That bridge again – VK05FJV Impatient overtake

Previously, in early use of my helmet camera, I was going over the bridge in the video below, and a driver overtook me into oncoming traffic and narrowly avoided a head on collision, of course this was completely my fault, because i was cycling over the bridge at a reasonable speed and he overtook me across double white lines and without being able to see over the brow of the bridge. He promptly stopped in the middle of the road, got out, and verbally assaulted me because it was my fault he nearly crashed. Even with all of this on camera, the police only added an information marker next to him and no charges were pressed.

In the video below, on that very bridge, i have my main camera pointing backwards for testing purposes. And a driver barely waits behind me whilst I travel over the bridge, they cross the double white lines trying to overtake, see oncoming cars and pause brief and then continue their overtake across double white lines.

Apart from breaking several highway code rules, what goes through the mind of these people? you would have to wait only a few seconds on this bridge before you can pass me safely.

W404LDK – Red Light Jumper

Again another example of a car jumping a red light. This is the more common way that is done, where by they go through it late, but this is also the one with the potential for collisions. The driver was stopped in the bike lane and took their time pulling away and getting into traffic. They also didn’t signal that they wanted to take a right turn at the traffic lights.

SG06PXS – Aggressive behaviour

The driver of SG06PXS was seen today doing some dangerous driving, they overtook a vehicle waiting to turn right from a minor road into a major road, in doing so they then pulled out in front of a scooter carrying a pillion passenger and my self, they then proceed to turn left across the path of the vehicle that was waiting to turn right at the junction. All of this to quickly get to a left turn they wanted to take. Pretty shoddy driving in my opinion.

Red Light Jumpers

Every time I talk to someone about cycling, the same old topic comes up, Red Light Jumpers. Ohhh give over, most of the cyclists I see on my commute to work obey the traffic laws that are so much in favour of vehicle drivers.  Only a small minority of cyclists jump red lights, and these are the kind that don’t care about other cyclists, they wouldn’t stop at the side of the road to help someone fix a puncture.

In reality, jumping red lights isn’t as dangerous as other things that some cyclists regularly do. In comparison to some, it’s actually quite safe if done in a certain way. Looking at the bigger picture, is a cyclist red light jumping really that much of an issue? Generally they do no harm, and the potential damage they could cause to others isn’t as large with comparison to motorised vehicles.

The only damage it does, is give the media *cough* Daily Mail *cough* some ammunition to shoot the rest of us with. And for some reason, they never pick up on the real offenders of red light jumping, the motorist. Not only do they do it, they do it often and at times when it is most dangerous. Just look at the video below, the driver gets impatient with waiting, so jumps the red light, whilst in this case there is no danger, cars do often coming over the hill at quite some rate despite the 30mph speed limit. And look where it gets him, 2 or 3 cars in front of where he would have been if he had waited at the red light like he was meant to.

The most dangerous form of red light jumping and the kind I see most often, is the amber gamblers. The ones that go through the amber/red light just as it has turned. Where they accelerate when they see the lights change to try to beat the lights and save a small amount of time. If the timing of the lights is short and the ones for the adjacent junction change before they have cleared the junction, the increase in speed that they have used to get through can cause crashes on a massive scale with the potential for serious injuries or deaths.

EJ56VWE On the Phone

Driver of vehicle with registration EJ56VWE was using his mobile phone whilst driving today. On mentioning it to him, he quickly dropped the phone and carried on driving without a telephone planted to his ear. Clearly your conversation wasn’t that important.

Must get in front mentality

As all cyclists will know, at some point during their journey, they will witness the behaviour of vehicle drivers where the must pass the cyclist but for little reason as they are often halted by traffic or red lights.

This mentality which all drivers seem to have is rather strange. They basically have tunnel vision and they are focused on the obstruction right in front of them, the cyclist. This is rather than looking a few cars ahead and seeing what is going on, as often they get no further by rushing past the cyclists when compared to waiting patiently behind them.

But is this mentality that we witness on a near daily basis (or at least those of us in the cities) limited to just those who are in their vehicles?

As you can see from the video I have included, the mentality is present in other road users and is something I witness on a daily basis. Motorcyclist moving to the front of the traffic and passing the solid stop line and cyclists always moving in front, even if it means they put them selves in a position where they can’t see the lights change. Whilst it isn’t exactly comparable to what happens to us, some of it is still questionable.

As you can see from the clip with the motorcyclist, I don’t filter to the front even though there is a perfectly good feeder lane and  anASL. Why? I look at situation and I see two cars in front of me, if I filter to the front, then I know that they will need to overtake me again pretty soon because of their tunnel vision, so why bother going past when I can wait and lose only a few seconds. Obviously this doesn’t apply to every traffic light you come to, sometimes it is best to filter closer to the front if there are many cars in the queue. But remember that being at the front is not the most important thing!

How super are the Barclays Cycle Superhighway?

A question which has been floating around in my head for some time. No doubt the paint add’s something, not safety in my opinion and all the added features and road layout are an improvement over what was already available. Is it super or a highway for cyclists?

My videos of the superhighway’s have gotten over 30,000 views on youtube, most of these show issues with it ranging from layout to abuse from car drivers and cyclists alike. Aside from the added cycle lanes, a few more advanced stop lines, trixi mirrors, improved off-road cycle lanes, signs and better road surface, there are no other improvements for cyclists. So every time you come to a junction controlled by traffic lights, there is the chance that some numpty comes along and jumps them and the perceived image that all cyclists are red light jumpers is up held.

As has always been planned, the super highways are aimed at commuters, and thus if you use the route on the weekend you will notice that there is a lot more parked vehicles along the route, and all of these are done so legally. But during commuting hours, you will still find that drivers are parked illegally on route and force cyclists to manoeuver around them and into moving traffic. This is not hard for the experience cyclist, but these routes are meant to bring in new riders and this is hardly something that they will find easy to do.

Drivers also still break general traffic rules by driving / stopping / blocking bicycle lanes and stopping after ASL’s. So far I have seen no motorists punished for such offensives and I’ve yet to hear of such from other cyclists. All that has been witnessed is the odd cyclist being fined / spoken to about jumping red lights (which i am not against).

If the Motorways were built like this, there would be an uproar from motorists about the poor quality and forward thinking. But yet we hear nothing from the cyclists? Is this just down to the fact that we are so used to bad cycling facilities, that when we are promised a cycling revolution and we are let down, it’s just another part of being a cyclist in England?

Being a Helmet Camera Cyclist

It’s not easy cycling around with a camera on your helmet. You get the odd question from other cyclists and many odd looks from pedestrians. The biggest issue is the comments and messages you get on youtube. Having a popular youtube channel which attracts many views, i often get messages and comments that are hateful to myself and cyclists in general. With threats not being uncommon. Most of these are from keyboard warriors, who I doubt would be able to do much to harm me.

I tried at first to reason with these users and try to teach them about the errors they made. But I soon learned that this was pointless and now I just delete them. This isn’t the only sort of hatred that I get. Looking at the youtube insight reports on some of my popular videos, i can see what websites people came from to view my videos. This is great to see which newspapers and blogs have posted my videos but it’s not so good when you see various forums that have threads on my videos and all you see are nasty comments aimed towards my self and other cyclists.

Apart from those minor things, having a camera is pretty good. You know that most of the time, if there is an incident then you have it on camera to back up what you did and what the other driver did. You can lay in rest knowing that everything said and all actions taken where on film, and as long as you can control your self, you know that 9/10 you have done nothing wrong. I say that because we aren’t all perfect, and when cycling with a camera I suggest that it is best to cycle as perfectly as possible so that your evidence isn’t corrupted by your own stupid behaviour.

Having a camera isn’t all about filming bad drivers and inconsiderate cyclists, they are the perfect tool for campaigning. Take for example, my videos of the Cycle Superhighway, throughout route 7’s production I have been documenting the ongoing work and what i think about it. Not only that but also documenting how it’s being used. For example one junction when full with traffic, the superhighway is blocked and a lot of cyclists take to the pavement to get ahead of the traffic. This could easily be resolved if the junction was re-designed to give cyclists some priority and not allow vehicles to turn right.

One of my videos about the superhighways has got over 20,000 views, it was posted on many blogs and in newspaper articles and lets not forget being broadcasted on the news. What this lead to was some important people seeing it, and noticing that it was getting views. In turn I have been contacted on several occasions by TFL, asking me if i want to test the cycle hire bikes nearly 2 months before release and riding the superhighway with the project manager who spoke about its improvements and future development. I’ve also met with the roads policing unit at the MET Police. Where we talked about many things, including my cycling style and how it can be improved and also the road safe website and system behind it.

There is a large community of cyclists with helmet cameras on youtube, most of us are subscribed to each other, and we all watch each others videos, leaving comments and advice on how to avoid similar situations in the future. Some of us make improvements to our videos by adding new features. VeryMadMart created a java application that overlays data from a Garmin device onto your video and displays various data readings. I believe TheVexatiousLitigant was the first person to have a rear view camera as well as a forward facing one. And I was the first one to use picture in picture with rear and forward facing cameras. By doing these things, you get people’s interest in your videos and hopefully you help get your point across. You know you have a good idea when people start to ‘copy’ you.

To sum it up, having a camera brings you into a part of the cycling community and can open some pretty amazing doors but be ware, you will get some nasty comments, don’t take them to heart, just ignore them and continue doing what you are doing.