Agendas and surveys

Surveys are always interesting to some degree, often enough the screaming headlines in the MSM over some controversial result, or even the occasional shock, horror of a “no shit Sherlock” result that has the rest of us wondering who paid for the damn thing. And that’s where the key lies, along with the questions asked.

Mail.

More than half of cyclists have jumped a red light, according to a survey.
The offenders – some 57 per cent of bike riders – said their main reason for the risky manoeuvre was that it was safer to get ahead of other traffic.
Around 14 per cent said they go through red lights regularly or sometimes, the poll by the Institute of Advanced Motorists revealed.
It also found that 73 per cent of cyclists ride on the pavement. A total of 54 per cent of the 1,600 surveyed thought cyclists should improve their riding behaviour, while the top concern was poor road and junction layouts.
As many as 81 per cent of pedestrians who did not cycle felt threatened when cyclists took to the pavement.
IAM chief executive Simon Best said: ‘Changes to road layouts and junctions can improve safety for cyclists, but no junction will ever be safe for those who continue to jump red lights.’
Only 43 per cent of the survey’s 1,600 respondents said they had ‘never’ cycled through a red light, while 19 per cent admitted performing the hazardous manoeuvre ‘once or twice’.
The majority of cyclists also admitted that they needed to improve behaviour at junctions, with 54 per cent saying they should adhere to the Highway Code more strictly.
The survey revealed a desire among cyclists for improved cycling facilities on roads, which they believe would improve safety.

Ok, first off is the fact that the survey is by the Institute of Advanced Motorists, this means that cyclists are unlikely to get a fair hearing, though judging by the declared results it does rather look to the jaundiced eye of this motorist that a great deal of fibbing is going on too.
Yet there are times I cannot blame cyclists for taking to the pavement, some roads are simply just too narrow and too busy to allow a comfortable coexistence, yet you can almost bet your bottom dollar that if road improvements are made it’s often to the detriment of the motorist. I also wonder just who the cyclists believe should pay for “improved cycling facilities on roads” I somehow doubt they believe it should be them alone.

What the Daily Mail also fails to mention is that the same survey found that 32% of car drivers also admitted to jumping red lights and a significant number of motorists used non-hands-free mobile phones while driving and most admitted to speeding on occasions.

The major difference being of course that even a slight collision that would merely scratch a car can be fatal to a cyclist. Yet there is an almost undeclared war out there between two groups of road users, neither of whom believe themselves to really be in the wrong and both able to bring up ‘instances’ where the other group has behaved badly.

Personally I’m of the opinion that putting a set of wheels under an ordinary person turns them into the mental equivalent of the Hulk.

I also cannot see any solution to the problem that would satisfy both groups, well other than demolishing streets to widen roads. I think this is a genuine case where we can say “A plague on both their houses.” at least to the fanatics out there…

6 comments for “Agendas and surveys

  1. Bill
    May 16, 2012 at 7:15 am

    Or you could stop reading the wail and then you will find that the world they paint doesn’t really exist.

  2. Greg Tingey
    May 16, 2012 at 8:27 am

    And, of course, the Law’s usual rules don’t aplly to “surveys”
    Leading questions are allowed, and entirely false assumptions are often deliberately built into the questions.

    I once wasted a good 20 minutes of one surveyors’ time (I wasn’t in a hurry) by answering all his/her q’s on various commercial products, until, right at the end, the penny dropped – that I don’t have TV, and don’t watch adverts at all, if I can help it.
    Which apparently, invalisated the survey.
    Hooray!

    • Single Acts of Tyranny
      May 16, 2012 at 11:17 am

      My own little favourite response to telephone sales/surveys (when from a foreign country) is to open a book and quote random words in response. They know the words but can’t make sense of what you are saying because of course it makes no sense. It rather amuses me.

      • David. A. Evans
        May 17, 2012 at 2:12 am

        My favourite was my brother answering a telesales call for a conservatory. he wasted a good 3/4 of an hour expressing his interest before he tired of the game and asked how they would suspend it 3 storeys up outside his flat. 😆

  3. May 16, 2012 at 8:30 am

    I saw that one too. As a cyclist who does precisely that, it all depends how it is done. There is one corner where I’m trying to go from a footpath [on foot, with bike] across the road and up the road perpendicular to it. Now that second road, when the lights go green, turn right across me and there is no pedestrian green arrow.

    So the only safe way is that when the traffic from where I am stops or slows, check they have yellow going red and then get across quickly before the “perpendicular” road cars get into gear and turn right. It works fine and no one has nay issue with it.

    As for placing oneself in front of the traffic at lights – yes, we need to, so that the lead vehicle sees us clearly. Visibility is everything to a cyclist. Licencing cyclists? Don’t know – there are some shocking ones and kids are the worst.

    As for going on footpaths, sometimes it’s the only way. If there’s a narrow gap and we’re in it and some idiot in a car is determined to play chicken with us and is right up our clacker, then jumping to the path is the only way to avoid fatality and I’m sorry – if it’s a fine or staying alive, I know which I’m choosing.

    Simply, there is no proper provision for bikes in our land and if we’re all increasingly going to be using pedal power, then we need something to alter, more along European lines.

    ………..

    Great post, by the way and thank you, as a cyclist.

  4. May 16, 2012 at 8:53 am

    Yet there are times I cannot blame cyclists for taking to the pavement, some roads are simply just too narrow and too busy to allow a comfortable coexistence, yet you can almost bet your bottom dollar that if road improvements are made it’s often to the detriment of the motorist. I also wonder just who the cyclists believe should pay for “improved cycling facilities on roads” I somehow doubt they believe it should be them alone.

    That last part is fair – who pays? Cyclists currently don’t, except through their council and other tax and there is the answer really – they do contribute, just as the motorist does. It’s just that they don’t pay road tax on their vehicles – footpath tax? And if so, will you tax every child who rides a bike?

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