Monday, 22 December 2014

Merry Christmas!

As 2014 draws to a close, it is time to reflect once more on another successful year of rangering for Sustrans! My heart-felt thanks to all of you for the effort you have put into making our local trails more accessible and user-friendly; for the assistance you have offered to others - in knocking down walls and cementing waymarker posts, for example! for the background campaigning and liaising with outside cycling bodies and local authorities; and of course, for breaking new ground in musical productions! Well done all of you, take a bow (you all know who you are!) and again, thank you! Next year I want to organize some rides for the public - maybe one a month - and I hope that a number of you will volunteer to lead these. I hope also that we will continue to work together with other groups. Have a great Xmas and I look forward to meeting you all again in 2015. Happy cycling!

Monday, 15 December 2014

Police advice to motorists and cyclists

Following on from the post below (which is quoting from the national Highway Code), how do you think that Derbyshire Police advise motorists & cyclists to behave and interact with each other? Perhaps surprisingly the following are headings in their guidance to motorists regarding cyclists:
 • Realise cyclists are vulnerable
 • Be cautious and be patient
 • Allow plenty of space
 • Cyclists have a right to claim the lane
 • Beware a left turn
 • [take care] Opening car doors
While the advice does tell cyclists to be alert and aware of the potential dangers, generally the approach is summed up by the statement:
It’s your responsibility as a driver to avoid hitting the cyclist, not the responsibility of the cyclist to avoid getting hit by you.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Being overtaken by cars

You all know the experience. You are riding along a main road, not too far out into the carriageway, and there is a double white line down the center of the road (continuous on your side, and either continuous or broken on the other side - it makes no difference). A car comes up behind you and the driver wants to overtake. The driver figures there is just enough room to do this without crossing the white lines, so s/he does - passing within millimetres of yourself. Feel the breeze! There is no prize for this 'skillful' piece of driving, and what is certain is that there is no prize for the cyclist who ends up under the wheels of the car because the car driver cut things a bit fine. But squeezing past us like this may not even be necessary. Read this, which is from the Highway Code online:
Rule 129
Double white lines where the line nearest you is solid. This means you MUST NOT cross or straddle it unless it is safe and you need to enter adjoining premises or a side road. You may cross the line if necessary, provided the road is clear, to pass a stationary vehicle, or overtake a pedal cycle, horse or road maintenance vehicle, if they are travelling at 10 mph (16 km/h) or less.
Laws RTA 1988 sect 36 & TSRGD regs 10 & 26
Admittedly, the motorist can only overtake by crossing the white lines if the cyclist is travelling at 10 mph (so it says) but who is that good about judging the speed of a cyclist, or the speed of anything for that matter? I couldn't ride continuously ride at much over 10 mph myself, and I imagine that goes for a number of riders who are not actually taking part in the Tour of Britain. The interesting thing is that, in discussions with cyclists/motorists, I find that most people don't even know this rule. I'm guessing it's a relatively new one in the Code - I certainly don't recall being aware of the last sentence when I took my test eons ago, when the first part of the rule used to be much beloved of examiners in the days before the theory test. I only learned it myself a few years back while on a Speed Awareness course (don't ask!)