Monday, April 05, 2010

The bike debate

It has been suggested that cyclists require training and that bikes be registered for the roads.
If ever a suggestion was welcome, this one is it.
Those goodie two-shoes greenie cyclists have become a terror on the roads.

Cyclists are quick to blame drivers. But there is no protecting them from themselves and they cause a lot of stress among car drivers. 
They can be divided into two distinct groups - the people who ride to work and those who have some illusion that commuting is a sport.
The former are just hapless good souls who happen to ride bikes to work or university.
The latter wear skin-tight synthetic racing costumes. They dress up to get on their bikes - wearing garb which may reduce wind shear by some vital fractional degree on their way to work.
These are the cyclists who like to put themselves apart from the rest of the road traffic. They speed in slow traffic and do not heed traffic conditions. They can't bear to put their foot on the ground at a traffic light but have to ride to the front of the queue and teeter dangerously ready for a race start on the change of lights. The do not give pedestrians right of way. They regularly ride though pedestrian crossings. In other words, they do not conform to the road rules which apply to traffic - rules which they would respect were they in their cars. They have double values and a culture of blame.

During some shocking gridlock traffic jams due to closed roads, I witnessed a racing-clad cyclist speeding towards a jammed intersection. He showed no sign of slowing for the obstacle of stationary traffic across his path which rather surprised me. I think he was assuming he could just swing through a gap. When a motorist, not seeing the approaching cyclist, allowed his car to creep forward a few feet, he narrowed that gap and the cyclist was going too fast to accommodate the change. He rode directly into the side of the car at high speed - flying over the bonnet and landing heavily on the road. It was very nasty. Everyone was distressed. An ambulance was called. Haunted, I have thereafter pondered the practical and legal implications of this accident. The car was in the wrong place but it was almost stationary. The cyclist technically had a right of way but, in my opinion, he did not use caution in changed road conditions.

It seems a bit sad to lumber schoolkids and family cyclists with tests and paperwork for registration and licenses. But how else are we to make racing city cyclists conform to the road rules?

Perhaps by restricting the wearing of those awful synthetic racing garments to velodromes and genuine road races?

1 comment:

Jill said...

Love this. Well said.