Get rid of the white lines, and its not just about the bike!


I cycle a lot, and so I am drawn to lots of coverage of cycling on twitter and other news feeds. I also have teenage sons who are keen to ride so therefore as any parent might be I am conscious of their safety on the roads so take an interest in cycle safety as well as being dismayed by the poor driving, arrogance and ignorance of many drivers.

There was an article a few weeks ago (the source I can’t remember) that argued for the removal of white lines in roads as it was proven that there was a resulting reduction in accidents involving bikes and overtaking cars. The hypothesis was that the centre white lines created a feeling of restriction to overtaking cars, and increasing the likelihood that cars would overtake bikes too closely. Its really quite scary when a car passes you closely at speeds over 30mph. Trust me!

I was out on my bike yesterday, on quiet Sunday roads, and this was brought back into focus when a sports car passed close to me on a bend and cut right in front of me. My usual arm waving and V sign over, my thoughts reflected on the white lines.

So as I continued my ride, and my coherence returning to my human rather than my “chimp” brain I thought about work and organisations and how the white lines might have an impact on our behaviour and thinking.

So why do we have them? We clearly need guidelines and limits to ensure our safety and bring a required amount of order. They create certainty, and give us a direction of travel (excuse the pun). They are comfortable, we know our boundaries and within the lines we can create and innovate. I wondered though whether we might become complacent because we are within the lines. They get us there without having to think, and perhaps we can go faster as we don’t need to be that alert as the “oncoming traffic” is also within the lines.

So I challenge you to think about what lines you are following. Are you on auto, not really being that mindful of whats happening, whats oncoming, could you even get rid of the lines?

and if you are out in the car, please, please, please remember we are not cased in steel!



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