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Naughty or criminal? making excuses for cyclists who ignore the traffic act

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.

Pavement politics ... a naughty cyclist. Photograph: Paul Broadbent/Alamy

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.

Cheers Comrades


22 Comments

  1. Craigy says:

    “It may be an unpalatable truth for some, but there are reasons why cyclists opt for the pavement. Fear of motorists’ behaviour is one”

    Then drive a car, you’ll be much safer.

    “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.”

    I have to agree that road design that makes you break for a hump or swerve to miss a lump of concrete are just plain stupid. The worst is the bike lanes that make it slower for cars to move around the city. Why build roads for cars and then make them difficult and slow to drive on? In my view the cyclists should just stop whingeing, grow up and drive a car like most sensible adults do.

  2. damage says:

    One membership of teh left recinded.

  3. angel says:

    Wow, Craigy what is your view on scooters?

  4. Craigy says:

    angel, if you mean the scooters with an engine, I think they are great in summer but like all bikes and motor bikes just a bit silly in winter in the Melbourne traffic.

  5. Lin M. Hall says:

    Iain you just don’t believe in rationalism do you? Why make laws that advantage some and inconvenience others when they could inconvenience everyone?

    What makes some motorists angry at other motorists to the extent that they go and bash them? The same stupid flavouring in their genes that makes some motorists in cars hate all of those that motor on bikes and the others who pedal bikes.

    If you’re one of those car drivers who is deliberately obstructive to other road users, have a think about what it is going to cost you in the end – ten years off your life when you should be out taking a world cruise or something like that.

    Did any of you try riding a bike on a footpath? Too fat and lazy to do that now? Maybe you need the incentive to go ride your weight off again? Just go and ride on the roads and see how far you get before some obstructive vehicle driver tries to drive over you. At least riding on footpaths evens out the injuries!

    Craigy and Damage – when did you every ride a bike? And when did you stop (which year)? You just have no idea what it is like any more.

  6. Iain Hall says:

    Lin,
    I was a very regular motorcyclist for a very large part of my life and I have always been a very cautious and courteous road user.
    That said no matter what the inconsistencies of the traffic act is the law applies equally to all road users, from those piloting a road train to someone on a skate board. I even have a fair bit of respect for those who keep fit by cycling but follow any of them through traffic and the number of times that they break the law is astounding from ignoring red lights to lane splitting , riding in packs that block the road (happens a lot on the roads around here). Many cyclists know that without an obligation to have any identifiers on their bikes there is only a small chance that they will ever be caught of charged with anything.
    Is it any wonder that so many car drivers have nothing but disdain for badly behaved cyclists?

  7. Angel says:

    Road bikes belong on the road, those pushbike riders 2 & 3 abreast, with the gross, over revealing of their assets, lycra shorts belong at the velodrome,

  8. Angel says:

    Craigy, BTW I dont class scooters as road bikes. These things were ok in Asia and the Greek Isles but not made for here. Like pushbikes, I am hesitant when approaching as they are a law onto themselves and do not have the speed to keep up with traffic flow. I live in the tropics and you are right, they are great to zoom around the island on in the good weather, but in town and on the motorway, idiots with a death wish. Where is the bike gear also, 60km/h on the asphalt can still do plenty of damage.

  9. damage says:

    Lin M

    I rode a bike this morning for 100km on a country road.
    Save for the first 3m of my journey I was not once on a footpath. I did not go through 1 red light and while I did go for 100m down a one way street it was in the direction of the arrow.
    I was forced to travel through a dead end street where motor traffic ends and pedestrians only may go but I did this while dismounted.
    Tomorrow I intend to run for 45 minutes and on Wednesday I will swim intervals and travel 1.5 km by the end of the session.
    Later I’ll walk on the footpath. Hopefully nobody on a bike will knock me over and take ten years off my life when I should be out taking a world cruise or something like that.

  10. Lin M. Hall says:

    You blokes who tell me that you never break the law while on the road are just unbelievable! As for skateboards on roads, they are not subject to the road laws anyway.

  11. Angel says:

    Damage – You dont wear lycra, do you?

  12. Iain Hall says:

    Lin I’m not perfect by any means but I do show as much consideration for other users as I possibly can , even when they do things that piss me off.

    As for skate boards well I’ll take that on advisement but I reckon that if you were riding one in the traffic and being a general nuisance the cops could find some reason to charge you with something.

  13. gigdiary says:

    I don’t think skateboards are allowed on roads, you know, roads that have cars and trucks. Pretty stupid if they were. Then again you can almost say the same for cyclists who ride four abreast on the M2 with a speed limit of 100k.

  14. Lin M. Hall says:

    Oh shit, I keep forgetting! This isn’t New Zealand… When I lived in Wellington where Willis Street was largely one-way no-access from side streets we had The Willis Street Flash who inline-roller-skated the km-and-a-half from the suburban end to the centre of the CBD, about 100 m downhill on the way, who would pass even moving cars during his journey every weekday and nobody ever stopped him over a two-year period. I don’t think that anyone even tried.

    But the cops are more vindictive here, of course.

  15. damage says:

    Damn strait Angel. And I look hot too.

  16. Angel says:

    Damage, they do not look hot. Eeeewwww

  17. damage says:

    No seriously! On me? HOT!!!
    What can I say? I have the thighs for lycra.

  18. Angel says:

    Umm, its not thighs people notice with lycra

  19. tmatsci says:

    I have just returned from a trip to India, China and Vietnam. The behavior of pedestrian, drivers and riders in India and Vietnam in particular must be experienced to be believed. Road rules are there but are largely ignored yet traffic seems to flow with few incidents. Of course a lot of what you see are the result of extreme crowding and lack of space and traffic moves slowly which help. But I do think we are far over protective and rule bound but fortunately not so anal as parts of Europe. Many road rules seem to be driven by easy enforcement and revenue generation rather than promoting safe fast travel and we can afford to relax a bit.

  20. Sax says:

    Oh geez, on me ?
    What a frightening sight. Wouldn’t want to inflict that on anyone, but, if you got em, flaunt em I suppose ?
    😉

  21. damage says:

    It is with me.

  22. Derek Tilsner says:

    It really is beyond me, living in a small country town (Port Lincoln SA) why they cant save up like the rest of us and buy a car? = )

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