Public Spaces, Entitlement, and Sharing

In case you haven’t seen it, watch this video from AngryMutation of a driver angrily abusing some children who are doing cycle training:

What I think is interesting is that the driver insists on referring to the road as “My lane”; the implication being that cycles and cyclists have no place on the road, or at best are simply tolerated if the driver is feeling generous.

It is lost on her that the roads are public spaces for all of us to use, and she has no rights over other road users just because she is in a car.

It’s pretty depressing to think that someone holds these views. These children are undergoing training that has been proven to reduce road casualties, and everyone should be encouraging as many people as possible to receive training like this if they want to take up cycling.

I hope that the driver looks back on this incident and is utterly ashamed of themselves.

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Pinch Points

Pinch Points.

Pedestrian Havens

Build Outs

Pinch Point

Not enough room for a car to safely pass a bicycle.

Whatever you call them, if you are a cyclist, you probably hate them. They narrow the road, meaning there is not enough room for a car to safely overtake you.

That means that for your own safety, you need to get into primary position or else invite a dangerously close overtake. This brings its own issues, as some motorists cannot understand why a cyclist will “take the lane” like that and assume, wrongly, that they are doing so purely to annoy them. And we all know that an angry driver is a dangerous one.

Even when you do adopt a strong position, you sometimes get motorists dangerously forcing their way through when there simply isn’t the room to do so safely. Have a look at some of the close passes I have had through these pinch points.

On some of those my positioning could have been better, but drivers really need to be aware that they shouldn’t overtake through pinch points. It would not affect their journey time by more than a few seconds, if that, to simply wait behind until the cyclist is through the pinch point. I always make a point of waving my thanks at drivers who have patiently waited behind until clear of the pinch point.

I get that they are mainly designed for the benefit of pedestrians, but they are unsatisfactory for even that purpose, as pedestrians still often have to contend with fast moving traffic.

They are basically a failure of road designers to properly take the needs of vulnerable road users into account. They are awful, and in my opinion they should all be replaced with zebra crossings or pedestrian traffic light crossings.