Running the School-Run Gauntlet

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21 Responses

  1. CyclingJohn says:

    This is so sad. Unfortunately, I agree with the lady. I’ve experienced even worse treatment by drivers.
    Maybe there should be a national government initiated campaign telling drivers to be alert for and respectful towards cyclists, at the same time, also informing drivers that cyclists have rights too.

  2. Mark O'Reilly says:

    This makes me feel extremely sad. I’m sorry to say that I agree with Diana. There is progress, and more drivers are more alive to the needs of cyclists and our right to be on the roads than before, but at the same time I am increasingly aware of being an object of hatred by people who would happily kill me if it wouldn’t increase their insurance payments. On which subject the recent proposal to reduce insurance costs for drivers who have taken a cyclist-awareness course sounds a move in the right direction, but presumed liability, which is in force in most European countries, and which would do more than anything else to improve the behaviour of drivers – and cyclists! – was not even mentioned. (Presumed liability is the legal assumption that in any collision the user of the more dangerous vehicle is assumed to be at fault unless there is compelling evidence to the contrary. A collision between a motor vehicle and a bike is the driver’s fault unless proved otherwise and a collision between a bike and a pedestrian is the cyclists’s fault unless proved otherwise.)

  3. Stephani Mok says:

    I love that you’re bold enough to do the school run by cargo bike! You’re an inspiration for me for taking my grandchildren about by cargo bike!

  4. Lizzie says:

    As others say, reading this made me very sad. Anyone who does the “school run” by bike, and not car, is my hero. I cycle regularly here in Oxfordshire as well as outside the county, and although I often experience the far-too-close pass I haven’t experienced the nastiness and aggression from drivers that you clearly do. Maybe that’s partly because I’m not generally cycling at the school run time of day. Or maybe it’s just not so bad down here – who knows? But on the positive side, your post has just served to make me even more determined to try and do my bit to get more people onto bikes, and to make the whole business of cycling safer. I joined Cycling UK last year for that reason.

    I sincerely hope that you keep doing the school run by bike.

    • Diana says:

      Thanks for your comment. Don’t worry, I won’t give up. I can’t really, I would miss it far too much. I remain hopeful that this will pass and we will start to see more positivity on the roads and paths soon!

  5. Hannah says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. I do a home-nursery-school-work (and vice versa) commute on my cargo bike with two kids in Winchester, and just recently it occurred to me that most days, when I get home, the first thing I report to my husband is the level of aggression and sheer stupidity we’ve just experienced on the roads. We have a relatively short commute, and actually most of it is on genuinely quiet streets, however even then we still see some appalling, dangerous driving. This happens all year round, but particularly in the winter, when drivers are keen to get home quickly (which is obviously no excuse). Sometimes I actually think people (mainly drivers, but sometimes pedestrians too) just simply don’t like the fact that we dare to do things differently (by cargo biking), and communicate this in the way that they engage with us on the road or shared paths – i.e. disrespectfully and aggressively. I won’t ever stop cycling with the kids – as you say in your blog, there are so many reasons why it’s great – but I find it tricky and, quite honestly, tiring to challenge the instances of aggressive and dangerous driving we see on a daily basis, whilst also trying to show my kids that cycling is enjoyable and safe for them.

  6. Nick says:

    As a fellow Edinburgh cargo school runner I feel your pain……but whenever I feel the same a quote from my childhood (Dr Seuss’ Lorax ) jumps into my head, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” Just by being out there, you are an inspiration to many that it can be done, and eventually things will get better for us all. So thank you.

  7. Emma says:

    What a shame! I have had the same experience commuting solo. My partner’s experience on the roads was so bad that I was forbidden for riding on the road with my children, and the non-militant part of me has had to concede he may have a point as the drivers can be really dangerous – a risk I’m prepared to take for myself but not with my two little ones in the trailer behind. Anyway, I’ve passed your post onto a friend who used to work for Sustrans in Edinburgh and asked if she knows anyone who can check out your concerns and this particular route with you. That won’t go any way to address the cultural forces at play here but maybe there’s some way the route can be improved? Good luck!

  8. Claire Duncan says:

    I also bike (bike/train/bike) commute in Edinburgh and encounter a rat run (South Gyle). I have also done the school run with the kids on bike + trailer bike in Fife. I’m fortunate not to have experienced the same as you. Bike commuting just works for me.

  9. Jiri says:

    Hi Diana,
    I am so sorry to read about your experience. I live in London with considerably higher amount of cyclists yet I see examples of the same on school run or elsewhere. Impatience, self- entitlement, risky behaviours, exaggerated reactions . My own assumption is that almost all the media is pitching one way of transport against the other. Tabloids relish in perpetuating deep generalisations,lies and provocations as BBC called the situation on the road ‘a battle’repeatedly. The tolerant mindset of the nation somehow doesn’t apply once sitting in a two tonne metal box. I hope the mindset will change. Meanwhile,keep cycling,alas,with eyes wide open.

  10. Axel says:

    What a difference a country makes! My 5.5 year old daughter cycles to school on her own bike. 1 km away.
    It just happens to be in the centre of Amsterdam, NL: Passing cars and lorries slow down or stop respectfully.

    • Diana says:

      So jealous!! I don’t dare let my 6.5 year old cycle on his own bike to school. It’s such as shame. I love my cargo bike but the children get no more exercise as passengers than they would in a car.

  11. Dashed Lines says:

    Shame it’s getting that bad. I’ve heard similar stories from commuters about conditions worsening so you’re not alone. I’m lucky my commute is a bit quieter.

    Have you asked neighbours or friends what they think about the rat run street near you? If other people don’t like it, maybe you could ask local councillors about filtering it in middle (keeping local access from each side but blocking through traffic). Keep road flat so folk can cycle through but not drive. See examples using bollards and nice planter boxes in this Mini-Holland article:

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