Mayflies in Lycra

Mayfly Mayflies have a short and glorious life, and so do many cyclists in London.

The Metropolitan Police’s Collision Investigators have said that there have been 9 cyclists killed in London so far this year, of which 7 have been killed by lorries and at least 6 of these fatalities were female. So why do they want to balance on two wheels while avoiding potholes, pedestrians and cars?

Many of these lunatics habitually ignore traffic regulations, to the annoyance of other road users, and who at The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea had the inspired idea to encourage them to ride up a one-way street in the opposite direction to the traffic?

Was it another Boris Brainwave closing half of central London’s roads recently to allow two men and a dog the experience of a car free Capital, with Sunday’s Skyride.

[H]e also treats us to the colourful spectacle of hundreds of bikes accompanied by a police escort reclaiming the streets on the last Friday of the month with the Critical Mass festival.

Boris is so keen on his pedal pals maybe he should consider replacing the hated bendy buses with rickshaws; he is making no headway to curb this menace.

It was H.G. Wells who said: “When I see a man on a bicycle I don’t despair for the human race”. But then he did write War of the Worlds.

7 thoughts on “Mayflies in Lycra”

  1. What a shame that such a decent and readable blogger should suddenly spout such prejudice.

    Not all cyclists are “lunatics” who “ignore traffic regulations”; and I think “the annoyance of other motorists” is mainly down to seeing cyclists getting to their destinations faster than they are!

    The trial scheme in K&C is on quieter roads where it’s more than feasible for cars to pass a cyclist going the other way. That way the cyclist avoids heavy traffic and is safer. There are already many roads in London where “wrong way” cycle lanes have been put in: Bathurst Gardens in Kensal Rise is one, if you are ever up that way and want to have a look.

    I have encountered plenty of cabbies making rash decisions behind the wheel. In fact, I’d rate them the third-worst group of road users in London (after bus and Royal Mail van drivers – nutters all), but as I’m a tolerant sort, I don’t tar them all with the same brush.


    1. Thanks for checking out my blog and taking the time to write some informed and constructive comments about this post.

      I stand corrected on the choice of streets that Kensington and Chelsea are allowing 2-way traffic flow for cyclists, having said that, if a cyclist knowingly travels the wrong way up a one-way street he will stay well clear of the approaching traffic. But if Kensington and Chelsea give him the legal right to do so he is less likely to cycle in the gutter to avoid on-coming vehicles (and who can blame him). Unfortunately motorists are not so observant and will easily miss the sign warning them of approaching cyclists, with tragic results.

      It surely must be the council’s duty to provide SAFE cycle tracks that motorists cannot enter. Conversely cyclists must, by law, remain in those same lanes (see Diary page 31st July 2009).

      On a lighter note to finish, I see Boris has had another brainwave, cyclists and truckers swapping places so they can understand each others problems. One can imagine how the simple act of entering a truckers’ café dressed in Lycra would lift the mood of the diners.

      And I look forward to the spectacle of overweight truckers trying to balance on their Claude Butler’s.

      Be careful out there and I hope we won’t meet on London’s roads.


    1. Stand back in amazement I’ve approved your comment.

      Note the number plate LN09 . . . I have noticed since the recession that cabbies with new vehicles are driving faster, less courteously and yes are violating traffic laws. I can only assume that the high payments on the aforementioned new cabs are tempting them to take risks.

      No excuse for it, so take care out there. I appreciate any intelligent comments you have.


  2. Cyclists not only annoy other road users: they also annoy us pedestrians by riding on pavements and crossings, often at speed.

    I also think that cyclists should have to be licensed and insured like other road users and taken to court (like other road users) if they are not. No such law will be passed, though, or if it is, it will be ignored because the police do not want the extra work. And there you have the explanation for cyclists’ bad behaviour: the police see them breaking the law them but do not intervene.

    Let us say, however, that not all cyclists are badly behaved. Every day I see cyclists, properly kitted out, riding in the road and obeying the traffic regulations impeccably.

    On the other hand, I see plenty of motorists misbehaving on the roads, especially when it comes to passing traffic lights that have already changed to red, ignoring the fact that pedestrians now have to green light to cross, or turning left where this is prohibited, again ploughing through crossing pedestrians.

    What about cabbies? Surely they are model road users? Alas, no. Every day I see black cab drivers executing U-turns where this is prohibited, or stopping at bus stops and obstructing buses or hovering in the hope of picking up customers where they are not supposed to wait (on the pedestrian crossing at the back entrance of Paddington station, for one), so it would be inappropriate to claim that they, among motorists, always behave correctly.

    All groups of road users blame all the others for what they see as the problems of the road, while the cyclist is the favourite whipping boy of everyone else. I would say that the problem is getting all road users to behave correctly but unless the police can be persuaded to take a more proactive role, things will only get worse.


    1. What a great deal of wisdom bound up in that short reply. You might be surprised to learn I could not agree more.

      One small point though, cabs are allowed to perform u-turns if the traffic conditions allow and if there are no restrictions in force on that part of the road. If we do contravene a “no u-turns” sign and it’s caught on camera, yes do get fined.


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