Why [some] people hate cyclists

Leisure cyclists in The Mall, London

Leisure cyclists in The Mall, London

I recently blogged about my friend Jon (here) who amongst other things I described as a “good egg”.  You might generally assume this is a complementary term.  He’s a runner and also has his own blog Cobbies Collective Contemplations where I’ve spotted he’s laid into cyclists a bit.  How could you do this Jon?  C’mon, really?  Surely you’re doing this as a ‘wind-up’?  Simply can’t let this go unchecked!  Sorry, this just ain’t on pal.

Here I am going to address each of the issues he has with cyclists and I trust all my readers be agreeing with me!

Undertaking

This is where Jon is showing himself as a wound-up typical motorist.  They sit in their cars at rush hour, crawling along in a stop-start fashion, burn loads of fuel, make little progress. They are dealing with red traffic lights, a large volumes of traffic, the stress of the day is bugging them.  To make matters worse for these motorists, cyclists get past them by under and overtaking and get to the front of the queue by the red lights. Many motorists can’t stand being out-done by a cyclist and become frustrated and need to make sure they are in front and making more progress.

My response?  In an ideal World, we’d be more enlightened in this country, perhaps like the Netherlands who are more cycle friendly.  This is where cyclists are catered for by design.  However, we live in the Home Counties and things aren’t like that.  The solution is for the millions of motorists like Jon is simply r e l a x  a little.  I know that many will have a longing for being on who wheels but they can’t for one reason or another.  Many will be fat overweight executives who are secretly jealous of cyclists enjoying a fit, healthy lifestyle.  They’ll be in great shape.  Just because you are frustrated by crawling along in your over-priced, expensive-to-run executive car, please don’t take it out on a cyclist who actually has just as much right to use the road!

Cycling two abreast

This is when you might see a group of cyclists riding along side by side each other and making it even more difficult for faster cars to over take them.

Yes Jon, you do have a fair point to make here.  My comment on this is that you would only very rarely see this.  The vast majority (99.9%) of cyclists will hear a car coming and pull so they are single file.  So just keep it in perspective Jon!

Jumping red lights

Shouldn’t do that on a bike, agreed, period.  Outside London that’s an urban myth and just the kind of snowball motorists like to throw at cyclists.  As for London cyclists, most are trying to get ahead so they stand a bit of a chance ahead, instead of being harassed even more by you motorists.  Once again, you motorists just need to r e l a x  a little!

Cycling without bells etc

Are you trying to say the sound of my creaky saddle isn’t loud enough?

Cyclists and runners are rude, especially in affluent areas

You might, just might, have a point here Jon but don’t get carried away with it.  I might even join you with this rant!  Saying “hi” to another cyclist or runner seems the most natural thing to do; fostering a good brotherhood and commaraderie.  Besides, your help might be appreciated one day by someone stranded by the side of the road for some reason.  Expressing a greeting is also an encouragement, especially if someone is slogging up a hill.  No need to over do it, generally I think a smile, a “hi” or a “morning” is sufficient.

But, like Jon, I have noticed that there are plenty of cyclists and runners around.  Being “in the zone” is all very well but a bit of common decency isn’t going to hurt you!  Maybe there’s a kind of pecking oder based on how many Kg’s a bike weighs, or how many thousand of pounds it cost, how fit you are and so on.  You get the drift?

Whether Jon is right about affluent areas being more snooty, it’s hard to know.  After all people run and cycle through many different areas and I can’t believe their behaviour changes according to whether there’s nothing less than a year old BMW in the drive, or at best a 12 year old Toyota.

So what do you think?

Jon might have a point about some cyclists being a bit snooty.  Otherwise c’mon Jon, relax, take it easy.  Better still, buy a bike.  But don’t stop running!

 

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9 Responses to Why [some] people hate cyclists

  1. Dan Kern says:

    I have to agree with Jon. These bicyclist pay no road tax and as far as I am concerned, there is no room on the road for a 70 pound bike with a 3000lb car. If you are going to use the road, get a license plate and pay your fair share of road use taxes.There are plenty of bike trails…. Use them… I can’t take my 4 wheeler on the bike trail so why should you ride your bike on my street. Use the sidewalk.
    99.9 % of these so called bicyclists are nothing more than Tour De France wanna Be’s.

    • doug says:

      HI Dan,

      Many thanks for your comment, much appreciate it.

      I think its positive if new roads or redevelopments can be designed with cyclists and cars in mind, so we can all move around easily and safely. Sometimes this means sharing a road or perhaps a different trail, as you suggest. But for the most part, that simply isn’t going to happen. That’s why we should, I believe, learn to accept each other on the roads.

      As for TdF wannabes, well seeing as how the UK has just won (and only the second time ever) maybe we can indulge ourselves for a short while? Me, I’m too hold for all that!

      You didn’t say whether you’re a cyclist at all?

      Kind regards,

      Doug.

    • John Uytman says:

      Hi Dan,

      The tax disc on your car is “Vehicle Excise Licence” and the idea of “Road Fund Tax” was dropped decades ago, but the myth still exists. Roads are paid for out of general taxation (i.e. everyone pays one way or another) so no one owns the road – it is to be shared by all tax payers be they car drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, etc.

      Get my point?

  2. Dan Kern says:

    Hi Doug,
    Yes I enjoy cycling, but only on designated bike trails. There are lots of them and It is much safer that way. I do think that roadways should be left to the motorist because it only makes good safety sense. If I have to ride on a roadway, I use the sidewalk. I know I am no match for an automobile doing the speed limit. If bicycles want to use the roads, they should pay for it. Our roads are in poor shape due to lack of money, so anyone who uses it should pay for it.
    Thanks

    • doug says:

      Dan,

      Sounds as if you may be in North America? Hard for me to comment, I confess I’ve not been there.

      In the UK we have so-called Road Tax which means a typical car pays £180 – £220 just to keep their car on the road. Some a free or cheaper, others pay far more, and that’s before the tax included in the price of fuel – currently £1.35 a litre. There is a view that this money gets spent on the roads. It isn’t.

      Surely roads should be a public service, for all?

      Kind regards, Doug.

      • Dan Kern says:

        You are right.. I am from USA. Some of these states are scratching their heads over how they can decrease the fatality rate of bikes vs. automobiles? It is quite simple. Keep them off the road. A bike will lose every time. It is common sense. We have some great bike trails that have never had a fatality. Those trails are off limits to automobiles. I seem to be seeing a trend here…..

        • doug says:

          Hi Dan

          Good morning from England! What you say does make sense. Poor quality roads + heavy traffic volumes = not cycle friendly.

          In the UK our motorways are for qualified drivers and no bicycles are allowed. These are fast long distance routes. We have ‘A’ roads which are either single carriageways or dual carriage ways, also with a 60 or 70mph speed limit. In practice cyclists often avoid them when they can. But as the roads tend to be fairly wide and straight and well maintained (relatively) they can be safe, even if unpleasant. LIke me, most cyclists avoid these roads and go for quiet country lanes if possible but these often have their own dangers – tight bends, less maintenance, lower visibility and have been there for 100s of years! We do have a developing network of designated cycle routes which are well liked, some of these connect different towns and use the route of old railway routes.

          In the USA do cyclists have a national voice to lobby the Government?

          Regards, Doug.

  3. Dan Kern says:

    P.S. I don’t hate bicyclists. There is a time and a place for them. If you are going to use the road, lobby to make it a law for a bike to get a license to help pay for the road. Then they can pay personal property tax as well. No one deserves a “free ride”. Especially when traffic is bad enough without adding bicycles to the mix.

  4. Dan Kern says:

    Yes, anyone has the right to lobby the government.. Unfortunately, like a lot of other governments, money talks.

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