Evil cyclists

An article appeared in the Guardian on boxing day which I somehow missed and just read this morning. The author recounts a recent event where she was crossing the road on foot when a cyclist mowed her down, knocking her to the ground. The cyclist didn’t stop while motorists in cars who were stopped got out of their cars to help her up. Obviously the cyclist is very much in the wrong here. It’s not cool to mow down pedestrians on a bike and very uncool not to stop and make sure they’re alright if you do. So I’m not going to make any excuses for this particular cyclist.

However I do intend to criticise the Guardian article which I think is very poor. It concludes that cyclists are unpredictable and don’t obey the traffic rules while cars are predictable and do obey the rules; cyclists are dangerous to pedestrians while cars are safe. However this is not what the data shows. According to the CTC (references are at the end of the article and are from government statistics) “98% of pedestrians who are killed or seriously injured in urban areas were the result of a collision with a motor vehicle“. Bicycles account for less than 1% of fatalities. Motor vehicles are even more of a risk to pedestrians when they’re on the pavement than are cyclists with an average of 34 pedestrians killed each year on the pavement by cars and only 3 by cyclists over a 5-year period.

I don’t really understand the illogical hatred of cyclists that people, like the one behind the Guardian article, have. If they fear for their life then it makes much more sense to fear cars since they present a much greater threat. Maybe they’re just jealous of our great legs 🙂

I personally have had, on the whole, a great experience cycling around Aberdeen with both pedestrians and motorists treating me well. When I cycle on the pavement I’m mindful of pedestrians and by and large they will let me pass and usually smile at me. When I’m on the road the majority of cars will not overtake if there’s insufficient space and when there is they’ll give me a wide clearance. Thank you, Aberdonians!

6 Comments

    1. It’s natural to remember the close and unpleasant encounters more readily and is probably something we’ve evolved to do so as to learn to avoid unsafe situations.

  1. Last night my path crossed with a pedestrian and another bicycle. No problem, just a squeeze of the brakes and a lot of very British “sorry”, “sorry”, “terribly sorry” and we managed to find a way. It’s much easier to be polite on a bicycle.

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