How dangerous is it to cycle on our roads?
Recently I have taken to getting on my bike to travel around Macclesfield as the traffic situation is bad and since we moved here it´s gotten worse.
I go to a local Gym most mornings and used to go by car, but recently due to traffic, this has begun to take longer and longer to get there, about 20 minutes to go 2 miles.
So, as I don´t have to commute any more, its out too the shed, dust off the old push iron (bike) and lets see if this is better for getting about town.
Even though I wouldn´t say I´m in the best shape. It takes me 8 minutes to get to the Gym!
However after a few weeks I find that going to the gym on my bike is not the best idea I have ever had. It might be quick but it isn´t safe!
It´s just not safe to ride a bike on the roads of Macclesfield due to the volume of traffic and the size of vehicles on the road across the town. Also it´s down to the lack of consideration of the drivers on the town´s roads.
In the first two weeks I was nearly knocked off my bike three times. This was by drivers trying to overtake me when it was unsafe to do so, even if they had to take a risk of driving into oncoming traffic. I don´t think some drivers can judge the speed of a bike at all. I don´t tend to plod along when on my bike and some mornings I have to slow down for the traffic not the other way round, but there is a core of drivers who just have to overtake you, even if it means pulling in right in front of you immediately after overtaking.
Some of you might be thinking “I´ll bet you do that in your car.” No, I don´t. I always give way to cyclists. When you´ve seen the damage that can be done to the human body after being hit by a car then you tend to take care.
So, how can you cycle in safety around the town? Well you can cycle on the footpath, but that´s not safe for pedestrians, plus its illegal. You could use the cycle lanes in Macclesfield, if they went anywhere useful that is. Have you seen any of the cycle lanes in Macclesfield? What about the one on Chester Rd, 100 yards of wasted money if I ever saw it. A cycle lane which goes from nowhere to nowhere, for 100 yards long!
My advice is to take the side streets, where the traffic is less or if you’re near the canal, get on the canal as its nearly always quiet during the day. You might have to dodge the dog sh*t everwhere though! If you´re going to use the canal, get a cycling permit from the British Waterways website, its free. And once you’ve got one, if any walkers give you any grief, flash the permit and they usually shut up.
If you cycle around town then get yourself a good helmet, a good padded jacket and a good pair of trousers in case you have the misfortune to get knocked off. And if you´re a motorist think about the other more fragile road users who will probably catch you up when you´re stuck in traffic and not look at cyclists as mobile nuisances!