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Cycling in traffic, the French way

By tuco 7 May 2013 19

So, with my breath held, my heart thumping, and an ear cocked for the impending crash of replies, I offer the following news.

A government decree has just authorised cyclists in the French capital to go through red lights, after road safety experts deemed the measure would cut road accidents.

That’s right folks. The thinking is that this would cut road accidents.

Look. See. It’s right here on the internet.

So keep your fancy rolling stop Idaho. Forget about tinkering with those helmet laws, you crazy Melbourne folk. The land of fromage has done it all.

What’s Your opinion?


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Cycling in traffic, the French way
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beardedclam 5:02 pm 08 May 13

Gungahlin Al said :

beardedclam said :

Do you know me? What do you mean people like me. I will have a go at making assumptions too…ready…. You referenced the folk festival, you must be a hippy that loves trees and bicycles and hates anything that pollutes…. way off?? What a surprise.

Or are you upset because i suggested dismounting a bicycle at a crossing.

The fact is, I ride bicycles, I dont ride them in a situation that seems silly, or dangerous. I am aware of the road rules, moreso than you I suspect. I dont have a problem with cyclists that use common sense.

All I am saying is common sense must come into it.

Think about this:
The law says only licenced electricians can change lightbulbs, do you follow the law or change the bulb yourself. What does common sense suggest? Thanks Al

Mate I’m all of the above. Except I wear a suit.

So let’s step down from being rude to each other…?

My reasoning for assuming that you are one of the sort of driver who squeezes through in the same lane beside a cyclist is that you said yourself that the cyclist should have moved over to the side of the lane. If not so that you and others could squeeze through then why? I think that’s a reasonable assumption to reach from the words you wrote.

And I’m trying to tell you that this is a practice the scares the bejesus out of cyclists because it has no regard for the possibility they may jag around a bit of glass or a pothole, or that the driver may miscalculate and go even closer.
So faced with that potentially painful possibility, many cyclists choose to occupy the lane, which they are entirely entitled to do.

You suggest that he should “go pedestrian” and walk across at the lights. This is a process that will take him several minutes with changes. You are suggesting he should sacrifice that time, rather than undertake what should be a perfectly safe right turn, because it held you up for what – 10 seconds?

I disagree. Just be patient for a few seconds.

Is that suit made from lycra?

Gungahlin Al 2:42 pm 08 May 13

beardedclam said :

Do you know me? What do you mean people like me. I will have a go at making assumptions too…ready…. You referenced the folk festival, you must be a hippy that loves trees and bicycles and hates anything that pollutes…. way off?? What a surprise.

Or are you upset because i suggested dismounting a bicycle at a crossing.

The fact is, I ride bicycles, I dont ride them in a situation that seems silly, or dangerous. I am aware of the road rules, moreso than you I suspect. I dont have a problem with cyclists that use common sense.

All I am saying is common sense must come into it.

Think about this:
The law says only licenced electricians can change lightbulbs, do you follow the law or change the bulb yourself. What does common sense suggest? Thanks Al

Mate I’m all of the above. Except I wear a suit.

So let’s step down from being rude to each other…?

My reasoning for assuming that you are one of the sort of driver who squeezes through in the same lane beside a cyclist is that you said yourself that the cyclist should have moved over to the side of the lane. If not so that you and others could squeeze through then why? I think that’s a reasonable assumption to reach from the words you wrote.

And I’m trying to tell you that this is a practice the scares the bejesus out of cyclists because it has no regard for the possibility they may jag around a bit of glass or a pothole, or that the driver may miscalculate and go even closer.
So faced with that potentially painful possibility, many cyclists choose to occupy the lane, which they are entirely entitled to do.

You suggest that he should “go pedestrian” and walk across at the lights. This is a process that will take him several minutes with changes. You are suggesting he should sacrifice that time, rather than undertake what should be a perfectly safe right turn, because it held you up for what – 10 seconds?

I disagree. Just be patient for a few seconds.

beardedclam 4:17 pm 07 May 13

Gungahlin Al said :

beardedclam said :

So, I will say again, yes he has the right to be there and good for him too. And yes there may be some valid reasons for it such as he only can afford a bike etc. I actually think the proposal in France may work, depending on the common sense of the cyclists. Unfortunately based on my experiences, it wouldn’t work here with lack of common sense. Not all the time, but frequently.
However, when a knob is riding his fashionable fold up cycle in the middle of the lane along a busy main road near a town centre mid Saturday morning during a peak period, perhaps a novice perhaps not, oblivious to his surroundings, is it common sense to ride in the middle of the road, or in a designated bike path?
Just because you are allowed, doesn’t always mean you should.
And GungAl, maybe hop off the bike where the bike lane permits at the intersection, then walk the bike across the road at the designated pedestrian crossing or assisted by the little green man.

People get cheesed off if cyclists switch between “now I’m a road user; now I’m a footpath user” modes. People get cheesed off if cyclists stay with one or the other. Can’t win.

He’s entitled to use the road lane. And he’s justified sitting in the middle of the lane because if he goes to one side people like you will try to squeeze through, infringing his “bubble” with no regard for the possibility of a wobble or pothole dodge. It’s a legitimate cyclist safety tactic that I use myself.

The Folk Festival regulars The Spooky Men’s Chorale do a street skit where they’re all in suits and they drive a wedge through the crowd chanting “Let me through, let me through, I’ve got important things to do.” I’ve always thought that sums up the impatience of Canberra drivers exquisitely.

Do you know me? What do you mean people like me. I will have a go at making assumptions too…ready…. You referenced the folk festival, you must be a hippy that loves trees and bicycles and hates anything that pollutes…. way off?? What a surprise.

Or are you upset because i suggested dismounting a bicycle at a crossing.

The fact is, I ride bicycles, I dont ride them in a situation that seems silly, or dangerous. I am aware of the road rules, moreso than you I suspect. I dont have a problem with cyclists that use common sense.

All I am saying is common sense must come into it.

Think about this:
The law says only licenced electricians can change lightbulbs, do you follow the law or change the bulb yourself. What does common sense suggest? Thanks Al

Gungahlin Al 3:52 pm 07 May 13

beardedclam said :

So, I will say again, yes he has the right to be there and good for him too. And yes there may be some valid reasons for it such as he only can afford a bike etc. I actually think the proposal in France may work, depending on the common sense of the cyclists. Unfortunately based on my experiences, it wouldn’t work here with lack of common sense. Not all the time, but frequently.
However, when a knob is riding his fashionable fold up cycle in the middle of the lane along a busy main road near a town centre mid Saturday morning during a peak period, perhaps a novice perhaps not, oblivious to his surroundings, is it common sense to ride in the middle of the road, or in a designated bike path?
Just because you are allowed, doesn’t always mean you should.
And GungAl, maybe hop off the bike where the bike lane permits at the intersection, then walk the bike across the road at the designated pedestrian crossing or assisted by the little green man.

People get cheesed off if cyclists switch between “now I’m a road user; now I’m a footpath user” modes. People get cheesed off if cyclists stay with one or the other. Can’t win.

He’s entitled to use the road lane. And he’s justified sitting in the middle of the lane because if he goes to one side people like you will try to squeeze through, infringing his “bubble” with no regard for the possibility of a wobble or pothole dodge. It’s a legitimate cyclist safety tactic that I use myself.

The Folk Festival regulars The Spooky Men’s Chorale do a street skit where they’re all in suits and they drive a wedge through the crowd chanting “Let me through, let me through, I’ve got important things to do.” I’ve always thought that sums up the impatience of Canberra drivers exquisitely.

zorro29 3:40 pm 07 May 13

awesome 🙂

beardedclam 3:16 pm 07 May 13

So, I will say again, yes he has the right to be there and good for him too. And yes there may be some valid reasons for it such as he only can afford a bike etc. I actually think the proposal in France may work, depending on the common sense of the cyclists. Unfortunately based on my experiences, it wouldn’t work here with lack of common sense. Not all the time, but frequently.
However, when a knob is riding his fashionable fold up cycle in the middle of the lane along a busy main road near a town centre mid Saturday morning during a peak period, perhaps a novice perhaps not, oblivious to his surroundings, is it common sense to ride in the middle of the road, or in a designated bike path?
Just because you are allowed, doesn’t always mean you should.
And GungAl, maybe hop off the bike where the bike lane permits at the intersection, then walk the bike across the road at the designated pedestrian crossing or assisted by the little green man.

Gungahlin Al 2:31 pm 07 May 13

beardedclam said :

Another law that will enable cyclists to use the old “I’m allowed to so I will, regardless of how dangerous it may be to myself or other road users” excuse to defend their stupid actions on the road. Case in point, I witnessed the same cyclist on a fold up bicycle following all the road rules, on two seperate occassions in two seperate locations within about two minutes.
He was oblivious, or choosing to show no respect, to the other vehicles, particularly in the right hand lane directly behind him as he turned right across an intersection. Sounds fine. He was slow, very slow. Not to the left of the lane, right in the middle. There were no traffic lights, just an intersection with its own turning lane. I thought the car behind was going to nail him, so much so that I grabbed the wifes leg in the passenger seat and squeezed as the car approached. I puckered, lifted and….. the cars came to a sudden stop, the cyclist rode off, not flinching and unaware of what he just caused. He was wearing a helmet though, and he was allowed to be on the road, but surely when there are safer bicycle lanes and street crossings all around, common sense can sometimes outwiegh the law…. can’t it?

The guy has to turn right. How else do you suggest he does that?
It’s only hazardous if drivers get upset at the lost 10 seconds – which they’ll make up before they get to the next corner anyway.
Sit back, relax, and contemplate that his physical activity is probably contributing to a) reduced road construction costs, and b) reduced health care costs, for you as a taxpayer.

KB1971 2:19 pm 07 May 13

Solidarity said :

KB1971 said :

beardedclam said :

Another law that will enable cyclists to use the old “I’m allowed to so I will, regardless of how dangerous it may be to myself or other road users” excuse to defend their stupid actions on the road. Case in point, I witnessed the same cyclist on a fold up bicycle following all the road rules, on two seperate occassions in two seperate locations within about two minutes.
He was oblivious, or choosing to show no respect, to the other vehicles, particularly in the right hand lane directly behind him as he turned right across an intersection. Sounds fine. He was slow, very slow. Not to the left of the lane, right in the middle. There were no traffic lights, just an intersection with its own turning lane. I thought the car behind was going to nail him, so much so that I grabbed the wifes leg in the passenger seat and squeezed as the car approached. I puckered, lifted and….. the cars came to a sudden stop, the cyclist rode off, not flinching and unaware of what he just caused. He was wearing a helmet though, and he was allowed to be on the road, but surely when there are safer bicycle lanes and street crossings all around, common sense can sometimes outwiegh the law…. can’t it?

WTF? So a car driver wasnt aware of his surroundings & it was the cyclists fault? (even though the rider was lawfully in the right).

This is the problem with a lot of car drivers, putting aside the antics of some riders (I acknowledge that they are dicks), they think they can just do what they like & push past a rider. Take Poetix’s thread as a case in point. They just dont seem to see them as a road user like everybody else (& dont start with the no rego crap, ATM riders are legally entitled to use the road).

I wonder what would happen if semi trailer and B-double drivers started doing the same thing to cars what would happen? How do you recon that would go if a fully loaded B-double ran you over.

Its a bit like emergency vehicles, for some reason people dont geddit.

I don’t see where it says the cyclist is at fault? It actually says he was abiding by the law.

“the cars came to a sudden stop, the cyclist rode off, not flinching and unaware of what he just caused.”

carnardly 1:59 pm 07 May 13

well, then if anything “did” happen, the onus of responsibility is still on car number 2 (the one behind the one behind the cyclist). not the cyclist, or the car number 1 driving appropriately to the conditions…

The “knob” may be someone with a physical limitation who will never be legally capable of riding a car and it may be his ONLY form of transport.

The knob may be someone who has only recently learnt to ride a bike, or a novice rider who is just venturing onto the road.

The knob may be someone who can’t afford a car

Knobbiness is in the eye of the beholder….

HiddenDragon 1:53 pm 07 May 13

Sounds to me like a cunning example of Darwinianism on the part of the French legislators.

Solidarity 1:34 pm 07 May 13

KB1971 said :

beardedclam said :

Another law that will enable cyclists to use the old “I’m allowed to so I will, regardless of how dangerous it may be to myself or other road users” excuse to defend their stupid actions on the road. Case in point, I witnessed the same cyclist on a fold up bicycle following all the road rules, on two seperate occassions in two seperate locations within about two minutes.
He was oblivious, or choosing to show no respect, to the other vehicles, particularly in the right hand lane directly behind him as he turned right across an intersection. Sounds fine. He was slow, very slow. Not to the left of the lane, right in the middle. There were no traffic lights, just an intersection with its own turning lane. I thought the car behind was going to nail him, so much so that I grabbed the wifes leg in the passenger seat and squeezed as the car approached. I puckered, lifted and….. the cars came to a sudden stop, the cyclist rode off, not flinching and unaware of what he just caused. He was wearing a helmet though, and he was allowed to be on the road, but surely when there are safer bicycle lanes and street crossings all around, common sense can sometimes outwiegh the law…. can’t it?

WTF? So a car driver wasnt aware of his surroundings & it was the cyclists fault? (even though the rider was lawfully in the right).

This is the problem with a lot of car drivers, putting aside the antics of some riders (I acknowledge that they are dicks), they think they can just do what they like & push past a rider. Take Poetix’s thread as a case in point. They just dont seem to see them as a road user like everybody else (& dont start with the no rego crap, ATM riders are legally entitled to use the road).

I wonder what would happen if semi trailer and B-double drivers started doing the same thing to cars what would happen? How do you recon that would go if a fully loaded B-double ran you over.

Its a bit like emergency vehicles, for some reason people dont geddit.

I don’t see where it says the cyclist is at fault? It actually says he was abiding by the law.

beardedclam 1:25 pm 07 May 13

Don’t get me wrong. Cyclists are entitled to use the road, whatever. But when you get a knob going about 5 km, all wobbly like he needs training wheels, surely, the designated bike path or street crossing is a safer option. Especially when the vehicles behind him were already going slow, with caution. The fact is , he couldn’t be seen by the cars behind the car behind him and it wouldnt have occurred should the cyclist been on his cycle path or crossed at the crossing.

magiccar9 1:17 pm 07 May 13

Two words… speed cushions.
Problem solved

KB1971 1:02 pm 07 May 13

beardedclam said :

Another law that will enable cyclists to use the old “I’m allowed to so I will, regardless of how dangerous it may be to myself or other road users” excuse to defend their stupid actions on the road. Case in point, I witnessed the same cyclist on a fold up bicycle following all the road rules, on two seperate occassions in two seperate locations within about two minutes.
He was oblivious, or choosing to show no respect, to the other vehicles, particularly in the right hand lane directly behind him as he turned right across an intersection. Sounds fine. He was slow, very slow. Not to the left of the lane, right in the middle. There were no traffic lights, just an intersection with its own turning lane. I thought the car behind was going to nail him, so much so that I grabbed the wifes leg in the passenger seat and squeezed as the car approached. I puckered, lifted and….. the cars came to a sudden stop, the cyclist rode off, not flinching and unaware of what he just caused. He was wearing a helmet though, and he was allowed to be on the road, but surely when there are safer bicycle lanes and street crossings all around, common sense can sometimes outwiegh the law…. can’t it?

WTF? So a car driver wasnt aware of his surroundings & it was the cyclists fault? (even though the rider was lawfully in the right).

This is the problem with a lot of car drivers, putting aside the antics of some riders (I acknowledge that they are dicks), they think they can just do what they like & push past a rider. Take Poetix’s thread as a case in point. They just dont seem to see them as a road user like everybody else (& dont start with the no rego crap, ATM riders are legally entitled to use the road).

I wonder what would happen if semi trailer and B-double drivers started doing the same thing to cars what would happen? How do you recon that would go if a fully loaded B-double ran you over.

Its a bit like emergency vehicles, for some reason people dont geddit.

carnardly 12:51 pm 07 May 13

cyclists often “claim a lane” so they don’t get squooshed into the gutter.

For anyone who’s interested – just research this case
http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/luke-stevens-pleads-not-guilty-to-death-of-cyclist-richard-pollett-25-on-moggill-rd-kenmore-in-2011/story-e6freoof-1226632311948

and saying your cyclist was “unaware of what he had just caused”…? If he was obeying the rules of the road, albeit slowly, the onus is on the other car drivers to drive near him safely, however slow or otherwise you think he was going. What if there were 3 cars stuck behind a 20 km/hour bulldozer or similar? do you think that driver would be unaware of what he just caused.

Slow down people – it won’t kill you…

beardedclam 12:29 pm 07 May 13

Another law that will enable cyclists to use the old “I’m allowed to so I will, regardless of how dangerous it may be to myself or other road users” excuse to defend their stupid actions on the road. Case in point, I witnessed the same cyclist on a fold up bicycle following all the road rules, on two seperate occassions in two seperate locations within about two minutes.
He was oblivious, or choosing to show no respect, to the other vehicles, particularly in the right hand lane directly behind him as he turned right across an intersection. Sounds fine. He was slow, very slow. Not to the left of the lane, right in the middle. There were no traffic lights, just an intersection with its own turning lane. I thought the car behind was going to nail him, so much so that I grabbed the wifes leg in the passenger seat and squeezed as the car approached. I puckered, lifted and….. the cars came to a sudden stop, the cyclist rode off, not flinching and unaware of what he just caused. He was wearing a helmet though, and he was allowed to be on the road, but surely when there are safer bicycle lanes and street crossings all around, common sense can sometimes outwiegh the law…. can’t it?

KB1971 12:17 pm 07 May 13

Solidarity said :

Well that’s a novel way to end the cyclist vs. motorists debate, I mean if enough cyclists run red lights well… soon there will be no cyclists left…. Even at 20km/h, it’s not just a simple bent bumper when you’re on a bike and you get hit by a car

I pretty well disagree with everything you say about bike riders but that made me chuckle.

Solidarity 12:04 pm 07 May 13

Well that’s a novel way to end the cyclist vs. motorists debate, I mean if enough cyclists run red lights well… soon there will be no cyclists left…. Even at 20km/h, it’s not just a simple bent bumper when you’re on a bike and you get hit by a car

harvyk1 11:21 am 07 May 13

From what I can tell, it’s at nominated intersections which have a speed limit of 30km/h.
That is very different to any intersection, including ones where cars travel through them at 80km/h.

In some respects this trial is no different than the “turn left at any time with care” rules we already have which allow vehicles to turn left even if they have a red light at certain intersections.

The big issue that people (well myself at least) have here is that a minority of cyclists do not feel that they need to obey road rules. If there was specific road rules for cyclists, and they obeyed them (and added a degree of common sense towards obeying them), then the standard cyclist v car arguments be damned.

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