Cyclists on roads in York

by peloton   August 28, 2012  

I had a bit of a moment yesterday and I wanted to share/vent.

Drove into York from the village I live in and witnessed at least three incidents which made me despair of being a cyclist.

First guy - bimbling along on a sort of hybrid thing in a 40 limit. Double white lines in the middle of the road and he's swerving all over with no lights or hi-viz kit at around dusk. As i got closer I realise he's engrossed in his iPhone.

I then get to a traffic light controlled crossroads. My lights go green as I approach to turn right and, as I do so, three guys, each on there own bike but obviously together, jump their red light from the direction that I'm going to go and one inexplicably veers onto my side of the road directly infront of my car. He looks genuinely p*ssed off at me when I have to skid to a halt. His two mates proceed to give me all the abuse they can before the road is clear and I can drive on.

Get into York proper and its one way system to be greeted by a woman on a sit up and beg shopper coming at me against the flow of traffic completely oblivious as to why this might be a problem.

Now I'm a cyclist, but yesterday was a real wake up to the fact that most drivers' negative attitude towards cyclists is only reinforced by the standard of cycling that I saw on that short, two mile journey.

York's a city with good provision for cyclists. Is it too much to expect people to just have a bit of common sense? Whether I'm on the bike or in my car, I find that if I follow the golden rule of 'don't get in anybody's way' then all is usually well.

Not sure what response I'm looking for with this but I'm beginning to think that perhaps cycling in towns and cities needs to be subject to greater scrutiny.

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I had a moment last week, a women (30s, bit of a scalley) had her right arm out to go right at a small roundabout but I had right of way coming onto the roundabout in my car, she just rolled out in front of me just trusting that I wouldn't drive right through her (she never looked at me or where I was going) and then commenced to yell at me when I had to brake and got quite close to her.

Some cyclists are awful and really are a danger to themselves and others, those are the ones that motorists remember (just like I assume all Golf drivers are arseholes because the ones I remember are shocking aggressive reckless drivers).

It's not just that the Daily Mail and others are building up anti-cycling rhetoric, there's valid experiences behind motorists concerns and they are assuming all cyclists are the same as the ones they've experienced and remembered.

posted by drheaton [3429 posts]
28th August 2012 - 21:35


I expect, on a motoring forum somewhere, there's the guy who narrowly missed hitting me as he tried to enter a roundabout through me, in his car (and yes, I was properly positioned, hi viz, two lights up front) agonising over giving motorists a bad name.

Maybe the drivers who stopped across a pedestrian crossing in Crewe (different drivers, but traffic blocked it for 3 light changes, stopping a guy in an electric wheelchair crossing - poor fella was nearly in tears by the time they eventually deigned to leave space for him) are there too. The people who jump the red lights at the Fairfield Street / London Road (near Picadilly station in Manchester)junction on the pedestrian phase should chip in. Or the Land Rover driver I see negotiating the roads through Cheadle at 40mph whilst chatting away on his mobile phone.


"most drivers' negative attitude towards cyclists is only reinforced by the standard of cycling that I saw on that short, two mile journey."

Then they're idiots. Looking out of their windows at their fellow drivers, if York is even slightly similar to Manchester and Crewe, should give them far more cause for concern than slow moving, easily avoided, less lethal cyclists.

"Tant que je respire, j'attaque!"

John_the_Monkey's picture

posted by John_the_Monkey [428 posts]
29th August 2012 - 8:24


Was cycling on the back roads of Ilkley this weekend. Come to a car coming towards us, only enough room for a single car so we (my friend and Sleepy pulled into a gate so the driver could get passed.

A bloke then forced his way past her broke her wing mirror and shot off.

We then carried on after apologising on his behalf, we saw him in the cafe and asked him why he had done that and been an arse.

"Was my right of way!" How the f@ck was it when it was a single road?! He couldnt get that what he had done was probabley loaded this women with negative thoughts of cyclists which would take longer to get rid of.


When I commuted into Leeds centre from North Leeds via bike I would see so many RLJ or dick heads with music on and it really annoyed me. I put a post on Singeltrack once (I know, I know) about RLJ and the attitude shocked me, the majority of the goons didnt see it as a problem and saw it as safer than waiting!!! WTF!

posted by Darthshearer [141 posts]
30th August 2012 - 11:51


"We then carried on after apologising on his behalf, we saw him in the cafe and asked him why he had done that and been an arse."

Apologising on his behalf? Evidently you're nice blokes, but why? My car got dented twice in a fortnight by (I assume) careless people opening doors into it in car parks. No motorists apoligised to me (and the people responsible certainly didn't leave a note).

You, we, are not responsible for the acts of other cyclists, any more than I'm (as a driver) responsible for the people using mobiles, speeding &c &c &c in their cars. The idea that we are, that "bad" cyclists "give us a bad name" is nonsense, and deserves a polite, but firm rebuttal whenever it appears, particularly when proffered by a motorist.

"Tant que je respire, j'attaque!"

John_the_Monkey's picture

posted by John_the_Monkey [428 posts]
31st August 2012 - 8:50


Well, she was looking at us and really I didnt want the women thinking the guy was with us.

Nothing wrong with being poliet and nice is there?

posted by Darthshearer [141 posts]
31st August 2012 - 10:01


There are cyclists who break the rules or do stupid stuff elsewhere too, like here in London. On my commute home yesterday there was one guy who ran three red lights in succession. I suppose his excuse might have been that we was so slow he had to run red lights to make any progress - I kept catching up with him and I wasn't trying to break any speed records. I'm sure he annoyed drivers. In one case he came close to being sideswiped by a van and while its driver was quick off the mark as the lights changed, the cyclist was the one breaking the law. There was also the moron I saw on a cheapo hybrid, pedalling along without his hands on the bars and engaged in an important phonecall on his mobile. Dunces like those add fuel to the fire with the anti-cycling lobby unfortunately.


posted by OldRidgeback [2577 posts]
31st August 2012 - 10:08


Shock horror there are bad cyclists.

I just tut at RLJers when I catch them up - then ride past.

It does seem though that the arguments are disproportionately weight towards a bad cyclists meaning all cyclists are bad. Whereas there are loads of bad drivers but people still deny that motorists jump lights, drive to quickly, talk on the phone, etc... even cycling friends take umbrage at me for suggesting there is probably as much law breaking by drivers in London as by cyclists - saying I am making it up

op1983's picture

posted by op1983 [46 posts]
31st August 2012 - 11:26


I see plenty of car drivers smoking cannabis at the wheel, driving too close, not wearing a seatbelt, using a cellphone at the wheel and doing any number of things they aren't while supposed to. Yes, they outnumber the cyclists.

But that doesn't excuse cyclists from being stupid. The bloke I saw cycling along a busy A road with no hands on the bars while talking on his phone was the dunce of the day in my view.


posted by OldRidgeback [2577 posts]
31st August 2012 - 12:40


Well done darthshearer. Hopefully your apology takes a bit of the bad taste out of the drivers mouth. Obviously the individual hasn't read about passing places (the gate in your case). When you see poor cycling skills it really does reinforce the argument for bikeability and not just for school kids. Just today when driving into Uxbridge a cyclist hopped onto the pavement to filter the waiting traffic. Then hopped back to the road as the lights changed to green and cut me up while sweeping accross to lane 2 before back to lane 1. As cycling becomes more popular we are going to see more instances like this. Maybe bike shops could offer a 'bikeability' course when new bikes are purchased or old bikes brought in for reconditioning/repair? Looking back into the hazy mists of nearly 40 years ago I really value my primary school making the cycling proficiency mandatory to cycle to school. And you know what - the bike shed was always full back then. Still looking for my badge mind.

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posted by giff77 [1184 posts]
31st August 2012 - 15:10