From the cyclist’s POV
I love the mag and the podcast. I’m relatively new to motorcycling having cycled to work in Central London for the past four years. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the amount of friendly nods I get from fellow bikers and especially grateful to those on bikes (and on four wheels) who point out when I have left my indicators on. As a daily commuter, I do have a couple of observations/complaints about some of my adopted community that I’d like to share with you.
I can’t speak for other cities, but there are hundreds of bicycle ‘boxes’ at busy traffic light junctions across London. In case anyone reading is unaware of the concept, the idea is that a cyclist gets a split-second to make a getaway when the lights change before bigger traffic inevitably speed past them. Quite how an eight feet head-start helps you get ahead of even a 50cc moped is questionable, but that’s the arrangement we currently have.
I lose count of the number of mopeds and motorbikes I see in these boxes. Cars too, of course, but these seem more often than not to be caught out by trying to creep across a junction as lights have changed to red. With motorbikes there seems to be a section of our community that view the boxes as a place to get a head-start on other motorised traffic. They’re not. Not unless your bike has pedals. Look at the picture on the Tarmac beneath you. PEDALS. Does your bike look like that? No? Then what are you doing there?
So can I make a plea? Can I please encourage my fellow bikers to tell those on motorbikes who occupy these cyclist boxes not to (funnily enough cyclists are often too frightened to complain to someone wearing full body armour and a helmet). But I also have one final gripe I often see. If you do overtake cyclists on a motorcycle at a junction, could you please refrain from setting off at high speed/revs next to them? You have no idea how frightening the sound of your engine can be or intimidating your presence can be alongside a push bike. There are no more vulnerable occupants of the road than cyclists and as fellow bicyclists we should be a little more considerate of those without an engine.
Thanks, Matt Keen
Hi Matt, thanks very much for this letter and your point of view about cyclist/motorcyclist interactions at junctions. I’m pretty sure that this letter will provoke quite a bit of response from the MCM readership, so hopefully we can have some lively and varied points of view on these very pages soon. TC