The bicycle update
Some weeks ago I posted an account of my experiences as a newly regular cyclist on Dublin streets. While I was enjoying my new method of transport, I nevertheless found that my fellow cyclists were, in significant numbers, rude and discourteous and a menace to other road users; almost as a matter of course they did not observe even basic rules of the road, and resented having their attention drawn to this. This post was picked up a little later by the Sunday Times, and since then I have been receiving a steady trickle of correspondence, more or less evenly split between non-cyclist road users agreeing with me (both pedestrians and motorists), and cyclists hurling abuse at me and telling me how cyclists are a victimised group of road users constantly subjected to danger by cars.
I cannot say that the habits of my fellow cyclists have improved visibly. Now when I stop at red and, invariably, cyclists speed past me as they break the lights, I tend to call out to them, politely, that it’s red. I won’t go into the responses, except to say that it would be a great way to learn Dublin expletives and hand gestures. I have however noticed that, recently, Garda (police) electronic noticeboards have contained warnings to cyclists to observe ‘all the rules of the road’. If this is a prelude to enforcement, that might be a good thing; but so far I see no evidence of that.
Finally, to those who have said to me that cyclists breaking traffic regulations are only a danger to themselves, let me just say that since I last posted on this topic I have seen three cyclist collisions (i.e. cyclists colliding with each other), two cyclists running into pedestrians, one cyclist nearly hitting a pedestrian and making the latter jump into a big puddle of water, and one cyclist forcing a car to swerve dangerously out of his lane.
I may continue to report on this from time to time.