Monday, 25 November 2013

80 percent of Cambridge cyclists are illiterate! A cultural survey

Green Dragon Bridge, Cambridge, showing signs and two cyclists


When you cycle downstream along the Cam, you eventually come to the Green Dragon Bridge. Signs on either bank ask cyclists to dismount. I conducted an impromptu survey of 102 cyclists last Friday, on whether they dismounted or ride across. 80 rode across, 22 dismounted.

Two curious dog walking passers-by asked what I was surveying, to which I solemnly replied I was monitoring cyclist literacy. One commented that surely it was alright to cycle across the bridge - as long as it was done safely and with due consideration to pedestrians. The other reflected that this survey was actually a reflection of cyclist fitness. Those who dismounted did so because they could not cycle up the bridge incline!

Later that day I was in two separate Skype conversations to Germany, where I asked what the German response would be. One replied that they would only cycle across if no one was there to see, as otherwise someone would object. The second posited that this situation would not arise as all pedestrian bridges they encountered naturally ─žad a cycle path.

So, we Brits assume that rules are generally optional, with leeway for interpretation by our common sense whilst in Germany sensible construction makes regulation unnecessary.

What do you think?

Baits Bite Lock on the River Cam



9 comments:

  1. Blue signs are advisory, legally you don't have to dismount. Yes this sign is optional and you are an ignoramus.

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    1. Thank you for your reply, Christine, and the reminder that the signs are purely advisory. Best wishes, Chris Ignoramus :-)

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  2. The blue sign there is entirely advisory, carrying no compulsion. A no cycling sign has a bike on a white background with a red circle around the outside.

    I put it to you that most of the cyclists there know this - and you do not. Neither conclusion you draw - Brits see rules as optional or that cyclists are illiterate - is reasonable.

    Your blog post reveals your own ignorance of the rules as they stand - nothing more.

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    1. Thanks you for your comments, Cab. I accept that the signs are advisory. The article was intended as a light hearted look at differences in culture.

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  3. Really? You're accusing cyclists of being illiterate, when actually you are the only one that appear to be. And if you're not illiterate, then you are certainly ignorant of the law.
    As others have pointed out, "Cyclist Dismount" signs are advisory. This means it is like a request, and cyclists are under no obligation whatsoever to adhere to it. Moreover, as is the case nationally, that sign is used contrary to DfT guidelines. This means it simply should never have been placed there.
    But don't take my work for it - go do some research, eradicate your ignorance regarding this and then do the right thing: publish a new blog post that clearly admits how wrong you have been, and also go post several tweets on Twitter, again admitting your ignorance.
    And while you're at it, why don't you read the Highway Code - yes, ALL of it.
    Then go write a ranty, insulting post on driver that don't yield to pedestrians crossing the road that the drivers are turning into, drivers that park on pavements, drivers that encroach on ASLs and similar everyday occurrences that are a WHOLE bunch more important and dangerous than cyclists (justifiably!) ignoring a Cyclists Dismount sign.

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    1. William, Thank you for your very robust reply to a light hearted article on differences in culture. The tongue in cheek title has obviously touched a raw nerve with you and others. I take your point about the signs being advisory and contrary to DfT guidelines. I'm still happy to make my personal (and obviously minority) choice to follow the advice, totally as a personal decision, in no way proposing a legal precedent - the view along the river standing on the bridge being absolutely lovely. Happy cycling!

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  4. All you have demonstrated is that 'Cyclist Dismount' signs cause confusion. Cambridge Cycling Campaign have been asking for 'Cyclists give way to pedestrians' signs here and elsewhere http://www.camcycle.org.uk/campaigning/papers/legality/.

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to respond, Rich, to my light hearted article on cultural differences, and particularly for your considered and politely phrased delivery. Best wishes, Chris

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  5. Follow on article “Angry Cyclists v. Christmas Spirit“ here http://miltoncontact.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/angry-cyclists-v-christmas-spirit-you.html

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