The recent video emerging of Jeremy Vine's Road Rage incident, and the subsequent comments from riders about this happening "all the time" and "being an every day occurrence" got me thinking... I don't usually blog on this type of stuff, there are enough people our there who know alot more than me about cycling/traffic incidents, and can get their message across far more eloquently than me, but I honestly think the negative comments and publicity of cycling journeys and how cycling is portrayed as a means of transport and the risk associated is having a negative impact on the number of people getting on their bikes.
I've been cycling forever, well not forever, but over 20 years, road cycling for the past 7 of those and 5 of those in and through London, every single day, commuting and riding. I've clocked up over 60,000 miles and I can probably count the number of times I have experienced road rage or an incident on one hand, and certainly never to the extent of Mr Vine. People, whether they are in a car, on a bike or walking need to understand their surrounding a bit more, chill out. If you're driving 6" from a cyclist, you'll probably get a reaction, just the same as if you cycle 4 abreast. (This isn't a dig at Mr Vine btw, he was 100% in the right)
Now I'm not excusing the driver in question for their actions, or even suggesting that people should not be prosecuted for their actions, but it's this constant portrayal in the media, Us V Them, and this in turn is impacting people's perception of cycling and the associated risks with making a journey by bike. This needs to change if we're to see more people saddle up.
As soon as I mention to a colleague, friend or family member that I ride through London, you can guarantee their next phrase will be something along the lines of "ow that's so dangerous, i'd never do that, you're mad" my stock response is that it's actually perfectly safe and they should give it a go, not quite sure how many i've convinced, but it's an ongoing project...
Anyway bit of a ranty blog, but next time you're out riding or talking to somebody, just think, it's really not that bad you know, cycling is actually quite safe, superb exercise, fast, great fun, and means you can eat too much cake.