Friday, 2 August 2013

Nice but wrong.

I've been going through a rough patch on the roads recently. The last 6 months haven't been my best. Unfortunately in that time I've had to report 4 drivers to the police. I've mentioned this before elsewhere but I thought I'd mention it again.

1 driver has been charged, admitted guilt and was sentenced to a fine of £175 and 5 points on his licence for careless driving.

1 driver, mainly because they were a, in the words of a police officer, 'nice old lady' got off with a warning for a very close pass.

1 driver has been charged with dangerous driving (not careless). That case is ongoing.

1 driver was reported for a close pass and aggressive behaviour. I've still not heard if the police were doing anything.

Unfortunately the bad patch has continued over the last week. I've had countless bad overtakes, usually in the face of oncoming traffic, and I've had lots of tailgating, something that I'm getting more these days. There has been just too much for me to edit and publish on YouTube. I just don't have the time, energy or computing power.

This morning though I had an incident that felt really horrible at the time. Here it is here.

There was absolutely no need for that pass. Not only was it close, but it was very fast. I saw it coming and I started swerving out of the way before it happened, so to some extent I prevented it from looking worse. What it certainly did was make me angry. Funnily enough my anger wasn't solely aimed at the driver, my anger was also aimed at the Nice Way Code campaign.

The premise of the Nice Way Code campaign is that if everyone drives, cycles, and walks that bit nicer the roads will be a better place. Sounds reasonable. That is until you look at incidents like the one I suffered earlier.

There is no way in the world that me, on my bike, could ever put anyone in the same amount of danger as that driver did to me.

What about this incident.

There is no way in the world that me, on my bike could ever put anyone in the same amount of danger as that driver did to me.

What about this video.

Yes you have guessed it, there is no way in the world.....

Unfortunately I could have keep this discussion going. I have plenty of examples where I have been seriously endangered by the drivers of cars, buses and lorries. Yes, I've made mistakes. Yes, when I first started cycling I cycled on some pavements. Yes I have actually skidded into the back of a car through my own fault (it may have suffered a scratch). Yes, I've slid off on ice, or gone over the top (though the pothole didn't help).

Yet, in all of my eight years of cycling, my eight years of sometimes great, sometimes not so great cycling, I have never, ever put anyone else in anywhere near the danger that drivers, on an unfortunately reasonably regular basis, put me in.

So what is the governments response to this?*

We get a campaign that places an equal weight of responsibility on all road users to be nice.

There is a reason that car drivers need a licence. They are the ones (myself included when I drive) who are in charge of the potentially dangerous weapon. It is all too easy as my examples demonstrate above for a driver to seriously threaten someone's life or to whisk it away in an instant.

So yes Mr Brown, yes we are angry. VERY ANGRY.

At the moment I am sure Mr Brown is angry himself. I'll bet he is angry with the bloody ungrateful cyclists (he was angry with POP for not being grateful when we last met him. He told us so!).

We are doing this for them!

No you are not. You are pandering to your own prejudices. You are  attempting to patch up the disaster that is your active travel policy. You are thinking of your own survival.

Mind you, when it comes to survival, I'm beginning to have my doubts about you Mr Brown. I'm sure Mr Salmond doesn't want bad news leading up to the referendum, does he......

*( I know for a fact that they are the ones who stipulated that the campaign had to focus on all road users, it wasn't because of research...)


  1. Yep it all looks a bit of a foolish way to blow £0.5m when Rule 144 of the Highway Code already says the same thing but "fortis per gonadae" by comparison with the Nice Way message through using the carefully considered term "You MUST NOT" to remind road users that this Rule carries the clout of a few traffic laws to back its basic message of showing "consideration for other road users"

    I gather that @nicewaycodeGB has over twice as many followers as @nicewaycode in a far shorter time - speaks volumes, as did POP2 and the 2500+ who assembled and dispersed in under 2 hours, with just 24 hours notice in Central London following the fatal crash in High Holborn last month.

    The apology to Mary Beard after a bad boy was reported to his mum, and the growing following for @TheGoHomeOffice show that we cannot be placated by a diet of bread & circuses.

    Comparative stats snapshot tonight

    Followers Official 273 Parody 529 1:2
    Following Official 68 Parody 13 5:1
    Tweets Official 60 Parody 184 1:3
    Last Tweet Official 7 hr Parody 20 min

    Make your own analysis

  2. Just thought to paraphrase a famous statesman

    "Speak nicely but carry a big stick"

  3. Keith Brown doing what MPs do best. Words and not actions. All while people die on the roads

  4. Given what happened to the "nice old lady" it appears that the Nice Way Code is that if you are "nice" you can do what you like to cyclists.