It’s NOT Road Tax!!!

I’ve been biting my tongue for so long while people who drive and commute bitch and moan about cyclists on the road. This video has infuriated to a level where I’ve felt compelled to write this and hope that somehow we can get it to 47 year old Hamid Parast who drives a Chrysler Grand Voyager.

Point 1: Bristol City Council use everyone’s tax to fund a lot of stuff in the City. Including the council tax paid by people who do not drive! You do not pay Road Tax, you pay Vehicle Excise Duty to the UK central government via the DVLA.

VED applies to road vehicles and is applied at a level based on the CO2 emissions of the vehicle. By your argument, some Citroen C3 and Kia Ce’ed drivers have the same rights as cyclists who pay no “road tax”? It’s not a toll or a fee for permission to use the road and it certainly does not contribute to the maintenance of Bristol’s highways.

I’m a cyclist and a driver and I’m happy for my council tax to go towards measures to improve road safety for all.

Point 2: Cyclists are not obliged to wait patiently and yield to you. If it’s safe to do so, it is perfectly legal to overtake a car on the right side and avoid undertaking where a driver is less likely to be looking for another vehicle.

You’re absolutely right about helmets, I think all cyclists should wear them and the Highway Code says they should. It’s dangerous out there, especially in a congested city like Bristol with drivers using phones and cameras all over the place.

The cyclist in the video here probably should have waited and not overtaken as they were pulling off the road onto a cycle path at that stage.

Point 3: Ah the cycle path, that so-called haven for cyclists so bikes don’t inconvenience the drivers who don’t notice the cycle path is often congested by walkers, joggers and dogs. Bikes are under absolutely no obligation to use a cycle path much the same as buses sometimes do not use bus lanes when they don’t need to.

On 31 seconds you notice some poor cycling by a very reckless person. Just hold on a sec whilst I go film a driver doing something reckless……

Point 4: 40 seconds. Absolutely spot on, the red light is there for all. I wondered how long I’d wait for a really valid point. Well done. Cyclists can still be prosecuted for breaching the highway code.

Point 5: At this stage I don’t see cyclists failing to make room for emergency services, they’re behind the emergency vehicle. The biggest danger at this point is the risk of you looking at your camera/phone and not in your mirror for cyclists who are riding legally, if a little quick in those circumstances.

Point 6: Yep a red light. Already covered this. Good job drivers never jump lights otherwise you’d seem a little petty here.

Point 7: Not sure if you know the answer or not – the answer is yes, of course cyclists have to indicate. Well done on again avoiding the pettiness whilst every single driver of a car always uses their mirrors and indicators at every opportunity.

Here, on 1:27 you’re probably too busy with your phone/camera to notice the most dangerous thing in the whole video – the cyclist entering a road under a “no entry” sign. Whilst not wearing a helmet. Very poor cycling and poor observation from such a stalwart of the driving community.

Point 8: 1:30. Sarcasm ruining the argument for you, and I can never resist a good level of sarcasm: Well done on having a camera that can pick up something travelling at over 186,000 miles per second. Exaggeration kinda nullifies your argument, especially as this is the third time you’ve pointed out the red light issue. Yes, cyclists shouldn’t ride through red lights. Move on.

Point 9: Two in a row, you’re on a roll here! Of course, the cyclist should dismount before getting on the pavement! The Road (Safety) Act of 1984 strictly prohibits cycling on a pavement. Although, on around 1:55 you do seem to move left a little bit, endangering the cyclist and your lovely paintwork. Such a shame, you were doing so well too!

Point 10: 2:02. I see nothing wrong here. If one vehicle overtakes a slower vehicle on a single carriageway they will inevitably enter the “wrong side” of the road.

Point 11. Not sure of the points situation as they apply to driving licences not to drivers/riders. I would guess that cyclists can probably be fined if prosecuted for dangerous riding and so they should.

Point 12. Red light. Yes.

On 2:24. The cyclist is overtaking and there seems to be enough room. Maybe you’re too busy with your camera/phone to notice the lorry and taxi parked on yellow lines, making even you change your vehicle’s position on the road.

On 2:36 “Who would win a fight between a lorry and a bicycle?” I’ve seen Transformers, it’s definitely the lorry it’s got guns and all kinds of cool stuff. Having said that, this Transformers bike is pretty cool:

transformers-570x380

Sorry, I went a bit off topic there. I have only ever witnessed a lorry winning a fight with a car being driven recklessly, however, so cannot confirm with first hand evidence that Optimus Prime would actually defeat a Giant Propel Advance 2.

Point 13. Cyclists are also fined for speeding but just you try and ride at 30mph+. A little hypocritical here as in your video you’re catching him up, filming him and the 30 mph light is flashing at you after the cyclist has passed!

Point 14: Is point 3. That’s the A4 Portway, plenty of room on the cycle path but the cyclist is not obliged to use it at all. Slowing down, taking your eyes off the road and shouting at him is very irresponsible and could startle and endanger a cyclist.

On 3:30. You’re correct in pointing out that bikes do not always have insurance (although most people have them covered under household insurance and those worth thousands are likely to be separately insured which will include indemnity and accident cover. They are certainly individually identifiable by serial numbers).

Trust me, potholes are as much a danger and frustration to cyclists a they are to drivers. Your arguments on red lights and helmets are perfectly valid, however you seriously lack the empathy needed to be a competent driver in a busy city like Bristol.

I would like to film in central Bristol and show you a much higher number of drivers not indicating, mounting pavements, not wearing seat belts, driving in cycle lanes, using their phones and generally being reckless but I really don’t have the amount of time it would take to spot them all!

To create a solid argument you need to understand both sides and I fear you fail miserably here. I, like you live outside Bristol and have commuted by bike, car and train into Bristol for many years. Although I do my best to ensure I am aware of all road users, I do find myself being more alarmed by drivers and pedestrians rather that the large majority of sensible cyclists.

Looking at your Facebook page you seem a reasonable person who believes in some valid causes, and road safety is clearly one of them. I would urge you to view the busy and dangerous streets of Bristol with a little more understanding. Most cyclists drive too, I suggest you get a bike, get some exercise and enjoy the open road. Maybe I’ll see you riding up Park Street one day?

Finally, here’s some statistical stuff for the data munchers out there. According to the most recent figures I could find:

* Cyclists amount for roughly 2% of road users but 7% of fatalities and 14% of serious injuries.
* In collisions involving cyclists and one other vehicle, the cyclist was almost twice as likely to have no contributory factors assigned to them compared to the driver involved.
* Drivers are twice as likely as cyclists to be recorded as ‘failing to look properly’ in these incidents.
* A study for the Department of Transport shows that in a collision between a cyclist and driven vehicle that led to serious injury found that adult cyclists aged 25+ were less likely to be a fault than the other party.
* Cyclists are involved in only 4% of pedestrian injuries due to red light jumping – the other 96%
all involve motor vehicles.
* 42.1% of cyclists do not look good in Lycra (this cannot be backed up with statistical evidence)

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