Skip to main content

Better bikes

If I am honest, as a driver I hate bikes on the road. Even when they don't misbehave, they can be difficult to pass on narrow roads (of course, I always leave plenty of space), and few things are more irritating than when the same bike keeps undertaking you in traffic, then you have to pass it again, then it undertakes you again...

And, of course, like many others I have witnessed far too many bad practices from bikes. (If you are a biking enthusiast, don't get on your high horse - er, saddle - I see plenty of bad practices from drivers too, but I am talking about bikes here.) The majority in these parts seem to think it's okay to ride at night without lights. I've seen bikes riding three-abreast, totally blocking the carriageway. And I've pulled out at a T-junction traffic light only to have a bike ram into the side of me because he thought traffic lights didn't apply to him.

There's no doubt that bikes do irritate motorists - and a lot of it is down to fear. Drivers genuinely don't like going near bikes because they are aware of the damage they could cause.

Our bike-friendly footpath
Round our way, we have a much better solution. Almost all our pavements are bike/pedestrian. And it works. There is no danger of knocking a bike over when you are driving, because they aren't on the road. Of course there is always a risk from mixing bikes and pedestrians, but in my experience round here, the bikes are fairly careful (in part because these clearly aren't pure bike lanes) and though I have seen a few near misses I'd rather see a bike/pedestrian collision than a car/bike one.

I ought to stress that our pavements are not mega-wide, two lane, bike ways. They are just ordinary pavements - perhaps slightly wider than some, but not hugely so. There is no doubt this approach could be taken in many more places. And maybe it would even save some lives.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Is 5x3 the same as 3x5?

The Internet has gone mildly bonkers over a child in America who was marked down in a test because when asked to work out 5x3 by repeated addition he/she used 5+5+5 instead of 3+3+3+3+3. Those who support the teacher say that 5x3 means 'five lots of 3' where the complainants say that 'times' is commutative (reversible) so the distinction is meaningless as 5x3 and 3x5 are indistinguishable. It's certainly true that not all mathematical operations are commutative. I think we are all comfortable that 5-3 is not the same as 3-5.  However. This not true of multiplication (of numbers). And so if there is to be any distinction, it has to be in the use of English to interpret the 'x' sign. Unfortunately, even here there is no logical way of coming up with a definitive answer. I suspect most primary school teachers would expands 'times' as 'lots of' as mentioned above. So we get 5 x 3 as '5 lots of 3'. Unfortunately that only wor

Why I hate opera

If I'm honest, the title of this post is an exaggeration to make a point. I don't really hate opera. There are a couple of operas - notably Monteverdi's Incoranazione di Poppea and Purcell's Dido & Aeneas - that I quite like. But what I do find truly sickening is the reverence with which opera is treated, as if it were some particularly great art form. Nowhere was this more obvious than in ITV's recent gut-wrenchingly awful series Pop Star to Opera Star , where the likes of Alan Tichmarsh treated the real opera singers as if they were fragile pieces on Antiques Roadshow, and the music as if it were a gift of the gods. In my opinion - and I know not everyone agrees - opera is: Mediocre music Melodramatic plots Amateurishly hammy acting A forced and unpleasant singing style Ridiculously over-supported by public funds I won't even bother to go into any detail on the plots and the acting - this is just self-evident. But the other aspects need some ex

Which idiot came up with percentage-based gradient signs

Rant warning: the contents of this post could sound like something produced by UKIP. I wish to make it clear that I do not in any way support or endorse that political party. In fact it gives me the creeps. Once upon a time, the signs for a steep hill on British roads displayed the gradient in a simple, easy-to-understand form. If the hill went up, say, one yard for every three yards forward it said '1 in 3'. Then some bureaucrat came along and decided that it would be a good idea to state the slope as a percentage. So now the sign for (say) a 1 in 10 slope says 10% (I think). That 'I think' is because the percentage-based slope is so unnatural. There are two ways we conventionally measure slopes. Either on X/Y coordiates (as in 1 in 4) or using degrees - say at a 15° angle. We don't measure them in percentages. It's easy to visualize a 1 in 3 slope, or a 30 degree angle. Much less obvious what a 33.333 recurring percent slope is. And what's a 100% slope