On two wheels

Over the past ten days or so, I have been on vacation in the United States with my family. We have been staying in a coastal area of South Carolina, where it is impossibly hot and humid at this time of year. Nevertheless, we have greatly enjoyed ourselves, and I for one have been getting some much needed exercise by cycling some 20 miles or so every day – despite the heat, a rather pleasant activity.

What has struck me here as a cyclist is how well behaved my fellow cyclists are. They stop at a ‘stop’ sign, they do not cross a red traffic light, they stick consistently to the correct side of the road, they stop to let pedestrians cross. In short, cyclists here observe the traffic regulations and behave with great courtesy and consideration.

In Dublin, I routinely see cyclists behaving as if the rules of the road did not in any way apply to them. They cross red lights as a matter of course, cycle on pavements, go the wrong way down one way streets, and so forth. Just before I left on holiday, I saw a cyclist in Dublin go through a red light at a pedestrian crossing and collide with a pedestrian just going across the road; and rather than apologise or act guilty, he berated the (elderly) pedestrian. I acknowledge of course that there are many cyclists who do not behave in this manner, but on the whole we do not recognise sufficiently that cyclists can also be a danger both to themselves and to others.

I believe that, in the interests of fuel conservation, far more people should be encouraged to take to bicycles. But it is time that cyclists in Ireland learn that they too must be responsible road users and adhere both to the rules and also to the desirable practice of courtesy towards others.

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4 Comments on “On two wheels”

  1. tatoca Says:

    i’ve beem meaning to post about this for ages. agree with you 100%. i was run over by cyclists twice, while crossing the road at a pedestrian green light…

  2. Scott Says:

    This is good news about the cyclists where you are vacationing. Here in Chicago, I’m afraid, cyclists behave like those in Dublin.

  3. MBM Says:

    I cycle in Dublin regularly and this may surprise you but I do believe that cyclists are road users just like drivers and have the same responsibilities. I do stop at red lights, I do stick to the side of the road, and I do signal when I’m about to take a turn.

    But I have to say that many motorists are very incosiderate to cyclists. Many constantly gravitate to the left-hand side of the road, cut in front of cyclists and do not leave enough space, cycle lane or no cycle lane. Taxi drivers tend to be especially bad.

  4. Ultan Says:

    I think the 54mm of rain here last Saturday could be a factor against uptake.

    Cyclists in San Francisco aren’t much better (don’t start me on Critical Mass).

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