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This blog has re-located to Chester

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Crap Cycling & Walking in Manchester #2

Don’t worry, I’m not planning on turning this blog into a Manchester version of the Crap Waltham Forest blog, but yesterday after posting about it I had to walk from work to the city centre (a grand total of about 3 km) and I decided to see how many illegal or inconsiderate things I saw along the way affecting either cyclists, pedestrians or both.  Anyone who reads the Grauniad’s Bike Blog (or any article in the Daily Fail mentioning cyclists) will recognise the phrase “lawless cyclists” from the comments section as it is trolled by non-cycling motorists and the like, so I decided to focus largely on that much more harmful and prolific group; lawless motorists


Footway Obstruction (sucks to be blind).



Gone through red, ASL and cycle lane obstructed.  I saw this happen after the light turned red.


Convenient seating provided outside the BBC building.


Walking obstruction, illegal parking.  Guy is asleep in car with engine running.


More pavement parking outside EastZEast restaurant.


This guy chose to blow through the red and through most of the ASL too.


Another person parked across the footway at a side-road.


More ASL abuse.


Contractor has abandoned a road sign on the pavement on Princess Street.


Pavement and double yellow line parking on Princess Street


Footpath commandeered by business for advertising.


Illegal and inconsiderate motor-scooter parking.


Parked on double yellows and pavement.


And again, the same pavement and double yellow line parking.

The purpose of this walk into town was to meet someone for a lift.  As I arrived in town I realised that this would be the first time I had travelled in a car in about 3 months.  I decided to note my outsider perspectives of car travel during the journey.

Firstly, I felt extremely low down whilst going along the road, which made me feel less safe than when on a bike.  I also didn’t like how the car itself severely restricted my view, especially to the sides and rear of me.  I also noticed how many people would change lane without any indication, but other drivers seemed ok with this.  I don’t imagine being so happily accommodated on a bike, or motorcycle.  All these things made me feel less safe than when on a bike, but  the caged-off nature of being in a car and the fact that I only had a windscreen view of the world around me made me feel a lot more detached from the danger around me, as if I was watching TV or playing a video game.  I think the people who don’t cycle because they feel it is dangerous only feel that way because they are used to driving, and that their safety concerns are largely subjective.  I felt a lot less safe in the car than I do on my bike and I think next time I will take the bike.


  1. great post! I come across tonnes of this stuff too everyday, I have chosen to not try and notice every single one of them because it depresses me no end... I do sincerely think human beings are selfish by nature, kindness and altruism is something nortured... (I'm cynical at times, I know)... I lost count on how many times cars stop on the green box at traffic lights, so much so that now I am surprised when I see a car not doing it (and therefore actually following the highway code)...

  2. Cars do have one advantage when driving...mirrors.

    One of the key lessons when learning to drive is MSL - Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre.

    But if there isn't anyone to signal to, then why signal? - I think that happens a lot.

    Personally as I drive so infrequently (and always in a big van without a rear view/middle mirror) I always signal - just in case...

  3. We've managed to half our car use over the last couple of years. I'm the only driver in our household anyway & now tend to cycle more if travelling alone. Otherwise as a family, first choice is to walk or catch a bus/train if more convenient.

    I used to own a 2nd car (a kitcar) for pleasure, and now cannot comprehend why. Sitting in a tin box has got to be one of the most soul destroying activities on offer - sometimes its an easier option, but it's rarely the most pleasant.

    You pictures above show an aspect of how self-centered driving can make people - i.e who gives a toss for pedestrians who might be disabled or have a pushchair?

    The mention of 'lawless cyclists' always makes me laugh, as you know full well that it has been penned by someone whose imagination stretches no further than the end of their bonnet ;>D

  4. @naturallycycllingmanchester, I agree that the amount of this stuff which can be seen everyday can get too much if you focus on it it heavily. I am trying to toe the line with respect to highlighting the negatives without going so far as to put off prospective newbies. PS: That light you told me about is on its way.

    @grimnorth, mirrors help a lot, but its harder to tell what other people have seen because you are so cut off. I think it says you don't have to signal when no-one is around and many people equate that to no-one in a car is around. It might be best if everyone always signalled, there might be a pedestrian around who they didn't see. I always hate waiting to cross a road on foot because somone didn't indicate to me their intention to turn

    @ian... I thing the windscreen perspective is really powerful in allowing people to de-humanise people on the other side of it. Its inspiring to see someone like yourself moving away from car use like yourself, must be harder than never starting like myself.

  5. I walk from my house to the train station in a morning sometimes (when not cycling) and see 70 - 100 cars parked illegally on the pavement.

    Then you have the RLJers, ASL blockers, mobile phone talkers, make up appliers, non taxed cars etc etc.

    We would need to have at least 20x the police force we have now to stop all these problems, but we would then end up without any buses or taxi's who's drivers would all lose their licences within three weeks.

    It gets me down greatly - despite me trying not to let it get to me :(

    Check out this picture from near Glossop:

    Pavement blocking / cycle lane blocking and driven there illegally (ie: up across the pavement and cycle lane).


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