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Is “the principal benefit of cycling achieved only by risking life and limb”? Cyclist gets lambasted for jumping traffic queue; 30km/hr speed limit for bicycles in Flanders; Van Aert trains for cyclocross in snow + more on the live blog

The mercury’s dropping, but you don’t have to worry about getting dropped this Thursday with your live blog host Adwitiya as he brings you all the crucial news from the cycling world

SUMMARY

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30 November 2023, 09:36
Is the "principal benefit of cycling achieved only by risking life and limb"? Cyclist gets lambasted for jumping traffic queue

To start the day with, I have a video for you all, shared by a cyclist showing him navigating his way through a traffic queue, with the caption: "I'm posting this just so some motorists can get mad".

And lo and behold, it seems to have hit a nerve with motorists, or rather most people, so much so that in usual social media (Twitter) fashion, some were even found wishing bodily harm upon the cyclist.

The video posted by the account called Cycling in Kilkenny has been viewed almost 20,000 times, and the top reply right now, posted by Neal O'Kelly reads: "The bit that amuses me is that the principal benefit of cycling (not having to queue in traffic) is achieved only by risking life and limb, but then cyclists complain that motorists put them in danger."

Oh my! So if I'm getting this right, the chief advantage of cycling is to not have to queue in traffic? And you can only actually reap the rewards of this by having to risk your "life and limb"

A few insidious comments too...

But of course, there was some banter too.

But after all is said done, is it actually a good idea to go past drivers on a not-very-wide road with oncoming traffic from the opposite side, with one person also pointing out that overtaking on the the Belisha beacon crossing was not a very "clever" idea, or is it just natural, and maybe even more efficient and quicker for everyone if cyclists were to filter past slower-moving traffic in this sort of situation?

What do you think? Let me know in the comments!

30 November 2023, 17:09
Meet "David Plowie" and "Spready Salted", who keep London's bike routes open and safe, whatever the weather
30 November 2023, 16:23
Victory for cyclists and walkers in legal challenge to council decision to reopen narrow bridge to motor traffic
Keyhole Bridge before and after, Poole (via Cycling UK).PNG

Finally, some good news to cut through the usual doom and glow on this live blog!

Cycling UK has won a legal challenge against Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council over the latter’s decision to keep a narrow road underneath a railway bridge in Poole open to motor vehicles – and says that the decision underlines the need for local authorities to properly evaluate the benefits of temporary restrictions on motor traffic before removing them.

Earlier this year, the charity applied for a judicial review of the council keeping Keyhole Bridge in Poole Park open to motor vehicles, with drivers regularly using it as a rat-run, thereby posing a danger to vulnerable road users due to the narrowness of the road.

> Victory for cyclists and walkers in legal challenge to council decision to reopen narrow bridge to motor traffic

30 November 2023, 16:03
The unholy, ungodly, satanic thread for which no one is prepared for.

You could say that your live blog host isn't too keen on a lot of the AI art you see popping around, but what I've just seen takes the cake as the best use of it. I almost want to say I'm okay with this sort of use as long as it's only relegated to memes and laughs.

Bram Wulteputte asked ChatGPT to design a pro cycling kit, and normally it came out without any of those things know as, sponsors. However, he wrote on Twitter that for every 10 likes, he'd ask the AI to add more sponsors.

Now while some of them are quite nice to look initially (I really hope teams don't start designing their kits using this technique), but by the team this trainwreck reaches its conclusion, it's an acid-fuelled, nightmarish, bizarre trip. Anyway, here goes the most unhinged cycling thread ever...

These actually look good.

Skip a few, and here we are.

Now we are in crazy town.

We are NOT playing anymore. This is really serious now.

Galaxies, universes, wormholes... Cycling has gone cosmic.

THIS. This is what cycling will morph into. Ring the bells, for the AI has seen the future! Don't tell us we didn't warn you...

30 November 2023, 15:35
More bad news: Cycling market downturn worse than expected, says Halfords
halfords-store-front

Halfords, the UK’s biggest bike retailer, has said that the downturn in the UK retail cycling market is worse than it expected, but adds that while its sales in the segment have fallen during the first half of its current financial year, it is performing better than its competitors.

Meanwhile, Crawley, West Sussex-based independent bike shop chain Balfe’s Bikes has published its latest  full-year financial results, posting a loss for the year to end-March 2023.

Read more: > Cycling market downturn worse than expected, says Halfords

30 November 2023, 13:24
2023 Paris Roubaix Mathieu van der Poel © Zac Williams-SWpix.com - 1 (1)
Leave the bar tape at home! No Paris-Roubaix cobbles for 2025 Tour de France Grand Départ from Lille
2025 Tour de France Grand Depart route (image: ASO)

2025 Tour de France etape un à trois (image: ASO)

The 2025 Tour de France Grand Départ route has just been unveiled by the organisers ASO, and it doesn't bring me any joy to inform you that despite the peloton setting off from France's Lille-Nord, tucked away in the Flemish region bordering Belgium and ever-so-close to the fabled cobbles which feature in the Paris-Roubaix classic, we won't see the riders battle the brutal pavé.

If we can have 14 gravel sectors through the champagne vineyards in next years' Tour de France, we could have surely had the cobbles, especially when it's right there!

Anyway, the overall route does seem promising, with punchy climbs and the potential for crosswinds making things interesting in what is certainly going to be a sprinter's victory.

Stage two ends at the lush seaside Boulogne-sur-Mer, albeit with a tough summit finish where Peter Sagan  won in 2012, and finally the stage 3 from Valenciennes will feature the Cote de Cassel climb before the riders finish at Dunkerque.

30 November 2023, 13:12
Happy St Andrew's Day!

Nothing to do with cycling, but considering it's St Andrew's Day today, it's only fair I place this comical clip of Twitter boss Elon Musk trying to act vaguely amiable but failing hilariously on this live blog

"I am Andrew."
"Sorry!"
"It's okay..."

Looking back at this, there would probably be much better ways to wish our Scottish readers and all those celebrating, but oh well, some might say there could be better live blog hosts but you all are stuck with me instead!

30 November 2023, 12:59
Cyclist filtering through traffic: Not okay! Drivers doing the same: All good mate!

Oh this one brings back memories of another live blog post, possibly from this morning? So let me try and get this right, if cyclists jump a stopped vehicle (as was the case in the other video), it's dangerous behaviour which can cause (and even draw wishes of strangers online) of bodily harm, but if you do so when sat in a metal cage, it's all good and the cyclist is making something out of nothing!

30 November 2023, 12:25
Cyclist catches taxi driver using mobile phone... and gets called "coward" (thrice)

London's finest, ladies and gentlemen!

30 November 2023, 11:47
Cyclists in Flanders (via Flickr by antoine, CC BY 2.0 DEED)
Speed cameras given the go ahead for bicycle streets in Flanders — with impending 30km/hr limit on cycling soon

Flanders, one of the most historically rich and significant places for cycling in the world, has just approved a plan which will see the installation of unmanned, automated speed cameras in the bicycle streets of the Dutch speaking region of Belgium.

More importantly, a speed limit of 30km/hr will be applicable to everyone, including cyclists, and violation will lead to penalisation.

Bicycle streets, a common road infrastructure in Flanders and other parts of Belgium, are intended for cyclists to cycle easily and safely. Although people in cars and other motorised traffic are still allowed to drive there, they are subordinate to bikes and are not allowed to overtake cyclists.

> Do cyclists have to stick to the speed limit?

The Brussels Times reports that the speed cameras are scheduled for spring next year, once the draft decision has been approved by the Flemish Government. The law will then take effect ten days after its publication in the Belgian Official Gazette.

Until now, violations of the 30 km/h speed limit within a cycling zone could only be detected by manned automatic devices, requiring police officers to detect violations and impose sanctions. But soon speeding violations will be detected with speed cameras or average speed checks, without the need for a police officer.

> Police stop cyclists riding at 39mph in 30mph zone despite speed limits not applying to bicycle riders

Lydia Peeters, the Flemish Minister of Mobility and Public Works, said: "In recent years, many local authorities have set up cycling zones to give cyclists more space. Cycling is becoming more popular and it is my ambition to get even more people cycling in the coming years.

"With this adjustment, we give local authorities and police zones more options to enforce the speed limit. This is good for road safety and to encourage bicycle use."

30 November 2023, 10:57
Everyone, get your pitchforks out! It's road vs gravel bike time
Is a gravel bike the ultimate winter bike? Nov 2023

I'm sure this will be a civil and amicable discussion: What should be your winter bike? The same ol', trusty road bike, or is there a case for switching to a gravel bike?

road.cc writer Emily Tillet makes the case for the latter, and shares her experience of how having a gravel bike to tackle those harsh, wet, muddy conditions in the winter could be a better option for many...

Read the full article: > Is a gravel bike the ultimate winter bike? Why you should make the switch to gravel from the classic winter road bike

30 November 2023, 10:43
A simple game of "Guess who"
30 November 2023, 10:20
MP duped by Daily Mail article claiming famous palm tree will be “chopped down” to make way for cycle lanes gets corrected by London’s cycling commissioner
Palm tree on Lambeth Bridge, London, being removed as part of cycle lane plans (Will Norman)

A Conservative MP who urged Transport for London to have a “rethink”, as she posted a Daily Mail article claiming that a famous palm tree in the city is set to be “chopped down” to make way for cycle lanes, has been criticised by walking and cycling commissioner Will Norman, who pointed out that the tree is simply being relocated in order to “make London’s most dangerous junction safer for road users.”

The online backlash against Nickie Aiken came after the Conservative MP for Cities of London and Westminster reposted on X, formerly Twitter, a Daily Mail story on the removal of the phoenix palm tree, located on the northern roundabout at Lambeth Bridge, with the caption “save our palm tree”.

However, Aiken’s tweet prompted a vociferous response from cycling campaigners in the capital, including London’s walking and cycling commissioner Will Norman.

“As you know Nickie, the tree isn’t being chopped down, it is being relocated to make London’s most dangerous junction safer for road users,” Norman wrote. “We do not want any more fatal collisions at this location.”

 

> MP duped by Daily Mail article claiming famous palm tree will be “chopped down” to make way for cycle lanes gets corrected by London’s cycling commissioner

30 November 2023, 09:58
A Tale of Two Disciplines: Van der Poel and Evenepoel enjoy sunny ride in Spain, while Wout Van Aert trains for cyclocross in snow

Oh the duality of cycling. Two riders enjoying a ride in the most beautiful weather on a sunny hill in Spain, while another drudges his way through the snow with a bike.

With the cyclocross season now underway, it's time for the roadies to let loose, but if you've chosen the double life of a cross and a road cyclist, there ain't no rest for the wicked.

The men's road racing world champion Mathieu van der Poel and the men's time trial champion Remco Evenepoel were filmed cycling together in Calp, a quaint little town on Spain's Mediterranean coast, with clear blue skies and a shining sun overhead.

Evenepoel also posted the ride on his Strava, on which he was also accompanied by another Alpecin rider Siebe Roesems, with the activity titled 'FC Alpecin'.

 

And then on the other hand, there's Wout van Aert, fresh off the back of winning Tour of Britain and a road season which seemed to dazzle and burn too brightly at the start, only for it to flicker in the middle and end with not as many victories and goals as the Belgian rider might have wanted to achieve.

Wout van Aert, Dublin UCI Cyclocross World Cup 2022 (Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)

Wout van Aert, Dublin UCI Cyclocross World Cup 2022 (Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)

It's been almost 10 months that Van Aert has raced in cyclocross, and now the 29-year-old rider from Herentals, Flanders, was back in his home region to amp up his CX training. With temperatures below the freezing point, he completed a 146km ride yesterday, and another 68km on Tuesday, with the latter titled 'Annual wake-up call'.

Belgian rider Eli Iserbyt chipping in with a cheeky comment on Strava: "Please don't wake up too much."

And to add more to the misery, Van Aert also did a 10km run in wet snow yesterday, also part of training regiment for cylocross. Cycling, what a brutal sport.

 

Adwitiya joined road.cc in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.

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80 comments

Avatar
Backladder replied to KDee | 4 months ago
0 likes

I refer you to the first paragraph I quoted.

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Kapelmuur replied to Backladder | 4 months ago
1 like

I remember when visiting my grandparents in 1950s Geraardsbergen bikes had registration numbers on little triangular metal plates attached to the forks.

 

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Patrick9-32 | 4 months ago
9 likes

"They say they want 1.5 meters but don't give themselves 1.5 meters??"

"They don't want to get punched but will walk past my arm??"

"They don't want to get threatened with a knife but they will go and cut vegetables??"

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BalladOfStruth replied to Patrick9-32 | 4 months ago
16 likes

I'm amazed how often I hear this too. If someone can't comprehend the difference between a person on a 10kg bike slowly filtering past a stationary metal box, and 2-tonnes being propelled within inches of a very vulnerable road user at 30-60mph, when they could be forced to change direction at any moment by a stone or a gust of wind, then not only should they surrender their licence, but they should probably go back to infant school.

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Dunnoeither replied to BalladOfStruth | 4 months ago
7 likes

Absolutely. Almost all cyclists are drivers but very few drivers are cyclists. Apparently respect and decency have no place when humans share a road.

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Simon E replied to Dunnoeither | 4 months ago
1 like

Dunnoeither wrote:

Apparently respect and decency have no place when humans share a road.

A big part of the problem is that too many drivers think they can do what they like and that not all road users are equal. A bit of 'levelling up' would surely help.

If they knew that every cyclist carried a firearm then the number of incidents would dramatically decrease.

If the cyclist was their next door neighbour and the driver knows that if they harmed the cyclist then the cyclist's family would wreak violent revenge then they'd surely drive far more carefully around that cyclist.

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BalladOfStruth replied to Simon E | 4 months ago
2 likes

Simon E wrote:

If the cyclist was their next door neighbour and the driver knows that if they harmed the cyclist then the cyclist's family would wreak violent revenge then they'd surely drive far more carefully around that cyclist.

You'd think so, but did I ever tell you about the time that one of the designers at the company I work at (a family friend - my cousin's best mate) "close" passed me so badly that he left an imprint of his wing mirror on my right thigh? I pulled him aside in the office to speak to him about it, but on the way home that day he left-hooked me so badly I locked up the brakes and nearly ended up under his wheels.

Most drivers just don't give a fuck.

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a1white | 4 months ago
3 likes

Ahh Neal O'Kelly one of those weird anti-cycling trolls who appears to spend his entire day looking for cycling posts to make hateful comments underneath. One of the reasons I left Elons toxic platform.

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mattw replied to a1white | 4 months ago
0 likes

I can't decide if he is a parody or part parody.

He isn't quite up to being an effective barrack room lawyer, and he does remind me of Gussie Finknottle.

I had a somewhat interesting chat with him the other day, explaining how "reasonable adjustments" on making barriers accessible meant that they were all going to be bollards, provided that reasonable will increasingly follow national guidelines.

I was also introducing him to the case law from 2021 from the Appeal Court I met recently which codifies (either convincingly or authoritatively depending on technicalities - it was a proposition in a Judge-adgument not a finding) that motobike ASB prevention interventions may not impede lawful use.

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Eton Rifle replied to a1white | 4 months ago
0 likes
a1white wrote:

Ahh Neal O'Kelly one of those weird anti-cycling trolls who appears to spend his entire day looking for cycling posts to make hateful comments underneath. One of the reasons I left Elons toxic platform.

Yes, he is a weird one all right. The only reason I haven't blocked him is the entertainment value from seeing him constantly make a fool of himself

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Rendel Harris | 4 months ago
7 likes

The Irish cyclist's overtake on the zebra crossing was fine, going nice and slow and wide enough to check if there were any pedestrians and to stop if there were. Most of their overtaking is fine also, however I definitely would not ride anywhere in the oncoming traffic lane if it means oncoming traffic passing you while you're there; you simply can't rely on drivers being ready for you to appear there and if they hit you you won't have a leg to stand on legally. Those parts of the video definitely fall into the "we're furious if drivers do that to us so we shouldn't do it to them" category, in my opinion.

It is amusing at the end though to see all the traffic pulling into the oncoming lane to overtake the stopped oil tanker, surely by the lights of most of the anti-cyclist commenters on Twitter all of the traffic should have stopped and waited for it to move?

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HoldingOn replied to Rendel Harris | 4 months ago
4 likes

Agree - I would prefer to pass on the left of the car, rather than towards oncoming traffic. The cyclist also appears to cross a solid white line. Not sure if it is different in Ireland, but in the UK that is illegal (unless you are in Lancashire Police purview)

Only watched it the once - but it looked like all the cars were behaving really well. The white van at the end looked to wait for the oncoming cyclist to pass, before overtaking the tanker.

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Secret_squirrel replied to HoldingOn | 4 months ago
3 likes

This is what the irish Rules of the Road (their Highway Code) says.

*disclaimer.  Not from the Govt site and I havent checked for a "cyclists filtering" exception.

Single continuous line: this denotes no overtaking on the carriageway on either side of the road. This must be strictly adhered to unless there is an obstruction in the road such as a vehicle, bicycle or horse moving less than 10kph, or if you are turning off the road into a driveway or side road and it is safe to do so.

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wycombewheeler replied to Secret_squirrel | 4 months ago
2 likes

Secret_squirrel wrote:

This is what the irish Rules of the Road (their Highway Code) says.

*disclaimer.  Not from the Govt site and I havent checked for a "cyclists filtering" exception.

Single continuous line: this denotes no overtaking on the carriageway on either side of the road. This must be strictly adhered to unless there is an obstruction in the road such as a vehicle, bicycle or horse moving less than 10kph, or if you are turning off the road into a driveway or side road and it is safe to do so.

interesting the text is taken almost directly from UK code, except 10mph becomes 10kph. very few cyclists doing less than 10kph I would think, except on a steep uphill

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mattw replied to wycombewheeler | 4 months ago
1 like

Much of Irish Law / rules underlying principles and practice are - just don't mention it to an Irish person.

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HoldingOn replied to Secret_squirrel | 4 months ago
0 likes

Fascinating. I should have checked that! Good to know. I assumed there was no exceptions. Thank you (to everyone)

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Rendel Harris replied to HoldingOn | 4 months ago
0 likes

HoldingOn wrote:

The cyclist also appears to cross a solid white line. Not sure if it is different in Ireland, but in the UK that is illegal

It's a bit tricky that one because in the UK (assume Irish law fairly similar) you're not allowed to cross the white line except to overtake a stationary vehicle or bicycles, horses and road maintenance vehicles travelling less than 10mph. So the literal interpretation of that would be it's okay to cross the white line to overtake a traffic jam that's stationary, but obviously that would not be permissible for a motor-vehicle, I don't know if the same applies to a bicycle or motorcycle, given that they have the capability to pull back into the traffic if there is an oncoming vehicle that a car doesn't. Someone on here will know, I'm sure!

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wycombewheeler replied to HoldingOn | 4 months ago
0 likes

HoldingOn wrote:

The cyclist also appears to cross a solid white line. Not sure if it is different in Ireland, but in the UK that is illegal 

It is allowed to overtake slow moving traffic doing less than 10mph, such as horses, cyclists (sometimes) and stationary cars.

 

Highway code rule 129

Quote:

You may cross the line if necessary, provided the road is clear, to pass a stationary vehicle, or overtake a pedal cycle, horse or road maintenance vehicle, if they are travelling at 10 mph (16 km/h) or less.

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OnYerBike replied to wycombewheeler | 4 months ago
1 like

wycombewheeler wrote:

HoldingOn wrote:

The cyclist also appears to cross a solid white line. Not sure if it is different in Ireland, but in the UK that is illegal 

It is allowed to overtake slow moving traffic doing less than 10mph, such as horses, cyclists (sometimes) and stationary cars.

Highway code rule 129

Quote:

You may cross the line if necessary, provided the road is clear, to pass a stationary vehicle, or overtake a pedal cycle, horse or road maintenance vehicle, if they are travelling at 10 mph (16 km/h) or less.

To be pedantic:

The way you phrase it and the way the Highway Code phrase it are subtly different. There is no general provision to overtake "slow moving traffic" - you may cross/straddle the continuous line to overtake a stationary vehicle (of any type), OR to overtake a pedal cycle, horse or road maintenance vehicle travelling at 10 mph or less.

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brooksby replied to Rendel Harris | 4 months ago
3 likes

Rendel Harris wrote:

however I definitely would not ride anywhere in the oncoming traffic lane if it means oncoming traffic passing you while you're there; you simply can't rely on drivers being ready for you to appear there and if they hit you you won't have a leg to stand on legally.

Seconded (thirded?).  If I'm doing something similar I always act like I'm playing leapfrog - overtake the stationary traffic but always make sure there's a gap you can get into if there's oncoming traffic.

 

On the matter of oncoming traffic, I went into the hatched bit down the middle of the A369 the other morning (I didn't want to go on the shared-use path and then have to wait for the traffic to pass by so I could cross to the shared-use path on the other side, so I'd gone onto the carriageway, which was empty at that specific moment).

Nothing wakes you up like going along in the hatched bit and realising that the oncoming HGV is drifting to it's driver's right... INTO the hatched area you're in 

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