Since posting an article yesterday on why drivers ought to be friendlier to cyclists, Carbuzz.co.uk has seen a massive spike in visitor numbers as well as mentions on social media. The article ‘What drivers can do to be more cyclist aware’ has been retweeted 975 times and has had 348 Facebook likes.
Carbuzz is a price comparison website which aggregates newspaper and magazine reviews of cars to formulate an overall score.
Site co-founder James Hind said the ‘Them and Us’ attitude of some car and cycling websites doesn’t reflect reality.
"I know lots of car enthusiasts who are big bike fans, the two seem to go hand in hand quite often. For example there is a very popular car forum called PistonHeads which has an incredibly active cycling section."
The ‘be cyclist aware’ article was written by site co-founder Alex Margolis and Chris Gidney, a technician at SRAM. Before publication the site sought the views of BikeBiz executive editor Carlton Reid and he refined some of the points and added a few others.
On the site’s forum, both motorists and cyclists have welcomed the article. And on Twitter cyclists have been raving about it. Cycleboredom wrote the article was "so well written, it’s hard to believe — at least from a skeptic’s POV. Kept wanting to doubt its authenticity."
Tweetymike wrote "Wow. Cool. Smiling. Times are a’ changin’…"
The article suggested motorists ought to learn to share the road with cyclists:
"As a car driver you may think the road belongs to you, but nobody owns the road. Everyone has a right to pass and re-pass on public highways. By law, a bicycle is a vehicle, so treat it like one."
Drivers are warned to take more care when meeting cyclists, and the site is in favour of ‘strict liability’, a first for a UK-based car website:
"You’re driving a vehicle hugely heavier and more powerful than theirs. In any impact, they will be the losers. Perhaps it’s best we take after most other European countries which operate ‘strict liability’. These regulations result in the motorist’s insurance usually being deemed to be responsible in any crash involving a cyclist. In the same way that a cyclist would be at fault in a smash with a pedestrian. With the driver always at fault in any accident, drivers become evidently more cautious around cyclists."
Carbuzz pointed out that cyclists riding in ‘primary position’, in the centre of a lane, are not doing so out of spite:
"Cyclists have a right to claim the lane That’s correct. They have as much right as you do to take up the entire lane. You may think they’re being utterly selfish by doing so, but in fact they’re preventing having an accident. They really aren’t trying to slow you down, it’s just the safest way for them to cycle particularly if there’s a blind bend, a narrowing of the road, a high risk junction, pinch point or traffic lights ahead."
The site also suggests that motorists out to get out more: on bikes.
"Not until you experience what it’s like to be a cyclist on a busy road will you truly be able to empathise with them and realise how careless drivers can be at times. Cyclists can too be careless, but it usually ends in them getting hurt, not you."
In a follow-up article the website also educates some motorists of what pays for roads, and it ain’t ‘road tax.’
Carbuzz founder James Hinds wrote: "Road tax doesn’t exist, it was abolished in 1937. What we have today is a tax on vehicles, not a tax that pays for roads. The term ‘road tax’ is therefore well past its sell-by date and is misleading at best, a mistaken belief in entitlement at worst.
"Here at carbuzz we’re committed to trying to make car research easier and less confusing. So we want to encourage fellow car sites and enthusiasts to stop referring to road tax and instead call it either car tax or its official name, VED (Vehicle Excise Duty).
"Cyclists sometimes get abused by motorists who yell that they should “get off the road” as they “don’t pay road tax.”
"Unfortunately there is plenty of video evidence of angry motorists verbally and physically abusing cyclists for this supposed non-payment even though 2 million motorists don’t pay VED either.
"From now on at carbuzz we’ll only be referring to car tax. We’ve already changed our stats pages for each car, so it now refers to ‘Tax per year’, to avoid all confusion."