Recumbent rider deserves death and would be 'better off going to Dignitas', says councillor

Rider has resorted to being followed and videoed by his wife due to abuse on the roads

by Sarah Barth   October 28, 2012  

Recumbent bike - Bicycle Library 4

A recumbent rider in South Derbyshire has been singled out for abuse by a councillor and other attendees at a Safer Neighbourhood meeting - because he 'might kill someone'.

The mystery cyclist, who rides around the Repton area, often followed and videoed by his wife in a van for his own protection, was the subject of animated discussion.

Michael Stanton, who represents Repton on South Derbyshire District Council, said that the cyclist got in his path as he attempted to leave the driveway of his home in his pickup truck.

According to the Burton News, he said to uproarious laughter: “I was about to pull out when I noticed this wire going past the bonnet with a pennant on it, then I saw this fellow go past lying on his back in a cylindrical type object.

“If it had been one second later I would have killed him. If he gets killed it probably serves him right, but the problem is, he may end up killing or injuring someone else.”

After the meeting he added that the cyclist would be "better off going to Dignitas" — the Swiss clinic which carries out assisted suicide.

One man who attended the council meeting but did not want to be named, said: “We see a lot of cyclists on the road and it’s not a problem because we keep out of their way and they keep out of ours, but we just can’t see this guy. He’s out of control.”

According to the paper, this man "said the same cyclist had recently collided with the back of his tractor and was now claiming £9,000 compensation as he had to import replacement parts from Australia," although it's not clear from his description who was at fault.

Police Sergeant Steve Todd, safer neighbourhood officer for the area, told the meeting: “If we have evidence of offences we could act, but just cycling down the road on that vehicle is perfectly legal.”

64 user comments

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Simon E wrote:
nbrus wrote:
there as so many situations where they can disappear completely from view below a car bonnet.

As was said previously, so can small children; but does this mean you don't look for them?


Would you let a small child pass in front of a car hoping that the driver will look out for them?

Nic

posted by nbrus [279 posts]
28th October 2012 - 18:31

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nbrus wrote:
Simon E wrote:
nbrus wrote:
there as so many situations where they can disappear completely from view below a car bonnet.

As was said previously, so can small children; but does this mean you don't look for them?


Would you let a small child pass in front of a car hoping that the driver will look out for them?

If they were walking on the pavement past Cllr Stratton's house possibly not, but AFIK small children are allowed to cross road and drivers (and everyone else) are expected to look out for them. Just as they are supposed to look our for Lotus Elise drivers and Ferraris.

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posted by Tony Farrelly [4134 posts]
28th October 2012 - 18:38

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nbrus wrote:
Cyclists are much less visible than cars because of their smaller cross-sectional area when viewed from front/rear. A recumbent reduces this further due to their low height.

One of my recumbent's is wider than even a fat guy on an upright, it is also lit up like a Christmas tree, during the day or night. It is far more visible than most bikes, motorbikes and cars. Just because its lower to the ground, it does not reduce its visibility. As others have pointed out in this discussion. Do you fail to see the road markings painted on the road? If you cannot see them, you should not be on the road.

nbrus wrote:
Only an idiot could claim this makes them more visible to other road users, particularly as there as so many situations where they can disappear completely from view below a car bonnet.

I would NEVER disappear completely from view below a car bonnet, unless it was going over the top of me and my bike. There are very FEW recumbent's that would fall into the category you suggest and these are mainly keep for the track.

So if you think different, I guess that makes me an idiot??

nbrus wrote:
As recumbents are such an unusual sight, if they are noticed, then they do get a lot of attention ... the result being that other road users are immediately at greater risk as those observing the recumbent are no longer focussed on, or paying attention to, what is happening in front of them. This puts everyone else at greater risk. Doesn't it?

So by someone taking notice of something else on the road and paying attention to it, it puts others at risk? WISE UP.

Would you have the same attitude to a driver paying attention to a rider on a horse, because they need infinitely more attention for safe passing and keeping your distance, not revving the engine.....etc

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posted by Gkam84 [8784 posts]
28th October 2012 - 18:40

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Gkam84 wrote:
So by someone taking notice of something else on the road and paying attention to it, it puts others at risk? WISE UP.
The term 'rubbernecking' springs to mind...

"...Rubbernecking can cause further accidents as distracted motorists collide with vehicles around them..."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/aug/02/car-accidents-prevention

Nic

posted by nbrus [279 posts]
28th October 2012 - 19:00

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Gkam84 wrote:
Do you fail to see the road markings painted on the road? If you cannot see them, you should not be on the road.
What if the road markings are obscured by other vehicles, or snow?

Nic

posted by nbrus [279 posts]
28th October 2012 - 19:04

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Gkam84 wrote:
One of my recumbent's is wider than even a fat guy on an upright, it is also lit up like a Christmas tree, during the day or night. It is far more visible than most bikes, motorbikes and cars. Just because its lower to the ground, it does not reduce its visibility.
You obviously are aware of the dangers and take appropriate precautions ... very wise.

Nic

posted by nbrus [279 posts]
28th October 2012 - 19:07

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nbrus wrote:
Gkam84 wrote:
Do you fail to see the road markings painted on the road? If you cannot see them, you should not be on the road.
What if the road markings are obscured by other vehicles, or snow?

I think it is pretty obvious that Gkam meant that if your vision is so poor that you cannot see etc. etc.
If snow obscures the markings then one rides or drives more carefully.

posted by felixcat [208 posts]
28th October 2012 - 19:30

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nbrus wrote:
You obviously are aware of the dangers and take appropriate precautions ... very wise.

Don't you use lights on your upwrong?

posted by felixcat [208 posts]
28th October 2012 - 19:32

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'Pennant or not, if you're a car behind the bike you just can't see it. '

Quality. I have never, ever failed to see a recumbent in front of me. Mind you, that could be because I don't tend to drive 2cm from their rear wheel.

posted by andyp [850 posts]
28th October 2012 - 19:38

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nbrus wrote:
Gkam84 wrote:
Do you fail to see the road markings painted on the road? If you cannot see them, you should not be on the road.
What if the road markings are obscured by other vehicles, or snow?

Then a recumbent would be even more visible to any driver who should be on the road. If not then they need a dog and a white stick.

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posted by Gkam84 [8784 posts]
28th October 2012 - 19:39

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nbrus wrote:
Gkam84 wrote:
So by someone taking notice of something else on the road and paying attention to it, it puts others at risk? WISE UP.
The term 'rubbernecking' springs to mind...

I do understand what you mean, but the term is often used to refer to the activity of motorists slowing down in order to see something on the other side of a road.

Not something right infront of you. Your eyes should be focused ahead, so in theory, you should see a bicycle of any type, long before you arrive near them.

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8784 posts]
28th October 2012 - 19:43

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Gkam84 wrote:
nbrus wrote:
Gkam84 wrote:
So by someone taking notice of something else on the road and paying attention to it, it puts others at risk? WISE UP.
The term 'rubbernecking' springs to mind...

I do understand what you mean, but the term is often used to refer to the activity of motorists slowing down in order to see something on the other side of a road.

Not something right infront of you. Your eyes should be focused ahead, so in theory, you should see a bicycle of any type, long before you arrive near them.

If you're 'lit up like a Christmas tree' then maybe motorists on the other side of the road will be distracted.

Nic

posted by nbrus [279 posts]
28th October 2012 - 19:49

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andyp wrote:
'Pennant or not, if you're a car behind the bike you just can't see it. '

Quality. I have never, ever failed to see a recumbent in front of me. Mind you, that could be because I don't tend to drive 2cm from their rear wheel.

We need all drivers to be like you...

Nic

posted by nbrus [279 posts]
28th October 2012 - 19:50

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Gkam84 wrote:
One of my recumbent's is wider than even a fat guy on an upright, it is also lit up like a Christmas tree, during the day or night.
Sounds like an admission that recumbents are more difficult to see, hence the extra lights to try and grab attention. Thinking

Nic

posted by nbrus [279 posts]
28th October 2012 - 19:53

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nbrus wrote:
If you're 'lit up like a Christmas tree' then maybe motorists on the other side of the road will be distracted.

Now now, behave, don't go twisting things. The only people who are going to see my Christmas lights are those directly behind me.

During the day, I only have my rear lights going, various ones, A flasher, a static and one that has laser type lines on the road beside me to mark out my width.

At night, I have all those, plus a couple of indicators and my front lights, two static, one flasher and my front indicators.

If you are travelling in the opposite direction to me, all you are going to see are my fronts, which in some circumstances will look like a bike and sometimes a car, dependant on the road and light conditions.

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8784 posts]
28th October 2012 - 19:58

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Gkam84 wrote:
During the day, I only have my rear lights going, various ones, A flasher, a static and one that has laser type lines on the road beside me to mark out my width.

At night, I have all those, plus a couple of indicators and my front lights, two static, one flasher and my front indicators.

Wow ... you really are concerned that you might not be seen. Big Grin

Nic

posted by nbrus [279 posts]
28th October 2012 - 20:16

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nbrus wrote:
Gkam84 wrote:
During the day, I only have my rear lights going, various ones, A flasher, a static and one that has laser type lines on the road beside me to mark out my width.

At night, I have all those, plus a couple of indicators and my front lights, two static, one flasher and my front indicators.

Wow ... you really are concerned that you might not be seen. Big Grin

Better safe than sorry Surprise

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2696 posts]
28th October 2012 - 20:56

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Wow. This thread is becoming pretty special. Shirley all 'legitimate' road users should be given respect by others in/on different vehicles. To refer back to the original post, the Councillors comments are clearly a disgrace. This 'man' is supposed to represent all of his constituents regardless of their legal mode of transport. The 'Journalists' on this rag share responsibility too, whipping up these malicious and dangerous comments. Obviously this 'person' finds it easier to reveal his own inadequacies as a driver by picking on more vulnerable road users.

...

posted by AlexStriplight [67 posts]
28th October 2012 - 21:05

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nbrus wrote:

Wow ... you really are concerned that you might not be seen. Big Grin

When you live in the middle of no where, only a few street lights in the village, but on no other roads, tree covered roads which have no light, even during the day and with the dark days no coming in, its even darker up here in Scotland.

Its not so much a concern that cars wont see me, its more that I need to see where I am going aswell. I have almost the same set up on my uprights Wink

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8784 posts]
28th October 2012 - 21:13

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How do you do £9K's worth of damage to a tractor by hitting it with a recumbent?

Irrespective of the debate between uprights and 'bents, this councillor should be on a warning for his Dignitas comment alone - terrible thing to say.

And maybe a refresher course on how to operate a car. I'm sure even he isn't too high and mighty not to use mirrors!!

posted by moonbucket [55 posts]
28th October 2012 - 22:13

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moonbucket wrote:
How do you do £9K's worth of damage to a tractor by hitting it with a recumbent?

Irrespective of the debate between uprights and 'bents, this councillor should be on a warning for his Dignitas comment alone - terrible thing to say.

And maybe a refresher course on how to operate a car. I'm sure even he isn't too high and mighty not to use mirrors!!

I thought it was £9k damage to the recumbent, not the tractor. £9k to a bike is not easily done either, but if its the bike I'm thinking of, thats just a fairing

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8784 posts]
28th October 2012 - 22:56

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abudhabiChris wrote:
@Gkam84

Yeah, walking down the street with a tinfoil helmet while talking loudly to invisible aliens will get you a lot more room as well.

Sounds like brilliant idea, the close-passing tw@t in the Golf today would have given us a wide berth!

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3070 posts]
28th October 2012 - 22:59

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One of my colleagues rides a recumbent trike, and in the past we've shared part of our route to work. I occasionally I'd end up following him in, and he stood out to drivers like a sore thumb. People would literally stop in the road and stare at him. I can barely conceive of a cycled vehicle that would be more noticeable.

posted by graemeshaw [20 posts]
28th October 2012 - 23:14

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AlexStriplight wrote:
Wow. This thread is becoming pretty special. Shirley all 'legitimate' road users should be given respect by others in/on different vehicles. To refer back to the original post, the Councillors comments are clearly a disgrace. This 'man' is supposed to represent all of his constituents regardless of their legal mode of transport. The 'Journalists' on this rag share responsibility too, whipping up these malicious and dangerous comments. Obviously this 'person' finds it easier to reveal his own inadequacies as a driver by picking on more vulnerable road users.

Yep, agree with everything you've said. The councillor is a jerk and sounds like a potentially dangerous driver. Recumbents aren't the most visible of things. I wouldn't ride one in traffic. But some people do and if they take care to ensure visibility, what's wrong with that?

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2165 posts]
29th October 2012 - 10:09

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Frankly reversing out of a driveway should be made illegal. It is far easier to reverse in and come out forwards where you can see what's coming. I reverse in always.

Small children are very much at risk by reversing drivers.

If cycling is indeed a sport of self-abuse why aren't more cyclists sectioned under the mental health act?

posted by hairyairey [279 posts]
31st October 2012 - 20:17

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I'm a serious roadie who transitioned to recumbent biking this season (due to a neck injury). I often ride in high traffic areas and have to be cautious of the traffic around me. I was careful to choose a style of recumbent that stands about as tall as a regular diamond framed bike (in order to maintain my visibility to cars around me). The "low-racer" style of recumbent that you show in the photo is almost invisible to car traffic (depending on their angle of approach, etc). I feel comfortable riding my "high racer" style recumbent in traffic (or at least as safe/ comfortable as I did on a standard bike). I have not notified any difference in the public's attitude while riding recumbent -vs- upright (... the jerks are still jerks). The gentleman in your story should consider a) quiete'r/ less trafficed areas to ride in, if possible or a). Changing over to a more visible high-racer style of recumbent for his own safety.

Chairider

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posted by Chairider [2 posts]
31st October 2012 - 20:57

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I think this guy lives in my village as he used to do a good job in annoying drivers by having his Mrs follow him, meaning that on some of the twisty roads there was no way to overtake them both resulting in tailbacks of angry drivers. Always seemed a bit ridiculous to do this to me. It just gives more reason for drivers to hate cyclists. Interestingly I was just sending a lead to this to a local newspaper I work for and my spell check corrected cllr Stanton to 'clot' Stanton!

posted by Ants [12 posts]
1st November 2012 - 12:31

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A peg and card would make him audible but there are none as blind as will not see so they probably wouldn't hear either.
I must confess I wouldn't ride one of those things - I suppose I just don't get it

Alg

posted by alg [128 posts]
1st November 2012 - 16:00

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Sounds like our next recumbent rally needs to be in S. Derbyshire, eh? Smile

posted by AndySinAK [1 posts]
1st November 2012 - 17:40

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Recently got back from the British Legion Pedal to Paris and a guy there had a massive union flag on his recumbent. No way of not seeing that but the drag must have been massive.

posted by Ants [12 posts]
2nd November 2012 - 11:16

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