With the current publicity about the tragic number of cyclists being injured and killed in accidents a lot of the blame is being placed on drivers and probably in a high percentage rightly so, but my experiences recently make me think that cyclists should take more responsibility too.
Last night while I was driving, I turned right onto a stretch of a one way street, and a shadow went past me on the near side. We realised that it was a cyclist riding in the wrong direction in dark clothing and with no lights. There was no way I could have seen him (my assumption) and I was grateful that he did not hit me.
When I am out on my bike and I want to take a short cut like that, get across a busy road/traffic lights etc – I get off and walk my bike with the same care I would as a pedestrian.
A couple of weeks ago while walking into town I started across the road at a pelican crossing (a pedestrian crossing controlled by traffic lights) along with several other people and some on the other side of the road; when a large group of cyclists went through the lights at red. How they missed the elderly man attempting to cross I don’t know and there were people with small children in buggy’s on my side too. Only one of them stopped, and that was probably because I had started to have a go at them. Hubby commented when I told him about this that some bikes are quite difficult to stop but cars had stopped on the other side, when driving, you see traffic lights with pedestrians and you prepare yourself to stop – the same applies to cycling.
The rules of the road apply to everyone, cars, cyclists, motorbikes (who seem to think that speed restrictions don’t apply to them) Red lights mean STOP!, One way traffic means the same for everyone. If you are going to cycle in the dark you need lights – it’s no use then crying (if you survive) because a car driver pulls out in front of you if you can’t be seen. Some bikes can travel very fast.
I always wear a bright yellow high visibility jacket when out on my bike to increase the chances of drivers seeing me and I take extra care at junctions, getting off and walking with pedestrian crossings if necessary.
I tend to walk more than I drive now so as a car driver (over 30 years) cyclist and pedestrian I take responsibility for my own safety and try as far as possible to consider other road and path users. If on a shared cycle/footpath while on my bike and I come up behind someone I will shout to make sure they know I am there before passing as on many occasions I have been startled by a cyclist racing past me from behind with no warning. I could probably go on but that’s enough of a rant for today.