Riding Big

Image thanks to CyclingUK.org

Cycling and cyclists have been very much in the news last week following some changes in the highway code. Even though these changes have been in place since January of this year they have had little publicity and most people are unaware of them. With 30% of car drivers stating that bicycles shouldn’t be allowed on the road, there is still a lot of work to be done.

Many of the changes relate to the concept of the hierarchy of road users, something that was in the front of my mind when riding across Newcastle on a Neuron scooter. Does that count as a bicycle?

According to the Highway Code website: ‘The ‘hierarchy of road users’ is a concept that places those road users most at risk in the event of a collision at the top of the hierarchy. The hierarchy does not remove the need for everyone to behave responsibly. The road users most likely to be injured in the event of a collision are pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders and motorcyclists, with children, older adults and disabled people being more at risk.’

‘Everyone suffers when road collisions occur, whether they are physically injured or not. But those in charge of vehicles that can cause the greatest harm in the event of a collision bear the greatest responsibility to take care and reduce the danger they pose to others. This principle applies most strongly to drivers of large goods and passenger vehicles, vans/minibuses, cars/taxis and motorcycles.’

Back to my scooter which must be ridden on the roads only, except where there are recognised cycle lanes and mixed areas. It can be a daunting experience as cars whizz past you at high speed, especially at junctions or where lane changes give drivers an opportunity to cut in front of you. It is clear that some take pleasure in driving too close, perhaps among the 30%.

Riding big feels strange at first but moving out of the gutter makes riding the scooter much easier. The chances of being thrown by a drain cover or hitting someone who steps off the pavement are much reduced but this must be balanced with the increased chances of being struck by a vehicle. Routes need to be planned better so that you don’t risk the most dangerous traffic and this can mean taking a slightly longer route than the most direct. With a bit of thought a fairly safe route is possible

Having said all this it is not just motorists who must take responsibility for improving the accessibility of two wheeled vehicles. Riding through town I was taken aback by the number of cyclists, riding on pavements. Ignoring red lights, riding on the wrong side of the road and generally being a nuisance. Most of the offenders were working for food delivery companies – perhaps a bit of training is due?

Everyone suffers when road collisions occur and everyone has a duty of care to other road users. If you are not aware of the changes then you know where to look.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s