A piece in The Irish Times today begins by talking about the death of Donna Fox, crushed to death by a truck as she cycled through Dublin.
The piece is, altogether, 724 words. But almost half of that, 288 words, is given over to a rant about "cyclists who win no sympathy from motorists".
(Sorry for the long quote, but it's necessary to show the sheer stupidity).
And a long extrapolated quote is used as a caption:
Even the headline is extraordinary - I would think that it endangers people cycling in Dublin: "Why cycling safety is a two-way street". What? I'm only entitled to cycle in safety if all cyclists keep all traffic laws?
The tastelessness of this piece, apart from the utter stupidity, is typical of the way cycling and "cyclists" - as if we are a single body of people - are written about in Ireland. Is there any way to tackle this?
Getting really sick of the divide and rule that is been pushed from somwhere (gov, Press I don't know), it's everywhere workers v unemployed. Public vs private sector, cyclists vs motorists. Landlords vs tenants the list goes on.
Do I need to go on ? I'm in a job that hasn't had a pay rise in 10 years. Im not putting the rent up on small property I rent probably the cheapest rent around even up here.
CanT we all relax and get on a bit more ?
Probably totally OT for the cycling forum sorry.
Damn straight. It's Trumpism Irish-style, the politics of envy - with the envy, weirdly, mostly being directed downwards. Scotes! Scroungers! Why should I pay for libraries, mate, I don't read!
John Lanchester had a brilliant piece some years back about this (to search for it, the best way is to look for "the shít we're in"!) from which my favourite line is "the trouble with the poor is that they have too much money".
Newspaper print populist stories as it sells papers. As motorists are the largest group they will print stories that appeal to that market. Hence the commonality in these articles that seem imo to have anti cycling bias and pro driver bias.
The fact that studies show that cyclist behaviour has little effect on accidents. But that it's mainly driver behaviour that causes it. Would not be popular with drivers so they won't publish those facts very often. It's also why enforcement of cycling laws won't have much of an effect.
There is an issue that law breaking probably has an impact on anti cycling sentiment.
Just because some one has been cycling for 30yrs doesn't mean that have done any research on the facts and statistics of accidents. The lack of any link to such studies is a credibility problem for such opinion pieces. It's the usual victim blaming.
It takes the focus of poor driving and the lack of infrastructure and investment.
** whataboutery alert **
I've never seen a piece on motorway funding mention the high percentage of motorists who speed, use mobiles, etc.
If lawbreaking has an impact on sentiment, ok, let's start posting photos and videos of drivers using mobile phones, zipping through lights after they've turned red, whipping right around no-right-turn turns, close-passing cyclists, speeding, parking in cycle lanes, failing to indicate in time or at all, dooring, suddenly deciding they want to park on the other side of Dame Street and hanging a speedy U-ey, using bus lanes, taking to the wrong side of solid-white-line roads to pass cyclists then swinging across in front of them to turn left, blaring music that must make them unconscious of the road and its other users…
People only notice the few cyclists who act like brats because they have been fed the idea that "cyclists" break road rules.
Perhaps if they realised how little drivers keep the same rules it might soften their cough for them?
As I keep on saying, so much motorist law breaking is so normalised it isn't even seen as law breaking. Try driving around at the speed limit and see the build up behind you, or everyone passing you out if it's dual carriageway or motorway. Everyone (eventually) stops for traffic lights. For those couple of minutes, they might see a cyclist break a red to take a left. They'll have a give out, maybe a rant live on twitter. And then when the lights change they'll get back up to a cruising speed above the speed limit without a second thought about law breaking... If they try and enforce the speed limit, it's all shooting fish in a barrel!
In San Francisco, cyclists reacted to one of these "Cyclists All Break Red Lights" rants by a mass protest in which they stopped at every light and stop sign. Traffic ground to a halt! (Nobody's mentioning this in the comments on the IT piece.)
In Idaho and in Paris, cyclists can use red lights and stop signs as 'Yield' signs, going through when it's safe to do so.
Are you suggesting this is a media driven campaign?
In my opinion, all your points are valid in relation to drivers; there are "brats" driving around in cars as you describe.
Dooring is basic stupidity/carelessness, parking in a cycle lane is lack of manners / inconvenient, but these are hazards for everyone. The u-turn, speeding antics are likewise hazards for everyone, not restricted to cyclists.
However, driving on footpaths? driving on the wrong side of the road? driving across pedestrian crossings? driving incorrectly on a one way street?
How many times have you seen it?
Cyclists do it all day, everyday.
Numbers driving through red lights compared to cyclists doing likewise? One in five I reckon, is being extremely generous.
Numbers of drivers overtaking in a dangerous fashion compared to cyclists "sharing" occupied lanes, overtaking on the left of a vehicle indicating left / in tight spaces?
One for one? I don't think so.
There isn't a media driven campaign. The behaviour of a significant proportion (more than 50%) of cyclists is a big pain, sometimes dangerous to others - pedestrians, cyclists and motorists - and that is why there are so many negative articles and comments.
I don't see major inaccuracy in the article and I don't see a problem with the timing.
@Billgirlylegs You haven't been looking at the statistics. The Road Safety Association, scarcely a cyclist-friendly group, did a big study (25,000+ cyclists) of how many cyclists go through red lights recently: 1 in 8 was the number. Nothing like the numbers you're claiming.
How many cars go through? My own, amateur, estimate would be that three or four cars tend to zip through after the lights have gone red on most light-changes. And this is really dangerous.
A cyclist (say 150kg of human on a 15kg bicycle) who goes through a red light is endangering only himself or herself (if that) in virtually all cases; usually s/he has checked that there's nothing coming. A car (say 2 tons) is a weaponised metal projectile, and going much faster. If it hits you, you're going to be badly hurt.
Some figures on cars hitting people:
- If someone is hit by a car at 65kph they are 90% likely to be killed
- If someone is hit by a car at 50kph they are 50% likely to be killed
- If someone is hit by a car at 30kph they are 10% likely to be killed
Cyclists should be allowed to proceed slowly through pedestrian crossing reds (like the flashing amber for motor vehicles - go ahead if it's safe to do so). They should also be able to turn left on red.
All of a sudden, the only major thing motorists have to throw at cyclists is out the window; not to mention the fact that the above makes sense given that a bicycle is not a 2 tonne vehicle.
Also, more to the point, none of this would be an issue if there was a bit more patience from cyclists and motorists. Your time isn't that valuable, get over yourselves. !
i threw that in as a comment on the article for you.
you can't cite things that cars *cannot* do as something they *do* not do, can you?
Id like to see the stats, if you have them ?
Anti cyclist seems to be the last minute "feck it I need a piece for my column" setting for 'journalists' ....
There are stupid motorists, and there are stupid cyclists, its just motorists can kill, so I reckon the onus is on them to not kill someone due to their careless driving !