October 24, 2007

Cycling in London, it sometimes feels like the mass of moving bodies – human or vehicular – in town have their own sort of biorhythms. Indeed, I’m sure traffic specialists would have a term for the varying ebbs and flows of urban movement. Anyway, today just felt especially ridiculous, a real Stupid-day. Particularly on the part of pedestrians.

Now,  I mostly divide my time between being a pedestrian, a bus/train/tube passenger and a cyclist, but when I’m a cyclist, I’m increasingly feeling that the worst liabilities in the urban ebb and flow aren’t necessarily the cars, or armoured personal carriers (aka Chelsea tractors, aka SUVs, aka 4x4s), or white van, or buses, or other cyclists (especially the testosterone males who treat everything as a race) but the foot folks. If I’m being totally rational, of course, everyone is as casually, lazily problematic as everyone else – human nature is consistent whether you’re on a bike or you’re the eco-ethics scum of the earth in your status symbol Range Rover – but today I’ve not arrived home feeling entirely rational.

Pedestrians just don’t seem to see cyclists, or if they do see them, their minds don’t register. Look, if you want to cross the road, at least use a crossing. Some of us cyclists do actually stop for crossings! What gets me is when a pedestrian apparently looks at me – 6ft 3, in lumo yellow top, on a big purple bike – then steps out in front of me. This could cause a number of problems: firstly, me and my bike combined are the best part of 100kg of metal, flesh and bone. If I can’t brake in time, it’ll hurt. Secondly, if you step out in front of me, and if I do brake, I then have to get my revs up again through muscle power, you silly arse. I can’t just put my foot on the accelerator. Thirdly, and potentially most worryingly, if I have to react quickly, and swing out to avoid you without having had time to look behind, I’m suddenly further into the road and quite possibly in the path of an oncoming car.  It really isn’t an ideal situation, dear faux-blind pedestrian.

Please, foot folks – when crossing the road, don’t assume your green cross code rules only apply to those things on that roads that are belching pollution, bikes are road users too, and randomly stepping in front of them can cause accidents.


One Response to “Stupid-day”

  1. Hello, just stoped by the comment section to thank you for the work you have been doing so others can enjoy your blog with a morning cup of coffe 🙂

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