Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Being a conscientious cyclist keeps you safer on the road! - Yeah Right!

On my commute this morning I could not resist the temptation of taking my Titanium Orange Brompton. I had written not long ago that this wonderful bike had been confined to my weekend adventures and that my Original Orange Brompton would be my commuter hack.

The only problem was the need to carry lots of bits and pieces to work. Having taken off the front carrier block never to have it grace the face of my Titanium wonder, I sought another solution. I therefore packed a rucksack, worn a hi-viz vest on top and headed out.

This all worked really well. I wasn't unduly bothered by the weight and it didn't act like the wind brake that my S and C bags can sometimes become. What did bother me was a comment by a fellow cyclist when stopping at the lights.

Before I go on I need to add to the picture I am trying to create in your minds. Also attached to my bike was the new Cree light I have recently blogged about. Like a Volvo driver in daylight hours I had my light set to the blink mode. Being very powerful it can still be seen in daylight and for me at least helps to let drivers know I am coming.

Back to the fellow cyclist. At some red lights I pulled up to wait. A cyclist was already waiting and another cyclist I had overtaken, went past us both and through the red light. The other cyclist waiting cyclist shook his head and said, "being a conscientious cyclist keeps you safer on the road." The lights changed and we proceeded.

As I overtook this cyclists I started to think about his comment. The more I thought about it the more I thought it was wishful thinking at best. By the time I got to work I regarded his comment as being the height of naivety (if being kind) and stupidity (if not).

You can be as conscientious as you please and still have idiots who have no regard for you as a cyclist also using the public highway. There is nothing wrong with being conscientious and courteous but to regard this alone as a safety net or force field is nonsense.

There are times when a cyclist - especially on London roads - has to be assertive, selfish and bully ones way through to the front of a cue of traffic well over the cyclist marks for example. While I am as conscientious and courteous as I can be and hope that it presents a positive message to other road users, I in no way feel it makes me safer!

3 comments:

  1. Conscientiousness is the trait that denotes being thorough, careful, or vigilant. This trait alone may not keep you safe on the road but it will keep you safer than alternative behaviours, such as jumping red lights.

    I agree that there is a need to be assertive on the London roads. Not sure about selfish though. I ride my Brompton in the same way that I drive my car and I like to think that whilst being assertive on the road I'm also thoughtful, considerate and yes, conscientious.

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    1. Many thanks for leaving a comment Steve. You are possibly right at picking up on selfish. I suppose I mean there are times when you need to think about number one (especially with regards your own safety).

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  2. There is very little 'danger running red lights, the problem is that it tars all cyclists with the same brush and can give some justification when something bad happens 'all go through red light, non have lights# etc. This can never be a justification but is often used as one. The problem with our roads is if a driver makes a simple mistake they will more likely get away with it, if a cyclist makes a simple mistake they could be under a bus. Unlike in the Benelux counties where they could be run over by another cyclists - little more. The advantage of a Brompton/step through bike is that you can dismount and walk across lights perfectly legally. I struggle to get my leg over a cross bar though.

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