Excuses, excuses

I’ll start again with the assertion that I really like cycling and I like most cyclists I meet. I cycle out of town for the most part and I rarely encounter problems with other cyclists or other road users apart from a few cars who come too close on country lanes. I ride with caution and courtesy and things rub along just fine.

Things are very different in the city and it’s London that worries me most. I started this blog after several narrow escapes in which careless or reckless bikes came very close to injuring me. What stuns me is how glibly the cycle lobby dismisses this. Of course the stats are clear – fewer people are killed by cyclists than cars for all kinds of reasons – but is that all we care about? Isn’t one death one too many? Especially when you consider that to kill someone while riding a bike you’d have to be riding pretty fast and in all likelihood, somewhat recklessly. And there are plenty of injuries not to mention the unpleasantness of having to worry about being hit by a renegade cyclist when you are using the road as a pedestrian. This blog is not anti-cyclist. It’s anti the cyclists who make us all look at bikes riding around us in the city with wariness, suspicion and anxiety because of the actions of what I still fervently believe is a minority.

What disturbs me most is what appears to be a growing view that cyclists are above the law. In one of the many cycling blogs online, this one based around Cambridge, I found this comment about a police campaign to stop cyclists riding without lights.

“One person I spoke to did get caught, but she just went out and bought a new set of lights the following morning, popped to the police station and the ticket was cancelled immediately.”

And if you think that’s staggering, try this:

Wow. Can you imagine any other kind of law breaker being treated like this? And when one of Britain’s most respected specialist cyclist publications appears to reject even demonstrably dangerous cyclists being responsible for their actions I honestly despair.

I know that the cycle lobby will argue that cyclists need to be encouraged but countering any reasonable complaints about anti social cycling with hyperbolic headline statements like this (in an otherwise excellent and very level headed post, I should add) is going to win you few friends. I am astounded that the positive encouragement for cycling has in some cases become twisted into allowing people who actively and knowingly break the law do so with apparent impunity and I can’t see how this benefits any of us.

And it’s going to get worse. Boris Johnson’s cycling manifesto for London is a joyous document full of positivity and a vision for safer more pleasurable use of the ‘Johnson velocipede’ BUT if he’s going, as he says he wants to, to vastly increase the number of cyclists in the capital, and, double the money spent on cycling, he’d better hope some of them start behaving better.



As regular readers will know, all I want to see is a degree of responsibility from cyclists. Respect for other road users – especially pedestrians – and a bit of thought for the majority of the law abiding.

So I was pretty outraged this morning to read a series of articles on what purports to be a responsible cycling site for London – The London Cyclist. I hesitated to provide a link to their irresponsible content but you should all see the nonsense they peddle (hope you liked that little pun).


The link will take you to an article discussing the relevance of the rules of the road to cyclists but see the additional links at the bottom as well. No wonder we see such appaling behaviour on a daily basis.

Lets consider some of the points:

There is an article on traffic light strategy. It includes the comment that “I don’t make a habit of jumping red lights”. Don’t these idiots know that even once is wrong? No one is expecting to see traffic (and yes, you’re ‘traffic’ on a bike) on a bit of the road ‘closed’ by a red light. Don’t they know the consequences of getting this wrong for pedestrians or themselves? The argument goes that bikes take up less space than 4 wheeled vehicles so laws should be more lightly enforced. Don’t they realise that the consequence of getting it wrong BECAUSE 4 wheeled vehicles are bigger and heavier is DEATH! And does no one spare a thought for how traumatic it must be for a car driver to kill or injure a cyclist under ANY circumstances? So how selfish is it to risk that just to steal a bit of a march on the rest of the traffic? (Oh and hiding behind the ‘hardly anyone gets killed by cyclists, so it’s ok to weave around the place with impunity’ line is cretinous in the extreme).

Elswhere the blog positively promotes occupying the space ahead of lights to wait for an early getaway. Don’t cyclists realise that is exactly where pedestrians expect to cross unimpeded in safety and not to work through a maze of spokes?

A second link argues that riding on the pavement should not be an issue and nor should riding against traffic on one way streets. The pavement argument is appalling. Try walking on a pavement and facing oncoming bikes. Plenty of cyclists decry the behaviour of motorists who put them in danger but here is an article by a seemingly respectable website positively promoting putting pedestrians in danger.

Come on guys. Behave yourselves. Do the right thing and cycle with respect for all.

Damn! Too late

Today’s tale is, I’m afraid, one of missed opportunity. Of how, although I always try to have my camera at the ready, quite often the sheer lunacy of London’s cyclists beats me to the draw. How in reality I have many more stories than I get to evidence for you, dear reader. They say the camera never lies. This may be true but unfortunately it also does not quite tell the truth quickly enough at times.

Take this evening. On my way home I was walking my usual route in central London – camera prepared for documenting the usual lawlessness. But I was not prepared for what happened next. I crossed a one way street. No cars emerging, so I stepped out. Lo and behold, a cyclist rounded the corner from my right entering the one way street in the wrong direction, almost removing my bag and camera from my hand. I was not fast enough to snap.

The same was true an hour later when walking along Portobello Road towards the Westway. I was completely taken by surprise by a cyclist travelling swiftly towards me on the road. Those of you who know the area will know that the road at that point is one way and one way TOWARDS the Westway. Again I wasnt quick enough to snap.

So, as I like to keep mutimedia on the page, todays photos are unrelated to this. A snap here of an apparent crime scene close to my flat. Council markings clearly establish this is serious enough for CSI!


But which is the worst? The rubbish left out at the wrong time or this crime against the environment of All Souls church?


Anyway, as I’m clearly too slow on the shutter please point me towards any of your own snaps that might help these pages blossom.

Fools of the Road

Can you imagine what would happen if we decided that the Highway Code was optional? Of course there are already transgressers. Most drivers, I’m guessing, speed a bit and without your occasional red light jumper, drink driver and so on there’d be no need for those lovely little two letter acronomys that litter some people’s driving licences – all your TP and SPs and DRs. But what if LOTs of us decided simply not to bother with things like one way streets? What if we regularly decided that instead of waiting in a jam we’d bump over the central reservation, reverse up a slip road or drive a few yards on the pavement? Sound extreme? Well, welcome to what seems increasingly to be the modus operandi of the London cyclist.

Have a look at this guy.
photo 2013-05-29 3

He didn’t fancy staying out of the yellow cross hantched box when the lights were on red so he pretended it was a pavement, hopped off and walked across it. Genius. I mean why bother sticking to the real rules when you can make up your own? I have a few suggestions that motorists might like to adopt so as not to be left out.

Red lines at the side of the road a bother? Pretend they’re yellow and stop there anyway. Why let a little thing like a red route spoil your day?

Don’t fancy waiting for lights? Crack on and go across after all, if someone hits you, it’ll be their fault for not looking properly, no?.

Irritating one way street going in the wrong direction? It’d be much more convenient if it was two way – make it so!

Pavement in your way? Drive over it. Putting it there was obviously an oversight on the part of a crappy highway planner and you know best, don’t you?

Someone on a crossing you want to drive across? Put your foot down. They’ll soon shift when they see you coming.

Of course there might be some collateral damage. A few more accidents and so on but if we can get to work more quickly and not have to bother with all that tiresome waiting and obeying signs, surely it has to be worth it?

Red light spells…danger

Here’s one of my biggest bugbears. The red light jumper. Now I know that if you write anything like this on any of the myriad cycling blogs that are temples to the lycra clad you get an immediate response saying that motorists jump red lights too. It’s true, they do. I’ve seen it on LOTS of occasions. BUT generally speaking, they tend to be last minute chancers, amber gamblers and yes it’s a pain and yes it’s just as wrong as any other bit of road law breaking.

But what gets me about the cyclist red light jumpers is the fact that I will often see them act as if the light simply doesn’t exist. Everyone stopped for some reason? Excellent! I’ll shoot through at warp speed. Once again, it’s the fact that this is or at least should be unexpected that makes it so bloody dangerous.redlight

When I was crossing with a green man on the signal in central London last week a cyclist shot out of the road oppposite, dinged his bell furiously at me as if I was the one in the wrong and disappeared shouting ‘f**ing watch out!’. Lovely. I wasn’t texting. I wasn’t distracted. I wasn’t doing anything except crossing a road in a place I was perfectly entitled to. It’s NOT on, cyclists. Stop doing it.

Let’s start here

Ok. I hope you liked my opening post. I’m pretty much a blogging virgin but thought it was about time I dipped my toe in the water – or put my foot on the crossing perhaps.

A fitting metaphor, I think, because today’s subject is a regular type of idiot. That`s right, the one who thinks it`s just fine to cycle across a zebra crossing at maybe 25mph with no thought about who is walking quite innocently across. I suppose it’s a small comfort that at least there was no other traffic around when I saw this because when 4 wheeled vehicles have politely stopped and a cyclist zooms across on the inside that`s when it really gets dangerous.
I know this blog will be dedicated to all forms of 2 wheeled lunacy and in most cases that concerns a 2 wheeled idiot risking taking on a car, or worse, a bus or a truck. But on a crossing the risk is very much bike v pedestrian and we all know who’s coming off worse there!

So. Hey! You want to kill yourself by tangling with cars go ahead. Messy and unnecessary and grist to my mill here but it’s the minority idiot at fault again. Take me on at a crossing, though, thats`s different. That’s threatening my safety. I’m gonna get ya, if only in words.

So please STOP. IT`S THE LAW AND IT APPLIES TO YOU TOO. And not only that; it really is the responsible thing to do. For you, for me and for the majority of your fellow cyclists who DO know how to behave.

This is 2wheels bad – welcome

Hello and welcome to 2wheelsbad

London. Got to love it. Got to love the way we all get around, making short work of the chaos of an overcrowded city. Tube, bus, taxi, some even persist, for reasons best known to themselves, with the car. But I’m sure you’ve noticed, as have I, the huge growth in 2 wheel transport. Motorbikes, yes, but particularly bikes. Everyday the numbers seem to grow wherever you look. Every junction at rush hour is packed with bikes waiting to set off, every bus lane a maze of buses avoiding bikes, Boris bikes, racing bikes, shopping bikes.

All very good. All very green. But I want to add to the debate about the minority of cyclists who believe they own London, the whole of London, the roads, the pavements: no laws for them. We know its a minority but they sure give the rest a bad name.

I’m fed up of stepping onto a pedestrian crossing to be mown down by a bike that doesn’t believe stop means them. I’m fed up of waiting for traffic lights to change to cross the road, only to find my way across blocked by bikes who don’t know where to stop or those that don’t bother. I’m fed up with bikes bearing down on me on the pavement because the road is one way – the other way!


So this blog is dedicated to what cyclists do wrong. We will shame where we can. We will capture their photos and you can see them put ours, yours, their own lives on the line.

Today, though, we will start with the environment. A study below and captured on our blog page background in how to ruin a listed building.

Look out for more.