Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Do unto others...

I try to be mindful of fellow travellers. Cyclists when I am in the car and pedestrians and other cyclists when I am on the bike. It seems to me that most other people move around the world in a completely selfish bubble.

Yesterday I spoke to the mother who walks through the Greenwich foot tunnel every morning to take her child to school. In the lift she thanked people who walked their bike through the tunnel. Why did she feel the need to do this? Because on previous occasions she has had to shelter against the wall of the tunnel whilst cyclists zip past at speeds of around 25 miles an hour. Think how terrifying this must be?! The vision of a mother sheltering her small baby's head made me think again and I now walk rather than cycling slowly, even though in my cyclng shoes I do sometimes slip on the wet floor. Other people just don't seem to notice this. In theory cycling is not allowed in the foot tunnel and in my opinion it shouldn't need to be banned. I can however see, given the complete unawareness of most cyclists, barriers/tight chicanes being erected to make them get off their bikes and walk simply to protect the pedestrians.

In the same way I have had numerous brushes with cars where drivers seem to think it is ok to zip past me at speed with very little space between us. Do they not understand I cannot always go in a straight line, or that their presence itself causes my bike to change direction? The interaction between cyclists and car drivers is well documented and a topic of much current discussion. But the question remains, how can we make drivers aware of how their behaviour effects our cycling? If cyclists are not even aware of their effect on pedestrians what hope do we have of changing the behaviour of car drivers?

Please be careful out there however you travel and think about those more vulnerable people around you. If cyclists gave way for pedestrians; motor cyclists for cyclists and pedestrians; and cars for motor bikes, cycles and pedestrians then surely we would all be much better off?

1 comment:

  1. It's a subtle area, and not one that is always best dictated with rules. On my bike, my footprint is actually smaller than walking and pushing, and can make the difference between an oncoming pedestrian needing to wait or not. I think the point is that one should respond sensibly to the situation. The other point of course is that if there is only room for one way, then cycling gets one person out of the way faster! This certainly true on the footbridge over the Cam on Coe Fen.