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 Post subject: Lights in London
PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 00:05 
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I'm just back from London as some of you will know.

While I was there I watched the cyclists - as you must when negotiating traffic - and formed a rough estimate that 3 out of 4 cycles were entirely unlit in full darkness.

My first reaction was: What on earth are these cyclists thinking of?

But I never like to take road safety at face value. I want to look deeper. As a driver, an unlit cycle in well lit streets seemed not to pose a greater hazard than an unlit pedestrian. I didn't have any trouble at all seeing the unlit bikes.

Obviously there might be special problems in areas of localised gloom.

But what's REALLY going on here? Have they decided they don't need lights?

And why is there (close to?) zero policing of the issue? Have the Police decided that unlit bikes are 'no problem'?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 00:38 
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It's much easier to see an unlit bike when you are not in a car, and so I think that a lot of these people don't appreciate just how dangerous it is - before I drove I had no real idea just how invisible I was cycling around invisible in the dead of night. I suspect this is partly due to the fact that when you are a pedestrian / cyclist you can hear the other bikes, look in the direction of the noise, and then see the bike, all at a subconcious level.

Either that or it's something to do with the glass in a car - there's probably a bit more glare, plus not everyone has exactly immaculately clean glass in the first place.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 00:57 
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I think it stems from a mindset that being on a pushbike is more like being a pedestrian with wheels than a road vehicle. Therefore there is no real perception of risk.

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 Post subject: Re: Lights in London
PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 01:04 
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SafeSpeed wrote:
While I was there I watched the cyclists - as you must when negotiating traffic - and formed a rough estimate that 3 out of 4 cycles were entirely unlit in full darkness.

3 out of 4? I know it's been 2 months since I last road into London (change of jobs) but even then most of the cyclists that I saw were lit. I also noticed that a fair few had invested in hi-vis backpack covers. This was going from Waterloo past the Oval towards Peckham.

What area were you in?

I'll be back that way again next month so I'll take note. The main problem that I used to see were the MTB warriors riding like complete £!"%). 2 wheel equivalent of urban 4wds?

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And why is there (close to?) zero policing of the issue?

you're joking right? As you well know the traffic police have all been replaced by speed cameras.


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 Post subject: Re: Lights in London
PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 01:16 
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johnsher wrote:
What area were you in?


M1 > Central via Edgware Road at 6am

Reverse at 6pm.

Quite a few bikes were well lit, but I'm certain it was a minority.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 09:37 
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On cycle forums these idiots are known as 'stealth cyclists'. Please don't think for a minute that they are welcomed by cyclists in the main. However, as a regular visitor to London I don't recognise the ratio that Paul describes.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 13:07 
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Ru88ell wrote:
On cycle forums these idiots are known as 'stealth cyclists'. Please don't think for a minute that they are welcomed by cyclists in the main. However, as a regular visitor to London I don't recognise the ratio that Paul describes.


Maybe I was just unlucky. But whichever way you describe it there were a lot 'stealth cyclists'.

Are there any statistics to show that being unlit in a major city is actually a significant crash contributory factor?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 14:43 
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SafeSpeed wrote:
Are there any statistics to show that being unlit in a major city is actually a significant crash contributory factor?


are there any statistcs that show anything significant ? :lol:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 14:10 
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ed_m wrote:
SafeSpeed wrote:
Are there any statistics to show that being unlit in a major city is actually a significant crash contributory factor?


are there any statistcs that show anything significant ? :lol:


Nope! :lol:

As for the cyclists in towns - as doctor who treated accident victims as junior - I would say plenty of accidents occur and certainly when the clocks turn to winter time and up through until January - historically we see more incidents coming through A&E.

As result of this and as driver - I tend to look out for these idiots - and it's why I notice them. I expect them.

Perhaps the headlamps of other cars and street lights help us out a bit as well when it's busy. But at quiet times - that seems to be when these bit dafties come a cropper.

Still think it dangerous - and it's worse around here where we do not have street lights on the rural roads.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 20:27 
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A bright yellow jacket actually gives better visibility than a light.

Not that I don't think lights should be mandatory, but I think that bright clothing should also be mandatory at night (useful at day too!), and helmets should be too.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 01:04 
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Bright clothing yes.

Helmets - just how do these make people more visible?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 19:37 
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Helmets don't make a cyclist more visible (well maybe if they have bright bits on them) but might obviously help a cyclist in the case of impact.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 19:43 
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...and they might not help too. There is evidence for and against helmets. Much like there is evidence for and against Speed Cameras. ;)

I still don't see how they are relevant to visibility.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 20:03 
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well my helmet at least has a certain pattern to it that helps it to stand out. And of course the head is the highest point of a cyclist, so from some viewpoints it may be the most easily visible part - a head with a cycling helmet on it is likely to be distinctive.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 22:39 
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Ru88ell wrote:
On cycle forums these idiots are known as 'stealth cyclists' .... they are
(not) welcomed by cyclists in the main.


I wouldn't class them either as 'idiots' or 'stealth cyclists'; the ones
in London NW10 are 'Scum-on-stolen-bikes'.

There are plainly two totally separate distinct populations of cyclists
around here. The 'Ordinary Decent Cyclists' - in florescent jackets and
helmets, showing lights and riding on the road - and the scum-on-
stolen-bikes who ride up on the pavement, furiously, without lights.

Some of the scum are seriously evil. The recent cold weather is keeping
them off the streets but generally I, a pedestrian, will have one of them
riding at me, as if to ram me, at least once a fortnight. As an extreme
case, a few years ago a lady I know had one of these 'cyclists' pull up
beside her one night, put a knive to her throat and steal her handbag.

Transport for London say that 80,000 bikes are stolen in London every
year. Bike-theft is probably the biggest reason for cyclists to stop
cycling. And it's the reason why so many pedestrians are being injured
by cyclists.

Bike-theft and bad-cycling are just two sides of the very same coin.
It's heartbreaking to see these hoodies racing down the
pavements on ultra-expensive bikes or children's bikes.

I would like to see Licence Plates on bikes. The Government could fund
the scheme out of general taxation - just as it subsidises the railways
and the buses.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 23:05 
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Dowlais wrote:
I would like to see Licence Plates on bikes. The Government could fund
the scheme out of general taxation - just as it subsidises the railways
and the buses.

Can I suggest you go and post that suggestion on the C+ forum? Oh and don't forget to give us a link so's we can watch the fun! :popcorn:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 23:34 
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Dowlais wrote:
I would like to see Licence Plates on bikes. The Government could fund
the scheme out of general taxation - just as it subsidises the railways
and the buses.

Isn't the latest estimate that there's around 2 MILLION unregistered/uninsured cars on the road? That being the case, how exactly do you think that sticking plates on bikes would help?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 03:26 
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johnsher wrote:
Isn't the latest estimate that there's around 2 MILLION unregistered/uninsured cars on the road? That being the case, how exactly do you think that sticking plates on bikes would help?


That is a fair point John.

What I had in mind was the common enough situation where it's probable that a bike is stolen (because a derelict hoody is riding a very expensive bike ) and the police have reason to stop and question the cyclist because he is speeding down the pavement without lights.

The officer could readily read the registration plate and radio his control to verify the ownership details. As an alternative to a plate a registration-number could be painted onto the frame at the factory.

Many states and cities in the USA register bicycles and some of those issue registration plates. It's an effective and cheap crime-prevention measure. It not only reduces bike-theft and dangerous cycling; it also restricts the mobility of the criminal underclass.

I absolutely agree with you that it would rely on policing and enforcement, and it's very unusual to see that.

About two weeks ago a young lawyer was murdered by street-robbers not far from here. Because of that there are now a lot of police about. Perhaps it's that, as much as the cold weather, which has been keeping the scum-on-stolen-bikes off the streets.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 08:45 
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Dowlais wrote:
As an alternative to a plate a registration-number could be painted onto the frame at the factory.

there's already a serial number there, the problem is lack of registration. Then you get into transfer of ownership and on and on and before you know it you have an enormous bureaucracy and little Billy's not getting a bike for Christmas because it's too much hassle.

Quote:
I absolutely agree with you that it would rely on policing and enforcement, and it's very unusual to see that

exactly


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 09:00 
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Dowlais wrote:
As an alternative to a plate a registration-number could be painted onto the frame at the factory.


Rather easier to change/erase than a VIN plate...?


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