Saturday, 30 November 2013

Cyclist Hater Type VI: Cyclist Myself...

I'm not in to tribal cycling. I'll ride my chunky hybrid, my road bike, or my funky old racer happily enough. And I don't for the most part care about how other people ride their bikes or what they ride, so long as its not doing anyone any harm its their own business. Or if they've got a basket on a carbon road bike or something, then I might worry. 

But that's not how the 'I'm a cyclist myself' sees things. This is probably one of the most annoying types of cyclist hater. The 'I'm a cyclist myself' thinks that he (and its normally a he, but you encounter some females) is speaking from a position of authority because 'I'm a cyclist myself'. In this way he's more dangerous than the Brat or the Codger. He's not a Gripper nor does he normally have the capacity to reach as many with his ill informed whinging as the Trollumnist does. Perhaps the closest relative of the 'cyclist myself' is the Beamer.

The 'cyclist myself' wants to criticise other cyclists for how they ride. Well, criticise is perhaps the wrong word - they really want to blame other cyclists for the ills we collectively suffer. And interestingly enough it almost doesn't matter how the 'cyclist myself' rides - thats less important than the simple truth that their mode of riding is RIGHT. And other ways of riding a bike are WRONG. Here's a mish mash of the kind of offensive, sickeningly wrong wank you might hear from one of them.

Its hardly surprising so many cyclists die on the roads, they're not in effective primary position, its their own fault. I'm a cyclist myself. And then they get in the way of the traffic, what do they expect to happen when blocking the lane? Speaking as a cyclist, I have to say I'm shocked when I see cyclists with helmets that don't fit properly, its worse than not having a helmet. And they shouldn't be allowed out with a helmet on it makes cycling look more dangerous for cyclists like myself. And we cyclists really believe in having lights on even when its not dark, that person who isn't dressed in tinfoil and dayglo isn't a cyclist, they're just a person on a bike (POB). Its not even a bike, its rubbish, its a bike shaped object (BSO) that a keen cyclist like myself...

Now this kind of malicious crap is just as bad as you get from a Beamer. Its just as ignorant of recorded accident causes, and every bit as victim blaming. 

It transpires that yes, there are things a cyclist can do that are dangerous. But lets be clear - if you add them all up together that still accounts for a very, very small proportion of cyclist deaths and serious injuries. What kills and maims cyclists? Motorists. So lets just cut the crap, and quit the infighting Mr. 'cyclist myself', you're speaking out of your lycra clad arse. Quit the victim blame - yes, the other cyclists might be doing things you disapprove of, but 'correct' cycling (whatever the hell that is) is not some kind of moral crusade we're all involved in. Okay, if you want to pass on some advice on good cycling or on etiquette between us I'm fine with that, but can you not stop short of accusing other cyclists of being somehow lacking because of how they ride?

How should we deal with folk who rain hate down on us as cyclists themselves? Well its quite hard to do so without risking hypocrisy. Its worth pointing out the reality that accidents we suffer are relatively rarely due to our own actions, and that such incidents are enormously, almost comically outnumbered by those caused by motorists. 

But perhaps its better to just remind yourself and the hater that neither you nor they speak for all cyclists, and that while we can view whatever advice you like as useful in finding a way to survive on a crazy, hostile road network, ultimately this is all missing the point - we need a road system designed such that what should be viewed as trivial errors by cyclists are not answered with a death penalty. Ride how you like, but quit pretending that the deciding factor in cyclist survival is acting precisely as you do. You're not that special, even if you are an opinionated little git of a cyclist yourself.

6 comments:

  1. What gets me is the "cyclist myself" who wants everyone to be trained to their high standard before being allowed on the road on a bike. No thought for children who can't possibly be cognitively developed to understand the intracacies of vehicularist cycling.
    We need infrastructure that allows young children and pensioners to cycle independantly.

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  2. Very good as usual. I usually identify this type of person as a "Real Cyclist" as that is how they self-identify and set themselves apart from others.

    The person on the BSO (sneering term of abuse) is not a 'Real Cyclist'. The 'Real Cyclist' might only use a bicycle once per week, whereas the POB might be out on theirs everyday in all weathers, but that doesn't matter to them. Even so, if you ask them to try and define a 'Real Cyclist' they will find it quite difficult although it will almost certainly involve spending a lot of money on having the right kit.

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  3. Hear hear.

    There is also the "I'm a cyclist myself" who puts their mountain bike on a car, drives to an off-road trail, rides about, and drives home again -- and then holds forth on how cyclists should behave in urban traffic.

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    1. (Not that there is anything wrong with that sort of cycling -- but not all cycling experience is relevant to all contexts. I wouldn't know where to start in rough terrain!)

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  4. "Its worth pointing out the reality that accidents we suffer are relatively rarely due to our own actions, and that such incidents are enormously, almost comically outnumbered by those caused by motorists. " Do you have a source for this?

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    1. If you post as someone other than 'anonymous' I could even be persuaded to share a link or two.

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