THE HIGHWAY CODE - VICTIM BLAMING
Taking a lead from Donald Trump, the Highway Code has started tweeting! A recent tweet, that cyclists should attire themselves suitably to make their cycling safer, has angered a lot of people, particularly those who use a bicycle other than for liesure. As Sunday cyclists Falmouth Wheelers have the freedom to ride on whatever roads we wish and therefore we choose the quieter lanes around Cornwall – and on a day when there is less traffic. However, the commuter doesn't always have this luxury and there is a limit to the number of detours you can make without adding a huge mileage to your journey. And as cycling becomes more and more the cheaper and healthier option it is clear that we have to make cycling safer on busy roads. No amount of dressing up and donning protective clothing is going to save the lives of cyclists if the motorist and existing cycling infrastructure compromise their safety. We are stuck ( for the present ) with the infrastructure but the motorist can do a lot more – and so can cyclists. It's simply not acceptable to buy a bike for commuting and then launch yourself into busy traffic without first learning a few basic cycling skills. Whatever happened to the cycling proficiency test? In the interest of all road users cyclists should learn some “road craft” first before heading out.
I've been cycling for over 50 years and have ridden through both Paris and Delhi in the 70's and, in the case of India, was challenged by traffic from both directions on roundabouts! Saying that, it was the speed of the traffic in Paris that was the more frightening. The speed of a vehicle and how close it is the important factor and not whether the vulnerable cyclist is wearing a crash helmet. Drivers are mostly distanced from the real world, through which they travel, in a pleasantly warm cocoon, music often playing, drowning the noise of the engine, as they swish in anonimity along the nations highways, oblivious to their speed and without any perception of the danger they're creating for the cyclist, horse rider or walker whose experience of the same journey is entirely different. It is absolutely horrendous to have a car pass too closely and at speed. It's probably worth mentioning too that most of the countrys roads were constructed well before the advent of the private motor vehicle and were for the use of horses, horse drawn carriages, pedestrians and later cycles. They still have the freedom to use these roads for no charge whereas a motor vehicle can't – not without first paying a road tax.
Jeremy Clarkson famously said that it wasn't speed that killed but the skill ( give me patience ) of the driver. He's a moron if he doesn't recognise that speed drastically reduces the time a driver has to respond to a situation, whether that's an unexpected cyclist or a slow moving vehicle, and irrespective of whether it is being driven by Lewis Hamilton, the bafoon of a presenter of a once popular TV programme or Joe Bloggs. In fact the idea that we can express ourselves as individuals by the type of car we drive is unacceptably abhorrent in the crowded world in which we live. Cars like bicycles are a means of getting from A to B. Accidents on roads, whether they involve other vehicles or cyclists, are usually avoidable. It really isn't that difficult.
I've just discovered that you can buy toilet paper on eBay chronicling the moronic twitter feed from Donald Trump. Amusing then satisfying.
www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/j ... met-advice?