Blame the victim, as usual

Far too many cyclists are killed injured oin the roads every year.  Some cyclists listen to music whilst riding.  Therefore the Daily Mail has confused correlation with causation and decided that it’s all the cyclists’ faults for listening to their iPods.  Just another piece of shoddy, prejudice enhancing non-journalism designed to let car drivers believe they have no responsibility for the safety of others.

The case against car culture

The Cycling Lawyer does a thorough critique of the judicial system’s bias against cyclists and in favour of drivers.

My safety is more important than your pride

Every time a newspaper runs a story related to cycling safety their comment threads, and no doubt letters pages, fill up with predictable, offensive and just plain wrong bile. Consider two different stories, both of which I found on the Daily Mail website. One story concerns the top ten annoying behaviours by drivers, as voted on by other drivers. Never mind that many of these “annoyances” are illegal and most are very dangerous, not one Mail reader had anything to say about the piece. By the time I found it comments had been closed, empty. Meanwhile, over in the seeing red corner, there was a shameful and shoddy article about a drop in the number of cyclists being punished for running red lights.
Wilfully and gleefully ignoring reality and logic- that the Police should be, and no doubt are, concentrating on reducing the damage done by the biggest killers on the road- the author peppers the piece with incitement to prejudice. Whilst the numbers used may be genuine, their juxtaposition is designed to suggest conclusions that are completely false. The piece immediately attracted the usual ill informed nonsense. I was glad to see, when I last looked, that there were a number of intelligent pro bike comments dismantling the author’s and ranters’ weak arguments.
I’d be interested in finding out what makes the seething would be anti cyclist vigilantes tick. Why do they feel the need to blame the victims and ignore the real dangers on the roads? Whilst we cyclists aren’t entirely blameless, we’re a thousand times less dangerous than drivers.
As I gear up to start posting here regularly again after a very long summer break I think I’ll lay down some rules for anyone who wants to comment. If you must trot out the usual tripe you’ll get one chance to accept that this is a blog about cycling, then I’ll ignore you or even delete you when you get repetitious. Should you want to stay safe in your prejudice then you can pop on over to the Daily Mail. I doubt you’ll be missed.
In case you don’t get why I’m not interested in your attempts to convince me that my tourer and I are the most dangerous thing on the roads here, for drivers, are a few of the reasons you’re wrong-
Even the best of you is far more dangerous than I’ll ever be. You’re driving around in a big metal box, cocooned in all sorts of safety devices. If you don’t get how much more dangerous your car is just try a simple comparative test. Lay your hand on a flat surface and, from about a foot, drop a pencil on it. That was a bike. Now repeat the experiment with a house brick.
Many of the things that make you safer endanger cyclists and pedestrians. For instance, the A pillars of modern cars have been getting ever fatter and stronger. Which is great if you roll over, but the rest of time creates a blind spot you can lose a bike in.
Some of you don’t look out for us. Every time I’m approaching a side road and see a car about to pull out I assume the driver hasn’t seen me or properly estimated my speed. So I get ready to pull on my brakes.
Some of you break the law. You use your phone whilst driving, break the speed limit, run red lights, drive or park in the cycle lane and much more.
Some of you are ignorant, selfish, dangerous idiots. Just last night the driver of a Mercedes Kompensatorwagen pulled out of a side road right in front of me. Managing to stop just short of hitting him- because I’d been applying my junction rule- I slapped the driver’s window and shouted something about looking where he was going. He then chased me down the road a short way and the passenger started shouting something incoherent that implied that even though it was my right of way I had to give way to the car coming out of the side road. I doubt he’d have used this line of argument on another driver. I gave up trying to explain how wrong he was, told him to read the Highway Code and cycled off, leaving him ranting in a queue of traffic.
I enjoy cycling. It’s even fun in the rain. And for my commute I’d much rather be on a bike than trapped in a box burning money and going nowhere. So I want to carry on being able to enjoy cycling. One of the ways to do this is to make drivers more aware of their responsibilities and force them to be less dangerous. Another is to ignore those of you who effectively argue for the rights of drivers to be more dangerous and imply that the risk they expose me to is somehow my own fault.

Brompton love

The Guardian has a piece today about the success and growth of the Brompton bike company and their lovely little bikes. Just after reading the article I popped out of the coffee shop to see someone riding one.
Bromptons are built in a factory in London by a skilled and very experienced workforce, refusing to take the easy money and outsource to Taiwan because it would be a bad long term plan.
I’m not really a small wheeled bike rider, though I thought the same about single speeds before I tried one for a week. Though if I was ever going to get one I think I’d take the technology and design fetishism all the way and have a Moulton, another work of British design genius.

Where’s the modern Amber Gambler advert?

Does anyone else remebre this? Or are you all too young-

Where’s the modern Amber Gambler advert? Because we need it more than ever. At almost every junction where I see the lights change I also see people speeding up on amber to get through and on red I see them creeping forward ready to sprint off. It’s a wonder I’ve seen so few collisions.
(And yes, this applies to cyclists as well. Though I can’t help thinking that if they saw the folks in big metal boxes behaving more responsibly fewer cyclists would be in such a hurry to get safely away from them.)

Gloriously eccentric bike stuff

Joules the robotic stoker, via Wired UK

Forkless chopper. Also via Wired UK. See more of the builder’s work on his website.

Two way street (for cyclists)

A trial in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea will allow cyclists to ride both ways down one way streets. The intention is to allow them to use the streets to shorten routes and busier and more dangerous roads.
It sounds like a good idea, providing it’s well signposted. Otherwise uninformed drivers are just going to use it as another excuse to complain about cyclists.

A clock for a cyclist

The first of the chainring clocks is nearly finished
In recent months I’ve dismantled a few bikes. The process has left me with some spares too worn to reuse on a cycle but too nice to just throw away. So I’m starting to make decorative items from them.
I have several chainrings, from road and mountain bikes, which are going to be used in clocks. The first one, above, is available to buy from here.

Prejudicial reporting

I posted the following in response to a comment I received on an old post. I feel it should be promoted to a post in itself. I need to hone this argument and see if I can get it into the MEN proper.

If you read back through the archives you’ll find my opinions on red light behaviour and pavement riding. But you don’t seem to understand why this sort of reporting makes me angry, and why it should make you angry too.
This is prejudicial reporting. Just about all the coverage of cyclists’ misdemeanours in the press is disproportionate. Motor vehicles kill a thousand times more people than cyclists but those deaths get little or no media coverage. But those deaths are acceptable somehow. I bet on your commute you also see cars speeding up on amber, running red lights, turning without signalling, driving too close etc. But you don’t comment on that, no-one ever does. Because that’s just the way it is. That shouldn’t be the way it is. Papers like the Metro and the Daily Mail should be screaming blue murder about the amber gamblers rather than stirring up prejudice against a group that’s more likely to be damaged than to cause damage.
Cyclists should folow the rules of the road, but it’s not the misbehaviour of a few that’s the reason people hate us. It’s because that misbehaviour is over emphasised by the media whilst the true dangers on the road are de-emphasised.

FAIYATORIKKUBOBU

No, that’s not what I yell every time a driver cuts me up. The Faiyatorikkubobu is a jet propelled bike. With worryingly small wheels. If I was going to light up something like that I’d want the ride it was attached to to be a bit more stable.