A few months ago I was interviewed on local radio by a rather aggressive presenter in relation to the BBC programme “War on Britain’s Roads”. Most of what he tried to say/infer was that all cyclists are habitual lawbreakers. The following day, instead of just thinking it, I penned this…
So you as a motorist say that cyclists are lawbreakers? Here are a few things to think about…
As a driver, can you honestly say that you have never accelerated to get thru an amber light, started moving before the light was green, stopped beyond the line at the lights, parked on a double yellow line, stopped in a hashed box, edged out into traffic forcing another driver to stop, failed to stop dead at a junction with a stop sign, exceeded the speed limit, eaten food while moving, had a sip of drink while moving, parked in a cycle lane, stopped in an advanced cycle stop box, parked with two wheels on the pavement…?
Well, unless you’ve never done any of the above, you’re a lawbreaker too. A wise man once said something about the one who was without sin casting the first stone. And then there’s the old one about people in glass houses… (Yes, yes, they should get dressed in the basement too!)
These are the seemingly innocuous things people do when driving. How about the drivers I see using a handheld phone? Or those who undertake on the motorway? Or those who overtake when there isn’t enough space to do so? Do all drivers do these things? Of course not, it’s a small minority. But if we apply to drivers the same logic applied by drivers who resent the presence of cyclists, ALL drivers are persistent, serious lawbreakers.
It seems that many drivers resent being held up by a cyclist. However this is just an impression, no different to the impression that a minute stopped at the lights was an interminable amount of time. The speed limit is the maximum speed you should do in ideal conditions. If there is a cyclist in front of you, are conditions ideal? They’re not, so you should slow down – you wouldn’t continue at 60mph through foot deep water across the road just because the speed limit is 60mph!
Some cyclists do habitually break the law…
Cyclists shouldn’t run red lights, but if they get it wrong, the repercussions are potentially disastrous – just let Darwinism take its course (OK, perhaps not, there’s the driver’s mental health to consider). But does it really affect YOU as a driver?
Cyclists must by law have appropriate lights at night. If you see them in your local area without, report it to the police. Do it often enough in an area and they’ll do something about it. Of course Darwinism could help here too.
Cyclists shouldn’t ride on pavements. Don’t get angry, just don’t get out of the way. That way they have to go around you. If they’re abusive, just smile and walk away. Oh, and if they collide with you, call the police.
The answer to the perceived conflict between drivers and cyclists is simple: Have a little tolerance, a little patience and take the time to look at the whole thing from the point of view of the other person. We may not like it, but we do have to share the road, that’s just the way it is.