Some of our members have reported a couple of close encounters of the motorised kind. I think we all know the sort of thing – too close a pass by a driver, impatient driving, and sometimes outright road rage. What’s a bit more concerning was that two of these concerned professional drivers (a taxi and a bus) – people who really ought to know better.
Unfortunately, because there’s a lot of drivers out there who haven’t ridden a bike since they were children, they may not understand what cyclists need, or why cyclists behave the way they do. Some drivers believe that cyclists ought to cycle on the pavement, or have to use a bike lane or path if there’s one provided. Some simply don’t consider that cyclists might have to go around pot holes or pull out to turn right or avoid parked cars – they don’t understand why we’re not riding way off to the left and ‘out of the way’. They may not realise that official guidance from the government’s own cycle training schemes encourage cyclists to ride away from the kerb, especially when passing junctions or if there’s a blind bend, to discourage drivers from overtaking. And they may not realise just how much space you need to give a cyclist when you pass them if you’re to do so safely (although there’s no actual law on this, the Highway Code encourages drivers to give cyclists ‘as much space as you would a car’)
Some bus companies, like Lothian buses in Edinburgh, hold their drivers to very high standards and train them well as this video shows (which is well worth a watch for both cyclists and drivers)
We’d like to see all bus companies in Dumfries offer similar advice to their drivers.
Meanwhile, we’d like to hear from you about whether you’ve had dangerous encounters with buses, taxis, or any other professional drivers. The idea will be to try and get some of these drivers out of the driving seat and onto two wheels, so they can learn first hand what it’s like to cycle on the roads and what cyclists need from drivers to stay safe. We’re sure we’ll also hear plenty about what cyclists do wrong – we know not everyone is perfect. But then again we do pay a greater price if something goes wrong.