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It’s war on the roads sometimes.

 Giacomo Brunelli's beautiful photograph of a frightened cornered dog
Giacomo Brunelli’s beautiful photograph of a frightened cornered dog is a perfect illustration of much of the emotion on the roads. *CLICK TO VIEW HIS SITE*

It’s war on the roads sometimes.
Plenty of motorists act like complete idiots.
Pedestrians too.
And even cyclists.

But too often we remember the worst ones and tar that group with the same brush. Most people are inherently kind. We forget the 99 cars that pass us and remember the 1 that scares us silly.

Humans are a mix. A mix of incompetent, rude, arrogant, kind, thoughtful, considerate. We just have different ways of getting around. Bike. Foot. Car. Truck. Train. Dog sled. Bus. Often a combination of many/all of these.

But the difference is that a ton of metal hitting a ped or cyclist is highly likely to cause serious injury and possibly death. Whereas it is extraordinarily unlikely that a pedestrian or cyclist will cause anything more than superficial damage to a driver or their car.

Which is why we cyclists get so ANGRY when we have an ‘experience’ with a motor vehicle. More often than not ‘drivers’ see this is arrogance. It’s actually seeing what might have been flashing before our eyes.

Getting angry on the bike won’t help anyone. It’ll just entrench opinions. Recording bad behaviour and taking the moral high-ground will. Plus a calm explanation that’ll make them think (after they’ve told you to F*** OFF, obviously). My personal routine (if I can keep calm enough, depending often on how they react and if that is aggressive) is to be calm and say (not scream) something like "I’m not sure you realise but that literally could have killed me. I am only flesh and bone and I have a family." They usually just tell me to F*** *** anyway, but I remain optimistic that a pang of guilt and regret will pass over them as they continue listening to Katie Melua on Radio 2.

If we’re in it for the long haul, then we have to change opinions as we go. And lobby for laws and facilities that help us. I’d like to see an ad campaign that helps change cultural opinions long-term. Drink-driving is morally unacceptable to most people, but was the norm not that long ago. It’d show that cyclists break when you hit them. That they are vunerable. That they have families. That they can ride as fast, or faster than a car and that it’s an adult form of transport and inherently safe. As long as you act considerately.

I still lose it if someone does something really stupid or deliberate against me. It’s hard not to when you just scraped out of another potentially life-changing episode. But people are inherently good. We’re just so blinkered with the stress of our own lives to put ourselves in the shoes of another life.
Stay safe.


  1. Spot on Vulpine. I am constantly amazed at the selfishness demonstrated by all road users. Road cyclists in pitch black clothing, drivers failing to indicate and pedestrians that step into the road/cycle lane without looking.
    As you say, we as individuals have to do the right thing and hope it will nudge others to do so. I always notice in my rear view mirror when driving that if I indicate & give a cyclist a stack of room, most other drivers behind me do to.

  2. I hear you and that is why i’m happy to live in Holland. With so many bikes on the road here the one in the car is the one who is F*&ked. The one in the car is always wrong and guilty in Holland, doesn’t matter if i ride my bike straight towards the car and jump on it, he is guilty!! this way the cars in Holland should be aware of the cyclist, plus i think there are more bikes than cars. We’ve got the Power!!

    I’m always scared to ride a bike in other countries

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