Friday, 16 March 2012

Ideas for cyclists and drivers to coexist

It’s been a while! But your humble blogger has been busy! Deadlines loom for my thesis proposal and essays are being decided upon!  But I’ve made time today! Let’s get this baby written!

This little blog shall be about coexistence between cyclists and drivers. Bit ironic it’s taken until blog number 5 to write about cycling, you know, what the theme of my blog is supposed to be actually about…… but what are you going to do?! 
In Cork recently the council have started putting more cycle lanes around the city, the suburbs and are investing in more parking spaces for bicycles around the city center. It’s all really welcome and appreciated from this cyclist I can tell you. However there are still demons that need to be exorcised: Cyclists and Drivers. It astounds me how little regard there is for ‘rules’ of the road and how the rules are being casually disregarded by both. Currently, drivers seem to think the following:
Red lights are suggestive rather than enforcing.
Stop signs look nice, but what are they trying to stop me doing exactly?
Yie – “hmmm I missed the end of what that said due to me texting”
“Why is there a third lane in the road? It’s half the size of my car lane. I think I’ll drive in it to be safe.”
“Speed limit? I don’t understand. There’s nothing in my car to limit my speed?” *FOOT DOWN*

Person A drives this:

But drive it like they're driving this:

Or Person B driving this:

And they drive it like they're actually driving this:

GAH! ARGH! That's what being on the same road as the above makes me feel.

So firstly, a small rant. I feel very strongly that driving standards need to be improved in this country. I do not find it remotely acceptable that people are not giving respect to cyclists on our roads; that applies to both sharing the road and cyclists in cycle lanes. The amount of times I’ve had a car overtake me, then move into the cycle lane in front of me and join the other cars in their traffic jams is crazy! Drivers over-taking me on blind corners and then cutting me off when an oncoming car forces them back into their lane is another favourite move of mine.

Fellow cyclists do not escape my wrath either. I cannot stand the idiots who cycle through red lights on blind junctions with traffic coming from the right or left. Or idiots who cycle through pedestrian lights when pedestrians are crossing the road: they’re called pedestrian lights therefore right of way is given to the pedestrian. I do believe cyclists can and should be able to go through pedestrian lights. Just after the pedestrians have finished crossing! Simples!  And when it’s dark – em….. light up? Seriously? Unless you’ve consumed uranium, or have glowworm genes thanks to your distant 5th cousin’s uncle – you can’t be seen in the dark.

I think that with the upgrades to and investments in cycling facilities, there should be a greater emphasis on having minimum standards and even enforceable rules for cyclists. I’m not for discouraging people from cycling, but I think cyclists who break red lights should get a €20 on the spot fine. I also think people who don’t have some form of reflective gear or lights on their person or bike should get a €20 fine also. It’s enough to make you think about your actions and change your behaviour but it’s not going to force you off the saddle when you know a similar system exists for drivers. That’s right, I’m swinging back to them. People who break red lights should be given a whopping €100 fine if caught doing so. It’s extremely dangerous and completely ignorant. People using mobile phones when driving should be given a €200 fine and 5 penalty points. You are NOT in control of your vehicle or concentrating on the road or its users if you’re on your phone.  The driving test should be completely revamped also. But my ideas on that will be saved for another blog.

Neither camp are innocent and both drivers and cyclists need to improve their road behaviour. It’s about time our feckless behaviour behind the wheel of cars and on the wheels of bikes is clamped down on and we’re made responsible for our actions. Fine by you? Fine by me!

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