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Vicious cycle
Dear cyclists,

Cycling on the pavement is illegal. The reason it's illegal is that it is ANTISOCIAL, STUPID, and potentially DANGEROUS.

Cycling on a crowded pavement, even if it wasn't illegal, would still be ANTISOCIAL, STUPID and potentially DANGEROUS.

When you are told "stop cycling on the pavement" by somebody you have just nearly run over by trying to cycle off a busy pedestrian crossing onto a very narrow pavement, the correct answer is not to point at a nearby toddler on a plastic trike (on the pavement) and say "He's cycling on the pavement." Nor is it to yell "FUCK OFF".

Toddlers are allowed to cycle on the pavement, even though it's still fucking irritating and still fucking painful when they run over your heels/toes. However toddlers have an excuse for being as annoying and stupid as 2-year-olds, namely they're, like, actually two years old, and are still in training for being useful and non-irritating members of the human race. If you are riding a bike that's nearly as tall as me and you're old enough to have a stupid haircut, a tweed jacket and a cocking iPod -- and to shout FUCK OFF at strangers -- then I'm guessing you're actually old enough to learn to cycle on the road.

Furthermore, even if some OTHER CRETINS have parked their white vans and their sodding vanity-numberplated SUVs in the cycle lane and the zigzags so they can sit and read the paper while their morbidly obese other half waddles the 1.5 metres to the shop to buy fags and cake, that STILL doesn't make you NOT a cretin for cycling on the pavement.

Oh, and while we're here:

Cycling while smoking or using a mobile phone is probably not, in itself, illegal. It is, however, STUPID and potentially DANGEROUS. Yes, I know, you have superhuman balance and control and psychic powers which prevent other people doing anything unpredictable within a 5-metre radius of you; you are therefore quite capable of cycling while smoking, texting and juggling chainsaws, WHILE BLINDFOLDED. So get a fucking unicycle and join the circus. Oh, by the way, unicycling on the pavement? ALSO ILLEGAL.

No love,

P.S. AND NINTHLY I don't want to know how ACTUALLY you ALWAYS cycle on the 40-foot-wide well-lit pavement outside your HOUSE and it's just the fascism of the nanny state and health-and-safety-gone-mad that says that's illegal and besides bikes have a decree from THE QUEEN that says they're allowed to run you over if they want to whereas cars are evil and are technically disallowed by the second law of thermodynamics. I also don't give a fuck how you cycled on a pavement when nobody was there to see and therefore it can't have really been illegal, unless you also prove at the same time that you can SHUT THE FUCK UP in the woods when there's nobody there to listen to you.

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gerald_duck From: gerald_duck Date: October 26th, 2007 03:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm not a fan of surveillance society, but there are exceptions. I'm also not a fan of camera phones, but likewise there are exceptions.

If people started taking photos of idiots cycling on the pavement and sending them to police, the worst offenders would soon get recognised and might even get prosecuted.

If cycles had to have registration marks like proper vehicles, this would be even more effective.
lnr From: lnr Date: October 26th, 2007 03:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Um, the police don't do anything if you send them photos of vans parked in contraflow cycle lanes, why on earth would they care about pavement cyclists?
(Deleted comment)
chickenfeet2003 From: chickenfeet2003 Date: October 26th, 2007 03:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Generally I agree with you but there are a couple of spots in Toronto where I swear the set up has been designed to cull cyclists and the most sensible work around is the sidewalk.

Just to the west of the intersection of Spadina and Queen's Quay the bike lane disappears for maybe 10m. At that point the road funnels to a scant car width between the curb and the above grade street car tracks. Immediately to the east of the intersection is cycvle lane. So, you are on your bike in the cycle lane with a line of cars to your left. The light changes. You set off across the intersection at the far end of which there is not room enough for you and the car. Do you fight the car or hop the sidewalk for the few metres until the bike lane starts again. I think a similar thing happens when the bike lane is blocked by a parked vehicle and there is no safe way around on the road side. Obviously I wouldn't ride on the sidewalk in either case if it was at all crowded but if it's empty or almost so, the sidewalk wins. I'm not going to get killed for an empty principle.
lnr From: lnr Date: October 26th, 2007 03:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
If it's not safe on the road get off and *walk*.
rysmiel From: rysmiel Date: October 26th, 2007 03:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
I agree with you absolutely and wholeheartedly. [ See, I can get the sentiment out without swearing for emphasis, really. ]

Also, ringing your bell like a lunatic does not actually help warn pedestrians who are in fact hard of hearing.
j4 From: j4 Date: October 26th, 2007 08:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
ringing your bell like a lunatic does not actually help warn pedestrians who are in fact hard of hearing

Nor does it have much effect on pedestrians who are ON THE FUCKING PHONE or umbilically attached to their iPod. I mean, listening to music while walking, fine, but if you're going to walk IN THE FUCKING ROAD then it's probably more sensible to have your ears fully operational. Mind you, if "sensible" came into it you probably wouldn't be walking in the road in the first place. Though (pre-empting the idiots) no, it's not illegal. Just stupid.

And I could have probably got it out without swearing BUT I FUCKING FELT LIKE FUCKING SWEARING. Sorry. :-}

I still feel all knotted inside. At the moment I think I am approximately 5 parts caffeine, 3 parts broad-spectrum rage, and 2 parts total brain-numbing exhaustion.

I don't have an icon for "lots of my icons would be slightly appropriate here but none of them would be quite right". I think at the moment I could aspire to being an orange, though.
From: kjaneway Date: October 26th, 2007 03:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Can I offer virtual tea and cake?

You sound like you've had the sort of day that needs it.

PS. your rant is absolutely right.
lnr From: lnr Date: October 26th, 2007 03:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
pseudomonas From: pseudomonas Date: October 26th, 2007 04:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
From: jamboi Date: October 26th, 2007 03:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
While the point you make is valid (if aggressively put) and I'm very very irritated at irresponsible cyclists who give the rest of us a bad name (because no-one notices us) AND I'm also aware you're a cyclist, I'd like to make a sort of sideways point.

It really does annoy me how car drivers make excuses very loudly for all the illegal things they do while decrying very loudly all the illegal/annoying things cyclists do. Why is it that jumping red lights, cycling on the pavement and (although this is extremely dangerous and irresponsible) being unlit are very very very bad whereas speeding, using a mobile phone, violating box junctions and not using your bloody wingmirrors are just the sort of thing you do and are kind of OK really because everybody does it.

There is this kind of thing going on with car driving where it's a thing everyone does and very occasionally someone gets hurt/seriously injured/killed but drivers can't be held fully accountable for this. Why is 'death by dangerous driving' not just manslaughter? You are in-fact hurtling at least a ton of metal around my neighbourhood, be responsible (this applies to cyclists too, even though they are somewhat lighter).
ewx From: ewx Date: October 26th, 2007 04:20 pm (UTC) (Link)

How dangerous are unlit cyclists, then? As a number of resulting deaths per year, say.

(Not making any excuses, and I'm perfectly adequately lit myself, it's just one of those things people often seem to say is dangerous without quantifying at all.)

(Deleted comment)
arnhem From: arnhem Date: October 26th, 2007 04:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm entirely in agreement with you (and at the same level of rantage)

with one very small exception

Where there's a non-trivial obstruction in the road, it is not unusual, and not unreasonable, for all vehicles whether motorised or not, to temporarily make use of the pavement. If done cautiously, at a walking pace, and giving pedestrians priority, I think that's not unreasonable, and is sometimes the only pragmatic solution to a problem. This seems on a par with the use of the pavement to access roadside property ...
lnr From: lnr Date: October 26th, 2007 05:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
If there's not actually room to wait for a gap and go round the other side of the obstruction you could always get off and walk... And given the need to bump up and down kerbs and how wobbly people usually are when cycling at walking pace (and I mean 3mph here not 5mph) then it's probably actually not that much more inconvenient than cycling.

I had a very alarming truck coming along the pavement towards me on Lensfield Road the other morning because it couldn't be bothered to wait until another vehicle had finished turning right.
colinmurtagh From: colinmurtagh Date: October 26th, 2007 08:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
that's the main thing I don't miss since moving out of Cambridge. I haven't even seen a cyclist since we got here.
j4 From: j4 Date: October 26th, 2007 08:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Because everybody walks? ... she said, hopefully, but suspecting that the real answer is that everybody drives absolutely everywhere. :-/
mair_aw From: mair_aw Date: October 26th, 2007 11:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
you should meet this guy
imc From: imc Date: October 27th, 2007 02:18 am (UTC) (Link)
I once read a suggestion that the best put-down to offer to a pavement cyclist is "Doesn't your mother let you cycle on the road?" although I've never tried it. (It's even possible that the suggestion came from you.)

I did, as crouchinglynx seems to have done, once tell a cyclist off for going on the pavement only to receive the answer "Sorry, I've got no lights" as if that made everything OK.
From: scat0324 Date: October 29th, 2007 12:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
I currently do a variant on this - as if talking to the small child near me, I say in a loud voice "See, his mummy doesn't let him cycle on the roads either". They generally look very bemused and often go onto the road shortly after.
vinaigrettegirl From: vinaigrettegirl Date: October 27th, 2007 08:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
LOUD APPLAUSE from me to you after reading the whole set of threads (because I am late to this particular justified outburst of anger having been away).

You're so right and you express it so well. And I like the way you manage your anger, which seems to me to be very healthy: you go, girl.
j4 From: j4 Date: October 29th, 2007 12:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like the way you manage your anger

Really?? I am genuinely surprised, knowing how much you (have in the past seemed to) object to violence, anger, and even swearing. :-/

I seem to be getting worse and worse at resisting losing my temper with idiots. I get so angry at all the stupidity and selfishness and whiny entitlement; I know that the Right reaction is to smile beatifically and radiate love for them, even if/when someone does eventually knife me for telling them not to cycle on the pavement (it's only a matter of time), but I still want to stab people in the face with forks SO OFTEN.

nou From: nou Date: October 27th, 2007 08:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is a good rant.

However, I know I am going to get yelled at for this, but using "morbidly obese" as an insult kind of bothers me. It's not just the label itself (which begs the question of whether a higher BMI is automatically a sign of ill health), but also it's that the concept you want to get across is "lazy", not "big". I know this is a very small part of what you said, and it might look like I'm picking holes, but it does bother me, and I thought I should say something.

Now I will go and hide under the bed for a couple of days.
j4 From: j4 Date: October 28th, 2007 09:16 am (UTC) (Link)
No, you're right, I shouldn't use that as an insult. (To be honest I probably shouldn't use "twat" either because it's probably offensive to other women to press their velvety folds into service as a term of abuse...)

I'm aware that BMI isn't the whole story; but I'd have trouble being convinced that somebody who was so overweight that they couldn't walk more than 5 metres was anything other than unhealthy.

But the stereotype/caricature I was describing was big because of being lazy. Are you saying that there is absolutely no causal link between weight loss/gain and exercise? I'm aware that being large doesn't mean one is lazy, but I'd be very surprised if it turned out that being lazy didn't mean one was likely to put on more weight than if one was less lazy.

Admittedly this is based on personal experience rather than scientific experiment. I know that when I was getting regular vigorous exercise (weekly one-to-one karate classes) I was visibly a lot thinner: I could sit down and lean forwards without feeling all the rolls of fat piling up, I could lie on my side in bed without feeling my stomach flopping sideways. Now that I've stopped doing the karate, I've got a lot more squishy bits that stop me fitting in some of my clothes. (I'm actually not unhappy with the way I look, at all, though it's annoying to stop fitting into things I like wearing; I honestly think I look fine, and mostly I feel happy in my body, but I don't like the sensation of all those bits of my body bumping into each other. It's just faintly ughh, like accidentally putting your hand in something unidentified and squishy.) I haven't changed my diet of lifestyle significantly in any other way; it appears (and no I haven't done a controlled experiment because I can't both exercise and not-exercise at the same time) that there's a very clear link between the exercise and the weight, for me, and it would be quite weird if I was unique in that.

Though I suppose it's possible that I'm just getting fatter because I'm getting older. Maybe I'll just keep getting bigger and bigger until I suffocate under the weight of my years. What a thoroughly depressing thought. I'm going to hide under the bed too, I think, if I'll still fit.
From: ewtikins Date: October 28th, 2007 08:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
I cycle on pavements only if those pavements are designated cycleways. Otherwise, if I'm too scared of the road (which happens often!), I get off and walk, even though walking is more painful for me than cycling is.

j4 From: j4 Date: October 28th, 2007 09:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
If it's a designated cycleway, it's not a pavement, surely!

At least, I was using the word "pavement" to mean the bits that are there for pedestrians and not cyclists. That is, not shared-use whatever-you-call-thems or stuff like that.
From: mzdt Date: October 28th, 2007 09:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Forgive me if I'm repeating someone else's point here...

The rules of the road are about co-operation, not about state control. Breaking any of them - or just acting like a tw*t - isn't sticking it to 'the man', it's sticking it to your fellow man. Cyclists, motor vehicle drivers, pedstrians, all bend the rules selfishly, they're all as bad as eachother. The more this happens, the more other people see this and follow suit, so tw*ttish behaviour becomes the norm, not the exception, and if you don't join the game you're a loser.

I'm a loser, and proud of it. Also increasingly of the opinion that the general public are c*nts. ;-)
j4 From: j4 Date: October 28th, 2007 09:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Exactly! Losers of the world unite. :-)

And, I mean, you don't hear people banging on about how the so-called nanny state unfairly forces them to drive on the left when it's so much easier to drive on the right, do you. At least I bloody well hope not. At that point I think I would just give up on the human race.

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