Sunday 17 October 2010

Whose road is it anyway?

If you read the typical article about cyclists in The Mail, you would think that cyclists are lawless degenerates whilst drivers are hard put-upon angels who single-handedly are keeping the economy going.

Clearly there are many cyclists who take scant regard of lights. I believe that in an environment that people perceive to be hostile they then become hostile and aggressive themselves. And of course, there will be as many selfish, thoughtless cyclists as there are in the rest of society. But what amazes me is that poor, aggressive and selfish driving is commented upon so little. Today I experienced two separate incidents on zebra crossings that show some drivers' complete idiocy.

1) Whilst crossing a zebra crossing with my toddler daughter, a driver in a smacked up yellow van (which was way off when I started crossing) decided not to stop or even slow down, but to go between us and the central refuge at speed. Normally, drivers are pretty considerate with a toddler in tow - I suspect most human beings don't want to be responsible for running down a child. But 1 time in 100 you get some twat whose race to the next red-light is all consuming. Today I met the 1 in 100.

2) Whilst cycling a chap walked up to a zebra crossing. I started slowing to anticipate him crossing. I slowed, he remained with one foot on the crossing. I stopped. He still wasn't crossing - because the car behind me had decided to not bother stopping and sped past. The man started to cross again - then stopped as another car failed to stop and sped through the crossing. Completely moronic.

Why do these incidents happen? Clearly there are selfish idiots who cycle, walk and drive, but I think in the car there is something else happening here. Many drivers believe they have a right over the road which is simply not correct. Even when law states priority is given to other road-users, some drivers just don't believe it. Instead of taking the privilege of a driving license seriously and understanding that they are piloting a tonne or more of dangerous machinery through densely populated areas, they assume that the road is theirs to do with what they will. How this attitude can be changed, I don't know. But I do know that it will never change whilst many in local and national government hold the same view.

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