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Myth Series (Part I): Motorists Misconceptions

CATEGORIES
February 6, 2020
AUTHOR:
Fettle Team

We decided to try to dispel some of the common misconceptions we hear in relation to cycling. We know it’s not quite the fake news that threatens to bring down the political integrity of the state BUT we still think it’s important to call out the c**p as we see it!

Once we got started, there was an enormous list of misconceptions so we’ve decided to turn this into a mini-series. Think of us as the Ghostbusters of cycling - here to debunk the fake news plaguing cycling.

CYCLISTS SHOULD CYCLE AS FAR TO THE LEFT OF THE ROAD AS POSSIBLE

Well - this is not always the safest of things to do. For your own safety, wherever possible, you should make sure you are at least 50cm away from the curb. This will not only reduce the risk of clipping the curb, but will also force motorists behind to perform a proper overtaking procedure instead of being tempted to squeeze past when there isn’t enough room. When approaching a pinch point or junction it is normally best to ‘take the lane’, this is when you ridemore central to your lane which makes you a much greater presence on the road, and forces motorists to hang back when it isn’t safe for them to attempt an overtake. This practice is endorsed by both cycling and motoring organisations alike, such as British Cycling and CTC, and the AA and The Institute of Advanced Motorists.

CYCLISTS SHOULD STICK TO THE CYCLE LANE

It is commonly believed that cyclists must stay in a cycle lane instead of the road. The truth of the matter is that cyclists are not obligated to use either, and even the highway code states to only use them when practicable. Also keep in mind that not all cycle lanes are in good condition or suitable for use, so always cycle where you feel safest and most comfortable.

CYCLE ROUTES CAUSE MORE CONGESTION FOR CARS

There are more and more cycle routes and cycle superhighways opening all the time. This helps promote safer routes for cyclists to take, but also causes quite a lot of criticism. So let’s debunk the belief that adding a cycle lane will increase congestion. Some people argue that cycle lanes mean cars have a tighter space to drive in and so traffic slows down. Over the last few decades of trying to combat congestion, it has been proven that even giving motorists an extra lane will not help as it simply encourages more motorists down a particular route, (thus allowing more vehicles to travel no more quickly along the same stretch of road).

In fact if you were to consider the number of commuters on a road with a cycle lane, you will have more people using the same space at very similar congestion levels when compared to the same road post cycle lane. Unfortunately the only true way to reduce congestion in some areas of the country, is to reduce the number of cars on the road.

MOTORISTS PAY FOR THE UPKEEP OF ROADS SO CYCLISTS SHOULD TOO

Did you know that Road Tax was abolished in 1937? This means that today everybody pays for the upkeep of the roads whether they use them or not. Upkeep of the roads is the responsibility of local councils, and funding is from general taxation, which includes everything from income tax to duty tax. In fact the only tax that motorists pay is Vehicle Excise Duty (VED),which is dependent on the size of the motor and the amount of emissions caused.

As huge cyclists ourselves, we may sound somewhat biased but we’re keen to make it clear - we think there is a happy medium where cars (preferably electric) and bikes can co-exist peacefully. Hopefully our first myth-busting post can help motorists to understand the two-wheeled point of view a little more!

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