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“Why don’t cyclists use the cycle lane?” Driver blasted for claiming cyclists “enjoy playing with traffic”; Cyclist (and pet cat) scolded for riding around car after driver pulls out; Cyclist’s “bizarre” close pass prevention pole + more on the live blog

It’s Tuesday and Ryan Mallon’s back with all the latest cycling news, views, and general chit-chat on the live blog

SUMMARY

13 February 2024, 15:59
Irish cyclist riding on road next to shared use path and bollard (Important Season 620, Reddit)
“Why isn’t the cyclist using the perfectly good footpath that has a bike symbol on it and a bollard in the middle of it?” Another classic ‘Why don’t cyclists use the cycle lane?’ debate, as motorist claims cyclists “enjoy playing with traffic”

A classic ‘Why don’t cyclists use the cycle lane?’ debate has erupted this afternoon on good ol’ X, after one Irish Reddit user posted a photo of a cyclist – which may or may not have been taken from behind the wheel (but it’s alright, he zoomed in) – riding on the road, next to a shared path… with a bollard positioned smack bang in the middle of it.

“An ongoing issue that’s probably been discussed many times here before, but why do cyclists have such a mental block when it comes to using cycling lanes made specifically for them?” the Reddit user asked on the appropriately titled ‘Ireland’s s***e drivers’ page.

“I understand some cycling lanes are in poor condition and the road is the better option, but this one is perfectly safe, clean, well maintained, and always empty, no excuse to not use it. Yet they never use it, ever. It’s like they enjoy playing with traffic.”

> Why don't cyclists use cycle lanes?

To be fair, it didn’t take long for cyclists on the social media app to inform the motorist of the myriad reasons why someone on a bike would choose to avoid a stretch of pavement that happens to feature a painted bike symbol.

“You’ve just shown a perfect example of a poorly designed cycle lane,” wrote Bill. “Firstly, it's not a cycle lane, it's a share path.

“And secondly you can see that the path drops just where the cyclist is. Thirdly, this guy would be going too fast for most cycle lanes.”

“Looks like a shared cycle lane/pedestrian path to me,” concurred cbren. “Probably not suitable for road bikes travelling 30km/h.”

“Fair play to OP for contributing to this subreddit by being the s***e driver instead of picturing one,” added Cooke, while another user asked the poster: “Are you actually aware of the rules of the road? Genuinely concerned by your lack of knowledge regarding cyclists.”

That lack of knowledge, perhaps unsurprisingly, has transferred over to Twitter this afternoon, where several commenters chipped in with helpful advice along the lines of “If you can’t negotiate that bollard then you shouldn’t be on the road” (or something about stabilisers), prompting Cycling For Mind, who shared the debate on X, to paraphrase the title of Lance Armstrong’s award-winning work of fiction by advising ill-informed drivers that “it’s not just about the bollard”.

“Show me an underused cycle route and I’ll show you poor design, safety concerns, or lack of maintenance,” said Joe, while Richard added: “In fairness to the cycle lane, it probably continues for at least another 10 metres or so before it stops abruptly and either demands the rider dismount or just shoved them out into the carriageway.”

And that’s if we’re lucky.

Meanwhile, others joined in by sharing their favourite, brilliantly designed shared use infrastructure. Or not:

I sense a competition brewing…

And finally, over to the motorway for a prime slice of underused infra:

13 February 2024, 09:07
Cyclist (and pet cat) scolded for cycling around car after driver pulled out (Travis and Sigrid, X)
“Don’t be surprised when a flustered driver sets off again and flattens you”: Cyclist (and pet cat) scolded for cycling around car after driver pulled out in front of them

Famous internet cycling duo Travis and Sigrid are well used by now to people blaming them for the dodgy driving of motorists on the streets of London.

In November, cyclist Travis Nelson and his feline passenger Sigrid, a deaf Norwegian Forest cat – who became something of an internet sensation for their videos of the pair exploring the capital by bike, racking up over 250,000 followers on Instagram and even the odd road.cc Podcast appearance (lucky them) – were knocked off their bike by an “impatient, close passing moped driver”.

However, when police appeared on the scene, one officer, after first checking to see if everyone was okay, told Travis: “You’ve not got a helmet on. I recommend wearing a helmet.”

> 'Police' scold cyclist riding with pet cat in basket for not wearing a helmet after moped rider knocks them off bike

So, it’ll come as no surprise to anyone that Travis’ latest video – depicting a rather innocuous encounter between the two-wheeled duo and a motorist who pulled out of a junction in front of them, before stopping in time and waving them on their way – opened the victim blaming, anti-cycling floodgates on social media:

Although, with the caption “Eager to hear how this one was my fault as well”, it’s fair to say Travis was expecting some, ahem, interesting opinions.

“Riding so close around the front of the car was extremely poor hazard awareness. Just stop and let the driver complete their manoeuvre as any car driver would do,” wrote the presumably super attentive Marcus.

After Travis simply replied “No” to that particular piece of advice, Marcus continued: “Then don't be surprised when a driver who appears to be flustered sets off again and flattens you. Learn to spot the hazards.”

“If they stop, wave me forward, and then flatten me, they’re probably gonna go to prison,” noted Travis.

“Perhaps it was clearer in person, but I don’t see a wave in the video,” came Marcus’ latest attempt to pin the blame on the cyclist (and his cat).

“Also, riding so close around the front of a car because you believe they waved is still very naïve. You’ll have the satisfaction of knowing they’re in prison while you spend life being fed through a straw.”

Travis and Sigrid (e-bike tips)

> Meet Travis the human and Sigrid the cat, the viral sensations who have just switched to an e-bike

“So you want to be treated like cars?” asked Bernie, after Marcus nipped off for a cup of tea. “Well you should have pulled up and let the car that had pulled out, which was in the wrong, drive off instead of riding around it. You can’t have everything both ways.”

“You overtook that car dangerously and nearly went into the other cyclist,” added another Twitter user.

Meanwhile, Lee wrote: “Could you see me him at 8 seconds? No and he can’t see you. He’s pulled out and is now in the mind ‘as I’m out this far will he let me go?’ No you rode round him to prove a point.”

“I saw them way before the video even started, because I was, you know, paying attention to where I was going. Unlike the person operating a heavy, dangerous, powered vehicle,” Travis responded.

Cyclist (and pet cat) scolded for cycling around car after driver pulled out in front (Travis and Sigrid, X)

Others, rather understandably, were a bit baffled.

“What do you mean by fault? Nothing happened,” said BGee.

“Oh don’t worry, the drivers are trying to find a way to blame me anyway,” said the cat-accompanying cyclist. “Twitter drivers are ridiculous aren’t they? Can’t just accept bad driving when they see it, has to be some huge drama about blaming literally anyone else.”

But the big question remains – What did Sigrid make of the whole thing?

13 February 2024, 12:26
Cyclist with close pass pole, Perth and Kinross
“What the hell is that? I had never seen anything like it in my life”: Motorists baffled by cyclist’s “bizarre” close pass prevention pole

A Scottish cyclist riding with a close pass prevention stick attached to his bike – offering tetchy drivers a physical reminder of the requirement to leave at least 1.5m while overtaking – has baffled passing motorists, with one contacting the local press to debate the merits of the “bizarre” pole.

The cyclist, and his anti-dangerous driving equipment, were pictured riding on the A85 from Crieff to Comrie, in Perth and Kinross, last week during his morning commute.

“I thought I saw him in the distance, and suddenly the car in front of me slowed down,” the motorist who spotted him told the Courier.

“When they overtook him I saw him properly and I thought: ‘What the hell is that?’ I had never seen anything like it in my life.”

He continued: “It could be dangerous, but I think he just wants to get the space that he’s legally entitled to.

“But it certainly is a funny thing to see – he’s certainly going to get his space with that sticking out. He’s maybe had a scare before so does something like that. You never know with people.

“I got passed him pretty quickly. He wasn’t quite in the side though and gave himself a bit more space than he needed.”

Someone needs to dust off their Highway Code, by the sounds of things.

And imagine the scenes if he stumbled across my favourite denim-clad cyclist and his much more rudimentary close pass prevention device:

Deal Farm Biogas Highway Code opposition campaign (credit - Hazel Dormer)

> Campaigners use Highway Code changes to protest waste plant

13 February 2024, 16:57
Taylor Swift-branded cycling gear: Coming to a Tour de France near you soon?

Now, I’m not exactly best placed to predict the trajectory of Taylor Swift’s dating life (I know, what a shock).

But, after the Swiftie Fest that was Sunday’s Super Bowl, it’s not entirely beyond the realms of possibility that the ubiquitous popstar could be seen sporting a variation on this, rather stylish, Tay Tay-inspired cycling top at – I don’t know – the 2028 Tour de France?

You heard it here first…

13 February 2024, 16:40
Best rear bike lights 2024 — boost your day and night visibility with a bright beam at the back
13 February 2024, 15:28
Speed cameras meet roller tests, Netherlands commuting style: Dutch police unveil roadside device for identifying illegally fast and powerful e-bikes
13 February 2024, 14:46
Bauke Mollema vies for presidency of the ‘Cyclists Who Run’ club with blistering 31:40 10k time

Move over Tom Dumoulin, there’s a new Dutch pro cyclist-turned-surprisingly fast runner in town.

As the road season finally begins to grind into gear, and with the classics rapidly approaching, Lidl-Trek’s veteran big race winner Bauke Mollema took advantage of the last of his free time before Paris-Nice by finishing fourth in a 10km running race in Monaco at the weekend.

Bauke Mollema finishes 10km run in 31.40 (Instagram)

The 37-year-old, casually sporting a sponsor-correct and dazzlingly bright yellow Lidl t-shirt, completed the Monaco Run Gramaglia 10k in a rapid 31:40, securing him fourth out of 814 starters and first in the masters age group category.

> “I’ll not be able to walk for two weeks”: Tom Dumoulin finishes Amsterdam half-marathon in rapid 1:10.04

And – most importantly – Mollema’s time eclipsed that of his compatriot and newly minted half-marathoner Tom Dumoulin, who completed, while still a pro back in 2021, a 10k in his hometown of Maastricht in a very respectable 32:38.

Bauke 1-0 Tom.

Nobody tell Pidcock…

> Cyclists who run: From Pidcock and MVDP to Yates, Ovett, and, naturally, Chris Froome

13 February 2024, 14:15
Anti-LTN vandal sets bollard alight (credit - Oxford Liveable Streets)
£75,000 spent on fixing and replacing vandalised LTN bollards in Oxford since 2021

Since the first Low Traffic Neighbourhoods were installed in Oxford almost three years ago, the county council has spent over £75,000 repairing and replacing vandalised and stolen bollards designed to stop through traffic on residential streets, new figures have revealed.

LTNs have been in place in various parts of Oxford since March 2021, though the active travel scheme has been blighted by what some have described as a “civil war”, with activists opposed to the measures frequently staging protests and submitting petitions to the local council, while some have resorted to driving over, removing, and even setting alight the scheme’s traffic-calming planters and bollards which signal the entrance to the LTNs.

> Active travel campaigners release footage of anti-LTN vandals setting bollards alight

And according to figures obtained by the BBC through a Freedom of Information request, Oxfordshire County Council has spent £75,500 on fixing plastic bollards between January 2020 and January 2024.

In March 2023, these plastic bollards were replaced with wooden structures to the tune of £86,000, with costs for repairs and replacements since then amounting to £22,862.

Most of the costs stemmed from intentional damage or theft, the council confirmed, while a small portion was spent on accidental damage, such as motorists unintentionally hitting the bollards while turning their cars.

Andrew Gant, the country council’s member for transport management, said he took the damage “very seriously”.

“We will continue to make safe, and ultimately replace, all damaged infrastructure,” he said.

LTN protest outside County Hall, Oxford (Emily Kerr)

> “Going back is not realistic”: Councillor stresses “need to change” as Oxford LTNs made permanent – but angry residents say “we can’t get on bikes”

During a vote in October to make permanent three LTNs in the Divinity Road, St Clement’s, and St Mary’s areas of Oxford, councillors also voted to replace the planters and bollards with Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras.

A 2023 report into Oxford’s LTNs found that the schemes have led to an increase in cycling numbers by 20 percent, with one boundary road even seeing the percentage of cyclists increasing by 51 percent, while car use is down by 10 percent.

13 February 2024, 13:29
The final nail in last-placed Wout’s tyre

Wout van Aert’s 2024 road season didn’t get off to the best of starts at yesterday’s Clásica Jaén, as the pre-race favourite was forced to amble to the finish in dead last (from just 45 finishers, mind you) after an untimely puncture – and accompanying slow wheel swap with Visma-Lease a Bike teammate Per Strand Hagenes – at the entrance to the first gravel section of the day with 52km to go.

And the Belgian took to Instagram last night to identify the culprit responsible for his premature exit from the favourite’s group:

Wout van Aert nail puncture at 2024 Clásica Jaén (Instagram)

Yep, that’ll do the trick.

Unlike other screw-based punctures in the past, there’s been no suggestion that any foul play was involved in Van Aert’s misfortune in the south of Spain. But, especially in the wake of his race-ending crash at Paris-Roubaix last year, the 29-year-old will be hoping he’s got all of his bad luck for 2024 out of the way before taking on Van der Poel, Pedersen et al when it really counts in April.

13 February 2024, 12:57
“Violent driver” avoids jail after deliberately ramming cyclist into parked HGV, causing spinal fractures

A “violent driver” who deliberately rammed a cyclist into a parked HGV — leaving his victim with spinal fractures that reduced him to “a hollow shell of a person, barely able to get out of bed” — has avoided jail.

Adam Ruszkowski was handed a two-year suspended sentence suspended for two years by a judge at London Crown Court, and will have to pay Thomas Purchase £3,000 in compensation, having pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving in relation to what the judge described as a “moment of madness”.

Lambeth Walk (Google Maps)

Read more: > “Violent driver” avoids jail after deliberately ramming cyclist into parked HGV, causing spinal fractures 

13 February 2024, 11:52
Hammersmith Bridge reopens to cyclists

The day has finally arrived – and it’s pretty cool:

> Hammersmith Bridge to reopen to bike riders with two-way cycle lane – but only for 10 weeks 

13 February 2024, 11:14
"Unfortunately you can't control every idiot on the road": Road race organiser frustrated as cyclists almost hit by "inconsiderate" Uber driver
13 February 2024, 10:29
Thomas De Gendt: Breakaway legend, Stelvio tamer, and… Rubik’s Cube master?

I can see it now, a TV series featuring De Gendt taking on Cavendish head-to-head at speed chess (the Manx Missile’s favourite pastime back in the day), Rubik’s Cube, escape rooms, shuffleboard…

Netflix, you have my number.

13 February 2024, 10:12
Now here’s a news headline you don’t see every day…

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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25 comments

Avatar
mikewood | 5 months ago
1 like

Re the WvA puncture. I get so frustrated with this sort of thing. He's spent a whole Winter, preparing and training for his first road race and some numpty thinks it's OK to not worry about the handful of self tappers that have fallen out the back of the van as they cost next to nothing and he has a thousand more. 

I once lost about £10,000 worth of tyre testing to one self tapper as it all had to be repeated as the tyre was scrap so the whole set couldn't be used.

Car related I know but WvT could have crashed because of this and written off a season, or worse

Avatar
marmotte27 | 5 months ago
1 like

"I got past", NOT "passed", which would be the exact opposite! Please?

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andystow replied to marmotte27 | 5 months ago
0 likes

marmotte27 wrote:

"I got past", NOT "passed", which would be the exact opposite! Please?

They're directly quoting an article from The Courier. I guess a [sic] could be called for.

Avatar
brooksby | 5 months ago
1 like

On the 'Travis and Sigrid' story - personally, I would have probably ridden behind the blue car. YMMV.

(I don't understand why the motorist stopped right across the middle of the road, though?)

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OnYerBike replied to brooksby | 5 months ago
0 likes

It looks to me like that was Travis' initial reaction too, assuming the driver would continue with their manoeuver. It was only after the driver saw him and stopped that he went around the front. 

Avatar
don simon fbpe | 5 months ago
7 likes

I like that close pass stick, it'd keep the dickheads, all of them, at a safe distance too.

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Matthew Acton-Varian replied to don simon fbpe | 5 months ago
10 likes

Might be worth sticking a pedal to the end of it, considering the damage that one caused to Jeff Stelling's car (According to some Twitts)

Definitely stop close passes if it does that to a car!

Avatar
yellowjack replied to Matthew Acton-Varian | 5 months ago
3 likes

I've thought about this in the past. A nice carbon fibre rod on a sprung swivel joint, with a diamond tipped cutting bit attached to the end. If it'll cut glass or tiles, it ought to do a number on car paintwork with no bother...

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adamrice replied to yellowjack | 5 months ago
0 likes

I talked to a guy once who said he had rigged up almost exactly such a gadget. Didn't see it with my own eyes.

Avatar
OldRidgeback replied to don simon fbpe | 5 months ago
1 like

I made one out of heavy gauge piano wire with an old record player stylus on the end and had it on my old tourer, way back when in another century. There was a piece of red insulation tape on the end to warn people it was there. As I recall it was about 3' long. I took it off soon after as it was a pain. 

Avatar
I love my bike | 5 months ago
2 likes

So, 1.5m from centre line of cycle or end of the pole?

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wtjs | 5 months ago
10 likes

I'm pretty sure that many of us experience similar 'pulling out in front' incidents regularly- note, I'm supporting Travis, not criticising with 'pff! that's nothing, I get that all the time'. Those of us who are still not KSI'd ('don't concern yourself, sir, I'm sure you'll be punished enough by having to live with it for the rest of your life), and those who have been but have survived through fortitude and even e-bikes, have their hands on their excellent reliable cable disc brake levers all the time, can see the pulling out ahead and act in self-preservation. The question is: what do these 'new' Highway Code rules mean in practice?:

Rule H3 - Rule for drivers and motorcyclists You should not cut across cyclists, horse riders or horse drawn vehicles going ahead when you are turning into or out of a junction or changing direction or lane, just as you would not turn across the path of another motor vehicle.

This applies whether they are using a cycle lane, a cycle track, or riding ahead on the road and you should give way to them. Do not turn at a junction if to do so would cause the cyclist, horse rider or horse drawn vehicle going straight ahead to stop or swerve. You should stop and wait for a safe gap in the flow of cyclists if necessary. This includes when cyclists are:

● approaching, passing or moving off from a junction ● moving past or waiting alongside stationary or slow-moving traffic ● travelling around a roundabout

Rule H3: Wait for the cyclist to pass the junction before turning. This also applies if there is a cycle lane or cycle track and if you are turning right or left into the junction.

What these rules mean to the primeval slime crawling out from the foetid pools of the internet is 'do what you like, the cyclist should have braked and given way'- unfortunately, that's what most police and law officials think, as well- and the trolls on here.

Avatar
Hirsute | 5 months ago
9 likes

Apparently you can't cycle if disabled

https://twitter.com/Bicicleto_ZGZ/status/1756399886092710302

For those not on X

still 1

 

Avatar
Hirsute replied to Hirsute | 5 months ago
4 likes

Gear change via left foot

Front and rear have a lever to move.

 

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andystow replied to Hirsute | 5 months ago
3 likes

Michael Trimble is well known in Portland, Oregon for riding around despite having no arms. When we visited there, we actually spotted him.

He uses cycling shoes and clipless pedals, though, not flip-flops / thongs.

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to andystow | 5 months ago
1 like

andystow wrote:

Michael Trimble is well known in Portland, Oregon for riding around despite having no arms. When we visited there, we actually spotted him.

Your link took me to a video entitled 'Andy Frasco & The U.N. "You Do You" (Official Music Video)', which whilst extremely jolly didn't seem to have any armless cyclists in it?

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andystow replied to Rendel Harris | 5 months ago
3 likes

Rendel Harris wrote:

andystow wrote:

Michael Trimble is well known in Portland, Oregon for riding around despite having no arms. When we visited there, we actually spotted him.

Your link took me to a video entitled 'Andy Frasco & The U.N. "You Do You" (Official Music Video)', which whilst extremely jolly didn't seem to have any armless cyclists in it?

Oops. I don't know if it's my keyboard, my PC, or user error, but CTRL-C has been a bit unrelible for me recently. That's a video URL I copied last night (of a band I'm seeing tonight.) Fixed link in my previous post.

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to andystow | 5 months ago
2 likes

Enjoy the gig, looks fun!

P.S Re Michael Trimble: absolutely awesome!

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Hirsute replied to andystow | 5 months ago
4 likes

Yeah I was really confused earlier !

Could have been worse - might have been a trump rally !

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ktache replied to andystow | 5 months ago
1 like

Cheers, impressive set up.
And the answer is of course Tannus tyres.

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Troon | 5 months ago
4 likes

Travis and Sigrid video is making a mountain out of a molehill. Driver clearly originally thought they were going left, then changed their mind. Stopped safely to let the cat and Travis past before continuing. Blocking the road with plenty of time to spare might be annoying but it's not dangerous if everyone is paying attention.

I would have stopped to let the driver continue their revised turn out of courtesy and patience: they're clearly unsure where they're meant to go. I also wouldn't have assumed that someone already in a confused state would be as aware of their surroundings as they ought to be.

I would then not have bothered posting the video of a relative non-event.

Avatar
MatzeLoCal replied to Troon | 5 months ago
3 likes

I don't get the intention of the video either. The car entered the intersection when the bike was over three car length (of parking cars) away. And the rider even did not lower it's speed.
I see no reason why not slowing down and maybe even give the car driver a sign that he can move on the bike does not even need to stop …

I ride about 6000km per year and commute only by bike and I know that there are a lot of a-hole drivers out there, but the person in the car here seems more a bit lost and confused by person on the bike. On the other hand, wave "thank you" to any car driver who pays attention to me … even if I have right of way.

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cyclisto replied to Troon | 5 months ago
7 likes

Agree that this move is annoying but it's not dangerous if everyone is paying attention. But probably it is a SMIDSY.

I probably wouldn't have stopped, my kinetic energy is precious.

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tootsie323 replied to Troon | 5 months ago
2 likes

Yeah, it was easy enough to stop. There again, I've seen drivers continue around others who have partially pulled out - I suspect that they woudn't be subject to the same don't-be-surprised-if-he-retaliates responses.

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wycombewheeler replied to Troon | 5 months ago
6 likes

Troon wrote:

I would have stopped to let the driver continue their revised turn out of courtesy and patience: 

no way I am throwing my momentum away for "you first/no you first/no you first" moment with a driver who does not have priority and has clearly stopped to let me go first.

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