Wednesday 22 August 2012

The criminal classes

Cyclists are lawless reprobates. That much is pretty much fact.

So it is useful to know that the esteemed research tome, Auto Express, have managed to quantify exactly how lawless and naughty cyclists are by using rigorous scientific methodology. And it appears that 74.2% of cyclists are  scofflaw scumbags as opposed to 12.1% of the motoring community. It must be right - the survey is so precise that the results can be measured to a tenth of a percent. That is some kick-ass data collection going on there folks.

So what are the principle crimes of these cyclists that merit the headline of "Cyclists break more road rules than motorists"? Well here is the list

Cyclists  %*   Fault                      Cars    %**

287      29.4  No reflective clothing      NA      NA
104      10.7  No indicating               49     1.6
 90       9.2  No helmet                   NA      NA
 84       8.6  Pulling out without looking 25     0.8
 58       5.9  Jumping lights              12     0.4
 44       4.5  Wearing headphones          42     1.3
 33       3.4  Almost causing collision    17     0.5
 16       1.6  Mounting pavement            0     0.0
  0       0.0  Waiting in cycle box        83     2.6
  0       0.0  Crossing a stop line        83     2.6
  2       0.2  Using phone                 38     1.2
  1       0.1  Eating                       9     0.3
  0       0.0  Blocking crossing           22     0.7

719      74.2  Total                      380    12.1

If you look at this you will realise that cyclists are so lawless that, with the no reflective clothing or helmets, they are breaking road rules that don't even exist. That is taking lawlessness to another level - they are turning our roads into some kind of traffic equivalent of the OK Corral!

Then we have the objective categories of "pulling out without looking" and "almost causing a collision", which cyclists also seem to excel at. Although, strangely they don't seem to be particularly adept at waiting in the cycle box - presumably because it was full of cars.

Of course minor offences such as speeding weren't included as this type of slight oversight by drivers is completely understandable and would simply skew the results. As would counting the number of drivers without correct tax/insurance/license (hint : at last count it was 13% in London).

Of course, the cyclists might say that only the cars in front of the queue have the opportunity to, say, wait in the cycle box, and that 83 cars encroaching on the ASL might mean that every red phase of the lights had it stuffed with cars, but one can overdo the scientific rigour.

The really laughable thing about this article is that the publishers (Dennis publishing) pulled the online version pretty quickly after cyclists complained to them in droves and started to organise a campaign to boycott the publishers new cycling magazine due for launch in a few weeks. I guess it wasn't considered particularly good PR to have a sister publication vomiting up half-baked articles slagging off the core demographic of a new magazine.

For those interested, the new cycling magazine by Dennis publication will be called "Tax Dodging, Scofflaw rule breaking outcasts". No, not really, apparently that wouldn't fit on the cover using the standard typeface. So they decided upon "Cyclist". Presumably, once they got to naming the magazine the journalists' creative and imaginative flair had been exhausted putting together the cycling statistics for their sister publication.


  1. I'd like to add my survey i took while driveing the 9 milesto work in the dark last year.
    Cyclists without lights 5, Motorists 49. (This excludes those Motorists with only one functioning front or rear light)

  2. Anonymous, imagine if you had a speed gun and could measure how many of the motorists drove faster than the speed limit. Not ONE SINGLE media outlet is prepared to publish this sort of material.

  3. Hi I am a cyclist in London. But to be honest I can empathise with this article. Cyclists are the worst. I agree with al of those points largely, except for the fact I don't do the naughty things as a general rule. If cyclists were better at obeying the law there would be less accidents. Right now I would say 50% of people on bikes on my way home do not have lights. You don't find 50% of drivers doing the same!

    1. The survey picked certain "anti-social" or illegal practices which skewed the survey completely (especially since some of the practices such as wearing a helmet are not applicable to motorists. If they added things like speeding, parking on double yellow lines, no tax disc it would skew the survey against motorists and be just as valid (or idiotic) as the original survey.

      And it depends on your definition of "worst". Because if the definition is based on how many people are killed or seriously injured by cars or by bicycles I think you might find that cyclists turn out not to be "the worst".

  4. Came across this blog after nearly killing a cyclist last night... approached a T-junction, to set the scene, it was 11:30pm, pitch dark, pouring with rain, and the streets in quiestion are very poorly lit.

    Stopped at the T-junction to turn left, looked both ways... nothing, looked right again, nothing... started pulling out, and caught a small light in the corner of my eye... a cyclist !

    Luckily, I missed him, and pulled over on the left to apologise. It was then that I noticed he had no reflective clothing, in fact was wearing all black... no helmet, his front light was a tiny wee thing with probably 2 poor LEDs in it, and no rear light.

    He seemed pretty unphased to be honest, as if it happens all the time !? Not saying it's his fault... but surely cyclists must take some responsibility for their own safety - cycling about on poorly lit roads, in the dark, with no reflectives and poor lights is an accident waiting to happen.

    1. I certainly don't condone cycling in the dark with no lights. You seem to be the sort of driver I like to meet on my bicycle - the fact that you looked several times and then was cautious enough to register a cyclist even as you pulled out is something I wish all drivers would do. It doesn't matter if you are lit up like a Christmas tree, if the driver isn't paying proper attention or just glances up and down the road before moving out, a cyclist will be missed.