Cyclists: the case for changing the law

I am currently working in the centre of Oxford.

Because it is the middle of summer, Oxford is full of tourists. And, naturally enough, many of the tourists are looking to get around the city and see the sights.

Some of the tourists are choosing to use bicycles to meet this requirement.

On Wednesday, last week, I was walking through the city centre, and passed a shop that hires bicycles out.

Three people were mounting their just-hired bicycles.

I watched.

I watched as they wobbled their way in to the path of an oncoming bus.

I watched as the bus was forced to stop, disrupting traffic (and other cyclists!), whilst the wobbly tourists attempted to make their way down the street.

I watched as one of them fell off, in the road.

I watched as the third cyclist stopped to help the fallen friend – but first she dismounted her bicycle, and placed it on its side in the bus lane.

I watched as all three remounted, and cycled through a pedestrian-only precinct.

I watched as another bicycle hirer mounted his bike and cycled the wrong way up a one-way street.

Not at all selfish. Cunt.

Not at all selfish. Cunt.













So here are some facts about cyclists:

  • They use the road free of charge
  • They mix with cars, lorries, buses, motorbikes (and other cyclists)
  • They need take no tests
  • They are not even required to demonstrate they know the basics of the Highway Code
  • They are uninsured

How can it be right for uninsured, untested, road-users to mix and mingle with heavy traffic?

Where is the sense in this?

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6 Responses to Cyclists: the case for changing the law

  1. Allister says:

    But they’re *fragile* Bren. Stop picking on them!

    [fails to keep straight face]

  2. Masher says:

    As a cyclist myself, it pains me to admit that you are right.
    Too many cyclists have absolutely no idea as to the rules of the road – never mind the general etiquette required as a road user.
    The cycling misdemeanour that irks me the most, is when they ride through red traffic lights, as if that particular law doesn’t apply to them… when they know full well that it does.
    Obviously, as one myself, I’m not against cyclists, but many of them need to up their game if they are to use the roads alongside motorists.
    It’s for their own good as much as anyone else’s.

    • Brennig says:

      And as a motorcyclist, you may be interested in the next rant too 🙂 But yes, you’re right. Some kind of competency-based test would benefit cyclists as much as anyone else.

  3. Marcus says:

    The “use the roads free of charge” bit is a misnomer, any non-polluting vehicle can use UK roads free of charge.

    Operating a cycle recklessly is already something you can be prosecuted for, as is disobeying pedestrian zones, jumping red lights (a particular bugbear of mine), going the wrong way up a one way street, cycling on the pavement etc etc.

    The issue is one of enforcement of existing laws. Most cops in Oxford don’t seem to give a shit.

    • Brennig says:

      Hi Marcus, nice to ‘see’ you here. I have a big issue with the way all vehicles are charged (or not) for road use. Coming soon to a place on the internet near here.

      But you’re right. The police in Oxford (and London – and probably any other place in the UK) don’t care about this.