Careless Cyclists Causing Park Strife

Dean Nicholas
By Dean Nicholas Last edited 116 months ago
Careless Cyclists Causing Park Strife
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We don't wish to tar every pedal-pusher with the same garish shade of Lycra, but it can't escape the more observant pedestrian that a small minority of cyclists take an approach to road safety and basic manners that can be best described as "indifferent".

Having taken disregard for red lights and one-way streets to new heights, the problem has spread to the Royal parks, where wannabe Victoria Pendletons can be seen tearing it up with nary a thought for other users. One high-profile group has now taken called on cyclists to ride more carefully in order to avoid collisions with their poor pooches.

"Celebrity dog owners" (that's slebs who own dogs, not the Andrex puppy and his A-list pals) Jenny Seagrove, Felicity Kendal and Maureen Lipman are fronting the campaign. Seagrove has urged cyclists to "cycle with thoughtfulness", following the recent death of two dogs in Kensington Gardens who came off worse in a collision between mutt and machine.

Though London's parks have clearly delineated cycle lanes, problems ensue when cyclists sally forth into pedestrianised areas. A £250 fine can be levied for "dangerous cycling", which has been slapped on around 100 cyclists by the Met so far this year.

Wonder if they were riding "BM-Rex" bikes, eh readers? (Clear your desk, you're fired. Incidentally, Rebekah Wade called. Report to Wapping HQ tomorrow. Eds.)

Image from Mr November's Flickrstream via the Londonist pool

Last Updated 24 September 2008

Callum

Of course, dog owners (or, more often, professional dog walkers) should be more careful too. I've fallen off my bike along the grand Union Canal this year, because I was swerving to avoid a huge pack of about eight pet dogs which were being taken for a walk along there, off their leads.

Here endeth my obligatory smug cyclist's retort.

c0ventg4rd3n

As both a cyclist and a dog owner, I have to side with the owners on this one.

The vast majority of cyclists in this city are courteous and law abiding. However there are still are disturbing numbers of cyclists who travel at high speeds through areas with high numbers of pedestrians, often on the pavement or other path not designated for cycle traffic.

Recently our street was closed off due to sewer works, and pedestrians had a narrow slice of pavement on either side of the street as a passageway. On a DAILY basis, cycle commuters would attempt to ride through these passages and shoo pedestrians out of their way using bells, horns, or harsh words. The proper thing to do would have been to dismount and walk their bikes along the 50 meters of closed street.

There may be no hope for some people who engage in this type of behavior, but for those who simply just may not know any better but are trainable, hopefully this new campaign will reach them.

coshgirl

But not as much strife as the HGVs which have killed three London cyclists and seriously injured several more in the last two weeks. For some reason you are choosing to ignore this issue entirely at Londonist. Would be interesting to hear your justification in this case...

DeanN

"For some reason you are choosing to ignore this issue entirely at Londonist. Would be interesting to hear your justification in this case..."

The issue of cycling fatalities has little to do with the above post - we're talking about bike behaviour in public parks, not road etiquette. Furthermore, we have covered the issue of cycling safety - here and here among other posts. I'm not sure what relevance your comment has.

paulcox

Devoted cyclist I may be, but when walking I've taken to pointedly ignoring bells rung on the pavement or in the park. Yes, I'm in your way, what of it?

jamesup

Bikes win for me: too many parks have no cycle lanes - take green park for instance, my trip from Picadilly to the Mall requires a sweaty and lengthy diversion via constitution hill or through St James as there is no cycle lane to cross the park whatsoever - there is in fact a road with a 5mph limit down the side of the park, be we're not permitted!

The amount of C**P on the streets is testament to the lack of care dog owners take.

Amanda Farah

It doesn't mention whether the dogs killed were run down by some renegade cyclist not in the cycle lane or if the dogs were off their leads and ran into the cycle lane.

Still, as someone whose bicycle is her main means of transport, it really ticks me off when I see cyclists riding where they shouldn't. They give us all a bad name.

coshgirl

Okay Dean, I'll comment on this issue. According to the Highway Code dog owners have a duty to control their animals in public. Personally I've had abuse from dog owners when their pets have ran onto the cycle path causing me to make an emergency stop. As for the other matter, I see the last time it was covered was in June. Given recent events, perhaps it's time 'cycle safety' was given another airing?

DeanN

I see the last time it was covered was in June. Given recent events, perhaps it's time 'cycle safety' was given another airing?

In an odd coincidence, it so happens we've got a story on cycle safety today- Ghost bike.

helen2006

There are two issues. One is dangerous cycling, threatening the safety of pedestrians. The other is danger to cyclists. Whenever the first is raised, the second is used as a response. It is not a response. It is a diversion from the issue.

The other day I came out of my house and walked along the pavement of my quiet street. A cyclist came up behind me, giving me a buzz of fear as he passed. I am quite deaf and have no forewarning when this happens.

As he dismounted a few seconds later I took the opportunity to talk to him. His response to me was first quite angry, then he quoted the safety of cyclists, and only when I persisted did he apologise for giving me a scare.

A few days ago I saw another cyclist, with a 'passenger' on the crossbar, buzz an elderly man walking along the pavement. The two of them laughed when they saw him jump.

The first of these I would say was just thoughtless bad behaviour, the second quite deliberate wickedness. But whatever, it don't feel safe to be on the pavement any more.

The pavement should not be a place of refuge for cyclists, not unless they get off their bikes and push. Pavements are for foot power, not pedal power.