Bedminster Bigmouth: Even blind people can see how badly cyclists behave
What do you call someone who is a danger to the public, rude and ill-educated? A cyclist!
People all across this so-called "cycling city" gave their support this week as members of the blind and partially sighted community spoke out at the dangers they face daily from our two-wheeled "friends". It's not my style to make or condone sweeping, generalising statements like this; but when even blind people can see how badly cyclists behave, surely it's time for cyclists to hold their hands up and admit maybe they need to change their attitudes?
The approach to cycling being a 'solution' in Bristol is farcical. Bikes, while obviously not as dangerous as cars, can still injure, maim or kill people, if operated in an unsafe manner. With this in mind, obviously there would be a compulsory test that one has to take before riding a bike on the road? Err, no. There IS a watered-down proficiency scheme, called Bikeability, but it is marketed as making it "fun (to cycle) in modern road conditions". Great emphasis on safety there chaps. And how often do you see people cycling with no lights, helmet or "hi-viz" gear? Next time you are out, count them. I guarantee it will be only one in 10 who are suitably equipped.
The opinion you come across in general from cyclists is that people, especially motorists, should change for them, rather than that cyclists should work with everyone to fit into our city. Motorists get preached to about how they are killing the planet, usually by some middle management twerp with a Volvo and a dishwasher who decides to cycle once a week as a tax benefit.
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The fact that cyclists often wear incorrect or unsafe equipment, pay no vehicle insurance, ride on pavements, ride through red lights, disobey traffic laws and make pedestrians feel scared is just swept under the carpet, or the blame is laid to rest at someone else's door. This cannot go on any longer and I think it is time for the militant cyclists to stop acting so high and mighty and talk about using some of the "cycling city" £22 million on compulsory safety tests and safety gear, maybe even some extra policing to fine or arrest people breaking the law on their bikes.
You want cycling to be taken seriously as a transport alternative? Maybe you should think about acting seriously about it then. The longer your lazy attitudes to safety and abusive attitudes to everyone else on the road remain, no-one will respect you, or your goals, in return.
People who are so vocal about how everyone who doesn't cycle should be taxed to death need to stop being so bitter and start talking about how to use the £22m given to us (us as a city, not just cyclists) in a way that will keep cyclists and pedestrians safer and keep the roads clearer for buses and people who need to drive.