There’s a strange situation that takes place amongst cyclists sometimes. Or maybe it’s not that strange, but it’s certainly wrong. As wrong as fish. Maybe even wronger.
Allow me to outline a scenario that illustrates this situation.
A hostage is cycling along the road. He’s not doing anything wrong or confrontational, he’s just riding about the place. I dunno, he’s on his way to work. But he’s riding along. A hostage.
As he approaches a narrow section of the road, a hostage taker approaches in a car behind him. The hostage taker doesn’t just nail it past him with inches to spare. The hostage taker waits behind.
After the road narrows, it goes round a sharp corner and then after a few hundred metres, the road widens and heads off in a straight line. The hostage, conscious that he is holding the hostage taker up, gives it a bit extra. He’s not a slow hostage by any means. This particular one is quite fast, 22-25mph on the flat. In a 30 mph section. So he’s not holding the hostage taker up by too much, but he does feel guilty about it. So he goes fast. Faster than he normally does, he goes fast until the hostage taker has room to overtake. Safely.
Overwhelmed with gratitude, the hostage waves his thanks to the hostage taker. “Thanks for not killing me”, he waves. “What a great person you are”.
What the actual hell?
I should explain Stockholm syndrome at this stage. If you don’t already know, this is the positive emotional attachment that the victims in a relationship make with their captors. Originally coined after a lengthy hostage situation in a Stockholm bank vault, the expression is often used to describe the bond that builds between an abused party in a relationship and the abuser.
Well hang on Jon, just a minute. Drivers aren’t kidnappers. This particular one is old Mrs Whattle, she’s never hurt anyone in her life. She cares about people and she’s on her way the village hall to run a coffee morning for cancer victims. You’re just one of those cyclists who go on and on about drivers all being bad and all cyclists being good.
Well hang on Jon, I’m a cyclist and I don’t wave thanks to drivers who wait behind and then feel a surge of well being towards drivers when they pass safely and considerately as they are bound by law and common decency to do so….
I could be wrong. I often am. But I don’t think I am in this case. I don’t give a shit about the drivers perspective to be honest. Lets talk about the cyclists perspective though.
The vast, overwhelming majority of road transport infrastructure in this country is designed to work for drivers. Cyclists are allowed on some of it, and there is a tiny, insignificant proportion that is actually dedicated to cyclists, but on the main, drivers get full priority. Even in that there London where crazy people are building actual, dedicated, well thought out cycling infrastructure that isn’t knee deep in mud, there’s something like 15 miles of proper stuff. For 1000’s of miles of roads, 15 miles of it, has some sensible cycle infrastructure, in the best supported city in the UK.
W O W
And you would not fucking believe how much anguish those 15 miles of cycle lane have caused to the good citizens of our capital. Even celebrities have got involved. Not shit celebrities neither, real ones like Janet Street Porter, Sir Alan Sugar and Tom Conte. Those people are absolutely LIVID about this insane level of investment and disruption that is clearly designed to fold to the agenda of the all-powerful cycling lobby.
You see, even celebrities, the most perfect members of our society, have Stockholm Syndrome. They have been utterly convinced by the dogma that is doled out by the car trade, the road trade and the politicians making money out of them. They have fallen for the cause that the real kidnappers have held a ransom over us for years.
There is no all-powerful cycling lobby. This is the most hilarious thing anyone can ever say in the entire world. I’m hugely reluctant to accept that Janet Street-Porter has been hired by Mercedes to diss the all-powerful cycling lobby but I’m happy to accept she’s been fooled into swallowing the line (hook and sinker) that her captors have been feeding her. All our captors.
Tell you what, it’s time to stop this shit. We’re not sorry for the inconvenience.
(Photo courtesy of alamy stock photo)
We don’t see your view, we don’t get your cause. Share the road? Yeah alright, equal space, equal rights, equal infrastructure, equal spending.
See our view.