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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 12:57 
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I'm talking here about any competition that has an objective that can conflict with road safety, i.e. has some factor that can encourage unsafe behaviour. This should apply to all competitions, not just motorsport (as seems to be the status quo), unless explicit permission is given for the event and appropriate safeguards are in place. Examples of such events currently permitted are cycle time trials and motor economy drives.

For time trials and races (against competitors or against the clock), there is clear incentive to complete the course as quickly as possible and a real incentive to disregard safety where it conflicts with that goal. While economy trials might seem innocuous, every time you brake or accelerate, you use more fuel - and so there is incentive not to brake when you should, which implies the possibility of following traffic too closely, not giving way where you should, coasting out of gear, etc.

With our roads now busier than ever, surely it's time to call a halt on these events?

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 13:12 
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Agreed!

How about foot races though? Runners might be tempted to step out into the road without checking properly for traffic if they need to circumvent a knot of 'normal' pedestrians. How about the threat to other pedestrians of a collision with a runner.

I think I can answer my own rhetorical question by way of 'traffic mixing' ie different vehicles sharing the same space, as opposed to a raised sidewalk.

I suspect this thread has been precipitated by the sad case of the woman on the trike; I too feel that, in that case, she could have done a lot more to prevent herself being involved in an accident. If someone wants to participate in a road race event then I feel they should expect to share the blame for any accident 50/50, due to the fact that they are voluntarily engaging in an inherently risky activity.

I have to admit that I don't see an awful lot of cycle road races day-to-day, and I cannot recall from the ones that I have seen: Do participants check their shoulder, position towards the middle of the road and raise their right arm in plenty of time, and conduct a further shoulder check directly before they make a right turn? Or do they (as I suspect) give a cursory glance towards their 4 o'clock before swinging across the roadway, preserving as much speed as possible?


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 13:47 
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No! Each case should be decided on its merits or risks.

You might live in the city and see these events as utter maddness. however why should this stop a cycle race on a New Forest or Highland Road?

How many accidents are actually attributed to these type of events...
probobly less accidents than if the same people stayed at home and did thier usual weekend activities.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 14:06 
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RobinXe wrote:
I have to admit that I don't see an awful lot of cycle road races day-to-day, and I cannot recall from the ones that I have seen: Do participants check their shoulder, position towards the middle of the road and raise their right arm in plenty of time, and conduct a further shoulder check directly before they make a right turn? Or do they (as I suspect) give a cursory glance towards their 4 o'clock before swinging across the roadway, preserving as much speed as possible?

FWIW, I live near a TT course and some of the shenanigans the triallers get up to would make your toes curl. The course is about twenty miles, there and back, round trip with a roundabout at the far end. I've seen triallers fail to give way on entering the roundabout, forcing traffic to swerve or to stop, and then overtake on the left just as the traffic they've cut up is about to exit the roundabout. I've seen triallers when faced with a slow-moving queue of cars bang on those caught in the queue to "persuade" drivers to move over - even though doing so would put those drivers in the path of oncoming traffic. Just a couple of seconds can mean winning some silver or relegation to the ranks of "also rans" and the intrinsically competitive nature of those who want to compete can urge them to do things that make them a danger to themselves and others.

Robin: I including foot races, and even attempts at official time or speed records.

anton wrote:
No! Each case should be decided on its merits or risks.

You might live in the city and see these events as utter maddness. however why should this stop a cycle race on a New Forest or Highland Road?

I don't live in a city and the TT course near me is over a country road and the comments I've made would apply as much to a New Forest or Highland Road as they do to my area.

By all means decide each case on its merits and risks - but err on the side of safety. Nothing I've advocated means that safe competitions can't go ahead. However, I am advocating proper risk assessment, and ensuring adequate safeguards are in place, before giving permission for an event.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 14:07 
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i beleive time trials have a dispensation under the traffic act on the basis that competitors are solo not in a pack (and triathlon sneaks in under this also).

bunch road races are pretty rare but usually have a lead & tail car to warn & protect the pack.

time trials, cycle races, running races etc all require risk assesments in order to be covered by the relevant governing bodies and most will require permission from the police and/or local authority which will involve not least a look at the risk assesment.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 14:09 
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It's not just competitions. On Friday I was picking my daughter up (about 11pm) and the radio was on some station the missus listens to. I heard 2 instances of the presenter encouraging young drivers, as the show was targetted at those going to clubs, to break the law.

Presenter wrote:
If your in the car at the moment text me to let me know what car it is, colour where you've been and where you're going


and

Presenter wrote:
This tune is a good beeping tune, so if your out in the car get beeping along with it

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 16:46 
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Surely if the activity is dangerous then it is already illegal somehow anyway?
Banning things doesn't make them go away.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 17:16 
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i quite like the idea of an illegal running race ;-)


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 17:17 
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Quote:
i quite like the idea of an illegal running race


Don't they already have them when criminals don't hang around to be arrested?

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 17:47 
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ed_m wrote:
i quite like the idea of an illegal running race ;-)


125 mile m25 relay race :lol:

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“It has never been the rule in this country – I hope it never will be - that suspected criminal offences must automatically be the subject of prosecution” He added that there should be a prosecution: “wherever it appears that the offence or the circumstances of its commission is or are of such a character that a prosecution in respect thereof is required in the public interest”
This approach has been endorsed by Attorney General ever since 1951. CPS Code


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 19:26 
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while running, the only near misses I've had have been with bloody cyclists riding on the damn pavement and the only hit I've had was when some tit opened their car door without looking which I then ran into. It hurt more than when I broke my neck.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 21:30 
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anton wrote:
ed_m wrote:
i quite like the idea of an illegal running race ;-)


125 mile m25 relay race :lol:


don't joke... i'm sure i know where to find a few takers


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 10:03 
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I can't help feeling we've already got as much nannying legislation as we could ever want...

...and then some!

It's a good job car radios were invented before we got ourselves into this mindset! Can you imagine what would happen if manufacturers only started introducing them to new vehicles now?

Come to that, it's just as well we've had alcoholic beverages for 1000s of years because they'd stand no chance introducing that either! Horrible, addictive, mind-altering drug that it is!

I sometimes think the "safety" campaigners will only be satisfied when everyone, at birth, is put into a stable, temperature-controlled, biologically-filtered tank of preservative that ensures we "live" our lives in total and perfect safety for at least 120 years.

/rant over, does anyone know any shops that sell flameproof suits?


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 11:54 
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Mole wrote:
I sometimes think the "safety" campaigners will only be satisfied when everyone, at birth, is put into a stable, temperature-controlled, biologically-filtered tank of preservative that ensures we "live" our lives in total and perfect safety for at least 120 years.

Personally, I have nothing against people who want to put themselves in danger for whatever reason. However, I do object to people who put me in danger and/or damage my property in the process. For example, the time triallers I cited up-thread who were banging on the roofs and sides of cars to "persuade" drivers to pull into the path of oncoming traffic to let the cyclists pass.

If competitors could be trusted to not give their competitive spirit priority over road safety, I'd have no objection to their activities. Unfortunately, that isn't what's happening. They let the heat of the moment and their competitive instinct overrule safety - and that's the problem.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 12:22 
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willcove wrote:
Mole wrote:
I sometimes think the "safety" campaigners will only be satisfied when everyone, at birth, is put into a stable, temperature-controlled, biologically-filtered tank of preservative that ensures we "live" our lives in total and perfect safety for at least 120 years.

Personally, I have nothing against people who want to put themselves in danger for whatever reason. However, I do object to people who put me in danger and/or damage my property in the process. For example, the time triallers I cited up-thread who were banging on the roofs and sides of cars to "persuade" drivers to pull into the path of oncoming traffic to let the cyclists pass.

If competitors could be trusted to not give their competitive spirit priority over road safety, I'd have no objection to their activities. Unfortunately, that isn't what's happening. They let the heat of the moment and their competitive instinct overrule safety - and that's the problem.


presumably you reported the numbers of competitors doing this to the organisers ?


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 13:18 
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ed_m wrote:
presumably you reported the numbers of competitors doing this to the organisers ?

How would you write down the numbers of competitors and maintain adequate control of your vehicle while travelling at up to twenty mph - especially when another one was banging on your car? If you had nothing to write with or on, or couldn't satisfactorily resolve the conundrum of writing them down safely, is your memory good enough to remember half a dozen or more competition numbers with absolute certainty when you could safely stop fifteen or more minutes later - and to commit those numbers to memory without affecting your driving? I couldn't, and so couldn't report the numbers.

That said, I did report the incident both to the police and to the Cycling Time Trials Organisation/Association with the date and time of the incident. I got the impression that both only paid lip service to my comments.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 13:21 
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I must say you showed remarkable restraint not climbing out of your car and shoving a stick through their spokes!


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 14:09 
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willcove wrote:
Personally, I have nothing against people who want to put themselves in danger for whatever reason. However, I do object to people who put me in danger and/or damage my property in the process. For example, the time triallers I cited up-thread who were banging on the roofs and sides of cars to "persuade" drivers to pull into the path of oncoming traffic to let the cyclists pass.

If competitors could be trusted to not give their competitive spirit priority over road safety, I'd have no objection to their activities. Unfortunately, that isn't what's happening. They let the heat of the moment and their competitive instinct overrule safety - and that's the problem.


I hear what you're saying but even then, I'm not entirely sure I agree wholeheartedly. Every time I get into a car I understand that there is a small chance of me coming to harm - or even dying as a result of someone else's actions. It could be the latent safety defect in the car I'm driving (or one of its components), it could be the guy who last fixed it (yes, I've driven out of a garage and noticed the spongy brake pedal only to get home, take the wheel off myself and spot the loose calliper bolts)! It could be the inconsiderate lout who leaves the broken bottle at the side of the road. It could be the muppet who lost the diesel cap off his truck tank and sloshed a load round the roundabout, it could be the sleep-deprived new parent who just nods off as I'm coming the other way...

or it could, indeed, be crazed cyclist intent on taking the racing line to shave another 1/10000th of a second off. It could, for that matter, be the motorist on a harmless "treasure hunt" looking for clues or, as is often the case up here in Cumbria, the sightseer taking in the extraordinary natural beauty of the fells (without actually stopping his car - never mind getting out)!

All these people will be doing wrong and, in most cases, there are laws to punish them for it (if caught), but that don't actually stop it happening in the first place.

On balance, though, I don't think more laws will change most (or indeed, any) of this behaviour.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 15:36 
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Mole wrote:
All these people will be doing wrong and, in most cases, there are laws to punish them for it (if caught), but that don't actually stop it happening in the first place.

On balance, though, I don't think more laws will change most (or indeed, any) of this behaviour.

There is a big difference between the idiot who doesn't tighten up your brake calipers, and someone involved in a time trial. In the latter case, the rules conflict directly with safety. He who finishes the course fastest (subject to any handicapping) wins and is rewarded for being the fastest. There is thus built-in incentive to throw safety to the wind. A couple of seconds could make the difference between having some elegant silverware to put on your mantelpiece or being an "also ran". In contrast, a couple of seconds shaved off the time spent fitting your brake calipers means at most a little extra on the labour charges.

By allowing these competitions to go ahead on open, public road is IMO tantamount to incitement to commit the offences against which you rightly say there are laws. By forbidding the activity in the first place, the incitement is removed and of course the behaviour will change. Now these sportsmen and sportswomen should be allowed their events - but on closed roads, which should also move them away from the main arterial routes.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2007 22:17 
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willcove wrote:
With our roads now busier than ever, surely it's time to call a halt on these events?


Without being too rude you can park that idea!

I rally, as a navigator, and we obviously have to use the queen's highway to get between tests on private land. And there is a time schedule we have to keep to between those tests. But not only are we limited to the use of any given route (six weeks apart minimum), rallys have a strict set of rules for the organisers, including individual PR on the route if it is deemed necessary - ie homes on smaller country roads and the co-operation of the local police. And with the exception of motorways the time given to get from Test A to Test B is timed at an average of 30mph (M-ways are 40mph) regardless of the route, and if we have to pass through towns/citys the timing is even more relaxed - all specifically to avoid unsafe driving but still keeping the rally in a managable group.

Road rallys are a little different, in that they are much more of a navigational challenge and conducted on the open road, with sections timed at an average of 30mph, but they cannot start before 11pm and are very much run with input of the local plod and use our cornucopia of remote rural roads in the wee small hours. And with the cunning of the organisers few competitiors get very close to that average speed. And every house on the timed sections will get notification and often a personal visit. Lots come out to watch.

There have been incidents over the years, and competitors have been given speeding tickets, and the odd drystone wall and grass bank got damaged. But my sport jumps through hoops to avoid such things as it just gives NIMBYS ammunition. They certainly don't trouble the statistics anything like as much as reps and delivery drivers on stupidly tight schedules undoubtably do. And most of it goes on in very rural areas and often while you're asleep.

Call a halt indeed :x

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