Dangerous Cycling – The Nightriders of Hastings

Above:  David Hasselhoff and his KITT cycle.  David is asking cyclists in Hastings to stop their dangerous cycling, fit lights or get Hoff their cycles after dark.  Thanks Dave!

 

I feel like I’m going mad.  Am I the only person who is noticing this?  I’m talking about the sharp increase in the number of cyclists who are riding after dark without lights.  Yes, cycling without lights.  After dark.  Both on the road and on pavements.  Why is no-one doing anything?  Why are the police driving past these cyclists without stopping them?

I’m afraid my phone camera is not really up to the challenge of night-shots so please excuse the poor quality images.

Above:  Our theme.  Dangerous night time cycling.  He is about to cross the road using the pedestrian crossing without warning.

 

You won’t find the pro-cycling groups talking about this.  They’re certainly campaigning for more safe zones for cyclists but part of what makes the roads unsafe is the complete lack of awareness of what makes for safe cycling.  I’ll have to post on that.  The way people use the roads is horrific.  Talking to school age children has revealed that none of them has undergone cycle training.  It wasn’t even offered!

In the course of my enquiries, I discovered that the secretary of my property management company had a close encounter (third paragraph down) with a cyclist without lights.

Lest you read this and think I am the Anti-Cyclist, know that I am a cyclist who currently can’t cycle.  And a pedestrian.  I am also ill and have been hit hard by cyclists a number of times.  Cyclists without lights is troublesome for me as a pedestrian, more so as an ill one.  It makes cyclists so much harder to see when they are on the pavements and they are increasingly on the pavements.

Above:  Dangerous cycling on a dark framed bike in dark clothes.  He moved in and out of the traffic before turning right off of Queens Road without any hand signals and in front of oncoming traffic.  Not an uncommon sight.

Who is responsible for this increase in nuisance cycling?

There’s been a huge increase of this dangerous cycling but this year it has sky-rocketed and left me absolutely gobsmacked.  Of course, it’s been obvious that Hastings Council has no interest in resolving the issue of antisocial cycling.  In fact, the absence of intervention is basically an endorsement and promotion of it.  That people are continuing to cycle on the pavements when it is dark is not hard to understand.  It’s an outgrowth of the rise of irresponsible cycling without threat of penalty or enforcement of the law.

Above:  Dangerous cycling much?  No lights at dusk.

Are the police actively tackling this issue?  Of course not.  In order to deal with it head on, you would need feet on the street and a desire to actually tackle the problem, within whatever limitations you claim are causing you to not be able to police effectively.

East Sussex County Council?  No, they’ve been avoiding their legal responsibilities for years and I’ll be getting to that soon.

And obviously there is responsibility to be laid at the feet of those cyclists who chooses to engage in any of the forms of antisocial cycling.  But I think we need to tackle this problem further upstream, as it were.  My vocal heckling of cyclists got me less than nowhere.

The police parked up in town the other day and two policeman were standing by the car chatting with a member of the public.  I wondered if it was in response to my communication with the police the day before.  Either way it was fun to watch cyclists jumping off their seats like someone had just connected them to the mains.  They seemed to remember that perhaps cycling on pavements and in the town centre’s pedestrian zone wasn’t actually okay.  Behaviour will degrade without a reminder and some cyclists in Hastings seem to need more than others.  If there aren’t enough reminders, you have a snowball effect with more people considering it okay to engage in the behaviour.  That’s what we’ve been seeing as the reminders have disappeared.

Most of these issues would have been an easy fix but it appears that thinking is optional within the governing class.

Above:  Can you see him by the traffic light?  He’d actually just crossed the road using the pedestrian crossing, having cycled along Queens Road by Priory Meadow.

Adding to the burden.  How Hastings Council further promotes dangerous cycling.

Also, some plonkers questionable planning within the council brought a BMX and skate park on to the seafront.  That may make them cool with the kids but allowing BMX’s, most of them without the legally required one brake – and never with lights, to swarm into a busy area is just woefully shortsighted.  There are other issues which I’ll get to in a separate post.

So they are riding down to The Source in the dark, often after school and then riding back home again.  I don’t recall ever seeing a BMX with lights on, making them hard to see.  And they are using the pavements, often two abreast, waiting on pedestrians to get out of the way.  Or they are cycling on the roads.  Or a combination of both.

I saw two familiar faces on BMX’S flying down Elphinstone Road last week towards the park roundabout.  Break neck speeds.  Dark framed bikes.  Dark clothing.  No lights.  No breaks.  Hand signals?  Nope.  Road very busy with cars on the roundabout.  Is this an uncommon sight?  No, I see this regularly during the winter nights.

When will someone do something?

And why are we letting people endanger themselves by cycling on the roads without lights?  No-one is stepping forward to take responsibility.  No-one is out policing.  All responsible parties have been increasingly ostrich-like in their ability to bury their heads in the sand and by-pass responsibility.  Given that they been doing this for years, who can we suppose will step forward and change it?  Given the response to my own enquiries…Nobody.

 

This blog has been hard going as I’ve probably said before.  The normal meta-view that I used to have that helped me judge tone and self-correct my obvious prejudices is missing or only half-working.  So please let me know what you think.  I’m labouring to try and get it right but I get tired so easily that I fear I’m overlooking something or perhaps coming off the wrong way.  I really want to back away from this subject matter but can’t until I have someone else to take over the fight or some action is taken.

I know that nobody is reading at the moment and my invitations to discourse that I’ve sent out have drawn blanks.  I’m now going to advertise on twitter but fear that I will be overwhelmed with communications.  Chance would be a fine thing and I guess that’s overly overly hopeful.  And if you do get in touch, please allow me some time to respond and also let me know if you think comments on the blog itself would be helpful.

Facebook is good for comments.  There’s Twitter too, though I find it somewhat baffling and the character limit makes communication difficult.  There is a contact form that you should find at the top of the page or HERE and on the About Me section.

 


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