Galaxy has been a road user for over forty years. In that time she has seen terrible road sense from those on four wheels and those on two.
How I See a Lot of Cyclists Behaving in My Mind's Eye
Death by Bike. Beyond Annoying Cyclist.
A lot of cyclists are really annoying in little ways but sometimes one crosses your path whose actions are not just annoying but downright dangerous and life-threatening.
This morning, as I carefully walked along the pavement near my home, very nearly proved to be my last morning on Earth. There I was, minding my own business, enjoying the watery, early spring sun when out of the blue a flash of grey, red and white swerved in front of me causing me to stumble and fall into the road right in front of a fast-moving car. How the driver managed to avoid crushing me under his wheels I will never know, I can only assume someone somewhere is watching over me. A thoughtless bike user almost caused my death and he never even noticed.
Cycling is without a doubt great exercise. A bike is a carbon neutral mode of transport. When used properly, in the right hands and legs, a bike is a far superior way of getting around, in comparison to a gas guzzling, polluting motor vehicle. Yet, all too often the hands and legs in charge of bikes turn out to be those of arrogant idiots.
Of course, a near-death experience might well have tainted my opinion of cyclists, they can't all be bad, can they? The responsible cyclist uses the road properly, wearing appropriate clothing, doesn't use the pavement unless permitted to do so and is considerate of other road users. Unfortunately, these cyclists seem rarer than unicorns to me.
Ten Reasons to Find Cyclists Annoying
1) They think they own the road.
2) They ignore the rules such as stopping at red lights or one way systems.
3) They mount the pavement at the drop of a hat, without the benefit of insurance should they cause an accident.
4) They often wear dark clothes when riding at night and don't have lights on their bikes.
5) They don't pay any road fund licence money or contribute to the upkeep of the roads in any way.
6) They have an insane sense of entitlement.
7) They often have a smug, 'look at me I'm saving the planet' look on their faces. (To be fair, they are helping to save the planet. But do they have to look so smug?)
8) Many of them wear ridiculously tight, distracting trousers. (Just not the ones that should.)
9) They often ride two or three abreast, happily chatting away to each other and holding up the traffic.
10) They chain up their bikes to railings or posts and thus avoid any parking charges. (I'm not jealous, really I'm not.)
"Cyclists Beware" Sticker
We got so fed up with annoying cyclists zipping past our car on the inside that we ordered a window sticker from the internet. It's bright yellow and warns cyclists not to try to pass when the car is turning left. I'm not sure how effective it is but it makes us feel better displaying it. Maybe a cyclist will read the sign when our car is parked and think twice next time they are about to nip up the wrong side of the car. Who knows, it might save a life.
The sign we bought is of course for the UK, I'm sure you can buy similar ones for other countries.
Start Training Cyclists Early
I know that cycling proficiency is still taught in primary schools here in the UK, which is a really good thing but only a very few children take these classes. The vast majority of roads are incredibly busy and it must be pretty scary riding a bike on them. But that doesn't mean cyclist can break the rules of the road just because it is safer to ride on the pavement, or they are too impatient to wait for a light to turn green.
To drive a car you need lessons, you have to pass a test, display L plates to alert other road users to the fact that you are a learner. it is an offence to drive a car that is unroadworthy, uninsured or untaxed. Records are kept so that the authorities know who a vehicle belongs to. You are accountable for your actions.
Anyone can buy a bike and ride it on the road, I wonder how many of those people know the actual laws regarding bike users, how many have read the highway code?
The rules are as follows:
1. Lights and Reflectors
You must have approved front and rear lights, lit, clean and working properly when cycling between sunset and sunrise.legal requirements for reflectors only apply between sunset and sunrise and include a red rear reflector and four amber pedal reflectors, one at the front and rear of each pedal.
It's an offence to ride a bicycle on a public road without two efficient braking systems, operating independently on the front and rear wheel.
3. Drugs and Alcohol
Cycling on a road or other public place whilst unfit through drink or drugs carries a fine of up to £1000. There are no blood tests for this, no breath tests and no legal limit for blood alcohol. You just have to show you are in control of your bike.
4. Careless Cycling
Careless cycling is cycling without due care and attention or reasonable consideration for other road users (£1000 max fine), or dangerously £2500 max fine). The test for these offences is the same as that for motor vehicle drivers.
5. Red Lights
Crossing the stop line when the traffic lights are red (jumping red lights) is an offence.
6. Cycling on the Pavement
It's an offence to drive a carriage on "any footpath or causeway by the side of any road made or set apart for the use or accommodation of foot passengers", essentially the pavement.
7. Giving Someone a Lift on a Bike
It's illegal to carry more than one person on a bicycle. Unless it's a tandem.
It isn't compulsory to wear a helmet or "high viz" light-coloured clothing, you don't have to ride in single file, you don't have to use a cycle lane just because there is one. You don't have to do any of those things, but maybe you should! Maybe the time has come for some form of cycling test and registration of bikes. Maybe if cyclists had to display a registration number on their bikes they would take a little more care.
Please take the time to take this short poll.
© 2018 Galaxy Harvey
Galaxy Harvey (author) from United Kingdom on August 23, 2020:
Of course it's personal. I have lost count of the times I have encountered cyclists acting like complete idiots. Just today two rode the wrong way down a one way street towards my car and then gave us a rude gesture as if we were in the wrong for not giving way to them.
Cyclists are, in my opinion, entitled idiots for the most part, who dress as if they are in the tour de France when they are just popping down to the local Tesco for a pint of milk.
Cyclist4life on July 27, 2020:
This is dumb, and so inaccurate. This seems personal. It’s not that deep.