What to do when you encounter behaviour like this on the road

A few seconds into the above video we hear:

“Get in the f***** cycle lane you t***”

Charming. The video by Cycle Gaz paints a fairly bleak image of cycling in London. Fortunately, this isn’t representative of all cycle journeys in London.

But how should you respond in situations such as this?

taxi-driver-swearing

Being sworn at for not being in the cycle lane

As a cyclist Gaz has every right to be cycling where he is. It can often be more dangerous to be in the cycle lane. As the taxi driver was driving dangerously close, at least as a cyclist you would be able to swerve into the cycle lane if you felt in danger. Whereas if you were already glued to the kerb you’d have nowhere to move.

car-pulling-in-frontDrivers ignoring your right of way

This is a common occurrence, especially during rush hour when the world famous English queuing patience evaporates into the smoggy London air.

There’s little you can do here other than keep an eye out for vehicles that look like they are going to make a move. Having your wits about you, as Boris raves about, is crucial.

superdrug-truck

Vehicles pulling into your lane too soon

Later on in the video we can see a Superdrug truck pulling into Gaz’s lane. This is a hair raising experience for even the most seasoned cyclists amongst us.

Once again Gaz’s road position away from the kerb is what protects him. Not only will the lorry driver have had more of a chance of spotting Gaz but Gaz also has the ability to move to the left if the truck is coming too close. In a situation like this you should be glancing behind your shoulder so you are not surprised when a huge lorries pulls up. Gaz could also contact the company to complain of bad driving. His comments should be taken seriously but in reality that isn’t always the case.

See also: Helmet camera reviews

Irrate taxi driver pointingDangerous cab driving

Later on in the video we see Gaz pulling up at a traffic light and a taxi driver squeezing past two cyclists.

There’s an altercation and Gaz promises to report the driver to the Public Carriage Office. It helps with these reports to have evidence such as video and ideally an independent witness.

in-correct-laneGetting beeped by drivers for being in a safe position

Time and time again in the video we see drivers who expect a cyclist to be glued to the kerb. There’s a clip where a car beeps at the cyclist and points towards the cycle lane. Another shows a cab driver complaining that Gaz touched his cab and stating “I was nowhere near you”. When Gaz casually explains how else could he have touched the cab, the logical argument is lost in a sea of abusive shouting.

In situations like this you need to stand firm in your road position. It is dangerous to be pedalling too near the kerb and many drivers unfortunately are unaware of this.

If the situation becomes intimidating then it is often better to stand down and take action later by reporting the driver.

See also: How to get the ultimate revenge on bad drivers

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173 Responses to What to do when you encounter behaviour like this on the road

  1. Nick 29/11/2011 at 10:43 am #

    I’m so getting a camera now! I’ve lost count of the amount of arguments with motorists, pedestrians and even some cyclists who have little to no consideration of others.

    I’ve been riding the streets of London for a fair few years now, and it has gotten worse over the last 2 to be really honest, it’s great that you see a lot of cyclists out on the roads, but far to many are riding unsafe, no helmets or riding freewheel with no back brake, or just generally riding like inconsiderate b******ds, but not to say motorist attitudes haven’t gotten worse either!

    • coshgirl 29/11/2011 at 11:02 am #

      Nick, there is nothing unsafe about riding without a helmet in traffic. Helmets are not designed to protect you in impacts with motorised vehicle. Wrongly believing that they do is a very dangerous thing indeed – far more dangerous than choosing to ride without one. I speak as a cyclist with almost 40 years’ experience, around 25 of which have been on central London roads, so I have the right to comment.

      • Trude 29/11/2011 at 11:14 am #

        In those 40 years, how many times have you fallen off and landed on your head? It only has to happen once, you know. It has happened to me twice over a far shorter cycling career, and both times my helmet came out far worse off than I did.

        Wearing a helmet does NOT give you a false sense of invulnerability, and to suggest it does (and that this in itself creates danger) is a pretty spurious statement in my opinion. I guess you could prove this yourself by wearing one for a month or two, and see if you suddenly start rear-ending buses and deliberately cycling into oncoming traffic?

        • Nick 29/11/2011 at 11:33 am #

          Coshgirl – One name… Natasha Redgrave (granted whilst skiing, but a good example). I’m not saying it will save you from a collision or being run over, that is just stupid! But the way some idiots ride, it just takes a small amount of impact to that delicate skull matter and you’re a vegetable or worse DEAD! I’ve crashed several times and I walked away with cracked ribs, bruises, road rash and a list of breaks! Thankfully never a cracked skulls probably due to wearing a helmet!! Perhaps a helmet is not a requirement… but are headphones? Are working brakes? Road awareness?

          Think of a helmet like a bike lock, you really don’t want it and would prefer that it never had to be used… but would you leave your bike unlocked on the street?

          Trude – I concur with you whole heartedly.

        • iamnotacyclist (@iamnotacyclist) 29/11/2011 at 12:59 pm #

          The bottom line is – if you choose to ride with a helmet on – it’s fine. But don’t slag people off for not wearing one. It’s not compulsory. Brakes, lights and a bell are.

        • Paul Jakma 30/11/2011 at 7:05 am #

          I’ve been knocked off by or run into cars 3 times in my life (I don’t quite have 40 years of cycling experience though). The first 2 times were my fault – I was a child – and the last time was the car drivers fault. I wasn’t wearing a helmet any of those times, and I’m fine.

          However, be careful about drawing broad conclusions from anecdotes. Just because I have had helmetless accidents & been fine, does not mean anyone can conclude helmets don’t work. Similarly, just because you have had accidents wearing a helmet and been fine doesn’t mean helmets do work! The only way to be able to draw such conclusions is to rigorously statistically analyse data, and see if there are statistically significant effects.

          I have a quick guide to the evidence & arguments on my blog: http://bit.ly/u6Oxy5

      • Stevewww 29/11/2011 at 3:49 pm #

        when i car pulled out on me and my head smacked onto its bonnet and then on the road when i fell backwards, my helmet probably saved my life

        • Paul Jakma 30/11/2011 at 7:07 am #

          I had a similar accident, oncoming car turned right and went across me. I was fine.

          It is a fallacy to draw broad conclusions from anecdotes.

      • Mark 02/12/2011 at 1:25 pm #

        surely riding without a helmet means you risk hitting your head on the ground and receiving a serious injury.

        riding in traffic increases your chances of being knocked off your bike and hitting your head on the ground….

  2. iamnotacyclist (@iamnotacyclist) 29/11/2011 at 10:57 am #

    I never had anyone swear at me, a person cut me up once and then apologised, so my experience of cycling in London is very different. I am sure it’s because most of my 11 mile route is along cs3 which is mostly traffic free. However once I get to Cannon St and follow the route to Soho it’s the usual business of mixing with traffic. Luckily for me a person pootling along on a Dutch bike seems less prone to abuse than a roadie for some reason.

    • Gaz 29/11/2011 at 1:39 pm #

      I suspect that many of these incidences arise because of the position I put my self in. A position which is perfectly legal, is advised by bikability, IAM and other bodies.
      But obviously a controlling lane position where you are going at a similar speed to other road users is just 3 foot too far in some drivers eyes.

      • iamnotacyclist (@iamnotacyclist) 29/11/2011 at 2:02 pm #

        Gaz – I too cycle in the middle of the lane when I need to. Don’t do it all the time – can’t see a point unless there’s not enough room for cars to pass me safely. You do seem to be a bit aggressive yourself and hardly ever miss an opportunity to shout at the drivers who made a mistake and sometimes you don’t avoid obvious situtations. On the other hand I do not envy your route – it’s an urban motorway most of a time or a pinch point nightmare for the rest of it. I must say my choice of route is usually dictated by existence of segregated cycle lanes/low traffic and I really avoid A roads as much as possible.
        Also – have you tried testing the Mary Poppins efect? Try cycling on a normal bike in regular clothes once and see how it goes.

        • Gaz 29/11/2011 at 2:21 pm #

          I experience the same kind of incidences no matter what clothes I wear, what bike I ride or at what speed I travel.

        • Andreas 29/11/2011 at 5:03 pm #

          Interesting insight Gaz – I too had in my mind “what if you are not dressed as a cyclist”. I must say I’ve generally been treated to fairly good behaviour on the roads – there was only once where I was fairly sure a driver was going to punch me.

    • Mark 02/12/2011 at 2:14 pm #

      i agree 100% if you have a slower bike, or you ride slowly you are far less likely to get abuse. the problem is, we who want to share the road fairly and ride the roads at greater speed get a lot of anger thrown at us when we get in th way. a cyclist going fast (20mph) is still too slow for a motorist, and therefore “gets in their way”. a cyclist doing 5mph doesnt really get in their way so they dont bother them…

  3. James 29/11/2011 at 11:11 am #

    I think it’s enough to film to examples of bad driving – and they are examples of bad driving, make no mistake about that. However, the foul-mouthed commentary that Gaz provides after these incidents does not help his cause or that of other cyclists. Aggressive, confrontational language just confirms a stereotype of a particular type of cyclist and provokes the worst in others. It would be much better to encourage dialogue and understanding.

    • Trude 29/11/2011 at 11:27 am #

      I have to agree – he comes over as very aggressive, almost as if he relishes each incident.

      I think both cyclists and motorists have to get better at seeing the world from each other’s perspective. Yes, that works both ways. When I’m on a bike, I go out of my way to avoid p****** off car drivers unduly, because I feel I have to act as an ambassador for cyclists, not some kind of gung-ho freedom fighter. I’d rather slow down and stay in the cycle lane than go wide at break-neck speed whilst holding up and annoying motorists who are in just as much of a hurry as I am.

      • Andreas 29/11/2011 at 5:04 pm #

        Could I ask that no swearing be included in comments please – want to keep this blog safe for everyone to read.

    • Gaz 29/11/2011 at 1:09 pm #

      Have you ever tried to have polite conversation with someone in a car? They do not appreciate being confronted or challenged at their ability to drive.
      I think you are much better off just not talking to people at all, at the end of the day it’s not worth it.

      • iamnotacyclist (@iamnotacyclist) 29/11/2011 at 2:11 pm #

        Yes I have. Car drivers are people like you and me Gaz. The driver apologised for his behaviour.

        • Gaz 29/11/2011 at 2:22 pm #

          From my exerperience only a handful are polite and apologies. Just like only a handful are nasaty people who swear at you. The rest just ignore you or don’t understand why you where in x vs y.

      • MCRcycling 30/11/2011 at 12:11 pm #

        If someone is being foul-mouthed and abusive, I see no problem with choosing to reply in kind. If they are reasonable about their mistake, (or at least just reasonable in general) it makes sense to reply in kind. Simple.

  4. Alice 29/11/2011 at 11:12 am #

    I was going to say the same as iamnotacyclist. I’ve had a few altercations but nothing like this after cycling almost every day in London for 2 years.

    And I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I’m female? I do wear some cycling specific gear, but maybe it’s because I’m not all lycra-ed up on an expensive road bike? I’m not saying it’s an excuse for the motorists in these videos but it could be something to do with how the person taking the video is being perceived on the road. And maybe the motorists have had previous experiences with less considerate cyclists who have made them have that attitude.

    As an interesting experiment he should go out with a wig on and more feminine clothes and see if he encounters the same issues.

    Either way, attitudes need to change for all road users for the safety of everyone.

  5. Ashleigh 29/11/2011 at 11:12 am #

    This is a very timely post. I had such a miserable ride home last night for all of the above reasons, and was ready to leave the bike at home for a few days. It’s demoralising to be honked at or screamed at for no reason other than you’re riding three inches out from the kerb (and/or because you’re wearing a skirt. Bah!).
    So the advice is: wear a camera and report the driver (though your report may not be followed up)? These are good, though slightly bleak, short-term measures, I guess. But I think a great deal of altercations stem from motorists’ ignorance of what is safe for cyclists. Obviously there needs to be more education around this.
    I would also suggest: try not to take bad experiences to heart. You might as well keep riding. The more cyclists there are, the more the roads will have to adapt to their presence.

    • Andreas 29/11/2011 at 5:07 pm #

      It’s a good message Ashleigh. I guess the video just re-enforces that we do experience these situations but we’d still never trade the bike and as you said, we shouldn’t take them to heart.

  6. Matt 29/11/2011 at 11:15 am #

    I was riding along in a road next to a cycle lane recently and got a lot of abuse. I was probably doing around 20mph and approaching stopped traffic so why the car thought he had to get round me is a mystery. I let him pass and then stopped at his window (slightly in a red mist) to educate him on why I was not obliged to be in the cycle lane with the 5mph Borris bikes only to find him brandishing a weapon. In my haste to get out of there I failed to get any of his details but it made me think twice about approaching car drivers in future. Realistically it will be an unusual day that 2 people shouting at each other clears anything up. Take their details and report them.

    • Andreas 29/11/2011 at 5:08 pm #

      A scary experience Matt – there are obviously dangers in approaching drivers. I guess that’s a judgement everyone has to make for themselves.

  7. jim graham 29/11/2011 at 11:27 am #

    PS

    http://www.iam.org.uk/cyclist

  8. Candy B 29/11/2011 at 11:35 am #

    I find it interesting watching this video as I follow many of the same routes as Gaz.

    The most dangerous part of the routes I share with Gaz in his video is the cycle lane on Vauxhall Bridge. This lane is approximately the same width as my narrow female shoulders, and can be a frightening experience when a London Duck Tour vehicle speeds past, pushing cyclists into the kerb.

    I don’t necessarily see this as the fault of the motorist. The blame lies more with those responsible for planning and painting the cycling paths in the capital, and this is representitive of much bad cycle path planning, as we are all sadly aware.

    Better planning and more cyclist awareness campaigns.

  9. alp 29/11/2011 at 12:02 pm #

    I don’t think that this is helpful to cyclists at all. Those who wear helmet cams have often given me the impression that they are looking for incidents and this bears that out. This guy has atrocious awareness and gets himself into shouty confrontational situations he could avoid. If he looks closely at his bike he may even find that it comes equipped with brakes as well as an air horn.

    I commute into central London by bike 5 days a week and I could spend a lot of that time shouting out licence plates and getting into rows with thick cabbies, but that is a miserable way to cycle. I would recommend instead having your wits about you, assume bad driving may happen and so pre-empt and avoid it. Have a shout when someone cuts it really close but let’s save it for ‘special’ situations.

    • Gaz 29/11/2011 at 1:17 pm #

      The video is a very limited snap shot of what I recorded over 2 years, +12,000 miles on a central London commute. You don’t see the situations where I read the road and avoid any kind of incident.

      • Andreas 29/11/2011 at 5:17 pm #

        Of course, and if you watch until the end, that is what Gaz has added. I agree that what Gaz is doing is good and he should bring attention to these incidents.

        • alp 29/11/2011 at 7:29 pm #

          But I also cycle at least 5200 miles a year (so 10,400 over 2 years) on a daily a commute from south into the centre and I have done for over 20 years. My journey has become less confrontational over the last 10 years because of cycling with awareness and also respect. I encounter but avoid situations like the ones in this video several times daily.

          The existence of this video will do nothing to make life easier for cyclists, especially because the viedo shows some poor judgement by the protagonist as well as fellow road users. A change of attitude by all road users would have an effect and cyclists can be part of that.

          I now go out of my way to thank buses, taxi drivers and cars who do not kill me – even if it is a close thing and they have done something stupid. I just firmly believe, and my experience has taught me, that if you look for the stupid and dangerous you will see it. We need to lead by example and most of all we should be allowed to enjoy the ride.

          Gaz, I feel your pain and annoyance and of course I have lost my rag a few times. I just don’t believe this helps you or any road user. What we really need is a much more effective way of reporting incidents that doesn’t involve queuing up for hours at the relevant local police station. the met should develop their online reporting tool to allow traffic incidents to be reported online and followed up post event.

        • Gaz 29/11/2011 at 7:34 pm #

          aaaah alp…. you missed a massive part of what filming your commute is all about.

          Those of us that record our commutes in london report dangerous road users to the police via an online form (link below). It’s run by the unit that does exchanging places and the cycle task force, they are top notch traffic officers who know what they are talking about.
          If they think the driver has been naughty then they send them a letter and record it on a database. In some cases there have been prosecutions.

          http://www.met.police.uk/roadsafelondon/

        • alp 07/12/2011 at 11:55 am #

          Brilliant – thanks Gaz – I have never seen this met online form before despite searching regularly so very useful to know it’s there.

  10. Fez 29/11/2011 at 12:34 pm #

    interesting video.

    I am London cycle commuter. I see incidents like this every day.

    However, I don’t think wearing a camera and being aggro solves anything.

    Cycle Gaz comes across as exactly the sort of cyclist I do everything in my power to avoid. When cycling in London you HAVE to make a concession to 4 wheeled vehicles. I expect cars to squeeze me to the kerb, I expect cars to pull out in front of me and disrespect rights of way. Black cab drivers are the exception – I really can’t predict what they are going to do.

    My point is that London roads are not set up for cyclists, they are not even set up for 4 wheeled vehicles and cyclists to share the space. We are the vulnerable party and I cycle with the thought, “Remember, you will come off worse,” whenever I get caught in a potentially dangerous situation. So, I’ll slow down, I won’t take any risks and I will not cycle expecting to get any respect from 4 wheeled vehicles. The result is I still get from A to B, with only 1 accident so far (a motorbike slammed into the back of me) but it may take me a little longer than the cyclist dressed in all the gear on his road bike flying down the cycle lane at 40mph in stationary traffic.

    I get more abuse from fellow cyclists than I do from anyone else. All from cyclists who think that cycling in London is the same as cycling round a race track.

    I would love it if London was a cycling city. It’s not. Get your speed kicks at the weekend round a track. During your commute, chill out.

    *Andreas:updated comment to remove swearing

  11. ZM 29/11/2011 at 1:17 pm #

    He is far too aggressive. Always I am telling myself, calm down, try to predict what will happen. 99% of drivers are ok, and 1% of idiots try to avoid, it’s not worth it to die as hero.

    • Gaz 29/11/2011 at 1:35 pm #

      And these clips are of those 1%, who I all avoided.
      I’m just voicing my opinion on them (sometimes in a way I don’t personally like).
      Should we a. accept that some people are idiots who put us in danger. b. stand up and try to make a change?

  12. Gaz 29/11/2011 at 1:33 pm #

    I find some of the comments here rather ammusing but I must be honest, none of it is new.
    You always get people that don’t like what you do, and I’m fine with that.

    First off, I’m not a fan of this video… in fact I hate watching it. I look back at some of them and I hate the way I reacted. It looks much better if you are the better person, but when you have endorphines pumping sometimes you say things you wouldn’t normally. I certainly don’t react like that now to any incident.

    I cycle +6,000 miles a year in central london, and these clips where filmed over 2 years. That’s +12,000 miles for all of these clips and only a handful of them are very bad.

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and it’s fairly easy for people to say ” you should have done this…” or “I would have done this…” when everything is playing back to them on a video.

    The camera distorts things slightly, a 135degree and a 170degree lens angle can make things fish eye like. Meaning close passes don’t look as close as they are.

    The roads aren’t a dangerous place, this video was just a summary of things that had happened to me over 2 years and is certainly not a true representation of life on the roads or my experience as a whole. My commute is 17 miles one way, I have hundreds of cars passing me and I pass hundreds of cars. I get maybe 4 – 6 ‘incidences’ a week and most of those are people driving whilst on their phone (pet hate!)

    I suggest that people check out some of the other things I do with the camera. Silly Cyclists for example, where I’m trying to educate cyclists on the things not to do on the roads.

    • iamnotacyclist (@iamnotacyclist) 29/11/2011 at 2:08 pm #

      Uploading such video to youtube doesn’t help your “roads are safe”argument at all. Perhaps it does look different from your perspective but only judging from the video you come across as a very aggressive, self rightous confrontational person (you might be a top bloke in reality though). This is my opinion only, but confrontation in an already inflamed situation isn’t really the way forward for me. But perhaps I am wrong and what you’re doing is right and you are in fact helping…

      • Gaz 29/11/2011 at 2:33 pm #

        I agree that the video doesn’t give the best impression, of the roads or of my self.

        In the long run, the videos are helpful, espcially when drivers are reported to the Police and they later get contacted by them about their bad driving.

        I don’t think that this will put people off cycling, at least those not already looking for an excuse to stop. I’m sure you are aware that it isn’t really like this 99.9% of the time.

      • Mark S 29/11/2011 at 2:41 pm #

        Posting clips on Youtube from your helmet cam isn’t all about the bad stuff. I try to balance mine out some of the better driving I see or experience to show it isn’t just all crap out there. (Un)surprisingly those showing courteous drivers or textbook overtaking don’t seem as popular as those that involves some mortal danger….

        This video is hardly a good one to judge on, it’s put together specifically to highlight the sort of incidents that do occur and are the reason other riders are thinking “ya know I don’t have to put up with this!”, getting camera’s and sharing their experiences.

        I’ve had some great advice on videos I’ve posted, from changing my road position, not waiting at certain points or just plain being more patient! At the end of the day there is nothing wrong with riding assertively, after all you have just as much right to use the road (any part of it!) as they do and are entitled to travel safely without fear or being injured. If that means delaying someone a few seconds then so be it, if their in such a rush maybe they should try using a bike :-)

        • Andreas 29/11/2011 at 5:21 pm #

          I don’t think there’s many people who haven’t lost their cool at some stage. I apologise for digging the video up to haunt you! It wasn’t my purpose – I think it was a good compilation of scenarios and one’s that I’ve faced in the past. My reaction in 99% of situations has been very calm and I’ve only seen red on a handful of occasions.

  13. Bobby 29/11/2011 at 2:09 pm #

    I generally don’t try to reason with people who nearly kill me in a car. I will point out to them they were too close or how they were driving dangerously, and then I bike off. If at this point the driver decides to follow me, continuing to drive dangerously and being abusive, I plan my exit strategy, cause deliberate damage to their car (keep your D-lock handy), and bike off.

    I’m sure most people will find this behaviour reprehensible and counter-productive, but in my opinion, there’s nothing more futile than trying to reason with an angry driver who has already treated you like roadkill. If they continue screaming at me, I tax them by means of D-lock and exit via a route they cannot follow.

    In my opinion there is only one thing that will make certain bad drivers behave more sensibly around cyclists – the threat of consequences. The police don’t do anything at all, so unfortunately it’s up to me. Of course using a car like an offensive weapon is just a stern talking to, but walk out of your house with a kitchen knife, and you’re in big trouble.

    I don’t recommend anyone do what I’m doing. I’m an idiot and someone will probably run me over in anger one day if I’m not in prison first, but I tend to lose my temper when being tailed by a white van with some ignorant fat slob yelling “c***” at me for delaying his arrival at the next red light by 15 seconds. And the only thing I’ve found that breaks the abusive flow is a weapon being waved in their face by someone who clearly has the intent to use it. After all, if someone uses a two ton car like a weapon towards me, then I feel quite vindicated in brandishing a d-lock.

    When people don’t feel so invincible in their little metal cage they soon show a bit more respect. That’s why I will be looking to fit further weaponry to my bike, such as a forward facing crossbow with explosive tipped bolts. I plan to develop some incediary models soon too, but probably not the best for inner-city use.

    • Mark 03/12/2011 at 2:16 pm #

      bobby,
      love your post. i have often wished i had my d-lock handy, but because of it’s weight i normally leave it chained to th railings….

      got to say though that sadly, what you say is true.

      if someone almost causes a serious accident (im not just talking about someone overtaking to close or something pathetic like that) that i must say your “tax” system is brave. but understandable!

      i once had a van driver chase me down th road and swerve in front of me 2 times, each time he exited th vehicle and chased me down th road. luckily i caught up with traffic and lost him behind a few busses.
      it was scary, and all because he pulled out of a junction onto th main road i was on and i didnt jam my breaks on to let him cross in front of me!

      i havent yet used a weapon on someones car, but i have been very tempted!

      i did punch a car window recently and the man got out and tried to attack me, but i fancied my chances and he backed off. i made it VERY clear to him to use his mirrors and indicators….

      maybe he will remember and learn. maybe he will just hate cyclists now…

  14. bostonbybike 29/11/2011 at 2:45 pm #

    While I also think that Gaz seemed to be a pretty aggressive rider, I can understand his frustration in presented situations.

    I got beeped twice this morning and I was just wondering what are those drivers trying to tell me by doing this: http://bostonbybike.blogspot.com/2011/11/power-of-horn.html

    Why would you beep someone for just riding his bicycle?

    • Downfader 29/11/2011 at 7:56 pm #

      @Bostonbybike Gaz is not aggressive. You appear to be confusing aggressive with assertive. UK cycle training courses such as the Government approved Bikeability, National Standards and IAM cycle training all teach cyclists to ride in the manner Gaz cycles (eg out of the door zone, anticipating the flow of traffic, etc).

      Ideally we shouldn’t get into converse with other road users, but there are times when we have to (shouting “watchout” may save your life for example), or when the adrenal glands kick in.

      Its all about empathy – for the cyclist involved and the environment they cycle in. Only when you know both well can you understand the rider’s actions. Gaz is well known here, too, for his work on the Silly Cyclists youtube videos and blog, which is an educational resource for all cyclists.

      • bostonbybike 29/11/2011 at 9:48 pm #

        Wrong choice of words, I guess. What I meant by “aggressive” was his loud disapproval for drivers’ actions, not his riding style.

        I understand that this video is not representative for Gaz’s actions since it is just a short fragment of his 2-year long (or more) riding career.

    • Mark 03/12/2011 at 2:19 pm #

      next time why dont you shout to them “what is the problem!?”

      normally i find people in vehicles just want to bully cyclists off the road because they have been slowed down by them….
      if it is a girl cycling the beep may be a friendly one though LOL

  15. Bob Kidman 29/11/2011 at 4:06 pm #

    I’ve got to get a camera! I’ve been a cyclist for years and every once in a while my confidence goes because of aggressive bad driving from Cab drivers and big vans/ lorries – fortunately I can confirm that such people are not targeting cyclists specifically as when I drive through London in a car I also encounter the same.

    I now much prefer the Scottish Highlands – not as many cabs in the mountains!

  16. dave 29/11/2011 at 4:54 pm #

    Hmm, I think Gaz is sometimes in the right sometimes not. Certainly I don’t agree that if you can touch a car then it’s too close. There was some horrendously dangerous overtaking in the video, but what’s dangerous is the swerving back in front of you – just being within an arms length of you isn’t dangerous in itself. I mean half the time in London if you were driving and stuck your hand out the window you could touch the car beside you. Also it’s worth noting that bad driving isn’t something that only happens to cyclists – people cutting you up and going in front of you when it’s your priority etc happens all the time whether you’re a cyclist or a driver, and I don’t think the right response is to shout and swear at people. If you are aggressive to people, you’re only going to inflame the situation. Also I would imagine that if something bad did happen to him, the usefulness of his helmet camera footage would probably be negated by the other side being able to point to him being really aggressive in hundreds of other incidents. If you stay calm and reasonable, people are much more likely to be the same to you.

    • Mark S 29/11/2011 at 5:06 pm #

      I don’t think being cut up in a car is anywhere near as bad as on a bike. In the car your surrounded by a nice big metal box, have a seat belt on and have some rather powerful brakes along with possibly a variety of electronic trickery like ABS and emergency brake assist. When you get cut up in a car you can usually ensure you survive with little more then a feeling of frustration and possibly losing a bit of paint.

      On a bike you are so much more vulnerable the threat is massively increased, the endorphins from the exercise and the adrenaline from a near miss can form a potent cocktail especially if the red mist descends. I tend to find it easier now to take out the frustration on my bike pedals with an interval session, overtake the pillock who nearly killed me and try not to look too smug as I disappear up the road whilst they sit in a traffic jam :-)

      I’ve tried the confronting drivers thing before, nearly ended up going very wrong, I tend to shout (not directly at the driver per see, more an exclamation) and will normally only end up yelling directly at the driver in the more extreme cases (only happened once on camera so far…)

    • Downfader 29/11/2011 at 5:08 pm #

      No. Touching distance IS too close for several reasons, and a few cyclists have been injured because of this in the past. The one main reason is called margin for error. If a cyclist slips on oil, ice, wet leaves then their body will most likely fall beyond the 2 feet reach of an arm on a bike. An unexpected pothole can also mean a need for a quick change of velocity.

      No one has seriously suggested that its just cyclists that get abuse. I know there are many motorists (driver and motorcyclist) now taking up cameras. The Roadhawk system has been a big seller too, esp in the haulage industry.

      • Helen 29/11/2011 at 7:29 pm #

        I was taught to leave a margin of error for me, plus a margin of error for them because it’s safest to assume that they are stupid and A. won’t leave a margin and B. will commit a potentially dangerous error.

        • Mark 02/12/2011 at 2:21 pm #

          you should leave yourself a generous space between you and the kerb so when someone makes a mistake that endangers your well-being you have a space to move into….

  17. Andreas 29/11/2011 at 5:11 pm #

    Note: I’ve removed a couple of comments that I found offensive towards Gaz. This isn’t a place to direct personal attacks on people – the post is here to learn from potential dangers we can face on the roads. Thanks to everyone who has weighed in with sensible comments in the discussion.

  18. Helen 29/11/2011 at 7:36 pm #

    I cycle in Devon where people generally seem to be less aggressive, perhaps because there’s a lot less anonymity. I quite often see a red mist but I have found that it’s better not to act on it.
    Generally I think the trick is just to anticipate, and assume that people are stupid. Not just drivers, everybody. Drivers are the worst because of the size of the vehicle but pedestrians and cyclists do tend to do dangerous things. One excellent reason for not cycling near the kerb is the tendency for pedestrians to step out from it without looking.
    I have in the past got into shouty altercations but I do it less and less now because I don’t think it helps re-educate drivers. However, I will follow people into car parks, wait until they’ve opened the door, and then tell them embarrassingly loudly, preferably with an audience, exactly why they need to read the Highway Code and learn to respect their fellow road users.
    I say embarrassing. I aim to embarrass them into behaving better. Public stigma is the only thing I can think of that might just make motorists think about what they’re doing.

  19. Kyklos 30/11/2011 at 2:02 pm #

    While I’m grateful for all the insights provided by this London-centric blog, the unremittingly negative perspectives frighten me to death. Well, if I were to rely on this blog alone it would be the death of my cycling. Thankfully, there are other blogs which remind me of why I cycle in the first place! How about more positive blog pieces mixed in with the nightmarish and hairy.

    I’m not a fan of horror films, and reading this blog is beginning to set my pulse racing in quite the same way. More on the romance of cycling for faint-hearted females like me please!

  20. Kyklos 30/11/2011 at 4:24 pm #

    P.S. Despite my horror of hairy moments, I thought Gaz did a good job of demonstrating many of the issues. No criticism intended. I felt some of the comments directed at him were somewhat harsh. Fright tends to bring on strong reactions. I can’t imagine many people having a near death experience and then addressing the (usually unreasonable) perpetrator with a calm: “Excuse me, you almost maimed or killed me, perhaps you can drive more carefully in future.”

  21. David 01/12/2011 at 5:15 am #

    Good lively debate!

    From my experience I have to agree with Gaz – in that hindsight is a wonderful tool and that keeping calm can be difficult in a situation where you have felt put at an increased risk…..despite this I feel that 99% of interactions with fellow road users are positive.

    Keep up the good work Andreas.

  22. Ant 01/12/2011 at 7:39 am #

    to be honest i think your attitude stinks on the video, sure i agree sometimes you get cut off etc. but i think your attitude attracts this bad behaviour.

    bad behaviour breeds bad behaviour.

    • Stewart 02/12/2011 at 11:25 am #

      I agree, he comes off like a bit of an belligerent knob. He deliberately runs up the ass of some cars which he can see are stopping (in traffic). If he was a little more patient and tolerable he could have avoided half of those situations.

      • Tim 03/12/2011 at 10:17 am #

        You must have been watching a different set of clips to me. To avoid 99% of these situations he would have needed not to be on the road at all or in a vehicle. Vehicles pulling out in front of him from roundabout entry points while he has right of way on the roundabout and about to enter the same space as the vehicle is now entering? Being overtaken and immediately cut up? Please tell us how that can be avoided, apart from by being psychic. I can only imagine your answer is that he should be slowing down every single time someone “might” drive badly around him, on the off chance. I am afraid that simply isn’t practical, or safe for all the other road users around, for that matter. I have learned to ride more cautiously with experience, but that doesn’t extend to slowing down every time a vehicle comes anywhere near me.

        As for Gaz, I sympathise hugely with him that cycling has been such a battlefield, but I completely understand his reactions to these incidents. Anyone who has been involved in these kind of interactions will recognise the instinctive rush of fear, adrenalin, and then anger that comes when someone needlessly endangers your well-being. Anyone who can laugh that off would have to be a saint. I think his usual reaction on the video – “what are you doing?” – is a very valid question to be asking. Like him, I often ask what drivers are doing because at the time of some incidents it is basically incomprehensible to me. I rarely get the answer which I think is most likely – that the drivers knew where I was positioned and my intentions but decided to ignore my safety and the rules of the road because it was going to get them to their destination a few seconds more quickly. That reasoning and the disrespect for others that it suggests is one of the reasons for our immediate loud, verbal responses.

        I would like to be more optimistic about the future for bikes and vehicles on the roads together but I only see the issue getting worse. I live in Perth, Australia with wide roads, hundreds of miles of cycle paths and a lot of roads have wide shoulders to ride in, but I still see these kinds of incidents happen frequently. Two of my club mates have been knocked off in the last 6 months by cars not taking enough care and pulling out in front of them from side roads with no chance of being avoided. Punishments given by the courts are minimal so the deterrent is minimal. Education for all parties on the roads is the key but very few people are interested. Anyone like Gaz who does their bit has my full support – keep up the good work.

        • Mark 03/12/2011 at 2:25 pm #

          totally agree tim. a lot of people seem to be saying gaz is too aggressive. but liek someone else said, when your life is put in danger and you are in fear rational and polite thoughts dont normally come quickly!

          if car drivers can get angry at being cut up etc etc then of COURSE cyclist are going to get angry too, and FAR more angry than any car driver, because the danger is far greater!

          gaz, keep up th filming, and i hope you are reporting all of those number plates of dangerous drivers.

          on a different note, can anyone give me a comprehensive list of places to complain, eg tfl for busses, black cab website for abuseive behaviour, an online form to fill in to report to th police etc.

          i would be less inclined to shout at a motorist who had almost killed me if i knew i could arrive home and simply input their numberplate and file a complaint….

        • Gaz 03/12/2011 at 2:51 pm #

          Mark. You can report anything regarding TFL vehicles (buses, taxis, trams, trains and tubes) here https://custserv.tfl.gov.uk/icss_csip/init.do (under make a complaint)

          You can report incidences to the Police (inside greater london only) here http://www.met.police.uk/roadsafelondon/ (note that this works best if you do have video footage to back up your claims, otherwise it’s the same old 6 of one half a dozen of the other)

  23. Tredz 01/12/2011 at 9:13 am #

    Great discussion…

    The video might not be an accurate representation of cycling in London all of the time (as Gaz says it’s only a tiny portion of the time he spends riding), but it does make London look a pretty nasty place to ride a bike…

    Even in a much smaller city, and as an unremittingly polite cyclist, you get into scrapes. I think Gaz is doing a great job, highlighting the issues that cyclists (and drivers lest we forget) face.

  24. skippy 01/12/2011 at 4:03 pm #

    @helen at 7.36am , i too follow people where i can with the aim of embarassing them by reminding them of their ” faulty Driving “! So often it means a bit of a detour from my original route or destination but unless these people are confronted they will think there are no consequences for bad behaviour .
    Just yesterday on a narrow Austrian country lane i was bowling along at 40+kph and saw a car wait at the corner up ahead . Knew it was not for me and saw that a ” Sprinter type Tray truck ” was following , after it rounded the corner with screeching tyres it honked to let me know it was coming . This Truck width lane does not allow a truck to pass a cycle safely so continued on with more honking from behind . As the road turned left and uphill i had enough so pulled up in the middle of the road stopping the inconsiderate driver ! truck was marked with his employer’s logo so i wenr to the window and told him that in the morning he could expect me at their office .

    His attitude was so what , and was no better this morning when i saw him in their transport yard . His boss was there and he had another employee translate what i had already reported in their office . One point i made to the translater was ” How do you feel about a colleague behaving in this way and making you and your company look bad “? His reply was that the driver was ” Stupid and needed education ” !

    As the offending driver was driving out of their yard he was holding the Mobile telephone to his ear , an offence in Austria also , and contrary to the company’s policy sine they provide ” ear pieces” !

    What will the company do , possibly nothing , but before arriving in the yard i was passed by another of their Rubbish collection trucks that had signalled overtaking me and then signalled returning to the kerb lane as is required by Austrian Law . Seems this company has a few Good Drivers but suffers ” Smart alecs ” driving their smaller vehicles .

    Lets hope that they sort out the idiot that is damaging their good name !

  25. Simon 02/12/2011 at 10:54 am #

    Hmm, seems to me that the video has not only sparked a huge number of responses but also that a lot of them think that it is unnecessary and not good for cyclists. Most of the incidents in the video are relatively mild and didn’t require the response they were given. Cars/vans pulling across from the right or exiting from the left is commonplace in a busy city and it doesn’t matter whether you’re on a bike a motorcycle or in a car, the annoyance is the same. It happens! – we should anticipate every time and be ready for what might happen althoug I know that as cyclists, we don’t want to have to slow down simply because of the effort required to get back up to speed (hence so many people jumping lights – why do they never take videos of them breaking the law?), but there is not much choice. We do not own the road, neither do we have more rights to it.

    It should be said that I’m no saint; I too have broken off wingmirrors and dented doors – both from a motorbike and a bicycle. Being physically ‘safe’ in their boxes doesn’t me they shouldn’t pay somehow. I was also a policeman so I’m fully aware of the impotence of the law and the disinterest of the boys in blue.

    • Mark S 02/12/2011 at 11:13 am #

      There are only certain types of light controlled junctions that you can loose minimal speed on, those such as T-Junctions (with a bus lane to be “super safe”) or when turning left, which still requires a reduction in speed. It’s very rare that I’ll see a cyclst blow through a red at full tilt and most will invariably scrub speed off and either very slowly ride across or I have seen some who hop off their bike, walk over then re-mount!

      In each case it’s not normally long until the lights change, I move off and re-pass them only for it to start all over again at the next red…..

      There are clips up of RLJing cyclists on Youtube, generally tends to be when the idiots have come into conflict with traffic that has right of way, I videoed on the other day who almost got t-boned by a van, my advise to not jump the red lights as I passed him was met with the kind response of “go f**k yourself”

    • Gaz 02/12/2011 at 12:13 pm #

      Are you suggesting that I go around cycling through red lights?

  26. el-gordo 02/12/2011 at 11:02 am #

    Interesting debate.

    My commute in/out is about 14 miles and I do it most days, so cover a fair few miles and includes on-street/off-street cycle ways, dual carriageway, parks, normal roads and a couple of the top 10 worst junctions. However, I have witnessed nowhere near this level of aggression or incident in the last couple of years and I can’t help but feel that this must, in some instances, be connected to the aggression / riding style of the rider.

    A couple of points I would just like to make:

    1) I ride pretty quickly but I adjust my speed to the traffic conditions. In my experience riding quickly / aggressively, particularly in the wrong situation, is the thing that not only tends to lead to the most conflicts but also the most heated exchanges.

    You don’t really get pedestrian rage – because everyone is moving slowly and at the same general speed so there are no real conflicts. The problems come when something is moving quickly and comes up against something moving slowly. The quick thing has to adjust and invariably blames the slow thing for having to do so.

    Remember, just because you can ride at 20mph down the outside of stationary traffic doesn’t mean you should ride at 20mph down the outside of stationary traffic.

    2) I fully understand the arguments on riding position and I will adopt a more aggressive (middle) position on occasions. However, I actually find the need to do so very limited and I ride almost exclusively in what I can ‘second’ position – roughly in line with the inside wheel of the traffic.

    This is far enough out to give me space to manoeuvre if I need to but far enough in that traffic does not consider me to be obstructive. As a result, I find I am generally treated with respect and cars will go around me with enough room.

    3) We all make mistakes. As a cyclist I have made mistakes and as a driver I have made mistakes. I try to limit them as far as possible and I like to think that is why I have never had an accident. They do still happen though. Try and live and let live a bit. As others have said, aggression will generally be met with aggression.

  27. LJ 02/12/2011 at 11:27 am #

    I used to commute in Bristol, and did so for 3 years. In that time I had 4 incidents, 2 with buses, and 2 with cars.
    The buses were the scariest, and I saw red both times, both times it was when I was cycling down hill and keeping up with the flow of traffic, towards a set of traffic lights. both times the bus went past on a bend and had oncoming or stationary traffic so cut across me. I had given my self extra room and still had to mount the curb to avoid going under a wheel. I don’t agree with what I did.
    1st time I smacked the side window of the bus and shouted that at the driver telling him he nearly killed me.
    2nd time I stopped in-front of the bus that had been held up by traffic and red lights, and made the driver apologise before I would let the bus go again.
    I must admit that although I do not condone what I did, it let me vent my anger at the person that cause me to get to that place, and both times the bus re passed my further down the road in a much safer way.

    The incidents with cars were less scary. 1 car pulled out on me at the bottom of a hill, I was already slowing but the road was slippery and I was in a bike lane. I had to turn at the last moment to avoid damage to my front wheel impacting the front of the car, but I did make contact with my foot, unfortunately I use cleats so there is a permanent reminder for the driver not to pull out without looking.
    the other car was following me towards a red light at a pedestrian crossing, with cars queuing up in-front of the lights. I was on the road next to a shared cycle/pedestrian path, and was beeped and shouted at to get on the path. when we both got to the lights the driver put his window down and shouted abuse and said “why don’t you get get on the F****** cycle path, to which I replied because there are lots of pedestrians with headphones walking away from me, who don’t had eyes in the back of their head. Anyway I am entitled to be on the road. He then got out of his car and looked really threatening, so I jumped on the cycle path and headed back into town. Ideally I would have loved for him to attack me, because I think I would have seen more than red mist and really f**ked his car up with my bike. luckily I saw sense and realised I was the better person that day.

    I think some people are just not cut out to commute, be it by bike or car, but are far more dangerous in a car.
    I drive and sometime commute in the car if I have to carry heavy bulky items for work, the thing is I always look out for cyclist and try and pass with plenty of room, sometimes this inst possible due to the insane road systems we share, but at these points I notice are bad in my car, I always try to be courteous to drivers when I am on my bike, by slowing down or pulling in more.

  28. Guy 02/12/2011 at 11:31 am #

    PLEASE get some perspective here. If we were to attach a camera to the front of our cars and drove the same routes we would capture the same behaviours’. If we cyclists got it into our heads that sharing the roads with motor vehicles is unfortunately dangerous and be prepared to expect poor driving and rage be it in a car or on a bike.

    I am a cyclist of London’s streets for +30yrs and looking at the video posted was very familiar with a) the poor driving and b) my own stress (I refer to the shouting and hand gestures of the cyclist).

    Following my last accident Dec 21st 2009 I took a look at what I could do to make my daily commute more survivable. I was aware that a number of my fellow cycle commuters colleagues of mine hardly have any incidents. Wanting to know why it was only me that appeared to be experiencing these scrapes and close calls, I wanted to find out what they were doing that I wasn’t. This wasn’t easy to find out just by having a conversation over a beer or two. So one week I joined all of them (on different days) on their own commutes and it became blindingly obvious the differences between mine and their journeys……..SPEED.

    When my colleagues rode their bikes they didn’t even break into a sweat! When I commuted I would set the stop watch and see how fast I could get to and from work. I even purchased an app that tracked my route and elevation covered, my average speed, morning route versus evening route, you get the picture. I have now thrown away the app, halved my speed and I can honestly say the ONLY two instances I have encountered in the past two years have been with other cyclists.

    I no longer wear high viz, cycling shorts etc. I do not need to take a shower when I arrive at the office, I am totally stress free as shouting and screaming at cars, vans, lorries is a thing of the past.

    Buy a camera to film your crashes and possibly even your own death will not achieve a thing other than helping the police with their enquiries.

    My message to you all is to CHILL OUT and get back in love with cycling. Go to Amsterdam or Copenhagen and find out why they don’t where camera’s strapped to their heads. I am convinced it’s because no one cycles over 15kph (and yes I know their Cities are geared up to cyclists but our City can be too if more of us cycle and more of us will if we can make it more enjoyable). It is already the fastest, cheapest way to get around London even at 15kph, at this gentle pace you are already travelling nearly 4 times faster than the average speed of a car.

    • Bill Morgan 02/12/2011 at 1:53 pm #

      Guy I think you have hit the nail on the head. Although I do enjoy Gaz’s videos I feel that his life would be less stressful if he stopped trying to be a knight of the road, although I take the point that he is trying to raise awareness and report illegal road use.

      I used to cycle much of the same route as Gaz seems to, but quickly decided I would much rather spend extra time going via quiet back routes than coming into conflict with so many bad drivers.

      While Gaz and others are technically correct according to the highway code, trying to point this out to angry, ignorant motorists, and especially whilst banging your hand on their vehicle, seems like a good way to end up getting in a fight. This being London you never know who’s carrying a knife do you?

    • Mark 03/12/2011 at 2:36 pm #

      guy.
      you are 100% correct. as i have also said in a comment somewhere. speed is everything.
      cycle slow and you will very rarely have any problems.

      the thing is i cycle 10 miles to work, i dont want to go slow.
      also, it is fun to cycle fast….. lol

  29. PaulM 02/12/2011 at 1:40 pm #

    I’m not going to comment on Gaz’ own behaviour – enough people have already done that. Also, I can’t see how he looks because his camera is pointing outwards. He is however obviously travelling at speed, taking the lane etc. All in all, the impression is of a “vehicular cyclist”.

    Notwithstanding the “survivalist” (in more senses than one) character of the vehicular cycling philosophy initially described by John Forrester and since carried on by John Franklin (who clearly has a commercial interest in it as author of “Cycle Craft” and who seems to have an undue influence on cycling policy in this country, in favour of the vehicular approach) many people, especially non-cyclists, would regard them as “lycra louts”, a kind of subculture.

    I think it is fair to say that motorists respond differently to different types of cyclists. Iamnot… says he doesn’t experience this type of behaviour and I can believe that because his moniker is making a point about that (person who uses bike rather than cyclist). Ian Walker in his Bath Uni study found that motorists responded quite differently to a man in a helmet compared with (what they assumed to be) a woman with blonde hair. Personally, I get the occasional aggressive encounter but nowhere near enough to justify wearing a helmet cam, perhaps because although I am helmeted I ride a Brompton in street clothes rather than a Bianchi in lycra.

    It’s a free country so if Gaz wants to ride fast and assertively a la Franklin and wear skinny bibshorts etc that is his right, but much of society’s response to cyclists is formed around such cases and while it is tantamount to prejuduce against a racial minority (see aseasyas’ blog post on cyclists and Kurds) it is a fact.

  30. David 02/12/2011 at 1:41 pm #

    Very interesting, and much of this behaviour I encounter, especially vehicles being too close, or cutting back too quickly, about once every other day.

    However, I spotted just one thing that doesn’t help the cyclist, and it’s something that permeates the “safe cycling” / “guide to cycling” culture. The cyclist says to one driver “… have you ever heard of the door zone…?” Of course the driver hasn’t. Just like “taking the lane” or “riding in the primary or secondary position” – have drivers heard of these things? Have taxi drivers, HGV drivers, policeman, insurance companies, bus companies, judges etc. etc. heard of these terms? The answer is in nearly all cases a resounding ‘no’ – so why do we keep referring to these things as if they are sacred parts of cycling culture to be defended at all costs… when no-one else has a clue what we’re on about?

    • Gaz 02/12/2011 at 1:52 pm #

      I was going to try and educate the driver about the door zone. As the chances are she has never heard of it. It’s pretty hard to educate someone when they just want to sound the horn.

      • David 02/12/2011 at 2:10 pm #

        Gaz… fair point, but do you feel that “education” works when you are in a confrontation / potentially heating situation? There are certainly cases where cyclists need to protect their space – good example being bollards narrowing road space – but I do feel that we are making a mistake by referring to the phrases I’ve cited in thinking that when we use these, other vehicle users will think “…oh, that’s OK then”.

        Q: Do you feel that confronting drivers makes much difference or does it just make you feel better for about 5 seconds?

        • Gaz 02/12/2011 at 2:16 pm #

          I don’t think it works at all, especially from a stranger.
          Have you ever tried to give a tip to a cyclist. I get the same kind of response even if you give it a friend approach.

          The best thing to do is avoid all kind of confrontation and just let the police do the education. That is only something you can do if you record and can send them a copy.

  31. Mark 02/12/2011 at 2:09 pm #

    its sad to say, but sometimes if you have had a long day and you just want to get home when a motorist endangers your life maybe the answer is violence?! not against a person. against their car, of course. could it make them be more cautious of cyclists in th future?

    • Gaz 02/12/2011 at 2:12 pm #

      That is totally dependent on the type of person you are…

    • Andreas 02/12/2011 at 2:12 pm #

      I guess obviously the danger is that the opposite happens and they turn on cyclists more

      • Mark 02/12/2011 at 2:23 pm #

        i agree totally, that could happen, they could hate us more…. im just saying, there in times during my 20 mile commute when i really feel rage building up from continuous mistakes made by others. normally i just shout or exclaim my shock at their bad driving…. sometimes i dont even do anything. but by doing nothing we let them get away with it more dont we?
        im not saying violence is right. and it could make things a lot worse.

        • Gaz 02/12/2011 at 2:53 pm #

          I think violence makes things worse all of the time.

          I don’t personally see slapping a car as a warning as violence. The two times I did it in the video where both two taxi drivers who where passing me far too close or where squeezing me whilst i’m doing +25mph. It is only to be intended as a warning.

          Smashing someones wing mirror or denting their car is criminal damage and is never going to make the occupants think “awww it’s so hard for cyclists sometimes”. They will either react with violence, call the police or think we are thugs that damage other peoples property.

          The later may result in the driver giving us more space but for all the wrong reasons.

  32. Claire 02/12/2011 at 4:52 pm #

    I’ve reported on this before, but my recent brush with death in the tunnel on Embankment – reported to City Police – has resulted in the driver being taken to court, charged with some licence contravention.

    I suppose the fact that there was no direct proof of him swerving into me and almost shaving my legs as he past, then stamping on his brakes so I almost went over his boot, means that I should be pleased they’ve got him for something.

    And I am!

    • Andreas 02/12/2011 at 6:54 pm #

      That tunnel is not a pleasant place to ride! Good that they got the driver for something, shame it wasn’t for nearly running you over.

  33. Emigra 02/12/2011 at 5:41 pm #

    Guy,
    Thanks for your comment, that is pretty reasonable. I have just started commuting to my office in London in a bike – good to hear a reasonable opinion, a lot of this is pretty scary and makes me want to give up!
    There are very very bad drivers… I drove in London for 4 years and it can be bad, though not compared to when you’re in a bike. My only issue is that, just because you’re in a bike, drivers tend to ignore you. It’s like you’re not there, they assume you will move for them. So I believe that people who just make it all easy for them are not helping other cyclists. We have got to make ourselves respected. Having said that, common sense is always the best solution… that and knowing that there are really dumb frustrated drivers (and cyclists) out there and we have to deal with them.
    Thanks also to Gaz – though you do sound quite aggressive, I am thankful that you are doing this, raising the profile of cyclists rights and defending us by sending those videos to the police. Over time I hope it will make a difference.

  34. Kevin 02/12/2011 at 6:53 pm #

    I commute in San Francisco daily on my bike and have been filming my bike rides for the past 8 months. Sadly, I too, have gotten a ton of footage like this with car and drivers daily threatening me. Something they just don’t see me (in my bright orange shirt) or they just don’t care. Getting to where they are going is apparently more important than the safety of anyone else on the road.

    I’ve been posting some of my morning rides to YouTube. Along with some of the more crazy stuff that has happened to me.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/bmwutonium?feature=mhee

    Thanks Gaz! I’m thrilled to know I’m not the only person out with these experiences.

    • Gaz 02/12/2011 at 7:24 pm #

      There are over 400 of us doing it worldwide. Check out the link below for a list of all cyclists doing this that I know about.

      http://croydoncyclist.wordpress.com/2011/02/07/video-camera-cyclists/

      I’ll add you later.

    • David 02/12/2011 at 10:14 pm #

      Kevin… Interesting comment about your orange shirt. I sometimes say that you can be lit up like a Christmas tree but a motorist might still not spot you. Why, because their brain is looking out for something that’s horizontal, wide and thick, i.e. other cars, vans, trucks, rather something that’s vertical, narrow and thin, i.e. cyclists.

  35. London2wheeler 02/12/2011 at 9:24 pm #

    normal cycling style in London roads is not really applicable. we all know how unsafe London roads are so why not adapt and change the way we cycle? for example most if not all motorist will over take you because they are faster or they are in a hurry or they are just plain idiots, the moment you see or feel them on your side you must slow down to allow them to pass (just like driving a car).

    the problem with GAZ is even if he already know someone will overtake him he would still maintain speed and dont give way. so what happens is he will further delay the vehicle behind thus making the driver more agitated and this results in road rage and unnecessary confrontation. GAZ is very good in anticipation but he use it to confront motorist, shout at them and tell them off instead of staying safe and far away from them.

    another thing is cyclist should also consider the time and place where they cycle. for example is it rush hour? most motorist will fight their way just to be infront of another vehicle just to reach their workplace before their time.

    is this area safe to cycle? is it a narrow road?, is it a busy round about?, is there a blind spot?, Am I in a blind spot? IMO being a defensive cyclist is the best way to cycle in London.

    Im sorry GAZ if sound like im not on your side, but Im a cyclist and a motorist at the same time so I can see both sides of the problem. im not saying that i dont experience incident like the ones in your videos but all im saying is not all of them is drivers fault and most of them can be easily avoided.

    please dont take this as an attack but rather as a constructive criticism. I support safe cycling in London and promoting cycling in London and I wish you success in what ever mission or goal your trying achieve.

    stay safe

    • Gaz 02/12/2011 at 10:22 pm #

      I understand what you are saying. What you suggest is fine if you just want to get along with current ways and avoid any sort of issues.
      Me on the other hand, I’m trying to make a difference, raising awareness of cycling in general and teaching drivers that they need to think about us.

      Note:
      That does not mean that i purposefully aggravate drivers or do not slow down. Just looking at the series of videos I do called ‘Reading the Road’.
      I avoid teaching drivers by speaking to them, it rarely gets anywhere but a bit of shouting in the street, I leave that for the police.

  36. Patrick 03/12/2011 at 12:01 am #

    I’ve just watched the clip and only a few seconds into it I said “thats my commute experience every day.” That is not an exaggeration. I get cut up by drivers every day and it does not matter if I am on my road bike or my more sit up type hybrid. I have been sworn at and verbally abused and to be honest in the past I have been just as abusive back. However I now try not to react after it was pointed out to me by a fellow cyclist that I needed to calm down – I had been shouting at bad drivers as I rode along and had not even realised I was doing so out loud. That was the morning I realised that my commute through London was actually stressful and my own reaction was making it even worse.
    Now when some appalling driving affects me I still get annoyed but try to remember that most of the vehicles on my commute have been fine. Dont get me wrong I totally understand how some incidents can really upset a cyclist but if you take it to heart it can ruin the rest of your ride or the rest of your day.
    Just one point – I find that if I have been involved in a near miss and another cyclist mentions it to you as they ride by it tends to help. What do others think?
    By the way I am glad the video was made and shown here.

    • David 03/12/2011 at 8:57 am #

      Good post – agree entirely.

  37. Dave 03/12/2011 at 8:32 am #

    I know Gaz from the CycleChat.cc website and whilst he is a very well informed individual regarding cyclists rights he does presume that all car drivers are as well informed. In none of the clips shown is he hit or brought off his bike and as they say “a miss is as good as a mile”. I find it far better to ignore bad driving and not to vocalize my feelings as it puts me in a bad mood for the rest of the ride. I get the impression that if you live in a place like London then bad driving / drivers is par for the course and you need to be able to cope with it in an adult manner.

  38. Phill Price 03/12/2011 at 9:47 am #

    Not had much success in the taxi route.

    Thank you for your e-mail dated 29 September 2011 regarding the behaviour of a licensed taxi driver.  Please accept my apology for the delay in responding to you.
     
    The Taxi & Private Hire Directorate can only deal with offences that are contrary to the Hackney Carriage Acts and Orders and we have no legislative powers to investigate road traffic offences committed by taxi drivers.  Under the circumstances we are unable to take any action against the driver involved.
     
    I can only advise you that if you wish to make an allegation about the driving behaviour of a taxi driver you should report the matter to the police.  Whilst I recognise that the police have many responsibilities, the fact remains that they are the only authority that can investigate the road traffic offences that you describe.  In the event that action is taken, for example by way of a conviction, this will result in the driver’s fitness to remain licensed being reviewed by the Licensing Authority.
     
    Although we will not be pursuing this matter, we will advise the driver of the allegation (your details will not be disclosed) and remind him of his responsibilities under the Highway Code and that the Licensing Authority expects professional drivers to demonstrate a high standard of driving at all times.
     
    I am sorry that you had reason to complain about a taxi driver and thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.

  39. Beth A 03/12/2011 at 9:57 am #

    Unfortunately this seems to be happening more frequently. Last night I was cycling along a protected, two-way, cycle lane which is on the left hand side of the road in the direction I was travelling. I needed to turn right, so exited the lane through the dotted line, took primary position in the (very narrow) lane and signalled to turn left. Just as I was about to manoeuvre, I made a last check over my shoulder and slammed on my brakes as a black cab was flying around me on the wrong side of the road. I was *inches* away from being hit at speed and only my lifesaver look saved me!

    I was stunned but noticed the taxi had stopped a little way down the road, so went to talk to the driver. Managed to do this very politely and explained I was just about to turn right. The taxi-driver’s response – as a ‘professional’ driver? To snarl in my face “Get in the f*cking cycle lane, that’s what they’re there for”. Explaining that I needed to turn right, he just told me to “f*ck off” and screamed off down the road.

    Unfortunately I didn’t get his registration number as I was in a bit of shock, but it underlines the absolute callous disregard some drivers have for cyclists. They’re in a large metal box, and cyclists are extremely vulnerable. Even if I *had* made a mistake, is it work taking my life?

    • Dave 03/12/2011 at 10:02 am #

      So it seems that the think to do is to push for driver eduction and public awareness of cyclists right. There is nothing to gain from arguing with someone who could easily kill you in there 1.5+ ton metal box.

      • Beth A 03/12/2011 at 11:22 am #

        Should be said I wasn’t arguing with him, but explaining how scared I was and that I wasn’t just trying to hold him up. But yes, I agree that education is a great thing!

        • David 03/12/2011 at 4:34 pm #

          Beth… This is an interesting point and perhaps something that shows how society has changed over a generation. If try and talk to members of the public about their behaviour, whether it be dropping litter, or, driving poorly around cyclists , 99% of the time you get a mouthful. It doesn’t seem to matter if you are calm, non-aggressive, take a “can I just tell you how it was for me approach”, the response is quite often very defensive, blame-oriented etc.

          From being “go on just have one more for the road”, drink driving has now become socially unacceptable but it’s take a generation and a lot of publicity. The same thing could be done re driver education, but it’s probably not a high priority for the government. However, the recent publicity surrounding cyclists fatalities in London could start to change this.

          There do seem to be some unwritten rules of the road for drivers, and one of them is:

          1). I must overtake a cyclist as soon as possible.

          The corollary (if that’s the right word :-) being:

          2). I must never be held up by a cyclist
          Whilst we’re at it:

          3). I can always beat a cyclist to a left or right turn

          4). When I turn right, I must continually creep forward, so that a cyclists isn’t sure whether I’ve seen them and am going to go

          I’m sure the rest of you could your own ‘unwritten’ rules.

          Oh, and whilst we’re at it, I think cycle training in London is a must for learning how to ride on the road. It just isn’t sold well. See:

          http://thebikeshow.net/is-riding-a-bike-as-easy-as-riding-a-bike/

          David

    • Phil Russell 23/12/2011 at 9:46 pm #

      Well, folks, the best defence is to be as big as a house, weigh 260 pounds, with a broken nose, cauliflower ear, and carrying a high-calibre hand-gun clearly visible in your back pocket. Failing all that (and I do), here are some responses I’ve used when I’ve been cut up,sworn at, blocked off, endangered, etc:
      “Oy! Drive like that and you’ll NEVER pass your driving test!”
      “Oy! If you didn’t see me you shouldn’t be driving—-and if you DID see me you shouldn’t be driving either!”
      “Oy! Use your effin’ mirrors, you twerp!”
      But two important points to remember are: Don’t use swear-words, and never give the finger (or the two fingers). Nothing is more guaranteed to incite a driver to violence, as I know from long experience as both a cyclist and a driver. I think from now on I’ll just shout “THANK YOU! THANK YOU VERY MUCH!” at the top of my voice. Polite, see? But really loud, so that people within a hundred metres of the incident will turn and stare, embarrassing the errant driver so that he or she instantly abandons the jamjar, bursts into tears of apology and rushes to the nearest bike-shop to spend £5000 on a more sensible mode of transport. (People say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one). Okay? I’ll get me coat.
      P.R.

  40. Beth A 03/12/2011 at 9:59 am #

    Phill – I also complained about a taxi driver who nearly collided with me on Clerkenwell Road, but received this reply which seems remarkably familiar:

    “Thank you for your e-mail dated 3 November 2011 regarding the behaviour of a licensed private hire driver.

    The Taxi & Private Hire Directorate (TPH) can only deal with offences that are contrary to the Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998 and we have no legislative powers to investigate road traffic offences committed by private hire drivers. Under the circumstances we are unable to take any action against the driver involved.

    I can only advise you that if you wish to make an allegation about the driving behaviour of a private hire driver you should report the matter to the police. Whilst I recognise that the police have many responsibilities, the fact remains that they are the only authority that can investigate the road traffic offences that you describe. In the event that action is taken, for example by way of a conviction, this will result in the driver’s fitness to remain licensed being reviewed by the Licensing Authority.

    Although we will not be pursuing this matter, we will advise the driver of the allegation (your details will not be disclosed) and remind him of his responsibilities under the Highway Code and that the Licensing Authority expects professional drivers to demonstrate a high standard of driving at all times.

    I have also noted in your email that the driver in question was picking up passengers in the street, however there is no evidence that the driver was touting for business as this could of been a pre booked fare. If this was the case, the driver has not committed an offence. If you feel that this was a case of touting, then please report this matter to the police as this is also a matter that police should deal with.

    I am sorry that you had reason to complain about a private hire driver and thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.”

  41. Guy 03/12/2011 at 11:55 am #

    Education is the word that everyone is using, but I see no education going on. What I do see is a lot of telling. Putting aside the who did what to who, could you tell me what filming a clip of an “incident” and sending it to the police does as an aid to education. For that matter posting it on YouTube too (I am only guessing here but I would have thought that the majority of people watching your videos are other cyclists not drivers you you wish to educate)

    Surely if you want to turn your efforts to education then you should be focussing your considerable efforts to the people responsible for what gets taught in a driving lesson, no?

    • Gaz 03/12/2011 at 1:29 pm #

      The police send letters to the drivers explaining what they did wrong. A letter from the police about bad/dangerous driving is a pretty good bit of education, don’t you think?

      The first few hundred views of a video will probably just be cyclists. But when a video starts hitting thousands of views it’s often not cyclists that are watching it. And that is when you start to get comments from people like “you should be cycling on the pavement” You can then attempt to educate these people but i must say, this rarely works.

      Doing anything at this current state with driving instructors is pointless. A. it only affects those who have yet to drive B. We all know that people don’t remember and obey everything they where taught in their driving lessons.

      • Dave 03/12/2011 at 2:11 pm #

        So are you saying remonstrating with the driver and posting Youtube videos is a better option than campaign to raise drivers awareness of cyclists rights. IN one of your videos you shout “Haven’t you heard of the door zone?” I’m guessing about 99% of drivers wouldn’t have a clue what you meant by that.

        • Gaz 03/12/2011 at 2:14 pm #

          I didn’t say that.

        • Mark S 03/12/2011 at 2:19 pm #

          TBF even drivers have to be aware of the door zone, whilst it won’t quite have the same effect hitting an opening door whilst in a car they should at least grasp that the person on the bike to their left is also trying to avoid the same problem.

          Bringing up bad driving with the drivers is the only way to educate people, after all if you just accept it as “normal” that your going to be ignored and not do anything about it then your pretty much condoning the behaviour
          and it will carry on.

          Ideally I’d love to see a national campaign to raise awareness of how to act around cyclists, something similar to the drink driving campaigns would be excellent.

    • Dave 03/12/2011 at 2:52 pm #

      Amen to that!

  42. Dave 03/12/2011 at 2:17 pm #

    Well you dismiss educating drivers and clearly enjoy remonstrating with them so what is the solution?

    • Gaz 03/12/2011 at 2:19 pm #

      I said I don’t think challenging the current education system is the way to the change current driving standards on our roads.
      And if you read my previous posts here, I strongly suggest that people don’t remonstrate with drivers.

      • Dave 03/12/2011 at 2:52 pm #

        So what is your suggestion? Your methods are clearly not working or we would be seeing a steady down turn in aggression towards cyclists. You do state not to remonstrate with drivers but seem to do so on a regular basis. You are anti-challenging the current eduction system but seem to think that shouting what the drivers have done wrong is and that posting the evidence on Youtube will rally support from your cause. (Clearly not the case).

        I am clocking up a few 100 miles a week at the moment through busy towns, dual carriage ways and narrow B roads. I have yet to experience anything like you have. Maybe it is just London???

        • Gaz 03/12/2011 at 3:02 pm #

          There are lots of drivers on the roads. A few hundred reported cases isn’t going to let you see a ‘steady down turn in aggression towards cyclists’.
          Any education done by the police on a one to one basis is very good. And by making this videos publicly available we can show others that this sort of behaviour isn’t acceptable.
          Look at my recent videos, you aren’t going to see me remonstrating in an angry way (as many people suggest I do all the time). I do it the odd occasional time but in a friendly manor which doesn’t arise to any sort of anger between the two parties.
          I’m not anti-challenging the current education system though am I. Where do I state people are being taught this incorrectly? Some drivers are choosing to drive and act in a way that is never taught.

          I don’t think it is just a london thing, it’s anywhere that has very dense traffic, with lots of people trying to get to x destination by y time. Something which you only really see during the rush hour. I overtake and get overtaken by nearly 10,000 vehicles a week, you are going to get the odd few driver that is in a rush and does something stupid.

        • Mark 03/12/2011 at 8:10 pm #

          Dave,
          it isnt just london that has this problem – i think it is all cities.
          it doesnt matter how many b roads u cycle along or towns you cycle through cities will always be more aggressive and bussier

  43. Dave 03/12/2011 at 3:16 pm #

    OK so you say you are not anti-challenging the current eduction system but say ” I don’t think challenging the current education system is the way to the change current driving standards on our roads.” That seems pretty contradictory to me.

    If you can communicate the rights and wrongs of a drivers actions in a friendly manner then fantastic. I am basing my comments on the video shown here.

    • Gaz 03/12/2011 at 3:22 pm #

      How can you change current drivers attitudes by changing how future drivers are taught? They don’t have to take the test again or have to even read about it.
      Just like when an update is made to the highway code or a new road sign is added. Drivers don’t actively read up about these things.

      As i’ve said before and I believe i mentioned in the video. This is a very limited snapshot of just a handful of incidences over +12,000 miles in central london. Just because I remonstrated with a few drivers in that video, does not mean I do it everyday or to every driver.

      • Dave 03/12/2011 at 3:32 pm #

        I am talking about public awareness campaigns like those aimed at drink driving and mobile phone use.
        Changing the teaching methods will help cut out bad habits from the next gen of drivers. How can that be a bad thing.
        Lobby MP’s re the untouchable status of Black Cabs.
        All the youtube vids are doing is makeing cyclists look like a bunch of whining brats.

        • Guy 05/12/2011 at 3:05 pm #

          I 100% agree with you Dave.

          GAZ, I am sorry if it looks like I am attacking you, I am not, I just disagree with a) your riding style b) Your “education” methods. You are clearly motivated and highly active in improving the lot of the Cyclist, for which I applaud you (I do nothing in this regard).

          Do you have a copy of the letter that the police send out? It would be interesting to see what it says. I suggest again that this is “telling” not “educating”, these are two very different things, that evoke very different reactions from the recipients. I am merely suggesting that for someone as passionate and active as you that you adjust your focus and energy to any area of real education such as suggested by Dave.

  44. Gregory 03/12/2011 at 5:03 pm #

    (didn’t read all the comments)
    In the video it seems to be that Gaz doesn’t like the aggression and swearing of the motorists, but as the video goes on he does a lot of it himself. It’s one thing to raise your hand or point and say firmly “what were you doing?”//”I need that space”, but stop the road rage and swearing that will increase a bad feeling for all the users of the public space you’re in.

  45. Martin 03/12/2011 at 7:44 pm #

    I cycle to work everyday all year round – thank god not in London.

    Sure there are bad drivers out there and there are also a lot of aggressive cyclists.

    The cyclist in this video is only making life hard for himself by not taking advantage of cycle lanes and by staying too far away from the kerb. Sorry, but you really are asking for trouble by not taking advantage of cycle lanes.

    I’m not impressed with the drivers shown and I’m equally unimpressed with this cyclist.

    I make mistakes as a cyclist and drivers make mistakes too. At the end of the day we are all just trying to get from A to B…

    • Mark S 03/12/2011 at 8:21 pm #

      There’s nothing wrong with either not using cycle lanes and not hugging the kerb. Do you really think a bit of white paint on road with a picture of a bicycle in it offers any safety? Cycle lanes often lead you into precisely the position that any experienced rider would avoid like the plague.
      As for the riding position it is often necessary to ride in primary or “take the lane” in an effort to control the traffic behind you as overtake is dangerous. Unfortunately as this video shows you do get the occasional driver who will still force their way through as they perceive you to be “holding them up” only to reach the back of a queue 10 yards up the road and happily sit there!

      As others have said Gaz’s assertive riding style may contribute towards some of the conflicts he gets into but it’s no more really then I see myself with a similar riding style, there are just some drivers who have the attitude that all cyclists should ALWAYS ride in cycle lanes when they are there and hug the gutter when there aren’t not realizing that as a cyclist you are fully within your right to use any part of the road you see fit.

      • Mark 03/12/2011 at 8:26 pm #

        Mark S

        are you sure a cyclist can use any part of the road they want? i was under th impression that if there is a cycle lane a cyclist SHOULD use it (not that i agree).

        on the flip side, if a car enters the advance stop line for cyclists (eg at red lights) this holds a fixed penalty of £50… but does anyone know if this also applies ot motorbikes?

        • Mark S 03/12/2011 at 8:37 pm #

          Well not quite any part, motorways are a no-no! Then there are roads we could legally use but choose not to as they are far too dangerous, the A3 heading out of London springs to mind here – dual carriageway @ 50+MPH is asking for trouble! Oddly this does have a cycle lane (basically appears they want you to use the hard shoulder) on it once you get out of the urban area and onto the 70mph motorway style section 0_0

          As for cycle lanes:

          Highway Code No. 61:
          Cycle Routes and Other Facilities. Use cycle routes, advanced stop lines, cycle boxes and toucan crossings unless at the time it is unsafe to do so. Use of these facilities is not compulsory and will depend on your experience and skills, but they can make your journey safer.

          In London they have handily painted the worst cycle lanes bright blue ;-)

          ASL’s are covered in HWC 178:
          Advanced stop lines. Some signal-controlled junctions have advanced stop lines to allow cycles to be positioned ahead of other traffic. Motorists, including motorcyclists, MUST stop at the first white line reached if the lights are amber or red and should avoid blocking the way or encroaching on the marked area at other times, e.g. if the junction ahead is blocked. If your vehicle has proceeded over the first white line at the time that the signal goes red, you MUST stop at the second white line, even if your vehicle is in the marked area. Allow cyclists time and space to move off when the green signal shows.

          Motorcyclists shouldn’t be in there, but enforcement is usually somewhere between nil and non-existent! I personally don’t have a problem with motorcyclists in there, they tend to show respect for cyclists (similar level of vulnerability, albeit with better braking and acceleration!) as they tend to get out of the way plenty quick enough :-)

    • Gaz 03/12/2011 at 8:44 pm #

      As others have pointed out.
      A. you don’t have to use the cycle facilities when they are provided.
      B. Cycle facilities are sometimes dangerous.
      C. Taking control of the lane is perfectly acceptable and is even taught in bikeability which is endorsed by DFT, BC, CTC, ROSPA and others.

      • Mark 03/12/2011 at 8:52 pm #

        thanks for clearing that up

        i dont use cycle lanes when i cant, or they dont help me, or they are dangerous….

        i just wanted to check if their use was compulsory or not.

        as for advanced stop lines. i agree , motorcyclists could use them, even though it is illegal. but it realy annoies me when i cant get into the box for the number of motorbikes in it, that takes the biscuit!

        if cars enter it i try to squeeze in front of them anyway, they should know that space is for my safety, not to let them get ahead of everyone else!

        i sometimes “take the lane”, for example when i see parked cars ahead and i know i will have to move out in front of traffic if i dont “take the lane”…

        however, it does look like sometimes some people on these videos (gaz, im not specificaly saying you – im just saying in some videos i have seen recently) take the lane too much or too often. or even disregard cycle lanes when they are perfectly usable. this would anoy me as a driver and i can understand if they get beeped at for taking th lane where there is no need

    • Ed 15/03/2012 at 1:48 pm #

      Martin mate,
      Come on…
      You cant cycle on a cycle lane that is full of parket vans, taxis and stationary busses. Otherwise you spend your entire time trying to pull out into moving traffic. I find it safer to secure a possition in the traffic!
      We are all trying to get from A to B, the only problem is that some peoples Bs are IN THE CYCLE LANE!!!

  46. Stewart 03/12/2011 at 8:17 pm #

    @Martin please do pop down to London some time and stick to the cycle lanes for a few commutes and then perhaps you’ll see why staying in them isn’t such a good idea for a lot of us.

    I do use the cycle lanes for most of the time, but they cab be rather risky with numerous pot holes, dodgy drain covers and offer bugger all protection as buses, trucks et al cut you up on them anyway.

    I do agree though that I’ve seen many examples of other cyclists taking risks that seem to almost taunt motor vehicles, not clever or safe but I think with Gaz this isn’t really the case.

    Stew

  47. Ron 04/12/2011 at 4:04 pm #

    You need to look at this from both sides.
    I drive a car and also cycle for leisure and I see far my problems with cyclists than with car drivers.
    Common problems are no lights at night, no signals of any description, jumping red lights, riding on pavements, riding the wrong way up one way streets, riding on the wrong side of the road and many other unsafe and inconsiderate practices.
    I agree, car drivers can act irresponsibly but icyclists are far from perfect.

    • Gaz 04/12/2011 at 4:10 pm #

      Comparing dangerous cycling and dangerous driving is like comparing chalk and cheese. A motorised vehicle will do a lot more damage to other vehicles and pedestrians. Where as a cyclist will do damage that is not even comparable to that of a motorised vehicle.

      That of course does not condone dangerous cycling, and it’s one thing I hate. Hence why I do a video series called Silly Cyclists.

      • Mark 04/12/2011 at 4:46 pm #

        you said it gaz!

        comparing a cyclist riding the wrong way up a one way road, and a car doing th same are completely different things.

        it is wrong all the same, but the threat of danger is far less from a bike than a vehicle.

        no one is saying cyclists are perfect, but just because some of them break the rules doesnt mean that cyclists shouldnt be annoyed or fear for their life when motorists make mistakes/drive recklessly.

        there is a reason that vehicles need a test to drive them, and why they must be insured. you really cant compare cyclists with vehicles.

  48. Frank 05/12/2011 at 12:45 am #

    I’ve just started cycling for the first time in 25 years and while I’m enjoying the freedom (and extra liberated cash) I’m also finding it a little hair-raising at times. Ive only been on my bike for 3 weeks, but can relate to every incident on Gaz’s video (except for the verbal altercations). It’s interesting that many of you feel some cycle lanes are patently unsafe. I use one over Vauxhall Bridge on a Monday night and I always feel I’m hemmed in and that my wheels are going to skid on the extremely raised and slippery double red lines. I also drive my car to work a couple of times a week and have found myself driving like a cyclist (if that makes sense), so I’m even less tolerant of the knuckle-dragging white van man and abusive cab driver. I guess the only way forward is to keep educating drivers, but I have a mate who qualified as a cabbie last year and when I mentioned my new cycling route he just raised his eyes and went into a lament of all cyclists’ bad habits like he’s been driving his cab for decades. Maybe they teach it in the so-called “knowledge” ;) !!! If anyone has some handy safety tips I’d be more than glad to read them.

    • Gaz 05/12/2011 at 12:54 am #

      Avoid Vauxhall bridge north-south if you aren’t comfortable taking the lane. The cycle lane is a death trap!
      Goto the next bridge along (chelsea) Got a bigger cycle lane running down the side and the traffic is usually gridlock.

      • Frank 05/12/2011 at 1:00 am #

        Thanks Gaz I entirely agree, bloody scary and my first time was in heavy rain! However, it’s the straightest route to where I’m headed (The Oval) from Marble Arch. Unless you can suggest a better route, in which case I am definitely all ears.

        • Mark S 05/12/2011 at 6:51 am #

          Along Knightsbridge then down Sloane St, following that all the way south and you’ll get to the bridge.

          Otherwise if you do carry on with your current route I’d say the diversion from VB>CB wouldn’t add more then 5-10 minutes to the outward journey, you have the lovely CS8 lane to use heading w-bound along Grosvenor Road and once you cross the bridge Battersea Park Road and Nine Elms is busy but perfectly ridable.

    • Phil Russell 09/02/2012 at 11:19 pm #

      Yes Frank—-here’s a tip: When traffic’s streaming past your right elbow, don’t ride a dead straight line, but weave just VERY SLIGHTLY. If a driver thinks you’re riding rock-steady, he/she might be more inclined to cut past you too close for comfort. Of course, I have no way of knowing how often this tactic has actually saved my bacon, but I do seem to get a bit more room in tight situations NB: Just don’t overdo it!
      P.R.

  49. Frank 09/12/2011 at 11:41 am #

    Thanks for that – of course it did strike me that they could have just cut a lane into the footpath, or just split the footpath in 2. At the south end there are cycle “give-way” markings on the footpath at the lights. Surely this would be a safer option?

  50. Marcel 09/12/2011 at 5:38 pm #

    I came across this by mere surfing coincidence and after watching your video I am shocked, but unfortunately not surprised. I both cycle and ride a motorbike and I’m afraid it is not just cyclist suffering the kind of disrespect on show. On my motorbike I experience a lot of similar behavior I’m afraid, but at least I have the right to dominate the lane. So it seems anything on two wheels is more or less outlawed. And the most persistent offenders are always cabs, busses and white vans (in no particular order) as they seem to think they own the road.

    Compare this to the Netherlands where I am from originally and you will see a lot less of this. I doubt some will occur, but it is not the norm. Why is this? I suspect it is a combination of a country being raised on bicycles (you learn as young as possible and ride until a ripe old age), so everyone knows what it is like to be on two wheels before being on four, education (riding exam for cyclists) for both cyclsts and drivers alike, a proper and well laid out cycle lane system and most important of all by law in the event of a collision between a cyclist and a motor vehicle it is always the responsibility of the motor vehicle as this is deemed to be the more ‘dangerous’ of the two and the driver should pay extra care, even if the cyclist is at fault.

    So I think the issues in the UK will not be solved quickly, but over time. But it does mean that every side has to work at it constantly: ALL road users, but also the government.

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