Friday, 6 November 2009

What is wrong with this cycle training?

I spotted a cycle trainer with a novice cyclist yesterday, approaching the junction with Selborne Road E17 on Willow Walk. As you can see from the first photograph, this is a very friendly street environment for the new cyclist.

Members of the road safety community will be shocked to see that the trainer was NOT WEARING A HELMET.

The twenty-something woman cyclist had a shiny new helmet to match her shiny new bike. But, shockingly, she is dressed entirely in black. This renders her more or less invisible to drivers, and if she gets run down the only real issue worth discussing will be the percentage of her contributory negligence.

The trainer was teaching her to cycle well away from the kerb. I’m afraid this is a wilfully provocative thing to do in Waltham Forest, and cyclists who do this can expect to hooted at, sworn at, have headlights flashed at them, or, in some cases, have a driver deliberately swerve at them in a playful attempt to knock them off. The cyclist’s only acceptable position is in the gutter with the broken glass, half an inch from the kerb, and it is foolish to pretend otherwise.

Perversely, the trainer is not encouraging her to use the magnificent cycle lane at this junction, with its matching accessory, the ‘death trap black railings’. Why not?

The matching hand signals are magnificent, however. No cyclist approaching this T-junction would ever bother to signal a left turn, and no cyclist ever does. What would be the point? No, this woman is quite rightly being taught the importance of choreographed body movements, which, once mastered, will permit her to join London’s most important annual mass bike ride.