But I once saw a cyclist go through a red light …

Photo by Markus Spiske freeforcommercialuse.net on Pexels.com

Why do people feel the need to tell me this? It’s not my job to defend cyclists who go through red lights just as it’s not my job to defend motorists who go through red lights. Or motorists who drink and drive. Or motorists who speed. Or motorists who go the wrong way down a one-way street. Or motorists who look at their phones while driving. Or motorists who do not give way to pedestrians on zebra crossings. Or motorists who kill pedestrians, cyclists, and other motorists.

When compared with the harm caused by motorists, the targeting of cyclists in this way is exaggerated. According to Cycling UK, 98.9% of all pedestrian fatalities from 2007-2016 were caused by collisions with motor vehicles. Not a single pedestrian was killed by a cyclist going through a red light. Singling out cyclists is irrational and the only reason I can think of for why people do it, while simultaneously ignoring the far greater harm caused by motorists, is because they are not cyclists themselves. It’s much easier to criticise something we do not do ourselves.

Some 3,287 people die every day in road crashes (involving motor vehicles) and more than half of those are young adults. Globally, car crashes cost us $518 billion. In the US alone, traffic congestion cost £305 billion last year. Pollution from cars is linked to diabetes, climate change, and asthma. The transport sector is the most polluting sector for greenhouse gas emissions in the UK. Why aren’t the same people criticising motorists? Because they are motorists themselves. This Tweet sums it up rather well: