Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Cycling The Path of Righteousness

What The Highway Code Says About Cycle Paths

My bicycle, on my path, yesterday

There's a section of road I cycle along on my journey to and from work each day. It used to be a traffic bottleneck, and this has been mitigated by the building of a guided busway alongside it. There is also an off-road path for cyclists and pedestrians, by the side of the road I'd normally take on the way home. I usually stay on the road itself though, because I can pass junctions using roundabouts rather than having to wait at light-controlled cycle/pedestrian crossings.

I read this piece in the Guardian this morning by a cyclist who generally avoids cycle lanes, which prompted me to idly wonder whether there's any mandate that cyclists must use on-road cycle lanes or off-road cycle paths where they are provided.

By an astonishing coincidence, 20 minutes later, as I was riding along the said road, I encountered a taxi driver, who slowed down to attract my attention and then repeatedly gestured that I should get off the highway and use the cycle path. He seemed particularly vexed that I was sharing his road, despite having ample space to overtake me, which he eventually did, allowing me to wave him a cheery farewell, just to indicate that I had heard his counsel even if I was was not going to heed it.

Curiosity piqued, I checked today, and according to the Highway Code, there is absolutely no imperative for cyclists to vacate the road when there is a cycle track available, so I will continue to cycle on road wherever it expedites my journey. And furthermore, thus educated, take to task any self-righteous hack who presumes to impose his inaccurate beliefs on me while we're both trying to use the road safely. So there. Hmph.

In other news, I ran 14km at the gym today, thereby going where this man had never gone before. I'm forced to revise my hope that I'll finish the half marathon in 1'50" up to a round two hours. I shall try and run 16km (a psychologically satsifying, if physiologically less so, 10 miles) before the big day though, probably next Monday, and just concentrate on speed and gradient the rest of the time.

I'm sure I'll finish, but I'm going to feel every step of the last five miles.

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