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…..