To answer this question we must look to see what drivers complain about the most. What’s the biggest issue that drivers have to deal with?
If you’re orientated with social media (and if you’re not, why are you reading this?), then you’ll instantly know that drivers complain most about cyclists which as a driver and a cyclist has always struck me as very odd but I suppose we should try and answer that one. It’s actually a fairly difficult question to answer. The reality is that cyclists don’t actually cause motorists much bother (unless of course they annoyingly get themselves jammed under their wheels) and the complaints are clearly disproportionate to the amount of actual pain cyclists do cause to motorists so on that score I’m guessing that the complaints come from drivers who spend far too much time looking out for non-drivers doing things they don’t think they should be. You know, when they should be looking where they’re going and everything. Drivers complaints about cyclists seem to have a general theme and can mostly be aligned with the following:
- That cyclist/those cyclists are holding me up.
- That cyclists/those cyclists aren’t obeying the road traffic laws
- That cyclist/those cyclists don’t have to pay the things that I do to drive my vehicle
I defy even the most tongue-gnashingly rabid driver to produce a real example of where their journey was delayed by more than a few minutes by any number of cyclists. Any delay from the cyclists is almost certainly offset by the delays incurred by other drivers proved by the cyclists all catching up with the drivers at the next set of lights. For a single cyclist to hold up a driver for any length of time is unheard of, what is more likely on a day to day basis is that heavy traffic is tolerated until a cyclist is seen who is then attributed to causing it all.
Perhaps if drivers spent more time looking where they’re going instead of what other people are getting up to, they’d have less to complain about.
So yes, drivers are their own worst enemy here.
Traffic laws are an interesting subject since so many complaining drivers seem to lack the basic rudimentary understanding of them and certainly the fixed penalty statistics give us clear evidence that a great many drivers feel the laws are not for them. If we stick to the actual ones that are laws (as opposed to riding double file, not using the cycle lane and any other from a myriad of invented rules) then I’d not condone the most common ones such as jumping red lights and riding on the pavement but are they causing the drivers any problems? Not really, in fact since these activities generally stop the cyclists getting in the way of drivers, I can only imagine that drivers are going out of their way to look for people breaking the rules so they can get angry about it.
Drivers are their own worst enemy there.
And then there’s the payment stuff. As anyone who has been a cyclist for more than five minutes can tell you, drivers are awfully keen to point out how financially down-trodden they are. They have these crippling costs to pay such as the price of the car, the mind-bogglingly expensive VED (drivers will use the phrase ‘Road Tax’), insurance, petrol, fines for when they break the law. I’m not even going to bother to go into detail on any of these things, anyone using them as arguments should be laughed out of the room. If you don’t like them, you have many other options to owning a car, or even owning the car you have. If drivers didn’t cause all sorts of damage with their cars then maybe insurance, tax and fuel prices wouldn’t be so high. And don’t break the law.
Drivers are their own worst enemy there.
Drivers of course don’t like lots of other things other than cyclists. I expect the biggest complaint after all those horrible people on bikes, and the terrible, pocket-crippling costs of voluntarily owning and operating a motor vehicle, is congestion. I can answer that one with a simple picture.
Yup, their own worst enemy.
A top ten driver complaint just has to be other drivers. They’re in the way, they can’t drive, they’re going too slow, they’re going too fast. It seems that so many drivers perambulate in irony city that they perhaps miss the obvious.
Drivers? Their own worst enemy.
I could go on and on but the simple fact is that drivers (being people), generally do an awful lot of complaining about the terrible state of their world. They have to endure lots of financial hardships, they have to endure lots of other people, some of whom are also driving, they have to put up with huge queues of other drivers and constantly keep their eyes peeled for other people who are undertaking infractions, both real and perceived. And you know what? It’s your own fucking fault. If you don’t like it, you have a choice. It’s a choice many other people opt out of because they simply don’t want to piss about with owning and operating a vehicle. And if you don’t like it but carry on doing it? Well, you’re your own worst enemy.
I wrote this article after seeing a quick succession of a number of people claiming cyclists were their own worst enemy.
First off we saw Sir John Armitt tell us during the TfL board meeting to discuss cycle superhighways. The beautiful irony in his comment is not that he said it at precisely the same time one of his drivers was setting about injuring a cyclist at Marble Arch (he was asking for it!), but that even if his insane statement were true, segregated cycle lanes would solve the problem.