A ‘cyclist’ is not a different species; just another human being

Short version – it’s as preposterous to attribute characteristics to ‘cyclists’ as it would be to attribute them to ‘trainists’, ‘busists’, ‘planeists’, ‘tubists’ or ‘pedestrians’. A ‘cyclist’ is just a human being who happens to be travelling by bike, just as a ‘pedestrian’ is a human being who happens to be travelling on foot, and a ‘trainist’ one who happens to be travelling by train.

 

 

Last month Radio 1’s Newsbeat programme ran a short segment on cycling safety, featuring MaidstoneonBike, among others.

About halfway through the programme, a number of tweets from the audience were read out, presumably in the interests of ‘balance’. That ‘balance’ being that on a programme arguing we need to do more to keep ‘cyclists’ safe, we need other people arguing that ‘cyclists’ need to do more for themselves.

Among these tweets, read out to an audience of millions, were the following statements –

cyclists have no spatial awareness

and

bike riders are irresponsible

There are, I think, only two ways these comments – and countless others like them – can conceivably make sense.

1) It’s possible that a ‘cyclist’ isn’t a normal human being, but rather some variant of the species that lacks spatial awareness, or that is more irresponsible than a standard human being.

2) Alternatively, a ‘cyclist’ is a normal human being – but there is something about a bicycle that immediately removes their spatial awareness, and makes them more irresponsible; or, that a bicycle appeals uniquely to that subset of humanity that is lacking spatial awareness, or is irresponsible.

The first is obviously absurd; the second bears slightly more serious consideration, but not much.

But I think that the first (absurd) explanation does actually correspond to the way plenty of people think, reflexively. Perhaps it is what the word ‘cyclist’ conjures up in the popular imagination – a skinny young male, dressed in lycra, wearing funny shoes and a funny helmet. This person isn’t ‘one of us’. They’re a bit alien.

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 09.46.00

A clear example of this phenomenon came on a Radio 4 comedy programme last night – The Show What You Wrote, on which the ‘ensemble’ perform ‘the best’ listener submissions, chosen from thousands of entries. The very first sketch of this programme – indeed the first of the entire series – was remarkable, for what it says about these kinds of attitudes.

It starts with the sound of a car being driven, followed by a loud crashing sound, and a squeal of tires.

Man: I think I’ve hit something! Oh, I can’t believe this. A nice, country drive, and this happens. I feel awful.

Woman: Poor little thing. Do you think his little family are wondering where he is?

Man: Oh my God it moved! It’s still alive!

Woman: Well we’re going to have to put it out of it’s misery. Here – use this stick.

[Sound of a beating]

Man: Oh, that wasn’t nice.

Woman: Okay, now you get rid of his body, and I’ll stick his bicycle in the boot.

LAUGHTER, APPLAUSE

The ‘humour’ here – such that it is – relies upon the audience believing that the man and the woman are discussing hitting and dispatching something not-human, when it turns out they hit and dispatched a human, or a sort-of-human. Presumably the image the audience have in their mind is of a kind of skinny, lycra-clad, helmeted ‘species’, like in the picture above.

The ‘joke’, however, would be preposterous if the word ‘cyclist’ conjured up these images in the popular imagination.

Caption

You get rid of her body, and I’ll put her bike in the boot. Ho ho ho!

So – as ridiculous as it is to think of ‘cyclists’ as a different kind of human, or not-human, this is unfortunately the instinctive reaction of plenty of people. Radio 4 comedy programmes would not run segments like this if it were otherwise.

The other explanation – that a bicycle itself somehow transforms an otherwise ordinary human being into an irresponsible one, or that bicycles uniquely appeal to those that lack spatial awareness, or variants thereof – is almost as ridiculous.

People who ride bikes use plenty of other modes of transport; they all walk, they almost all drive motor vehicles (except, of course, children), they take the train, the tube, and the bus. For it to be true that ‘cyclists’ have particular characteristics of lawlessness, or of irresponsibility or cluelessness, that other transport users don’t have, these characteristics must suddenly appear when they sit astride a bicycle, and then just as suddenly disappear when they dismount.

Is this likely? Can ‘spatial awareness’ suddenly come and go, according to the mode of transport someone is using? Obviously not; someone’s spatial awareness is a constant. Likewise ‘irresponsibility’ is a constant; an irresponsible person will be irresponsible regardless of their mode of transport.

A man who pushes you out of the way while cycling will undoubtedly be the same kind of person who pushes you out of the way while walking, or while trying to get onto a train, or who will use his horn while driving. But this kind of behaviour – equally likely across all modes of transport – is never used as an attribute of ‘pedestrians’, or ‘trainists’, or ‘motorists’.

A moment’s reflection will show that it makes absolutely no sense to attribute characteristics to people who happen to be using a particular mode of transport.

‘Motorists have poor hearing.’

‘Trainists are sweaty’.

‘Busists lack a sense of direction.’

All utterly, utterly preposterous; yet BBC presenters are quite happy to read out precisely these kinds of statements on air, to millions of people.

Think about what you’re saying.

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58 Responses to A ‘cyclist’ is not a different species; just another human being

  1. monchberter says:

    I think a lot of most people’s perception of people who do cycle, when they don’t do themselves is rooted in the whole “there MUST be something wrong with them to do something so inherently dangerous” etc etc…

    Perceiving cycling as a perverse activity, abnormal and a bit mad, the common thing to do is to assume that the person cycling themselves must be abnormal.

    Ian Walker’s oft quoted interview on cyclists as a classic ‘outgroup’ is good on this.

    http://www.thepsychologist.org.uk/archive/archive_home.cfm/volumeID_25-editionID_217-ArticleID_2136-getfile_getPDF/thepsychologist%5C0912walk.pdf

  2. severs1966 says:

    I suddenly found myself wondering about gender. Do you think that the BBC radio audience would have laughed as hard if the line had been “Okay, now you get rid of her body, and I’ll stick her bicycle in the boot.”

    I don’t know why this occurred to me.

  3. Jonathan says:

    Interesting thoughts about gender and the “sort-of-human” species.

    Whenever I see generalising derogatory references to “cyclists” it makes me think – would they (be allowed to) say the same about jews, blacks or gays?

    Such a shame that everyday cycling and sport cycling have become conflated in our society, it’d help if British Cycling would consider rebranding themselves as British Cyclesport, or at least rebrand their competitive activities.

    • pm says:

      Sadly, some people _do_ say the same about those groups. Of course the law takes a stonier line with respect to remarks about some groups than others, but that’s in part down to the extent that group membership is considered a matter of choice or not (cf the constant arguments about where religiously-defined groups should be classed).

      Legally a line has to be drawn somewhere, but it does seems clear that ‘hate crime’ is really a continuum that extends a long way beyond the specific categories legally recognised.

  4. Exactly. Whenever I hear somebody making generalisations about cyclists – cyclists are so selfish, they don’t stop at red lights, they expect everyone else to get out of their way – I make a point of correcting them. I usually say something like, Yes, *some* cyclists do these things, just like *some* drivers speed, turn without indicating or don’t pay attention, and *some* pedestrians don’t look where they’re going. You don’t assume all drivers are bad drivers because you saw one bad driver – so why make the same assumption about cyclists?

    • D. says:

      Except that SO many people DO make those generalisations, all the time (My in-laws, for two😉 ). Or (if you can bear it) lurk around the comments sections on any article which mentions cycling on a local newspaper online edition. They cannot see the irony in that “all” cyclists do this, whereas only a bad handful of motorists do that.

      Mind you, and this has just come to me, read the comments pages on a few cycling news websites too. Apparently, all the badly behaved people are just “people on bikes”, whereas “real cyclists” would never do this or that. So even the “cycling community” (trademark pending) likes to create its own out-groups…

  5. pm says:

    Using a bike as one’s regular mode of transport is one way to get a small insight into what it’s like being a member of a disadvantaged/stigmatised minority.

    As well as the ‘all outgroups are hiveminds’ phenomenon, there’s the concept of ‘microaggressions’, which comes up in at least the more middle-class discussions of experiences of racism, and which seems to translate quite well to the experience of being a road cyclist. And surely one hardly needs to point out how the topic of ‘victim blaming’ applies to both cyclists and women subject to harassment?

    The gaining of such insights is clearly just one of the many social benefits of cycling! (Though, paradoxically, this benefit would be lost if we achieved a mass cycling culture!).

    • Dan B says:

      This outlook has recently led me to jump red lights, just to find out why others do. It’s a huge eye-opener!

      Being a perfectly-behaved cyclist obeying ALL the rules gained me (and cycling) absolutely no respect, so if I’m going to be treated in a certain manner I might as well get the benefits of reduced proximity to motor traffic, and fewer close overtakes (especially into pinch points).

  6. rdrf says:

    I have followed your posts on this subject (why cyclists are assumed to be responsible for the behaviour of all other cyclists, how cyclists are treated as an out group) for the last couple of years agreeing with you, but with one reservation. Now that reservation is stronger: let me express it.
    You say: “A moment’s reflection will show that it makes absolutely no sense to attribute characteristics to people who happen to be using a particular mode of transport.”

    But in a crucial way, it does make sense – for motorists, or to be more precise, people when they are in charge of motor vehicles.

    The point is that when people are in charge of motor vehicles they have a uniquely high potential to effect damage on their fellow human beings (and property), which – broadly speaking – cyclists and pedestrians do not. The fact that those same people may also ride bicycles or walk about at other times makes no difference – when they are driving they have that much higher potential lethality.

    Furthermore, although lots of cyclists and pedestrians may well (and indeed, given human nature, are almost inevitably going to) break rules and laws, so will plenty of motorists. In fact, MOST motorists will be – laws on speed, breaking the Highway Code etc. Also, compare the third party insurance of drivers with that of members of the LCC and CTC (not that cyclists should carry 3rd party insurance, but I’ll leave that for the time being). And highway and vehicle engineering is predicated on the fact that motorists are going to crash about unless they are heavily protected from their careless, recklessness, rule and/or law breaking, criminal negligence, whatever…It’s what motorists think themselves.

    Now it may seem juvenile to put this approach forward – essentially throwing the argument back to motorists, but I think it needs to be done. It may well lead to other arguments – that drivers are somehow allowed to do what they do because they have “taken a test”, “paid a tax” etc. Or necessary for economic growth, or they just fel like it. Whatever. Take the arguments on.

  7. Pingback: Morning Links: New e-book from bike writer Rick Risemberg, conviction in Phillip Richards hit-and-run case | BikinginLA

  8. This is so common that it’s quite normal. Cyclists are effectively a different species, against all logic.

    The only solutions are to (a) make being a “cyclist” something that ordinary people do every day, and/or (b) come up with another word for people who ride bicycles for everyday transport, and not as a sport.

    A typical public meeting conversation goes “cycling must be banned here”, then when cycling families and old ladies are mentioned “OK, so, not all cyclists are antisocial”, then “OK, we should certainly allow people riding bicycles with care, it’s the ones that go too fast in Lycra we really don’t like”.

    I’ve heard many people call for “unity amongst cycling organisations”, in the campaign for cycling to be taken seriously. In fact I think the opposite is needed: we need a clear distinction to be made between organisations dedicated to sport cycling, and those people who ride bicycles for transport and have no need to belong to a cycling organisation.

    When riding my bicycle for local transport I would love to have a T-shirt with “I am not a cyclist” clearly emblazoned on front and back! Would also be useful at meetings to confuse all those councillors who start their arguments against investing in cycleways with the phrase “I am a cyclists too, but…”.

  9. rdrf says:

    Fonant: I disagree.

    Going along with splitting cyclists into different types is dangerous. I used to get people saying “Oh, YOU’RE alright (I was Mr Experienced Club Cyclist) , it’s the other ones who don’t know how to ride their bikes” e.g. sporting cyclists being privileged.

    Now you will get “We’re only against the red-light jumpers, pavement cyclists, not ordinary ones” and you get a long discussion on how we have to spend enforcement NOT on errant motoring but on people breaking whatever flavour-of-the-month rule has been selected.

    It’s divide-and-rule.

    Don’t go along with it. Just read my comments above and tell the Councillors that you hope THEY’RE not those motorists you see breaking speed limits etc.

    • pm says:

      But there _is_ a distinction between cycling as a sport (TdF, the Oympics, indoor track racing, racing on closed-roads, etc) and cycling as a method of transport (for utility or leisure). That is a real distinction which gets muddled, e.g. when bodies who should know better refer to cycling as ‘a sport’ or point to sporting racers use of helmets as somehow having anything to do with everyday cycling.

      I don’t think that is quite the same as roadies vs bromptons etc. People riding road bikes fast on (non-closed) roads aren’t to be divided off from others, sure, but there is still a confusion between very different things that doesn’t seem to happen with driving (when did a transport minister or the AA or RAC last refer to driving as a ‘sport’?)

  10. rdrf says:

    Good point pm.

    You are absolutely correct to say that bodies which should know better still refer to cycling as sport and what really counts, which is as TRANsport. I have written about this at length, for example http://rdrf.org.uk/2014/07/04/will-the-tour-de-france-be-good-for-cycling-in-the-uk/ and http://rdrf.org.uk/2014/07/11/will-the-tour-de-france-be-good-for-cycling-in-the-uk-part-two/ .

    But, I don’t think I am contradicting myself to agree with this and still show concern about fonant’s comments. It is one thing to say that our primary concern is ordinary people in ordinary clothes riding ordinary bikes on day-to-day journeys .

    It is entirely another to say to anti-cycling bigots: “No, no, no I’m not one of those BAD cycling people” in a pleading way to try and justify our existence. In fact this used to happen with club cyclists being the good guys (“proper cyclists”) and that the ones being complained about were “the others”. |I’m against it. the fact that the bigots start off with “I’m a cyclist” doesn’t mean that they aren’t anti-cyclist.

    Would you get a defensive group of drivers on the back foot trying to plead fro some basic rights by attacking another group of motorists? No, because they have the power.

    I don’t believe that even if the complaints mentioned are only restricted to racing cyclists (and are they?) that there really is a sympathy to normal everyday cyclists. I just don’t. If these complainers are worried about fast cyclists endangering others, exactly what is their record on cracking down on motor criminality, getting enforced 20 mph areas in etc.?

    I hope this makes sense.

  11. Pingback: Cyclists are people too

  12. I’m in Portland, Oregon, a MAJOR cycling town. Almost every street has a bike lane and there are many bike shops to choose from. We have naked bike rides, zoobombing, races, events, shows–you’d think bicycles were invented here.

    You’d also think we have the best bicyclists in the nation. You’d be wrong.

    Bicyclists are supposed to obey the same rules of the road as cars but I never see a bike come to a complete stop at a stop sign unless there’s immediate cross traffic. They are supposed to signal their turns but I’ve seen maybe three arms go up in nine years. They are supposed to ride in single file. Again, not a chance. The bike lanes are built for them but they often ignore them, even when the asphalt in that section is as smooth as a baby’s ass. Speed limit signs are apparently merely a suggestion to them in residential areas, as are one way streets, people in crosswalks, and lowered railroad gate arms. And vehicles? They treat those like obstacles in a giant video game, seeing how quickly they can maneuver around and between them to reach those “imaginary” lanes we’re always hearing about. And don’t get me started on the illegal mountain biking tearing the shit out of our famous protected Forest Park trails. Oh, for a blow gun with trank darts.

    Portland motorists are screamed at, given the finger, spat upon, hit with projectiles, kicked, squirted with sports drinks and water bottle backwash, keyed, and flat out prevented from safely using the roads built expressly for them…all by these noble athletes in bike helmets.

    So, yes, I have a decided opinion and, no, it is not a “reflexive” one. Years of watching Spandex assholes treat motorists with contempt simply we have chosen to drive today has helped me arrive at my position.

    • Are these people mothers and children? I think the point is that unless you live in Holland, cycling isn’t normal and it is more likely people with a different attitude towards safety who can make the majority look bad. I don’t believe all cyclists in Portland I like the ones you describe, but they may prevail while cycling is a dangerous sport rather than a means of transportation.

  13. I think Fonant makes an insightful point when he mentions public meetings at which banning cycling is suggested. I suspect that many of us secretly wish that cycling were banned, but haven’t the bollocks to espouse that viewpoint due to the obvious advantages of cycling: Reducing air pollution, increasing physical activity, etc. Bottom line is that a community needs to either accept cycling (and be courteous to those riding bicycles) or ban it and send those who use bicycles (and their money) elsewhere. It seems unfair to all involved to attempt to have it both ways.

  14. I love the idea that the same people will push you out of their way, no matter what form of transport they’re using! It’s so true! We shouldn’t tarnish the image of the whole for a handful of inconsiderate ones.

  15. Just a quick comment on the “short version” although i have no strong feelings about cyclists, other than that they make me insanely nervous, I do not think that the analogy posed in the “short version” is sound. You CAN attribute various characteristics to drivers of different vehicles, there is a definite variation in driving manner between them. You couldn’t lump pedestrians into that group because they are not on the road, at best they are only crossing it. pedestrians have a microcosm of their own. The problem for me, with cyclists is that they are an amalgam of motorists and pedestrians and are in fact a unique enough breed to warrant characteristic description. Yes a cyclist is just a human being, of course, but that doesn’t preclude a cyclist from being singularly unique, so much so that motorists will feel compelled to characterize. A cyclist is least stable of all those who share the road, most vulnerable to harm, which in some ways make him/her most threatening to everyone around. A cyclist Is also least capable of causing damage, so it follows that if ever there is impact, if ever a cyclist veers off and runs into a vehicle, it will cause the cyclist most damage, and put the vehicle driver into a difficult situation of having to prove that it was not he/she who caused the accident. Cyclists share in the road, but don’t have car insurance, they are smaller and sometimes quicker than cars, which makes them harder to see and watch out for, so for anyone involved in a collision with a cyclist it is the beginnings of an absolute nightmare. I personally that if cyclists should be in the road with vehicles then they should be insured as vehicles in the very least…I definitely feel that for all the reasons that i just mentioned cyclists can be characterized as a separate and unique group, i don’t think that they are always characterized fairly, but no stereotype is 100% proof.

  16. nicoolit says:

    Fuck them i love my bike, if they wanna hit me to get me out of the way good luck to that. I scratched so many cars in traffic with my bike, a bit of a dick move but yeah I did, and you know how they reacted? Just a blow of their horn trying to chase me in a parking lot of cars trapped in an intersection. It’s never the cyclists fault on spatial awareness, as a cyclists I always see people trying to squeeze their car inside a small space thinking “If i fit here I’ll be first to leave than any other car” which is idiotic. Most motorists get pissed because they can’t take the fact that bicycles pass them by with no effort in a jammed intersection, and that’s why i scratched those cars they think they’re scary with their 4 wheels while they’re snugged in that shell but I ain’t scared because cycling is the most rewarding activity one can ever do, it is dangerous but that’s the beauty of it because you know to yourself if you aren’t careful and make a mistake it’s all on you,. Unless you get bumped you can sue them for it that’s a law

  17. shunpwrites says:

    You’ve hit the nail on the head, if I had a dollar for every obscenity yelled at me on my bike, I’d be a wealthy man.

  18. The only “particular characteristics” I have personally noted amongst people who choose to ride bikes instead of using a motor vehicle are a predisposition to enjoy riding bike, a preference for cutting down on their personal carbon footprint,or a determination to lead a healthier lifestyle. Interesting that so many forget how healthy, responsible and fun the activity is while they are busy verbally bashing “cyclists” in general.

    Now that I have been disabled for a few years, I wish I were able to ride a bike like I did so often as a kid. I remember the joy of coasting down hills with the wind blowing through my hair and the sense of accomplishment at topping a difficult hill, the maneuverability of being able to go where I pleased road or no road. It was one of the greatest joys of my life and I eagerly shared it with my own sons as soon as they were old enough to sit a bike.I just wish more people encouraged their children toward bike riding instead of sitting in front of video games.

  19. alp6197 says:

    Thanks for sharing – I agree with U

  20. Ashikhmina says:

    I must say I have a deeply rooted absence of balance so never even tried to cycle. however, when I was in Austria, I found cyclists there acting like vehicle drivers: they stopped at the lights, they were polite and slow. In London cycling isn’t regulated, you don’t need to know a single road sign to cycle and I swear I saw at least 5 crashes in the past 2 years. It is not great but regulations must be in place to ensure not only cyclists safety but also that cyclists get fines for creating dangerous situations and for ignoring the rules.
    At least, that is my opinion.

    • Dan B says:

      What is needed is protected cycle infrastructure to allow EVERYONE (such as kids going to primary school) to cycle in safety.

      You seem to be suggesting that drivers in London are polite and slow – this is not my experience. I’ve recently started using red lights as a ‘give way’ rather than stop, after riding perfectly legally in London for about 8 years. It’s reduced my interaction with motor vehicles massively. Why does it feel safer to cycle illegally with our current road set-up? If you want people to obey the rules you have to ensure the rules make them feel safe – currently this isn’t the case. On your ‘behave like motor vehicles’ – I prefer to behave more like a pedestrian due to my similar size, weight and vulnerability on the road.

      Maybe you should try cycling – there are many options available to you, such as tricycles.

      • Ashikhmina says:

        I agree that safer regulations should be in place, this is key to improvement. However, I have never been in a car accident (I’m a 100% pedestrian) but I have been hit by cyclists 3 times in London, once on the crossing when a cyclist decided he can ignore a red light, and twice on thin pedestrian walkway which cyclists chose to use instead of a road (there was a cycling lane on the road). However, on all these occasions I got shouted at and physically suffered and I could do nothing to protect myself…if I got hit by a slowly moving motorcycle I can file a complaint immediately and a fine will be in place…so I believe this should go both ways.

  21. Generalizations of any kind tend to be fallacious–such is the case here. Nice articulation of the topic. I found this on Freshly Pressed, and I’m glad I did, as this is probably something I would have never thought up on my own.

  22. i also agree with you…
    A Cyclist is Just Another Human Being…
    It deserve a super like…

    You know Insult and mistakes makes you stronger, It doesn’t makes you weak…
    Wanna know how??
    See this post…

    http://thescienceofspirituality.wordpress.com/2014/08/31/insult-makes-you-stronger-it-doesnt-makes-you-weak/

  23. Anthony says:

    I have just started riding my bike again. While I have heard that there is a lot of this cyclist vs. motorist kind of debate here, I have noticed that cycling is on the rise. My town has three bike shops and there are more in the neighbouring cities and towns. Bike lanes and trails are on the increase. The local bus system now have bike racks on most of their busses (I hesitate to say all, because that would be presumptuous of me). One local blogger even pointed out that the way people commute could change considerably in the future. I can’t honestly say I have my finger on the pulse of the thing, but it is something I am looking out for.

  24. Huffygirl says:

    I have never understood the vitriol from some motorists directed at cyclists. I can only attribute it to jealousy and stupidity. Really, how hard is it to give a cyclist a little room on the road? Not hard at all if you’re not stupid.

  25. slyone89 says:

    I just wrote a rant about this type of thing on my wife’s blog here-

  26. cyrusquick says:

    The subject is immediately understood, and the problem solved, once you accept that some humans are defective and need to be destroyed, just like any other livestock. There are defective drivers and there are defective riders. Both groups need to be shot.

    Also defective are those humans who think it is somehow unacceptable to shoot defective people. Obviously, they think themselves to be frightfully righteous and superior. They need to be shot. Get on with it you lot; you others; you non-me group; you fools. Sadly, I am not in charge or I would do it for you.

    I gave up cycling a couple of years ago because I got slower. All the years when I did have wheels, I took part in the give-way etiquette, waving others out, when it was appropriate. Other cyclists seemed to be too shy, or too selfish, one or the other. They needed to be shot.

    Do they have traffic problems in USA? I understand that everybody is allowed to carry a gun over there. Damn! A sudden change in the law here in UK allowing people to carry guns would be fun!

    Simple.

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  28. momsranting says:

    I think that getting behind the wheel of a car gives many people a sense of “separation” from those around them, be it other “motorists” or “cyclists”, allowing them to feel somehow individual and superior for a bit. Do we all do that sometimes, just a little bit? Why does it matter that we don’t let that car pass us, but if two people are walking together, they are not darting glances and speeding up, running, slowing down to block eachother…

  29. I got to thinking about this the other day. It doesn’t really matter what vehicle these people control, but the person doing the directing. Great post

  30. mjohnns says:

    Reblogged this on mjohnns and commented:
    자전거 ..

  31. Kimba Cooper says:

    This is a very interesting article. I was recently having a conversation about the last ‘acceptable’ forms of discrimination – and funnily enough this didn’t come up. Thought thinking about it, it clearly is.
    As someone who doesn’t cycle, I am envious of those who do. I walk everywhere for mostly environmental reasons – but also, living in a city (and having tried once) I’m petrified of riding a bike on the roads. My perception of cyclists (rightly or wrongly) is that they are braver than I, are mistreated by motorists, and most importantly not provided for.
    Were cyclists to be provided for properly, especially in cities, I would cycle – full stop. I wonder how many others feel the same.

    Thank you for writing this blog – it really made me think.🙂

  32. drdblogs says:

    Cyclists are not an alien species, but maybe motorists are. Here in Adelaide people are friendliest I’ve ever known – except behind the wheel.

  33. Lucy says:

    Great blog post! I’ve started cycling recently in Bucharest and I can say it’s an extreme sport. So much disrespect in traffic for cyclists, it’s just unbelievable…

  34. Driving alongside cyclists should be part of passing your test in todays society but this said, Cyclists should also be required to gain a licence to cycle on the roads with cars!
    This could save many lives and reduce road rage!

  35. I have never disrespected a driver or cyclist but it has come to my attention that many cyclists have no clue on how to cycle safely around vehicles!
    Surely if its your cycle versus a vehicle, your cycle has no chance, this must then mean that cyclists must take more responsibility and care whilst out on our roads seen as its their life on the line!

    • pm says:

      Yes, because its always the vulnerable party’s responsibility to accommodate the dangerous party. With great power goes…greatly reduced responsibility. Children need to take more responsibility around adults, women around men, the poor around the rich, and so on.

      Or, perhaps, that the cycle has no chance must mean… that a greater degree of care must be legally demanded of the motor vehicle user. Or, better still, that the motor vehicle should as much as possible be kept away from the cyclist, by reallocating space from the former to the latter.

  36. rebelisdead says:

    It costs me 6 dollars to get a new inner tube whenever I have little incidents. Cycling promotes less usage of automobiles, which include expenses in gas, parts, maintenance etc, and it promotes exercise, providing a healthier lifestyle. I’m not saying sell your car and rely on a bike, especially with weather conditions, but having a bike makes you experience a whole different world, while still doing good to the environment and yourself. It’s a win-win situation.

  37. Povonte says:

    The eye of the artist…. well seen and exploited… wonderful photo

  38. kmpriddy says:

    Reblogged this on Kate and the City and commented:
    My spatial awareness increases actually, especially when I’m squeezing my bike between a car deciding to stop in the middle of the street for no reason and all the other crazy DC drivers.

  39. veiledentity says:

    There are some places where biking fills the city. Other times, it is the cars that run the place. It is quite unfair to insult bikers in a place where bikers are few. Seeing bikes in a mostly cars environment make some drivers agitated as bikes can take up a whole lane and are really slow. Isn’t that to be expected? A bike is a human powered device, not a motorized vehicle. Also, why do bikers ride on the road instead of the sidewalk? The three possible main reasons are that there is no sidewalk, the sidewalk is in poor condition or covered in obstacles from tree branches to construction to fire hydrants to bushes, and/or the biker wants to enjoy the freedom just like a driver would. There are many people who wants an awesome fast car just like there are many people who wants a fast car.

    • veiledentity says:

      Oops. Accidentally pressed send. There are many people who wants a fast bike just like there are many people who wants a fast car. When drivers complain about bikers not being sensitive to the things around them, couldn’t that also apply to drivers? This is especially true for beginner drivers and bikers. They are getting used to the vehicle they are riding. They forget to signal the direction they are heading. They forget to ease on the brakes. They are really busy and forget to look over their shoulders. To sum up, I think drivers should learn to bike. They need to understand what it feels like to bike in a mostly car environment in order to accept bikes. I also feel that the world is in need of more bikers and less drivers. This would definitely reduce the gas consumption that we produce and buy from other countries.

  40. Angry Oldman says:

    All of the above posts seem to start from a premise that all cyclists are right. My experience is that the majority of cyclists I encounter are the most selfish insular unthoughtful people I have had the bad luck to come across. This is not based on a small sample as I live in Surrey where there seems to be many roads where large groups of these insular idiots like to meander and ride as if roads are for the use of cyclists only. I recently came across a group of about 15 of these idiots all with ‘London Dynamo’ on their jerseys. Frankly I wished they were in London. I spent ages following this group riding 2 or 3 abrest on a narrow country road without a care for who was behind them or how much they might delay anyone or what accident could be caused by someone having the audicity to try and drive around them.
    This was by no means a rare occurrence as there seems to be some rule between groups of cyclists that they have to ride alongside each other while other slalom around the road to overtake the chattering couples.
    Is there some sort of taregt for how many motorists cyclists have to annoy to the point of abuse on each journey?

    • severs1966 says:

      So you have no problem overtaking something as wide as a car or van on a narrow country road, but a squad of bike riders of the same width is unacceptable?
      Or you are willing to wait your turn behind a car or van, but not willing to wait behind bike riders?

      Which is it?

      As with most drivers, your attitude to anyone on a bike is “get out of my way, I’m faster and therefore more important than you”

  41. beeseeker says:

    I knew there was a reason I didn’t listen to Radio 1
    thanks for sharing these words and generating the thinking.

  42. Pingback: A timely reminder from Thames Valley Police | As Easy As Riding A Bike

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