Saturday, April 29, 2006

Warmer Weather = Cycling Newbies. Problem?

During April '06, the dry warmer weather has tempted many new riders on to their bicycle. But is there a problem with some newbies?

Overall it's a cause for celebration that more new riders are joining in the cycling experience.

But experience is exactly what is missing in some cases.

Sure, everybody has got to start somewhere, but I've witnessed a notable lack of road-sense from some new adult commuting riders.

How can you distinguish a new rider?

  1. Wears conventional dark clothing, camouflaging themselves amongst the tarmac.
  2. Rides with an attitude of invulnerability.
  3. Part-time pavement rider.
  4. Assumes bikes have some kind of magical priority in all traffic situations.
  5. Their knowledge of the Highway Code = "Probably something to do with the Robin Hood era."

All the above traits are a giveaway to spot an inexperienced (adult) rider.

Here's my take on the above:

1/. Cyclists are about 20% the width of cars, and seeing that some drivers manage to crash in to big easy-to-spot cars, cyclists need to make every inch of their presence highly visible.

2/. In any coming together of rider vs. car, rider vs. bus, rider vs. motorcycle, the cyclist will suffer most of the injury & pain. Riding defensively and ultra-cautiously should minimise the risk of this happening.

3/. Pavements are for pedestrians.

4/. A bicycle is a vehicle equal to any other. Cyclists should have the rights equal to any other, but have the obligation to follow the Highway Code equal to any other.

5/. The only way hundreds of thousands of people on the roads every day manage to not crash in to each other, is by knowing the agreed procedures set out in the Highway Code. This essential £1.99 document provides guidance & rules for all vehicles & even pedestrians.

Rather than a "pedal & pray" introduction to cycling, perhaps these new riders commuting in busy traffic should acknowledge a learning curve does exist, and consider sharing a ride with a helpful seasoned rider, or investing in some rider coaching. Before they spike the accident statistics.

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