Barclays Cycle Hire

Today a video tutorial was released by youtube user BarclaysCycle, the tutorial consists of how to use the upcoming Barclays Cycle Hire and provides various tips on what you should do with your bike in various situations. A very well thought out video in my opinion. What do you think?

Today was also the day that the first Barclays Cycle Hire station was compleated (lacking bicycles)

The location of the first hire station is on Southwark Street, outside the Blue Fin building. This is 7 weeks before the launch of the Barclays Cycle Hire network, note that these are only test stations (testing what I am not sure) and there will be a period where no more are installed due to testing. This afternoon another station was being installed on Stamford Street near the HSBC bank. Further stations are being installed on Union Street and on Southwark Street
Read more here

Cycle Hire App are creating an iPhone application that will display the locations of the hire stations across London and it looks like they will have some great features that including allowing you to plan ahead of your trips with finding the nearest stations to tourist attractions.

Cycle Hire App have published the information they have got from TFL regarding the planned locations of the Cycle Hire Stations. This information is available from here.

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Undertaking large vehicles

I see many cyclists each day going up the inside of buses, coaches and HGV’s. Do they not understand that each time they are doing it, they are putting there life at risk. Of course in some situations it is perfectly safe to do so but if it’s clearly 50/50 it’s best to hang back and let the vehicle go.

Camden Council recently posted a new video about cycling around HGV’s. The message is clear and shows that the cyclist will come off worst when involved in a collision with a large vehicle. Who’s fault it is not determined, and that’s not the point. What is important is that each cyclist should look after their own life. Going up the inside of a large vehicle such as a HGV or bus is a bad idea.

The MET Police Service created a video around a year ago regarding the same thing. Since then they have been offering cyclists the chance to sit in lorries and view the blind spots from their point of view. The locations are various and are all over London, if you ever get the chance to ‘exchange places’ i strongly urge you to jump at the opportunity. Even if you are an experience cyclist and you don’t go up the inside of lorries, you can never have enough experience.

Cycling is good for everyone

Over 500,000 bicycle journeys take place each day in London but imagine what it would be like if the cyclists didn’t ride and took other means of transport.

They would fill

  • 297 Central Line Trains
  • 6,250 Double decker buses
  • 2,240km of traffic if we each drove an average sized family car

Cycle can save you money

  • £1816 a year in congestion charges
  • £1208 on an annual zone 1-3 travel card

A simple message, trying to get people to love the cyclists, as without them the roads would be jammed packed of other traffic. Also trying to get a few more cyclists on the road by letting them know the amount of money they could save by starting up. Or would they save? as most of us cyclists know, it’s very easy to buy plenty of accessories and tech.

All credit to I Bike London Blog, for providing the video on vimeo and the original blog post.

Airzound

New bicycles bought from a shop by law have to come with a bell, bells are ok on towpaths and at slow speeds. The problem with them is when you get to higher speeds. Pedestrians and car drivers won’t hear a bell in time to react or know where it’s coming from. This is where the Airzound comes into play, an air horn for bicycles, it blasts out a loud 115 decibels at full volume.

Why is this useful? In some occasions you need to make people aware that you are there and what better way to do it than to make an awful loud sound which could be mistaken for a truck horn. People certainly will take notice of you and hopefully react.

I’ve been using mine for several weeks and have found it very useful to warn drivers, cyclists and pedestrians of my presence.

See the Airzound website set up by Thomas Etherington with reviews and information on how to mount it to thicker road bar handlebars.

Highway Code Rule 163

Rule 163 of the Highway Code is a strong topic for many cyclists. It deals with how you should overtake one when on the road. More often that not overtakes are good but sometimes they are appalling and leave cyclists in a position they wouldn’t want to be in, being forced into the kerb.

The Highway Code states that you should

  • Overtake only when it is safe and legal to do so
  • not get too close to the vehicle you intend to overtake
  • use your mirrors, signal when it is safe to do so, take a quick sideways glance if necessary into the blind spot area and then start to move out
  • not assume that you can simply follow a vehicle ahead which is overtaking; there may only be enough room for one vehicle
  • move quickly past the vehicle you are overtaking, once you have started to overtake. Allow plenty of room. Move back to the left as soon as you can but do not cut in
  • take extra care at night and in poor visibility when it is harder to judge speed and distance
  • give way to oncoming vehicles before passing parked vehicles or other obstructions on your side of the road
  • only overtake on the left if the vehicle in front is signalling to turn right, and there is room to do so
  • stay in your lane if traffic is moving slowly in queues. If the queue on your right is moving more slowly than you are, you may pass on the left
  • give motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders at least as much room as you  would when overtaking a car (see Rules 211-215)

This image is included with the notes:

This image is great, it shows roughly where a cyclist should be on the road, around 1 meter from the kerb. This gives the cyclist space to avoid pot holes and keeps them away from the drain covers. Note the cyclist is wearing practical clothes, and has safety gear, these are not required but are a good image to portray.

The driver has moved fully into the other lane, indicating and clearly giving the cyclist plenty of space. I very rarely get an overtake like this, but when I do they stick in my mind.

The only problem I have with rule 163, is the strap line under the image ‘Give vulnerable road users at least as much space as you would a car’ this implies that it is fine to overtake a cyclist with inches of room, because the driver does the same to a car. If the drivers are aggressive when overtake other cars, they are technically doing nothing wrong when they do the same to cyclists with this in view.