Thursday 17 November 2011

Too many incidents?

I'm a cyclist and I'm not involved in anywhere near as many incidents as you!

I'm on the receving end of many comments like this on a regular basis. Often on YouTube, but I am certainly not immune to this on internet forum sites either. This thread is an interesting example of how a thread can turn into Magnatom Bashing. You will need some time and patience to get through it!

I have certainly never claimed to be perfect. Sometimes I over-react, but I always try to remain honest. If that means showing a video where I come across badly, then so be it.

The argument that I am a troublemake and involved in far more incidents than anyone else is often banded about during these forum jousts. I can actually understand how it comes about. Imagine you have come across my videos for the first time and you start working your way through them. You flick past the boring videos, the ones where it shows me filtering through traffic, battling through floods, taking in the wonderful views and focus on the incidents. 15 or 20 videos later and it seems that all that idiot ever does is get into spats with drivers....he's a menace!!

What happens though if we take a step back. Actually look at all of my videos (I can also see the ones that are private for one reason or another) and see what the videos actually consit of.

This is how I would split them (186 at time of writing including a few private videos):

65 Incidents which were only annoying
15 Incidents which I considered risky to me
1 serious incident
31 which were observational of something positive (I was not directly involved)
27 which were observational of something negative (I was not directly involved)
17 which were either a mistake by me, or a fall that was my fault (admitted from the start or later)
14 that were demonstrating equipment
13 which were educational in some way
2 containing my family members
1 radio interview

So only 81 of my videos are of incidents where I felt someone else was at fault, and were at the very least annoying. Whilst I have been using a camera I estimate I have cycled 11320 miles. So that is about 140 miles between incidents. Remember that is incidents of any kind on predominently busy, urban, bike-unfriendly roads.

Taking only risky or serious incidents I have to cycle about 710 miles before I have a risky or very serious incident. Taking only the serious incidents (my oil tanker incident) which really risked my life, at the moment that stands at 11,320 miles.

So, do I really seem to get into bother more than other cyclists? I know that the vast majority of the incidents that I have had, had I not recorded them, I would not now remember. So without a camera, if I reflected back, I too would think Magnatom seems to get into a lot more bother than me..


  1. Don't worry about the negative comments.

    Your videos are great (both the good times and the bad times). Most people who cycle regularly recognise the type of incidents and drivers you show. You probably cycle more than most at busy times and you like to filter (so do I). Some cyclists only/mainly ride for pleasure and so do not have to interact with traffic as much. Also, some commenters will round on you because you show such videos and have a big following. You have made yourself a target as does anyone who speaks out.

    Keep up the good work.

  2. This is one of the big problems with forums. There are many, many forum users that feel the need to be negative, put you down or just be generally rude and obnoxious. I started a Facebook group called "give cyclists space" for the sole reason of promoting cycle safety. When I posted links on a couple of the big forums the majority of replies where negative! "Most saying wtf is a Facebook group going to do" whislt others said things like "I ride xxx miles per year and have never had a problem with close passes/dangerous drivers therefore I must be riding badly myself".........

    I've been watching magna noms vies for a long time and not once did I think he was on a "look at how clever I am" crucade! This woman is in the wrong! It wasn't a mistake, or a slip of the tongue or a SMIDSY it was just abusive. Had she said "oh, I'm sorry, I've had a really bad morning I didn't mean to take it out on you" perhaps the video wouldn't have been posted? Or would have at least has a positive spin on it. That wasn't the case so it deserves to be on YouTube for all to see. I hope she sees it and is truly embarrassed!

    Keep up the good work David! Don't let the trolls get you down!

  3. Current road commuting cyclists are dominated by the male 30-50 year olds.

    That group of male commuters are able to brush off some pretty close passes and bad driving as nothing, and find it hard to accept that there are some people to whom these incidents are actually unpleasant.

  4. As a YouTube video creator, I sympathize with Magnatom. It's far too easy for someone to leave a negative comment without having a complete understanding of the circumstances. As he suggests, one does not need to view hours and hours of boring "nothing happened here" videos and the edge-of-the-seat videos are quite rare.

    Unfortunately, it's quite easy to collect videos of motor vehicle operators driving in an unsafe manner, and in the USA, it's just as easy to collect videos of people on bicycle operating in an unsafe manner.

    The attack-style comments could easily be from either of these camps.

  5. Just following the law and riding safely can bring on incidents that wouldn't have happened otherwise. Some rider might have fewer complaints if they ride in the gutter and don't use turn lanes. Just obeying the law is enough to set people off, I don't know if this is a problem in the UK, but in Canada and the US, a good way to provoke road rage is to follow the law and use left-turn-lanes (right-turn lanes for you guys) instead of doing an illegal maneuver at the last minute or riding across in the crosswalk (er, that last one is actually legal in some of the US, although can be dangerous..). The usual internet comment rants about "cyclists need to pay insurance, stop at red lights" are often accompanied here by "and get out of the left turn lanes". Just last week in Canada in Toronto, a driver chased down a rider for using the turn lane as the law requires, chased her onto the sidewalk, drove after her down the sidewalk, struck her, then sped off to teach her a lesson for holding him up in the turn lane (he got arrested later).

  6. Just to add to my previous comment, the intersection dynamics might be a different here for cycling since filtering is illegal in all of Canada/US except California... you have to get over to your turn lane a bit earlier if there's a queue forming so you can get a place in line, and hold your place in the lane in the middle... I didn't dare try any filtering in London since I wasn't sure how to do it safely since I have no experience doing it!

  7. Well for what it is worth, the Australian Cycling Forums has a "motorist behaviour" discussion thread which is currently 155 pages long with 3,858 posts so I would suggest you are not alone in what you experience :)

  8. Illegitimi non carborundum, mate.