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Thoughts on this? #cyclelikeyoudrive

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10 comments

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quiff | 1 year ago
4 likes

Dreaded reading it as I assumed it was going to be the Wales Online / Reach Plc party line on how the HWC changes are crazy, but this time from a cyclist. Bingo.

1. As a pedestrian, I do indeed feel empowered by the HWC changes (surely that's the point?), and I do use my new (enhanced) priority at junctions. I will step out if I can see an approaching driver has time to stop, and will gladly explain the HWC changes to them if they complain. I have only had to do so once, and they were suitably apologetic.  

2. But I don't have a deathwish. I'm not going to get run over to prove a point. Nor, as much as I would like to, am I teaching my young child that they have priority at junctions, because that feels reckless.  

3. As a cyclist and driver, I take great pleasure in giving way to pedestrians at junctions. It's particularly nice doing so as a cyclist when you can extravagantly explain to the pedestrians what you're doing. Despite the apocalyptic warnings before the rule changes, I haven't yet been rear-ended as a result.

4. But above all, whether as a pedestrian, cyclist or driver, I have been surprised how infrequently these interactions actually even happen. It's relatively rare that I happen to arrive at a junction at the same time as another road user and have to engage with the priorities. So seems a fuss about nothing to me.  

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IanMSpencer | 1 year ago
6 likes

I've skimmed it, but what it prompted in me is "what are our priorities?"

Obviously generalising grossly here but:

Pedestrians want to minimise distance.

Cyclists want efficiency.

Motorists want to minimise time.

Therefore at places where there is conflict, you will find that pedestrians will tend to take the direct route, even if there are controlled crossing points near by; Cyclists will be working out not how to go fastest, but how to avoid lumps and bumps and stopping and starting; drivers will be looking for opportunities on how to avoid losing that last second.

In terms of junctions, I see the HWC as a useful tool in traffic calming. I've never been one for mowing down hapless pedestrians but I'm sure I've given the of pitying look at some pedestrian who has wandered out without thinking about me being potentially going to mow them down. That withering look is now no longer part of the driver's armoury.

It is not confusing, it does require a very different mindset. I have given way at a junction to a pedestrian on my bike, it was obvious the person was waiting, and the nice thing was being able to briefly discuss that you were giving them priory rather than it being a guessing game.

The point about this also it is priorities not rights of way, and as such the balance changes on circumstances. Much like if you are passing a bunch of parked cars in a car and an oncoming car arrives, it is expected to wait even though you are on their side of the road. Similarly, if you have a car bearing down on you, giving priority to a pedestrian comes below avoiding being hit by a car.

Perhaps the other lesson is the increasing intolerance suggested by the article - "How dare anyone suggest a free individual should give consideration to other people?"

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srchar | 1 year ago
2 likes

One person with a strong opinion about something, an opinion which I, and it seems many people who ride bikes, disagree with, yet the comments are, of course, full of generalisations about "cyclists".

I wonder if WOL would publish a counter piece from another "cyclist" (/person who sometimes rides a bike)?

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brooksby | 1 year ago
8 likes

So is that bloke some sort of Fifth Columnist for Fair Fuel or the ABD?

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Rich_cb replied to brooksby | 1 year ago
2 likes

I have my suspicions!

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HoarseMann | 1 year ago
2 likes

My thoughts, he needs to be careful what he wishes for, it's a daft opinion piece.

If the trade-off for more considerate drivers is having to cycle more carefully around pedestrians (why wasn't he doing that anyway?!), then of course it's a good idea.

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hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
2 likes

I was initially distracted by the first picture as I thought it looked like the roundabout junction at the end of Old Market in Bristol - then I looked at the caption and verified that it indeed was (seems a bit lazy of Wales online not using a Welsh picture).

I mainly skimmed over the article as it didn't seem to be saying much of interest. I don't get why fast cyclists would have issues slowing down for pedestrians crossing the road.

I think the hierarchy makes sense and in general people should take more care around the most vulnerable - if you encounter a toddler coming towards you on a shared path, then it absolutely makes sense to slow right down until you get safely past them.

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chrisonabike replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
2 likes

I think a lot of the "concern" about pedestrians is "selective concern" and is really "no change to the status quo".  I'm not seeing a huge call for much more pedestrian infra or greater protection from motor vehicles, the main threat.  (Yes - I'm aware there are indeed groups doing just that at local and national level and more power them).

So at best it's that cycling is seen as an uncommon - and possibly uncanny thing.  There may be genuine (and justified) concern that it'll be bikes at the expense of e.g. pavements.

Nothing's good for pedestrians like genuine mass cycling though!  Imagine an urban area with easy access from the suburbs where you could hear other people talking without having to raise your voice.

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Rich_cb | 1 year ago
1 like

This guy wants to 'go fast'.

Pedestrians better watch out.

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chrisonabike replied to Rich_cb | 1 year ago
1 like

I didn't thoroughly read the article (always a good start... but it's just one guy).  As far as I can see it's "something changed and now people are confused, so that's bad".  Well... for now.  There wasn't a massive public awareness campaign.  There aren't many cyclists.  This shouldn't be a shock.  How bad really though?  He also notes that some people driving motor vehicles are berks and will continue to be regardless.

Cyclists are arguably on the same level of vulnerability as pedestrians - they bring more energy into a collision but can come off worse. In general slowing cyclists down because pedestrians exist doesn't make much sense (see NL).  Also the two modes can effectively negotiate around each other without the same degree of infra required for motor vehicles (pedestrian crossings with lights / painted crossings).

However in the UK we're currently terribly muddled.  We're fairly far down the path to the US style of "drive everywhere" and stuff pedestrian convenience.  In many cases we also don't have the space the US has.  We've more recently retrofitted some infra and rules.  In an extremely varied and patchy way.  Some of which involves deliberately mixing pedestrians and cyclists e.g. sign a cycle path into existence.  Other stuff is at least designed but poor at conflict points. It's still often a case of "let the other modes fight over scraps".

I'm OK with the latest guidance e.g. give way to pedestrians crossing side streets.  There will likely be some problems but that's the case with any rule change, it takes time.  I hope this represents the start (of the beginning) of recognising the utility of both cycling and walking as transport.  And an approach which facilitates both e.g. doesn't lump them together.  Cyclists aren't fast pedestrians or slow cars.  If you make proper provision for cycling we'll find we're not a nation of scofflaw "scorchers".

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