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 Post subject: Cyclist Accountability
PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 14:55 
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I've been in London for the past week, and some of what I have seen on the roads has prompted me to raise the issue of accountability for delinquent cyclists, and perhaps also a training and testing framework. Let me start with an account of two events which happened to me today, within the space of an hour:

I was walking along Long Acre and was crossing at a zebra crossing. A cyclist on a fold-up bike cut off the road, onto the crossing narrowly in front of me, across the flush pavement on the corner and through a No Entry sign.

Later I was crossing the Fulham Road, again at a zebra crossing, which was straight with a central island (those familiar with their HC will see the significance). There was a queue of traffic on the first side I crossed. A cyclist, filtering up the outside of the queue, passed narrowly in front of me as I was leaving the central island onto the "clear" side, the wrong side of said island.

This got me wondering about the suitability of certain cyclists to be on the road, at their current state of skill, knowledge and training. I appreciate that a certain proportion (I am loathe to say minority, given the regularity of similar experiences) can give the whole an unjustly bad name, and am also mindful that "no harm done" may be bandied around, though largely due to my awareness and willingness to take responsibility and action for my own safety, as a more vulnerable road-user.

The most oft-heard objections to mandatory training/testing if cyclists, and the wearing of identifying marks for accountability seem to be cost, and that it would "discourage cycling". I would query whether these really carry all that much weight, given the propensity of many cyclists to consider themselves "special" in contrast to other road users, instances of which are illustrated on these very fora.

It is true that "no harm was done" in these, and the majority of instances, but the same can be said for the majority of instances of speeding, and yet that is subject to draconian enforcement, based largely on the fact that motorists are required to achieve and demonstrate a certain level of skill and knowledge (thus "should know better") and are accountable for their actions through the requirement to wear identifying registration marks.

I think I have typed just about enough, given I'm on the iPhone outside and my fingers are frigid, but I would be interested to know people's thought and opinions on the matter, and whether we couldn't come up with some ideas to rectify the situation without the out-of-hand dismissals I am sure some will levy.

I will end with my though that I am trained, tested and registered for EVERY mode of transport I use, and would certainly not balk at doing the same in order to continue cycling.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 16:23 
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Apart from the throwaway line that there is no such thing as the thread title, you raise some valuable points.

It should not be acceptable for someone totally untrained to go onto the roads to "play with the traffic". Cyclists are fond of saying how dangerous the roads are. Well, they should be keen to agree that all cyclists should have to be trained and certified as safe before venturing out. I don't care if the bleeding hearts say it will discourage cycling. Good. Semi-aware and semi-competent people should not be allowed to needlessly put themselves and others in hazardous situations.

"Little Johnny will not be able to cycle to school" will be the cry. "Just get him trained appropriately" will be my reply.

Cyclists should be registered and insured to allow valid claims to be made or offences to be prosecuted. This would also increase the likelihood of cyclists complying with relevant laws to the benefit of everyone (yes, even them).

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 19:21 
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RobinXe wrote:
I will end with my though that I am trained, tested and registered for EVERY mode of transport I use, and would certainly not balk at doing the same in order to continue cycling.


Where did you do your training/testing as a pedestrian and with whom are you registered? And, if you use public transport,what training/testing have you had and with whom are you registered?

I would argue that speeding is not subject to draconian enforcement. The vast majority of incidents of exceeding the speed limit, where no harm is done, go unpunished.

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Last edited by dcbwhaley on Tue Mar 01, 2011 21:51, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 19:55 
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I drove through Preston on Sunday night.
A cyclist on an urban dual carriageway, 30mph limit had no lights or reflectors, all black clothing, and elected to jump the red lights at a major junction, where cars had to avoid him when they eventually saw him.

As he pulled away and the lights changed, myself (in the outside lane) and the driver inside my vehicle had to brake as he wobbled across the two lanes, and proceeded to ride erratically along the central barrier.

I'm assuming he was not old enough to be legally drinking, but of course there was no police about to take him off the road.

After watching numerous videos on YouTube, I am not surprised at the behaviour of this motorist - although I do not condone what he has done.... http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-12604639 :shock:

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 21:55 
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Could some one point me at the statistics for motorists and pedestrians KSIs caused by cyclists. That would enable me to make a more informed decision on whether such an expensive, heavy handed approach would be justified.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 22:24 
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dcbwhaley wrote:
Could some one point me at the statistics for motorists and pedestrians KSIs caused by cyclists. That would enable me to make a more informed decision on whether such an expensive, heavy handed approach would be justified.


You forgot about cyclist KSIs caused by cyclists.

There is also the effect that the lack of road manners exhibited by some cyclists causes some motorists to treat all cyclists with disdain. While this may well be a failing on the motorists account for many motorists the old saw that respect engenders respect would probably hold true.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 23:05 
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It seems to me there is a fundamental contradiction between cyclists' unlicensed, unenforced and unregulated status and their oft-proclaimed wish to be treated as the equivalents of motorised road users.

In the overall scheme of things, cyclists not using lights, riding on the pavement and going through red lights don't really add up to much, but if that's a point the cycling lobby wish to set great store by they need to accept something more of the status of wheeled pedestrians.

If they want to be the equal of motorcyclists and car drivers, then with rights come responsibilities - which means accepting a system of licensing, regulation and enforcement comparable at least with that of moped riders. You can't have your cake and eat it.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 23:26 
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dcbwhaley wrote:
Could some one point me at the statistics for motorists and pedestrians KSIs caused by cyclists. That would enable me to make a more informed decision on whether such an expensive, heavy handed approach would be justified.

Pedestrians killed or seriously injured by car, all motor vehicles and cycles was the subject of a parliamentary question in January 2009. The results for 1998 to 2007 may be found here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/p ... 2627000041
I doubt they have changed much in the past 3 years.

Here is the table:
Attachment:
InjuryStats.png [45.84 KiB]
Downloaded 442 times

For chapter and verse on vehicle types involved in accidents and injuries on either side of these, for 2009, see: http://www.dft.gov.uk/adobepdf/162469/2 ... gb2009.pdf
The relevant info is in table 23c on page 141. Again, draw your own conclusions, but here is some relevant stuff from the table:

In accidents involving 1 car and 1 bicycle, there were 365 casualties from the cars, of which none were killed, and 17 of which were seriously injured. In the same class of accidents, 18 pedestrians were hit by the car, 4 of whom were seriously injured.

In accidents involving 1 car and 1 bicycle, there were 13,897 casualties from the bicycles, of which 51 were killed, and 1,937 of which were seriously injured. In the same class of accidents, 3 pedestrians were hit by the bicycle, none of whom were seriously injured.

I'll leave it to others to think about the implications for the costs vs benefits of registering cycles compared to registering motor vehicles.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 00:00 
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MrGrumpyCyclist wrote:
Pedestrians killed or seriously injured by car, all motor vehicles and cycles was the subject of a parliamentary question in January 2009.


Interesting, so it looks like cycles have a worse record per vehicle mile than cars then. There is going to be some skew as most cycling miles are probably done in urban areas, still I suspect cars are going to do more than 100 times as much total mileage as cycles.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 00:05 
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Toltec wrote:
There is going to be some skew as most cycling miles are probably done in urban areas, still I suspect cars are going to do more than 100 times as much total mileage as cycles.

I quoted my sources. Where are the sources for this gross assumption of yours?
(BTW, any such information would, of course, need to exclude motorway miles.)

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 00:42 
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MrGrumpyCyclist wrote:
Toltec wrote:
There is going to be some skew as most cycling miles are probably done in urban areas, still I suspect cars are going to do more than 100 times as much total mileage as cycles.

I quoted my sources. Where are the sources for this gross assumption of yours?
(BTW, any such information would, of course, need to exclude motorway miles.)

The Dft transport stats suggest that the ratio of passenger-miles of cars and motor vehicles versus pedal cycles is of the ratio of about 86:1.

(see: http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/statistics/datatablespublications/modal/ table TSGB0101)

Assuming the oft-quoted figure of an average car load factor of 1.6, this makes the mileage ratio about 54:1. Therefore 4 plays 433 suggests that pedal cycles are about half as likely to cause a pedestrian fatality, per mile travelled, than cars. Twice as good, yes, but still broadly in the same ballpark.

No idea about mileage on motorways or similar roads.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 02:28 
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Ah dcb and MrCyclist, you never fail to post exactly as I have predicted, and good on you, for that allows me to post exactly as I planned in response:

I am old enough to have been trained as a pedestrian in the Green Cross Code, and smart enough to have extrapolated from the same in order to keep myself safe in any manner of situations as a pedestrian. As a public transport user I am registered with TfL via my Oyster card and am able to use the system by virtue of my ability to read, understand and obey the posted signs, unlike the chaps in either of my examples, particularly the one who went through the no entry sign!

Both of you, as I suspected you would, have fallen into the "cycles are special" mindset (I'd say trap, but that would imply some machination on my part, when really I just let you make your own noose).

Dcb, are you suggesting that cyclists on the road are so close to pedestrians that they should have no greater rules governing them?

MrCyclist, are you suggesting that since cyclists contribute so little to the fatality statistics (by which I imply no accession to your assertion that they do) that they should continue to be allowed to break all the rules of the road that they already do? No harm done, right?

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 07:19 
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RobinXe wrote:
MrCyclist, are you suggesting that since cyclists contribute so little to the fatality statistics (by which I imply no accession to your assertion that they do) that they should continue to be allowed to break all the rules of the road that they already do? No harm done, right?


Such a prejudicial statement does you no favours in this debate; aren't you a cyclist yourself?


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 08:04 
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Is there a point in there weepej?

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 09:01 
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MGC wrote:
I'll leave it to others to think about the implications for the costs vs benefits of registering cycles compared to registering motor vehicles.

It's not just a matter of cost benefits. The greater sense of responsibility engenderd by the knowledge that erring cyclists could be identified and be accountable for their actions would, IMO, improve the overall standards of behaviour on the roads.

Training, qualification and registration would give greater overall value to society.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 09:49 
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RobinXe wrote:
I am trained, tested and registered for EVERY mode of transport I use, and would certainly not balk at doing the same in order to continue cycling.
As a public transport user I am registered with TfL via my Oyster card and am able to use the system by virtue of my ability to read, understand and obey the posted signs, unlike the chaps in either of my examples, particularly the one who went through the no entry sign

I too, despite a being provincial, am registered with TfL but I do not recall being put through any test of my ability to use the underground system. Nor do I, despite being taught pedestrian safety as a child by my parents, recall being registered as a pedestrian. And there is no published training,testing and registering scheme scheme for the users of buses, coaches, railway trains or civil aviation.
The only modes of transport for which I am trained, tested and registered are cycling, motoring and Sea King helicopters. Despite you high flown rhetoric, I doubt if (excepting your professional training) you are much different.

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you, as I suspected you would, have fallen into the "cycles are special" mindset

pray elucidate. I fail to see how you can infer that from my posts which contain two simple requests for information. The first, mentioned above, has little to do with the substantive part of your argument. The second was a request for further information to enable me to better to form an opinion.

At this point I am quite neutral on your proposal other than being broadly in favour of free cycling training being available to all children. My own children were taught to cycle by me, to a much higher standard than the training off offered by the Cycling Proficiency Scheme (in which I have acted as an instructor an was appalled by the low standard of testing). Such doubts as I have about the idea of registration are pragmatic doubts based on the cost effectiveness of such a scheme rather rather than philosophical ones based on an idea of the superiority of cycling over motoring

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Dcb, are you suggesting that cyclists on the road are so close to pedestrians that they should have no greater rules governing them?

Not quite. I am suggesting that on a scale of 0 to 10, with pedestrians at 0 and motorist at 10, cyclists would sit at about 2 or 3 and that the degree of regulation, compared to motorists, should reflect that I think that the present law does.

Whist I deplore the kind of incidents described I don't think they represent lack of skill,training or knowledge on the part of the perpetrators. Some of the worst examples of anti-social cycling are performed with consummate skill in the full knowledge of the inconvenience they cause. They are merely the result of a selfish mindset. And I am aware that the same mindset exists with a certain proportion (I am loathe to say minority, given the regularity of similar experiences) of motorists who, despite their much higher level of regulation, fail to give the required priority to pedestrians at road junctions.

Probably both feel special in their chosen mode of transport. But, when the high degree of regulation of motor vehicles fails to prevent millions of unpunished violations every day why do you think that similar regulation of cycling would have any more success in deterring illegal cycling? It would be easy to draw the conclusion from your and other comments that this desire to regulate cycling is driven more by vindictiveness than by any real hope of solving a relatively minor problem.

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MrCyclist, are you suggesting that since cyclists contribute so little to the fatality statistics (by which I imply no accession to your assertion that they do) that they should continue to be allowed to break all the rules of the road that they already do? No harm done, right?

Whilst I can't speak for Grumps I would say that that statement is closely parallel to the philosophy of this forum: that if breaking the speed limit contributes so little to the fatality statistics then motorists should not be punished for doing so. No harm done, right?

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 10:14 
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RobinXe wrote:
Ah dcb and MrCyclist, you never fail to post exactly as I have predicted, and good on you, for that allows me to post exactly as I planned in response:

I am old enough to have been trained as a pedestrian in the Green Cross Code, and smart enough to have extrapolated from the same in order to keep myself safe in any manner of situations as a pedestrian. As a public transport user I am registered with TfL via my Oyster card and am able to use the system by virtue of my ability to read, understand and obey the posted signs, unlike the chaps in either of my examples, particularly the one who went through the no entry sign!

Both of you, as I suspected you would, have fallen into the "cycles are special" mindset (I'd say trap, but that would imply some machination on my part, when really I just let you make your own noose).


RobinXe, you are too clever! Answer that one, pesky cyclists! :lol:


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 10:15 
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dcbwhaley wrote:
RobinXe wrote:
I am trained, tested and registered for EVERY mode of transport I use, and would certainly not balk at doing the same in order to continue cycling.
As a public transport user I am registered with TfL via my Oyster card and am able to use the system by virtue of my ability to read, understand and obey the posted signs, unlike the chaps in either of my examples, particularly the one who went through the no entry sign

I too, despite a being provincial, am registered with TfL but I do not recall being put through any test of my ability to use the underground system. Nor do I, despite being taught pedestrian safety as a child by my parents, recall being registered as a pedestrian. And there is no published training,testing and registering scheme scheme for the users of buses, coaches, railway trains or civil aviation.
The only modes of transport for which I am trained, tested and registered are cycling, motoring and Sea King helicopters. Despite you high flown rhetoric, I doubt if (excepting your professional training) you are much different.

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you, as I suspected you would, have fallen into the "cycles are special" mindset

pray elucidate. I fail to see how you can infer that from my posts which contain two simple requests for information. The first, mentioned above, has little to do with the substantive part of your argument. The second was a request for further information to enable me to better to form an opinion.

At this point I am quite neutral on your proposal other than being broadly in favour of free cycling training being available to all children. My own children were taught to cycle by me, to a much higher standard than the training off offered by the Cycling Proficiency Scheme (in which I have acted as an instructor an was appalled by the low standard of testing). Such doubts as I have about the idea of registration are pragmatic doubts based on the cost effectiveness of such a scheme rather rather than philosophical ones based on an idea of the superiority of cycling over motoring

Quote:
Dcb, are you suggesting that cyclists on the road are so close to pedestrians that they should have no greater rules governing them?

Not quite. I am suggesting that on a scale of 0 to 10, with pedestrians at 0 and motorist at 10, cyclists would sit at about 2 or 3 and that the degree of regulation, compared to motorists, should reflect that I think that the present law does.

Whist I deplore the kind of incidents described I don't think they represent lack of skill,training or knowledge on the part of the perpetrators. Some of the worst examples of anti-social cycling are performed with consummate skill in the full knowledge of the inconvenience they cause. They are merely the result of a selfish mindset. And I am aware that the same mindset exists with a certain proportion (I am loathe to say minority, given the regularity of similar experiences) of motorists who, despite their much higher level of regulation, fail to give the required priority to pedestrians at road junctions.

Probably both feel special in their chosen mode of transport. But, when the high degree of regulation of motor vehicles fails to prevent millions of unpunished violations every day why do you think that similar regulation of cycling would have any more success in deterring illegal cycling? It would be easy to draw the conclusion from your and other comments that this desire to regulate cycling is driven more by vindictiveness than by any real hope of solving a relatively minor problem.

Quote:
MrCyclist, are you suggesting that since cyclists contribute so little to the fatality statistics (by which I imply no accession to your assertion that they do) that they should continue to be allowed to break all the rules of the road that they already do? No harm done, right?

Whilst I can't speak for Grumps I would say that that statement is closely parallel to the philosophy of this forum: that if breaking the speed limit contributes so little to the fatality statistics then motorists should not be punished for doing so. No harm done, right?


Very well said, dcbwhaley.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 10:25 
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So, as predicted, much poo-pooing, does anyone have anything constructive to contribute on how we could avoid incidents like those mentioned and the millions of others that occur?

Bueller? Bueller?

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 10:42 
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RobinXe wrote:
So, as predicted, much poo-pooing, does anyone have anything constructive to contribute on how we could avoid incidents like those mentioned and the millions of others that occur?

Bueller? Bueller?


Did you not think dcbwhaley's post was a constructive contribution to the discussion? I thought it summed up rather well, that the problem (whatever that is) may not be solved with training, or registration, because it is rooted in attitudes rather than skills. It, along with MrGrumpyCyclist's earlier post, also presented an opportunity to discuss costs vs benefits compared with other priorities on the road - after all, resources are finite so should be directed towards where they can achieve the greatest benefit to society.

I'm surprised that you haven't noticed how the discussion has progressed since your first post, but if you'd rather we all just agreed with you, why didn't you say?


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