21 October 2015

Cyclists

See "Golden Ten" Rule 9
Required new helmet design
for all cyclists.
Out on the roads, there's a new breed of cyclist. Their bicycles are hi-tech and their apparel has a space age character - cycling glasses that hug the face, fluorescent jerkins and lycra leggings, aerodynamic helmets - sometimes adorned with mini-cameras or flashing lights, headphones attached to smart phones.. But what is most alarming about many (not all) who belong to this strange new breed is their attitude. They seem to be of the opinion that the roads, and the pavements for that matter, belong to them and that all drivers of motor vehicles are dangerous idiots.

Yesterday in south London, an angry member of this alien two wheel  tribe smashed a car window with his bicycle lock, sending shattered glass over a baby who was asleep in the back of the car. It was apparently an act of road rage. The cyclist seems to have been of the opinion that cars should automatically give way to him when he is undertaking on the inside. Read about it here if you are interested.

In my mind I have a clear image of a fellow called Joe Grubham who lived in my village when I was a lad. He was the local road sweeper but often you would see him out and about on his sturdy old bicycle. It was built to last. When Joe was riding it he wore bicycle clips on the bottoms of his suit trousers to prevent them from catching in the chain or becoming oily. On his head he wore his flat cap and there'd frequently be a lit pipe in his mouth. If he saw me - or anybody else, he'd say "Morning!" or "Grand day!" before pedalling off on his merry way. How different today's new breed of cyclist seems.
I have drawn up a list of ten proposed rules for today's cyclists in order to bring back the civilised cycling friendliness that was once represented by people like Mr Grubham. Let's call them the "Golden Ten":-
1. Cycling on pavements is strictly forbidden.
2. Cyclists should keep to the side of the road, never straying more than one metre from the kerb unless turning right (left in USA, Canada and the rest of Europe). In addition, if turning right, a clear hand signal is required well in advance of the turn.
3. Cyclists are not allowed to jump traffic lights or pedestrian crossings. If the light says stop you must stop just like the driver of a motor vehicle.
4. If cycling at night, cyclists must have lights on their bicycles - both back and front.
5. Cyclists are only allowed to ride side by side when on very quiet country lanes. Otherwise, they must ride in single file.
6. If the driver of a motor vehicle uses his or her horn it is simply to warn a cyclist to get out of the way for safety reasons. The use of said horn must not be seen as a provocation or responded to in that manner.
7. In busy traffic it is illegal for cyclists to lean on, punch or even touch motor vehicles.
8. The wearing of lycra shorts and leggings is prohibited forthwith. Cyclists must observe a decent dress code. For men this will be known as "The Joe Grubham Code" and for women "The Nora Batty Code".
9. Though cycling helmets are sensible, current helmet fashions are not and cyclists will be required from now on to wear old-fashioned rounded helmets with peaks. (see photo above)
10.  Road taxes are paid by the drivers of motor vehicles and similar road taxes must now be paid by cyclists. The cheaper the bicycle, the lower the road tax. Owners of ludicrously expensive bikes must pay the  maximum road tax - presently £505 a year but if the bike you ride is like Joe Grubham's you will pay nothing.

Finally, a friendly message to cyclists:-

Hi there! We are all people out there on the roads and we should 
try to get along - drivers and cyclists alike. If cyclists 
follow the "golden ten" rules, everything should be tickety boo!
Have a nice day!
By order
A. Driver
(Ombudsman for Cycling Correction) 

32 comments:

  1. We drove over to Alfreton on sunday to pick mary up....scores of cycles we past
    And 90 % hogged the road, caused major problems on country roads as they rode two a breast

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    1. So you can see where I am coming from with this sarky post!
      Oh, and I am glad to learn that Mary is a Derbyshire lass.

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  2. I hear you Yorkie. Australia has strict bike rules too. I had the same experience recently of a group of riders on a busy road and car were unable to get past them . I feel that this was intentional. As for forbidding the wearing of Lycra, I second that ...

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    1. Yeah...but I bet you look good in lycra Leishy!

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  3. Far too many of them are poseurs...self-centred characters who believe they are far above us lowly others. Well, they can stick to their lycra, as I'm sure they do when they're all hot and sweaty from posing...oops...I mean...cycling!

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    1. From this response, may I deduce that you do not possess a lycra cycling outfit of your own Lee?

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    2. No...nor a bicycle, either! lol

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    3. Drat! My fantasy image of you has just evaporated.

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  4. There's got to be a middle in this debate. Some of the avid cyclists are a bit over the moon. Some motorists don't give cyclists their space. So the fight is on.

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    1. If you sit on the fence too long Red, your bottom will get very sore!

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    2. Not as sore as sitting on a cycle seat or going for a shower at Eton.

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    3. Are you speaking from personal experience Adrian? I bet Cameron was your fag.

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  5. Welllll.......this post is thought provoking for someone who lives in Colorado where a bike is more common (especially on weekend) than a car. I do not ride a bike. If I was not taking medication for my chronic pain syndrome, I still would not be a good bike rider. I would still be wobbley, gobbley on a bike. But.......I respect those who ride who also are aware of where they are and the rules of the road that also apply to them. Those who ride away from the sun when the drivers on a two lane road with a cliff on one side and a creek on the other while the driver of a car has the sun of Colorado in his eyes.....well, those people are just nuts! We do have to respect each other. And, respect the rights of each other on the road. Now, you understand that is from someone who lives in the mountains and on mountain roads!

    Don't know what the cities hold for drivers of cars or riders of bikes. I bet it is very different.

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    1. I detect a morsel of sympathy for cyclists in this response Mama Thyme! Maybe the wide open roads of rural America allow cyclists to blend into the landscape but in crowded England with many narrow roads they are as much of a menace as Islamic State fanatics.

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  6. Damn cyclists are a problem here too. Seems their annoying habits are universal !

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    1. It is always sensible to have a box of drawing pins (thumb tacks) in one's car. Cyclists tend to dislike riding over them after you have tossed a handful from your car window.

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  7. I am sure cyclists have already come up with their "Golden Ten" for drivers... And, let's face it, although (as you say at the start of your post) not ALL drivers of motor vehicles are dangerous idiots, quite a lot of them are... I observe so much stupidity on the roads from both drivers and cyclists every time I am out, walking to the station or going into town for something, I am actually amazed that there aren't many more deaths and injuries.
    Nearly all of your "Golden Ten" are rules that I was taught as a kid when I learned to cycle, rules that are still in place in Germany but rarely observed. Same goes for drivers - there is a reason why they are not supposed to go faster on certain roads, have to give way on certain crossings ore are not allowed to park in certain places.
    I did love to go on bike rides with Steve, but road traffic increased so much here, and the general attitude of drivers and cyclists (and pedestrians, but that is another story) has become so inconsiderate, "me first" and "me only". I have given away both our bikes years ago and don't miss them one bit.

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    1. You should be a diplomat Meike! So balanced in your thinking!...Oh I forgot - you already are a diplomat - The Yorkshire Ambassador in Baden-W├╝rttemberg. Please inform the German cycling fraternity that they are hitherto banned from indulging in their two wheeled activity in Yorkshire. Try Belgium instead.
      Have a nice day at the embassy today. Come on - grab your coat and bag - time to go!

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  8. Yes, here in Sicily we are also having an invasion of cyclists, the problem is that there are roads especially for bicycles so they even come on the sidewalk, which is at times unnerving. Your name reminds me of our years in Bangladesh where I met a British lady, we became friends and she taught me how to make Yorkshire Pudding...that was the first time I ever heard of it!

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    1. Hello Saucy! You are the first Sicilian visitor to this blog. Thank you for dropping by. Didn't the British lady teach you how to make out with Yorkshire Pudding? (My last remark was saucy!)

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  9. It seems that all people riding bikes around here are just like you describe. I hate their tight little shorts and smug attitudes. The last time I went shopping for a bike I had to endure one of these oh-so-hip enthusiasts trying to sell me thousands of dollars worth of gear. I hadn't realized that riding a bike for some fresh air and exercise had become such an expensive, ridiculous undertaking. So I left (without a bike, or anything else).

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    1. Try walking Jennifer. Much cheaper than riding bikes. Mind you - I realise that in America many people are members of The Automobile Religion and have forgotten what their legs are for.

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  10. I think Red is right -- the truth is in the middle. Some people from each group are a problem. I hate it as a pedestrian when I have to dodge a bicyclist on the pavements -- and it happens more than you might think! But I also hate to see car drivers be careless about and even provoke cyclists. (My brother is an avid bicyclist in the states so I hear that side of things quite often.)

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    1. Like Red you should consider a new career in diplomacy Steve. There must be openings at Grosvenor Square. Or maybe you and Red could start up a new fencing company.

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  11. As a cyclist and a motorist (although I rarely cycle on roads these days because many motorists are just too inconsiderate) I would second Meike's comment. The problem with people who 'take a stance' is that they start wars. And you know my views on that topic!

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    1. I used to have to "take a stance" in the boxing ring at school before pummelling my opponents to the canvas. Sport is certainly character building.

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  12. My attitude about helmets, for cyclists or people who ride horses, is that if you aren't wearing one you'll be more careful about what you're doing. Wear a cap or a cowboy hat.

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    1. I always wear a cowboy hat when I go to bed Jan.

      By the way my blogging friend Peace Thyme is currently staying at her California home in Lincoln near Sacramento. I suggested she should call in to have a few vodkas with you.

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  13. As a trouser-clip and sometimes rain-hat wearing cyclist, I'll have to take this somewhat seriously and chip in. Basically it's all down to respect, common sense, and following the rules on all sides. Rules about traffic lights, pavements etc are pretty clear and I hate cyclists (and drivers) who ignore them. Don't know in England but cycling two abreast is legal over here, though I would never do it - for my own sake! Helmets - I wear one, when I'm not wearing my rain hat, but there are studies which back up what I think Jan's saying: there are fewer accidents when people don't wear helmets. It's proven that car drivers give cyclists a wider berth if they see they are more vulnerable.
    I will agree with you on lyrcra of course.
    I would also add a rule - get a bell put on your bike.
    As forn "road tax", most cyclists drive and pay too, and anyway, "road tax" was abolished in 1937 as you may remember :)
    http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-23694438

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    1. i agree with you about bells on bikes Brian. Much better than seeing bell ends on bikes!

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  14. living in rural lincolnshire we get hoards of sport cyclists , they are a nightmare , our roads arent that great and being fen they tend to collapse into big dips and cracks theres been quite a few deaths , either from cyclists who have there heads down and dont spot the cracks so over the handlebars they go , cycle helmets are great but not a lot of use when the vehicle travelling behind gets you . Theres also the real idiots who ride with cleats on their feet so cant stop at junctions, or should i say wont stop at junctions

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  15. I miss riding my bike and even miss the rules. The last place I rode regularly was Seattle, WA, where people are generally polite -- at least on the surface -- and cyclists are supported because every cyclist means one fewer psychopath driver taking up precious space on the crowded freeways. Here in Costa Rica, I'd no sooner mount a bicycle than a raging bull. In fact, I'd wager the bull would give you better odds of survival.

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