Or so police would have us believe, according to a recent headline in the (admittedly rather crap) local newspaper.
“Police target rogue riders” it headlines. What follows is an exercise in warped logic that makes me quite angry. Bunch of friggin morons.
“In one third of (131 incidents in which a cyclist was hurt), the cyclist was at fault, which demonstrates two things” it reads. A bit of not-very-taxing mental calculation will tell you that that actually demonstrates that in two thirds of these incidents, the cyclist was not to blame. So we read on with interest to find out what the police will do to tackle that majority of incidents:
“Firstly, cyclists need to exercise more care and be responsible (…)”. What the fuck?!?! Excuse me? Being responsible for only one third of injuries and that is the police’s major concern? Oh please… do me a favour – go and catch some criminals. A bit further there is another example of how all road users are equal, but car drivers are more equal:
“Cyclists have a responsibility to do their bit by showing the same consideration to other road users, that they expect from them.” Sounds reasonable and innocuous, right? Until you read it again: the cyclists have to actually show the consideration – while it is merely an expectation of other road users (i.e. car bus taxi and lorry drivers). It does not say “that they get from them” (it’s obvious why – cyclists hardly get any respect from other road users). It also, for the same reason, does not say “other road users should show the same consideration to cyclists that they expect from them”. Equality my ass.
Most of my opinion derives from the fact that, on average, I have to save my friggin’ hide once a week from some retard car/bus/lorry driver that does something stupid to nearly (so far) run me over. I have become so accustomed to drivers not checking their left when turning, that I habitually do not cycle on the left of anything anymore when approaching a left side street. Add lorry and bus drivers using up a foot of cycle lane space (at 30 mph), busdrivers pulling out of stops without checking their right (this is becoming predictable) et voilà: my low esteem of other road users’ “consideration” is explained.
The police, and car drivers, do not seem to understand a fatal asymmetry in the relationship between cars and cyclists:
If I make a mistake and cause a major accident, I get seriously injured (or killed). If a car makes a mistake, I get seriously injured (or killed). Spot the difference.
So yes, I take good care of myself on the road. If I don’t, no-one else will. Yes, I skip red lights to keep away from cars. Most traffic lights anyway are set up so stupidly you are waiting for empty nothingness most of the time. Yes, I ride on the pavement – slowly, where even if I do hit a pedestrian (*never hit one in fifteen years of doing so) chances are we both get away with only scratches or less. To me that’s an improvement over being squashed by a car. Meanwhile the police would be much more useful doing something about the retarded drivers who are killing cyclists with their attitude. Or catch criminals.
I would be interested in two more statistics. First, how many pedestrians get hurt in incidents with cars or cyclists, respectively (and who is to blame) – my bet is that cars are much more dangerous to pedestrians than cyclists. And second, how many cyclists get killed by car drivers (and vice versa – which I strongly suspect is zero).
The results to be printed on toilet paper, wrapped around a large cactus, and shoved up the asses of stupid police officers who think cyclists are the biggest problem. Fuck yeah.
(Original article under the fold)