There is very little that upsets motorist more than seeing cyclists flagrantly ignoring the aspects of the traffic act that are an inconvenience to them. Running red lights or riding on the footpaths are everyday offences by loonies in Lycra and something that I think undermines the notion that cyclists are virtious creatures.
In possession of the £30 penalty and continuing my journey, I did not fume about the police officer’s behaviour. He had politely parroted his script, but knew full well that he was positioned at one of the borough’s best traps for generating maximum cyclist cash while being in no danger whatsoever of coming face to face with a genuinely antisocial pavement cyclist. It was far too early for hoody-wearing teenage boys to be out, weaving between prams and toddlers and shouting into their phones.
It may be an unpalatable truth for some, but there are reasons why cyclists opt for the pavement. Fear of motorists’ behaviour is one and although I empathise I believe the place for cyclists is the road – the more of us in the road the better behaved drivers will have to be.
The second, significant reason for pavement cycling is obstructions in the form of irrationally designed road traffic systems that keep us from riding directly toward our destinations. Chief among these are archaic one-way systems. Who knows how many of these beasts from the recent past exist on this island. Far too many. They may mildly annoy motorists, who sometimes despair about petrol and time being eaten up as they are forced to travel miles in lieu of yards. For cyclists, these complex gyratories are physically and mentally tiring – eating up calories, consuming far too much of the day’s muscular strength, and conjuring up mental images of hamsters and wheels.
Doesn’t it make you somewhat sick that cyclists want to be immune form the laws that apply to other road users? Of course to our friends from the left will defend this flagrant law breaking on the basis of “necessity” just as the writer from the Guardian does but in reality if they want to be seen as virtious from an environmental point of view then they will have to show a great deal more respect for the traffic act as well.