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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

15th August - Make it easy on yourself

I'm now on public transport and Shank's pony. And to be honest, cost aside, I'm actually quite happy with it. I have lost a lot of time, but I have been able to read a few books, the morning Metro, and most of my Sunday paper, while 'the train takes the strain.

As a driver, I used to get frustrated by cyclists. As a passenger and pedestrian, I also get frustrated by cyclists.
When I took my cycling proficiency test on my Raleigh Shopper, (great for carrying stuff like sports kit etc.- crap for peddling up hills with the 12 inch wheels, and only 3 gears), I am sure that the Highway Code said that cyclists had to ride one a breast on narrow or busy roads, so the red Austin car in the picture wouldn't ditch us. We were not to ride on the pavements, which was an offence, and dangerous to pedestrians with or without Zimmers, and every other law/rule in the book was equally applicable to cyclists as 'other road users.' I make a point of saying this as perhaps someone could let me know when all this changed as I was out of the country or asleep.

So when I was a passenger in G's car today, waiting at the lights, a cyclist went over a red light at full tilt, talking on his mobile. It was OK though he had a fluorescent jacket on, so any traffic in the opposite direction would have seen him - not. He then carried on his phone to the next junction, a Give Way, where he didn't, and joined a busy A road at rush hour, without looking.

In walking from the train station into town, I stepped to one side to allow a mum to carry on walking with her child, and a cyclist cut me up from behind. No bell, or horn. Obviously don't need them any more either.

And why do they only wear black at night? Obviously with no lights, as well, as they are no longer needed, as headlights on cars are so much stronger than when we kids.

My other moan is the Sunday morning Lycra wearers. What is in Lycra that protects a cyclist? Does it stop broken bones or just make your breakfast re visit your mouth with the grossness of it all. Obviously designed to reduce drag, I would have thought for some of the cyclists I see, losing 2 stone would have more effect. So we all have to put up with the crime against style and taste on the roads. We don't just get one Lycra clad cyclist though, they hunt in packs. I believe its called time trails or something. Therefore,they have to ride three abreast, as the Highway Code doesn't apply on Time Trial Sundays. A driver approaching and over-taking usually gets a series of hand signals, suggesting that their appendage is stuck to their head, there are two of something and a wave at the end of it.

Of course to encourage us all to use cycles, the Government has put red tarmac down, narrowing roads, or pavements for cyclists to use. These are called cycle paths for cyclists only. Only they don't use them, preferring the pavement or road as it is flatter, faster, straighter. Spotting a cyclist on one of these roads, is less likely than Torres scoring a goal for Chelsea.

There used to be a trike rider on the A38. ( Not the cycle lane that ran parallel to it.) My heart used to go in my mouth when I saw him on it - your car wobbles if an artic passes you so it must be like a gale on a bike or trike. He still went on it though - cycles were allowed. It says so in the Highway Code - a rule that cyclists liked. It enabled him to rack up the miles easily, to ride towards his goal of a million miles rode on a bike. His last 100,000 will be around heaven. Meanwhile the driver who made the mistake if there was one, is going to be prosecuted.

Cyclists, cars weigh a ton plus, lorries are 40 tonners - your stupidity, ignorance and refusal to obey rules mean that you may cause drivers to have to live with your death for the rest of their lives. There are no excuses, you may have every right to be on the road, but not the pavement, but that doesn't stop you does it? You choose the rules to obey to benefit yourselves only.

And then there's the train. A cyclist told me to move the other day, as I was sitting by the bike rack, and he was entitled to put his bike there (Seat ticket price= £14, Bike = £1). Every other cyclist leans their bikes on the other side of the carriage, to maximise seats. Not Lance Armstrong though. He wanted to use the rack. And when getting off the train, cyclists are desperate to hit the tarmac, so they cut you up on the stairs, ticket queues and platforms.

You may well be 'saving' the planet, but that doesn't mean that you are holier than thou, and can treat the rest of us with contempt. Passengers, pedestrians, and drivers can't all be wrong can we?

Make it easy on yourself - Walker Brothers - because its not for everyone else. Hope you get a puncture and have to push your bike home in the rain.

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