Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Fear of Cycling

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  • AThrift,

    It is actually an offence for anything other than a push bike to stop inside the green box at lights; here in Wellington I've seen folks in cars and motorbikes get a $175 fine for being there. A bit harsh maybe but that, apparently, is the law.

    Wellington • Since May 2011 • 8 posts Report Reply

  • Jon Briggs, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Like the little blue car

    More often the tradie in a great big ute, in my experience.

    For me it is dark coloured Audis and BMWs that always seem to cut me up. Given that the "boogieman"is is so different for others I might need to reconsider my stereotyping.

    Since Dec 2008 • 27 posts Report Reply

  • cgduff,

    I have been cycling over almost 70 years and have just acquired an ebike to go down Ngauranga Gorge towards Wgtn CBD. There are 3 legitimate options.
    Road has been recommended. I have tried but feel nervous riding fast.
    Cycle_ footpath very narrow and was pressured to allow a cyclist past. I refused. He tried 3 times before passing on a new footpath. At traffic lights I was criticized for not wearing a helmet. Our future king enjoys cycling not wearing a helmet I can to.
    Goat Track between Newlands and Ngauranga Gorge probably formed before WW1. In good shape: just requires a surface tidy up for cycling both ways.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2011 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Sam M, in reply to AThrift,

    Is that right? Interesting. I thought I read somewhere (here?) that they had no legal standing.

    I tend to stop as far forward as possible anyway - which is generally in front of the green box with my front wheel up against the lines showing the pedestrian crossing channel (if there is one).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 72 posts Report Reply

  • llew40,

    other bug-bears .. cars that try and sneak the last of the orange light in rush hour intersections, who end up stranded in the middle, thereby blocking cars, cyclists and pedestrians from crossing.

    Since Nov 2012 • 140 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Jon Briggs,

    For me it is dark coloured Audis and BMWs that always seem to cut me up.

    Oddly enough, I’m just back in the door having been reminded that my bete noire is the black BMW.

    Its always a bit awkward coming up the slope at the Pt Chev end of Meola Road, where there’s often parked cars and following traffic – although the additional speed of the e-bike makes it easier.

    I let one following car past then took the lane to go around the first parked car and the BMW driver accelerated and crossed the centre line to overtake me, when she could simply have very briefly lifted her foot off the gas. Fuckin’ nuts.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22293 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to cgduff,

    Our future king enjoys cycling not wearing a helmet I can to.

    I'm confused by that comparison. "Our future king" is not subject to NZ laws, however much of an arse this particular one may be (and that depends very much on whether you look at it from the viewpoint of a population or of an individual, and yeah we've done that in previous threads).

    [Bally difficult to fit a helmet over one's crown, what?]

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1771 posts Report Reply

  • JessicaRose,

    The fear of cycling is both real and perceived, I ride a bit and have a near miss once per day. As a new rider it was terrifying, as a more experienced one, I'm resigned to it. I ride defensively and alertly. But over say, 1000 near misses (4 years), the only times I've ever actually been harmed have been due user error.

    Some of the road share concerns come from the idea that the road is for cars only, rather than for travelling to place to place by road users.

    We're still in a chicken and egg stage however, more people riding bikes, more people visible on the road, more change in driver behaviour, more perceived safety and more people riding bikes.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2011 • 54 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Mikaere Curtis,

    Have you got a link handy ? The wiki page doesn’t seem to mention this phenomenon.

    This thread has lots of links to reviews and primary source and is based on David's RNZ science spot.

    I have a folder at work somewhere on my computer that also has a bunch of source links.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4385 posts Report Reply

  • Kevin McCready,

    Bart, I followed the links re helmet laws. I remain unconvinced and gladly wear my helmet. Have you got a link that proves your stance?

    Auckland • Since Jun 2013 • 111 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Kevin McCready,

    If I remember rightly, the general outline goes something like this:
    (i) Wearing a helmet is, generally, safer for an individual cyclist who would be cycling anyway. It may lead to some cyclists taking more risks, and may also lead to some motorists engaging in riskier driving around cyclists, under the false belief that they are more protected than is actually the case, so the population-level improvement in safety is marginal – but still, at an individual level, once you’re at the point where you’re in an accident, you want to be wearing a helmet.

    But (ii) increasing the number of cyclists does more to increase their overall safety than does wearing of helmets, through a number of population-level effects on behaviour, through improved visibility, through consequent reductions in car use, and through forcing improvements in supporting infrastructure.

    And (iii) having a mandatory helmet law is one factor reducing uptake of cycling.

    This constitutes an argument against a mandatory helmet law at the population level; but it does not say that you as an individual are safer not to wear a helmet.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1771 posts Report Reply

  • Gregor Ronald,

    Eye contact, or a flashing head torch on a winter evening, is vital. Once I make eye contact with someone, you can see their demeanor soften, and a quick blast of flashing LEDs will always get the right-turning jerk at the intersection to admit you exist. And I queue behind cars at the lights, just like I'm another vehicle.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 101 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Attachment

    Via the Island Bay Cycleway Twitter account, a link to The Near Miss Project.

    Key takeaway: The average UK cyclist will bike 8000 years before a fatal crash but experiences a "very scary" near miss every week and some kind of incident daily.

    So you're left with relative safety in terms of the injury rate but a sense of constant threat.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22293 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Davidson,

    PS: 32% of trips in central London are now by bike. They built it and people came.

    Not only that, but I saw a study a while that concluded of London commutes up to 15km have the same average speed by bike or car. And that's pretty much my n=1 experience here in Sydney. 12km commute by car = 35-40mins 15km by bike = 35min, pending traffic. But equally, I can understand why a lot of non-cyclists would be hesitant to ride my commute: it has no dedicated cycling infrastructure, unless you include the 3km of breakdown lane on a 100km/hr motorway...

    Sydney • Since Mar 2007 • 57 posts Report Reply

  • AdamPope,

    Attachment

    Thanks for the post @Russell; that video is near Oval in South London, I pass it myself daily and there are often more cyclists than shown. I started cycling in London in 2003, along Old Kent Road, I was one of the few cyclists about and got regular abuse for being on the road (honked at, sworn at, etc.,). Now drivers are in the main quite polite, but there are so many cyclists that sit behind gridlocked traffic I could squeeze through it's hard to get ahead sometimes. My frustration is tempered by the warm-heartedness I feel from so many cyclists; as HG Wells said, 'every time I see an adult on a bicycle I no longer despair for the future of the human race'.

    Attached a clear visualisation of the space various traffic modes take up on our roads you might find useful to influence others; I was shocked at the imbalance. Image comes from here: http://www.seattlebikeblog.com/2013/12/05/why-seattle-must-invest-in-protected-bike-lanes-and-transit-in-one-moving-gif/

    London • Since Jul 2013 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to AdamPope,

    I started cycling in London in 2003, along Old Kent Road, I was one of the few cyclists about and got regular abuse for being on the road (honked at, sworn at, etc.,).

    Ah – so you experienced the delights of the Elephant & Castle roundabout? I used to ride through that in the late 80s en route to the mags I was working for by Blackfriars Bridge. I think it's still the scariest single road feature I've experienced.

    Now drivers are in the main quite polite, but there are so many cyclists that sit behind gridlocked traffic I could squeeze through it’s hard to get ahead sometimes.

    Well that's no fun! When I was a London cyclist the gridlock actually made things easier: it's safer to slip past stationary cars than mess with moving vehicles :-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22293 posts Report Reply

  • Glen Koorey, in reply to Bob Williams,

    True enough, bikes are classified as vehicles (as anyone who's been pulled over for a DIC of a bike knows)...

    ...except that a bicycle is a vehicle but the drink driving laws only apply to MOTOR vehicles. So, despite the common myth, you can't be charged in NZ for being drunk in charge of a bike. They could possibly find reason to charge you with, say, "careless use of a vehicle", but again they couldn't compel you to take a breath test to make their case.

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2013 • 19 posts Report Reply

  • Glen Koorey, in reply to Sam M,

    Is that right? Interesting. I thought I read somewhere (here?) that they had no legal standing.

    I tend to stop as far forward as possible anyway - which is generally in front of the green box with my front wheel up against the lines showing the pedestrian crossing channel (if there is one).

    Land Trpt (Road User) Rule clause 3.2(5):

    While a steady red signal in the form of a disc is displayed...
    (a) a driver of a vehicle facing the signal or signals must not enter the controlled area, but a cyclist may enter ahead of a marked vehicle limit line and stop behind a marked cycle limit line

    (http://www.legislation.govt.nz/regulation/public/2004/0427/latest/DLM303062.html)

    So technically, sneaking just ahead of the advanced stop box is not allowed on a bike either; so long as you're not impeding crossing pedestrians. But motor vehicles definitely can't encroach in that area while waiting.

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2013 • 19 posts Report Reply

  • RaggedJoe,

    I have a 30km each way commute. I would happily ride it 2 or 3 times a week, I have done quite a bit of road cycling for fun, round Taupo etc, But I simply do not feel safe. Pakuranga highway in particular is a death trap for cyclists. Then Remuera road with school traffic...

    Interesting from Russell's post above, I may actually be safe, but feel unsafe, however that logic will not win over the instinctive fear. I have given up all road cycling for the same reason. Trucks and cars towing trailers on country roads, the feeling that a big crash is inevitable if I spend enough time taking chances. I miss it, but not enough to get back out there.

    I am sure that more cyclists on the road will eventually change attitudes an behaviour, and applaud all the infrastructure improvements. Here's hoping we will see quick improvements, so I can regain my nerve.

    City of Sales • Since Sep 2008 • 72 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Glen Koorey,

    True enough, bikes are classified as vehicles (as anyone who’s been pulled over for a DIC of a bike knows)…

    …except that a bicycle is a vehicle but the drink driving laws only apply to MOTOR vehicles. So, despite the common myth, you can’t be charged in NZ for being drunk in charge of a bike. They could possibly find reason to charge you with, say, “careless use of a vehicle”, but again they couldn’t compel you to take a breath test to make their case.

    Yes – bicycles are vehicles for almost every purpose except the drink-driving law.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22293 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Bob Williams,

    True enough, bikes are classified as vehicles (as anyone who’s been pulled over for a DIC of a bike knows).

    So I am to take that you have been? That would be interesting.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22293 posts Report Reply

  • william blake, in reply to Chopper,

    "Pedestrians spill out onto the cycle lane with no consideration that there might be a cyclist coming. People cross it without looking, while talking on their mobiles"

    There was me thinking it was a linear food chain with Gerry Brownlee the apex predator followed by the trucking lobby, 55 tonne trucks, all the way down to toddlers, and some form of power gives way to sail spirit was the order of the day.

    Power commuting cyclists giving a little ping on their bell blasting through pedestrians and animals are just as arrogant as the one tonne metal sledgehammers.

    Many of us are pedestrians, cyclists and motorists at one time or another, why do we adopt intolerant and aggressive positions when we know exactly how and why
    others are behaving. Pedestrians do wander around on shared cycleways its written on the box.

    Since Mar 2010 • 354 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Attachment

    Wow. Bike Auckland just retweeted this pic of rush hour on Blackfriars Road, London.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22293 posts Report Reply

  • Alice Ronald, in reply to Jon Briggs,

    Toyota Prados for me.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 61 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to william blake,

    Pedestrians do wander around on shared cycleways its written on the box.

    Which is true and fair, although not all bike paths are shared.

    The issue is that just like a car or truck, a bike has a limit on how quickly it can stop or swerve.

    Pedestrians (myself included) need to be aware that if they step into a bike path without looking it just may not be possible for the bike to stop or dodge.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4385 posts Report Reply

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