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Hanging my cycling boots

balfourbalfour Posts: 8
edited September 2017 in Commuting general
The gov recently gave their support to electric cars to help reduce air pollution, since then you keep seeing in the news all sorts of silly ideas to cut air pollution, the latest being motorways covered by tunnels. The gov didn't mention how it would generate all the electricity required to power all these cars... Maybe by blowing into wind turbines?

In all this and over all the years, I haven't seen any serious idea to encourage cycling, for surely, this is a better way to cut down on air pollution?

I live in Greater Manchester and anyone living in that area knows there are constant roadworks and development. Yet no provision has been made for cycling. I've got a few examples but this post is going to be too long.

I commute to work on bicycle and have had near misses with both cars and cyclists. A cyclist recently overtook me on my left. There was so little space and he was so close to me that I had the shock of my life when he drew level with me. If cyclists are a danger to cyclists, it's a hopeless case for cyclists.

I've had my share of rude and aggressive drivers and... cyclists.

I used to cycle a lot in London and people there in my time, cyclists and drivers, were far more polite and considerate than now in Manchester. I never felt scared on the roads there, despite the traffic. Now I keep looking over my shoulder, expecting cyclists or cars to unseat me.

For all these reasons I've decided to give up cycling. I will join the drivers and contribute to more air pollution instead. It's the safer way. Cycling is too dangerous and it's not getting better. I've got a young family now and cannot afford to end up a cripple. I would not encourage my kids to cycle on the road either.

Posts

  • andy9964andy9964 Posts: 930
    So, in a nutshell, you
    A) Join a cycling forum
    B) 1st post is, telling everyone you're giving up cycling

    Well done, have a banana :roll:
  • kingstongrahamkingstongraham Posts: 16,628
    Been nice to know you over all this time.
  • balfourbalfour Posts: 8
    Ha ha, yes, though I've been on this forum for a long time.
    I just wanted to start some conversation about where people see cycling going. With all this air pollution thing going on,I'd have hoped for more facilities/infrastructure on cycling.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    balfour wrote:
    For all these reasons I've decided to give up cycling. I will join the drivers and contribute to more air pollution instead. It's the safer way. Cycling is too dangerous and it's not getting better. I've got a young family now and cannot afford to end up a cripple. I would not encourage my kids to cycle on the road either.

    I've got a young family too - but I'm not giving up on cycling and I'm not discouraging him to ride on the road - well I would if it was busy - but it's not and he's only 2 - but on holiday I was happy riding on a busier road with him on the back and the rest of the extended family too.

    I do think you have to be pragmatic on where/when you ride - I'd love to cycle my 2yo to nursery, but the road choice is very limited and is used as a cut-through to the congested mainroad - no footpaths and alternative routes aren't much better - so I'll just have to use the car for that journey instead. However, I'm happy to ride it as an adult cyclist - and have done at similar times that I wouldn't use it with my 2yo.

    I'm sure that a lot of it is conditioning - both the cyclist to the density - and other road users to the presence of cyclists - my main road commute started quite intimidating - but over the years I believe that the other commuters/users on the road have become used to my presence (along with a few other riders) and drive more considerately.

    I will continue to ride roads with my son - and will show him my ways of judging how safe/sensible they are to ride - I hope he'll be interested and be able to ride better, faster and safer than I can.
    He's certainly got an interest at the moment - I was off on my bike to race and he got his balance bike out to come with me...
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    We've never had more cycling facilities than we have now. Even some sensible bike paths.

    You do know drivers get more pollution than people cycling past don't you ? I'd steer clear of cars - nasty things.
  • balfourbalfour Posts: 8
    Traffic is terrible on my commute - I get to avoid all this on bike but....
    When I first learnt how to drive, I was terrified of driving on the main road. I was far more comfortable cycling there than driving. Now it's starting to become the other way. I'm quite an aggressive cyclist and take the lane but it's hard work when you have cars pressing to get past you.
    I guess I'd cycle with my kid on the dead-end roads where I live. No fast cars, no traffic.
  • balfourbalfour Posts: 8
    Fenix wrote:
    We've never had more cycling facilities than we have now. Even some sensible bike paths.


    What sort of facilities? Cycle to work scheme? boris bikes? The new orange bikes in Man? The new private bike parking in Man? I already have a bike, they don't help. They might help get more people cycling by literally providing them with a bike but there is no infrastructure to cater for them and for me. No real cycle lanes other than some green paint on the road.

    Spinningfields in Man saw some redevelopment and they got rid of the bike stands. After renovation of the Central library at Man, trees and bike stands were gone, to be replaced by car bays. There are some bike stands tbf but far fewer than before.
    Near me, a busy road was widened. Large pavements on both sides were created but there are no pedestrians using that road! They could have built a cycle lane instead. Speed limit is 40 mph there.

    Then there are all those drivers overtaking way too close to you. I'd like to see cycling become compulsory as part of the driving test. Give these drivers a taste of their own medicine.

    A car pulled out right in front of me recently. I caught up with it and remonstrated with the driver, only for him to say he didn't see me and seem very unconcerned. He was concerned enough not to open his window though.

    Worst of all was a cyclist overtaking me on my left. There was so little space and he suddenly and quietly drew level with me. I nearly jumped out of my skin as I never expect anyone in that space. This is my "safe space" in case I have to take evasive measures.

    I read somewhere about a gov consultation to give priority to pedestrians, cyclists then drivers in that order on the roads. That would be awesome.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    you're an agressive cyclist, often taking the lane - perhaps this contributes to the close passing? I don't know your commute - but I can say that on mine - if I feel I'm holding up traffic too much - I will pull over and let them past - having a queue of traffic behind me is of no benefit - and drivers quite like a bit of courtesy too. I'd like to say it's always repaid - it isn't always, but it is a lot of the time.
    Cyclist on the left in your safe space? Were you taking the lane at the time? Mind you - you've got to be pretty brave to acknowledge on here that a cyclist managed to overtake you without you noticing before it was too late - perhaps you should channel some of the agression into speed? ;)
    Car pulling out on you - sometimes they do that - ask yourself if you'd done everything you sensibly could've done to ensure you're visible - eg front light - flashing?

    Assume everyone else on the road is a blithering idiot and you won't be disappointed ... :)

    For me - I don't want any cycling infrastructure - I have a road bike, it goes on the road - I am traffic. With segregation comes complacancy - on both sides - but I want the drivers to be concious of my presence and treat me with the same respect they expect to be treated with.

    As a suggestion for you - if you don't like your route by bike and there isn't a viable alternative - could you drive to an alternative starting point and ride in from there?
  • balfourbalfour Posts: 8
    Slowbike wrote:
    Car pulling out on you - sometimes they do that - ask yourself if you'd done everything you sensibly could've done to ensure you're visible - eg front light - flashing?

    Assume everyone else on the road is a blithering idiot and you won't be disappointed ... :)

    Yes, I never go too fast that I can't brake quickly if needed, that's why I managed not to hit that car even though I was going downhill. I'm certainly not going to channel my aggression into speed as a result.

    If I'm not aggressive - wrong word, more like determined - I'd end up cycling in the gutter. The main road has two lanes, so there's plenty of space for cars to overtake or drive in the other lane. I am a driver on the same road very often and I give other cyclists plenty of space or just wait far enough behind.

    Gone are the days when I am nice to drivers, they never repay. I once sped up to turn so as to give time for a car turn across the junction as the light was turning red. The road was narrow so I went in the middle in case cars would try to squeeze me to the side. The driver repaid me by beeping at me because I was in his way. The road was widening into 2 lanes just ahead and he couldn't wait a few more seconds.


    Cyclist to my left - yes, I was somewhat taking up the lane but it definitely wasn't safe to squeeze on the left, he was so close to me. I don't see why I shouldn't bring this up on a cycling forum, some can learn.

    I'm very surprised to hear you don't want segregation. I drive and cycle and in my opinion the two don't mix at all. When I drive, cyclists get in my way and slow me down. When I cycle, cars drive past too close or feel intimidating. Segregate the two and these issues won't happen. You'd probably end up with a load of people on bikes who don't know how to cycle and cyclists would want to go back on the road!
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    balfour wrote:
    Slowbike wrote:
    Car pulling out on you - sometimes they do that - ask yourself if you'd done everything you sensibly could've done to ensure you're visible - eg front light - flashing?

    Assume everyone else on the road is a blithering idiot and you won't be disappointed ... :)

    Yes, I never go too fast that I can't brake quickly if needed, that's why I managed not to hit that car even though I was going downhill. I'm certainly not going to channel my aggression into speed as a result.

    If I'm not aggressive - wrong word, more like determined - I'd end up cycling in the gutter. The main road has two lanes, so there's plenty of space for cars to overtake or drive in the other lane. I am a driver on the same road very often and I give other cyclists plenty of space or just wait far enough behind.

    Gone are the days when I am nice to drivers, they never repay. I once sped up to turn so as to give time for a car turn across the junction as the light was turning red. The road was narrow so I went in the middle in case cars would try to squeeze me to the side. The driver repaid me by beeping at me because I was in his way. The road was widening into 2 lanes just ahead and he couldn't wait a few more seconds.


    Cyclist to my left - yes, I was somewhat taking up the lane but it definitely wasn't safe to squeeze on the left, he was so close to me. I don't see why I shouldn't bring this up on a cycling forum, some can learn.

    I'm very surprised to hear you don't want segregation. I drive and cycle and in my opinion the two don't mix at all. When I drive, cyclists get in my way and slow me down. When I cycle, cars drive past too close or feel intimidating. Segregate the two and these issues won't happen. You'd probably end up with a load of people on bikes who don't know how to cycle and cyclists would want to go back on the road!

    I don't commute in a city - so I'm not familiar with what it's like to ride on road with 2 lanes of traffic - if you're being overtaken then it sounds like you're on a busy road - taking the lane may be the best way to survive - but that in itself will contribute to the frustration of some drivers - you probably have as many, if not more overtakes than I do on my whole 10 mile commute. It sounds like it might be the sort of road I'd avoid though - are there no alternatives?

    The driver probably hadn't realised you sped up for his benefit - probably hadn't realised you'd sped up - you were just in his way... I've sped up for vehicles - I like to think it's clear that I'm doing so for them - but I don't bank on it - the benefit is for me anyway as I don't want vehicles queing behind me.

    Cyclist - your idear of safe and space is obviously different to his - a guy riding beside me at the top of boxhill on sunday (closed road Ride London) was shouted at to "Get Over" - there was plenty of space - the cyclist was just being a miserable git ... meh - who cares...
    I only said about admitting being overtaken as tounge in cheek ... we're all the fastest/best cyclist there is ... ;)

    No - I don't want segregation - when I use roads there's other traffic about - I adjust my speed and road position accordingly.

    Split them (completely) and you'll get to the point of neither party knowing how to behave in the presence of the other - that'll mean that both parties will have restrictions on where/when they can travel. Keep them together (mostly) and all roads can be used by all parties with consideration for each other.
  • kingstongrahamkingstongraham Posts: 16,628
    With segregation comes an inferior surface, paths that aren't swept/gritted, and an assumption that bikes don't belong on any road.
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    Hasn't Manchester just appointed Boardman as your cycling Czar ? You couldn't have a better person - so hopefully things will start to change.

    Maybe Manchester is lagging behind the rest of the country - but London has Cycle SuperHighways - they're new.
    I can get to work almost entirely on bikepath - that's a new development too.

    Hope things improve for you and Manchester.
  • milemuncher1milemuncher1 Posts: 1,472
    Fishing is good, do fishing.
  • steve91steve91 Posts: 30
    Why give up cycling completely? Why not go out on weekends on some quieter roads and enjoy it that way? Seems a strange move to completely give it up over some bad apples, as it were.

    I've just started commuting by bike, and for the most part haven't had an issue with other road users. I know that Colchester is vastly different to manchester, but I know that there's always another route I could take if I want quieter roads, and I would be very surprised if Manchester only had a single route you could go to cross the city.
  • balfourbalfour Posts: 8
    The main road is the shortest way, avoiding it would make my commute much longer and really not worth it. I cycle to get from A to B as efficiently as possible, I'm not cycling for leisure when I commute. Even the smaller roads are equally busy and have dangerous drivers as I've experienced.

    Yes, I'll hop back on my bike in the future but that will be for leisure, on local quiet roads or off roads, not for commuting anymore. I think it's very important to get as many people as possible to commute by bike given all current issues but I'm not seeing enough encouraging signs.

    Boardman - I doubt he's ever had to commute by bike to a regular job. Having outstanding athletic abilities on a bike doesn't mean you can improve life for the commuter. Happy to give him the benefit of the doubt of course.

    Cyclist overtaking on the left - you're right, there might have been enough space for him but I thought you were never supposed to overtake on the left?

    Of course I'm the fastest on my bike, I just hold back on purpose :)

    Segregation - I didn't know there were so many implications to consider. Thanks for bringing them up. But I thought Holland and other bike-friendly countries had a lot of segregated bike lanes?

    I didn't have any problems cycling in London, drivers were respectful. Maybe I got a short fuse in old age... Or London's traffic means drivers are used to waiting...
  • bonk_kingbonk_king Posts: 150
    Fishing is good, do fishing.

    Way too dangerous, a speeding angler carrying all his gear trying to pass you on a narrow bank could knock you into the water.
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    balfour wrote:

    Boardman - I doubt he's ever had to commute by bike to a regular job. Having outstanding athletic abilities on a bike doesn't mean you can improve life for the commuter. Happy to give him the benefit of the doubt of course.

    Hmmm - doesn't sound like you are really ?
  • balfourbalfour Posts: 8
    A cycling czar certainly helps the cause. I just don't think him being a cyclist champion is any advantage other than prestige. I think Boris had appointed a cycling czar as well in his days and he was a journalist?
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    Have you seen/read Boardmans stuff on cycling for the masses ? Worth looking out for - he speaks a lot of sense.
  • TashmanTashman Posts: 2,801
    Fenix wrote:
    Have you seen/read Boardmans stuff on cycling for the masses ? Worth looking out for - he speaks a lot of sense.
    Especially after his mum died following a cycling accident. I'd also imagine that he's possibly covered a few miles on the roads as well as a track so is familiar with the hazards we all face.
  • milemuncher1milemuncher1 Posts: 1,472
    bonk king wrote:
    Fishing is good, do fishing.

    Way too dangerous, a speeding angler carrying all his gear trying to pass you on a narrow bank could knock you into the water.

    I forgot about that. :shock:
  • crakercraker Posts: 2,060
    If you're a fan of cycling infrastructure let's not forget the Facility of the month
  • I'll agree with you that the roads in Manchester are pretty s**t with no real provision for cycling, especially the urban dual carriageways that all funnel into single carriageways as you get closer to the city centre in areas that used to be suburbs.

    And yes the potholes and road surfaces are rubbish and whenever they do resurface bits they never do the whole lot, nor often the worst bits!

    However you're never going to fix the problem by just giving up and jumping in another single occupancy vehicle. And as others have pointed out, you'll be exposed to just as much pollution in your car as if you were on a bike.
  • fat daddyfat daddy Posts: 2,605
    Everyone is so eager to apportion blame to the motorist ... perhaps compulsory training for the cyclist is necessary to educate on road positioning, being seen, being aware of other road users general road craft and safety.
  • Sounds like Balfour has made up his mind and is happy to cherry pick the incidents / examples that support that decision.

    Fair enough, if he doesn't want to cycle that's his call. Perhaps his mindset isn't the one you need for riding, which does require accepting that some people (in cars, on bikes, on foot) will be dicks and there's no point getting angry every five minutes.

    I rode 'angry' one week, looking to get annoyed at every perceived infraction. It was not pleasant - look for trouble and you find it. I was much happier when I reverted to my 'whatevs' attitude!
  • S
    I rode 'angry' one week, looking to get annoyed at every perceived infraction. It was not pleasant - look for trouble and you find it. I was much happier when I reverted to my 'whatevs' attitude!

    Yeah, I'll agree with that. I had a driver completely unaware of me pull out and cut across me at a roundabout. Go back a few years and I would have been screaming and shouting, but all that achieves is I turn up at work angry and have a rubbish day. A shake of the head this morning later and it was soon in the past.
  • steve91 wrote:
    S
    I rode 'angry' one week, looking to get annoyed at every perceived infraction. It was not pleasant - look for trouble and you find it. I was much happier when I reverted to my 'whatevs' attitude!

    Yeah, I'll agree with that. I had a driver completely unaware of me pull out and cut across me at a roundabout. Go back a few years and I would have been screaming and shouting, but all that achieves is I turn up at work angry and have a rubbish day. A shake of the head this morning later and it was soon in the past.

    Unless the motorist responsible, really wasn't concentrating, a quick 'hairdryer' might wake them up, and help stop it happening to someone else later on.
  • Unless the motorist responsible, really wasn't concentrating, a quick 'hairdryer' might wake them up, and help stop it happening to someone else later on.

    When a motorist honks their horn and shouts abuse at you, does it tend to:

    a) Make you think "Hmm, actually, maybe they're right, what a perceptive driver."
    b) Get your blood pressure rising and make you annoyed and angry?
  • Unless the motorist responsible, really wasn't concentrating, a quick 'hairdryer' might wake them up, and help stop it happening to someone else later on.

    When a motorist honks their horn and shouts abuse at you, does it tend to:

    a) Make you think "Hmm, actually, maybe they're right, what a perceptive driver."
    b) Get your blood pressure rising and make you annoyed and angry?


    If I deserved it, it tends to make me think, and maybe not do whatever 'it' was again.
  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 24,306 Lives Here
    Unless the motorist responsible, really wasn't concentrating, a quick 'hairdryer' might wake them up, and help stop it happening to someone else later on.

    When a motorist honks their horn and shouts abuse at you, does it tend to:

    a) Make you think "Hmm, actually, maybe they're right, what a perceptive driver."
    b) Get your blood pressure rising and make you annoyed and angry?
    I assume they must be honking and shouting at someone else as I'm perfect. Actually, maybe option b is more likely.
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