Ok. Enough is enough. People of Cambridge (and everywhere else for that matter), can we please start taking responsibility for our own safety?
Jimmy Fallon is wise.
I commute to work by bike every day, and I have lost count of the number of people I see doing stupid things on foot, on bikes and in cars. Can we please use a bit of common sense and not risk our lives and the lives of others simply because we want to get somewhere 5 seconds earlier or because we just HAVE to send that text? Here’s are the WORST things that I see people doing. Prepare your eye rolls folks.
Here’s a question. If someone is running or cycling in a badly lit area, with no lights or hi-vis, what do you think the chances are of someone being able to see them? It can be incredibly difficult to spot someone in this situation, and there have been numerous times when I’ve suddenly seen someone appear out of the gloom and had to slam my brakes on to avoid hitting them or simply as a reflex because they’ve made me jump out of my skin. As a cyclist you’re legally required to have white front and red rear lights on between sunset and sunrise, and with street lighting being reduced in some areas, it’s even more essential these days. If you’re out walking, maybe consider just having a reflective panel on your coat or bag. And runners, it’s just common sense for crying out loud. At night, just put something obnoxiously bright on ok? It doesn’t have to cost the earth either. Take a bit of responsibility for your own safety and stop expecting everyone else to look out for you.
One of my biggest pet peeves is cyclists (yes, I’m singling out here but I’m one of you) who just don’t look out for other cyclists. If you’re coming up to a roundabout and a cyclist is already on it, don’t pull on to the roundabout anyway. The other cyclist will have to swerve to avoid you, and more often than not that means swerving into the path of a vehicle behind them. Same goes for coming out of junctions. And if you’re planning to overtake something, just give a quick glance over your shoulder ok? Otherwise if another cyclist is already overtaking YOU, you’re making them swerve into the path of oncoming traffic, which is what happened to me last week.
THE ELECTED DEAF
I get it – on long runs or bike rides it’s nice to have a bit of music to keep you company. But in a city with notoriously bad rush hour traffic and old narrow roads without a huge amount of room for the daily cars vs bikes fandango, it seems a bit nuts to me. Plus if you’re plugged in and a cyclist rings their bell, but you don’t hear them because you’ve got Meatloaf or some other guilty pleasure blaring in your lugholes, don’t then swear at the cyclist when they pass you and make you jump out of your skin. If you really, REALLY need your music, maybe try a pair of bone conducting headphones? Or better yet -run with a friend. Chat and motivation in one.
RED LIGHT RUNNERS
Whether you’re in a car or on a bike this is SO uncool. In the case of bike vs bike it’s the same as the Non Looky Loos. Case in point is the junction where Station Road meets Hills Road. I’ve lost count of the number of times a bike coming down Hills Road towards town has run a red light as I’ve been turning right out of station road. The worst time was when I had to swerve to avoid someone coming at speed, and narrowly missed being hit by the ruddy great bus behind me. When it comes to pedestrians, kids are taught to cross the road when the green man is showing. They should be able to run across a road when it’s their right of way without worrying about a bike (or car!) smashing into them. A bike going at 15mph can do a lot of damage to little bones. And big ones for that matter. Don’t be a jerk. You’ll only arrive 30 seconds later at most. Enjoy the pause.
THE LAZY BONES
In a car it means flicking a finger. On a bike it means lifting an arm. For crying out loud just let everyone know what you’re doing and SIGNAL. Despite what you may think psychics and mind readers don’t exist. Be courteous to your fellow road users and communicate.
THE MOBILE ADDICTS
You get the queen of eye rollers. Whether you’re a pedestrian, cyclist or driver, JUST STOP IT. Be present.
Although this post has been pretty light-hearted, the message is serious. We’re all trying to get somewhere, and no one is more important that anyone else (no matter what your mum tells you). We just need to make it as safe as possible by looking out for each other and taking responsibility for our own safety.