If We Talked About All Road Users The Way We Talk About Cyclists

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 54 months ago
If We Talked About All Road Users The Way We Talk About Cyclists


After cycling deaths and serious accidents it's common to see people talking about red light jumping, pavement cycling and so on – and yet this rarely happens when pedestrians get knocked over or there are multiple car pile-ups. So we wondered: what would it be like if we talked about everyone else the way we talk about cyclists?

"I know the woman crossing the road was in my blind spot, but if she'd been wearing a high-vis jacket I'd have seen her - in my blind spot."

"I nearly got knocked over by a bus on a zebra crossing once. It was a dual carriageway, the van in the lane nearest to me had stopped but this bus went sailing through and missed me by inches*. I now hate all buses and think they shouldn't be allowed on the road."

"If the pushchair didn't have lights on then I'm not surprised it got hit. What? Yes, even at 2pm."

"I've got no sympathy for the little old man knocked down at the crossing. If he wasn't wearing a helmet he should take what's coming to him."

"I see buses jump red lights all the time. Just look on YouTube, there's loads of videos. Therefore all bus accidents are the fault of buses jumping red lights. I bet all the buses that hit people in London (one a day) jumped red lights. Bastards."

"1.2m drivers don't have insurance. I think police should wait at big junctions to check all drivers' documents."

"Did you hear about that horrific accident? Where the car ended up under a low loader and the driver was killed? Bet he was texting when it happened."

"Bloody mobility scooter on the pavement! Get on the road where you're not a danger to pedestrians!"

"Bloody mobility scooter on the road! Get on the pavement where you're not a danger to motorists!"

It's almost as if road users are individuals who sometimes do stupid things but can't be held representative of that entire transport mode. Perhaps we should just concentrate on making infrastructure safer for all vulnerable road users.

* This actually happened

Photo by Homemade from the Londonist Flickr pool

Last Updated 14 November 2013


In yesterday's myriad blog posts about cycling in London, this interview with Ian Walker really made sense to me: http://www.thepsychologist.org...


Cyclists are much worse at abusing traffic rules than cars. And this is coming from a cyclist.


I started cycling to work 8 months ago and, whilst I love
the freedom of my new commute, I’ve been both shocked and frustrated by the
actions of my fellow cyclists.

There is a very visible minority of cyclist who simply do
not follow the basic rules of the road. I don’t really care if they want to put
themselves in potential danger, but what honestly frustrates me is that the
rest of us (cyclists) lose the moral high ground when a driver or pedestrian does
something wrong to us. You can admit it or not but we all see ourselves and each
other as part of a ‘tribe’ – there’s no such thing as one cyclist or a single
taxi driver. We are all seen as a collective and judged by the actions of our
fellow ‘tribe members’. In my opinion, the bad reputation cyclists have earn
(as highlighted by this article) is not unjustified and, as much as I don’t
like it, I know that we are all painted with the same brush.

Making infrastructure safer for all vulnerable road users is
a good start but, alongside that, the Met must crack down on infractions by
cyclists. Zero tolerance approach. Hand out 1000 tickets for jumping red lights
and I’m guessing we will see a marked change in the way cyclists move through
the city.


Hallelujah! At last an article that doesn't say "all cyclists are wrong" or "all cyclists are right" Drivers, cyclists and pedestrians are all individuals with unique personalities. Some are going to be lovely, some are going to be nasty, some are clever and some are stupid, however they are getting around.


Yesterday, I was talking to a colelague of mine about the cyclists death this week in London. First reaction was "yeah, but I see cyclists doing stupid things". I mentioned then that I have heard in BBC News that EVERY DAY in London a pedestrian gets hit by a bus. Reaction: "that's just reckless".
You do the math....

Nick woodley

pay tax and then you have a right to complain I pay my road tax and keep to the high way code they do not
ps I am a biker and have been since 1976
most cyclists are sensible it is just the few that need not to get in my way
blessed be all


Mass Cycle Die-In Friday Nov 29th 5pm-6.30pm


Donnachadh McCarthy

Mass Cycle Die-In/Vigil/Rally Friday 29th Nov 5pm-6.30pm
TfL HQ Blackfriars Road, London


Ross Maidment

I've been in London as a cyclist for 3 months now, I also drive a van and catch the bus regularly. I can tell you that it is not a case of cyclists or bus drivers or motorists being dangerous, it is EVERYONE. I have seen absolutely reckless behaviour from every type here. The truth is that London is full of awful road users who simply don't care about the safety of others. If you want to change this, then just pay more attention, obey the rules and take some responsibility I can assure you, It takes very little effort!


Everyone is missing the point here, it's not about Drivers being wrong or Cyclists being wrong........Its entirely about a lack of education. Basic road safety is no longer taught in schools, many parents are just as lacking in teaching the children. That then moves on, anyone can jump on a bicycle without any form of training or guidance other than the advice given at the bike shop! I know riding a bike is not hard, but doing so in the environment of a big city does require more than the basic skills in my honest opinion. An awareness of all other road users is essential, stop listening to earsplittingly loud music in the car or van, stop listening to the ipod on the bike......look around, be aware of what the road markings or signs mean....everyone on the road shares the responsibility, I'm not singling out one group.

I'm sadened by the death toll on our roads, those people are someones son/daughter/father/mother......the life of the driver has also been ruined. But, banning vehicles or introducing draconian legislation is not the way forward, Education is!!!!


not a brilliant article


Some important context:

UK roads have been/are built almost exclusively for motorists.


I am all for clamping down on people cycling dangerously but the one-sided attitude and stereotyping in this country is horrifyingly worrying.
I indeed advocate a ban on all irresponsible cyclists; on the condition we also ban all irresponsible drivers. Then according to DfT and RoSPA, for every life saved for removing dangerous cyclists from the road, we can save hundreds by removing dangerous drivers.

Nick Owen

I think the fact that the press has drawn so much attention to what is obviously a worthy story does provoke such a response to cyclists behaviour. I am a cyclist and a driver. I see so many cyclists who don't have lights or visibility jackets that jump red lights. They weave in traffic and don't look at junctions. Many have headphones on and hoodies. I also see bad drivers but anyone who forgets to turn their lights on will get flashed by other drivers. Bus drivers tend to be my friends on my cycle ride of 15 miles home. Most of them are well aware of cyclists. The bus lanes through Lewisham are probably the safest place to be! I am more wary about Motorbikes as they tend to come up to you very quickly. Big trucks, well you just have to be very aware and not to take risks. It is easy to criticise bad drivers and cyclists alike but on balance I feel that a lot of cyclists take too many risks compared to other drivers and on a bike you are vulnerable to the mistakes of others. In a car if you make a mistake your chances of being killed or killing are less than being killed on a bike! I care immensely about the safety of others but all I can do is shake my head at some of the stupidity I see on the roads, On the converse what happens in the UK is nothing compared to what happens in China/India and other countries. We still have one of the best road safety records anywhere. Boris has done a lot for cyclists and if you do think you are safe on a blue line then you must be crazy!

Martin Cassini

Special pleading on behalf of special interest groups makes no sense. We're all in this together, or could be. In pursuing of traffic system reform, I have always referred to all road-users. This is my take on the recent spike in cycling deaths (if it lets me post a link): http://www.equalitystreets.com...

Seb K

All road users (incl pedestrians) are potential a**holes and in London there are plenty.
Income tax pays for road maintenance. Road tax is vehicle excise duty and is not just for emissions, it is mainly for the destruction of the roads that cars/lorries etc contribute to due to the shear weight they are (also the torque from their wheels on the road surface) and I am not paying for THAT!!!
As a cyclist I am starting to loathe London (and Boris) and have increased my weight training which I urge other cyclists to do so (there is no better feeling that throwing a driver over their car although the gasps from on lookers is a bit annoying but you get used to it).
IF you get hit by a car you will not die so stop bloody exaggerating. Just be strong and proud you are using a more sensible vehicle.