There was an occasion I thought back to on my commute to work this morning. On an internet forum I frequent, a regular poster was using the fact they were a ‘regular’ and ‘Ive been here for ages and done x, y and z’ to bully other people. I don’t use the word lightly, but it was bullying. When confronted about this behaviour they felt backed into a corner I presume and went on the attack. They claimed that it was them who was the victim of bullying. That people pointing out the behaviour was unacceptable was tantamount to victimisation.
It reminded me of a surly teenager. So wrapped up in their own thoughts, selfishness and egocentric world, that they had lost sight of other peoples feeling. Lost their ability to empathise with others.
It occurred to me this morning on my commute that maybe we as cyclists have been drawn into this victim mentality way of thinking.
I passed a lady on a horse. I slowed and gave her a gentle shout to warn her of my approach from behind, so she could manoeuvre the horse so that it would not be startled. She thanked me profusely and said that nobody ever really thinks like that and we spoke briefly of the dangers of silent fast moving cyclists coming up behind horses.
I also came across another gentleman, completely removed from his surroundings, bombing along listening to his ipod. He seemed to be in a terrible hurry and oblivious to other users of the path. Sadly it reminded me of the quote from The Thick of It “Not even cyclists like cyclists”. Which in turn led to a chuckle.
So the chain of thought continued. It prompted me to think back to a tweet recently from @Cyclemanchester who had said, “Safer roads for cyclists? We can help by not running red lights and obeying the rules of the road #cycling”
I couldn’t agree more. I have been nearly run over on a few occasions on a local crossing while out pushing the buggy, by cyclists who feel they are above stopping for red lights like the rest of us.
I agree sometimes it might be safer to run a red light, in your head. But all lit will do is annoy the cars behind you and put other cyclists in danger. It is a selfish act (and obviously an illegal one).
A small, but I think maybe growing number of cyclists are turning into surly teenagers. “people treat me like shit so two fingers up at the rest of the world” Really, what is needed is to grow up. Behave like you wish others to treat you. Give way once in a while, stop at red lights, slow down (like the prick on Strava thinks its funny to charge along a canal towpath which is a Sustrans safe routes to school at 22mph) and then maybe, just maybe, we will all be treated better by everyone else.
Another thing occurred to me. You can tell the sun was shining and I wasn’t in a hurry. The Trans Pennine Trail was full of people cycling this morning. The sun was out and the school holidays have started for a lot of schools. I thought about each of these people and the fact they were ‘one less car’ as the saying goes. When I dropped O off at breakfast club there was a huge lack of traffic. Hardly any at all in fact. So the school run children not being in cars, coupled with people maybe walking or cycling due to the weather, had resulted in a wonderfully flowing, uncongested main arterial road. Why is it then, that motorists aren’t banging the drum at the very forefront of cycle campaigning? I don’t think it has really occurred to most of them, that this utopia could be their usual morning commute to work, if only the five other cars around them could be encouraged to get on a bike. Just think how much faster ad stress free you could get to your office. If I were a motorist (hag on a minute, I am) I would be out there asking my MP to get some of these motorists of the bloody road and out of my way, so I could get to work! Come on motorists, switch on……it will be beneficial for us all in the long run!