Irish Cyclists Are Bending The Rules Of The Road
There is an increasing number of people taking up cycling in Ireland and it is certainly great to see that people are endeavouring to increase their exercise. Many people have cars but choose to cycle to work to gain health benefits.
In saying that, many cyclists on the roads seem to be bending the rules of the road. We see it every day, no hand signals, breaking the lights.
It's also common to see multiple city cyclists battling it out for first place on the cycle path or at the head of a line of cars at the lights, all scrambling and jostling for position.
No one wants to be stuck behind the poor struggling climber (who is just short of being pushed up the hill), but weaving in and out of traffic and clipping wing mirrors is risky for both cyclists and others.
Motorist are also far from blame when it comes to bending the rules of the road, for example as many cyclists can testify to, some cars veer into cycle lanes like they're part of the road and exit left without so much as a glance in their wing mirror or, more importantly, the blind spot.
The RSA's recent advertisement asking motorists to give up to 1.5 metres of space to cyclists when passing has, by and large, yielded a positive response.
Cyclists make it a point to remind motorists of their responsibility to look out for cyclist so the opposite is also valid. If we are beginning to see motorists respect cyclists more, then equally cyclists need to respect the more vulnerable pedestrian.
If you stand at a pedestrian crossing and observe for any length of time, you will no doubt see bike after bike breaking the red lights, even when the green man crossing light is on.
It's common for children be aware to always wait for the green man before crossing the road, so what kind of a message does it send when cyclists are whizzing past at speed, even at pedestrian crossings near schools.
These cyclists are totally ignoring the fact that pedestrians have right of way to cross the road at school pedestrian crossings, or the school warden for that matter? Some parents have even had to hold out their arms to prevent a cyclist crashing into their child.
Many cyclists still hurtle around the streets without any lights, helmets or high-visibility gear. These are not just isolated incidents either but are commonplace.
We can concede that stopping and waiting at an empty pedestrian crossing can be extremely frustrating but in a city, cyclists will still always get to their destination quicker than either the pedestrian or the motorist in most cases.
Apart from the safety aspect, there is also the fact that it is the law. Section 17 of the Rules of the Road provides detailed safety advice for cyclists, and it's free to download.
For more information, you can go to the Cycling Ireland website, which offers practical cycle safety and skills training in line with national standards.
Motorists, cyclists and pedestrians must share the road, so we all need to learn to live in harmony and avoid dangerous behaviours.