Five things I hate about cycling: Cars
Its taken a month, but I have finally completed my exhaustive analysis of everything wrong with cycling. After hills, sweating, roads and punctures, all that remains is my very least favourite thing about cycling: Cars.
Risk is an interesting phenomenom in our society. On the one hand, environmental health can shut you down if you make a sandwich without washing lettuce; on the other, there’s no legal barrier to sitting on a flimsy metal frame with half inch wheels, doing 30 mph on uneven tarmac as lorries overtake you at 70, with a feeble layer of polystyrene as your sole protection.
When doing 13 mph down my road, I’m not too worried about lorries, but I am very concerned about the lady in the Corsa who hasn’t looked in her wingmirror, and is about to open her door. Or the chap who overtook me on a high street, then turned left, causing me to crash into the side of his car. And I say I’m not too worried about lorries, but I don’t love it when they force you off the road into a ditch and you lose a front tooth.
The root of the problem is that cars are large, fast vehicles with limited visibility, often driven by impatient people. As a cyclist, its easy to despise the more obnoxious drivers, and paint them all with the same brush. Certainly, the operator of the car that hooted me last month whilst I was traversing a free flowing, highly dangerous roundabout fully deserves a slap.
However, we do need a little perspective; after all, many of us cyclists are drivers at other times, and all of us know how easy it is to forget to look in the mirrors before turning left, how easy it is to miss the cyclist hidden behind a truck, or in line with the sun.
Last week I pulled out at a cross roads after very carefully trying to assess if there was a bike coming down the hill. Despite my best efforts, there was a cyclist, who I very nearly brained. Whilst his not wearing a helmet implies there was little brain to risk, the point remains: cyclists are vulnerable, and, ultimately, feeling vulnerable is not the same as having fun.
I actually tried to come up with a realistic solution to the problem here.
The biggest issue is that not only are bikes very vulnerable, they are also vastly in the minority. Multiple studies show that the more people there are walking and cycling, the safer it becomes. In Amsterdam, you are twice as likely to be murdered as killed cycling. Overall, in Denmark and Holland, countries with much higher rates of cycling, you are three times less likely to die when riding.
So, the best way to make the roads less dangerous, less terrifying and thus less offputting to cyclists is to get more of us out there. Which probably means I should write a 5 things I love about cycling series…
Day Thirty Two – I hate Monday
The following post is from a series of emails I wrote to my girlfriend at the time, whilst on a trip to Africa. She is now my wife, so I did something right.
Monday blues lasted well throughout the day. Not enough work was done by any of us, nothing seemed to be working well. Despite being at work for many hours,
The best part happened when I got one of your presents, but unfortunately, I can’t tell you about that until I get back. I can talk about the drive there though – it was out in Vilgepark, which is a suburb just off the edge of Harrismith – where me and Mohau go to play pool.
Unfortunately, there are a great deal of road works going on at the moment, because the roads are shot. And why? Lorries. Harrismith is in the middle of the 6 hour highway between Jo’burg andDurban. Which means all the lorries stop here for breaks. And because a little bit of the highway is knocked out, instead of going round Harrismith, now they go through it. Thus destroying the roads.
This also means that the route to vilgepark is much longer than one would expect, with a circuituous route, and lots of queues, and doubling back. Someone was telling me how one day, on the Friday of a long weekend, they shut everything through town except one lane. The tail back was an hour and a half, just to leave town.
Anyway, I got your present then, and you will know soon. Hoever, everything else just seemed to be a bit rubbishy. You know how Mondays are.
I ended the day at the prayer and intercession meeting the church has once a week. We were praying for a lot of things, but I felt very strongly from God to pray about the church. We were praying about 3 hours, and it was really good.
One of the verses that came up was this:
“Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”
1 Thessalonians 5:23,24
Love you bumley,