I think we could massively improve road safety by having a 20mph speed limit on all urban roads with perhaps some exceptions for main routes and dual carriageways. With the amount of junctions and traffic lights there are, this would have hardly any effect on car journey time, but would be so much safer for cyclists and pedestrians.
Often when I cycle through town, the same car will pass me several times as he speeds from one set of lights or a busy junction to the queue at the next, where I can filter to the front or near to it, or sometimes dismount and cross as a pedestrian.
The way some people drive is totally irrational, they race to the next obstacle only to have to sit and wait there. On one of my regular routes, there's a set of traffic lights and 100 feet back from that there is a pedestrian crossing, even when they can see the lights are red, drivers don't stop to let people over the crossing, instead they carry on, only to sit and wait behind a car a few tens of feet further up the road.
Thing is - you will see cars pass cyclists multiple times, and vice versa.
That in itself, shouldn't be a problem - both are simply exploiting being able to travel faster at certain periods than the other.
However, it's easily observable, that some car drivers seem to take exception to it - the "once I've overtaken you, you'll damn well stay overtaken" bunch seem to get very arsey about it.
Only the other day, I was driving and a cyclist (a woman, actually, on a road bike - oddly, not lycra-d to the gills, or wearing any obvious serious stuff - but she was clearly very capable, and I have to say, pretty damned quick) passed me, whilst I was queueing at lights, and over the space of a couple of miles, I would have passed, and she passed me again, several times. Each time, I ensured I did so safely and gave plenty of room. Not so for a couple of drivers in front of me.
None did anything clearly dangerous, but the way they went about it, and swerving back, dramatically afterwards, clearly showed their ire, even though she did nothing wrong. She obeyed traffic signals, she certainly got on with it when the lights turned green - maybe that was part of the problem - maybe some of the car drivers thought she would be so easily overtaken. I was quite suprised at how quick she was, without looking like she had all the gear and no idea. She was on a road bike, but just dressed in some very generic type sports / kinda cycle wear.
What troubles me is with a small sample of cars, you could clearly see this kind of arsey attitude from some of the drivers. Sure, none crossed the line and did anything worth complaining about, but there was little peevish things like swerving back again, to demonstrate a point, like making sure they were within milimetres of the kerb at some traffic lights so she couldn't filter through on the inside - it didn't matter - she just carefully overtook, and waited correctly in the red ASL area.
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