I am Beginning to Discover…

…one downside to all the lovely extra cyclists there are suddenly on London’s roads: there are no gaps in the traffic. Turning right onto the Kennington Road used to be easy because the traffic came in clumps because of the traffic lights. But now, after the cars have passed, there’s a long tail of bikes strung out behind them and no space for me to nip through. I must have waited 5 minutes last night for a gap. And there’s no point stepping over and pressing the button on the pedestrian crossing because, with the sole exception apparently of me, the bikes will just ignore it.

Which brings me to the second downside, which is this. Assume the general incidence of dickheadedness in the population is – like left handedness and homesexuality – about 10%*. Now that cycling is becoming more prevalent we can probably also assume that London cyclists form a rough cross-section of society. Now, if you take a dickhead out of his car and put him on a bike, you don’t suddenly get Sir Galahad on his wheeled steed, you get a dickhead on a bike. Which may explain why the last few conversations I’ve had about cycling have been cyclists complaining about other cyclists, including reports of some nasty bike on bike collisions and one cyclist being seen explaining to another cyclist the finer points of cycling ettiquette in what I think the diplomats refer to as a ‘full and frank exchange of views’ and the rest of us call a punch up.

And this in turn brings me to a puzzle. Every single cyclist I’ve talked to in the last couple of weeks has sworn blind that they never run red lights. So who are all the mystery cyclists out there who are doing it? Confessions, please…

*If they find the gene for it, do you think we may be able to eliminate it?


10 responses to “I am Beginning to Discover…

  1. only 10 per cent! blimey – you are a glass-half-full kinda commuter today. x

  2. It was Friday… ask me again on Monday

  3. From the cycling behaviour I saw over the past few days in your city I’m tempted to carry a stick with me next time I visit. I will be sticking it into the spokes of bad cyclists as they whizz past.

  4. As long as you stick to the bad ones, I’m not sure I can blame you…

  5. I will admit that I sometimes run a red light – this is usually when I am cycling with friends who have much more experience of cycling than I. I have once or twice run a red light by myself when I have seen that there is not other vehicle/pedestrian anywhere near the crossing.

    But I do live in The Netherlands, so things are much easier and safer for cyclists here.

  6. in oxford this week the police give out over 30 tickets to people cycling down queen street(buses only) they also give out tickets earlier this year to people going through red lights.
    these tickets cost people 30 quid.
    cheers john

  7. Paul – aha, one confession … but as you’re not in London it doesn’t help clear up the discrepancy
    John – I think there must be a bit of a crackdown generally. Of course Oxford has always had a lot of cyclists

  8. Not every left handed person is a dickhead 😛

  9. no, nor indeed are they all homosexual… I was just guessing that the incidence was about the same (I’m a lefty myself btw)

  10. Up here red-light-jumping cyclists tend to be
    – riding a mountain bike (suspension must be needed for hopping up the kerb on to the pavement)
    – not wearing a helmet
    – wearing headphones
    – not showing lights or hi-vis

    And I’m the one getting beeped at and bullied by the buses.

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