Friday, 18 February 2011

Visual & Mental Reasoning Test

 The test is to be completed by Mr. or Mrs. Average.

Existing cyclists or people who ride bikes please return to your respective holding pens and await the results. (or make yourself useful and go find a friend to take the test)

Dear Mr . or Mrs. Average you have 5 minutes to examine the attached imagery and complete the test.

Test begins.

Please examine the image above & take in the following scenario:
  • It is a pleasant February evening
  • Visibility is good & traffic is relatively light.
  • The image shows an AC 100/4 Terex Demag - 4-axle mobile crane, weighing in excess of 30 tonnes & travelling at approx. 20mph
  • The vehicle in question is being driven very professionally & will take great care when overtaking cyclists
  • This is the most direct route available to your destination consisting of a mixture of 40mph and 30mph roads.

The question:
If at any point in the future you decide you would like to take up cycling to work (or even the shops, a local restuarant or do the school run) - Would you:

A: Prefer continuous Dutch style segregated infrastructure on all A-roads so that your interaction with vehicles such as this is thoroughly minimised.


B: Prefer to cycle 'vehiculary' amongst traffic bearing in mind that you are statistically very safe indeed & of course the driver of this vehicle is exceptionally mindful of your presence.

Test ends. Pens down. Hand in your papers in the comments section below.

Class dismissed.


  1. I VERY rarely cycle anywhere, but got a new bike in January and have resolved to build up to riding to work (8 miles each way through urban areas, or 10 miles each way along towpath and river path).

    As a regular motorcyclist, I feel a great deal safer on the motorbike than the bicycle, despite knowing that statistically I'm at greater risk. I would much prefer a Dutch style set up where cyclists were segregated from the main traffic. However, where there are cycle paths at the moment I don't feel very threatened.

  2. It is theoretically permissible to cycle along the A3 Ripley Bypass to Guildford. However, I think one would have to be mad in order to do so. It is a motorway in all but name. Vehicles race past at speeds well in excess of 70 mph.

    Call me a wimp, but I'd rather pass on that.

    Give me well-designed high-quality separate cycle infrastructure any day. There is a separate cycle path, but it is sub-standard; featuring cracked, rutted, muddy and crumbling surfaces; a number of forced dismounts; fragmented [not continuous]; crossed by side roads; buffeted by vehicle wakes; improperly segregated; littered with vehicle and other debris and very noisy.
    Essentially it's crap. I wish all roads were like that, the Transport Minister's head would be stuck on a pike as quick as you can say 'motorists: now get out and push'.

  3. I have to point out that "well-designed" & "high-quality" are almost non-existant in the UK. Even Sustrans claim to have standards, but they ignore them all the time, only the railway paths get anywhere close, and even then there are many sub-standard sections.

    In the Netherlands many of the towns and cities were designed from the outset to accommodate cycling. In Greater Manchester one would have to remove massive amounts of road space to produce even half decent cycle infrastructure. Something that may be highly desireable in reducing traffic levels in the area, but politically unlikely.

    Meantime the shit cycle infrastructure that we get round here often puts people at greater danger than using the roads. In many cases cyclists are directed onto a pavement to increase the level of traffic flow on the road...

    If any "well-designed high-quality" segregated cycle facilities actually exist in the UK I would really like to know about it.

  4. @Lucy - my commute is approx 8 miles each way. Takes me around 40 mins with fairly relaxed riding and not breaking a sweat. Keep at it and the journey will become second nature and easy. However, everytime I'm passed by an articulated lorry I understand fully why most people wouldn't join me.

    You're right about the existing cycle paths, having a random one on its own - at a spot where the danger is quite low is pointless (but easy for the council to implement and tick a box). Paths shouldn't be every so often in random places, they need to be continuous with priority along the entire length of A roads.

    @Ameoba - There should be a seperate classification for Roads like the A3. Its a motorway in everything but name. When I think of A-roads I'm thinking of roads such as arterial roads into Manchester like the A57 where the photo of the crane was taken.

    @Mike - The lack of anyting high quality in this country is why it's called 'Dutch style infrastructure' and not British style.

    There's no need to 'remove' any road space. Just reallocate it to a different mode of transport. - don't worry I dont for a second believe we'll see half of the A57 reallocated to a cycle roads, but hey I'm probably not going to win the lottery tonight either. Still bought a ticket though.

  5. This link shows an aerial view of where the cycle path joins the A3 near Ripley. The shadow is caused by a road sign that straddles the cycle path. The asphalt strip is the cycle path. I've been there.,+surrey&aq=&sll=53.056898,-1.387367&sspn=0.172917,0.388298&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Ripley,+Woking,+Surrey,+United+Kingdom&ll=51.308151,-0.474695&spn=0.0007,0.001517&t=h&z=20

    Here is a link to a photograph which shows that highway engineers expect cyclists to 'have a go'!

    I'm surprised there isn't a revolver chained to a post by the cycle path, so that cyclists can warm-up for the experience of cycling along what is a de facto motorway by having a few tries at Russian roulette first!

    Needless to say, I chose an alternative and rather less exciting route!

  6. @Gaz - In a nutshell would you feel comfortable for your family to cycle into Manchester for a days shopping in option A or option B?.

    On an interesting side note for yourself & maybe a good topic if you ever start to do talks on takling obesity with cycling. The most hostile countries for cycling generally all have the highest levels of obesity and vice versa for countries with good segregated infrastructure such as Netherlands & Denmark. Make of that what you will. Some people will say its down to diet or culture. Or maybe it's partly because a broader spectrum of people have access (because of the infrastructure) to a convenient form of passive exercise.

  7. Fair comment Jim

    I will say out of the debate as per your request BUT you'd be surprised at my answer

    It's a good stat that and one I've not seen before, so thanks :D

  8. Interesting photo Jim. Those cranes are almost as pesky as cyclists ;>D

    (option A - no brainer)

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  10. As you requested, as an existing cyclist I did not take part in this test. I thought though you might be interested I have just posted - Cycling With Cranes - which shows my personal experience and feelings on this matter.