The moves to increase cycling in the wake of Covid19 are to be commended, and many councils are trying to make changes to existing road layouts for the benefits of all forms of human powered transport, including just walking about safely, but is this enough and can they do more, or do it better.
On my sister blog I looked at some of the failures of cycling infrastructure, in the UK, with a humorous take on some of the worst examples in a photographic slide show. But this isn’t a joke, it’s actually life and death for many people.
Every day cyclists encounter the most awful levels of abuse and danger which they can only mitigate to a certain extent. This mostly comes from car drivers and is a reflection of this ‘age of entitlement’, as I call it, that has been brought about by the commercial successes of certain types of entertainment and the media, or so I believe.
It is not enough now to be hard working, to have a good career, and to live a good life. People want fame and fortune, and many younger generations have grown up with a sense of entitlement that just isn’t justified. This manifests itself in their world view, and in their road skills, but don’t get me wrong here. It is not largely the younger generations that are very often to blame. Sadly, this sense of entitlement comes with experience and a sense of having paid into and played the system. Only too often it is my generation who are the most aggressive, and who feel they have earned the right to these ‘entitlements’ they see as theirs.
They want to dominate the road, to have their space, and do their thing unimpeded. But, perversely, whilst they don’t want to share the road with cyclists, they also don’t want us to have our own infrastructure, which would get us out their way, either. They feel that they would be financially challenged by this, they would somehow be ‘paying’ for us to enjoy ourselves. Yes, it will come out of taxation, but we all pay that, and why does anyone have a problem with this. As a cyclist, I don’t have a problem with stuff being built for cars – as an environmentalist I might want to have a different argument about it, but that is a very different thing. I’m not arguing that I’m paying for you, even if I am.
They want their road space to sit in traffic jams without seeing us coming up their dubiously painted ‘cycle lanes’ and getting to the same destinations quicker than them. You know what is? It is plan old jealousy. Perhaps instead of moaning about it, they should try it.
Think about it, every cyclist is one less car in your way. Every cyclist is actually making more room for the drivers. We are your friends, not your enemy. If you really don’t want to share the road with us, then don’t argue about giving us infrastructure to get out of your way, support us in our quest for it. It benefits you too – ask the Dutch.