How dangerous is cycling close to the royal city of Bath?
Well obviously, the cyclist is a vulnerable road user. The cyclist is a human being using a machine to move along roads and footpaths using their own power. Even a fall could mean a broken limb or worse. When the cyclist uses the roads they are sharing the space with motorised vehicles and they have a right to do so. The Queen's highways are not meant for the exclusive use of motor vehicles they are meant for the use of all road users. Locally, in Bath and North East Somerset and Wiltshire cyclists are now subject to an additional danger, a deliberate threat to their safety from some car drivers who deliberately threaten cyclists for no better reason than it it is fun for them to do so.
Unfortunately, this behaviour is a real threat to the safety of cyclists, it is NOT funny to use a machine weighing more than three quarters of a ton to intimidate a cyclist. I am nearly 70 and I am quite capable of cycling and in fact save some of my pension using my bike rather than my car, current rates diesel rates are 25p per mile. No doubt these cowardly motorists would be most unwilling to try to intimidate me in my 4x4 but why should I have to abandon my bike? If this deliberate intimidating behaviour continues I hope that other cyclists and motorists will join with me in being be willing to come forward to report any aggressive behaviour to cyclists before we have a tragedy on our hands.
In the mean time, should we as cyclists have to spend more money on our personal safety buying video cameras and if so will the local police take any notice if we submit such evidence of cyclists being threatened? My evidence at present, from two attacks is the drivers of the car(s) it could be one, is that they are more likely to live in the Trowbridge or Frome areas. They call out from their car in gorilla like language so may be they come from Longleat. But make no mistake, I am not at all amused their behaviour is really dangerous. A CAR DIVER IS DELIBERATELY DRIVING AT A CYCLIST SO WHAT IS THAT?
I will report on the second incident. The first incident was rowdy shouting as I pushed my bike up a steep hill locally. Second incident Sunday 26th June 2011 approaching the junction with Branch Road on the A36 travelling towards Warminster. From Freshford the distance is no more than about 500 m to the junction and it is downhill. I was cycling towards the junction and signalled in good time to negotiate the junction which has a Turn Right protective lane. Whilst in the lane I was overtaken by a small car with possibly 4 occupants who showered abuse upon me. The car had no right whatsoever to overtake me as I was in the Turn right lane and the car and its driver only did so to intimidate me, there was no other reason for the car to take that action as I was well out of the path of any traffic approaching from behind me. The car also forced an approaching car heading towards Bath to take avoiding action. That car could have hit me or the overtaking car. I had no idea whether another car was also approaching along the A36 from behind and was unable to take any action at all other than brake.
372 cyclists were killed or seriously injured last year on the roads your article says. Most of them from stopping at red lights to then be run over by drivers not paying attention. A recent report concluding this cannot be published because it demonstrated that riding through red is sometimes safer than stopping for it. The observation in your article that women DO stop for lights is also reflected in the death toll; most are women cyclists. If I would have a pound for every pedestrian that crossed the road without looking or waiting for their green light and walking straight into my path while cycling I would be rich. And if I would have a penny for every car/van/hgv driving fool that did not indicate, went through red, made a dangerous manoeuvre or swerved into my path while cycling I would be even richer. How about solutions that are best for everyone and not just drivers and to a lesser extent pedestrians? Look at how Denmark and The Netherlands deal with cycling for good ideas. And don't rely on any politician here in the UK, including Livingstone, to come up with the goods they promised. I have yet to see a solution to road problems in London that benefits green long-distance commuting - i.e. cycling. I think cyclist-bashing has gone on for way too long here in the UK. When will people finally realise they are the solution not the problem? Does oil really need to run out first, forcing drivers onto bikes before all blinkered people finally awaken? Angry cyclist Evening Standard comment
Cycling in rural areas
What more can one say? The deaths are for London which is still one of the largest cities on Earth, motorists are not supposed to drive at more than 30mph so what's wrong? It could be argued that even if a motorist was caught exceeding the 30 mph limit they would be unlikely to be prosecuted unless they exceeded 35 mph. But even more worrying about these appalling statistics is what if you live in the country? What protection have you got? Nothing, except for your helmet, reflective clothing, lights and the good sense of the motorist. The national speed limit is 60 mph whilst many rural roads are not safe to drive along at 20 mph let alone 60. The cyclist in rural areas really has to depend on motorist's driving sensibly. The trend though is that that motorists tend to drive faster than they should and use their brakes when they see a cyclist or other road user this behaviour is intimidating for cyclists and others who feel unsafe. The safety of the public, whether they be pedestrians or cyclists or other vulnerable road users really depends on the response of the motorist. But to get back to London.
Barclays Cycle Superhighways
Since the article in the Evening Standard which was published in January 2008 Boris Joohnson himself a keen cyclist and the Mayor of London has supported the introduction of Cycle Superhighways. Cycle Superhighways
The 12 routes will cost 22 million pounds, that's a lot of money! There is more to it than simply painting part of the road bright blue. Road users, for example will be able to hire a bike and return it to one of 400 locations in the city centre.
When the vast majority of people would be unable to get to work if they cycled or travelled by horseback as it takes too long, the presence of cyclists is regarded by many, particularly in rural areas as a nuisance to those who need to get to work and want to get home. <to be continued>
Some time ago I bought a cycle water bottle and found that the water tasted plasticky. I thought that maybe the water in the bottle had become tainted by contact with the bottle because it had been in there a long time. So I tested it by tasting the water about 15 minutes after filling it. I also tasted my drinking water, which was OK. I could have taken the bottle back but called Trading Standards and reported my concerns. After a visit and an interview, where I was told that the report would not be disclosed to me! but I would be notified if they had a concern or not. They reported to me about a month later that there were no unacceptable amounts of contaminents in the bottle. So I bought another and lived with it.
I found on an Internet website forum that if you add real lemon juice to the plastic bottle the taste will go away. I presume that the bottles are made from food grade polythene and my worry was that maybe this was a "grey" product that had not been checked for safety; hence my call to Trading Standards. I know that some people drink juice and I suppose any plastic taste may be unnoticeable and possible the acid in the juice neutralises the plasticky taste. For a full read of the forum topic see: bikeforums.net
PS polycarbonate bottles (normal water bottles) are fine but are not strong enough to use when cycling.
I suppose that one argument that could be raised about shopping and cycling, is that it is not really possible to go shopping to the local supermarket by bike. I am using my car very infrequently now. The reason being I can keep fitter, save fuel and money. So why not try shopping by bike?
I am over 66 years old and cycle from Freshford to Bradford on Avon to swim a few times a week. I have even shopped at Marks & Spencer in Bath recently. I don't think I'll be cycling to Swindon's Link Centre to ice skate which is 64 mile round trip though, unless I camp out on the way back!
Today, Sunday, I cycled to Sainsburys in Bradford on Avon a total round trip of between 6 and 7 miles. I went primarily to buy mushrooms. I couldn't buy them at Westwood Post office and shop as they buy their fruit and vegetables from Bristol and there was little left as they only go once a week. So I either had to use the car or cycle. I chose to cycle there. The photograph below shows what I bought:
Mushrooms- a value box, bananas, tomatoes, apples, romaine lettuce, raisins and ice cream. A total weight of 5.6kg (over 12 pounds) The shopping was placed in my pannier bags and I could quite easily have bought meat, eggs, milk and bread, and some more vegetables if necessary as there was enough room in the bags. I make my own bread anyway, but even so there was room for flour. Notice that these are family quantities.
I think that I could go shopping by bicycle twice a week and buy all I need. Although Freshford and the surrounding countryside is very hilly it is possible to shop by bicycle rather than use the car. We could also make a sustantial contribution to saving precious resources by cycling, be fitter and save money!