How to Win Friends and Influence People

I have posted on here about problem cyclists and those who irritate me. I intend to do the same about motorists and other road users when I get round to it.

However, today I want to have a rant about those cyclists who seem determined to get everyone else to hate us.

 

Firstly, there was a debate in Parliament on Wednesday night about a “Flashride” which was to start at 18:30 on the Mall and go round the West End (or part of it) ending up in Parliament Square. Apparently 2000 or so cyclists attended and generally brought even more problems to London traffic at rush hour. Was this a sensible idea?

Well firstly, let me start by saying that cyclists ARE part of the traffic and have the same right as motor vehicle drivers to be on the roads. If all the cyclists in London switched to other forms of transport, then the overcrowding on the roads and trains would increase massively. At morning and evening rush hour, I am often one of 20-30 people on bikes waiting at each set of traffic lights.

So, if it is accepted that cyclists are part of the traffic, then what could be the objection to this ride? Well the ride was to highlight the debate on the Times’ newspapers Cities Fit for Cyclists campaign. A laudable effort by the newspaper to improve safety for cyclists. Some of its ideas I support, others I don’t, but overall I do support the idea of improving road safety for cyclists (and indeed for all road users).

My problem comes with deliberately staging a “protest” (some say celebration) ride at rush hour, designed or intended to cause the maximum disruption to motorists. As cyclists we share the roads with motorists and we want them to show us consideration. So is being as inconsiderate and obstructive as possible for motorists the way to encourage them to show us consideration?

 

You think that is unhelpful to cyclists causes, then try the following

https://www.facebook.com/CyclistsForRightOfWayUK

This is a facebook page/ group entitled  “Cyclists for Right of Way”. So what are they campaigning for?

This page is set up to campaign for the UK government to implement Right of way for cyclists in the UK.
An increase in cycling and safe conditions to cycle in could solve a multitude of problems from,
improving public health,
reducing obesity,
reducing congestion on streets,
lightening the burden on public transport,
less wear on roads,
making our streets and cities more pleasant places,
providing independence for children.

Now forgive me for pointing out something rather fundamental, but cyclists do have a right of way on the roads in the UK already (excluding special roads – eg motorways). On a cycling message board, the founder of this group says (to other cyclists)

This page is set up to campaign for the UK government to implement Right of way for cyclists in the UK

When pressed on how this page is going to help and what he is aiming to do, said campaigner states

quite simple..a Facebook page setup to make UK roads more safer to cycle on.

Well that clarifies everything then. Start a facebook page and the roads are now safe. No need to have clear aims goals or targets. Just need a facebook page. Wonder if George Osborne has thought about this to takle the budget deficit – just set up a facebook page George.

Incidentally, how do you make something “more safer”. Not “safe” or more safe” but “more safer”. What is that when it is at home?

So is the person wanting the government to implement that which has always been implemented or are they suggesting that cyclists should have right of way (priority) over other road users. Are they really suggesting other road users should have to screech to a halt so cyclists and turn across their path, ride through red lights etc. Not the most thought out idea.

What that campaign does suggest to many people is that somehow cyclists do not already have the right to use the roads in the UK. In other words, it is going to have the effect of reducing the belief in the rights cyclists already have.

Not a well thought out campaign whichever idea it is trying to promote. At the time of writing this blog, there are around 50 or more posts on one message board from cyclists who appear as perplexed as me as to what the founder wants.

Cyclists who are demanding what already exists are showing they have no understanding of current position. Cyclists demanding to have the right of way are simply living in cloud cuckoo land, it cannot work in practice and shows a lack of consideration for other road users.

 

The person behind that Facebook page may be a bit of an idiot, but more worrying is the person behind Cyclists SOS, a blog which has as its title

Waging war on dangerous drivers…A Revolution is born out of the cyclist constant war against nudgers, drink drivers, make-up applying drivers, non-signallers and all other forms of motorists who share the ambition of harming cyclists who just want to ride! The war will also focus on the drivers ally – the half asleep pedestrian and the pothole Local Authorities. So we’re taking the war to the roads…….

Now do we really want to talk about war? Isn’t aggression, violence might is right etc behind so many of the problems on the roads?

It also claims:

However we will provide evidence of dangerous driving and take action!

I am intrigued/ worried by what this means. The CPS (usually) prosecute criminal cases in the UK. To bring a private prosecution usually costs £000s as well as many hours of time. I have visions of mobs of angry cyclists going round in their lycra to terrorise drivers and meet out summary justice

On a different level, last night, the person behind this blog claimed it was generating lots of interest. Yet despite plugging it on loads of cycling websites and elsewhere  it has had only 232 hits in over 24 hours. Hardly ground-breaking or lots of interest.

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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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4 Responses to How to Win Friends and Influence People

  1. Anonymous says:

    Any campaign is a good campaign that encourages the UK roads to be a better place to cycle

  2. spen666 says:

    I agree entirely with this. My post was explaining why campaigns waging war on other road users will not make the UK roads a better place to cycle

  3. Pingback: Right of Reply « Bobby Shaftoe's Gone to Sea

  4. Anonymous says:

    This campaign does not advocate waging war in the slightest , https://www.facebook.com/CyclistsForRightOfWayUK

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