Friday, 18 February 2011

Helmet Camera Cyclists on TV

Helmet Camera Cyclists have been making a bit of a splash lately. At the end of January we had this report on BBC Breakfast. Now we have had this report on the One Show.

Publicity is always good, or so they say, and there is some good that comes from this. There will be more awareness that some cyclists have cameras and perhaps a few folk on the road will improve their driving around cyclists for fear of being filmed.

However, both of these reports suggest that there is a 'WAR' going on, a war between cyclists and car drivers.


Let me state this clearly.

There is no war between cyclists and drivers.

Let me explain. I cycle 5 days a week, about 24 miles a day about 45 weeks a year. That's a lot of milage and time on the roads. During that time I interact with lots and lots of cars, HGVs, buses, cyclists, etc. Sometimes they overtake me, sometimes I overtake them. Sometimes they have to wait behind me for a few seconds, sometimes cars hold me up a little etc.

Now remember, we are apparently at war. What constitutes a war on the roads then? 80% of the time the passes are too close, there is aggression, I am ignored etc? Yes that would probably constitute a war.

Oh, wait a minute. That's not quite how it is out there. At most (and it is probably a lot less than this) on 3% of my commutes, I have a notable problem. That is, one bad pass, one piece of a abuse etc. During that commute that one bad incident is balanced by perhaps hundreds of good interactions. Being very conservative perhaps I interact with 100 cars per commute each way, so 200 in total per day.

So 0.015% not 80% of my interactions with drivers is poor. Does that constitute war between cars drivers and cyclists?

Of course not. But it doesn't make for a good headline either.

In truth, there are some bad road users out there, some are drivers, some are cyclists. There aren't many, but bad apples always stink out the bag.

So how do we keep the newspapers happy? I'm not sure they would go for:

Small minority of Road Users are bad....Shocker, Shocker!

Perhaps if we give them the war they so sorely seek.......

War Declared on Bad Road Users

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