Thursday 26 September 2013

Funnily Enough, Drivers Hate This Behaviour Too…

Chris Harvey ups the ante:
In Telegraph Men last week, I made the entirely sensible suggestion that there were situations in which it was plainly safer on London's roads for cyclists to go through red lights. Not everyone, it has to be said, felt the same.
Heh! That’s putting it mildly…
Among the many expressions of warm regard (some of them almost printable) from many of Britain's road users, there were some very interesting comments, especially from other cyclists who suggested that advance green lights for cyclists to allow them a lawful head start, as in Holland, would make a real difference to safety. I'm convinced that motorists wouldn't mind waiting for those few extra seconds when cyclists' safety is at stake.
Well, here’s one that would!
Of course, there were pedestrians who made very helpful suggestions, too, among them one that I think could be adapted to pedestrians themselves. Surely a registration scheme for pedestrians, involving insurance and the wearing of small number plates front and rear over outdoor clothing would have a positive effect on all but the most dangerous two-feeters.
I thought this was a joke, but no, I think he’s at least half-serious.
London's new cycling tsar Andrew Gilligan (who also happens to be a Telegraph columnist) has made it clear he wants to stamp out things that cyclists do that frighten and annoy pedestrians. As a pedestrian, driver, and cyclist, I'm in no doubt as to which group is most endangered by the other two.
Newsflash: It’s not the cyclist, not at the speeds you insist on going!

But Chris has 5 annoying things he thinks are only annoying to cyclists. Once again, he’s wrong:
1. Man walks into a road...
It sounds like the start of a routine by a Seventies comedian, but in fact that's the whole gag. No stopping at the kerb, no looking both ways, no listening. It's as if the green cross code had never been invented. Often performed by pedestrians, men and women, on mobile phones or changing tracks on a music player.
Oh, I hear you! That’s a bugbear of mine too. No, I don’t cycle. I drive a car.
2. The Mr Magoo or Who Put That Cyclist There?
So regularly performed that you might almost call it old-school, this deceptively simple manoeuvre will surely have unseated the odd penny farthing rider in its time, perhaps even separated a fashionable gentleman on a velocipede from his top hat and teeth. The pedestrian merely steps between two stationary vehicles - in the classic version of the Mr Magoo it will be two buses - and... who put that cyclist there?
Funnily enough, drivers feel the same way…
3. The Lean, aka The Fall
"You're walking and you don't always realise it but you're always falling. With each step you fall forward slightly And then catch yourself from falling, over and over ..." Walking and Falling, Laurie Anderson, 1982.
In my mind, this Laurie Anderson track from her 1982 debut album Big Science is permanently funnelling through the earbuds of those pedestrians who like to practise the art of leaning into the space you are just about to cycle through. It is performed as if already falling forwards into the space, ready to fill it the instant you have vacated it. The Lean, which may appear insouciant and cool when used to cross between passing cars, is really unnerving for cyclists who are only one minor clip away from "falling" and "catching themselves from falling" by hitting the pavement hard.
Yes, drivers hate this too.
4. The Chris Ashton / Emmitt Smith
Practised on roads with three to four lanes of stationary traffic at the precise moment when red lights turn to green. The pedestrian may or may not be aware of the imminent change in priority at the time they begin to cross, but the response is a daring cut through the traffic as it gathers pace, performed with the skill of a running back. A spurt takes them between the Skoda and the moped in lane one, a little sidestep and shimmy takes them beyond the black cab in lane two, before they break into a run to clear the white van in lane three, and... Yes! Except... No, they've gone straight into the path of a cyclist.
Or another driver. But hey, why should you worry about that?
5. The 'We Are Many, You Are Few'
A particular favourite of commuters accustomed to the communal feeling of being part of a solid wave of pedestrians all travelling in the same direction, sweeping aside lone innocents desperately paddling up the Keep Left channel, as they themselves Keep Right and Keep Going. The 'We Are Many, You Are Few' has been adapted for use on the small bits of pavement where a cycle lane meets a main road. These often have a crossing controlled by traffic lights, set to ensure cyclists wait for as long as possible before being granted an infinitesimally small amount of time to cross. The rules of this particular game dictate that, however short a time the light stays green, the passage of pedestrians along that particular stretch of pavement should not be interrupted. Nay, if there are enough of them, will not be interrupted!
Pavements are for pedestrians. They are on the pavement. They are in the right. If I can’t drive my car up on to it, why should you ride your bike?


Rickie said...

It's an awkward situation, cyclists can an do things that are both dangerous and selfish, but being an ex cyclist i know that pavement riding in some situations was an absolute no brainer at some junctions.

Unfortunatley cyclists are lowest in the food chain and don't have the same rights as Cars, motorcyclists are a little further up the food chain but are still are second class citizens.

The fastest most expensive cars think they are superior and expect to be treated as such, any grief i had either on a motorcycle or cycle was by top of the range motors.

If i had to ride a bike tomorrow i will expect to be treated differently and will ride to survive even if it isn't pretty.

John M said...

I read his two articles. Originally I thought The Telegraph were trying to present a reasoned side to the cyclists' debate and had failed to spot him.

But now I realise that by allowing this man to write his pieces they are in fact trying to completely discredit the cyclists' position to the point where nobody could ever take them seriously.

I means seriously, this guy moans that cyclists should be allowed to break the law and go through red lights "because I am a careful rider" and then moans about pedestrians and motorists who break the law or even inconvenience him (for example by not noticing him trying to overtake up the inside of buses)

The man is a cretin. It's as simple as that

Anonymous said...


I am with John M in his last sentence, also I cannot agree with Rickie's comment about top of the range vehicles being the worst. The worst ones I found when riding a motorbike into work were the middle aged blokes, wearing a collar and tie but driving a crap car. Those lads had an inner rage about them, they had the 'white collar' status in their eyes but an income which would make a decent labourer think twice about and a tradesman say thanks but no thanks.

If you ride a bicycle like an inconsiderate toss pot then you get what you deserve, equally if someone drives a car deliberately to unnerve a cyclist and that cyclist drags said motorist out of the car and gives them a savage beating also deserved. I mean the cyclist wouldn't get any real punishment for it, it's not like he's left bacon on a mosque door handle or anything.

Anonymous said...

The Law;

A pedestrian has the right of way at all times.

End of.

James Higham said...

I've a post on this. Hasn't been written yet. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Pedestrians and cars get on pretty well by an large. The cars drive in straight lines on the road and they make a noise. Pedestrians move slowly on the pavement and if they venture on the road they tend to turn, stop, then cross at right-angles. Pedestrians have got used to hearing motor vehicles as they approach from behind and may indeed be listening for the quiet spots as they walk along the pavement getting ready to cross the road.
Cyclists break the model. They are unpredictable. They ride on pavements at speed, they go the wrong way on roads, they jump from pavement to road and back again as it suits. They overtake on the inside, outside or any side going. And they do all this with no signals, visual or audible.
And then they expect everyone else to look out for them to keep them safe.
Let's make cities safe for walking in. Ban The Bike!

JuliaM said...

"Unfortunatley cyclists are lowest in the food chain and don't have the same rights as Cars..."

And also, none of the responsibilities or costs...

" I realise that by allowing this man to write his pieces they are in fact trying to completely discredit the cyclists' position.."

Heh! I wondered that too... ;)

"I mean the cyclist wouldn't get any real punishment for it, it's not like he's left bacon on a mosque door handle or anything."


" The cars drive in straight lines on the road and they make a noise. "

Not those eco-friendly electric ones! They're lethal...

Furor Teutonicus said...

Only one way to deal with pushbikers, LAND MINES!

Fucking cunts!