Dangerous move

SO PAUL Hepworth shows his true colours again.

In his letter of January 15, he states that in certain situations he will move away from the kerb in order to “deter a dangerous overtake” thus blocking the thoroughfare. This shows he has no grasp of road safety and that he really does believe cyclists own the road and rides accordingly, with apparent carte blanche from the authorities.

I believe this man is not just pro-bike but is anti-car. What amazes me most is that some people actually listen.

D McTernan, Fossway, York.

 

•AS A driver and a cyclist I have watched with interest, and often frustration, the to-and-fro argument on this page between the pro-car and pro-cycle lobby.

But I was appalled to read Paul Hepworth’s outrageous comment (Letters, January 15) that if he sees a motor vehicle trying to “beat” him to a narrow gap he moves into a “more central position” in the road.

As a professional driver of 36 years, I am daily made aware of the lack of consideration, law-breaking and, sometimes, courtesy shown by both factions of road user. We all belong on the road and have to go about our business as courteously and safely as we can.

Mr Hepworth – who told me he has never held a driving licence – has developed over the years a conviction that all motor vehicle drivers are the devil incarnate. Being a road user is not a contest in which there are winners and losers, unless you are unfortunate to come across someone like him who thinks it is.

So, Mr Hepworth, if you continue to behave in such a dangerous manner, do not complain in these pages if a juggernaut, faced with the sudden swerve of a cyclist into the middle of the road, puts you in hospital.

Kevin Benson, Lavender Grove, Boroughbridge Road, York.

Comments (20)

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10:01am Fri 18 Jan 13

Mr Udigawa says...

You both missed the point completely, any sensible Cyclist will do exactly the same. It's not about suddenly swerving out to block someone, it's about gradually taking up a sensible position in the road that will avoid some muppet passing you with an inch to spare.
Assertive riding, not aggressive riding.
You both missed the point completely, any sensible Cyclist will do exactly the same. It's not about suddenly swerving out to block someone, it's about gradually taking up a sensible position in the road that will avoid some muppet passing you with an inch to spare. Assertive riding, not aggressive riding. Mr Udigawa

10:41am Fri 18 Jan 13

old_geezer says...

Mr Udigawa is correct, it's a sensible defensive move, not an aggressive anti-car thing. Some drivers will try to pass cyclists dangerously close, and I can't say I was sorry when one knocked his offside front hubcab off when trying to squeeze between me and a traffic island.
Mr Udigawa is correct, it's a sensible defensive move, not an aggressive anti-car thing. Some drivers will try to pass cyclists dangerously close, and I can't say I was sorry when one knocked his offside front hubcab off when trying to squeeze between me and a traffic island. old_geezer

12:06pm Fri 18 Jan 13

ColdAsChristmas says...

Has pedaling Paul passed his cycling proficiency test?
Has pedaling Paul passed his cycling proficiency test? ColdAsChristmas

12:19pm Fri 18 Jan 13

laiecmjdjkd says...

Yes, Mr Udigawa and old_geezer are right. In fact, this is what "Cyclecraft", the manual of the DfT-sponsored cycle-training scheme, Bikeability, recommends cyclists do. To quote:

"Centre islands are some of the most potentially hazardous places on the road today. Here, too, you should adopt the primary riding position at the approach"
Yes, Mr Udigawa and old_geezer are right. In fact, this is what "Cyclecraft", the manual of the DfT-sponsored cycle-training scheme, Bikeability, recommends cyclists do. To quote: "Centre islands [...] are some of the most potentially hazardous places on the road today. Here, too, you should adopt the primary riding position [i.e. the middle of the lane] at the approach" laiecmjdjkd

12:20pm Fri 18 Jan 13

sensationalism says...

Some car drivers lack the skill or thoughtfulness to look ahead beyond the bicycle they wish to overtake.

A few months ago, I had to dissuade a car driver from her intention of overtaking my bicycle, as up ahead there was a parked bus that I was soon going to have to go around, which also would block her path. Because I use a handlebar mirror, and am continuously observing what's behind, I can judge these situations correctly and take positive action in good time. I did a right turn signal and moved out, observing the car behind as I did so. I think she was perplexed for a few seconds until she looked ahead and saw the obstruction. The onus is on the overtaker to see if there is anything up ahead that could make their manoeuvre undesirable or unsafe.
Some car drivers lack the skill or thoughtfulness to look ahead beyond the bicycle they wish to overtake. A few months ago, I had to dissuade a car driver from her intention of overtaking my bicycle, as up ahead there was a parked bus that I was soon going to have to go around, which also would block her path. Because I use a handlebar mirror, and am continuously observing what's behind, I can judge these situations correctly and take positive action in good time. I did a right turn signal and moved out, observing the car behind as I did so. I think she was perplexed for a few seconds until she looked ahead and saw the obstruction. The onus is on the overtaker to see if there is anything up ahead that could make their manoeuvre undesirable or unsafe. sensationalism

12:22pm Fri 18 Jan 13

laiecmjdjkd says...

Hmm. I had used the convention of square brackets to indicate edits in my quote above from Cyclecraft. It appears the website removes anything in square brackets!

The key edit was that the a cyclist in the "primary riding position" rides in the middle of their side of the road.
Hmm. I had used the convention of square brackets to indicate edits in my quote above from Cyclecraft. It appears the website removes anything in square brackets! The key edit was that the a cyclist in the "primary riding position" rides in the middle of their side of the road. laiecmjdjkd

12:58pm Fri 18 Jan 13

/kev/null says...

I don't see anything wrong with this. It's basically 'defensive cycling', and if you demonstrate your intention early enough it's safer for both the cyclist and the motorist.

I don't see too many 'bad' motorists on the roads around York but I suppose it only takes one to really ruin a cyclist's day so if they feel it's necessary to deter a car from overtaking in a place they feel is dangerous then fair enough.
I don't see anything wrong with this. It's basically 'defensive cycling', and if you demonstrate your intention early enough it's safer for both the cyclist and the motorist. I don't see too many 'bad' motorists on the roads around York but I suppose it only takes one to really ruin a cyclist's day so if they feel it's necessary to deter a car from overtaking in a place they feel is dangerous then fair enough. /kev/null

1:16pm Fri 18 Jan 13

Buzz Light-year says...

Thank the lord for the sensible replies above!
I fully expected a total assassination.

The letters are completely wide of the mark as has already been said. Could we suspect that the writers are the sort of aggressive drivers who regularly and carelessly endanger cyclists?

I do the move that Paul describes all the time. It's the opposite of dangerous. It's a safety move.

More than once the driver has chosen to go round the right hand side of the traffic island i.e. on the wrong side of the road, rather than have to slow up briefly.
Thank the lord for the sensible replies above! I fully expected a total assassination. The letters are completely wide of the mark as has already been said. Could we suspect that the writers are the sort of aggressive drivers who regularly and carelessly endanger cyclists? I do the move that Paul describes all the time. It's the opposite of dangerous. It's a safety move. More than once the driver has chosen to go round the right hand side of the traffic island i.e. on the wrong side of the road, rather than have to slow up briefly. Buzz Light-year

1:19pm Fri 18 Jan 13

Buzz Light-year says...

laiecmjdjkd wrote:
Hmm. I had used the convention of square brackets to indicate edits in my quote above from Cyclecraft. It appears the website removes anything in square brackets! The key edit was that the a cyclist in the "primary riding position" rides in the middle of their side of the road.
Square brackets can be used for coding in quotes and bold and italic etc.
[quote][p][bold]laiecmjdjkd[/bold] wrote: Hmm. I had used the convention of square brackets to indicate edits in my quote above from Cyclecraft. It appears the website removes anything in square brackets! The key edit was that the a cyclist in the "primary riding position" rides in the middle of their side of the road.[/p][/quote]Square brackets can be used for coding in quotes and bold and italic etc. Buzz Light-year

1:45pm Fri 18 Jan 13

greenmonkey says...

Agree with all above comments - ever since read an excellent article on the topic some 20 years ago have adopted similar approach when the road is too narrow for following vehicle to safely pass me on a bike - main problem in my opinion, apart from impatience, is the fact that some drivers assume all cyclists are going at 7mph, if you are doing 15-20mph they have to allow a longer distance in which to pass you before an obstruction. Same applies if they plan to turn left - in York most drivers are pretty good and will pull back when they realise they cant get passed you in time to turn left safely without cutting across your path.
Agree with all above comments - ever since read an excellent article on the topic some 20 years ago have adopted similar approach when the road is too narrow for following vehicle to safely pass me on a bike - main problem in my opinion, apart from impatience, is the fact that some drivers assume all cyclists are going at 7mph, if you are doing 15-20mph they have to allow a longer distance in which to pass you before an obstruction. Same applies if they plan to turn left - in York most drivers are pretty good and will pull back when they realise they cant get passed you in time to turn left safely without cutting across your path. greenmonkey

3:27pm Fri 18 Jan 13

NoNewsIsGoodNews says...

I am far from Paul's biggest fan, but his stance on road positioning is spot on.
I am far from Paul's biggest fan, but his stance on road positioning is spot on. NoNewsIsGoodNews

3:43pm Fri 18 Jan 13

PMarsham says...

Messrs McTernan and Benson clearly have no experience of riding a bicycle. If they had they would know what it was like to have the road narrowing in front of you and a large vehicle starting to draw up alongside you. I am sure Mr Hepworth would always check behind him before pulling out into a more central position on his side of the road to avoid this happening. One particular place I have problems with vehicles pulling alongside me is when in the lane to turn left off Boroughbridge Road into Carr Lane - a cycle will generally be able to go faster around this corner than a car, so motorists please hang back until around the corner
Messrs McTernan and Benson clearly have no experience of riding a bicycle. If they had they would know what it was like to have the road narrowing in front of you and a large vehicle starting to draw up alongside you. I am sure Mr Hepworth would always check behind him before pulling out into a more central position on his side of the road to avoid this happening. One particular place I have problems with vehicles pulling alongside me is when in the lane to turn left off Boroughbridge Road into Carr Lane - a cycle will generally be able to go faster around this corner than a car, so motorists please hang back until around the corner PMarsham

4:23pm Fri 18 Jan 13

capt spaulding says...

I am a big biker and i know how to ride and be defensive. I also ride a bicycle occasionaly. I have had mor near misses and close shaves on the push iron than ever on the big bike . so I have to agree ....with the pedal bore.
How sad is that.
I am a big biker and i know how to ride and be defensive. I also ride a bicycle occasionaly. I have had mor near misses and close shaves on the push iron than ever on the big bike . so I have to agree ....with the pedal bore. How sad is that. capt spaulding

5:29pm Fri 18 Jan 13

stopatred says...

i have often wondered why cars race past me to get to the traffic lights first when they are on red.then slam the brakes on to stop. only for me to pass them on my bike and wait in front of them. Blossom st in particular.
i have often wondered why cars race past me to get to the traffic lights first when they are on red.then slam the brakes on to stop. only for me to pass them on my bike and wait in front of them. Blossom st in particular. stopatred

11:47pm Fri 18 Jan 13

strangebuttrue? says...

You have to think though what is defensive? Putting yourself in front of 1.5 tons of metal which is always going to win the argument if it comes to that? For my part when I used to cycle, before the council decided they would try to force me to do so, I always slowed on my cycle if I saw a pinch point coming and knew that a car approaching from behind would arrive at that same point at the same time. Is that not defensive? It always meant I avoided incidents and showed courtesy to other road users. This never cost me that much time as most times the motorist would slow to allow me through and I would certainly never deliberately block someone in advance as that can only lead to conflict and danger.
You have to think though what is defensive? Putting yourself in front of 1.5 tons of metal which is always going to win the argument if it comes to that? For my part when I used to cycle, before the council decided they would try to force me to do so, I always slowed on my cycle if I saw a pinch point coming and knew that a car approaching from behind would arrive at that same point at the same time. Is that not defensive? It always meant I avoided incidents and showed courtesy to other road users. This never cost me that much time as most times the motorist would slow to allow me through and I would certainly never deliberately block someone in advance as that can only lead to conflict and danger. strangebuttrue?

4:22am Sat 19 Jan 13

Magicman! says...

Oh For God's Sake!! TWO letters here, and both of them written by morons!!
The second letter write is trying that old "get out of jail free card", the "I'm a driver and a cyclist... BUT..." thinking this allows them to make critisims. Just because you cycle 5 minutes to the nearby shop on a sunday afternoon in june when it's sunny doesn't merit you a cyclist. If you HAD to go out to work/shopping right now in the snow and the only method of transport available is a bike so you use it and take it carefull THEN you can call yourself a cyclist but not until.
Whilst I fail to agree with a lot of PH's points, the one he made in that original letter was valid and true. The Highway Code states that a car driver should ONLY overtake IF there is as much room to overtake them as there would be to overtake another car - if there is not you should not even consider overtaking. Sadly a lot of drivers in York haven't got enough brain cells to rub together to work that one out and so try to squeeze through the smallest of spaces, causing near misses, injury, or worse, all in an attempt to save 3 seconds off their journey. If such drivers had a few ounces of brainpower to realise a dangerous move wouldn't get them any further and they hung bak until there was space to overtake or the need to had gone then cyclists would not have their hand forced to prevent a dangerous movement taking place. I've had cars try and squeeze though past me at Monk Bar (citybound through the big arch), needless to say since that experience I now sit right in the middle of the lane to prevent a driver of a bigger vehicle trying that and killing me.
I've also had cars try to overtake and turn the corner from boroughbridge lane into carr lane whilst I'm trying to turn at the same time. The only reason the car put the brakes on and sank back is because the number 20 was coming the other way.
And then there's the numerous occasions where I can be cycling and there be a parked car on my side taking up 70% lane space with a vehicle coming the other way - I can get through the gap easily without veering into the other lane - but then a car overtakes me, realises they can't go anywhere, slams on the brakes, and all I can do is veer off onto the pavement or go straight into the back or mr slam-on.

A lot of the moves made as a cyclist depends a lot on your personality. a person with a Passive nature would likely hang back at an obstruction just in case a bigger vehicle comes barrelling along, an Assertive person will see the obstruction coming, make sure any vehicles mid-overtake complete the movement, then they move out to prevent a dangerous action occuring, an Aggressive person will pull out too soon and probably whilst a vehicle is trying to overtake.
There was once some statistics which showed women cyclists are more likely to be involved in a collision with a larger vehicle like a bus, because they feel less able to assert their position on the road - and this is the thing, if you give up too much space on the road people will take advantage (in the same was as they do when you've left decent stopping space in front of you on the motorway)
Oh For God's Sake!! TWO letters here, and both of them written by morons!! The second letter write is trying that old "get out of jail free card", the "I'm a driver and a cyclist... BUT..." thinking this allows them to make critisims. Just because you cycle 5 minutes to the nearby shop on a sunday afternoon in june when it's sunny doesn't merit you a cyclist. If you HAD to go out to work/shopping right now in the snow and the only method of transport available is a bike so you use it and take it carefull THEN you can call yourself a cyclist but not until. Whilst I fail to agree with a lot of PH's points, the one he made in that original letter was valid and true. The Highway Code states that a car driver should ONLY overtake IF there is as much room to overtake them as there would be to overtake another car - if there is not you should not even consider overtaking. Sadly a lot of drivers in York haven't got enough brain cells to rub together to work that one out and so try to squeeze through the smallest of spaces, causing near misses, injury, or worse, all in an attempt to save 3 seconds off their journey. If such drivers had a few ounces of brainpower to realise a dangerous move wouldn't get them any further and they hung bak until there was space to overtake or the need to had gone then cyclists would not have their hand forced to prevent a dangerous movement taking place. I've had cars try and squeeze though past me at Monk Bar (citybound through the big arch), needless to say since that experience I now sit right in the middle of the lane to prevent a driver of a bigger vehicle trying that and killing me. I've also had cars try to overtake and turn the corner from boroughbridge lane into carr lane whilst I'm trying to turn at the same time. The only reason the car put the brakes on and sank back is because the number 20 was coming the other way. And then there's the numerous occasions where I can be cycling and there be a parked car on my side taking up 70% lane space with a vehicle coming the other way - I can get through the gap easily without veering into the other lane - but then a car overtakes me, realises they can't go anywhere, slams on the brakes, and all I can do is veer off onto the pavement or go straight into the back or mr slam-on. A lot of the moves made as a cyclist depends a lot on your personality. a person with a Passive nature would likely hang back at an obstruction just in case a bigger vehicle comes barrelling along, an Assertive person will see the obstruction coming, make sure any vehicles mid-overtake complete the movement, then they move out to prevent a dangerous action occuring, an Aggressive person will pull out too soon and probably whilst a vehicle is trying to overtake. There was once some statistics which showed women cyclists are more likely to be involved in a collision with a larger vehicle like a bus, because they feel less able to assert their position on the road - and this is the thing, if you give up too much space on the road people will take advantage (in the same was as they do when you've left decent stopping space in front of you on the motorway) Magicman!

1:04am Sun 20 Jan 13

wolds way says...

And since when did personality come into road rules Magic Man?? Most people should leave their personalities at home in circumstances like this and abide by the law with just a tad of forethought for logic and above all safety. Beggars belief what you come out with sometimes.If I am on 2 wheels, I don't like to second guess what someone in 4 is going to do when it comes to squeezing through a gap, the same as I don't expect them to second guess me.Its obvious who will come off worse if you are using your personality to make the judgement.
And since when did personality come into road rules Magic Man?? Most people should leave their personalities at home in circumstances like this and abide by the law with just a tad of forethought for logic and above all safety. Beggars belief what you come out with sometimes.If I am on 2 wheels, I don't like to second guess what someone in 4 is going to do when it comes to squeezing through a gap, the same as I don't expect them to second guess me.Its obvious who will come off worse if you are using your personality to make the judgement. wolds way

12:08pm Sun 20 Jan 13

Mr Udigawa says...

wolds way wrote:
And since when did personality come into road rules Magic Man?? Most people should leave their personalities at home in circumstances like this and abide by the law with just a tad of forethought for logic and above all safety. Beggars belief what you come out with sometimes.If I am on 2 wheels, I don't like to second guess what someone in 4 is going to do when it comes to squeezing through a gap, the same as I don't expect them to second guess me.Its obvious who will come off worse if you are using your personality to make the judgement.
But the whole point is about not second guessing, that's why if you position yourself correctly on a bike, you are taking the decision away from someone who might try to squeeze past you through a tight gap.
In my opinion there is nothing worse than an indecisive driver/rider, these are the people who are most likely to cause an accident, hence my dislike for PP's mantra of encouraging less confident cyclists out onto the streets of York, If you're not capable and aware you really shouldn't be on the road.
[quote][p][bold]wolds way[/bold] wrote: And since when did personality come into road rules Magic Man?? Most people should leave their personalities at home in circumstances like this and abide by the law with just a tad of forethought for logic and above all safety. Beggars belief what you come out with sometimes.If I am on 2 wheels, I don't like to second guess what someone in 4 is going to do when it comes to squeezing through a gap, the same as I don't expect them to second guess me.Its obvious who will come off worse if you are using your personality to make the judgement.[/p][/quote]But the whole point is about not second guessing, that's why if you position yourself correctly on a bike, you are taking the decision away from someone who might try to squeeze past you through a tight gap. In my opinion there is nothing worse than an indecisive driver/rider, these are the people who are most likely to cause an accident, hence my dislike for PP's mantra of encouraging less confident cyclists out onto the streets of York, If you're not capable and aware you really shouldn't be on the road. Mr Udigawa

7:43am Mon 21 Jan 13

pedalling paul says...

So should learner drivers really be out on the road as well?
So should learner drivers really be out on the road as well? pedalling paul

9:17am Mon 21 Jan 13

Mr Udigawa says...

pedalling paul wrote:
So should learner drivers really be out on the road as well?
Yes, they are supervised and restricted.
[quote][p][bold]pedalling paul [/bold] wrote: So should learner drivers really be out on the road as well?[/p][/quote]Yes, they are supervised and restricted. Mr Udigawa

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