Guys in black, no lights and on the phone...

by Stedmonkey   December 20, 2012  

Riding across Oxford city centre starts and ends each day for me and has done for the past 18 months, day in day out. I normally keep myself to myself and just try and get to where I'm going, sticking to the rules of the road or cycle path.

This evening on the High Street there's a guy on a bike, dressed in black, no lights front of rear on his mobile phone one hand on the bars.

I ride past him, hardly seeing him and for some reason I just felt like I had to say something so I did "get off the phone and put some f'ing lights on" to which he says as we cycle side by side - "I'm busy, I'm on the phone". Then I say "if you carry on like that you'll get knocked off or get killed' to which he say "its my responsibility" and tells me to "f'@k off".

Having never said anything to a fellow cyclist before I now feel like a vigilanty and can't help but feel I should have just kept to my own business. I certainly wish I had not sworn in the first place in hindsight.

Anyone have any thoughts on this, would you do the same?

30 user comments

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yeah sorry about that, i dont like getting heckled. it was an important call

posted by russyparkin [550 posts]
20th December 2012 - 23:11

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I try to remember (for my own sanity) that these people aren't 'cyclists' they're just people on bikes.

Unfortunately, that's not a distinction that does the rest of us any good in the eyes of other road users.

I try to lead by example rather than by direct confrontation but sometimes you have to do it. Yesterday I confronted the Big Issue vendor that rides up the High Street in the middle of the road - with his dog.For my trouble I got a mouth full of abuse but it needed to be done.

What we need is the Universities to take responsibility for students being equipped and trained to ride safely, same for the big companies. Perhaps if these people were in the minority they'd be motivated to change their behavior.

posted by Velo_Alex [62 posts]
20th December 2012 - 23:25

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lol @Russyparkin

Sir Velo

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posted by Raleigh [1725 posts]
20th December 2012 - 23:30

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the infamous cycle ninjas Thinking

posted by akhat93 [20 posts]
21st December 2012 - 0:18

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He'll get run over and then we can all blame the evil motorist!

My weirdest experience was being ticked off for overtaking a fellow cyclist on the left - in a one-way street!!

I'm a human being, God damn it! My life has value. I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.

posted by Carl [134 posts]
21st December 2012 - 1:17

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Carl wrote:
My weirdest experience was being ticked off for overtaking a fellow cyclist on the left - in a one-way street!!

Maybe a bit different meeting a stranger on a commute but overtaking on the left is pretty poor ettiquette when group riding, especially without announcing yourself.

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posted by CraigS [135 posts]
21st December 2012 - 1:53

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just remember a large proportion of people are cocks, some travel by bike. Along with no lights the two silliest things i see every day are joining a road from the pavement without looking behind them and squeezing down the left of lorries and busses.

Unfortunately the cocks in cars use this as justification for putting my life in danger. When i ask that drivers give me room and consideration, the common response is that i deserve what i get because 'cyclists' all jump lights etc. and should not be on the road.

posted by ilovemytinbred [157 posts]
21st December 2012 - 7:17

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Thanks, yep russyparkin's comment made me laugh Nerd

posted by Stedmonkey [14 posts]
21st December 2012 - 7:46

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i'd definitely do the same - and do, regularly, around Oxford.

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posted by PJ McNally [561 posts]
21st December 2012 - 8:58

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Oxford is terrifying- have seen some very irresponsible riding; no-one stops for pedestrian crossing lights and the narrow streets are a nightmare. Abandoned bikes everywhere....but it does have Zappi's, my all time favourite bike shop cum restaurant.

New Forester

posted by Forester [73 posts]
21st December 2012 - 9:48

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I don't cycle commute, so generally when I see ninja cyclists I'm driving home. It never ceases to amaze me - the last one I saw was not just in black, no lights, on phone, but with hood up, riding on the wrong side of the road, right where an oncoming cyclist would be! In fact I saw two lads, one sat on the handlebars for a lift, do just this (minus phone) and, wobbling along, caused a nicely-lit, high-vis commuter crash into them. Just a low-speed thing that resulted in some bad language, but still bad form.

I tend to resign myself to the sort of response you got and usually don't bother saying anything. When I have done, they have earphones in and probably don't hear me anyway.

Lol @russyparkin - quick thinking there!

Last night actually, I had just gone through a junction near home. Lights everywhere causing a bit of glare, lots of rain and water reflections etc, and I suddenly realised that a woman had done that thing of crossing a road a lane at a time and was right by my right front. I could only see her head. Luckily I was only doing about 12mph. Don't think she realised the danger though.

Dodging the saccadic masking

posted by notfastenough [2623 posts]
21st December 2012 - 9:49

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In answer to the original question: I would have done the same, as most rational but annoyed people would. Whether the guy was a 'cyclist' or a person on a bike is irrelevant to most of the non-cycling public and car drivers. My frustration is that the public paint us all with the same brush. Whether you like it or not that guy represents us in a small way and its bloody annoying.

On a lighter note, I once saw a guy on a MTB peddling down a slip road onto the hard shoulder of the M6. Didn't even indicate!

arrieredupeleton

posted by arrieredupeleton [519 posts]
21st December 2012 - 10:36

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Quote:
Having never said anything to a fellow cyclist before I now feel like a vigilanty

you should definitely get a cape!

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posted by TheHatter [808 posts]
21st December 2012 - 11:57

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arrieredupeleton wrote:
In answer to the original question: I would have done the same, as most rational but annoyed people would. Whether the guy was a 'cyclist' or a person on a bike is irrelevant to most of the non-cycling public and car drivers. My frustration is that the public paint us all with the same brush. Whether you like it or not that guy represents us in a small way and its bloody annoying.

On a lighter note, I once saw a guy on a MTB peddling down a slip road onto the hard shoulder of the M6. Didn't even indicate!

I once saw someone pedalling an MTB up the emergency lane of the M23. I was going in the other direction and this was at the M25 flyover, a pretty busy section of the motorway. The chap had a heavy bag across his back and another slung from his handlebars and was just about to cross the slip road leading onto the M23 from the M25.

I hope someone called the cops as I was on my own in the car and couldn't.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [1968 posts]
21st December 2012 - 12:44

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The most suicidal cyclist I've ever seen was on the A14 north of Cambridge in the rush hour. It was twilight, he was wearing head to toe dark grey, no lights or reflectives, and he was clearly texting as he went. The lack of a helmet would have been academic had he been hit by one of the container lorries.

posted by keef66 [24 posts]
21st December 2012 - 13:35

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I saw a guy coming towards me last night, at speed, down hill, in the rain with the wimpiest of headlights. How he could see where he was going in the dark is a complete mystery to me; definately a guy on a bike (not a cyclist). No way he could see or be seen. I think you were right to speak up, good on you!

posted by SideBurn [736 posts]
21st December 2012 - 14:12

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I see that kind of thing regularly in London on my commute, but they generally also have headphones on and are either sending or reading a text a lot of the time too. I have tried to explain they're risking their life and probably mine if i'm anywhere near them but they don't get it, so now i just leave a lot of space as I pass.

posted by md6 [141 posts]
21st December 2012 - 15:38

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Another worrying trend I've been seeing is newspaper delivery boys on bikes with no lights, or even hi-vis. I wonder if the newsagents these lads work realise they are breaking the law with regards to employee heakth and safety.

David Palmer
Milton Keynes

Specialized Secteur Elite 2013
Team Raleigh Road Bike
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posted by djpalmer32 [46 posts]
21st December 2012 - 16:56

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ilovemytinbred wrote:
just remember a large proportion of people are cocks, some travel by bike.

Yes, sadly it is and will always be the case.

And yes, drivers will tar all 'cyclists' with the same brush because it's easy and makes them feel a bit better about themselves (and in some cases help justify their bending or breaking of rules of the road - mobile phone use, RLJ, not looking etc). It's human nature, it's not about cyclists per se.

Incidentally, someone raised the issue of cars with defective lights on another forum recently and it's surprising just how many have one or more brake or tail lights not working or even a headlamp not functioning. The latter can be quite scary on an unlit road.

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posted by Simon E [1796 posts]
21st December 2012 - 17:41

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Driving to work in my mobile toolbox through Woking before sunrise I pass about a dozen people on bikes. Only about 3 have any lights or bright clothing; not Day-Glo but just not black or grey. When I ride my bike (I'm not a "cyclist") I wear red, hat, gloves and pannier and lit up like a Christmas tree. But then I'm old and know I'm not immortal.

Young lads went over the top on the Somme in 1916. They thought they were immortal.

Need I say more?

posted by bobdelamare [17 posts]
21st December 2012 - 21:22

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I'd have done the same.

I'm sure that idiots like are out to prove that Darwin's theories on natural selection are true.

Unfortunately the headline in the paper if / when he got mashed would have been 'tragic death of cyclist'. I'd feel sorry for the poor driver that hit him because he did not see him.

Velotastic !

Too many hills, but too little time.

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posted by badback [257 posts]
24th December 2012 - 15:10

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Had to revisit this thread as I passed just this type of individual tonight, on his phone. He caught me up at the lights, no longer on the phone, but looking down at his screen, with big music headphones on instead! Oh and yes, he ran the red.

Dodging the saccadic masking

posted by notfastenough [2623 posts]
25th December 2012 - 2:01

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I see a few cyclists wearing just black, with no lights, on my commute. I regularly see a woman wearing a bright pink top but no lights. Considering the cycle path is unlit, completely pitch black, I only ever see her when I'm about 5 metres away from her. I guess she thinks by wearing pink she doesn't need lights.

posted by Kebab Meister [12 posts]
27th December 2012 - 23:04

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This is one of my pet hates. I have said things in the past but have also been told to "F*** off man!".

My view now is as long as they don't ride into me or cause me problems, let Darwin's laws of evolution take care of them.

posted by londonplayer [671 posts]
28th December 2012 - 0:12

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My friend Daryl came up with the easiest thing I know for speaking out against cyclists who don't use lights, just loudly ask the question, "What lights?"

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posted by Municipal Waste [190 posts]
28th December 2012 - 21:05

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Well, just to put a slightly different point of view, in many UK urban areas street lighting is so bright (and most car lamps are so bright) that low powered cycle lights may not be very useful. In fact even though my 200 lumens front light, and rear lights are considerably brighter than average I still get drivers occasionally telling me to put lights on. ...and on high vis jackets, the dayglow stuff was designed for overcast daylight, not for the night. At night its only really reflectors that work, and those only if a light is being shone failry directly on to them.

Not much to say about mobile phones tho, on the odd SMIDSY occasion the driver nearly always is using a phone/gps/talking to a passenger etc, and its no different for cyclists or pedestrians using the infernal things.

posted by joncrel [8 posts]
30th December 2012 - 12:55

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bobdelamare wrote:
Driving to work in my mobile toolbox through Woking before sunrise I pass about a dozen people on bikes. Only about 3 have any lights or bright clothing; not Day-Glo but just not black or grey. When I ride my bike (I'm not a "cyclist") I wear red, hat, gloves and pannier and lit up like a Christmas tree. But then I'm old and know I'm not immortal.

Young lads went over the top on the Somme in 1916. They thought they were immortal.

Need I say more?

Daftest analogy ever.

posted by paulfg42 [358 posts]
31st December 2012 - 0:40

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'Young lads went over the top on the Somme in 1916. They thought they were immortal.

Need I say more?'

Yes, say more. I'm intrigued, as I've never encountered artillery, mustard gas or machine gun fire on my commutes, and I go through some very rough parts of Manchester.

posted by andyp [642 posts]
27th January 2013 - 12:34

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He wasn't on the phone but wearing a darkish hoody, riding along the unlit road from Wargrave to Henley at about 17:45 Friday, no lights, chav type with one hand on the 'bars being towed along by his Staffy-esque mutt.
Sorry mate but you deserve to end up in the ditch.
Don't know about the Somme but this one obviously thought he was immortal Angry

posted by hairybiker [13 posts]
27th January 2013 - 23:50

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I see them all the time in Oxford, its not the ones without lights, its the ones on mobile phones ride pavements ride double, run red lights the list goes on.

Out of annoyance I tweeted Thames Valley Police about it and their response was "there is a scheme set up" frankly i dont see how a media friendly event stops these menaces on the road. I know not all cyclists are psychos on 2 wheels. but it seems that nothing is being done to prevent them. I've got so annoyed ive written to my MP (she hasnt replied yet).

Tonight i told someone off for not having lights on his bike and pretty much dressed in dark clothing, he told me that the police has stopped him 7 times (after the threats and abuse) then he said "my lights where broken then stolen" he was just making excuses.

i might be unpopluar saying this but i feel that instead of this media friendly slap on the wrist, "we tear the ticket up if you get lights" if a cyclist is caught without lights the bike is taken away. and not given back until the offender has got lights, and the fine sticks. i dont care if they kill themselves being idiots but when they cause accidents that involve others that's when something should be done.

sorry i went on a bit of a rant. but thats how i feel

posted by fishstew [1 posts]
10th February 2013 - 1:20

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