Here are a few thoughts based on Sunday’s ride.
It started icy and I was really nervous slipping and sliding everywhere. I finally went down, bringing down my mate too on a quiet road in Portslade. Heading north towards and along Twineham Lane we kept hitting ice in the shade. By the time that we turned back (I was a nervous wreck) the temperature increased and we lapped up the wall to wall, warm sunshine as group after group of cyclists headed out for the day. I have never seen so many riders in all the time that I have been cycling.
Tips for cyclists.
Don’t ride on ice with a road bike.
Be aware that, when confronting a driver, they driver may have no idea at all that they have even done something untoward. They may even feel put out by your confrontation.
Don’t confront drivers with weapons. Your challenge to their driving may even provoke them to resort to more than just the threat of their vehicle and you may be threatened with the nearest available weapon, on Sunday it was a golf club! Looked like a 5 iron.
Always report incidents to Operation Crack Down, usually that is the only way to have an incident recorded other than by a road traffic collision and we don’t want any of those.
Use social media to name and shame.
Tips for drivers.
Don’t overtake a bicycle and slow down immediately. When approaching a roundabout, be aware that, if clear, a bicycle may not need to slow down whereas a car must to avoid losing control. On Sunday, so as not hit the back of a rapidly slowing car, I had to go the wrong way round a mini roundabout. The drive acknowledged his thoughtless error with a suitably apologetic stare.
Don’t pass a cyclist too close or fast and then park where you can be seen. Passing by a cyclist too close and fast is threatening. In fact it is life threatening. Usually the drive blasts off unaware of his error or the affect. However, if the motorist parks the riled cyclist may wish to confront the driver.
Don’t threaten a cyclist a second time, it only makes matters worse. Imagine if you, the driver, had stabbed the cyclist, turning the knife is hardly going to relax him. This all sounds a bit ludicrous and you may even make a joke of it but if the cyclist was dead the driver could even get away with a light caution. Often in the UK you can get away with murder so long as you have hold of a steering wheel.
The sad thing is that the Dyke Golf Club member will probably drive home with no conception of how his driving might frighten a cyclist. He may even think that he already shows care and consideration. Just imagine how attitudes would be different if, instead of community service, drivers were compelled to cycle for 12 months.
Campaign for cycling. Before long you will lose your freedom of the roads as the numbers of riders increase. Drivers should be the most vociferous voice in favour of cycle routes even if the only reason is to get the cyclist off their cherished roads.
Tips for the Authorities.
Embrace cycling and actively encourage it and then you can exercise some control over it. West Sussex’s roads are going to be overrun with bikes, there are already hundreds of cyclists sometimes in groups of ten to twenty and it is only February. When the summer comes driving will be impossible.
I would suggest that Hampshire, West and East Sussex’s’ county councils ask the cyclists which are their favoured routes and designate them “Cycle Route – Motorists recommended to take alternative direction”. It will not be possible to get every cyclist nor dissuade every driver but it might help prevent the inevitable mayhem .
Here is the ride. Nice route apart from the A272 but at least that was frost free.