Starcat 1 by my favourite artist

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Why Cyclists Are More Dangerous Than North Korea

I’m sure that older readers will remember Ricky Martin’s song, María: with the unforgettable chorus of Un, dos, tres, un pasito p’alante María. Un dos tres, un pasito p’atrás  - literally 1,2,3 one step forward María, 1,2,3 one step backwards. If not, here’s a link.

Well this is how pedestrians have to walk, or rather jump, about the pavements in Seville as cyclists zoom recklessly towards them, making the most of their god-given right to put everyone's life at risk – including their own. Indeed, watching a pedestrian trying to walk along the average Sevillian street is rather like watching someone in a Western “dance” as the baddies shoot at their feet. Desperation, lack of concerted coordination and the fear of imminent death or mutilation are common to both sufferers.

And the problem is this: enlightened Seville (a city for people[1], according to its own rather brainless propaganda) now has cycle lanes incorporated onto its pavements, but cyclists here (indeed, anywhere) respect neither the lanes nor the traffic rules. Speeding cyclists are a greater menace than speeding cars (at least in general terms cars do not speed along the pavement!). Yet for some reason, best known to themselves, cyclists do of course have greater right of way than any other form of life.

Cycling seems to have become a new form of Fascism. Once the wearing of a black, brown, or blue shirt with its corresponding armband raised the possessor above the ranks of the common herd. He – or she – became an exalted member of that class of  beings who, as Orwell so famously put it, are more equal than others. Such fascists, or communists (basically the same genus of being) could do what the hell they liked without fear of reprisal or punishment by the authorities. Now to be more equal than the rest of urban humanity what you need is a bike.

Once mounted upon his or her gleaming, non-polluting charger, the rider becomes a sort of knight in hi-viz armour, bearing down upon the cycle-less villeins with all the contempt and recklessness of a Norman aristocrat taking a constitutional on his palfrey among his serfs.

“By what right?” You may cry. “By the divine right of the non-polluting eco-warrior” Sallies forth the reply as, bell a-ring, lights a-twinkle and pedals a-whirr the oppressor bears down on you. You have two options: stand your ground and get hospitalised or jump back and let the arrogant bastard waft by unchallenged.

 Teeth a-grind, we let the chevalier thunder past, as in days of yore. 

In a word, most cyclists are arrogant, selfish turds who deserve a timely stick thrust through their flashing spokes.

And so to North Korea. For all of the chemical weapons, nuclear bombs and avunculophage dogs that that particularly distasteful regime might vaunt, as yet it has not been a real threat to my life and physical integrity – or indeed yours. The cyclist, on the other hand, is a real daily meance and a greater threat to your, or my, existence than the hermits of Pyong Yang. "Leave North Korea alone!", I say.  Get the UN Security Council onto the case of the cyclo-fascists.

Let us not, however, bomb them back to the Stone Age; let us merely put them back where they belong – on the roads, not the pavements  where they can put their own lives at risk without risking ours. Either that, or send the whole parcel of them to Guantánamo and thence unleash them on the Castros.

[1] As opposed to a city for insects, dolphins or lemurs, I suppose.


  1. Cyclists have become a nuisance here, too, though quite not as bad a one as you describe in Seville. Not yet, anyway.

    While many cyclists do ride on the road or on the specially provided cycle paths, there are those who completely ignore the rules of the road and ride in any direction on any surface and who, should they find themselves on the road, do not respect such trifling matters as traffic lights or pedestrian crossings.

    The current mania among politicians and planners for cycling may be a good thing in general terms but brings serious disadvantages as well, especially to pedestrians. Unfortunately, cycling organizations have the ear of government in a way that pedestrian and motoring organizations do not. Whenever a cyclist is killed in a road accident, it is assumed that this is the fault of the motorist and the deceased cyclist is honoured as some sort of martyr.

    Just occasionally, I see a misbehaving cyclist stopped by the police and the look of surprise on the miscreant's face supports my belief that many take to cycling who are quite ignorant of the rules of the road or the principle that cyclists are, like other road users, supposed to obey them.

    1. How true your comments are!

      Here in Seville, the scourge of cyclists was unleashed on the pedestrian public without proper regulation - to my mind the network of cycle lanes was built not as a genuine environmental measure. Rather it was a political expedient, a populist wheeze cooked up to garner votes.

      The best way to crack down on this cyclo-fascism would be to oblige all adult cyclists to undergo a training scheme before being let loose on the roads. Indeed, bicycles shoud be registered, taxed and insured the same as motor vehicles. That way reckeless cyclists would be identifiable and easily sanctioned because, as we all know and as is only right, with freedom comes responsibility.