Cyclists who don’t help themselves (or others)
I recently posted on the issue regarding the innate hatred for cyclists on the roads, and I staunchly defended the individual on the bicycle since I am one myself. However, not all cyclists can consider themselves innocent angels who deserve to co-exist on the roads with cars or fellow bicycle riders. In fact, several individuals make life more difficult for other bike riders with their actions in and out of the saddle. These can generally be categorised into two individuals:
The red light runner
This individual is the biggest problem for fellow bike riders because he/she actively and purposefully breaks the rules of the road for all to see. Once you take to the road, you must obey the rules thereof, but this individual gives a bad name to all cyclists by breaking them without so much as a thought to the consequences. They run red lights, weave recklessly in and out of traffic, don’t indicate, and generally ride without any regard for other road users. The problem is that it is generally fools atop a bicycle rather than proper cyclists who break these rules and, as I have discussed recently, all bicycle riders are categorised as one, so we all pay the price. Thanks to these individuals, cyclists are regarded as a pest on the road, and these riders certainly are.
An important message for all cyclists (image source)
The Complainer (also known as The YouTube poster)
I am a big fan of watching cycling videos that are posted on the internet, anything from Tour de France footage, through shaky amateur helmet cams to cringe worthy crashes that make your muscles tense. However, there are also other videos posted by individuals in which they do nothing but complain about cars and their drivers. Yes, I can relate to drivers passing too close, dangerously overtaking and cutting me up, but instead of whining and moaning about it, then posting it on the internet, I simply take a deep breath and get on with it. Occasionally there is an incident in which I may fear for my life, and then I’ll maybe let the perpetrator know that I feel aggrieved, but I try to do so in the most gentlemanly and calm manner possible, and not through aggressive and abusive shouting and gesturing. Sometimes the severity of the incidents I see in videos is pathetic. Gesticulating wildly about it will only put yourself in actual danger, and by posting these petty complaints online, you make yourself, and more importantly the wider cycling community, hideously unpopular. As if we weren’t already so…
Another sign to take heed of, fellow cyclists (I say whining).
The ire that drivers and pedestrians have towards cyclists can be irrational, but just like all stereotyping, some of this contempt is based on reality and these two types of individuals are the biggest hindrances to any sort of harmony developing between different parties. A change in attitude has to come from both sides. There are two simple rules I adhere to when I take to the road on my bicycle; obey the rules of the road and enjoy yourself. The individuals who fail to keep to either one of these will fall into one of the above categories, and we have enough of these clowns making life difficult for us by incensing the other road using populations.
I shall finish by linking to some of my favourite cycling videos on YouTube:
Evolution of the Bicycle: A short animation by Thallis Ville von Holck
Inside the sprint finish of a race: Tighter than something rude
Pennyfarthing crash: Hilarious
Line of Sight: Incredible film about Alleycat street races