Are Cyclists Their Own Worst Enemy?

As you all know by know, I am a cyclist as well as other things. I have been using different modes of transport more over the last few weeks, including, walking, public transport, trains and also driving. Why have I been doing this? Well, a combination of reasons, including:

a) being out on site working

b) bad weather restricting cycling

c) general apathy

It has caused me to look at cyclists with different eyes. It has also made me think how others see cyclists.

I am also a member of several cycling forums including Cycle Chat and Bike Radar . Cycle Chat has a sections called Politics & Life, Commuting and Cycle Chat Cafe amongst others.

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Bike Radar has several forum sections, including Cake Stop and Commuting .

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There are numerous other cycling forums I occasionally visit including  CTC Forum and London Fixed-gear and Single-speed forums.

These forums are full of lively debate, some of it cycle related, other debate not. So, what I hear you ask has this got to do with the title of the thread?

Well, my observations recently are of numerous people on bikes ignoring red lights, riding on pavements illegally where it suits them and riding without lights. This is not to mention riding and changing road position or turning without making any attempt to check it is safe to do so.

No doubt all of you can give examples of all these actions from your own experience. There is a link in all this behaviour. It seems that the person on the bike is riding in such a way as they are only considering themselves. As long as they can progress their journey in the manner they want, they couldn’t care less about the laws of the land or the effect their behaviour has on others.

Then there are those on various forums gloating at the misery motorists are facing with increased costs. See for example the opening post in this thread Cyclist Gloating re Motorists Costs . What would any motorist reading this think of cyclists attitudes.

On another thread we have pratts wanting to get devices to scare walkers or joggers using towpaths. Scaring Walkers/ Joggers Why? because the jogger/ walker who has right of way is causing the cyclist to slow down. Now, I ask you to think of tow paths? They are not designed for fast cycling. Indeed the walkers and joggers have right of way. A jogger is probably running at say 8 miles per hour or more and yet the moron wants to be riding faster. It never occurs to the selfish oaf that if he wants to ride fast he should be riding on say the highway.

Do these people not for  one minute think how their behaviour and attitudes reflect on cyclists as a whole? All they are doing is reinforcing the very negative impression people have of cyclists.

As cyclists we are a very vulnerable group on the roads. We are never going to come off best in an accident with several tons of fast moving motorised metal. I know to my own disadvantage after being hit by a car from behind in November 2009 . I am still suffering from those injuries to this day. I have injuries to the left knee that are unlikely ever to  repair. I can no longer run, I have a tear in the medial meniscus (I think that is what it was) in my left knee. I am also still suffering from increased anxiety on the road.

With this vulnerability, we need to get people on our side and to be more sympathetic to our issues than they are. This will not be achieved by irritating  others or by seeking to scare them especially when they have the right of way.

Now, I have to say that these actions and attitudes are only those of a minority of cyclists, but it only takes one bad egg to get a whole group a bad name.

If you are not a cyclist, then please do not tar all of us with the same brush as a result of the actions of the morons. These people are selfish morons whether on their bikes or not. They are not selfish morons because they are on bikes.

Remember some of those people on bikes are people like me (actually, perhaps you should scrub this last idea!). Seriously, please think bike and try to look out for those cyclists on the roads. We are very vulnerable.

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About spen666

I'm a 40 something football fan and cyclist. I've been a football fanatic most of my life and have completed the 92 football league & premier league grounds Added to this numerous non league grounds, a number abroad and you start to get the picture. I took up cycling in around 2000. Although my father was a former World Vets Champion, I got into cycling accompanying my son to ride in London. This was followed by my commuting to work each day into Central London. Then doing some Sunday rides, then some audax events (www.audax.uk.net) and then a week's cycling holiday in France with a friend. From there, I got more and more into cycling and in 2009 completed LEJoG and in 2010 rode in the USA with the Police Unity Tour. I completed blogs for those events at www.aminearlythere.blogspot.com and www.bothesidesofthepond.blogspot.com Feel free to read them and learn more about me. I live alone which suits me as it gives me time at weekends to pursue my interests of cycling and football. (Well what did you expect me to say? That I'm sad at being single?) I'm currently looking for my next challenge. Any suggestions gratefully received.
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