Cycling: Road Safety


This class extends practice of adverbs from the related class: C1 listening: Cycling
The video in this class is from a British series about cars called Top Gear. (Wikipedia link opens on new page.)
1. Look at the following list and decide how the things could relate to road safety.
  • children’s toys
  • doing a skid
  • getting mangled
  • being considerate
  • normal clothing
  • sounding the bell
  • turning left or right
  • bumps in the road
  • doing an emergency stop
2. Watch the video and decide how the things from the list in 1. use comedy to present elements of road safety.
  • Answer to 2.

children’s toys This plays with the idea that bicycles are for children and shouldn’t be used by adults. The message is, “Drive a car instead”. Funny perhaps, but certainly not a practical solution to road safety for cyclists.

doing a skid There is a serious risk of injury from skidding out of control, though in the video it’s a controlled skid, which especially kids like doing, that goes wrong.

getting mangled Certainly not the best outcome from a bike ride, it is a lot easier to get mangled on your bike than in a car because cyclists have no protection other than pads and helmets. In the video we don’t see the mangled cyclist, but Jeremy Clarkson says it for comic effect when asked where the cyclist is, as a serious question by one of the panel.

being considerate This is what road safety is largely about; everyone on the road being aware of each other and there is no implied humour in this.

normal clothing While special clothing can help protect cyclists from injury, in the video their response to the other cyclist in ‘normal clothing’ is completely exaggerated for comic effect.

sounding the bell While it’s appropriate to sound the bell for pedestrians in an area where people are walking around, on the main road, cyclists should pay attention to motor vehicles. When he rings the bell, there are no pedestrians on the road to worry about.

turning left or right While there is a real danger of reduced visibility when turning in town traffic, the use of the word ‘peril’ is overly dramatic and isn’t meant to be taken seriously.

bumps in the road Many cycling accidents occur due to uneven road surfaces and pot holes, but in the video it’s Jeremy’s private parts that suffer the consequences!

doing an emergency stop This is a serious term for braking in the shortest possible distance. Here though, his ‘brake‘ is actually a rather urgent toilet ‘break‘ so it’s a play on words.


3. Decide which word best fits in sentences 1-6, listening to check before continuing to the next sentence.

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Language Focus: Adverbs of Degree

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Check out this adverb-adjective collocation exercise from International House, Bristol. (Link to IH Bristol opens on new page.)