As they say, I was just riding along one day to work. The route I take goes up Tooley St right past London Bridge station, I was headed west along it. Normally it is a two-way street with thin cycle lanes which you can see above, however it has been under road works recently and the eastbound lane was closed. The cycle lane was also partly closed in the eastbound direction for one short 500m section or so up to where London bridge station started. There were signs indicating that the cycle lane was closed, and to walk on the footpath. However I ignored it every day for a month or so, as did every other cyclist. One morning however, there was a police van there waiting for cyclists and I got caught.
After a brief chat with the constable I was issued with a fine for £30, however if I did this online cycle safety course I would only pay £16.50 instead. I rode away to work slightly frustrated, but also partly relieved as I thought the fine would've been a lot more. The City of London has started with a zero tolerance policy towards cycle traffic infringements, their reasoning is to improve safety and reduce the number of injuries and deaths.
So the online course starts with a hypothetical journey home taken by a crash test dummy wearning nothing but a backpack. Some of the questions have quite obvious answers, basically you just have to not be an arrogant arsehole.
Although some of the questions are a little patronising, I think most cyclists are aware of the potential risks and consequences of having an accident. It's the minority of loonies that have no regard for their own lives or those of others.
Some of the safety questions are pretty commonsense, like having lights, making eye contact or not going the wrong way up one way streets...
Some of them are a little grey. I do use the bike bays at the front but often they have cars in them. Whether they contribute to cyclist safety is unclear though.
Some questions just confused me. I was always taught to drive defensively, and generally do so as well when I cycle. I always assume people can't see me and drive like idiots.
Then there is sharing the road, it's difficult to hog the road as a bicycle seeing as taking a whole lane is completely legal as well as encouraged by the site. Usually sharing the road is a problem with cars not bikes.
One of the issues with the site was the way it approached traffic filtering. In London there has been a lot of publicity about not undertaking trucks - that is going up the inside gap of a truck turning left. Many cyclists have been killed or injured doing this, many trucks now have huge signs on the back of them warning of this, as well as speakers which repeat "Warning! truck turning left" on loop when they have signalled left.
Quite often when I'm in traffic I feel it's safer to filter on the right side, it really depends on the situation. Filtering on the right there may be oncoming traffic, usually other motorcycles or bicycles doing the same thing. Ideally I wouldn't have to filter through traffic because I would have a nice dedicated lane to go up instead.
All in all, I appreciate that I don't have to pay the full fine and in spirit, giving the option of education over a full fine is in the right direction. However it should be a two way street (pun intended), drivers should be educated when they park over bike lanes or cut of cyclists, and they should be made aware of the consequences; more so as cyclists are usually the victims. Ultimately drivers have more power on the road, cyclists should be responsible as well.