Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Road Positioning

It can feel safer to ride in the gutter. It isn’t. It increases the chances of drivers not seeing you and passing too close. You’ll have to contend with drains, cambered surfaces, debris and potholes too.

The most common car-cyclist collision is the  ‘Sorry mate, I didn’t see you’. Drivers pay attention to where their vehicle will be in the next few seconds. They pay much less attention to what’s in their peripheral vision. That’s why a cyclist should never cycle in the gutter. You should be at least 50cm and often 1metre or more from the kerb. This is what’s recommended in the Government’s ‘Bikeability’ training programmes www.bikeability.org.uk and called ‘the secondary position’.

Rule 139 of the Highway Code obliges drivers to give cyclists ‘at least as much room as a car’ when overtaking. – typically considered to be 1.5m. If you’re already 1m from the kerb this usually means drivers should pull out, cross the central, dashed white line, and pull in again. If a vehicle is coming the other way, they’ll have to wait until it is safe to pass. If you hug the kerb drivers will be tempted to squeeze past dangerously close.

There are also lots of occasions where you need to ‘take the lane’ or what is often called ‘the primary position’. This is the centre of the lane you are in. It’s recommended to ‘take the lane’ when:

·         approaching a pinch point such as a pedestrian island
·         negotiating junctions or a roundabout
·         at ‘Give Way’ markings or traffic lights
·         passing a side road or parked cars
·         in queues of stationary or slow moving traffic

What’s equally important for your own safety is communicating your intentions to other road users. Check back before gradually moving into any new position and signal clearly if there are vehicles close behind you.

Cyclists are often encouraged to wear bright or hi-viz clothing. The fact is that taking a more assertive road position is even more important in improving a cyclists’ safety and your visibility to other road users.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Vote Bike

The Cyclists’ Touring Club (national cycling charity) is encouraging cyclists to contact their parliamentary candidates and seek their support for making cycling easier, safer and more popular.

An easy-to-use ‘Vote Bike’ website www.votebike.org.uk makes it easy for you to ask all of your local candidates to show support for the CTC’s five key campaigning aims:

Increase cycling to 10% of trips by 2025 and 25% by 2050.

Spend an average of at least £10 per person per year on cycling.

Design Standards
Adopt high design standards for cycling in highway and traffic schemes, new developments and planned road maintenance work.

Improve cycle safety by strengthening and enforcing road traffic law and revising the Highway Code.

Positive promotion
Positive promotion of cycling, including cycle skills training, for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.

The site lets you see what commitments candidates have already made so you can help us hold them to account if elected!

Vote Bike follows on from success in securing cross-party support for recommendations in the ‘Get Britain Cycling’ report and a Government commitment to treat cycling as other forms of transport through an amendment to the Infrastructure Bill.

If you’re still undecided which way to vote on 7 May, the website provides a useful summary of what the political parties are saying about their commitment to cycling.

More locally Push Bike! has already secured support from 25% of Worcestershire’s 55 County Councillors for the CTC’s ‘Space for Cycling’ campaign which was aimed at Councils with Highway responsibilities.

The level of support by party on the County is Green (100%), Liberal Democrat (75%), Community & Health (66%), UKIP (50%), Labour (36%), Independent (33%) and Conservative (10%).

Encouraging more to cycle brings benefits for everyone in the local community.  Push Bike! encourages you, your family and friends to use the ‘Vote Bike’ website www.votebike.org.uk to lobby those standing to be your next MP to commit to making it easier and safer to cycle around Worcester and Worcestershire if they’re elected.

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