Aston Martin celebrates its 100th anniversary with a radical one-off concept car
Every year 1.2 million people are killed and 50 million injured on the world's roads, but there is a race on to radically reduce this number. The latest safety innovation to emerge is an airbag for cyclists. Designed by two Swedish university students, the device is worn around the neck and inflates in a split second should it detect a fall.
related stories on msn
How about teaching pedestrians how to cross the road? As for cyclists, I'm sick & tired of encountering gangs of kids on bikes standing around in the middle of the road talking. Pedestrians also seem to love to walk down the middle of the road, often pushing baby buggies. They need to learn a simple rule - Cars on the roads, pedestrians on the pavements. Wouldn't they moan if we all drove on the pavements? It's always the motorist who gets made out to be the bad guy & it's getting beyond a joke!
I remember the fortunately short-lived introduction of the rule whereby the car driver would be automatically at fault in the event of an accident with a cyclist or pedestrian. Those I worked with thought I would be glad of this and were surprised when I wasn't. As I said I take chances, and I accept the consequences if things go wrong, in all areas of my life. Ultimate nightmare for me is to cause an accident and survive only to find another has died avoiding me. As such I ride quickly, safely and as considerately as practical.
There should never be automatic blame and to consider doing so is insane. If I hit one of the millions of potholes and hit your car, it was my responsibility as I collided while you couldn't avoid it. The issue comes in with damage to persons travelling. If you are found to have driven dangerously and hit a car, there will be a host of airbags etc. to protect the occupants, on a bike no such thing. This means hitting a car is likely to be dangerous driving, point, fine, maybe a ban if severe, the same with a cyclist could cause death and that changes it to death by dangerous driving carrying up to 12 years in prison. The change is brought about by vulnerability but should change only if there is a fatality. Good reason to drive sensibly though.
Regarding stopped positions, I do tend to under rather than overtake unless the vehicle is signalling left. The reason being the number of times cars move lanes without those nice little yellow lights being activated by their weakest component. If there are lanes of stationary traffic however I do tend to ride up the middle, the gap is larger and I am usually in a hurry. I do appreciate your viewpoint and see the same riders, I haven't and won't declare all cyclists are competent.
I know there are some very good drivers out there but I have survived this long by assuming you are all totally useless and I am proven right too often to ever give this system up. I expect you approach cyclists the same way, I know I do.
The response will cover a few posts. Thank you for coming back on this, much rather been told why I am wrong than lazily thumbed down, shows thought has gone into it.
Totally agree with you regarding competency testing for bikes. I have to avoid morons from the 'you never forget how to ride a bike' fraternity as well. Having said that I think the fact there is a single car or motorbike test makes people think they are automatically wonderful on the road when they frequently aren't. I haven't ridden a motorbike in years yet legally I can go out buy the most powerful sport bike imaginable and bomb off on it. The fact many do so is why there are insurance penalties for 'born again bikers.' I know I wouldn't be safe to do so stick to self-propelled.
I have passed two practical tests, motorbike and car and appreciate the benefits of both. Cars are, to my view, better for carrying stuff and more than two people. Many old bikers refer to car drivers as cage dwellers, ironically many of them also drive Volvos, talk about hypocritical. One of the most worrying parts of passing both these tests is neither covered how to deal with cyclists, and I hear many drivers saying they never know what to do around one.
I tend to worry most about drivers who wouldn't dare ride a bicycle or motorbike, and therefore need to be strapped into a cage to feel safe. Road awareness and a smaller vehicle has saved my bacon more than once, and I have escaped one serious accident purely by being able to accelerate fast and get through a small gap as the two cars either side collided, in a car that would never have been possible. There is a lot more passive safety in a car, but I would still say a driver and rider of the same calibre would find most accidents easier to avoid on a bike. Also consider that most NCAP testing is done at 40mph and below, this means little if you are on the motorway at 80, in fact it could mean you get trapped and die slowly rather than the instant version on a bike. Also one to remember for drivers who bully their way out of a junction when a bike is coming, check out what happens if a bike hits the driver’s door in crash tests.
Safety should always be about avoiding the accident first and I see less of this all of the time with visibility for drivers being continually removed in the name of fitting more airbags or shock dissipating bodywork. The newer trend in cars is going toward less glass as well making this even worse for drivers who want to be able to see around them. I do agree in passive safety, but think it should never be at the cost of active. Comparison would be having the cyclist airbag made in a shape that made it difficult to turn my head, making me less able to see what is going on around me. If I had an accident it may save me but not having it could have avoided it anyway.The best safety device fitted to anyone in control of any vehicle is between their ears. We all make mistakes but by thinking ahead and concentrating can minimise them. I would say bikers tend to make better drivers because we have been more vulnerable and appreciate the risks more. I have been wrong before and have met some major exceptions to this rule.
The road tax gets put into a kitty with all of the others and there are now cars paying none at all, it's less a road tax, more of a pollution tax now. Emissions of cyclists are obviously considered safer, interesting theory.
I remember being stopped in one city I was living by a car owner who hated that the local council had converted a dual carriageway to a single, on the premise of needing a cycle lane. The few cyclists that used that road, myself included, rode alongside this newly laid pink tarmac and he wanted to know why. I pointed out that I am on a road bike and feel every bump, the tarmac laid in the cycle lane had a join every 50 or so yards meaning riding along it was literally torturous. The man in question realised and stated that this hadn't helped me or the other cyclists either. The chances of anyone agreeing this plan having sat in a saddle since childhood was very remote.
Most cycle lanes etc. are either attempts to get cyclists to rescind their right of way, lane starting before a junction, taking them a few yards into it then a give way line, or give cars less priority than they actually need, losing a lane or making them too narrow etc. Personally I prefer when they simply leave the road as it is and let us work out what needs to be done. As you say we don't pay in to the road directly and there is enough space anyway.
Oh and one more point. Yes driving may be the least healthy option but for those of us that don't cycle they invented these marvelous new buildings called gyms. You can even get on a fake bicycle and get all the health bonus' and none of the drawbacks ;) lol
You should take note that you can't say you not a militant cyclist while saying all car drivers are "cage dwellers", thats slightly militant. While also going on a tyraid about how good bikes are and how bad cars are without once highlighting that the many benefits of car ownership.
Im not saying that what your saying isn't true but dont be a hypocite about it. At the end of the day it is drivers that pay the road tax that goes towards keeping your nice roads clean and safe for you to cycle on. Also I would like to point out every driver on the road spent time and effort to pass not just a theory test but also a practical test for our abilities to use the roads, why shouldn't cyclists be held to the same measures for using the same road space?
When approaching a stationary vehicle look for the drivers eyes in any mirror, if I can't see them they can't see me.
If in doubt shout. I am too vulnerable not to ensure a driver has noticed my presence. This is most often not intended to cause offence, and consist of 'oy!' or similar. Bells get ignored, big mouth less so. If I am intending to offend you will know.
Assess the road ahead and behind as far as practical, assuming that no-one else on the road or pavement has the slightest clue and every body of standing water is shielding an open manhole or similar risk from view.
Signal everything as much as practical, including going straight ahead when there is a left junction off the road. This is limited if actually turning as I need my hands on the bars to turn and brake, sorry folks.
Assume that every car will edge over give way lines, usually correct, endangering everyone else.
Assume every person with a pushchair will send this into the road then look, real major hate of mine.
Assume every pavement cyclist will simply ride onto the road without looking at all.
If it's dark use lights, and try to have spares or spare batteries. There are occasions that I don't notice a failure, and yes I do appreciate this being pointed out.
Don't ride too defensively, this tends to result in being pushed around and often into dangerous situations. Whether other road users like it or not I have a legal right to be there and will exercise this to ensure I and others remain safe.
Check the bike regularly for any defect that could be dangerous. Carry a fix kit. If all else fails I have feet which are as capable of walking as pedalling.
Despite firmly believing cyclists are naturally superior to the cage dwelling majority on the whole, I do accept that the cages hold human beings and show them consideration I would want in return. I am generally the lunatic pushing a broken down car out of the way, in my puke inducing cycling gear, to enable flow of traffic to continue even though it doesn't affect me at all. Usually putting my life on the line to do so as those affected drive increasingly dangerously to push past rather than wait a few seconds for me to clear the obstruction.
If I'm stopped in a queue at, say, traffic-lights, I usually stop close to the kerb, unless of course I'm on the point of turning right when the lights change. This allows both motor-cyclists and pedal cyclists to go past up the middle of the road if they want to. Passing any vehicle on the side closest to the kerb is always dangerous and anybody who does so should accept the consequences. I've seen pedal cyclists catch the kerb with the left-hand pedal and swerve across the road, I've even seen one fall off as a result.
Diddums. So many jealous cage dwellers don't like that cyclists are fitter than they are and get past all of the traffic.
We aren't arrogant, just superior. Pay no road tax like the smallest of your cages and keep fit, rather than elevating our blood pressure sitting in miles of jams.
I ride on the road, have done for decades. There are inept cyclists in roughly the same proportions as inept cage dwellers, the worst are the fair weather riders as they are rarely ever in practice.
Cyclist hitting a pedestrian could be fatal especially if a toddler. That is why we are supposed to be on the road by law. I take chances on the road knowing if it goes wrong it is my fault and I accept this. In over two decades of riding I have hit one car through my own fault and two where it clearly wasn't, one of them driving on mobile.
Worst common habits of cage dwellers around cyclists.
Overtaking then turning left. We aren't all lazy wasters maxing out at 8mph, if you can't guage speed of another vehicle you should be driving.
Not dipping lights on back roads. Duh cyclist can't magically see through full beams.
Flying past when there is a queue in front or this would put them dangerously close to the next vehicle, usually breaking the speed limit to do so.
Sitting behind when it is clear and safe to pass and the cyclist is keeping it so. Annoys the hell out of the rider and everyone behind you.
Kerbing after overtaking. The reason we can pass stationary traffic is because we realise one person doesn't need five or more seats and a vehicle around two metres wide, it's called intelligence.
Latest Cars videos
On the road with the landmark Lambos for special golden anniversary drive.
Date 13/05/13, Duration 4:26, Views 8951