I walk along the Southbank to and from work and as I walk the narrow strip under Blackfriars train bridge I often have cyclists behind me, audibly huffing in expression of their frustration that they cannot get past me - a pedestrian who has the sheer audacity to believe he may walk the pavements of London at anything less than the speed of a free-wheeling bicycle.
Well, I'm sorry my bi-wheeled friends. I don't feel safe in front of you at low speed, so I'm not jogging out of your way either.
Can I bring out my warmly nurtured pet theory.......
.....that all cyclists should be forced to pass a basic road test, have third party insurance, and be penalised if they cycle on the pavement or run through red lights at junctions (other than turning left - see below), but that in return they should be allowed to turn left at red lights (with the proviso that if they crash it's their fault) and go straight through red lights at pedestrian crossings (as long as there are no pedestrians within say 10 feet).........
Getting people out of cars and onto cycles, scooters, etc has got to form a significant part of any transport policy for a big city like London. There are a lot of experienced and considerate cyclists. But there are also a lot of "guerilla cyclists" who do a fantastic job of making most [non cycling] people intolerant of the rest of us [cyclists] and they have to be controlled (the same as any other reckless road user).
To ride my scooter I have to have (at least 3rd party) insurance, and I have to pass a basic one-day course of tuition where you get comprehensively told how much damage you can do and how dangerous being on the roads can be if you aren't careful about it. (I like to think that) this results in me having a healthy respect for the rules of the road and (again, hopefully) driving safely and with consideration for other drivers and pedestrians. The course did cost a few quid, but it's compulsory and so it becomes a cost that I HAD to factor in when deciding whether I could afford a bike (and the same goes for buying a helmet).
On the other hand, anyone can go out and buy a pushbike with no experience of riding (and no compulsion to take any training - even if there were such training available - or to wear a helmet), and they can get straight out into the traffic on some of the country's busiest roads with no experience (or insurance). When I ride around town (which I do every day) it is very common to see cyclists wobbling along, changing lanes with no indication, and generally putting themselves in great danger. I'm sure that these people aren't TRYING to get run over, but they are riding in a way that they stand a bloody good chance of it happening. (Given that most people don't want to die), I can only assume that this behaviour is down to a lack of training.
Hear hear Ivanhoe. I still think cyclists should be banned (for their own sake) from the Embankment; from the OKR, the NKR, the E&C, the Bricklayers etc. etc. And third party insurance should be compulsory for them. I am a member of some dodgy cycling club that sends me magazines I do not want or need (25 vertical miles over the alps in 3 days, anyone?), just for the sake of third party insurance. But maybe I'm paranoid.
Ah, the now dangerously radical Cyclists Touring Club, I presume.
I do agree that third party insurance should be a requirement, and CTC does offer the only readily affordable scheme.
However, I had thought you were a libertarian who would support their campaign against the Government's current proposals to make helmets compulsory for teenage cyclists.
Clearly you are just an old-fashioned reactionary sort. Do reassure us that your bicycle does have a wicker basket on the front and a Brooks leather saddle, and that your cycle clips are stainless steel rather than those nasty high visibility ones!
I wouild not like to comment as the last pavement cyclist made me forget I was a lady of mature years ... therefore my landguaage was disgusting.. and we are not talking bikes with eighteen inch wheels.
Clever of you to know it was the CTC, Lang Rabbie, as I could not remember.
I am indeed against compulsory helmet wearing for cyclists. (There is some research that shows that forcing car passengers to wear helmets would save many more lives than forcing cyclists to wear helmets. This because many car passengers die from head injuries.) But I am not against banning cyclists from motorways or other places that they should not be so silly as to ride, like the E&C roundabout - or most of London, frankly!
Cannot reassure you on any of those points regarding my bicycle. Bicycle has far nobbly tyres (but with mudguards) ideal for exercising hounds. Cycle clips get lost, so do not get worn. Wicker baskets are more expensive to replace when they inevitably get stolen.
Third party insurance for cyclists is important and in the past cyclists in London had to join either CTC or LCC to benefit from third party liability insurance. However now it's possible to get Third Party Insurance for cyclists through the London Clarion Cycle Club. www.londonclarion.org.uk