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Wednesday 18 January 2012

Recurring Themes

Once again we find ourselves in January, and once again I find myself writing about an incident where someone has attempted, without provocation, to use a motor vehicle as a weapon to either intimidate or assault me. Once again, the sole reason behind this appears to be something as innocuous as my choice of transport mode. Once again the driver and occupants of the vehicle were around 17-19 years of age and once again they were exclusively male.

The sad thing is that most regular cyclists have similar stories of unprovoked aggression from motorists. Most regular cyclists I have spoken to have at least one story of a motorist attempting to intimidate them or cause actual bodily harm for no other reason that they had the sheer audacity to choose to get around on a bike. 

A significant minority of the general population seem to have the capacity to behave like this. When using public transport or on foot they might be a nuisance to others. On a bicycle they may risk causing injury to others and themselves in the process. In a car, they are able to kill and maim without any risk of coming to harm themselves. Interestingly, the behaviour of this fraction of the general public receives by far the most attention from the mainstream press when they also happen to ride bicycles.

Perhaps it is time to seriously examine the idea of including a thorough psychological examination in the process of licensing drivers. In addition to weeding out those who clearly are not able to behave appropriately when operating a dangerous machine in a public place, it will also help put people off driving in general by increasing the costs and hassle associated with learning and continuing to drive. This can only be a good thing for everyone.


  1. Maybe it should be time to inform students in drivers education courses or defensive driving the rules as well as laws related to bicycles. I know that it was never covered in the course I took as a 16 year old driver.

  2. This is probably not what you want to hear, but I am starting to get seriously disheartened by the lack of interest and will from politicians, local authorities, police authorities etc to actually do something about this awful stuff.

    That a student doctor got killed by a lorry simply because he chose to cycle to work few weeks ago, has passed with a simple "what a shame" article in the (local) press and that was it. And that's just one example.

    What the h*ll is it going to take? What the h*ll can we seriously do about it? Where does the power lie to change things for real and make people notice?

    I am glad you are ok, despite the yet again disgusting experience. L x


This blog has moved to Chester. All the old posts can be found at Chester Cycling where I invite you to continue the discussion instead

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