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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 13:58 
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I was chatting with a friend of mine the other day and she mentioned she had taken ages to get down one road because of all of the cyclists she kept meeting. Every time she got past one group she caught up another etc. Had the usual discussion, their right to use the roads, but should make some effort to ease an overtake etc.

The overwhelming majority of my cycling has been as solo transport and even though I ride far less now and only for fun mainly off road I still feel that connection with cycling in general. What occurred to me later though was that the majority of the weekend cyclists one meets out in the lanes are riding for enjoyment not transport. There is the oft quoted stance by car haters that driving for fun has no place on the road. So as much as I support the right of cyclists to use the road should the right to cycle for fun override a motorists need to get to their destination in a timely fashion?

It can be very difficult to get past a line of cyclists where the only option is to overtake all of them, similar to the situation where you get cars following nose to tail without actually wanting to overtake. It would be easy to suggest that cyclists should only group into 2 to 3 and leave big enough gaps to let a car leap frog, however other than a few occasions using main roads to link up off road trails I have never done any group riding so have no idea if that would make sense to a cycling club.

The radical step would be to say that if you want to cycle in groups for fun stick to cycle paths in parks or on old rail lines etc., the road should only be used for transport. That is just ridiculous though, there must be some kind of balance. I do not use any of the cycling fora, but I think some of the posters on here do and are keen cyclists so it would be interesting to know if this had been raised before or what your thoughts are. What is the problem with drivers or cyclists using the roads as a resource they can enjoy providing safety and consideration for others is maintained, but can we find that balance?

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 14:56 
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toltec wrote:
It can be very difficult to get past a line of cyclists where the only option is to overtake all of them, similar to the situation where you get cars following nose to tail without actually wanting to overtake. It would be easy to suggest that cyclists should only group into 2 to 3 and leave big enough gaps to let a car leap frog, however other than a few occasions using main roads to link up off road trails I have never done any group riding so have no idea if that would make sense to a cycling club.


many cycling clubs will have a risk assesment for group rides and hence a maximum group size... .with deliberate splits... or one group riding the same route in an opposing direction etc.

so it can be done in a driver friendly manner, whether it is or actually works in reality is another thing.

also whats the best option for a club/large group..... go for smaller/quieter roads where it will be more difficult for a car to pass but maybe less frequently ? or use wider main roads where more cars may be inconvenienced but have a better chance to get past.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 15:30 
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toltec wrote:
I was chatting with a friend of mine the other day and she mentioned she had taken ages to get down one road because of all of the cyclists she kept meeting. Every time she got past one group she caught up another etc. Had the usual discussion, their right to use the roads, but should make some effort to ease an overtake etc.


How does this differ from driving on a SC A road and encountering drivers going at 35-40mph? It can take "ages" to do a long distance on such roads. I don't think my journey time has ever been significantly lengthened by having to deal courteously with cyclists.

toltec wrote:
The overwhelming majority of my cycling has been as solo transport and even though I ride far less now and only for fun mainly off road I still feel that connection with cycling in general. What occurred to me later though was that the majority of the weekend cyclists one meets out in the lanes are riding for enjoyment not transport.


How can you possibly know this? When I cycle to work (amazingly combining enjoyment and transport in a way that most car drivers could not possibly appreciate) I dress as a cyclist. I didn't realise this could lower my perceived entitlement to use the road.

toltec wrote:
There is the oft quoted stance by car haters that driving for fun has no place on the road. So as much as I support the right of cyclists to use the road should the right to cycle for fun override a motorists need to get to their destination in a timely fashion?


Interesting choice of words. Motorists "need" to get to their destination in a timely fashion. Perhaps they should set off at a time suitable to allow for the conditions they may reasonably expect to encounter on their way, such as cyclists using the road.

How can a cyclist differentiate between motorists who "need" to get somewhere, and those who may be merely out for a leisurely drive? In order to ensure the correct doffing of cap and the swerve into the gutter to allow the important driver past, of course.

toltec wrote:
It can be very difficult to get past a line of cyclists where the only option is to overtake all of them, similar to the situation where you get cars following nose to tail without actually wanting to overtake. It would be easy to suggest that cyclists should only group into 2 to 3 and leave big enough gaps to let a car leap frog, however other than a few occasions using main roads to link up off road trails I have never done any group riding so have no idea if that would make sense to a cycling club.


This is standard practice for many cycling clubs.

toltec wrote:
The radical step would be to say that if you want to cycle in groups for fun stick to cycle paths in parks or on old rail lines etc., the road should only be used for transport. That is just ridiculous though, there must be some kind of balance.


This idea certainly holds some appeal, if it could rid the roads of the worst excesses of chavved-up Saxos using the roads for racing, and oversized status symbols used to transport a 2 year old child and a bag of shopping etc etc.

toltec wrote:
I do not use any of the cycling fora, but I think some of the posters on here do and are keen cyclists so it would be interesting to know if this had been raised before or what your thoughts are. What is the problem with drivers or cyclists using the roads as a resource they can enjoy providing safety and consideration for others is maintained, but can we find that balance?


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 16:38 
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ed_m wrote:
toltec wrote:
It can be very difficult to get past a line of cyclists where the only option is to overtake all of them, similar to the situation where you get cars following nose to tail without actually wanting to overtake. It would be easy to suggest that cyclists should only group into 2 to 3 and leave big enough gaps to let a car leap frog, however other than a few occasions using main roads to link up off road trails I have never done any group riding so have no idea if that would make sense to a cycling club.


many cycling clubs will have a risk assesment for group rides and hence a maximum group size... .with deliberate splits... or one group riding the same route in an opposing direction etc.

so it can be done in a driver friendly manner, whether it is or actually works in reality is another thing.

also whats the best option for a club/large group..... go for smaller/quieter roads where it will be more difficult for a car to pass but maybe less frequently ? or use wider main roads where more cars may be inconvenienced but have a better chance to get past.


Sounds like I was not far off the mark then, thanks. As always you cannot keep everyone happy, all you can do is try and hope people understand you do plan with consideration for others.

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Driving fast is for a particular time and place, I can do it I just only do it occasionally because I am a gentleman.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 18:31 
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JBr wrote:
toltec wrote:
I was chatting with a friend of mine the other day and she mentioned she had taken ages to get down one road because of all of the cyclists she kept meeting. Every time she got past one group she caught up another etc. Had the usual discussion, their right to use the roads, but should make some effort to ease an overtake etc.


How does this differ from driving on a SC A road and encountering drivers going at 35-40mph? It can take "ages" to do a long distance on such roads. I don't think my journey time has ever been significantly lengthened by having to deal courteously with cyclists.


It does not, cyclists may often be slower than a car (not always of course), however I pointed out that so are tractors, it was less the problem of passing them and more the sheer number of groups she encountered really. Don't worry I put forward the cyclist pov and pointed out that the individual groups may have had no connection with each other so how was it their fault they all decided to use the road at the same time as her. From Ed_m as your replies I can see clubs are mindful of this even if some informal groups are not. Not to get hung up on this, it was only what raised my questions below not an complaint about cyclists from me. :)

JBr wrote:
toltec wrote:
The overwhelming majority of my cycling has been as solo transport and even though I ride far less now and only for fun mainly off road I still feel that connection with cycling in general. What occurred to me later though was that the majority of the weekend cyclists one meets out in the lanes are riding for enjoyment not transport.


How can you possibly know this? When I cycle to work (amazingly combining enjoyment and transport in a way that most car drivers could not possibly appreciate) I dress as a cyclist. I didn't realise this could lower my perceived entitlement to use the road.


Reasonable point, my assumption was that cyclists in a group would most likely be riding just for the pleasure/exercise rather than as a method of getting from a to b. It could be I am a loner, but I never called up a few mates to see if they fancied a ride to the shops to get some groceries. Do you cycle to work with a group of friends on a Sunday afternoon? Ok plenty of people do work Sundays and some of them will get there on a bike, but statistically speaking I still think my assumption is not unlikely.

Making another assumption, most car drivers probably do not set out to enjoy their drive to work, firstly it is just transport and secondly there is too much traffic during rush hour.[*] Then again, riding to work through near freezing rain in the dark was not high on my list either, getting there without being knocked into a ditch and dying of hypothermia was usually the highpoint of the journey. With the preponderance of publicity telling drivers that enjoying themselves is the same as killing babies is it surprising few admit to it. I usually try to extract what pleasure I can from any form of transport, be it walking in a summer shower or reading a book on a bus, people that enjoy what they are doing are often better at it. I understand the point, but I think there would also be aspects to the pleasure of driving a car that cyclist could not appreciate, I get both and consider myself the wealthier for it. That was rather a ramble and quite beside the original point of my post, I do not hate cyclists, if you feel like replying to this paragraph would you split this into a separate post - cheers.

JBr wrote:
toltec wrote:
There is the oft quoted stance by car haters that driving for fun has no place on the road. So as much as I support the right of cyclists to use the road should the right to cycle for fun override a motorists need to get to their destination in a timely fashion?


Interesting choice of words. Motorists "need" to get to their destination in a timely fashion. Perhaps they should set off at a time suitable to allow for the conditions they may reasonably expect to encounter on their way, such as cyclists using the road.


This is the main point I wanted to discuss
I missed an apostrophe which probably did not help, change need to desire, lets forget bikes, cars and roads. Do you think there is an argument that the desire to use a resource for pleasure should not out way the desire to use it for a productive reason. If it helps consider cars choking up a narrow lane with passing places because they fancied a run out when you are trying to use it to get to work on a bike. I kind of chose that for a reason, years ago I used a lane on the way to work and cars were forever passing me then stopping to let a car coming the other way past, that meant I had to stop when normally I would not have to. It was only a section less than a mile long and I doubt my average unobstructed speed through it was any lower than a car's. Yes I did mention this to her :)


JBr wrote:
toltec wrote:
It can be very difficult to get past a line of cyclists where the only option is to overtake all of them, similar to the situation where you get cars following nose to tail without actually wanting to overtake. It would be easy to suggest that cyclists should only group into 2 to 3 and leave big enough gaps to let a car leap frog, however other than a few occasions using main roads to link up off road trails I have never done any group riding so have no idea if that would make sense to a cycling club.


This is standard practice for many cycling clubs. :thumbsup: - Toltec Secondary question now answered, thanks

JBr wrote:
toltec wrote:
The radical step would be to say that if you want to cycle in groups for fun stick to cycle paths in parks or on old rail lines etc., the road should only be used for transport. That is just ridiculous though, there must be some kind of balance.


This idea certainly holds some appeal, if it could rid the roads of the worst excesses of chavved-up Saxos using the roads for racing, and oversized status symbols used to transport a 2 year old child and a bag of shopping etc etc.


See [*] above. In the sense that none of that applies to me it would make the roads better to use, however you just have to be careful that a larger group does not point to you and say the roads would be better without you. It would be pretty easy to enforce for cyclists, all cycles used on the roads must be registered, any moving cyclists should be solo, any moving cyclists detected closer than the braking distance correct for the speed and the registered keepers will be fined. I would say the cyclists have to be identified and proven to be known to one another, but they do not have to prove who is driving a car just find who is the registered keeper so why would they bother with cyclists. In case you think I have forgotten overtaking I haven't, it isn't allowed, far too dangerous, if you are quicker you can just draw level when stopping at a junction then out accelerate them.

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Driving fast is for a particular time and place, I can do it I just only do it occasionally because I am a gentleman.
- James May


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