Can we share the road in London?

A recent storm arose on Twitter after @LDN, definitely a member of the London Twitterati, provided a link to the Sorry Mate I didn’t See You (SMIDSY) database for cyclists to report bad drivers.

Subsequently the hashtag #LDNcyclist was setup and I wanted to go through some of the responses to see what people thought about London’s Cyclists. As a bit of brief background this is where the “us” and “them” argument stands:

  • Some newspapers have called London Cyclists Lycra Louts to which there was severe denouncement in other newspapers and cycling blogs. Those killed include two fitness instructors, a film producer, a Goldsmiths’ graduate, a City director and an architect.
  • There has been various cases of road rage including recently in Australia where a bus driver was punched by a cyclist.
  • Recently in Cambridge cyclists have been given fines for anti-social cycling.
  • In cities such as Copenhagen where cycling is seen as the norm there is no “us” and “them” everyone just cycles but thinks nothing of it.
  • There is even a debate being held soon by the Spectator where speakers include the former Mayor of London asking: are cyclists a menace?

Moving on to some of the points raised on Twitter:

About not breaking the law

atlaz : @LDN Not sure how many are needed. How about don’t jump red lights, do ride on the road. Those seem to annoy most.

lucyinglis : Don’t ride on the pavement, then shout at me because I have my headphones on and don’t know you are there!

MrSnoobs : #LDNcyclist If you are on the road, how about you take notice of the colour of the traffic lights? 2 wheels doesn’t make you an exception.

alexecrawford : #LDNcyclist -cyclists- DO indicate, DO make eye contact, DON’T jump lights, DON’T cycle on pvmnts, DON’T cut people up, DON’T go near HGVs..

tristanprooth : And one more thing: Do NOT ride on the pavement, even if there is no cycle lane. You are road traffic. Behave like it.

It definitely does not help the image of cyclists that many of us go through red lights. Though there also needs to be appreciation of the danger of setting off at the same time as cars do. This is why in cyclists friendly cities such as Copenhagen the light turns green for cyclists before cars.

Violence justified

ajjmcd : @lucyinglis was the idiot wearing a helmet? it justifies knocking him over….

This is one of the more worrying and extreme sides of the debate and is also an angle some of the newspapers have taken.

Paying to use the road

mulene : the road is NOT yours. #LDNcyclist There are other vehicles on the road who PAY to use it!

alexecrawford : @mulene #LDNcyclist – who says we don’t pay? I do

I think this argument has been countered many times successfully. The one figure I will add is that £140 million will be spent on cycling in the next 3 years. This is about enough for four miles of motorway.

Advice to cyclists

ktcita : Cyclists: please wear bright clothes & lights at night. You are invisible otherwise and cannot complain about not being seen. #LDNcyclist

Excellent advice and also the reasoning given behind the recent Cambridge fines.

From Cyclists

jacquidarlow : @LDN please pedestrians don’t step out between parked cars, when traffic at a standstill cyclists are still moving!

djientan : @LDN I’m a cyclist who gets upset by reckless cyclists. Some of us a good road users!

contrabland : Dear pedestrians, try looking before stepping out into the road (even if you are on a phone call).

simonmdt : we aint perfect, but Pedestrians are far the greatest hazard. Don’t yell at me. here’s a clue in the name Bike Lane.

I too have bumped into a person stepping off a bus onto a cycle lane without looking. I think both cyclists and pedestrians need to be more mindful of each other.

Some helpful suggestions

TexCorie : If you cycle on the pavement, behave like a pedestrian. If you cycle on the street, behave like a car. #LDNcyclist

alexecrawford : as always when discussing cycling, talk quickly turns angry. I’m a cyclist and a pedestrian-It doesn’t need to be a war

With the Mayor aiming for an increase of cycling from 2% to 5% of journeys this debate is likely only to intensify. So what could be done to resolve it? Wired magazine recently discussed the success of the complete streets concept. This is where the road and pavement is shared out equally between all users. Also we could perhaps try the Toronto approach where thank you notes are given to courteous drivers. One final idea is car free cities. Is this somewhere you would choose to live?

It is clear that there is a growing animosity between pedestrians and cyclists. As always those few that break the law and cycle inconsiderately are causing a bad image of cyclists. In any case I think the worse thing that could happen is for the two groups to turn on each other. These are definitely the two most vulnerable road users and should be the two groups that get along the most. Let’s not forget we are all pedestrians at some point.

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32 Responses to Can we share the road in London?

  1. Flora 02/11/2009 at 11:39 pm #

    The person who said that he hit a pedestrian who got off a bus into a cycle lane is wrong. Cycle lanes don’t go past bus stops. He should have overtaken the bus not undertaken it , putting passengers at risk. Or he could have waited until the bus moved off.

    There is no way for someone to look for bikes as they are stepping off of a bus, you are in mid air stepping off before you can see any thing. No vehicle should ever undertake a bus at a bus stop.

  2. Mulene 03/11/2009 at 12:45 am #

    Nice of you to take my tweet out of context. It was a direct response to @gotofritz tweet stating that pedestrians are the bottom of the food chain as soon as they step off the pavement. Which you later point out is unhelpful. I was merely pointing out that others who pay to use the road have as much right to it as s/he (including bus passengers stepping off and not looking when they are sure they are landing on a pedestrian section of the highway.

    Also please do point out that riding on the pavement is in breach of the road traffic act 1984.

    I say bring back cycling proficiency tests – other road users have to be tested, licensed and insured – I believe cyclists should at the least be insured and also made to use flashing indicators. It seems all but a few actually bother to signal with arms.

  3. Andreas 03/11/2009 at 8:05 am #

    @Flora – the bus was unloading not at a bus stop but onto the cycle lane, I guess that is why usually when you are on the bus they make you wait till you get to the bus stop because then at least cyclists can see where they have to be extra careful

    @Mulene – I agree that cycling on pavement is illegal and dangerous to pedestrians. What I would like to see more of is cycle lanes so people don’t feel they have to go on the pavement to be safe from passing traffic.

    If you bring back proficiency test, insurance etc etc for cyclists then it will discourage people from starting. You need to make it as easy as possible for people to get into it. It should just be grab a bike and go, if its not then the level of adoption will drop. In countries where there has been a law put in to always wear helmets cycling use has dropped. It is in everyones interest to increase the number of cyclists as it is reduces pollution, congestion and promotes a healthy lifestyle. Also it is far less noisy than cars which would make London a more pleasant place to walk around.

  4. MarkA 03/11/2009 at 10:06 am #

    @Mulene Cyclists usually are insured – that is to say, most of us have insured our bikes (home contents insurance) and a lot of people have third party insurance through clubs and groups like the London Cycling Campaign. The idea of a cycle registration / compulsory insurance scheme is daft – we license automobiles because they are, statistically, a danger to all and a luxury for which you have to pay for the privilege – statistically bikes are not the CAUSE of accidents thus no insurance. In the US more people die in their homes vacuuming than cycling out on the road – should we license and insure these too??

    We should be encouraging people to get on this bikes, not driving them into their cars.

    Re cycling proficiency tests, they still exist, these days it’s called Bikeability – lots of schools still offer it and most London borough councils offer it for free to residents who choose to take it.

  5. tim 03/11/2009 at 10:23 am #

    @mulene if i am 10 years old and ride on the road who is going to insure me? and if kids don’t count, at what age do you start counting?

  6. gotofritz 03/11/2009 at 11:37 am #

    About my ‘unhelpful’ comment – pedestrians don’t give cyclists the same respect they give cars. Often they start jaywalking, and even if I ring my bell they just ignore us and carry on walking on the streets. They need to realize roads are for vehicles, and when they step on it they need to be extra careful and respect the rules.

  7. Richard H 03/11/2009 at 11:57 am #

    @Mulene Even if cyclists have their bikes’ insured this is most likely only going to cover the bike itself, not third party damage to a car etc… I used to have my bike on my household insurance but took it off as it was pushing the premium too high.

    @Flora There is a lovely bus stop at Mount Pleasent in Islington with a cycle lane running right through it. Almost every week I see buses stopping 1-2 feet from the curb and cyclists trying to go down the inside with the bus doors open.

    As a cyclist (13 miles each day to / from work) my 2 cents are:

    1. Cyclists: BE VISIBLE – black bikes, black clothes and no lights = Mess on road and you in Hospital. Also, don’t undertake buses when they’re signalling left and approaching a bus stop.

    2. Peds: Don’t step into the road without looking. Giant noise cancelling headphones are not an excuse for walking with your eyes closed.

  8. Mrs Redboots 03/11/2009 at 12:02 pm #

    I was nearly knocked over once when crossing at a traffic-light controlled, pedestrian crossing – the cyclist assumed the red light didn’t apply to him, nearly knocked me down and then had the temerity to swear at me.

    There are plenty, probably a majority, of good cyclists in London – but it is the minority who give the rest a bad name.

    And please, unless you are under about ten years old – off the pavement or off your bike!

  9. Mulene 03/11/2009 at 12:13 pm #

    @Tim I was riding a bike on the roads at aged 10. I would, however, suggest that bikes of a certain size be considered too big for pavements. I have an 81 year old mother and many of her friends / neighbours are also elderly who have had accidents directly caused by wreckless cyclists.

    The Road Traffic act states that we are not to ride on pavements. “Cycling on footways (a pavement at the side of a carriageway) is prohibited by Section 72 of the Highway Act 1835, amended by Section 85(1) of the Local Government Act 1888. This is punishable by a fixed penalty notice of £30 under Section 51 and Schedule 3 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988. ”

    That is the law. As is the law that all vehicles should adhere to traffic signals (ie red lights). Many, many cyclists I see every day on the route from Richmond Park to Hammersmith flout these laws, and others. I am not, nor have I ever said ALL cyclists flout these laws. What I am saying is that there really should be some way to identify cyclists because right now those that flout the law do so without any consequence.

    I’ve seen cyclists on the road cause accidents (one jumped a red light, caused a car to slam on it’s brakes and another car rear ended that car. The cyclist, absolutely unidentifiable, laughed and rode off. However you bet if that car hit that cyclist there would be a furore over the big bad car monster hitting and near killing a cyclist.

    @MarkA yes we do insure our bikes for theft or under our home insurance but we are not insured as 3rd party liability which I firmly believe we should be. See my comments above regarding cyclists creating havoc on pavements for the elderly.

    Frankly an accident is an accident and it can happen to anyone. Cyclist, Motorist or pedestrian. To shout so vociferously of all cyclists sainthood is like suggesting that some cars never park on pavements and pedestrians are never distracted by shop windows or mobile phones. Pedestrians step out in front of cars too you know.

    It is a public highway. We should ALL respect that and all work together to make it safer for all instead of this bitter wrangling and finger pointing. Public highway, IE open to use by any member of the public in any vehicle they choose to use.

    Personally I drive a “green” car – a two seat smart car in fact, so I do not have 3 empty seats when I drive to and from work. The car is a company car which I chose as a ‘green’ car. The company were all for me picking a gas guzzler and I refused. I also regularly drive half way to work, park at a friends house and walk the other half. I have also been known to cycle.

    So now you have my credentials as someone who uses both sides of the fence what are yours?

  10. PD 03/11/2009 at 12:22 pm #

    Hi all, i’m a sometime-cyclist, but i was in a part of London i’d not been in before last week, slightly lost. approaching a pedestrian crossing, i saw that the casrs had backed up to let people cross, so when still 10 – 15 metres from the crossing, i moved to cross the road between the still cars, the thought that a cyclist would be coming down the inside didn’t even cross my mind.

    Technically he probably shouldn’t have been passing the temporarily stationary cars, but i shoul also have looked – long story short BANG!” – but luckily no injuries or damage for either of us.

    Its got to be a two, or even three way thing, we all have to use the roads – more cyclists means less traffic, which makes it easier for the motorists, and it is in the best interests of all of us to keep our eyes open, and be aware of whats around us (as i had failed to do in that instance)

  11. Mulene 03/11/2009 at 12:22 pm #

    @Richard H Yes I can imagine. I read that all insurance policies actually have a premium of £50 added on due to false claims by people who think insurance is a savings scheme. If you add all your insurances up that is a lot of extra cash – in my case Home Contents, Buldings insurance, car insurance, Mobile Phone and credit card insurance, sports equipment insurance. That means over the course of a year I am paying £250 more than I should be! Anyway that is a whole other issue – people claiming insurance when they don’t need to.

    Your advice to be visible is very good – I am scared witless when driving at this time of year because some cyclists don’t bother. Black bike, black clothes, no lights.

    I also see cyclists with headphones one and I wonder how they can hear the traffic about them. I have no idea how they can listen to music and cycle, fine in the gym on a fixed bike but on the road? Where is the road awareness!

    Once again it isn’t ALL cyclists but these are things I do notice. I see many cyclists every day – since I drive the route sometimes through Richmond Park mostly around the perimiter of the park. From Roehampton onwards I see lots of them. Some are very good and courteous. Some are outright rude.

    I was turning left one day on Priory Lane. A bike was on my inside. I stopped, I was indicating left and I was looking in my mirrors waiting for the bike to “undertake” me. The cyclist drew level, hurled abuse at me (for what reason I really don’t know – I was being courteous and waiting for them so as not to scare the crap out of them and turn in front of them) and carried on. Meanwhile, as he was hurling abuse someone turning right in to the same turning ignored us both and took the turn, the cyclist moved off not even seeing the car turning right and almost hit him.

    There is road rage in all areas of the road!

  12. Arthur H 03/11/2009 at 12:26 pm #

    @mulene

    I entirely agree that cyclists should behave appropriately on the road, and as a cyclist I abhor bikes on pavements. Please can we not have this fallacy that other users pay to be there, while cyclists don’t?

    There is no such thing as road tax – vehicle tax is, as the name suggests, a tax on vehicles. Cars with low carbon emissions pay no vehicle tax. If we were to force cyclists to pay vehicle tax, bikes would fall into this category and not be charged anyway. Roads are paid for out of the general tax burden, which any working cyclist pays for.

    What I believe needs to change in this country is the attitude of many road users, from victimhood to acceptance and consideration. There are too many selfish people out on our roads, whether in cars, lorries or bikes, and too many people determined to tar an entire group as ‘lycra louts’ or whatever just because one individual idiot cut them up on the way to work.

  13. Phil 03/11/2009 at 12:30 pm #

    I’m a cyclist and I am guilty of having a certain self righteous attitude because I am part of the solution to the future of transport in London while cars are the past and are the problem. I think it is this that licences me, in my own head only of course, to flout various traffic laws. I also think it entitles me to not contribute to road maintenance costs. Cars should pay for all the signs, lights and roads through their tax and petrol duty, they should also pay for the environmental health damage their pollution causes. The fact is they don’t pay nearly enough, so when I see their frustrated angry faces I laugh in them, they are only getting what they deserve.

  14. Andreas 03/11/2009 at 12:52 pm #

    @Mulene – sounds like you have had a lot of unfortunately experiences with cyclists and met some less than stellar members of this society! I’m pleased to see you have made the distinction that this is not all cyclists just a few that make things look bad for everyone else. Also well done on choosing a green car and driving considerately for cyclists even if sometimes they don’t return the favour. Believe me a lot of people care very little about the vulnerability of cyclists.

    @Arthur H – excellent argument on should bikes pay road / vehicle tax!
    Plus agreed with the danger of classifying all cyclists as certain types.

  15. Kerra 03/11/2009 at 12:58 pm #

    I think Phil in the post above encompasses the attitude I often see in a certain older, male group of cyclists in south London — that of the self-righteous ecobully. I don’t drive a car as I also don’t want to contribute to environmental damage, but neither do I cycle, so this means I spend a good part of my traveling time on foot as a pedestrian. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve nearly been run over outside New Cross Gate station by cyclists like Phil, rocketing down the pavement before turning round to swear at me… for what?? I’m on the sodding pavement, I’m not expecting 12 stone of smug middle aged ecowarrior to come hurtling towards me at twenty miles an hour.

    Its this attitude that they’re ultimately doing everyone a favour that legitimises this sort of aggression, on and off the road.

  16. Dan Chambers 03/11/2009 at 12:59 pm #

    I’m a cyclist, but I don’t think cyclists mix well with any other road users or with pedestrians. This country’s roads weren’t built with cycles in mind and the lanes are often too poorly laid-out, too poorly surfaced, or too full of parked vehicles to be of much use. Also, a lot of pedestrians and cyclists have no knowledge of the rules of the road, right-of-way, overtaking safely etc. The fact remains, if you break a rule you’re taking a risk. But if you don’t know the rules, or think they don’t apply to you, you don’t know what danger you’re putting yourself or other people in. I’m afraid I’m pessimistic about the chances of the animosity between cyclists and pedestrians getting any better.

  17. Mulene 03/11/2009 at 1:15 pm #

    @Kerra I think Phil above is probably just trolling to get a reaction. I don’t honestly believe that someone really DOES have that exact attitude!

    Another tweeter today posted:

    @anthonymorgan I don’t ever ride on the pavement. I do however skip red lights when there are no pedestrians, and will continue to do so. #LDNcyclist

    My response:

    mulene @anthonymorgan then you are continuing to break the law. You are a road traffic vehicle traffic lights apply to you too #ldncyclist

    Was met with this:

    anthonymorgan @mulene Yes I am / they do, but the roads are badly set up for us & the spot fines are not high enough to influence my behavior. #ldncyclist

    Which pretty much makes my point that the penalties for breaking the law and causing problems on the roads are non existent for cyclists. If cyclists were identifiable then perhaps this attitude would change!

  18. Mulene 03/11/2009 at 1:15 pm #

    @Andreas haha well it IS London isn’t it =D a giant melting pot of good and bad

  19. tacitus 03/11/2009 at 1:16 pm #

    I have been a regular cyclist, motorist and pedestrian for a good while. I only really pick up flack when on a bicycle – and then from pedestrians (most motorists seem quite courteous). Occasionally I cycle on the pavement (it simply cannot be compared to driving a car on the pavement), ditto with jumping red lights,doing ‘lefties’ at the lights. I really don’t see the harm. I’m careful and realise that I need to give way in these situations. I’m not driving a large, lethal vehicle and I think that the traffic system should recognise that – and cyclists should respect their fellow pavement/road users.

    That said I drive fairly regularly too. Sometimes I go over the speed limit by a little, nobody wags their finger at me/shouts at me, as would quite regularly happen when doing a leftie or the like. I’m sure that plenty of those that do the finger wagging also do a little speeding occasionally. Pedestrians seem to think it’s okay for them to cross without green lights – how is that different to cyclists doing a leftie?

  20. Mulene 03/11/2009 at 1:22 pm #

    @tacitus I drive daily for work. I do speed occasionally to – however I disagree there are finger waggers there too. A guy on the A3 was doing 30mph in a 50mph zone on the outside overtaking lane. I ended up undertaking him on the far left lane. He followed me blowing his horn flashing his lights till eventually I pulled off and came to lights. He drove around me, ignoring the lights blocking my exit and the other traffic’s right of way to tell me off!

    Motorists are horrendous and very rude! I have for quite some time seriously considered making a website for “name that jerk” where you can post photos and films of idiot drivers. I have noticed as soon as a driver realises they are being filmed they suddenly sweetly behave (as do most road users when they know they are under scrutiny).

    The problem is that people don’t just “swing a leftie” at a red light. They go in all directions at red lights and red lights aren’t just there to protect pedestrians. They are there to control the flow of traffic.

  21. gotofritz 03/11/2009 at 1:30 pm #

    @londoncyclist, you lament that ‘It is clear that there is a growing animosity between pedestrians and cyclists’, and then when you tweet to drive traffic to this article you say:
    The “cyclists vs pedestrians” discussion is heating up on London Cyclist. Add your thoughts

    CYCLISTS VS PEDESTRIANS! COME JOIN THE PARTY!!

    a bit hypocritical, isn’t it?

    @Mulene. jumping the lights carefully when there are no pedestrians around is a victimless ‘crime’. Why does it bother you and other people so much? I’d rather do that and get out of all the cars’ way, than be crushed as the lights turn green. (Notice the ‘carefully’ – a big difference from idiots who bomb through red lights)

    The bottom line is that traffic lights weren’t designed for the amount of bicycles we see today, and need to be rethought – there should be traffic lights for bikes, and they should turn green before cars’ ones do. Until then, sorry guys.

    Btw, you sound so reasonable today, how different from your tweets yesterday when it was kicking cyclist asses and other niceties :-)

  22. @nicomonkeyboy 03/11/2009 at 1:41 pm #

    I’m a motorcyclist, and as such find myself at the front of the lights where I watch many, (but by no means, all) cyclists going through red lights. Best of luck to them, I say. When they get tagged by a bendy-bus, it sure ain’t the bus driver that’s going to scraped off the road.

    Motorcyclists get all the disadvantages of motoring – tax, insurance, a number plate to identify any wrongdoing and a licence to lose in the event of any wrongdoing.

    We also suffer all the disadvantages of two-wheeled transport – vehicles pulling out of side roads without looking, pedestrians stepping out without looking and are just a vulnerable in the event of an accident.

    I treat cyclists with the utmost respect – a collision with one on a motorcycle is just as likely to injure me as them.

    It seems to me that insuring and registering them is unworkable, so the only solution is for better enforcement of the rules of the road.

    I never jump a red light or run straight through a pedestrian crossing, always signal, always look in my mirrors (and over my shoulder), always have my helmet and high vis clothing, always use lights and never go the wrong way up one-way streets.

    On my short journey home from Central London in the dark last night, I saw most cyclists breaking one or more of those rules.

    Better enforcement = better behaviour = better relations with other road (and pavement) users.

    Simples!

  23. MarkA 03/11/2009 at 1:45 pm #

    @Mulene “So now you have my credentials as someone who uses both sides of the fence what are yours?” *sigh*

    I think you’ll find that nearly all cyclists use both sides of the fence – I drive a car, I ride a bike, I walk, I regularly use public transport (trains, tube and buses), I don’t have a single point on my driver’s license, have taken my cycling proficiency, and am a passionate advocate of urban cycling – what exactly has that got to do with anything?

    The reason, I think, that I am perhaps slightly under the collar about your ‘what about all the poor old people on the pavement knocked down by bicycles, we should license and restrain them all’ argument is because it is, quite frankly, a non-issue. Last year ONE pedestrian was killed by a cyclist, and tragic of course though this is, it’s a drop in the ocean compared to the volume of pedestrians killed by cars on the pavement (yes, cars not even in the road) – where is your sense of indignity about this? Read my post here: http://ibikelondon.blogspot.com/2009/10/children-in-deprived-areas-at-greater.html and perhaps you’ll get my point.

    Yes of course adult cyclists shouldn’t ride on the pavement, that’s why it’s the law, but really, is all this effort worth it just to bash a small minority when outside your own front door another car just killed a person? Bang! There goes one… Bang! And another… where is your sense of indignity about that?

    Let’s all keep a sense of perspective here and remember what the REAL issues are.

    P.S I beg to differ that you drive a ‘green car’ – promoting cars as green is really just a marketing exercise done very well by automobile manufacturers – I believe that you drive a less-damaging car and for that you are to be congratulated. But green? It still uses fossil fuels to get around doesn’t it? It’s still made of massive quantities of plastic and steel, right? Still makes toxic emissions? Contributes to noise pollution? Causes congestion in our cities? :o) Less damaging, yes. Green? No.

  24. Mulene 03/11/2009 at 1:49 pm #

    @gotofritz LOL I’m exactly the same today as yesterday – the difference here is that there are more than 140 characters to express onesself in so one has more space to clarify what one means :) I’m not sure what “Other niceties” you are referring to. Maybe my #unseenprequels tweets or my references to knitting and yarn tasting, or the brownies I baked and brought into my office?

    “Carefully” jumping a red light – thats an interesting concept :P “yes occifer I was carefully jumping that red light, the one that says “Danger! do not go” wonder if that would wash for other road users?

    It bothers us because its the rules of the road, and road users of all colours should adhere to the rules of the road. There are some lights that do the turning green for cyclists first (not suprisingly to me on a route that is very cyclist bound – the bottom of Priory Lane for instance where there is heavy cycle traffic).

    There are also lights that are badly designed for cars with poorly placed yellow boxes and causing cars to be unable to go when the light is green (the turning just before Hammersmith Bridge where St Paul’s school is as an example).

    I still think it a bit rich that SOME regular cyclists are saying other road users have no right to use the road. It’s exactly the same as SOME car drivers saying cyclists should be banned from the road. Neither are helpful or representative of the majority.

  25. Phil 03/11/2009 at 1:54 pm #

    @Mulene – I do think like that, honestly I do. I very often feel very strong animosity towards drivers. It’s not helpful, but it is true.

    It’s good old tribalism. If you’re in my tribe, i.e. a cyclist, then I empathise and identify with you. I treat you with respect and compassion. I’ve had arguments with drivers on behalf of other cyclists and had the same courtesy extended to me. If you’re not in my tribe then you’re a threat, human nature means I treat you with fear, intolerance and disdain.

  26. Mulene 03/11/2009 at 2:01 pm #

    @MarkA what exactly has that got to do with anything? *sigh*

    Everything when other road users are being accused of being blind to cyclists point of view.

    Did you miss the inverted comma’s around the word “green” which pretty much speak for themselves and didn’t require an eco warrior bashing.

    Every single item that is manufactured requires the use of something to make it – be it cows farting power, plastic or metal work (your bike takes metal work to make! Oh and Electricity! Oh and then it gets transported in a big fat Lorry to the shop where it is sold – or in a lorry to be delivered to you when you buy it online. Oh my, heavens your bike it isn’t purely green! You fart as you cycle I’m sure – methane contribues to greenhouse gasses! Oh my you are not completely and utterly green! Less damaging than some other creatures on the planet but not green) *eyeroll*

  27. Mulene 03/11/2009 at 2:02 pm #

    @Phil thanks for clarification and apologies I did think either a) Sarcasm on your part or b) classic forum trollism ;)

    Well at least you are honest and you acknowledge the fact it isn’t a helpful view :)

  28. MarkA 03/11/2009 at 2:24 pm #

    @Mulene ‘eco warrior bashing’ ‘Oh my, heavens your bike it isn’t purely green’ ‘Oh my you are not completely and utterly green!’

    Oh dear, has it come to this so soon? Pity.

    You are clearly enjoying the heat of debate more than the rationale of discourse – I have neither the patience or time to indulge you. I’m sure you didn’t have the time or temerity to even read the post I mentioned about the REAL issues concerning our roads, but I’ll post it here again in the hope you’ll get it, one day. In the mean time, do carry on – I’m sure you’re having a whale of a time.
    http://ibikelondon.blogspot.com/2009/10/children-in-deprived-areas-at-greater.html

  29. Mulene 03/11/2009 at 2:29 pm #

    @MarkA Oh dear did you take your ball home already? Try properly reading my posts on the subject instead of picking one line out of one post and attempting to create an eco warrior attack without looking at all the issues I have brought up.

    I certainly don’t see this as “heated” at all. You do seem quite upset though and again you chose one line out of one post and tweeted that I’d admitted to speeding but omitted to point out that I’d said it was once on a dual carriage way to undertake someone who was breaking the rules of the road anyway!

    I’m sorry you feel the need to take your ball home and are so upset by my opinions.

  30. Andreas 03/11/2009 at 2:58 pm #

    @Phil – I’m trying to decide whether I share the whole “self righteous attitude” of being a cyclist – hopefully I don’t, I think it will put people off!

    @gotofritz – you are right I didn’t choose my words very carefully there! Apologies. I’ll be a bit more thoughtful before I hit the tweet button in future. Also: “than be crushed as the lights turn green” – agreed, there is more danger to a cyclist if they wait for the lights to turn green and then there is a huge rush of cars. Would definitely like to see a light that turns green for cyclists first. It’s not even like you can usually get into the box infront of cars as they often pull up onto it.

    @tacitus “most motorists seem quite courteous” – In general I can agree with that. Any incidents I have are rare – though I avoid at all costs going down massive A roads.

    @nicomonkeyboy “Motorcyclists get all the disadvantages of motoring – tax, insurance, a number plate to identify any wrongdoing and a licence to lose in the event of any wrongdoing.” – I would say loosing your life is a pretty big disadvantage to cycling! I think the situation is definitely much worse for motorists than it has ever been with rising cost of fuel and so on. You should definitely not move to cities such as Copenhagen where they ask themselves how can we make life hell for motorists? Unfortunately all the signs point to motoring being unsustainable so hopefully by the time you may choose to join us by bike the facilities will be much improved for a safer ride.

    @Mulene and @MarkA – keep it respectful!

  31. Andrew McDermott 03/11/2009 at 9:55 pm #

    If I can make the point that as ‘ajjmcd’ on Twitter, I write arbitrary comments about many things, usually directed to friends, without any intention to incite a reaction from Twitter observers. I do not sanction violence towards any individual, and the comment listed above was posted in the context of ‘a cyclist’ riding without due care and consideration towards others, whether they be pedestrians or road users.

    I passed a Cycling Proficiency Test when I was ten years old, which provided me with an awareness of all road users, and in principle, made me aware of the risks I might encounter whilst cycling on the road. During the intervening thirty years I have continued to cycle regularly, and during the six years I lived in London, it was my primary mode of transport. I quickly became aware of how quickly I could travel from Putney to Soho, relative to the pace of motor cars and public transport, but equally I became aware of how lackadaisical other road users were towards me. Each occasion I was obstructed by a pedestrian, taxi, car, bus, cyclist(!), my life was put at risk. But on each occasion the awareness I had for what was going on in front of me, or behind me, etc., meant that I avoided serious mishap.

    I have no patience for nonchalant cyclists who ride without a similar awareness of what goes on around them, and proceed aggressively, at a pace that frequently puts others at risk. It is irrelevant, in my experience, whether another road user obstructs my path unknowingly; if I have seen them before they see me, it is my obligation to be evasive.

    In 1995 a cyclist was killed in Hyde Park, when they collided with a rollerblader. No other vehicles, or pedestrians, were involved. I do not recall if either party was at fault, or if one saw the other coming before the collision. But one survived, the other died. Would you wish to be the survivor, wondering what the outcome might have been if you were going slower? Looked up earlier? Taken evasive action earlier?

    My observation via Twitter was marked by the frustration of cyclists who make effort to protect themselves, but disregard the safety of others. It does not presume that all cyclists are alike, nor that all cyclists should bare the brunt of criticism brought upon a minority of cyclists.

    My apologies to those who took offence from the published Tweet.

  32. Andreas 04/11/2009 at 10:49 am #

    I’m going to close the comments because some of the attacks seem to be directed at individuals rather than this debate. Thanks everyone for contributing, it was very interesting to read different opinions on this, I think it definitely encouraged me to be more courteous to pedestrians now I realise some of the issues and hopefully it helped some people realise some of the difficulties of being a cyclist.