Excellent! You have watched the video in the previous post (A Public Information Message For London Drivers: Don’t!) and you have committed yourself to not driving your car into London during the Olympic or Paralympic Games. You deserve a medal already. OK, perhaps not but you’re still reading this so you must be at least slightly interested (curious even?) in thinking about cycling instead. Here comes the hard sell. And another little video from the Get Ahead Of The Games people… More of my comments below. They are worth waiting for;
Here I am again. Actually, apart from being relevant to cycling during the Olympics, the video has a couple of bloody good cycling safety tips that I use myself every morning and evening as I commute to and from work:
1. Cycle about 1 metre* from the edge of the road and stick to cycling about 1 metre from the edge of the road! Don’t be bullied by car drivers into negotiating the drains, pot holes, yellow lines and other stuff that you find in the strip of road right next to the kerb. If you have never done this before just try it as it will transform your cycling; it puts you in the league of assertive (not aggressive) cyclists and they tend to be the safer ones. Apart from not crashing into the kerb, the surface of the road at 1 metre* from the side tends to be a lot better (so safer). It also places you as a cyclist in a position on the road where motorists feel as though they need to slow down when they see you. If you hug the kerb, many drivers will think ‘What the hell! I can squeeze past easily at this speed’ and many will. By being in front of the driver on the road, they are forced into making a conscious decision as to whether it is safe or not to pass. Most will take more care and all but a very small number of idiots will slow down considerably before they pass you.
2. Look over your right shoulder every 8-10 seconds. OK, don’t start timing it but if you get into the habit of making the drivers aware that you are aware of them, they tend to be a little more careful. Human beings (or most of them) try to avoid conflict with people they know. By turning your head to see what’s behind you, you are on the very end of the spectrum of intimacy between you and the motorist. It may be a long way from jumping into bed together for a wild night of passion but it’s a start. Again, try it and you’ll be amazed at how quickly a speeding driver will slow down and move away from the bike when you tell them by your actions that you know they are there. You can perhaps swap numbers at the traffic lights…
And there ends this series of public information messages and films. *Apart from this nugget of information which many people don’t seem to know… In fact when I measured it, the door frame was about 5 cm under 1 metre. It’s worth checking on a tape measure before you set off 🙂 Andreas Kambanis’ London Cyclists’ Blog is here by the way.