Thursday, 24 January 2013

Cyclists! Move Over

Move Cyclists to the Other Side

In the interest of cycling safety, move cyclists to the other side of the road. Yes, I mean so they ride facing oncoming traffic! In my, not so humble, opinion this makes perfect sense. Cyclists riding on the right hand side of a road (in regions where vehicles drive on the left) can SEE approaching traffic, and take action easily to avoid danger.

It's been some years since I rode a bicycle (although I'm tempted to take it up again, it's just the traffic situation where I live that puts me off). Even back then, when there was little traffic where I lived, I preferred to ride on the wrong side of the road when possible. Of course the suburban streets were very quiet in those days, and ne'er a traffic cop was seen.

Cyclists Blind Spot

Cyclists riding on the same side of the road as powered vehicles have a blind spot. How many bicycles have rear view mirrors? The only way a bicycle rider can see traffic behind is to turn their heads, taking their eyes off the road ahead.

Think how often even the most careful motorist gets caught unaware by a vehicle approaching from behind; and that's with the benefit of 3 rear view mirrors, and even those small additional devices supposed to eliminate blind spots. And they are surrounded by crumple zones, air bags, reinforced passenger compartments, and all the other safety features built in to a modern car. A cyclist is totally unprotected from impact by a heavy metal object!

Cycling on the wrong side of the road allows the rider to see that micro-bus taxi racing down the "emergency" yellow lane to pass other slow moving traffic. The cyclist can take evasive action, even driving off the road if necessary. After all, a few scratches from bushes or stones, or even more serious injury is better than being struck by a moving vehicle - at least the chances of living to tell the tale are high. 

Enhance Visibility Too

It's good to see more cyclists wearing high visibility colours these days, and cycling helmets, even other protective gear. But a flashing headlight during the day makes them even more visible. Modern LED lights are bright, use little battery power; a rechargeable set could keep the light going all day... A warning colour, maybe bright yellow could avoid confusion with other vehicle lights - red lights mean brakes are applied, orange is used for direction indicators.

Cycling Lanes

Dedicated cycling lanes are of course the ultimate solution, but they are not going to happen soon, if ever. The roads agencies cannot keep up with maintaining existing roads, let alone building special roads for cyclists. And they would have to be totally (physically) separated from the vehicle road, or those same micro-bus drivers will just see another road surface for their use.

In any case, it's totally impractical to build cycling lanes everywhere... Think about it; where would they go, where would the money come from? So maybe in years to come there will be a few cycling lanes along major urban routes. What about the rest of the time? When (if) those cycling lanes get built - build them on the wrong side too, that way cyclists exiting a lane will already be on the wrong (RIGHT) side of the road!

If you agree with me on this subject, and would like to cycle on the wrong (right) side of the road, share this post on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus, or e-mail it to a cyclist friend, or anyone else. If you have an opinion, leave a comment below!

No comments:

Post a Comment