Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Do I Love Or Hate?

Because I’m currently off full shift work I’ve found myself having to take either public transport or cycle. The trains have been rather a let down and my journey time to work has increased somewhat. I have therefore been into the garage and pulled out the bike Mrs Stressed bought me for Christmas a few years back.

It’s a mountain bike with umpteen gears for climbing severe gradients. The fastest gear is slow and it has the knobbliest tyres you’ve ever seen. I didn’t want to appear ungrateful but there’s a distinct lack of mountains where I live and the only time I used it, I was overtaken by a granny with a basket on her bike. I think it was Mrs Stressed’s way of punishing me for all the grief I’ve given her over the years.

I must be back in favour because she got the tyres changed for my birthday. I didn’t exactly get slicks but I was going into work the other day and actually overtook somebody so there’s improvement. I have found the cycling saves 20 minutes on the train journey, and I could shave more off if I didn’t comply with the law of the land.

I do make a point of stopping at red lights but must say the majority of my fellow cyclists just carry on straight through. They often gain 200 yards (nearly typed metres then but we don’t have them over here) which is rather frustrating on my slow machine to try and make up. I’m rather caught in between with this cyclist thing as my new car is a 4 x 4 and I don’t know if I should hate them or not. In the morning my fellow cyclists have been polite, nodding as they come the other way and even rather chatty when stationary. I think perhaps they should be allowed to treat it as a give way after all, but if they get wiped out it’s down to them.

I must confess I do cycle on the footway for a distance of 4 yards to access a cycle path, but would never do it if a pedestrian was there and definitely not if that pedestrian was a police officer. So why am I always stopping people cycling on the footway towards me in full uniform. They all get stopped because basically they’re taking the piss. Do they expect me to do nothing and say nothing? So far nobody has failed the test .. but a couple have just sped off ignoring me. As I’m not going to chase after a bike and win they get away but there might be a purge coming on. I’ve got a load of PCSO’s who need training up on tickets.

I see police in Bournemouth have been targeting cyclists with speed guns in an attempt to slow them down. At least there’s no chance of me getting done then.


Paul said...

What about discretion? The area I am a PCSO in is largely suburban, with bit a busy high street. I stop cyclists if they're on the footway in the high street, but not in most of the residential areas.

In some cases the most polite/friendly/courteous greetings I have had all day from MOPs have been from cyclists on the footpath passing me.

Would you disagree with this approach? Do you suggest I dish out tickets to anyone I encounter?

My main concern with adopting such a hardline approach is that it will negatively affect long-term engagement with the community if you're seen to be enforcing without any regard for common sense.

John Girvin said...

I don't red light jump myself, I think it's insanely dangerous, but I will admit to, on occasion, hopping on to the pavement for short distances to get around particularly gnarled up traffic (usually buses). I'll go very slowly on the pavement and won't use it at all if there is significant pedestrian traffic or, like you say, if any of the pedestrians are police officers!

Gaz said...

To Echo John, I do not RLJ on my commute, That said I will "Fess up" to have doing it a couple of times when I feel uneasy that a HGV has come so close that I'm now in his blind spot but that said you can say that 80% of cyclists do Red Light Jump (from personal experience) and it doesn't do anyone any good in the end.

John said...

I have to say that I don't subscribe to the theory that cyclists should be allowed to get away with RLJing or pavement riding - as a cyclist I want to be considered as a legitimate road user by others and that won't happen unless we are seen to play by the same rules as other road users
Paul - I can see the dilemma but a friendly warning wouldn't do any harm surely ?

MarkUK said...

I'm a motorist. I'm also a pedestrian.

I am heartily fed up with the near misses with cyclists when I'm walking. Some of these "near misses" have actually been hits, when I've been bumped (lightly) by cyclists. The cyclists' attitude is that I shouldn't have been there in the first place!

None of these incidents have been in the middle of town. They tend to be either on residential streets, outside shops or on a footpath with no road immediately alongside.

Will someone please start nicking these menaces?

downfader said...

No need to hate your 4x4. They're a bit big for normal city life obviously, lol.

As for RLJing. I've ridden for along time on the roads. If I feel a driver behind me may be a risk (for instance today I pulled up in the ASL - first vehicle to arrive at the lights, and a driver pulled up practically next to me in it obviously wishing to tear off from the lights..) I will get off and navigate the lights on foot.

MUCH safer!

Especially if you know the way the lights work at a particular junction. I have never deliberately ridden through a red light.. I have however gone half way across and had them change on large junctions - which is a bit frightening.

I just dont see any real need for pavement cycling and RLJing. I think we should lead by example tbh.

Stressed Out Cop said...


And discretion is what SOC uses .. but every pavement rider MUST be stopped and spoken to .. otherwise irate MOP will demand to know why you have not challenged a breach.

The point is would YOU ride past a police officer or PCSO? Verbal warnings are fine but repeated abuses?

I've told my PCSO's to stop and warn and wait the one who argues the toss.

I've seen alot of community teams have this as a priority .. and I think this is why there is increased purging.

What about RLJ I believe in States you can proceed in a car against a red in certain circumstances. I think BJ in London has suggested it too. Perhaps it's time for a trial scheme.