Thursday, 15 October 2009

My First Online Rant

OK, everyone tells me that I have to be contraversial. So here goes.

OK, I am opinionated and there will be those who read what I have to say here who think I am the epitome of everything that is wrong with cyclists on the road, but I guess there will be people who read this that agree with me.

There will of course be a huge number of people, probably something close to six billion (and counting), who don't care either way, but there are things that I want to say, and if you can't say them in a blog, where can you say them?

Cyclists, other road users, the Highway Code ... Grrrr

Actually, this is all my wife's fault - she bought to my attention that cyclists, pedestrians and horseriders are all described in the Highway Code as "hazards". Who the hell writes this drivel, I ask myself?

Cyclists, pedestrians and horseriders are the only classes of road user who don't pay a licence fee to use the Queen's Highway. We are granted by society the free use of the roads, whereas cars, trucks, trams, charabancs and coaches aren't.

So how is it that cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders are the ones described as hazards? If anything, those licence-paying purveyors of motorised mayhem (and yes, I am one of them, covering 60,000km a year on average in a car, so I am not being holier-than-thou) are the hazard.

Lets get this straight. The language is wrong - it's perjorative, for one thing, but also, how can a cyclist or a pedestrian (soft, squishy and likely to die in considerable pain if struck by a motor vehicle driving at even 20 mph) ever be considered a hazard to a road user encased in crumple-zone enhanced metal, surrounded by air bags and strapped securely into a seat designed to prevent everything from whiplash injury to a broken fingernail?

This is indicative of the mindset that we have to overcome. The motorist has been pampered by successive governments and government agencies to believe that they have some inbuilt superiority on the road.

I regularly talk to non-cyclists who say that it makes no sense for cyclists to share the road with 44-ton artics, becasue "it's dangerous" ... so the solution is clearly in their eyes, to get cyclists off the road where they can be "safe" (the poor little dears ...).

No-one ever comments that actually the concept of a 44-ton artic on the road is completely batty for anyone except the road transport lobby.

The cyclist is a hazard that might cause the driver of one of these bohemoths to do something other than drive in a straight line and so the hazard should be removed & never mind the fact that the hazard wouldn't be a hazard if he or she were treated with the same degree of respect by the driver of the truck as another truck would be.

OK, first rant over - now "discuss" as they say in exam question papers!

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