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The self-righteousness of cyclists knows no bounds


I have adequate self-esteem and a burning desire for justice but I just cannot compete in these respects with certain urban cyclists.

My brother-in-law got a £50 fine for parking outside a charity shop on Chiswick High Road for the few seconds it took him to run in a box of donated goods. Or as he might have put it (if he were a prig) "doing the world a favour." I read later the camera that snagged him is one of the highest-yielding bits of kit in the capital (congratulations, Hounslow Council). He paid up and moved on. I doubt he has thought about it since.

Casey Neistat likewise got a $50 fine for riding outside an available bike lane. But he didn't shrug his shoulders. Oh no! He got on his blazing white steed bike and rode into battle.

City bike lanes take up space that could otherwise be shared with other road users. This, in order to protect the smug, entitled "...I am doing the world a favor here..." asses of cyclists. Yet Niestat took offence on an epic scale. He is one of those people memorably dubbed by one of my favourite bloggers, Leg-iron, as "the Righteous".

The video is funny if you are not one of the people whose property he deliberately rides into to make his point. Mainly it's funny because of his incredible sense of grievance. Talk about #firstworldproblems. He's lucky he didn't hurt himself. He's even luckier he didn't get fined for some US equivalent of 'criminal damage.'

I don't always sympathise with policemen. Our own British "bobbies" have sold their souls to "the Righteous" and now seem engaged more in suppressing thought-crime than in anything actually useful. The officer at the beginning of the film however strikes me as a good guy doing his best. I certainly admire his restraint in the face of the whining of this major league prig.

4440588147_a4da68c573On my riverside walk last Sunday I discovered a sign almost as ignored as those that say "keep left" on the stairs in London's tube stations. It's also two words too long for London's literates, apparently. It reads "No cycling".

No laws kept those two-wheeled prigs out of the Thames that day. Only my sense of proportion. Mr Niestat could do with some of that. If you disagree with me, I shall cheerfully do that walk again with a video camera and an extra spoke for their wheels. It should make for every bit as amusing a film.


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I think you have misunderstood the sign on the underground, keep left is obviously a political exhortation (probably installed at camoron's insistence) and has been very successfully deployed in the metropolis.

Perhaps instead of the no cycling signs you desire, another two letter sign of camoron design could be installed-Big Society. The nanny state needs to control you.

The problem with cities and public byways, is that we have to find ways to co-exist comfortably, humans are not too good at that. Bureaucrats then see an opportunity for herding the masses by installing a sign to exhort us to do something. There is of course no correlation to better manners by signs such as "no bicycling on the pavement", or "give way", but the bureaucrats dis-ease has been pacified.

Personally I would like to see a movement take hold for removal of 70% of all signs. Trials removing a majority of road signs have improved traffic safety tremendously.

As to your immediate problem, an umbrella wielded carelessly into the spokes of any ignorant cyclist acting dangerously seems a capital idea, always followed by a profuse and insincere flurry of sorrys. It's the big society innit!




Did I suggest I knew anything about how these accidents actually happened, let alone who was to blame? I said "I see this".

These were accidents on a cycling lane which highlight these lanes are not safe.

The safety issues with cycle lanes are multifactorial. Identifying and addressing these issues will improve the situation. For example, the layout of cycle lanes has been deemed a factor.

I do not have a crystal ball but certainly wish I had. :)


Gosh, they haven't held the inquest yet, much less even arrested the two drivers, and you are able to know, somehow, that the drivers were to blame!

Great crystal ball you have there. Can you also tell me who'll win the 2:30 at Kempton?


Thank you for your reply.
I see this:


Hi Tom

for once I disagree with you.

THe guy may in the video may or may not be a twat but he has a point. you can't fine somebody for not using a bike lane if the lanes are frequently blocked.

either they are obligatory and kept rigorously clear and made genuinely safe, or they are not.

personally I am not even convinced they are a particularly good idea.

And your point that often they are a bunch of self righteous bastards is correct, but then so are motorists, pedestrians, women, italians, dog owners, policemen, journalists, bloggers... you name it


Why? Because of stories like this:


Sir, if I have shocked you I am clearly on the wrong track, or cycle path. I agree entirely with your final paragraph. There is nothing wrong with bicycles. They are perfectly useful machines in correct use. To paraphrase the National Rifle Association; "bikes don't tick people off; cyclists do"


The 'extra spoke' comment was a joke; another way of indicating how over the top the guy in the video was by positing a ridiculous response that equated to to his own. Regular readers know my central belief is in non-violence. Violence is precisely what I object to in the present political reality. No matter how irritating my fellow men may be, they are safe from me until they pose a clear threat. Therefore I thought everyone would see the joke. However, any joke one has to explain has clearly failed, so my apologies.

Thank you for your calm, reasoned, non-tribal response. You do cycling far more good than idiots on Twitter who equate motorists to murderers. There's an email link in the sidebar if you are serious about going for a ride together. I try to be open to persuasion that I am wrong and the video might make for an interesting blog post.


I may be wrong. It happens. But I am curious about what I may be wrong on this occasion? Is the guy not a prig? Is the video not funny?


I must respectfully beg to differ. You have a tribal stance on cycling that both contradicts your relentless reasonableness on other subjects and seems to blind you to what the rest of us see every day. The pavement cyclists of Hammersmith and Putney last weekend did not seem to be poor, old, weak or afraid. Or perhaps they were, but dressed up in lycra to avert the hatred of other cyclists? They got no more than a tut from me - whatever their class origins, because my snobberies don't run in that direction. I don't want to overstate the importance of this issue (except for comic effect). Calm down old son and at least admit that the guy in the video is a clown.

james higham

I've had a problem with cyclists too and I'm a cyclist. There's a type which you can see a mile off, perhaps they've never driven and so neither understand nor care.

On the other hand, I've seen some pretty law-abiding cyclists too. It's the luck of the draw. It does seem to me that London has more than its fair share of the bad type.


That's right, you're lumping all cyclists together.

Far better instead just to attack the rich, white ones.

Can't really go wrong there, especially as I've heard rich, white folk (mainly the men) are the real cause of almost all of the world's problems.


You're making the same category error as Rod Liddle. Lumping all cyclists together. Especially the pavement cyclists (mostly poor, old, weak, afraid) with "lycra-nazis" (rich, white, confident, aggressive) who HATE pavement cyclists.

It's like trying to judge all motorists by the standards of "people" who drive BMWs.


JuliaM, I partially agree with the OP though not fully agree as my comment makes clear, why do you "agree fully with the OP"?


Sorry, Paul, but 'most of his readers seem to agree with me'..?

No. Most of the comments do. That doesn't equal 'most of the readers'. I agree fully with the OP.

Paul Reed

Sorry, as a cyclist and driver, IMHO you are wrong on this one. And most of your readers seems to agree with me.
This isn't just about self-righteousness; when cyclists are forced to follow badly designed regulations they can get killed by a driver.


The man was given a fine for failing to comply with an impossible rule. Surely he has a right to protest this ex cathedra high handedness. Making a comic film is as good a way as any to make that protest.

Yet our gracious host sides with the policeman who appears to be making up the law on the hoof. I'm shocked.

Cyclists polarise opinion because they often choose their safest option rather than the legal one. For example, negotiating dangerous junctions during the pedestrian phase of the traffic lights. Are pedestrians getting slaughtered by this activity? Not to my knowledge. Are cyclists being slaughtered when they stick to the rules... yes; one died yesterday and one is fighting for his life today, both in London.

Bicycles are permitted on most of the Thames Path and they coexist well with pedestrians. There are a few pinch point where cyclists should dismount (like the alleyway past the Dove going into Furnivall Gardens) but as ever common sense is the key, not blind rules, I dismount if there are any pedestrians around.

The real problem appears to be the attitude of some cyclists. The London Critical Mass rides are a focus for these idiots. I found myself having a heated debate with one of the organisers a few weeks ago. Unsurprisingly it turns out that the very same uppity cyclists are uppity about everything else; Unite Against Fascism, Socialist Workers Party, 38 Degrees, Greenpeace, you name it.


"My brother-, in-law got a £50 fine for parking outside a charity shop on Chiswick High Road ". I have had a similar experience, grr.

"The officer at the beginning of the film however strikes me as a good guy doing his best". Agreed, however he was wrong about issuing a ticket. The officer also said he had to ride in the lane, which the cyclist considered unsafe.

"City bike lanes take up space that could otherwise be shared with other road users. This, in order to protect the smug, entitled.,.I am doing the world a favor here..." asses of cyclists."

If they did protect, then there is no issue, but they don't. This is the real issue he was highlighting. Many cycle lanes are dangerous to ride in. They are rutted, debris collects in them, people park in them (illegally) amongst other things.

Avoiding objects, or shaken by bumps and swerving can put a cyclist in a dangerous situation.

The cyclist was a bit silly at the beginning, but highlighting the dangers of cycle lanes, although this was the US not the UK, is important. Some of the cycling lanes in this country are appalling and far from protective.

"If you disagree with me, I shall cheerfully do that walk again with a video camera and an extra spoke for their wheels. It should make for every bit as amusing a film."

While agreeing with you that people shouldn't ride bikes in places where they are not allowed, if I disagree with your 'extra spoke' remedy, will you be doing the walk and potentially harming someone, I hope not? Perhaps you would like to bring your cam, we can sort out a bike, and join me to video a normal cycle lane in this country?


Not approving of and still less calling for any laws. Just amused at the self importance of this chap. :-)


So, the great libertarian is now committed to laws and signs polluting our riverside limiting cyclists use of the space?!

If my cycle had not been stolen by the underclass I would cycle around and protest.....

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