Saturday, June 28, 2008

Taking Risks

Near where I live, there is a big roundabout. It's often regarded as a very dangerous roundabout for cyclists. Coming out of Oxford, most cars go left at the roundabout. Most bikes go right, which causes problems.

The road coming into the roundabout splits into two lanes - the left lane for left (with the cars), the right lane for right. This all makes sense.

For the cyclist who always wants to take the safest course of action, it seems that the correct thing to do is to stay at the left of the traffic. But the problem is that staying at the left then leads to them having to cut very dangerously across the traffic when it is accelerating out of the roundabout. I have narrowly missed hitting a cyclist who was trying just that.

The safe way to cycle round the roundabout is by taking what initially looks like the more risky route - to weave into and through the stream of traffic as it is braking to arrive at the roundabout so that they are in the correct lane for turning right. It feels riskier, but it's much easier to see and to account for for cars, and far fewer people are hit doing that.

This is a parable. Often in life, and in faith, playing it safe is actually the high-risk, low-gain strategy.

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