Wednesday, 10 December 2008

First they came for the cyclists....

First they came for the cyclists who jumped the red lights, but I was not a red light jumper so I said nothing.

Then they came for the cyclists who rode on the pavements, but I was not a pavement cyclist so I said nothing.

Then they came for the cyclists who used the road instead of the cycle facilities, but I always used the cycle facilities so said nothing.

Then they converted the cycle facilities into bendy-bus routes and I had nowhere to go.

So I went to the cycle campaign group but there was nobody left to speak for me.


Anonymous said...

If you want this blog to be repected as a source of genuine comment about green issues, you will need to do a lot better than this.

You seem to think that cycling is the answer to all our environmental ills, but it clearly isn't. Acknowledge the fact that cyclists are unpopular because of their selfish attitudes and move on.

Happy Christmas!

James Barlow said...

Niemöller parodies never get old.

Anonymous said...

'..Chief Inspector Andy Bennett, who is leading the operation, said: "This is in response to complaints from the public to the police, to Bristol City Council and in the Bristol Evening Post...'

so is Police policy now dictated by the drivel posted online and published in the pages of our local paper?!!!

I urge all level headed cyclists to urgently respond to this in a sensible way by writing and demonstrating to this Police officer and to the council and their MP's - if Bristol City Council has any serious intent about Bristol as a cycling City maybe now is the time for it to come to the defence of the vast majority of cyclists who seem to be fair game for the blinkered and bigoted.

Anonymous said...

Dear Des

as a cyclist I often find myself moving on...past rows and rows of motorists as they sit staring at the exhaust pipe in front of them.
I do it with lights and a helmet and on the road - like the vast majority of us cyclists.
'Selfish' is a word I associate with those who seem happy to pollute our environment with exhaust fumes when there are plenty of other greener, cleaner options available to those who have the ability to see how to use them.

I'll wave to you next time I pass you.

Anonymous said...

Chief Inspector Andy Bennett, of course, is Bristol's blogging bobby, with his own scintillating online presence tacked onto the Avin' It Somewhere Constantly's press office website.

Anonymous said...

Could we really be forced to use cycle lanes rather than the road? That would be too far - I'd go to court for that. I don't ride my bike because its green - I ride because I love it, and its fast. I'd also go to court if I get a ticket for riding on the pavement with my kids. I do crash red lights, wtf, I admit it. I'm probably going to have to wean myself off it. But I hate the fact cars have the upper hand safety-wise on the road. I get really irritated with cyclists who insist on riding slowly up narrow roads and don't pull in for cars to pass. I always pull in for a faster vehicle - why slow a car down just to make a point? And I have a nice car.

Des, this idea that cyclists are somehow unique in their selfishness is utterly absurd. Even when I crash a red light I always ensure it is at no cost to any other person on earth and I would be mortified if a pedestrian felt even slightly threatened. So, yes of course it is selfish - kind of. But what is the cost of a bike to society compared with, er, anything else (apart from walking and sleeping and stuff like that)?

Anonymous said...

I like this bit:

"[Cyclists] details will be recorded on the police anti-social behaviour database"

The police now have a criminal database for people who aren't actually criminals then?

And this is good too:

"John Roy, the city council officer leading the project, said: "Riding through red lights is a big issue."

Quite possibly for anal retentives at the Council House, yes.

Chris Hutt said...

Mike - "Could we really be forced to use cycle lanes rather than the road?"

Yes, quite easily. The Government tried to slip it into the Highway Code a while back but the CTC managed to get it watered down a bit, but that one will have to be watched very carefully.

If cycling continues to grow in popularity the pressure from motorists to get cyclists off the road and out of their way will become stronger. We could be forced onto sub-standard facilities (basically pavements) where we'll be put into conflict with pedestrians.

WestfieldWanderer said...

The day cyclists are forced to use cycling "farcilities" which don't take me where I want to go will be the day that I give up cycling and go back to the car and help to add to all the congestion and pollution and all the rest of the crap.

God! I hate the stupid country and its even more stupid ruling clique.

Time to leave.

Anonymous said...

I don't think RLJing is excusable unless the red light has failed (I know three in WsM which don't detect cyclists). However, RLJ clampdowns should be on all traffic, not primarily cyclists (who usually do the least harm if they RLJ).

Most pavement cyclists are swines who should be fined, along with pavement car-parkers and cycle lane blockers.

The freedom to use the road should be defended and I've been happy to help do so.

Chris Hutt said...

If road traffic laws were being enforced in an even handed way I wouldn't have grounds to complain, but this is specifically targeted at cyclists.

Even singling out the offenses most likely to be committed by cyclists, like discretionary red light 'jumping', is discriminatory. There is no evidence that it is any more dangerous than say pavement parking, but there is no question of the police enforcing that. In fact they are conspicuous as offenders.

In terms of what is really dangerous, the police themselves have an alarmingly high involvement in traffic collisions. This can't really be excused just because they often have to attend emergency situations.

Beyond that we know that speed is the most significant factor in determining the severity of collisions, yet the police cannot even bring themselves to enforce the 30 mph limit.

So if road safety were really the focus we would be putting police officers on the anti-social behaviour database.

Anonymous said...

I thought we all had a right to use the king's highway, however we and our children and animals choose to go along it. That is one of the many differences between us and the continent. The motor car has come along very recently, and it is still illegal for it to be left obstructing the king's highway. Police used to enforce this law. Now they don't even observe it themselves. Ditto for the pavements, which they and other motorists are fast coming to think they also have a right to use exclusively for driving on and parking on. The real battle they face there is not with pedestrians and bicyclists who can be easily bullied out of the way, but the many dustbins which are kept on the pavement full-time. (These should of course be kept out of sight as they are in our two neigbouring cities, Bath and Cardiff but if they must be kept in the street, then the obvious place is in the gutter, right outside the owner's own front door, not other people's - but that would upset the motorists wouldn't it?)

Anonymous said...

Personally if a cyclist jumps red lights they deserve to be kicked off their bikes whilst riding at a high speed. Not exactly a defendable crime. Also Des is right, lots of cyclists are selfish. A lot more selfish than most car users I know. Anyone who thinks riding a bike makes them a better human being (which lots do, mostly the ones I have met in Bristol) should join my sponsored 'Ride of the Severn Bridge for Charity' event! I won't be taking part but I'm dedicating my time for the idiots.

I'm off to burn some more of those Tesco bags I took today. Toodle pip.

Chris Hutt said...

Thank you for your comment Easy E.

It illustrates very well the kind of vindictive attitudes that cyclists are confronted with, often in the form of physical attacks of the sort you encourage.

But of course such malevolence is of little interest to the police who prefer to harass decent people going about their business because they choose to do so on bicycles.

Unknown said...

This is degenerating into a really nasty competition. While there are faults among cyclists, and RLJing has to be taken on as a traffic violation, regardless of any mitigation claimed by offenders, the sheer venom expressed by car drivers is breath taking. The police targetting of cyclists is a response to drivers complaining about cyclists doing obviously irregular things - they've got this response because they've used the proper channels. Cyclists really need to catch up and start making a concerted effort to show up to these meetings. Just endlessly blogging and taking pictures doesn't do it.

Chris Hutt said...

What is so distressing about it all is that the police purge on cyclists was part of the Cycling City project. It was actually mentioned in the Cycling City bid submitted by Bristol and so presumably had approval from Cycling England.

Cyclists were expecting Cycling City to lead to improvements for their benefit, not some spiteful anti-cycling offensive designed to curry favour with the anti-cycling brigade.

Anonymous said...


Stop taking you bike so seriously, stop comparing yourself to politcal and ethnic oppression/the holocaust and maybe someone other than twelve people will take you seriously. Vindictive attitudes to cyclists? When you spout this self-pitying rubbish do you expect anyone with half a brain to respond without the mocking you deserve?

I'm not anti-cyclying. I'd cycle if I owned a pair of trousers. My boyfriend's mum cycles everywhere (nuff respect for her) only differece is she does it because she has to (she can't afford her car) and because she wants to. She just cycles, doesn't jump red lights and doesn't talk as if she's on this massive moral crusade.

Chris Hutt said...

Easy E, perhaps i can remind you of what YOU said yesterday - "... they (cyclists) deserve to be kicked off their bikes whilst riding at a high speed". And now you deny that you have a vindictive attitude to cyclists.

Such hypocrisy is typical of motorists, who assume that they can drive at 30 mph or more where such speeds are prohibited and who assume that they can obstruct the highway by parking pretty much wherever they please, yet scream blue murder if a cyclists commits some minor infringement.

Anonymous said...

Typical of motorists? I'm not a motorist. I've never owned/driven a car in my life. Neither have my parents, well not for the past fourteen years at least. I've only ever sat in the driving seat of a car once (the engine off, I pretended I was mowing down cyclists!)

Seriously. The kicking them off was a fucking joke. No one would actually seriously advocate that. I advocate punishment. I told you I was mocking you. I also don't sit around burning plastic bags. This is the internet- anyone who takes everything on the internet really seriously needs to get on their bike (ho ho) and clock on.

I don't like ANYONE who fucks about on the roads. I've screamed at cars before. The idiots who turn corners not thinking they have to put their indicators on, or the arrogant fools who don't think alcohol will impair their, probably already weak driving skills. A few months ago in Angel (Islington) I watched someone fly round the corner, through a red light at the busiest road crossing in all of London from my years of experience and nearly crash into a whole bunch of people. :| I watched him drive off willing him into a river. You talk as if there should be one rule for motorists, who are bad, and one for cyclists, who are fantastic. The thing is, if you're going to use a road there should be one rule for everyone. You also are probably nuts if you actually believe all this stuff you say about cyclists being oppressed victims. The only people who think that are the ones who turn their cycling into a big political deal. Most cyclists just cycle and get on with it- if there needs to be changes made they do it in a practical way, not an alienating, obnoxious whining way.

So yeah, I do have a vindictiv attitude towards cyclists who CYCLE DANGEROUSLY. I have a vindictive attitude to anyone who uses a road dangerously. I hate motorists who do it more as they cause more damage but cyclists can also cause damage so they mustn't be allowed to get off. You said it yourself when you quoted me! If you are unable to discern that from what I said I suggest you go back to school. If you need to use comments like that to justify your oppression, you've failed.

Anonymous said...

No Chris, Easy E didn’t just say that “cyclists deserve to be kicked off…”, she said “if a cyclist jumps red lights they deserve to be kicked off…” note that there was a reason given.

For myself, I don’t drive, and don’t own a car… I don’t want to own one either. My patience with cyclist has been getting shorter and shorter over the years. This began when my dog was run over by a cyclist… whilst on a lead… walking with me across the grass… in a park… where there isn’t supposed to be cycling anyway… and the little shit had the temerity to be angry because I was in his way?!?!

I have also had arguments with cyclists who claim that they have a right to cycle at full speed on pavements, charge through red lights, and generally terrorize pedestrians because, and I quote, “we’ve got to show the car drivers that we’re as fast as they are” and “yeah, but all these rules just break my momentum”.

The truth is that there are some bloody inconsiderate cyclists out there. What puzzles me is that some law abiding cyclists, who do not treat us pedestrians with utter contempt, feel that it is in any way reasonable to defend those who do.

Anonymous said...

SueD's right, this all unnecessarily confrontational. Have to agree with a lot of what Eazy E says as well. This victimology won't help cyclists any. Quite the reverse.

Face the facts: there are a whole lot of ignorant, rude, selfish, inconsiderate bastards out there who need to learn respect for others.

Defending ignorant, rude, selfish, inconsiderate bastards because they happen to be on bicycles will only stir up more anger against cyclists.

Anonymous said...

Dona Quixota it isn't a question of defending lawless or inconsiderate behaviour, but of starting with the most serious nuisances first: so when the pavements have been rid of cars, vans, lorries, police cars, and dustbins, then by all means tackle the bill boards, and then the rather narrower and less permanently fixed bicyclists, (having first ensured there is somewhere safe for them to bicycle along instead), and, finally, proceed to prosecuting the flyposters.

Chris Hutt said...

Easy E, you say "The kicking them off was a f....g joke. No one would actually seriously advocate that."

People often advocate such things (check the comments in the on-line Evening Post) and people often do such things. Most cyclists that I know have been attacked at least once in recent years, especially women or anyone who looks vulnerable. So if your comment is a 'joke' it's a sick one.

You also say "You talk as if there should be one rule for motorists, who are bad, and one for cyclists, who are fantastic."

That's not what I am saying at all. In fact it's the discrimination evident from the current purge against cyclists that I find so objectionable.

If the police want to target dangerous behaviour on the roads, that's fine but it has to apply to all road users, not just cyclists. And it has to be based on an objective assessment of what is really dangerous.

If the police want to target those who commit traffic offenses of all types, whether demonstrably dangerous or not, then good luck to them, but it isn't acceptable to single out cyclists just because they're a minority group.

All vehicular road users commit offenses on a routine basis so the police would have their time cut out. Of course it's not going to happen and some of us are going to make sure it doesn't just happen to cyclists.