Sunday, September 9, 2012

Lycra louts?

It would be difficult to find a Mail article with more generalisations in it than the one hoisted today by Petronella Wyatt
How thuggish minority of cyclists are terrorising our roads with one elderly pensioner being hit twice in a month. On August 16, my mother was hit by a Lycra lout. She was crossing the road when a youth on a bicycle shot a red light, knocked her to the ground and left her with a broken arm. Yesterday, a friend telephoned to ask about her health. 'She would be feeling better,' I replied, 'if she hadn't been hit by another bicycle the other evening.' I could hear a convulsion in his voice. It sounded like stifled laughter. He could not repress a gurgling sound before he managed to compose himself to express sympathy and shock. 'Again? How awful!' If my mother had been hit twice by a car in a similar space of time, the general reaction would have been one of horror and outrage. The anti-car lobby has portrayed motorists as evil, greedy killers of the innocent and destroyers of the planet. But this halcyon haze enveloping cyclists hides a disturbing truth. The majority are safe – but not all. There are rogues: Lycra louts whose intentions are as low as the meanest hit-men. In 2012, I had my handbag stolen by a gang of youths on bikes. This is not to deny the guilt of many motorists who drive irresponsibly, and the fact that every year innocent cyclists lose their lives as a result. But the police have established, in conjunction with the Transport Research Laboratory, that half of all collisions between bicycles and cars are the fault of the cyclist.
The generalisations in the tale lead me to wonder just what the woman is rambling on about. A gang of feral youths on bikes hardly constitute lycra louts for one. The other is that some cyclists are dangerous on bikes, which suggests going after them rather than penalising all.Sadly that's not how the nanny state generation sees things, if there is a problem by a minority (and she admits it's a minority) then all must be punished. Not that I'm averse to cyclists being properly trained or carrying insurance, but before that happens there needs to be measures put into place to make roads safer for them to use and keep them off the pavements. That sadly is where the entire fantasy falls flat, the government won't spend the money and the way the UK's streets came to be (cattle runs to market mostly) happened in an age before the internal combustion engine came to power personal transport. Nor despite the earbashing that certain government departments and the lycra lobby give the UK public on moving away from their cars can I see any likelihood of people giving them anything but two fingers for their troubles.
The facts are, for the most part the UK's streets are clogged with traffic, this isn't going to stop unless fuel becomes way more expensive than it is now. People are not going to turn to cycling in any great numbers, not now or ever unless their places of work, leisure, play, shops, get a lot closer and the means to fit a full load of tools, shopping, kids, onto a bike or public transport becomes cheaper and more convenient for the majority.
There are always going to be bad cyclists in the same way there are always going to be bad drivers and careless pedestrians. That's life and trying to regulate it without dealing with the problems causing it is never going to work.
Rebuilding our cities and road network is never going to happen, accidents will though and no-one is going to be happy. Petronella Wyatt needs to realise this and simply try to find and prosecute the thugs who mowed her mum down rather than try to reinvent the wheel and put more people at the mercy of the state.

3 annotations:

StourbridgeRantBoy said...

This sort of article is something that the DM excels at, the usual sort of 'Drop the dead Donkey' rubbish. Somebody called Petronella is hardly in the real world, sorry if that's judgemental. Much as i thought, she is the daughter of former MP and journo Woodrow Wyatt. Another obvious case of 'it's not what you know'..........

Laurie -

Anonymous said...

Daily Mail...that says it all...

Clearly they are aware that there are people who live to be "disgusted", "outraged" and "despairing" and that these people buy the paper to enjoy a daily dose of it.

I have an aunt and uncle whose whole lives revolve around disapproving of everything. The DM gives them pages and pages of ammunition for their bile, having found too little of it in their personal lives (despite making every effort) to sustain 14 hours of moaning every day.

There is no suggestion here for example that the old lady may have wandered out into the road without looking, possibly on or very near to a corner... Maybe she didn't, but maybe she did.

Only the other day I was obliged to stop while an elderly man walked slowly across the road at a corner. I was terrified that someone would come round the corner and hit the back of my car. It would not have been quite so annoying if he had not decided to cross the road at an angle...making his time off the pavement at least twice as long as was necessary.

Politically incorrect it may be...but sometimes the old are at fault.

Anonymous said...

New York was famed for introducing 'zero tolerance' to crime, petty crime encourages major crime.

The same is true of cyclists.These pirates of the roads are unpredictable, cycling on pavements or roads as they choose, ignoring the rules of the road, running red lights etc. Is it any wonder that 'amber gambling' has become 'red gambling - even buses are doing it now. If the bike pirates can get away with it why not me?

The bike has had its day. It will never be usable by any but a minority of the population. They are too big to house at home, too big to park, a bit of 19th century blacksmith's junk. They should no more be on the city streets than horses.

There might be some argument for introducing some sort of stable quad bike, something that would behave like a road vehicle not pirate.

How can a pedestrian cope with a 15 stone moron chasing them from behind. How can the motorist cope with the same moron when he abruptly swerves onto the zebra crossing?

As for crime half of bikes are stolen and the other half are propably ridden by feral youth snooping out opportunities for crime.

Ban th bike!