February 16th, 2010
A very interesting article regarding a cyclist views on the cycle paths in Oxford
Courtesy of the Oxford and Chiltern Bus page
On the matter of cyclists
Paul who lives around Oxford has written with some more views on cycling in Oxford. He has some comments which are worthy of airing on this page which has recorded varying views on this matter.
As someone who commutes through Headington daily on my bike, I thought I might take the opportunity to try to answer the question you pose on your web page:
?? Can our cyclist friends therefore please tell us why, when beautiful new surfaces have been provided, STILL cyclists use the road going to and from Headington near Oxford?
The short answer is safety and convenience.
I assume you’re referring to the cycle path between Headley Way and Osler Road (by the Shell Garage), but this applies to most on-pavement cycle paths.
If I use the on-pavement cycle path, I am at risk from vehicles emerging from side roads, who typically do not stop at the give way line short of the cycle lane, but instead stop blocking the cycle lane. Further, I am required to give way at the pedestrian crossing (where the cycle path stops and continues 100m later) and I am required to give way again when the cycle path rejoins the main road.
Although the pavement has been resurfaced, it rises and falls with every side road and entrance, and is like riding over some of the worst speed bumps you have ever encountered. Where the path crosses side roads, the lane is reduced to half width because the council didn’t drop the kerb properly.
Another risk is posed by pedestrians, who rarely notice the marked cycle path. Next time you drive a long this stretch of road, see if it remains unobstructed for its entire length. I bet you it won’t.
Contrast this with staying on the road and using the lane that is clearly signed and marked as being both a bus and cycle lane. I may have to stop at the pedestrian crossing, but other than that, I do not have to give way at all, and can cycle in a lane that is flat, and unobstructed by pedestrians, parked cars or turning traffic.
?? With a 20mph speed limit now in force these cyclists now overtake those road users who obey the law.
Very few cyclists will exceed 20mph on the flat. Most will travel at 10-15mph.
?? Is this also another law which cyclists are not obliged to abide by?
Actually, yes it is. Speed limits do not apply to cyclists, but that’s beside the point.
?? Certainly for a vast majority they do not "see" red traffic lights, ride on pavements when it suits and generally behave as though they own the roads they neither pay for or contribute to.
Please do not tar us all with the same brush.
I stop at red lights. I do not cycle on pavements. I pay Vehicle Excise Duty on three vehicles.
Please try to see this from my perspective:
If I cycle on the road (as I am legally allowed to do) I am harassed by motorists who can’t understand why I wouldn’t use an on-pavement cycle path.
If I cycle on the pavement, it’s more dangerous (to both me and pedestrians), it’s less comfortable, and it’s slower.
What would you do?
Cyclists who don’t follow the rules make me angry too, because of the damage that they do to the reputation of all cyclists.
Unfortunately, it’s a vicious circle: for as long as the provisions that are made for cyclists remain substandard and in many cases don’t follow the rules laid down for road design, it’s easy to understand why so many cyclists don’t take the rules seriously.
"Speeding" is an offence that applies only to motor vehicles. Cyclists can be done for cycling "furiously", "dangerously" or "carelessly and inconsiderately". I’d be only too happy to see more cyclists done for the latter two.
I am pleased to publish Paul’s views as they reveal something of the views of many cyclists in our city. No doubt there will be those who do not agree with all of what Paul says but it might be worth the authorities looking at the cycle lanes provided which do not seem to offer what cyclists need. Until this is resolved we will have cyclists mixing with buses in Headington which cannot be totally safe.