"I am a cycling nerd - and proud of it"

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by davek, Aug 9, 2004.

  1. davek

    davek Guest

    Article in todays Guardian - pro cycling but bemoaning irresponsible
    cyclists:
    <URL:http://www.guardian.co.uk/transport/Story/0,2763,1278255,00.html>
    or
    <URL:http://tinyurl.com/6vl95>


    I am a cycling nerd - and proud of it

    Lycra-clad louts do a great disservice to law-abiding bikers

    Rose George
    Saturday August 7, 2004
    The Guardian

    I sit at the traffic lights, dressed in helmet and yellow neon jacket,
    my lights correctly attached, and constantly on, not flashing, as
    required by illogical Highway Code regulations. I am a cycling nerd, and
    I do what people who use the road are supposed to do. I obey traffic
    regulations. I stop at red and go at green. So how come I'm in a minority?

    How come that cyclists saunter past and sit in front of me, rudely, then
    run the light? They wouldn't do that in a car. They do lots of things
    they wouldn't do in a car. They cut me up, they endanger themselves and
    they infuriate drivers whose state of mind is already ill-disposed to
    two wheels. The rude cyclists are irresponsible and they are all sorts:
    the men in bike-catalogue clothing; the couriers on death wishes; the
    summer cyclists who have multiplied like hoverflies, who cycle on
    pavements, ignore traffic regulations and assume that they can be seen
    at night with no lights, as if bathed in light from a benign pedalling god.

    Of course there's a pecking order of hatred on the roads. Honda even got
    an ad out of it: vans hate cars and cars hate bikes and cabbies hate
    everyone. Every cyclist has horror stories. Seeing someone go under a
    lorry or swiped by a car. In May, Vicki McCreery was crushed by a bus on
    London's Blackfriars Bridge, while cycling along some of the stupidest,
    most menacing cycle lanes ever. In fact, the Blackfriars cycle lane
    model is being put out as an example of best practice across the UK. I
    have sympathy for the actions of Ashley Carpenter, who slashed the tyres
    of 548 cars in 10 days and was jailed for 16 months, because he'd got
    cut up by a car once too often. And I own a car with slashable tyres.

    I'm sympathetic when rules are fudged in the interests of
    self-preservation. I do it, too, when road junctions have been designed
    by planners whose attention to the needs of cyclists runs the range from
    contempt to criminal endangerment. And sometimes I get caught. A
    Lycra-clad cycle policeman - nice tight shirt - once stopped me for
    cycling the wrong way down a badly signposted one-way street. He said he
    could have fined me £30. Fair enough. Less fair that vans are never
    fined for parking in cycle lines and cutting up cyclists, which is a
    traffic offence. And when will the crime of
    looking-straight-at-you-and-still-pulling-out ever get properly policed?
    Being doored and floored, getting scissor-kicked by feral kids - it
    happens. A lot. UK cyclists are 10 times more likely to be harmed than
    bikers in the cycling haven of Denmark, where cycle lanes are built in
    such a way that road traffic can't get near them. Here, a cyclist is
    killed every two and a half days.

    Still, I love to cycle and, mostly, I like cyclists. So why does it
    bother me when a cyclist rides like a moron; when a cyclist doesn't seem
    to know whether they're pedestrian or vehicular, like they're stuck in
    some road-user limbo where traffic lights are simply suggestions?

    It's about expectations. Cyclists have chosen a green, progressive mode
    of transport. I expect them to behave in a socially responsible,
    progressive way. Through days on end of sitting at traffic lights, being
    overtaken when I'm overtaking a stationary bus, and there's a bus coming
    in the other direction, I have come to learn that this is stupid. They
    might just want to get to work more quickly, and when has commuting ever
    brought out the best in humanity? As a cycling friend said recently: "A
    tosser is a tosser, no matter what mode of transport they're using. It's
    about changing people's attitude to each other when they're travelling
    as opposed to singling out any particular group."

    So maybe I'm wrong to bring up the rude cyclists at all, when cycling
    organisations plea constantly for better integration and harmony between
    road users. I might be discouraging the 10,000 new cyclists that John
    Prescott wants to see on the roads by 2010, by pointing out the dangers
    over the benefits.

    Anti-cyclists refer to Lycra-clad louts. There's nothing wrong with
    Lycra. There is something wrong with getting on your bike but not having
    the brains or responsibility to go with it. So bring on the 10,000
    cyclists, but with lights and bells and some respect. Bring on
    thoughtful cycle lanes. Bring on a week's compulsory city cycling for
    every traffic planner. For every taxi driver and motorist, too.

    Vicki McCreery's family are rightly suing Transport for London for her
    death. This is a traffic system skewed firmly in favour of the less
    vulnerable. It's daft and dangerous. But there's no need for cyclists to
    make things worse. The person sitting at the red light, while you ride
    past, who says, "Laws RTA 1988, sect 36, TSRGD reg 10(1): Must obey all
    traffic signals". That might be me.

    · Rose George's new book, A Life Removed: Hunting for Refuge in the
    Modern World, is published by Penguin. All proceeds go to the
    International Rescue Committee

    [email protected]
     
    Tags:


  2. Graham

    Graham Guest

    "davek" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > Article in todays Guardian - pro cycling but bemoaning irresponsible
    > cyclists:
    > <URL:http://www.guardian.co.uk/transport/Story/0,2763,1278255,00.html>
    > or
    > <URL:http://tinyurl.com/6vl95>
    >
    >
    > I am a cycling nerd - and proud of it
    >
    > Lycra-clad louts do a great disservice to law-abiding bikers
    >
    > Rose George
    > Saturday August 7, 2004
    > The Guardian
    >
    > I sit at the traffic lights, dressed in helmet and yellow neon jacket,
    > my lights correctly attached, and constantly on, not flashing, as
    > required by illogical Highway Code regulations. I am a cycling nerd, and
    > I do what people who use the road are supposed to do. I obey traffic
    > regulations. I stop at red and go at green. So how come I'm in a minority?
    >
    > How come that cyclists saunter past and sit in front of me, rudely, then
    > run the light? They wouldn't do that in a car. They do lots of things
    > they wouldn't do in a car. They cut me up, they endanger themselves and
    > they infuriate drivers whose state of mind is already ill-disposed to
    > two wheels. The rude cyclists are irresponsible and they are all sorts:
    > the men in bike-catalogue clothing; the couriers on death wishes; the
    > summer cyclists who have multiplied like hoverflies, who cycle on
    > pavements, ignore traffic regulations and assume that they can be seen
    > at night with no lights, as if bathed in light from a benign pedalling

    god.
    >
    > Of course there's a pecking order of hatred on the roads. Honda even got
    > an ad out of it: vans hate cars and cars hate bikes and cabbies hate
    > everyone. Every cyclist has horror stories. Seeing someone go under a
    > lorry or swiped by a car. In May, Vicki McCreery was crushed by a bus on
    > London's Blackfriars Bridge, while cycling along some of the stupidest,
    > most menacing cycle lanes ever. In fact, the Blackfriars cycle lane
    > model is being put out as an example of best practice across the UK. I
    > have sympathy for the actions of Ashley Carpenter, who slashed the tyres
    > of 548 cars in 10 days and was jailed for 16 months, because he'd got
    > cut up by a car once too often. And I own a car with slashable tyres.
    >
    > I'm sympathetic when rules are fudged in the interests of
    > self-preservation. I do it, too, when road junctions have been designed
    > by planners whose attention to the needs of cyclists runs the range from
    > contempt to criminal endangerment. And sometimes I get caught. A
    > Lycra-clad cycle policeman - nice tight shirt - once stopped me for
    > cycling the wrong way down a badly signposted one-way street. He said he
    > could have fined me £30. Fair enough. Less fair that vans are never
    > fined for parking in cycle lines and cutting up cyclists, which is a
    > traffic offence. And when will the crime of
    > looking-straight-at-you-and-still-pulling-out ever get properly policed?
    > Being doored and floored, getting scissor-kicked by feral kids - it
    > happens. A lot. UK cyclists are 10 times more likely to be harmed than
    > bikers in the cycling haven of Denmark, where cycle lanes are built in
    > such a way that road traffic can't get near them. Here, a cyclist is
    > killed every two and a half days.
    >
    > Still, I love to cycle and, mostly, I like cyclists. So why does it
    > bother me when a cyclist rides like a moron; when a cyclist doesn't seem
    > to know whether they're pedestrian or vehicular, like they're stuck in
    > some road-user limbo where traffic lights are simply suggestions?
    >
    > It's about expectations. Cyclists have chosen a green, progressive mode
    > of transport. I expect them to behave in a socially responsible,
    > progressive way. Through days on end of sitting at traffic lights, being
    > overtaken when I'm overtaking a stationary bus, and there's a bus coming
    > in the other direction, I have come to learn that this is stupid. They
    > might just want to get to work more quickly, and when has commuting ever
    > brought out the best in humanity? As a cycling friend said recently: "A
    > tosser is a tosser, no matter what mode of transport they're using. It's
    > about changing people's attitude to each other when they're travelling
    > as opposed to singling out any particular group."
    >
    > So maybe I'm wrong to bring up the rude cyclists at all, when cycling
    > organisations plea constantly for better integration and harmony between
    > road users. I might be discouraging the 10,000 new cyclists that John
    > Prescott wants to see on the roads by 2010, by pointing out the dangers
    > over the benefits.
    >
    > Anti-cyclists refer to Lycra-clad louts. There's nothing wrong with
    > Lycra. There is something wrong with getting on your bike but not having
    > the brains or responsibility to go with it. So bring on the 10,000
    > cyclists, but with lights and bells and some respect. Bring on
    > thoughtful cycle lanes. Bring on a week's compulsory city cycling for
    > every traffic planner. For every taxi driver and motorist, too.
    >
    > Vicki McCreery's family are rightly suing Transport for London for her
    > death. This is a traffic system skewed firmly in favour of the less
    > vulnerable. It's daft and dangerous. But there's no need for cyclists to
    > make things worse. The person sitting at the red light, while you ride
    > past, who says, "Laws RTA 1988, sect 36, TSRGD reg 10(1): Must obey all
    > traffic signals". That might be me.
    >
    > · Rose George's new book, A Life Removed: Hunting for Refuge in the
    > Modern World, is published by Penguin. All proceeds go to the
    > International Rescue Committee
    >
    > [email protected]


    He's right !

    Graham
     
  3. Tony W

    Tony W Guest

    "Graham" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > >
    > > · Rose George's new book, A Life Removed: Hunting for Refuge in the
    > > Modern World, is published by Penguin. All proceeds go to the
    > > International Rescue Committee
    > >
    > > [email protected]

    >
    > He's right !


    He?

    T
     
  4. Simon Mason

    Simon Mason Guest

  5. On Mon, 9 Aug 2004 13:31:46 +0100, Simon Mason
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >
    > "Tony W" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]
    >>
    >> "Graham" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    >> news:[email protected]
    >> > >
    >> > > · Rose George's new book, A Life Removed: Hunting for Refuge in the
    >> > > Modern World, is published by Penguin. All proceeds go to the
    >> > > International Rescue Committee
    >> > >
    >> > > [email protected]
    >> >
    >> > He's right !

    >>
    >> He?

    >
    > Well, you never know these days ;-)


    "[Rose George] received her first-class honours BA in modern languages
    from the
    University of Oxford in 1992, and her MA in international politics in 1994
    from the University of Pennsylvania. She speaks fluent French and Italian,
    some Spanish and German, and bad Bulgarian and Arabic, but remains
    always a Yorkshirewoman."

    You do now.

    Colin
     
  6. Simonb

    Simonb Guest

    davek wrote:

    > And when will the crime of
    > looking-straight-at-you-and-still-pulling-out ever get properly
    > policed?


    This very thing happened to me this morning. Really scary. I made good eye
    contact with the driver and he still started his turn causing me to swerve
    rather violently.
     
  7. Paul - xxx

    Paul - xxx Guest

    davek vaguely muttered something like ...
    "A
    > tosser is a tosser, no matter what mode of transport they're using. It's
    > about changing people's attitude to each other when they're travelling
    > as opposed to singling out any particular group."


    Damn right .. I think I'll use that in my sig ... ;)

    --
    Paul ...

    (8(|) ... Homer Rocks
     
  8. David Hansen

    David Hansen Guest

    On Mon, 9 Aug 2004 11:15:07 +0000 (UTC) someone who may be davek
    <[email protected]> wrote this:-

    ><URL:http://www.guardian.co.uk/transport/Story/0,2763,1278255,00.html>
    >I sit at the traffic lights, dressed in helmet and yellow neon jacket,


    So what?

    >How come that cyclists saunter past and sit in front of me, rudely, then
    >run the light? They wouldn't do that in a car.


    She has obviously led a sheltered life.

    >Every cyclist has horror stories.


    Really.

    >UK cyclists are 10 times more likely to be harmed than
    >bikers in the cycling haven of Denmark, where cycle lanes are built in
    >such a way that road traffic can't get near them.


    Elementary mistake. Cyclists and their vehicles are road traffic.

    Sustrans has a lot to answer for in their stupid compliance with the
    views of road builders that cyclists are not part of the traffic.

    >So bring on the 10,000
    >cyclists, but with lights and bells and some respect.


    Bells are largely superfluous. The human voice is capable of a far
    greater range of sounds and variable volume.


    --
    David Hansen, Edinburgh | PGP email preferred-key number F566DA0E
    I will always explain revoked keys, unless the UK government
    prevents me using the RIP Act 2000.
     
  9. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    David Hansen wrote:

    >>UK cyclists are 10 times more likely to be harmed than
    >>bikers in the cycling haven of Denmark, where cycle lanes are built in
    >>such a way that road traffic can't get near them.


    > Elementary mistake. Cyclists and their vehicles are road traffic.


    But if the cycle tracks are completely apart from the road then the
    cycles on them are, rather by definition, /not/ road traffic. Because
    they're not on the road.

    > Bells are largely superfluous. The human voice is capable of a far
    > greater range of sounds and variable volume.


    But bells can be very useful in some circumstances. I quite often ride
    the mixed use path along the Firth rather than the road. It might be
    slower but it's just a nice place to be which the alternative road
    isn't. It's a lot easier to ping the pling that says "cyclists" in a
    reasonably polite manner rather than say "excuse me!" a dozen times,
    which quite often says "can't be anyone speaking to me, I'm just
    wandering along minding my own business and that sounds at least 10' away".
    Bells may not be any real use in traffic, but my bike isn't limited to
    traffic. I'm quite happy to shout "*OI!*" if I need to, but for
    repeated usage among peds a bell often works better and is more convenient.

    Pete.
    --
    Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
    Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
    Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
    net [email protected] http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
     
  10. Arthur Clune

    Arthur Clune Guest

    davek <[email protected]> wrote:

    : Lycra-clad louts do a great disservice to law-abiding bikers

    Stuff like this always annoys me slightly. Round here I don't see
    many cyclists jumping lights. There are queues of cyclists in ASLs.

    It's only when I go down to London that I see where articles like
    this are coming from. But London is not the UK.

    Arthru

    --
    Arthur Clune http://www.clune.org
    "Technolibertarians make a philosophy out of a personality defect"
    - Paulina Borsook
     
  11. > Stuff like this always annoys me slightly. Round here I don't see
    > many cyclists jumping lights. There are queues of cyclists in ASLs.
    > It's only when I go down to London that I see where articles like
    > this are coming from. But London is not the UK.


    Nope, the buggers are all over Manchester too. A useful aid to interval
    training I suppose.
     
  12. Danny Colyer

    Danny Colyer Guest

    Arthur Clune wrote:
    > Stuff like this always annoys me slightly. Round here I don't see
    > many cyclists jumping lights. There are queues of cyclists in ASLs.
    >
    > It's only when I go down to London that I see where articles like
    > this are coming from. But London is not the UK.


    In Bristol I've noticed that the closer I get to the city centre, the
    more likely I am to see people riding on pavements and/or going through
    red lights.

    Bath and Bristol are the only cities I've ever lived in. I've never
    noticed a problem with light jumping (at least not from cyclists,
    motorists are a different matter) or pavement cycling in Bath, nor in
    any town that I've lived or worked in.

    It really seems to be a big city thing.

    --
    Danny Colyer (the UK company has been laughed out of my reply address)
    <URL:http://www.speedy5.freeserve.co.uk/danny/>
    "He who dares not offend cannot be honest." - Thomas Paine
     
  13. Jon Senior

    Jon Senior Guest

    Danny Colyer [email protected]le opined the following...
    > Bath and Bristol are the only cities I've ever lived in. I've never
    > noticed a problem with light jumping (at least not from cyclists,
    > motorists are a different matter) or pavement cycling in Bath, nor in
    > any town that I've lived or worked in.


    I'm sure that it technically is, but I never managed to view Bath as a
    city! I figured it for a slightly portly town. :)

    Jon
     
  14. Al C-F

    Al C-F Guest

    On Mon, 9 Aug 2004 11:15:07 +0000 (UTC), davek <[email protected]> wrote:

    >
    >I sit at the traffic lights, dressed in helmet and yellow neon jacket,
    >my lights correctly attached, and constantly on, not flashing, as
    >required by illogical Highway Code regulations. I am a cycling nerd, and
    >I do what people who use the road are supposed to do. I obey traffic
    >regulations. I stop at red and go at green. So how come I'm in a minority?


    Why isn't everyone perfect like me?
    --

    Cheers,

    Al
     
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