06 May 2014

This Mad, Irrational, Hatred Of Cyclists Must Stop If We Are Ever To Live In A Decent Society.

I find it infuriating, but also beyond comprehension. Every minor misdemenour or imagined misdemenour of cyclists is proclaimed loudly and widely. It has permeated all sectors of society. Cyclists are basically viewed as criminals in most people's minds.

Yet the pernicious real harm caused by motorists every single day is seemingly invisible. Parking in cycle lanes or on grass verges or anywhere for that matter is waved away as harmless, so too the majority of drivers who dangerously speed past vulnerable pedestrians and yes, even those horrible cyclists deserve not to be cut up by massive vans, 4x4s etc. with just one person inside doing a journey less than a few miles to pick up their fat children desperately in need of some exercise.

How our towns, cities, even villages are clogged with unsightly parked cars and fast moving, loud, droning, polluting, killing machines whistle past, frightening our children and elderly into restricted indoor lives and ruin any chance of a peaceful existence for any of us. We are slaves to motor vehicles. We are trapped in boring, lifeless estates built for cars not people (that includes me as I drive). Yet no one seems to notice. Why?

Who gets killed? Why are cyclists who kill no-one villains? Yet motorists who kill daily, killing and seriously injuring thousands of innocent children, pedestrians and cyclists every year, yet defended at every turn.

One tonne or more of metal given priority over flesh and bones. Are we all mad? Britain is the worst place in Europe to cycle. Motorists crowd and harass cyclists off our dangerous roads. Britons who are culturally respectful of space in other circumstances become monsters behind the wheel.
Cyclists go through red lights and ride on pavements. Are motorists less prone? Try walking through busy town centres in the morning. Pavements are awash with parked delivery vans and lorries swinging onto pavements papping their horns for people to move out their way. A far bigger obstacle than cyclists. The statistics bear this out - dozens of pedestrians are killed by motor vehicles ON THE PAVEMENT every year. Disrespectful cyclists are generally just an annoyance. Vehicles will seriously injure and kill.

And we have all heard of the term "amber gambler". Motorists have far less excuse to go through red lights than cyclists and of course are far more likely to be caught. Yet they still do so in great numbers.

In some circumstances it makes perfect sense for cyclists to go through red lights or onto pavements because it is safer to get around a carelessly parked motorist. Also careful cyclists will not endanger pedestrians anywhere near as much as motorists endanger cyclists. Sometimes the cyclist's choice is between risking their own death in the road or a negligible risk of slight injury to a pedestrian on the pavement. Ditto red lights, sometimes it is safer to get ahead of the traffic, and in some countries this is recognised.

Of course, cyclists could dismount every time an obstacle is carelessly placed in their way. Yes, as if cycling is not hard enough as it is. The easier option is to just not bother cycling at all. Which is what a lot of motorists really want deep down - "get out of my bloody way".

My view is that motorists can't bear cyclists because it highlights how fundamentally lazy they are sitting on their fat arses in cocooned cars. Motorists know deep down who is the real villain as they sit in polluted traffic jams envying fit skinny cyclists whizz past in the cyclepath.

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