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"I am a cycling nerd - and proud of it"



 
 
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  #1  
Old August 9th 04, 12:15 PM
davek
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Default "I am a cycling nerd - and proud of it"

Article in todays Guardian - pro cycling but bemoaning irresponsible
cyclists:
URL:http://www.guardian.co.uk/transport/Story/0,2763,1278255,00.html
or
URL:http://tinyurl.com/6vl95


I am a cycling nerd - and proud of it

Lycra-clad louts do a great disservice to law-abiding bikers

Rose George
Saturday August 7, 2004
The Guardian

I sit at the traffic lights, dressed in helmet and yellow neon jacket,
my lights correctly attached, and constantly on, not flashing, as
required by illogical Highway Code regulations. I am a cycling nerd, and
I do what people who use the road are supposed to do. I obey traffic
regulations. I stop at red and go at green. So how come I'm in a minority?

How come that cyclists saunter past and sit in front of me, rudely, then
run the light? They wouldn't do that in a car. They do lots of things
they wouldn't do in a car. They cut me up, they endanger themselves and
they infuriate drivers whose state of mind is already ill-disposed to
two wheels. The rude cyclists are irresponsible and they are all sorts:
the men in bike-catalogue clothing; the couriers on death wishes; the
summer cyclists who have multiplied like hoverflies, who cycle on
pavements, ignore traffic regulations and assume that they can be seen
at night with no lights, as if bathed in light from a benign pedalling god.

Of course there's a pecking order of hatred on the roads. Honda even got
an ad out of it: vans hate cars and cars hate bikes and cabbies hate
everyone. Every cyclist has horror stories. Seeing someone go under a
lorry or swiped by a car. In May, Vicki McCreery was crushed by a bus on
London's Blackfriars Bridge, while cycling along some of the stupidest,
most menacing cycle lanes ever. In fact, the Blackfriars cycle lane
model is being put out as an example of best practice across the UK. I
have sympathy for the actions of Ashley Carpenter, who slashed the tyres
of 548 cars in 10 days and was jailed for 16 months, because he'd got
cut up by a car once too often. And I own a car with slashable tyres.

I'm sympathetic when rules are fudged in the interests of
self-preservation. I do it, too, when road junctions have been designed
by planners whose attention to the needs of cyclists runs the range from
contempt to criminal endangerment. And sometimes I get caught. A
Lycra-clad cycle policeman - nice tight shirt - once stopped me for
cycling the wrong way down a badly signposted one-way street. He said he
could have fined me 30. Fair enough. Less fair that vans are never
fined for parking in cycle lines and cutting up cyclists, which is a
traffic offence. And when will the crime of
looking-straight-at-you-and-still-pulling-out ever get properly policed?
Being doored and floored, getting scissor-kicked by feral kids - it
happens. A lot. UK cyclists are 10 times more likely to be harmed than
bikers in the cycling haven of Denmark, where cycle lanes are built in
such a way that road traffic can't get near them. Here, a cyclist is
killed every two and a half days.

Still, I love to cycle and, mostly, I like cyclists. So why does it
bother me when a cyclist rides like a moron; when a cyclist doesn't seem
to know whether they're pedestrian or vehicular, like they're stuck in
some road-user limbo where traffic lights are simply suggestions?

It's about expectations. Cyclists have chosen a green, progressive mode
of transport. I expect them to behave in a socially responsible,
progressive way. Through days on end of sitting at traffic lights, being
overtaken when I'm overtaking a stationary bus, and there's a bus coming
in the other direction, I have come to learn that this is stupid. They
might just want to get to work more quickly, and when has commuting ever
brought out the best in humanity? As a cycling friend said recently: "A
tosser is a tosser, no matter what mode of transport they're using. It's
about changing people's attitude to each other when they're travelling
as opposed to singling out any particular group."

So maybe I'm wrong to bring up the rude cyclists at all, when cycling
organisations plea constantly for better integration and harmony between
road users. I might be discouraging the 10,000 new cyclists that John
Prescott wants to see on the roads by 2010, by pointing out the dangers
over the benefits.

Anti-cyclists refer to Lycra-clad louts. There's nothing wrong with
Lycra. There is something wrong with getting on your bike but not having
the brains or responsibility to go with it. So bring on the 10,000
cyclists, but with lights and bells and some respect. Bring on
thoughtful cycle lanes. Bring on a week's compulsory city cycling for
every traffic planner. For every taxi driver and motorist, too.

Vicki McCreery's family are rightly suing Transport for London for her
death. This is a traffic system skewed firmly in favour of the less
vulnerable. It's daft and dangerous. But there's no need for cyclists to
make things worse. The person sitting at the red light, while you ride
past, who says, "Laws RTA 1988, sect 36, TSRGD reg 10(1): Must obey all
traffic signals". That might be me.

Rose George's new book, A Life Removed: Hunting for Refuge in the
Modern World, is published by Penguin. All proceeds go to the
International Rescue Committee


Ads
  #2  
Old August 9th 04, 12:24 PM
Graham
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default "I am a cycling nerd - and proud of it"


"davek" wrote in message
...
Article in todays Guardian - pro cycling but bemoaning irresponsible
cyclists:
URL:http://www.guardian.co.uk/transport/Story/0,2763,1278255,00.html
or
URL:http://tinyurl.com/6vl95


I am a cycling nerd - and proud of it

Lycra-clad louts do a great disservice to law-abiding bikers

Rose George
Saturday August 7, 2004
The Guardian

I sit at the traffic lights, dressed in helmet and yellow neon jacket,
my lights correctly attached, and constantly on, not flashing, as
required by illogical Highway Code regulations. I am a cycling nerd, and
I do what people who use the road are supposed to do. I obey traffic
regulations. I stop at red and go at green. So how come I'm in a minority?

How come that cyclists saunter past and sit in front of me, rudely, then
run the light? They wouldn't do that in a car. They do lots of things
they wouldn't do in a car. They cut me up, they endanger themselves and
they infuriate drivers whose state of mind is already ill-disposed to
two wheels. The rude cyclists are irresponsible and they are all sorts:
the men in bike-catalogue clothing; the couriers on death wishes; the
summer cyclists who have multiplied like hoverflies, who cycle on
pavements, ignore traffic regulations and assume that they can be seen
at night with no lights, as if bathed in light from a benign pedalling

god.

Of course there's a pecking order of hatred on the roads. Honda even got
an ad out of it: vans hate cars and cars hate bikes and cabbies hate
everyone. Every cyclist has horror stories. Seeing someone go under a
lorry or swiped by a car. In May, Vicki McCreery was crushed by a bus on
London's Blackfriars Bridge, while cycling along some of the stupidest,
most menacing cycle lanes ever. In fact, the Blackfriars cycle lane
model is being put out as an example of best practice across the UK. I
have sympathy for the actions of Ashley Carpenter, who slashed the tyres
of 548 cars in 10 days and was jailed for 16 months, because he'd got
cut up by a car once too often. And I own a car with slashable tyres.

I'm sympathetic when rules are fudged in the interests of
self-preservation. I do it, too, when road junctions have been designed
by planners whose attention to the needs of cyclists runs the range from
contempt to criminal endangerment. And sometimes I get caught. A
Lycra-clad cycle policeman - nice tight shirt - once stopped me for
cycling the wrong way down a badly signposted one-way street. He said he
could have fined me 30. Fair enough. Less fair that vans are never
fined for parking in cycle lines and cutting up cyclists, which is a
traffic offence. And when will the crime of
looking-straight-at-you-and-still-pulling-out ever get properly policed?
Being doored and floored, getting scissor-kicked by feral kids - it
happens. A lot. UK cyclists are 10 times more likely to be harmed than
bikers in the cycling haven of Denmark, where cycle lanes are built in
such a way that road traffic can't get near them. Here, a cyclist is
killed every two and a half days.

Still, I love to cycle and, mostly, I like cyclists. So why does it
bother me when a cyclist rides like a moron; when a cyclist doesn't seem
to know whether they're pedestrian or vehicular, like they're stuck in
some road-user limbo where traffic lights are simply suggestions?

It's about expectations. Cyclists have chosen a green, progressive mode
of transport. I expect them to behave in a socially responsible,
progressive way. Through days on end of sitting at traffic lights, being
overtaken when I'm overtaking a stationary bus, and there's a bus coming
in the other direction, I have come to learn that this is stupid. They
might just want to get to work more quickly, and when has commuting ever
brought out the best in humanity? As a cycling friend said recently: "A
tosser is a tosser, no matter what mode of transport they're using. It's
about changing people's attitude to each other when they're travelling
as opposed to singling out any particular group."

So maybe I'm wrong to bring up the rude cyclists at all, when cycling
organisations plea constantly for better integration and harmony between
road users. I might be discouraging the 10,000 new cyclists that John
Prescott wants to see on the roads by 2010, by pointing out the dangers
over the benefits.

Anti-cyclists refer to Lycra-clad louts. There's nothing wrong with
Lycra. There is something wrong with getting on your bike but not having
the brains or responsibility to go with it. So bring on the 10,000
cyclists, but with lights and bells and some respect. Bring on
thoughtful cycle lanes. Bring on a week's compulsory city cycling for
every traffic planner. For every taxi driver and motorist, too.

Vicki McCreery's family are rightly suing Transport for London for her
death. This is a traffic system skewed firmly in favour of the less
vulnerable. It's daft and dangerous. But there's no need for cyclists to
make things worse. The person sitting at the red light, while you ride
past, who says, "Laws RTA 1988, sect 36, TSRGD reg 10(1): Must obey all
traffic signals". That might be me.

Rose George's new book, A Life Removed: Hunting for Refuge in the
Modern World, is published by Penguin. All proceeds go to the
International Rescue Committee



He's right !

Graham


  #3  
Old August 9th 04, 12:48 PM
Tony W
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default "I am a cycling nerd - and proud of it"


"Graham" wrote in message
...

Rose George's new book, A Life Removed: Hunting for Refuge in the
Modern World, is published by Penguin. All proceeds go to the
International Rescue Committee



He's right !


He?

T


  #4  
Old August 9th 04, 01:31 PM
Simon Mason
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default "I am a cycling nerd - and proud of it"


"Tony W" wrote in message
...

"Graham" wrote in message
...

Rose George's new book, A Life Removed: Hunting for Refuge in the
Modern World, is published by Penguin. All proceeds go to the
International Rescue Committee



He's right !


He?


Well, you never know these days ;-)

--
Simon M.


  #5  
Old August 9th 04, 01:39 PM
Colin Blackburn
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default "I am a cycling nerd - and proud of it"

On Mon, 9 Aug 2004 13:31:46 +0100, Simon Mason
wrote:


"Tony W" wrote in message
...

"Graham" wrote in message
...

Rose George's new book, A Life Removed: Hunting for Refuge in the
Modern World, is published by Penguin. All proceeds go to the
International Rescue Committee



He's right !


He?


Well, you never know these days ;-)


"[Rose George] received her first-class honours BA in modern languages
from the
University of Oxford in 1992, and her MA in international politics in 1994
from the University of Pennsylvania. She speaks fluent French and Italian,
some Spanish and German, and bad Bulgarian and Arabic, but remains
always a Yorkshirewoman."

You do now.

Colin

  #6  
Old August 9th 04, 01:57 PM
Simonb
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default "I am a cycling nerd - and proud of it"

davek wrote:

And when will the crime of
looking-straight-at-you-and-still-pulling-out ever get properly
policed?


This very thing happened to me this morning. Really scary. I made good eye
contact with the driver and he still started his turn causing me to swerve
rather violently.



  #7  
Old August 9th 04, 02:21 PM
Paul - xxx
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default "I am a cycling nerd - and proud of it"

davek vaguely muttered something like ...
"A
tosser is a tosser, no matter what mode of transport they're using. It's
about changing people's attitude to each other when they're travelling
as opposed to singling out any particular group."


Damn right .. I think I'll use that in my sig ...

--
Paul ...

(8(|) ... Homer Rocks


  #8  
Old August 9th 04, 04:21 PM
David Hansen
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Default "I am a cycling nerd - and proud of it"

On Mon, 9 Aug 2004 11:15:07 +0000 (UTC) someone who may be davek
wrote this:-

URL:http://www.guardian.co.uk/transport/Story/0,2763,1278255,00.html
I sit at the traffic lights, dressed in helmet and yellow neon jacket,


So what?

How come that cyclists saunter past and sit in front of me, rudely, then
run the light? They wouldn't do that in a car.


She has obviously led a sheltered life.

Every cyclist has horror stories.


Really.

UK cyclists are 10 times more likely to be harmed than
bikers in the cycling haven of Denmark, where cycle lanes are built in
such a way that road traffic can't get near them.


Elementary mistake. Cyclists and their vehicles are road traffic.

Sustrans has a lot to answer for in their stupid compliance with the
views of road builders that cyclists are not part of the traffic.

So bring on the 10,000
cyclists, but with lights and bells and some respect.


Bells are largely superfluous. The human voice is capable of a far
greater range of sounds and variable volume.


--
David Hansen, Edinburgh | PGP email preferred-key number F566DA0E
I will always explain revoked keys, unless the UK government
prevents me using the RIP Act 2000.
  #9  
Old August 9th 04, 04:35 PM
Peter Clinch
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Posts: n/a
Default "I am a cycling nerd - and proud of it"

David Hansen wrote:

UK cyclists are 10 times more likely to be harmed than
bikers in the cycling haven of Denmark, where cycle lanes are built in
such a way that road traffic can't get near them.


Elementary mistake. Cyclists and their vehicles are road traffic.


But if the cycle tracks are completely apart from the road then the
cycles on them are, rather by definition, /not/ road traffic. Because
they're not on the road.

Bells are largely superfluous. The human voice is capable of a far
greater range of sounds and variable volume.


But bells can be very useful in some circumstances. I quite often ride
the mixed use path along the Firth rather than the road. It might be
slower but it's just a nice place to be which the alternative road
isn't. It's a lot easier to ping the pling that says "cyclists" in a
reasonably polite manner rather than say "excuse me!" a dozen times,
which quite often says "can't be anyone speaking to me, I'm just
wandering along minding my own business and that sounds at least 10' away".
Bells may not be any real use in traffic, but my bike isn't limited to
traffic. I'm quite happy to shout "*OI!*" if I need to, but for
repeated usage among peds a bell often works better and is more convenient.

Pete.
--
Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
net http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/

  #10  
Old August 9th 04, 04:52 PM
Arthur Clune
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Posts: n/a
Default "I am a cycling nerd - and proud of it"

davek wrote:

: Lycra-clad louts do a great disservice to law-abiding bikers

Stuff like this always annoys me slightly. Round here I don't see
many cyclists jumping lights. There are queues of cyclists in ASLs.

It's only when I go down to London that I see where articles like
this are coming from. But London is not the UK.

Arthru

--
Arthur Clune http://www.clune.org
"Technolibertarians make a philosophy out of a personality defect"
- Paulina Borsook
 




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