I know many people who dare not cycle in Glasgow from either a bad experience or from simply observing the hostile road conditions. I too have questioned whether it’s worth it. Those who do cycle often have chilling stories to tell of being involved in accidents or near misses. I’ve even heard one saying ominously “it’s only a matter of time” until he is hit.
I was recently involved in a near miss where a driver failed to look properly (shown in the video below). My driver alarm bells should have been ringing when I saw the rapid deceleration of the car when approaching the junction, which is never good. However I had sat long enough as people dodged around the van in the orange box when I could have proceeded to filter. I did see the white car but thought they would have seen me, you see how that turned out. The most worrying part was how the driver continued to come towards me when I was in plain sight.
In short this junction is awful. It’s frustrating for pedestrians, it’s dangerous for cyclists and it’s difficult for drivers. Normally when I proceed across this junction I do so with great caution because I’m aware that it’s busy and drivers tend to pull-out without looking properly or just want to get in front. I usually try to take the primary position (middle of the lane) to make sure I’m visible and to deter people from pulling out on me and even go so far as moving to the outer-side to further dissuade any such attempts, and I also try to make eye contact with drivers to check they have seen me. However in this instance I couldn’t be in the primary and there was glare on the driver’s windscreen.
So what’s the problem with this junction? It’s primarily designed for vehicle flow in an area which shouldn’t have high vehicle numbers and it does not offer any protection to cyclists. Dumbarton Rd is a busy area for pedestrians and relatively busy with cyclists but the current set-up favours vehicle flow over safety. The picture below shows a typical scene. There is little wonder the street is dying on its knees. Furthermore, this junction is likely only going to get worse since the Comet that used to be there at the junction is being replaced by flats – more motor traffic.
The question we ought to be asking is how can we make Dumbarton Rd a pleasant and safe place for cyclists and pedestrians? After all Braehead (the car park as I call it) was built for drivers so can’t they go there for their shopping?