Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Inside the Mind of a Cycling Blog Troll

Like many cyclists I read other cycling blogs including the blogs of national papers.   I follow "Cyclists For Right of Way" on Facebook and so on, and I really have to laugh at the weak excuses trolls have for it being "all" the fault of the cyclist if they get mowed down by any form of motorised vehicle when joining in any discussion.

Now to see if I can actually get to 10 reasons trolls give for the loathing and anger they have for us cyclists.

1)  Cyclists should have a road test (Licence).

99% of adult cyclists have taken the driving test therefore they are already licenced to ride on the road.  There is a miniscule percentage of cyclists that haven't taken a road test compared to the amount of un-licenced drivers there are on the road, including those that have had their licences taken away from them for speeding or drink driving and are still driving.

There is also a huge difference in having a test to prove one knows how to drive a car than there is to ride a cycle.

2)  Cyclists jump red lights.

Agreed some cyclists do jump red lights which is against the law.  Very few motorists haven't jumped traffic lights at some point simply for the reason of not wanting to take the time to wait for the next green.  When a cyclist jumps traffic lights they are making the choice of it being safer to jump the light rather than be squeezed off the road by a car or lorry turning left.

Motorists are advised to give a 5 second start to cyclists at traffic lights and junctions.  I have never yet seen a motorist do this.  Can you wonder at cyclists finding it safer to jump the light rather than wait and risk being mowed down by the vehicle beside them?

Motorists jumping traffic lights can kill innocent people.
Cyclists jumping traffic lights can kill themselves.
Pedestrians risking crossing against the lights can kill themselves.

Those that cross against the lights, whoever they are, are not only breaking the law but risking lives.  But the excuse motorists use of "cyclists jump red lights" is way out of proportion for the loathing and hate they have for cyclists.  "Let he who throws the first stone"

The law will pull over both motorist and cyclist seen jumping lights, so why does the motorist feel more penalized?  Why doesn't he hate all other motorists for jumping the lights?   Shouldn't motorists be banned from the road as they jump red lights?

If you want cyclists to stop jumping red lights, start giving them the 5 second head start advised.

3)  Cyclists don't pay road tax.

This one I have to laugh at.  It's unbelievable the ignorance that a vast majority of motorists still have for this subject.  A simple link on this one will suffice I think don't you?  http://ipayroadtax.com/

4)  Roads were built for cars.

This moronic excuse I have actually only recently come across, and actually really did laugh out loud.

The improvement of roads was first lobbied for – and paid for – by cycling organisations..  Cars, as stated in this blog post - http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/bike-blog/2011/aug/15/cyclists-paved-way-for-roads - were the johnny-come-latelies.  So one could say that cyclists have more right to their part of the road than motorised vehicles,  but we don't, because unlike the motorist, we are prepared to share.

5)  Cyclists weave in and out of traffic.

A few cyclists do dangerously do this.  It is mostly couriers, due to the fact that for them time is money as it is to a taxi (how dangerously do they drive?) that will do this.

For the every day cyclist that is doing this he/she is doing it perfectly legally in slow or non-moving traffic, and it is pure jealousy on the part of the motorists that they are stuck in traffic with cycles going past faster.

Buses will pull out in front of traffic and signal after.  Taxi drivers really are the hogs of the road and dangerous to boot.  So why single out cyclists as "shouldn't be on the road" when there are motorised vehicles far more dangerous to the every day driver than ever a cyclist could be.

6)  Cyclists slow me down and they hog the road.

Cyclists have every right to ride in the centre of their lane.  They have every right to ride side by side.  Out of politeness and for the sake of sharing the road cyclists ride as near to the left as possible, only pulling to the centre when claiming their space of road when it is safer to do so, such as being about to turn right or to over take a park vehicle or other obstacle.

When a cycle over takes a parked vehicle they need to do so by pulling out far enough that if that car door opens then they wont go head first over it.

Just because a car can go faster than a cycle and that cycle will sometimes slow a motorist down doesn't mean that the cycle should some how develop flight and jump out of the way.  The car doesn't have more right to any part of the road than a cycle.

Motorists are fond of "seemingly" quoting the Highway Code regarding cyclists, but it makes me wonder if any of them have actually read the part for cyclists.  They seem to get the "Must" mixed up with the "should".

7) Cyclists ride on pavements.

This is against the law - This includes everyone; babies, toddlers, young teens; everyone.  No one is allowed to ride a cycle on the pavement. 

So when you try to teach your four year old to ride a bike on the pavement you are breaking the law.  No doubt about it.   A policeman can force a child to ride off the pavement and onto the road however young.

Silly law??  Yes!  Even the home office agree.  And this is why in 1999 when the new legislation came into force to allow a fixed penalty notice to be served on anyone who is guilty of cycling on a footway the following was also issued at the same time - Cycling on Pavements - you will notice that this includes "all" cyclists.

The home office have accepted that there are times when it is far too dangerous for a cyclist to be on a specific stretch of road and the said cyclist when in fear of his life can use the pavement in a responsible way.  It also explains why you wont always see a cyclist pulled over for cycling on the pavement.

8)  Cyclists should be in the cycle lane.

Cycle lanes are not compulsory for cyclists to use.  In fact often times to ride in a cycle lane is far more dangerous than claiming ones own space on the road with other traffic.  Motorists and goods vehicles find cycle lanes a great place to park, mostly illegally.  To ride in a cycle lane and then every few feet have to pull out on the main part of the road to over take is far more dangerous for the cyclist and the motorist than said cyclist staying out on the open road.  Buses often travel far into the cycle lane with no respect for it whatsoever.  As far as a bus is concerned cycle lanes don't exist.

So you see drivers can't respect even the tiniest bit of road allocated to cycles.  I'm not even going to mention the "advanced stop lines" for the safety of cyclists that motorists generally ignore.

If you want cyclists to use the cycle lanes then stop parking in them.  Simples!

9) Cyclists wear lycra.

Please do, as a motorist, listen to yourself.  How can one possibly hate another road user for the clothes they wear?  -  It does seem to be a fact that motorists give more respect to someone riding a bike in every day clothes than they do to someone dressed in lycra.  As a sensible human being doesn't this seem to be a bit ridiculous.  Is a law to be passed to force all cyclists to wear a certain code of dress to be allowed on the roads to make motorists happy?

10)   Cyclist should have insurance.

For cyclists to be forced to have insurance would simply be making money for insurance companies.  Most cyclists do have insurance anyway.   Just think about why the government haven't insisted cyclists are insured.  It is motorised vehicles that do the damage not the cycle.  Any scrape that a cycle might make to a vehicle would have to be paid out of the cyclists pocket and not the insurance company anyway as it would be so minor that it wouldn't be covered by the insurance.

Cyclists can't logically cause you to crash any more than a pedestrian can.  If a motorist hits a cyclist then he/she is going too fast, not paying attention to what is around him/her or driving dangerously or without care and attention.  The motorist is the larger and far more dangerous vehicle and if driven properly, and to the rules of the road and the law, plus with common sense there is no way in hell said vehicle should hit either a pedestrian, cyclist, or another vehicle.

Just because coming across a cyclist causes you to have to be more aware and more considerate as a driver shouldn't mean forcing cyclists to be insured to cover for your bad driving.

Summing Up.........

So there we have it.  I did find 10 reasons that motorists hate cyclists for, despite the fact that there are a vast higher percent of bad drivers than there are bad cyclists and despite the fact that most of the reasons are totally unreasonable.

Motorists seem to be venomous to cyclists because they believe that the cyclist is above the law, or seems to be.  This of course it B.S.  If a cyclist is caught breaking the law he will suffer the lawful punishment, exactly the same as a motorist would.

Motorists break the law constantly and on a daily basis, including the ignoring of speed limits and of not leaving the required space between the car in front.  Sometimes they get away with it, other times they are caught as are cyclists.  This doesn't make cyclists or pedestrians believe that motorists shouldn't be allowed on the road.

I am not in anyway condoning the law breaking of any cyclist.  In fact they infuriate me because the more they break the law the more bad publicity cyclists get.  I am simply saying that a few bad cyclists are no different to the bad motorists we have on the roads, and remember, bad motorists kill on a daily basis.  What I am saying, is all the excuses above that those against cycling come out with as an excuse to not drive safely around or respect a cyclists right to be on the road are idiotic and not at all constructive.

Instead of motorists trolling cycling blogs, why not put some of that energy in to helping making cycling safer on our roads?  Any money spent making cycling safer is in fact doing the motorist a favour more so than the cyclists.   If we had proper cycling infrastructure in this country think how much more pleasant motoring would become.

Cycles are not going to disappear.  In fact there are going to be more and more on the road in the future as oil gets scarcer.  So bite the bullet and get used to it.  Just as the loathed horseless carriage made it's first appearance and room and changes had to be made for it, so shall it be with cycles.


  1. Nice post Sandy!
    I'll never understand why motorist hate cyclist so bad. Between the two are no different. Sure, there's bad cyclist and there's bad motorist also, but why does that have to make all cyclist or motorist bad. Gets me every time I think on it.

  2. Thanks Chilly,

    I read many cycling blogs and many good discussions of how a good cycling infrastructure could save lives or how a recent death of a cyclist occurred etc, is always brought down to this constant bickering between cyclists and motorists over the points I made in this post.

    Instead of people rallying together to force governments to put in place separate areas for cycling away from traffic as in "Going Dutch" which would save lives and make motoring more pleasant, it's a constant argument about who break the laws of the road.

    I am sick to death of it.


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