SOCIAL MEDIA & CYCLING SAFETY: The never-ending cycle

Why it’s hard NOT to comment in social media on issues surrounding cycling safety.

“Stop *%$ing riding two abreast!”
“Pay rego if you want equal rights!”
“Roads were made for cars!”
“Get on the footpath where you belong!”
“Cyclists should get the $%#@ off our roads!”
“You deserve to be run over you lycra toads!”

We’ve all been there. Whether it’s a news media page, a Government transport page, or even an official police page, virtually every time any issue to do with cycling safety crops up on social media, the same old tired and largely ignorance-fuelled arguments get wheeled out. It’s depressing. It’s exhausting. And, yes, it’s generally entirely pointless to even bother reading them. Yet read them we often do. For it’s bloody hard to resist the temptation to get involved, despite the fact we’re essentially Bill Murray in the film, Groundhog Day. New day. Same shit.

Personally, I think it’s born mostly from frustration. That despite cycling delivering so many clear benefits to the wider community in so many ways, our lawmakers refuse to do more (or anything?) to better educate the road-using masses around many of the key friction points between motorists and cyclists, including the road rules. For in almost every case, barring that infuriating minority of dickheads who give the rest of us a bad name, there’s a pretty good explanation as to why we do most of the things we do – entirely legally – when we’re riding our bikes, mostly to do with safety.

In the face of such ongoing policy paralysis, getting personally involved in social media debates really is a type of keyboard vigilantism. Even if we know nothing good is ever likely come of it, we must still try as dedicated disciples of the bike.

Of course, it can also be quite cathartic, especially when you’ve nearly been cleaned up at a roundabout, or by some inattentive numpty using his/her mobile phone on the same morning. Sometimes it just feels good to get it all out, right? Bombs away…..



2 thoughts on “SOCIAL MEDIA & CYCLING SAFETY: The never-ending cycle

  1. Don’t feed the trolls, Pete. You cant have a nuanced discussion with empathy and respect via social media.

  2. Their complaints are mostly what they were taught to do as kids by road safety campaigns – stay out of the way & always give way to cars. When they grew up they didn’t realise that the road rules are not the same as what they were taught as kids.
    I’ve long realised that most drivers fail to give way to pedestrians even though the road rules require cars to give way at drive ways, left slip lanes etc. They seemed to not know the rules but instead their brains default back to the old “safety” campaigns that kids have been taught for many decades now – “Stop, look 3 times and ALWAYS give way to cars.” That was prudent for the kids’ safety but is not actually the road rules.
    A comment I read recently was how the old bloke had been taught as a kid to get off his bike and get off the road if a car came past. His father would belt him if he didn’t. He expected all cyclists to do the same still. He really couldn’t it into his head that he had not been taught the road rules but had been taught to be subservient to cars for his own safety & the social norms of the time. I wonder how many of today’s anti-cyclist whingers’ beliefs are still founded in those short sighted pro-car “safety” campaigns?

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