I spend about 3 hours a day riding around central London as part of my job; here’s a few observations.
Buses seem to be relatively considerate.
Taxis are OK, and generally follow most road rules, but never at any point seem to realise that there is anybody else on the road. Just stay in front of them!
Pedestrians; in the City of London, they all appear to be too rich to look before crossing the road. I presume they usually pay somebody to do it for them, but when they’re not there the bankers can be a little dangerous.
Bikes (pedal kind); commuters are OK, but those dressed in trendy clothing in areas like Hackney and Islington, with the prerequisite no lights, no helmet, and a ‘vintage’ bike, shouldn’t be on the road. They REALLY shouldn’t. Yes, they may be environmentally sound, but this doesn’t make it OK to shoot through red lights. I saw one knocked off the other day; he stopped at a red, then decided to go, and got knocked off by a car going over the crossroads. It was 100% the cyclist’s fault and I hope it made him think; he was unhurt as it happens.
Learner riders (sorry if this offends you). Hmmm. In my opinion, the biggest peril to bikers on the road in London. From what I’ve seen, around 75% of bikers on the roads are learners. I don’t understand this; its really cheap to get a bike license so why just ride on L plates? I don’t understand why learner riders are allowed out on their own; LOADS of people pass they’re test purely after instructional rides, I don’t believe solo practise is necessary, in fact it probably hurts their chances of passing given the amount of bad habits they all have. THe amount of learners that see a big bike, and decide to try to prove themselves by storming past then swerving in front of me…the other day, I was at the lights along with a few other big bikes, and a chav on a scooter with L plates. The chav sets off before the amber light, and manages to coax a wheelie out of his hairdrier. If that had gone wrong, there would have been 4 or 5 bikes on the floor. Idiot. The thing is, no matter how many wheelies he pulls, or how fast he goes, nobody without a license is going to get any respect from me in terms of their riding skill. If riding skill is present, why isn’t a license also? Instruction and training should be COMPULSORY, not optional; the CBT is NOT enough. It only cost me £300 for all of my lessons to test (well it would have done if I hadn’t done a DAS) and it can’t be much more in London.
Learner couriers; insane. I don’t understand this at all. Working as a courier, yet not being up to test standard, is completely insane. How on EARTH do they get insurance? My courier insurance when I had it was £600 and I have a lot of experience and NCB!!!
Rant over. Learners, please get some training and get rid of your L plates.