fancy filtering around one in Bank :wink:

    Hang back then. Take primary behind them and be aware of the strength of the jet wash (the exhaust coming from a jet engine, not the high powered water jets used to clean things).
    FCN 3: Raleigh Record Ace fixie-to be resurrected sometime in the future
    FCN 4: Planet X Schmaffenschmack 2- workhorse
    FCN 9: B Twin Vitamin - winter commuter/loan bike for trainees

    I'm hungry. I'm always hungry!
  • nation
    nation Posts: 609
    SecretSam wrote:
    gbsahne wrote:
    ...so are horses, which is pertinent to those of us in the sticks

    Don't even start me on horses, the 4 legged equivalent of the caravan. It's an interesting thing that most people treat them with reverence on the road, yet will happily cut up a bike...

    Have kept them out as OP is unashamedly city-centric, but feel free to do a write-up.

    Drivers steer clear of them because they're half a ton of questionably sane, barely predictable muscle. An adult horse will have no trouble at all destroying a car if it's angry or scared enough.

    Also, as MTBers tend to learn very quickly, freewheel clicking spooks horses like nothing else.
  • Daithi
    Daithi Posts: 184
    Sheep! Which way will they run or will they stand still or will there one just round the corner on this fast, moorland descent? 9

    Cattle - big & scary but don't move fast. 2
    Daithi, Cardiff
  • Stiff_Orange
    Stiff_Orange Posts: 218
    SecretSam wrote:
    Gussio wrote:
    Oh, and buses are missing from the otherwise comprehensive list.....

    Now corrected, thanks for the heads up (now there's a phrase that is unfamiliar to bus drivers)

    I think you missed bendy buses which have a risk rating of 11 (Spinal Tap style) with their ability to whip the back end around and take out cyclists.
  • Gussio
    Gussio Posts: 2,452
    Its enough to make you want to ride on the pavement :wink:
  • EKE_38BPM
    EKE_38BPM Posts: 5,821
    SecretSam wrote:
    Gussio wrote:
    Oh, and buses are missing from the otherwise comprehensive list.....

    Now corrected, thanks for the heads up (now there's a phrase that is unfamiliar to bus drivers)

    I think you missed bendy buses which have a risk rating of 11 (Spinal Tap style) with their ability to whip the back end around and take out cyclists.

    I don't like them either, but other than randomly bursting into flames, I don't think they are any more dangerous than any other bus. Didn't Boris have to back track about how dangerous they are when it was pointed out that no cyclist had been killed by one?
    They'll be gone soon enough though.
    FCN 3: Raleigh Record Ace fixie-to be resurrected sometime in the future
    FCN 4: Planet X Schmaffenschmack 2- workhorse
    FCN 9: B Twin Vitamin - winter commuter/loan bike for trainees

    I'm hungry. I'm always hungry!
  • secretsam
    secretsam Posts: 5,117
    Right, have now added in various rural options, and included pigeons seeing as they currently seem hell-bent on colliding with me. Have also input their more deranged country cousins, the pheasants.

    It's just a hill. Get over it.
  • will3
    will3 Posts: 2,173
    you missed out deer (rural non richmond park breed)
    Liable to jump out unseen from a hedge without warning.
  • bails87
    bails87 Posts: 12,998
    I find bus drivers are ok, very good actually. And middle aged drivers are, IME, the worst for squeezing through way too fast in gaps that are way too small. I find it's quite easy to make a younger driver wait, whereas Mr E-Class/Range Rover will push through regardless. Doddery old folk are terrifying though!

    Good OP though! :lol:
    MTB/CX

    "As I said last time, it won't happen again."
  • secretsam
    secretsam Posts: 5,117
    will3 wrote:
    you missed out deer (rural non richmond park breed)
    Liable to jump out unseen from a hedge without warning.

    I'll put that one to the vote. I've never encountered a deer whislt out riding, at least not a live one. It's in that same category as badgers - I see dead ones only.

    I might consider dogs worthy of inclusion. They're a bit like buses, but with teeth.

    It's just a hill. Get over it.
  • bails87
    bails87 Posts: 12,998
    SecretSam wrote:
    will3 wrote:
    you missed out deer (rural non richmond park breed)
    Liable to jump out unseen from a hedge without warning.

    I'll put that one to the vote. I've never encountered a deer whislt out riding, at least not a live one..
    MTBing on Cannock Chase one night and one of the guys was almost taken out by a stag leaping across the trail.
    But it probably is a little bit obscure for commuters.
    MTB/CX

    "As I said last time, it won't happen again."
  • yocto
    yocto Posts: 86
    Great list.

    Though two more to add:

    1) Young children on bikes, for when you’re pootling in a public park. Despite making sure you are on the otherside of the path (as far away from them as possible) and going as slow as you can ride (without falling over) so that the kid can see you approaching, they still manage to ride straight into you!!

    2) Dogs. Again for when you’re pootling in a park. They somehow fail to realise the threat you pose them if they were to get run over and dash right under one of your wheels. Then there’s the dog owner to be worried about, who you will scream at you for running over the damn thing!!
  • unixnerd
    unixnerd Posts: 2,864
    You forgot rabbits. I had one jump out from the side of road straight at my front wheel last week. Missed it by an inch!
    http://www.strathspey.co.uk - Quality Binoculars at a Sensible Price.
    Specialized Roubaix SL3 Expert 2012, Cannondale CAAD5,
    Marin Mount Vision (1997), Edinburgh Country tourer, 3 cats!
  • will3
    will3 Posts: 2,173
    unixnerd wrote:
    You forgot rabbits. I had one jump out from the side of road straight at my front wheel last week. Missed it by an inch!

    oh yeah so nearly flattened one the other day.
    Also saw a decapitated one on a bike path. Not sure if that went through someone's wheel but..........


    deer - I nearly get taken out by them 1-2 times a year.
  • hfidgen
    hfidgen Posts: 340
    Christ - 9,9,7,6,9,10,10

    This just confirms my assumption that everything on the road is trying to kill me :shock:
    FCN 4 - BMC CX02
  • Kieran_Burns
    Kieran_Burns Posts: 9,757
    edited July 2011
    EKE_38BPM wrote:
    dhope wrote:
    EKE_38BPM wrote:
    It's nonsense, lorries are proportionately a small percentage of London traffic yet have killed five cyclists this year. They pose easily the greatest danger and flat bed tippers and scaffolding and skip lorry drivers often appear to be raving sociopaths.

    However, for the miles driven, HGVs are the safest vehicles on the road. The majority of that mileage is on motorways though and bikes aren't allowed on there so the stats are skewed.
    Maybe someone should redo the accident stats to account for the amount of collisions in an urban environment?

    Passenger airliners are extremely safe for the miles covered but I don't fancy filtering around one in Bank :wink:

    Hang back then. Take primary behind them and be aware of the strength of the jet wash (the exhaust coming from a jet engine, not the high powered water jets used to clean things).

    Yeah.... but the headwind can be a little intimidating...

    th_tornadotakeoff3.jpg

    (click for full size)

    I stunk of jet fuel for days afterwards....
    Chunky Cyclists need your love too! :-)
    2009 Specialized Tricross Sport
    2011 Trek Madone 4.5
    2012 Felt F65X
    Proud CX Pervert and quiet roadie. 12 mile commuter