Shall I hang up my helmet?

Virtually everyday I have a near miss with a car on my bike. Today was not any different.

We are all in a rush to get to our destination and we just do not leave ourselves enough time. Cycling in London is getting increasingly dangerous. At the same time the number of cyclists have increased over the past few years.

For short journeys in London, it is quicker on a bike than a car or public transport. If we leave out the smog it is also very heathy to cycle. It is very rare for me to be ill. This is mainly due to my 8 miles a day of cycling.

I love cycling. It is now coming to a stage where I am asking myself for my own safety shall I hang up my helmet?

The route I take is the safest I could find short of cycling on the pavement. I am pleased that the number of cycle lanes have increased. It is just not enough. We need more cycle tracks but there is just not enough room to do this.

If I do not cycle I would go even more nuts than I am now. It is the only sporting activity I do not have to force myself to undertake.

At the moment my need to cycle higher than my concern for safety. I think the roads will get far worse since we are so good at making more of us.

There may come a time and I hope it will not be too late when I will say to myself this is just too dangerous. I hope that day never comes.

Comments
petersaxton's picture

Walk!

petersaxton | | Permalink

Try walking. It's safer and you'd get even more exercise. Then you would lose weight. Women would find you more attractive. You'd meet somebody and marry and live happily every after!

Then you'd be blogging about how wonderful everything is.

Am I a coward?    1 thanks

wilcoskip | | Permalink

I actually quite enjoy cycling (or used to).  Long country lanes, wind in hair - sort of, given the helmet - that sort of stuff.  Very relaxing.

But I haven't cycled for several years now, as traffic is much worse where I live and I no longer feel safe.  My family's wellbeing is at stake (financial and otherwise) and I just don't feel that it's worth the risk.  I could be the most careful cyclist out there, but still my safety would depend largely upon other people, some of them real idiots.  The same is true of driving, of course, but I have rather more protection around me when doing that.

I feel the same way about motorcycling.  I can see the attraction, but after having had a client killed while motorcycling overseas, again I can't justify the risk.

So for now I walk a lot, and have started running.  All path-based stuff.

WS.

FirstTab's picture

WS    1 thanks

FirstTab | | Permalink

You are certainly not a coward. You have a family. It just would not make sense to take unnecessary risks.

Old Greying Accountant's picture

I am sure there is ...    1 thanks

Old Greying Acc... | | Permalink

... a smutty joke there somewhere. (Like, oh, I thought this was about giving up the dating game :oO )

I love motorcycling, but whilst I have a mortgage and dependants it is no go.

Cyclists and motorist though are six of one, half a dozen of the other. Yes, some cars cut too close, but many cyclists ignore red lights, suddenly swerve sideways without warning, and often yards not feet, and seem to stop peddling for the narrow bits of road as you patiently wait to pass safely, then spurt forward at speed the moment they reach a wider part where you could do so - and biggest bugbear, don't have lights at night/. there is a dark path where i walk the dog and it is also a cycle way, I often have to jump out the way as a cyclist at full clip suddenly shoots out the darkness, with just the hiss of the tyres as forewarning!

Red Leader's picture

cyclists    1 thanks

Red Leader | | Permalink

I agree about cyclists not using lights at night. Why would you not want to ?!?!? Crazy.

The issue of cyclists going across red lights comes up frequently. Unfortunately, I think all road users are guilty of that - cyclists, cars, vans, buses.

Old Greying Accountant's picture

The difference is ...    1 thanks

Old Greying Acc... | | Permalink

... cars/vans/buses/lorries have number plates and insurance.

I have long held the cyclists should have to have insurance, may be as an extension to their house contents insurance, and possibly even a number plate. - certainly to ride on main roads.

There should also be compulsory training and a licence, like the motorcycle CBT, certainly to prove knowledge of the highway code as applicable to cyclists.

carnmores's picture

you are a masochist anyway    1 thanks

carnmores | | Permalink

you love torturing yourself - but there are risks too far and you seem to have got to that stage re bicycling if not dating ;-)

Paul Scholes's picture

Braver than me    1 thanks

Paul Scholes | | Permalink

I too try and cycle as much as poss but end up doing twice the distance by avoiding the main roads. I love cycling but being on main roads around South London takes all the fun out of it. 

I've been a member of Sustrans from the start and had hoped that cycle routes would be secure & dedicated by now but the car is still king and we are seen as 2nd class.  This is one of several areas where the Europeans are more civilised than the Brits.

I've been a regular mountain biker (if you can call Box Hill and surroundings a mountain) but started to worry about injury after some nasty falls but I've decided it's far safer, so I'll, be WD40ing this weekend, and using the car, just so I can cycle where only horses, mud and pointy sticks can get me.

Old Greying Accountant's picture

Off road cycling ...

Old Greying Acc... | | Permalink

... is all well and good, but the erosion caused is a concern, and the ruts left are a serious impediment to walkers when the mud dries or freezes! It is also quite hazardous for mutts, and the unsuspecting rambler meeting a bike a full pelt on a blind bend. Best way to belt around the countryside if that is you r bag is on a horse, as theyare designed for it and therefore in tune with the environment, and don't have the problem of what to do with the non-degradable used tyres!

When am out in the wilds I like to take time to enjoy the beauty of nature, also, walking is far better for fitness as I was enlightened following another thread.

Sorry Paul, just being mischievious, I think it is the release of another silly season ending!

Paul Scholes's picture

But being vegan....    1 thanks

Paul Scholes | | Permalink

horses should be left unmounted, plus their nasty pointy feet leave bigger holes than my tyres.

I agree with you about the nutters going full pelt....despite off-tracking for 20 years I'm still panic stricken at anything >8 mph, plus I always keep my bell in good working order....unless appraoching horses from the rear!

Old Greying Accountant's picture

Ah Paul ...

Old Greying Acc... | | Permalink

... does that work the same for Welsh vegans viz sheep?

Sorry couldn't resist, Shirley's been making me think of absent friends!

ShirleyM's picture

Eh?

ShirleyM | | Permalink

I didn't mention the T word once!

What do you mean, OGA?

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