Two Wheels Worse

There’s a new tic that London pedestrians have developed when approaching pelican crossings these days. Even if we’ve got the green man and the cars are lined up at the light waiting for us to cross, we still have to crane our necks and look right before venturing into the road. We’re looking out for cyclists. They don’t stop, not all of them, not even most of them. And there are enough cyclists out there now, especially inside the congestion charge zone, that it’s becoming a real danger. Even this morning, some guy failed to stop for the red at the pedestrian crossing: just steamed through it without even slowing down. The only notice he took of me was to return my dirty look in spades. How dare I press the button and try to cross in front of him? Couldn’t I see he was a cyclist and the rules just didn’t apply? It’s one of the reasons why I hesitated before taking to my bike myself. Did I really want to lumped in with the rest of the be-lycra’d lunatics? I always stop – for lights, for zebra crossings, for people crossing the street I was about to turn into – but the minute people see the bike, you can see them hesitate, not sure of my good intentions. We were supposed to be the good guys. When was it we became the enemy?

But fortunately there is something cyclists can do. I was reading the Matt Seaton’s excellent cycling column (who knew a national newspaper needed a cycling column? Only in the Guardian …) about the Stop At Red campaign. If you’re a cyclist, you can sign their pledge – I’ve already done so myself – and for the price of a second class stamp you can get a sticker for your bike too, for a visible show of support. Just please remember not to sail through the next red light with it proudly stuck on your mudguard.

I’m at home today because I was waiting for the delivery of my shiny new desk. It has just arrived in several pieces and if I can work out how they fit together tomorrow’s blog will be brought to you from the comfort of an actual chair instead of the floor. Whether the disgruntlement will lessen, only time will tell …

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8 responses to “Two Wheels Worse

  1. Thanks for that, DC. I’ve signed the pledge. I’ve also asked them to modify their front page text, where it refers to “other road users and pedestrians” (my emphasis). D’oh!
    As to the Guardian cycling column, how is anyone to know it exists if it’s in the “Motoring” section? D’oh! again.

  2. Martin – cool, well done… I agree about the motoring thing, and the car reviewed yesterday was a Porsche – the Guardian’s come a long way since its beard and sandals heyday …

  3. it still does beards and sandals though, I think.
    What gets me about that sort of cyclist is that they don’t even begin to understand … they do the same to horseriders as well (and that can be really scary, let me tell you!) motorcyclists are much pleasanter than cyclists on the road, sorry ….. (at least, when it comes to co-existing with horses they are ….)
    and as for public footpaths …don’t get me started….(that’s the rural ones …)

  4. yes but the beards are neatly trimmed goatees and the sandals Manolo Blahniks. I’d have thought a frightened horse could do a lot of damage to a cyclist & would get treated with circumspection as a result – clearly not so!

  5. I wonder how the stop at red campaign will do up here given that there are no traffic lights in Berwickshire. Horses we have but few bridal paths so they are forced onto the roads. Cyclists yes and they are encouraged to use the Tweed Cycle Path which seems neither to start anywhere nor finish anywhere. Consequently Le Tour de Berwickshire was a bit of a non event with more cyclists finishing than starting according to the statistics.

  6. Berwickshire cyclists should start their own campaign – Stop at Nothing?

  7. I also signed the pledge when I read that column. I have campaigned for the rights of cyclists at local and national level for years but pedestrians won’t remember the likes of you or me stopped at the red light waiting patiently. They will however remember the irresponsible twat that steams straight through nearly bowling them over thus jaundicing their view of cyclists and setting the work of cycling groups and campaigners back by decades.

  8. too true …

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