Cycling – Bad drivers & poor dog owners

Did you know that the new Highway Code is likely to say that a driver should leave 1.5m between their vehicle and a cyclist when overtaking and that the Police may well be encouraged to take drivers to task, even penalise them, for not adhering to this change?

The change is coming about because a small minority of drivers are putting cyclists at risk by passing far too close when overtaking. Most drivers pass well away from cyclists but some don’t care and pass cyclists in a very dangerous way. I’ve had a couple of bad experiences recently when cycling and oddly both were on Winifred Lane in Aughton, the latest one being a few days ago. This later time the vehicle was identifiable so I’ve contacted the firm (name not mentioned here) concerned asking them to speak to their driver:-

‘I was cycling on Winfred Lane in Aughton around 12.20 today when one of your vehicles nearly had me off my bike by passing far too close to me.

I could tell what was going to happen as the driver made little or no attempt to slow down as they tried to squeeze between me and a parked lorry on the other side of the road.

The new Highway Code says that vehicles should pass leaving 1.5m between them and a cyclist, I doubt there was 6 inches in this encounter! Can you please identify your driver and have words with them. I look forward to your reply.’

Here’s a link to a recent newspaper article about overtaking a cyclist and the changes coming to the Highway Code:-

www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/overtaking-cyclists-mots-the-law-1944067

The other big danger to cyclists are dogs. On the amusing side of things I’ve been told by owners ‘he does not like hats’, ‘he does not like cyclists’, ‘he does not like bright colours’ etc. etc. as though training their dog is something they’ve just never thought of. But joking aside passing a dog and dog walker when the dog is on one of those extendable leads is an art form as you have to try to guess what the dog will do i.e. which way it will run and how far. This is an issue you don’t even need to think about when a dog is on a traditional lead as they can’t move very far in any direction. The problem is most obvious on pedestrian and cycling ‘shared space’ routes

And before you ask yes I’ve been chased by a dog whilst cycling but fortunately, I managed to outpace it, so I’m yet to have an accident or be bitten by a dog whilst cycling. However, I have been bitten by one whilst a pedestrian. That ended up in court and the person responsible for the dog got a £300+ fine if I recall correctly. It happened a few years back in Thornton. My advice to anyone who has an unfortunate dog encounter is to report it to Sefton Council’s Dog Warden, that’s how my case got taken to court.

Chester the Chocolate Lab

Oh and before you think I’m a dog hater, no I’m not. Chester, a friend’s Chocolate Lab’, is my best doggy chum and yes our family has in the past had a dog. To be honest the dog is never the problem it’s the owners who don’t train them whilst treating them like children who can do no wrong. Dogs are pack animals and need to know where they stand. If you treat them like they are the top dog that is how they will act making your and other folks lives a misery in the process often.

* Thanks to ukcyclelaws blogspot for the graphic above

Lydiate – Dog fouling of park surrounding Lydiate Village Centre site

A few weeks ago Lydiate Parish Council took a tough decision that it would very much rather have not made. It closed the open space around Lydiate Village Centre on Lambshear Lane at times the Village Centre itself is not open.

Lydiate Village Centre

The reason? Excessive dog fouling of the grassed area leading to young children being put in conflict with the fouled area. Not surprisingly the move has upset local dog walkers who do clear up after their dogs. As with many anti-social activities it is the actions of the few who care little for our communities that ends up compromising the activities of people who do care, in this case the vast majority of dog walkers.

The Parish Council is looking for a long-term way keeping the open space accessible 24 – 7 whilst being able to control the fouling in a way that does not put playing youngsters at risk.

Sefton Council – Consulting on where you may no longer be able to take your dog off its lead etc.

modgov.sefton.gov.uk/documents/s71240/8.2.%20Dog%20Control%20Easy%20Read.pdf

Consultation on the ideas about a Public Space Protection Order – Dog Control (PSPO).

The link above is to a document produced by Sefton Council on this subject. The link at the end of this posting enables you to take part in the consultation.

The consultation runs from 15th February till 1st April 2017.

Dog control is a serious issue but like many things in life it is the activities of the minority that cause those in power to consider moves that in this case will clearly restrict the activities of the many considerate dog owners.

I don’t have a dog myself so have no axe to grind here (although fouling of pavements and public open spaces drives me as mad as the next person) but having become aware of this consultation only recently I thought it was something that required wider sight amongst Sefton Borough residents.

My thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting.

PS. Is it me or is the Sefton Council document in the link above just a little patronising?

www.engagespace.co.uk/sefton/consultation_Dtl.aspx?consult_Id=921&status=2&criteria=I&DisplayMode=Details