26 May 2011

Who are you calling feral?

007 by cocosolisI’m reading ‘The Bicycle Book’ by Bella Bathurst, and I’m loving it – not only because the content is interesting, but because the writing is so good and engaging.

Just one quibble: the chapter on ‘Feral Cyclists…’ – esp. the conversation with a bunch of London cabbies – seems to try a bit too hard to say ‘hands up, we cyclists have no great respect for the law’ and then goes on to try to justify the sin and gain sympathy from those we seem to ‘wrong’ with our cycling.

I would argue that it is unhelpful at best to single out a particular mode of transport when it comes to routine, habitual failure to follow the highway code. Take speed limits, for instance. In any kind of road, whatever the speed limit, you see people disregarding it – not always dangerously, but that’s not the point, is it? And how about traffic lights: how often do we see drivers speeding to ‘make it’ when the amber light shines? This is low-level flouting of the rules that those who engage in it will do without thinking – certainly without thinking they are doing anything other than ‘what everyone else does’. Add on top the real hooligans of the road – the ones who drive at silly speeds on urban roads, or jump the red light. Suddenly, it’s not just cyclists who appear ‘feral’, is it?

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