Off yer bikes! Cyclists are a menace to society — and self-righteous to boot

You are just pedalling, you plastic-hatted ninnies, not saving the bloody planet

9 November 2013

9:00 AM

9 November 2013

9:00 AM

 ‘Such anti-cyclist anger reminds me in many ways of the feelings about gypsies that I would hear expressed when I lived in central Europe. In Hungary, people would tell me they disliked gypsies because they were lazy and dishonest. The truth was that gypsies — like, I would suggest, cyclists — were unpopular principally for being different.’
The Invisible Cyclist, anonymous blogger

Like many people, I am worried that too few cyclists are being killed on our roads each year. While the number of cycling journeys undertaken in the UK has risen enormously since 2006, and exponentially since the exciting, hirsute Sir Bradley Wiggins won a bicycle race in France in 2012, the official statistics show only a moderate rise in fatalities. This suggests to me that car drivers have become more accommodating in their behaviour towards these people and have lost their radical anti-cycling zeal. They have been bullied out of it, one suspects, by official propaganda that insists that knocking cyclists over, deliberately or otherwise, is somehow ‘antisocial’, and by the effusions of lionised celebrity cyclists like Wiggins, and that also ennobled Scottish man who cycles round and round a track very quickly indeed, like a sort of thin-lipped ginger hamster with outsized calf muscles.

Wiggins and the Scottish man are both militant campaigners against the killing of cyclists, and they are also in favour of more cycle lanes (which cyclists like to see built, but never use) and further speed restrictions on the people who actually pay for the roads (car drivers), but the government is on board too. My concern is that if killing cyclists is no longer allowable in a free country, then it is the thin end of the wedge and it may be that down the line cycling will become an ‘acceptable’ pursuit for normal people. We have seen this happen before with homosexuals, single mothers and some foreigners; one moment we are enjoined not to victimise them, the next they are clamouring for equality. Somewhere, surely, we have to draw the line.

Well, ok, I jest, in predictably bad taste. And you were probably aware that I was joking, unless you are a committed cyclist who is determined to be outraged. By ‘committed’ I do not mean that you are the recipient of state protection in a secure asylum, but rather that you are one of those people with an expensive bicycle, a lot of Lycra, a pompous little pointy plastic hat, hilarious goggles, a fatuous water bottle and the fervent conviction that you are a Victim as a consequence of your Vulnerability. And that in being a Victim as a consequence of being Vulnerable you are somehow empowered to take it out on everybody else you see on the public highways, especially car drivers and pedestrians. There is nothing quite like considering yourself a Victim to bolster the self-esteem, nothing like resentment to make the hours go by a little quicker. Not all cyclists fall into this category of course, far from it. But plenty do. Dare to disparage the cycling fraternity and all hell will break loose; when you are a certified Victim all sense of proportion — and humour — departs.

I discovered this when I mentioned in a blog recently that I was not sure why I had to pay, through my taxes, for my friend to have a new bicycle — there’s a government scheme on offer which effectively gives you a bike on tick, interest-free. Ooh, the fury. But it was nothing compared to the opprobrium heaped upon the head of my colleague Matthew Parris who jokingly suggested that life in his village would be improved by piano wire strung across the roads to decapitate the hugely annoying cyclists.


Cyclists — or some of them, a lot of them — have become, these last few years, full of themselves, puffed-up with righteous anger. Part of this has been encouraged by the success of Wiggins and the Scottish hamster-man. But part of it too is because these people don’t think they’re simply pedalling from High Holborn to Paddington; they think they’re saving the bloody planet. And they think that the rest of us are destroying it. As the anonymous blogger put it in that quote at the top of the page, they think that they are different. No — you’re not. You just can’t afford a car or are deluded about the impact cycling a few miles makes to the environment. And you can’t be bothered to walk.

Cyclists are another one of those things about which the government and establishment are of one mind and the general public another. There is absolutely no doubt that the behaviour of some cyclists, the militant lot, enrages both pedestrians and car users — i.e. the vast majority of the British public. I had always thought, when I saw two cyclists riding abreast on a narrowish road, holding up the traffic, that they were unaware of the annoyance they were causing. That maybe they didn’t know there was a car behind, and another 50 cars behind that car.

Oh, but they do, they do. Check out the cycling websites and you will learn that they ride two abreast precisely to stop cars overtaking them, because on narrow roads they are convinced that car drivers will cut in too close to them as they pass. So they block the entire road and feel good about it, because they are Victims. The law states that they are allowed to ride two abreast on a big, wide, straight road, no bends and curves, where there is plenty of opportunity and width for cars to pass by in comfort; but a hefty majority of the posts I saw on several websites revealed very different strategies. Their view is that unless a car has room to pass two cyclists, it shouldn’t be trying to pass one. And with that they wrap themselves in self-righteousness as the queues of traffic tail back further and further.

Likewise, riding on the pavements and thus maiming pensioners. The law is clear about this, for a change. They should never do it. But they do it because they feel safer there, of course. Listen, you plastic-hatted ninny: if you don’t have the balls to cycle in the road, then ditch the bike. It is still the case that, mile for mile, pedestrians are far more ‘vulnerable’ than cyclists. Mile for mile, more pedestrians are killed. They — we — are the real victims, even if we do not whine about it continuously. And the number of pedestrians maimed by cyclists is also rising by the year, to the extent that legislation has been proposed to ensure that cyclists respect the laws of the land the same as everyone else.

And of course, there are other irritations and dangers. I get infuriated by the cyclists tearing past me on the rural footpath where I live, scattering dogs and kids like confetti, believing that because they are allowed on the path, they are under no obligation to consider anyone else who might be using it. I am thinking of training my dog to attack cyclists who behave like this, catch up with them on the uphill stretch and chew their tyres off. I think I will use, as a signal to the animal to launch its attack, the word ‘Hoy!’

And of course there is the running of red lights, a continual complaint from car users, and the weaving in and out of traffic with an expression of rectitude on their faces. And while it is true that by far the greatest number of pedestrian injuries and deaths are caused by car drivers, as a pedestrian you always have the sneaking suspicion that, in general, car drivers will try their best to avoid hitting you, while cyclists not only don’t care but will happily blame you for any injury which occurs.

It is the last point which is the crucial one. It is about attitude. For a long time car drivers have had it drummed into them that what they are doing is antisocial and undesirable and have been subjected to ever greater strictures about what they can and can’t do in their cars, how fast they should travel and why they should leave the car in the garage to ease congestion and save the planet. As a consequence, they have become mindful and cowed. By contrast the cyclists have been told that they are doing a Good Thing, that it would be better if we all cycled (it wouldn’t — it would be better if we all walked) and so believe they can do no wrong. They have the moral high ground, which includes the pavement, since you asked.

I think we need a bit of legislation to sort them out, to penalise adult cyclists who ride on pavements, to book them for dangerous driving when they’re cutting lights or riding two abreast on unsuitable roads. And either to make it compulsory for cyclists to use cycle lanes or for local authorities to stop providing them (and turn the existing ones back into normal roads). Then the cyclists will feel an even greater sense of victimhood, and thus be happier.

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Show comments
  • Don Shipp

    There are more cyclists on Britain’s roads; a lot more. Mostly people just getting about but many doing it for the fun of it or whatever and the Rod Liddles of this world just can’t stand that. But it’s too late for these funny jokes about killing cyclists and whinges about how annoying cyclists are; the Liddleites have lost and they know that they’ve lost. Next year there’ll be even more bikes on Britain’s roads and even more medals won for Britain by cyclists (who actually bear no similarity to hamsters, whatever).
    I’m not saving the planet when I cycle. I don’t claim to be and no other cyclist that I know claims to be. It is a fact that unlike motor vehicles bikes don’t kill people by pumping poison into the air – pollution is a major killer. That fact makes me a lot worse, though, than being an air-poisoning driver (in Rod Liddle’s opinion)- it makes me smug. Better for everyone that I poison the air and kill people than be smug because I don’t.
    Rod can take great comfort in the efforts of lorry-drivers in their efforts to kill off cyclists, though. This article is well-timed, in that respect, the most recent lorry-kills-cyclist death was on Tuesday. So well, done, Liddle, for that.
    One more point, recent court cases have proved that it is still perfectly legal for motorists to kill cyclists.

    • John Lea

      As someone who walks a great deal in a busy built-up city, I have to say that I find the majority of cyclists utterly repellent. At least car drivers, generally speaking, abide by the highway code and, you know, rules and stuff. Cyclists on the other hand tend to suit themselves and have the most incredibly double-standards, i.e. just watch them complain and shout when cars and trucks show them the same lack of respect which they (cyclists) show pedestrians. Let me cite a not-uncommon example: a couple of weeks ago I was walking up a very narrow pavement (note the word ‘pavement’), when this woman came hurtling down at about 30 mph on a bike. I stopped to see if she would stop, slow down or move onto the road, but no, not a bit of it, she expected me – and everyone else on that pavement – to get out of her way. For me, that typifies the utter selfishness of most cyclists in my opinion.
      No, I have no sympathy for cyclists, and nowadays actively celebrate when the knob-ends are hit by trucks and buses.

      • HJ777

        Where is your evidence that drivers are more likely to abide by the Highway Code? My experience is exactly the opposite and surveys of motorists confirm this – most admit to deliberately exceeding 30mph zones, over a quarter admit that they have jumped red lights. The list goes on.

        I find (and I am both a driver and a cyclist) that cyclists are much more likely to obey to the Highway Code, not least for reasons of self-reservation.

        That you ‘celebrate’ when people are hit by trucks and buses (and remember that the police say that drivers are twice as likely to be to blame as cyclists in such accidents) shows what a thoroughly disgusting human being you are.

        • John Lea

          At least I put my name to my comments, you puffed-up wee knob jockey.

          • HJ777

            You’re scum.

          • John Lea

            Totally destroyed by your intellectual brilliance. Knob.

          • HJ777

            Totally destroyed by your own stupidity and nastiness you mean.

            You are a disgusting human being.

          • Mark Frost

            the use of the word ‘disgusting’ makes me shudder. A word you’ll hear repeated over and over on Question Time tonight by the liberal mafia to define Mr.Nigel Farage.

          • HJ777

            It’s the correct description for someone who says he celebrates when people are hit by trucks and busses.

            In fact, it’s far too moderate a description.

        • bwims

          “I find (and I am both a driver and a cyclist) that cyclists are much more likely to obey to the Highway Code” . That’s because you find more obnoxious oiks driving cars now that the prices have come down and working class wages have risen, not to mention the effect of comprehensive schools.

          Most cyclists in middle-class areas will be middle-class, who are more inclined to behave whether driving a car or cycling.

          There are now NO role models for discipline for the underclass. Parents come singly, interchangeably, drunk and drugged in both sexes. Teachers aren’t allowed to discipline, and neither are the police.

          We’re doomed.

        • Nohourwastedinthesaddle

          Oh get off your high bicycle, you big girl’s blouse.

        • Nohourwastedinthesaddle

          Missing. the. point. Read what Rod said again. It’s not always about what you’re legally entitled to do, as a matter of where you may licitly ride. It’s how you treat other legitimate users of the way, once you’re there.

          In fact your attitude pretty much illustrates Rod’s point. Do carry on.

          • HJ777

            No, you’re missing the point.

            I was replying here to a comment by ‘John Lea’, not to what Rod Liddle wrote.

          • Nohourwastedinthesaddle

            OK. But we’re all writing on the same subject, aren’t we?

          • HJ777

            I was replying to a specific comment.

          • Nohourwastedinthesaddle

            And keep ignoring mine, I note.

          • HJ777

            Because neither you or Rod Liddle have produced any evidence that cyclists are less considerate. He just asserted it.

          • Nohourwastedinthesaddle

            What do you want, a federal report? I love this idea that everything in life has to be verified by a lab and signed off on by the Surgeon General. HE has encountered lots of thrusting, rude, out-of-my-way-or-I’ll-mow-you-down cyclists, and so have I. I’ll believe my lyin’ eyes, thanks very much!

          • HJ777

            Just some evidence would do.

            I see motor vehicles violating traffic rules every day. Over half admit to regularly speeding in 30mph zones, for a start.

            You have NO evidence that cyclists are less law abiding. And in case you weren’t aware, Rod Liddle is hardly known for his truthfulness or for politeness.

            In any case, he has admitted the following:

            “my guess is that if the internal combustion engine had been invented in, say, 1995 there is no way on earth we would all be allowed on the roads, banging into one another and running over dogs, cyclists and human beings.”

          • Nohourwastedinthesaddle

            Cycling is an old technology that is not compatible with contemporary life, except in country lanes and among cows and horses.

          • HJ777

            And your evidence for this ridiculous assertion is?

            It’s a mature efficient technology much better suited for urban transport than cars as they cause huge congestion, pollution and danger. That’s why cycle use is growing in advanced countries. Go to the Netherlands and you will realise what rubbish you are talking.

            By the way, if you object to mature technologies, I presume you’re against building houses with bricks, plumbing, etc.

          • Nohourwastedinthesaddle

            I disagree about the pollution of cars: only where they are allowed to pollute, which in affluent America is not much, owing to the efficiencies of pollution controls. Cars these days are largely ‘clean’. Congestion: only because they’re so needed, because you cannot get from Cranbrook to Tunbridge Wells quickly on a bike, and you certainly can’t bring home a plant or an armchair with one. Danger: only from those that haven’t had proper driving instruction. Bicycles are not suitable for urban environments because they and their operators are too vulnerable there.

          • HJ777

            Ever heard of particulates? There is still huge pollution caused by motor vehicles in urban areas.

            Most car journeys are less than three miles and vehicles pollute more on short journeys because catalytic converters have not warmed up. Bikes are most suitable for short journeys, thus freeing road capacity for those that need to make longer journeys. In the Netherlands 30% of journeys are by bike and over 50% of in-town journeys – and the only significant difference is good provision for cyclists and different liability laws.

            Cars are not suitable for urban environments because they create too much danger to other road users and pedestrians, make too much noise, take up too much space and pollute too much.

          • Nohourwastedinthesaddle

            You get far less of them with modern vehicles. It’s not my fault if you’re driving something from the 1970s! Catalytic converters: that’s old technology, now.

          • HJ777

            My car has a small modern engine and is less than two years old. I don’t use it to go into the town centre as the town centre is only two miles away – I cycle or I walk, but facilities for both of these are awful – everything is planned for convenience of cars (and the place is regularly gridlocked).

            Air pollution levels near roads are considerably higher than elsewhere because of diesel particulates and catalytic converters than haven’t warmed up, for example. It is estimated that many thousands die in the UK through air pollution caused by traffic.

          • VoraLundar

            If catalytic converters are old technology, why do they still show up in cars (indeed to keep pollution down), and why are they redesigning them (Source: http://www.gizmag.com/more-effective-catalytic-converter/30636/ )?

            Also, short car journeys are not recommended as they cause a lot of wear and tear on the engine. In fact, if your trip takes less than 10 minutes, you should DEFINITELY not be using your car for the sake of your engine if nothing else.

          • Don Shipp

            Motor vehicles were invented before bicycles but kept off the public roads because they were considered too dangerous to be used there. This gave rise to a network of specially built tracks that kept them separate and therefore safe – the railways.
            Bicycles (invented a few years later) were recognized as safe enough to be used on public roads and became the most popular form of transport across society, and a lot of advances in vehicle technology as well as improvements to the roads were driven by the bicycle industry and the bicycle lobby.
            When motor-vehicles were eventually used on the improved roads they benefited also from the advances pioneered by cyclists. This is still happening.
            Bikes are the future, motor-vehicles are the past that we should discard whilst there’s still some breathable air left.

      • Matthew Dartford

        “generally speaking, abide by the highway code and, you know, rules and stuff.”

        No.. They just break the law in a less obvious but ultimately more dangerous ways.

        Would your opinion change if you knew that 50% of drivers admit to regularly breaking the speed limit. Or that on a recent crack down police found 80% or cars or their drivers at fault?

        And how often are you in your car or on the pavement overtaken dangerously by cars? Is this something that you have ever considered, or is it not a concern because it does not effect you?

      • Don Shipp

        I do all my riding, perfectly legally, on the road. I won’t defend cyclists who ride on pavements.
        Rod does point out that the danger to pedestrians comes mainly from motor-vehicles and this is true. For some reason you can forgive drivers who kill and maim but not cyclists who you think might hurt you.
        I also do a great deal of walking and I know where the danger comes from.

        • HJ777

          In fact, nearly all of the danger to pedestrians ON PAVEMENTS comes from motor vehicles. About 80 pedestrians are killed by motor vehicles on pavements every year (and many more are seriously injured).

          On average, one pedestrian is killed on pavements by cyclists every three years.

          I don’t cycle on pavements either, but we must remember why some cyclists do – because of fear of the danger presented by motor vehicles.

          • Fergus Pickering

            Their fear is irrelevant. Pavements are for pedestrians.

          • Icebow

            Their fear is not irrelevant. Cyclist-awareness should be a conspicuous aspect of the training of prospective motorists, with enhanced penalties and a presumption in favour of cyclists. Perhaps cyclists would then not feel the need to ride on pavements; like old times.

          • ArchiePonsonby

            When I were a lad, I once got a ticking-off from a bobby when riding my bike on the pavement! That was in the days when bobbies were actually seen on our streets. I presume it was illegal?

          • Icebow

            I imagine so, though apparently the first cycle path in the UK was established nearly 80 years ago!
            By the way, don’t you think modern five-foot-six bobbies look daft in helmets?

          • ArchiePonsonby

            Extremely silly! Although as someone recently posted elsewhere , there used to be a minimum height requirement for the police, now it seems that anyone over three foot six can don the uniform!

          • Icebow

            Yes. That’s the thing about David Jason’s DI Frost: given how long he’d been in the force, he’d have been too short to get in.

          • Nohourwastedinthesaddle

            Shameful waste of talent then, wasn’t it?

          • Nohourwastedinthesaddle

            I look beautiful in mine. But then on a horse I’m a longer way up.

          • Icebow

            The gods do not deduct from man’s allotted span the hours spent in fishing.

          • Nohourwastedinthesaddle

            I feel sorry for the fish, though.

          • Icebow

            There are reasons to feel sorrier for them.

          • Nohourwastedinthesaddle

            Because they’ll never understand their own existence? I’m not sure that’s such a great benefit.

          • Icebow

            I was thinking of pollution and (marine) overfishing.

          • Nohourwastedinthesaddle


          • ArchiePonsonby

            I’m very happy for you!

          • Nohourwastedinthesaddle

            How about everything-else-awareness training for cyclists, then? And Rod rightly made the point that motorists already know whose bread is buttered on which side.

          • Icebow

            There are cyclists and cyclists, of course. There are the Lycra shoals and singletons, there are the youthful idiots, and there are the careful hat-tipping pensioners like me. I should be happy to offer everything-else-awareness training for a modest fee.

          • Nohourwastedinthesaddle

            I can’t remember the last time — or indeed any time — that I saw a car on a pavement. Do see cyclists, though.

          • HJ777

            So that proves what, exactly? That 80 people per year aren’t killed on pavements by motor vehicles and practically none by cyclists?

            The facts say otherwise.

            Incidentally, I see cars parked on pavements every single day. I can’t believe you’ve never seen this. Are you blind?

          • Nohourwastedinthesaddle

            I live in North America. We don’t park on sidewalks.

          • HJ777

            Then your comments are irrelevant to the UK.

          • Nohourwastedinthesaddle

            No, not really. Cycling menaces occur everywhere; it’s just that we have less to fear from cars here.

          • Don Shipp

            Do the accident figures in North America bear this out?
            Liddle starts by quoting a blogger who lives in America. The blogger replied with a link to his blog. You should read it; the most recent post highlights the danger to pedestrians, on the sidewalk, from motorists, and asks why so many are being killed. It would appear that his observations are different from yours.
            So, what do the accident figures tell you about who is the real menace?

          • Icebow

            Actually, cars normally go along pavements, special ones known technically as ‘roads’.

          • Nohourwastedinthesaddle

            Well obviously that’s not what I’m talking about. I even used the word (in another comment) ‘sidewalk’, which is pretty explicit. It’s for people that walk along the side of a road.

          • Icebow

            Sorry to have missed the other comment. There’s something to be said for certain Americanisms. ‘Cellphone’ is better than ‘mobile’.

          • Nohourwastedinthesaddle

            I find ‘mobile’ more romantic.

          • Icebow

            A cordless landline phone is also mobile.

          • Nohourwastedinthesaddle

            Yes but nobody calls it that. I speak of my landline and my mobile (or cell).

        • Icebow

          Often, there are apparently arbitrary distinctions between cycle- and non-cycle paths, On cycle/pedestrian paths I anyhow dismount when, approaching from behind, I sight an elderly person, and always dismount when a dog and/or white stick is involved; and in all cases where dismounting seems unnecessary, slow down to walking pace. I think, then, that I am qualitatively different from teenagers and young men going flat out in the dark without lights. I once saw and caught up with a young man on a non-cycle path, exhibiting no restraint whatever, and remonstrated with him. His answer? ‘This is an off-road bike’. If memory serves, I recognized him as a junior doctor.

          • Don Shipp

            The distinction between a “footway” where cycling is banned unless it is permitted and a “footpath” where cycling is permitted unless it is banned is not always obvious.
            A pavement flanking a carriageway, or otherwise providing pedestrians with a traffic-free alternative to a carriageway, is usually a footway and cycling is banned regardless of how considerate the cyclist is trying to be.
            A path, even if paved, that leads away from the carriageway (for instance, one that leads across a park or between buildings) is usually a footpath and cycling is permitted unless there are signs indicating that it isn’t.
            Where cycling is permitted, cyclists should cede priority to pedestrians.
            I trust that this makes everything clear.

          • Icebow

            Thank you for this wisdom, master.

        • Kev Cooper

          I must admint that I have encountered cyclists with the attitude that John Lea mentions above. I started by making way, but got so fed up that now I clothesline them. They really hate that.

          • Don Shipp

            Do you assault all cyclists who come to close or only the small, weedy ones? If it’s all, then one day some thug-on-a-bike is going to get up and kick the living crap out of you.

          • Kev Cooper

            Jesus, literal minded little twerp aren’t you? I thought that as the whole article was advocating violence towards cyclists I would add my bit. I suppose anyone who uses an icon of Dilbert to identify themselves is bound to be twisted in some way, so I should not be surprised too much.

          • Don Shipp

            The whole article is a pile of turds, and you were just adding to it. Well then, the joke is certainly on me. I thought that you were a real keyboard tough guy and it turns out that you’re just another person who isn’t as witty as they think they are.

          • HJ777

            He’s not witty at all.

        • Nohourwastedinthesaddle

          Good that you do. I just love it when I as a pedestrian have to get off the sidewalk because a cyclist on it is bearing down on me.

          • Don Shipp

            When I’m walking I don’t find pavement cyclists anything like the problem that others seem to. In fact my only real gripe is that none of them have run down and killed Rod Liddle yet.

          • Nohourwastedinthesaddle

            That’s only because you haven’t seen the Rod Liddle squeezy-toy. Soft, jolly, and when you press its belly a glow comes into its eyes and it spouts a witticism. “Fibromyalgia is the worst affliction since the idea that one must cook with Jamie Oliver and look like him, too.” OK, I made that up. But otherwise, what’s not to like?

          • Don Shipp

            He isn’t funny. Robust humour is fine and genuinely witty people can make it work – Clarkson is the obvious example – but this article is pure trolling.
            By the way, what’s fibromyalgia got to do with Liddle? Is that what’s wrong with him?

          • Nohourwastedinthesaddle

            He caused a lot of fibromyalgic outrage when he wrote on the subject, ages ago.

      • who?

        Have you ever crossed the road when the little man was red, John?

        • John Lea

          Of course. Driven through a few red lights too. Never descended to the level of wearing lycra though.

          • Danny Wade

            Joining the fashion police is far lower than wearing technical bike pants.

          • Nohourwastedinthesaddle

            ‘Driven through a few red lights too’

            In that case your licence should be suspended.

      • http://www.theartofconversation.net/ Kevin McLean

        ‘I actively celebrate when (cyclists) are hit by trucks and buses’
        Do you mean this? Honestly?

        • SimonToo

          Are you suggesting that John Lea should discriminate. If he did, he could be accused of a hate crime.

        • John Lea

          Course not, Kevin, it was just a bit of fun. I do dislike cyclists, mind. They are arrogant (mostly), self-righteous (mostly), and a bloody nuisance (almost invariably).

          • Danny Wade

            A motorist who considers cyclists to be arrogant and entitled: more ironic hilarity. Please don’t stop!

            “You’re a nuisance on the road,” said the operator of a machine that kills wholesale throughout the world, like cancer, like war, like AIDS.

          • Nohourwastedinthesaddle

            Funny guy, and so insightful. Because cars are just like dictators and deadly viruses, of course(!!!!!!!!)

            I could parody Lefties but I don’t need to because they do it themselves.

          • Danny Wade

            You could call everyone who disagrees with you a leftie too, and go out of your way to misunderstand my point. I will rephrase, just for you:

            The numbers of people dying from automobile collisions worldwide is getting up close to the numbers for wars and diseases.

            The number of people dying from collisions with bicycles every year can be counted on your thumbs.

            Thus the irony of a motorist calling cyclists a menace. We ain’t the ones up to our knees in blood.

          • Danny Wade

            You could call everyone who disagrees with you a leftie too. You could even go out of your way to miss a fairly simple point, perhaps from sheer cussedness. So I’ll rephrase:

            The number of people dying from motor vehicle accidents is almost as high as the numbers for wars, famine, and disease.

            The number of people dying every year from getting hit by cyclists can be counted on your thumbs.

            Therefore, a motorist calling cyclists a menace on the road is tragically stupid.

          • Nohourwastedinthesaddle

            But I don’t call everyone that disagrees a Lefty. I call Lefties Lefty, and fair enough.

            It’s not valid, in a discussion of English roads or Western roads, to ball in every statistic of car-caused fatalities (in non-Western, dare I say backward countries the rates becoming unnervingly high). And then say that cars cause ‘almost as much’ death as disease. It’s not true, is it? Demonizing the car makes no sense, since a car is not an evil like famine or disease. A car is a tool to be used responsibly. When it is used responsibly, which is most of the time in the West, no one dies.

          • Danny Wade

            When someone claims cyclists are a menace on the roads, I consider it pertinent to point out that accident/collision statistics do not bear this out. Motor vehicle collisions being the leading cause of death among children worldwide, I’m not indulging in hyperbole here.

            My own value judgments aside, people die by the thousands who would be alive if not for the automobile.

            Responsible use of a car means taking responsibility for the ease with which you can kill people with it, the opposite of declaring vulnerable road users to be a menace, when their group are the ones dying and yours is the one killing.

          • Don Shipp

            Air pollution, which is 50% vehicle exhaust, kills a thousand times more people than road accidents. However responsibly you use your car you are contributing to those deaths.

          • Danny Wade

            Disease isn’t evil. Does that then make it demonizing to point out that it kills people?

            Why do you assume I’m being sloppy about statistics by mixing in the whole world? What the hell is a “backward” country anyway, if United States of America isn’t?

            Does poor equal backward?

          • nwilson101

            I can guarantee that poor John Lea must be a really clever and highly educated guy, what with his patently ridiculous and clearly made up assertions based upon his White Van man mentality…
            Indeed his cruel and inhumane remarks are as boorish as Liddle…4 cyclists killed by cars this week in London alone…A scorecard of 1000 pedestrians and 250 cylcists killed by motorists a year and not one motorist killed by a cyclist or pedestrian…
            Time to ponder your prejudice perhaps as being in with the ‘killers’ and show a little humanity towards your neighbour..?

      • Matthew Dartford

        “I have no sympathy for cyclists, and nowadays actively celebrate when the knob-ends are hit by trucks and buse”

        really…Even the 1/4 of deaths that are children?

        • HJ777

          Unfortunately, that’s the kind of repellent person that he is.

      • KarlRoche

        Rather than a story, here are some facts. 8,242 pedestrians were killed by motor vehicles (not bikes) between 1999-2010 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-15975564

      • Phil

        That last paragraph and the up-voters shows what a lovely country this has become. Just this last week I read of another 3 children killed by vehicles one of which was a hit and run. But the motoring majority of this country are happy to accept these tragedies and make out that cyclists still pose the greatest risk! Anyone who has children bringing them up to believe that cyclists are the greatest risk should be arrested for neglect. This isn’t me being nasty, it is a mathematical fact. It is also coming from someone whose family spend most of our time on foot.
        Well if I end up under an HGV with my guts hanging out my mouth, at least you and your up-voters can rest in the knowledge that it must have been my fault because I’m a bloody cyclist. The saddest part is that 40,000 blind and partially sighted people around the UK who depend on the software I develop will also suffer. But your type aren’t likely to worry too much about that I suppose.

      • Phil

        I cycle within the law, but it is nice to know you will celebrate my death if I end up under the wheels of and HGV. I doubt my wife and 2 little children will share your jubilation though.

  • AndyPlatt

    Oh dear, Rod Liddlejohn phoning it in again I see.

  • Andrew_RH

    The point at the very end is almost getting at what is needed… “make it compulsory for cyclists to use cycle lanes or for local authorities to stop providing them (and turn the existing ones back into normal roads)”.

    You’ll find that many people who want to see their children cycle to school, or themselves cycle down to the High Street shops, or just to work, do want to get onto cycle paths, and thus not be in your way on the roads (not because they’re being nice but because they feel safer).

    You’ll find no costly legislation would be needed to enforce that.

    The conflict your article describes can be easily solved, and for a lot less than a few road building schemes.

    Direct your anger at where it will be most effective: governments and local authorities who waste what little money they spend on cycle paths by creating routes which aren’t joined up, cleaned up
    or made safe.

    Create proper space for cycling. Then, not only will cyclists be segregated away, perhaps the driver in front of you will choose to cycle too, freeing up space for driving!

    • Matthew Dartford

      “Create proper space for cycling. Then, not only will cyclists be segregated away, perhaps the driver in front of you will choose to cycle too, freeing up space for driving!”

      this is a really really good point. Far to often I see negativity directed towards cyclists as its only them who want cycle paths, and they should “pay for it” (I wont go into the technical inaccuracy of that statement . These particular people always fail to see the net, and maybe indirect benefit to them.

    • AnotherDave

      I don’t think cycle lanes are necessary.

      The London Cycling Campaign used to publish a map of recommended low-traffic routes across London. That’s all that’s required: a substitute for the sign-posted A-road routes for journeys outside a cyclist’s home neighbourhood.

      • Andrew_RH

        If that is “all that’s required” then that is a vote for the status quo which in light of the number of deaths on our roads is clearly not acceptable (both in terms of lives affected and the financial cost crashes impose on the NHS).

        Moreover, it wouldn’t satisfy the goal of getting the driver in front of you out of his/her car and onto a bicycle for their commute or trips to the high street (or to get more kids cycling to school). Apart from making your commute in the car better, that would also reduce the costs on NHS of having to deal with the growing (!) amount of obesity illnesses (one estimate puts the estimated savings at £1.5bn).

        Change is urgently needed to remove the conflict and save our taxes. That change is this: creating space for cycling.

    • Nohourwastedinthesaddle

      Question: Why does society need to provide for cycling, particularly? On public roads in urban areas? You’re making a lot of assumptions here. Cycling is an old technology not really compatible with contemporary life outside of country lanes.

      • VoraLundar

        “Cycling is an old technology not really compatible with contemporary life outside of country lanes.”

        If its such an “old technology” not “compatible with contemporary life” in cities and such, why are we having this argument? Generally, when technology becomes irrelevant, there is a decrease in its use (such as swords). However, the statistics show otherwise.

  • Matthew Dartford

    I enjoyed reading that – it had all the classics. Even the idea that cyclists don’t pay. Well done Rod.

    I notice the little jab at militant cyclists too (well, there where plenty of jabs at militant cyclists), which is cool. I wonder…if my opinion is different to yours will I be labeled a militant?

    So I wont take you to task on your opinions – they are far to entrenched in your mind for me to bother attempting that, but I would like to point out a couple of incorrect assumptions….

    1st is riding two abreast. Yes cyclists do do it to stop bad overtaking, but…the mistake you have made is to assume you have a right to overtake. You don’t. There is no mention anywhere in the Highway Code that says cyclists should move out of the way of cars. And if you or a member of your familys life had ever been put in danger by a dangerous overtake I honestly feel you would agree with the activity. It’s terrifying btw.

    “riding two abreast on unsuitable roads”
    or car drivers overtaking on unsuitable roads right? See works both ways.

    Speaking of your “right to overtake”. Its a very militant attitude Rob.

    Then you go on to say how you are “infuriated by the cyclists tearing past me on the rural footpath”. Well use your head, apply those same principles to cyclists on the road with cars tearing past them. Its these reasons some cycle the way they do.

    Another observation – Some cyclists do care about they environment (like some drivers). But honestly why do you think cyclists do more than anyone else? Is it their carbon bikes? Is it their cars? Is it that its an easy stick to beat them with (like their silly non eco friendly hats)?

    Oh, and “cant afford a car”?… I have two. I honestly don’t know a single cyclist that does not. Had it ever occurred to you that all of these Mamils who can afford £1-5k on a bike don’t have a nice house, with a nice car or two?

    And finally – you want to know the reason cyclists get militant (as you describe it)? Its because to those who don’t break the law, and even to those that do because they feel their lives are in danger if they don’t (because of bad road design or bad driving). Its because articles like this actively encourage prejudiced against cyclists as a whole. And that puts my sons and wife life in danger, or it puts me in danger.

    I could go on, but Iv got to get to work…On my bike of all things.

    • Cab Davidson

      Actually I though it was oddly sloppy. He didn’t call us smug, he didn’t have a go at us for being smug, he never once mentioned that we don’t have an MOT… Even for a bit of crass trollumnism his is poor form – he’s missed out several of the normal lazy stereotypes.

      This is trolling by numbers from someone tragically innumerate.

    • exile on euro street

      MD: “There is no mention anywhere in the Highway Code that says cyclists should move out of the way of cars.”

      Highway Code Rules for cyclists, 68: You MUST NOT….ride in a dangerous, careless or inconsiderate manner.

      I’d say unnecessarily holding up traffic by riding two abreast is pretty inconsiderate.

      And before anyone screams “a*sehole driver” at me I should point out that as well as driving cars I ride bicycles and motorbikes and have even been known to walk a bit, too.

      • Matthew Dartford

        “Highway Code Rules for cyclists, 68: You MUST NOT….ride in a dangerous, careless or inconsiderate manner”

        youre comparing apples and oranges.

        The act of cycling safely – due to inconsiderate overtakes is not the same as being inconsiderate for inconsiderates sake.

        If you want to take that stance you can apply it to every road user who slows you down for a few seconds or minutes.

        And cycling in such a way is in no way dangerous.

        • exile on euro street

          Riding obstructively because you think someone might overtake inconsiderately is inconsiderate of itself.

          Perhaps if you were to try showing a little consideration for other road users you might find the world on 4 wheels doesn’t actually treat you as the potential target you think you are. Carry on as you do currently and you’ll probably provoke some idiot into doing something really stupid.

          • Matthew Dartford

            “Riding obstructively because you think someone might overtake inconsiderately is inconsiderate of itself.”

            I don’t believe drivers go out of their way to be inconsiderate, I believe that many of them are not as good a driver as they think. I also believe that if a road is not wide enough to overtake I would be doing myself a great disservice to move to the side as it to encourage such a maneuver if I know its not safe todo so.

            Please do not assume its done for anyother reason than self preservation.

            It is in no cyclists interest to play chicken with cars. Just think about that.

            BTW. The action of “taking the lane”, which is in effect what we are talking about is taught by bikeability (as well as others)

          • exile on euro street

            I think we broadly have the same view of the situation on the road but have come to rather different conclusions as to how best to deal with it.

            As you might guess from my username I’m no longer UK resident and have never heard of bikeability – I’ll google it.

          • WestcountryTim

            You can order the recomended text for Bikeability (Cyclecraft by john franklin) from amazon or other bookshops.

          • Bristol_Dan

            The Institute of Advanced Motorists recognises this!

            From the IAM fact sheet:
            Cyclists are advised to take a prominent position in the road well ahead of any manoeuvre to ensure they are in the right place at the right time. If they ride in the middle of the road it is probably not to obstruct your path, but to ensure that they are seen by you and by other motorists.

            So the IAM thinks it is correc and acceptable, Matthew Dartford doesn’t….. methinks that one is a dangerous driver, the other an organisation that is aware of how to drive safely

            I will let you sort which is which

          • Matthew Dartford

            “So the IAM thinks it is correc and acceptable, Matthew Dartford doesn’t”

            I totally 100% agree with the IAM. Did you read my stance, or do you have me mixed up with another poster?

          • Mr B J Mann

            What the fact sheet said, as you missed it, was:

            Cyclists are advised to take a prominent position in the road well ahead of any manoeuvre to ensure they are in the right place at the right time. If they ride in the middle of the road it is probably not to obstruct your path, but to ensure that they are seen by you and by other motorists.


            Cyclists are advised to take a prominent position in the road well ahead of any manoeuvre to ensure they are in the right place at the right time.

            They are also advised to speed up to block side roads ahead, and/or slow down alongside them and dawdle along blocking them, if they see that a car wants to exit or enter it.

            Not to mention weaving suddenly, for no good reason, out into the path of a motor vehicle they’ve spotted wanting to safely pass them, forcing them to abort the overtake or complete it despite the enforced danger.

            If they ride in the middle of the road it is probably not to obstruct your path, but to ensure that they are seen by you and by other motorists.


          • Cab Davidson

            Riding in a position to make it clear that it isn’t safe to overtake isn’t being obstructive. Its making sure that those behind you know to wait until its safe before passing. If you ride in the gutter you’ll frequently find people will pass within inches of you at very high speed – thats why riding in an assertive road position is recommended by cycle safety instructors – this is common known as the ‘primary position’.

            And the thing you really must remember about that is that it will frequently allow another cyclist to ride safely inside your position – or, essentially, two cyclists take up the same amount of road space, at least if you’re approaching with the point of view of someone who wants to overtake.

            The cyclist you’re seeing obstructing you is riding according to good safety practice – he’s not doing it to slow you down or inconvenience you. Why are you assuming its all about you?

          • exile on euro street

            CB – It’s not about me and never was, so you can stop that sanctimonious drivel.

            My original point was about cyclists riding two abreast *inappropriately* and thus holding up other road users. This is inconsiderate, thus contravening the Highway Code that Mathew Dartford quoted. Various cycling organisations seem to advocate the “taking the lane” strategy but they do not appear to support it in circumstances where road traffic is going, or could safely go, significantly faster than the cyclist can. It’s simply a question of courtesy, consideration or sense – call it what you will – not to cause the kind of obstruction Rod Liddle referred to. What’s so hard to grasp about that?
            I’m all for asserting yourself on the road to promote your and others’ safety but this has to be appropriate to the conditions not due to some blind dogma about cyclists’ right to ride.

            Right, I’m off home on my motorbike now and no doubt I will antagonise a few car drivers by filtering to the front of the queue. Tomorrow I will don my lycra and cycle to work, scattering dogs and pedestrians in my wake whilst dodging the cars and lorries driven by sleepy and inattentive drones on mobile phones. Next week I pick up my new car…..

          • Cab Davidson

            Well, yes. You are making it about you. Them being in front of you is in some way a challenge to you – they’re in your way, they’re being inconsiderate to you.

            It. Is. Not. About. You.

            It is the decision of the road user in front of you how to use the road within the law – you’re showing us that you don’t respect their decision to relate when it is safe to pass when they’re cyclists.

            Dogma? No. I promise you, I guarantee, they’re not riding in the middle of the lane out of dogma; the idea that a cyclist wants to encourage a motorist behind to be irate is ridiculous.

          • exile on euro street

            CB – Try to reply to what I wrote, not what you’d like to think I wrote. And forget this fixation with who it’s about, it’s about safe and considerate road use by all road users.
            I’ll give you an example of what I mean: many of the roads I cycle on have speed limits of 80 or 100 kmh;
            I can probably maintain 30 kmh on them. They can get a bit narrow
            and/or twisty at times but under no circumstances would I ever want to
            be riding 2 abreast “taking the lane” on these roads, it’s asking to get
            run into. On the few occasions when I’ve seen other cyclists do it
            they’ve mainly been chatting and oblivious to any traffic building up behind
            them, traffic they could quite easily let pass. That is not considerate or safe road use.

          • Cab Davidson

            You’re still doing it.

            The cyclists keeping the lane where it isn’t appropriate to pass, such as in the narrow, twisty space you describe, are in the right.

            Their reason for being there isn’t about you, its about their own safety.

            And your view that they’re oblivious or somehow selfish… Staggering really.

          • BOB SANDOVAL

            cyclists are faggots

          • Kevin coxen

            i live in leominster mass, where do you live ? I want to avail you and your sister the opportunity to say that to my face

          • BOB SANDOVAL

            Come up to Rhode Island you small penis man. I’d rip what little sack you have left and stuff it into your grandmother’s mouth in front of your whole family. Then again, I’d do that just because you’re a cyclist. No other reason.

          • Internet Pawn

            When you are filtering, will you be crossing any advance stop lines as most motorcyclists seem to?

          • exile on euro street

            Got home safely, thanks.
            No I didn’t cross any stop lines and not just for the obvious “you’re not allowed to” reason. I’m in Germany and if you cross a stop line at a traffic light you can’t see the lights change as they’re level with the line.

          • Nohourwastedinthesaddle

            Bicycles don’t belong on high-speed, high-traffic roads unless the cyclist is willing to take considerably more responsibility than he currently does for a) the likelihood of an accident and b) his possible death in such an accident.

            Car drivers rightly often dislike cyclists because they accurately perceive that, as the heavy machine driver, if anything goes wrong THEY will be blamed. And prosecuted. And ruined.

          • HJ777

            Bicycles have an equal right to be on any roads except motorways. If you think it dangerous, then you need to look at what makes it dangerous, not blame the cyclist who often has no choice.

            Car driers will only be blamed, prosecuted and ruined if they are found guilty of driving recklessly (while in control of potentially lethal machinery.

            Do you think they shouldn’t be? Can you provide an example of where they have been blamed, prosecuted and ruined when they were innocent?

          • lustra

            You seem to be oblivious to the fact that cyclists killed by motorists almost never receive justice in the courts: http://road.cc/content/news/95681-pharmaceutical-consultant-who-killed-cyclist-while-driving-wrong-side-road

          • Mr B J Mann

            Oh, purleeeze!

            Cyclists (yes, just in the UK) kill two or three pedestrians a year.

            How many of them to they lock up for life and throw away the key (or even take to court)?

            And try looking up how many cyclists kill themselves in single vehicle accidents (or kill cyclists in two – two wheeled – vehicle “collisions” – as there is no such thing as an unplanned, undesired outcome on the roads any more according to the police – by the way, a “colllision” requires two – or more – moving bodies, so what do the police now call a traffic “accident” involving one moving vehicle and one stationary vehicle, or other object?!).

            By the way, cyclists manage to kill two or three pedestrians pa despite being, so slow and light and cuddly, a rate per mile ridden comparable to the numbers of pedestrians who die in collisions with motor vehicles per mile driven, despite motor vehicles being such hard and fast and heavy lethal killing machines.

            And supposedly driven by inconsiderate, selfish, evil, dangerous, homicidal, murderous motorists.

            Logically you would think that, to turn their slow, light and cuddly steeds into such relatively dangerous vehicles: it must be the cyclists who are the inconsiderate, selfish, evil, dangerous, homicidal, murderous ones?!

          • lustra

            You seem to be a bit disturbed. Why is it people get so upset about cyclists yet forgive the far more serious transgressions of motorists without a thought?

          • Mr B J Mann

            Actually, being aware of the facts has made me VERY disturbed and upset.

            And your point is?

            Oh, that if motorists kill “x” pedestrians per mile driven while trying to control big heavy fast vehicles they’re “the far more serious transgressions” than cyclists killing the self same “x” pedestrians per mile ridden on slow light cycles.

            How does that work then?!

          • lustra

            And in the Netherlands where everyone cycles it is of course carnage. If you really believe that a cyclist poses more danger than a motorist no wonder you are so disturbed.

          • HJ777

            The per mile argument is nonsense since a large proportion of driving miles are on roads where there are no pedestrians (e.g. motorways).

            Cycling constitutes around 2% of all journeys (and a higher proportion of urban journeys) yet is responsible for far fewer than 1% of pedestrian deaths.

            Logic clearly is not your strong point.

          • Mr B J Mann

            Wow. FAR fewer.

            But that STILL ignores the fact that cycles are slow, light, soft and cuddly.

            While cars and other motor vehicles are hard, “speeding” one to forty ton lethal killing machines under the control of homicidal maniacs.

            So how do cyclists manage to kill only “far fewer” than half as many pedestrians by your best cherry picked statistics?

            Or is logic not our strong point either!

          • Fergus Pickering

            Is it OK for two pedestrians to walk down the road in the same manner.if there is no pavement? If not why not.

          • Cab Davidson

            different rules for safety apply on different roads, and for different kinds of road users. On many routes its entirely reasonable for pedestrians to be two aside, on others not so much. The only hard, fast rule is that you must be travelling at a speed such that you can stop in the distance you can see – otherwise you’ll hit folk (such as your hypothetical pedestrians) who also have every right to be in that space.

          • Mr B J Mann

            So you’re saying driving in a position that makes it clear it’s dangerous to cycle two abreast when it’s dangerous to cycle two abreast is not just a good safety idea, it’s no more than common courtesy to cyclists?!

            And to think I used to hang back and wait and wait and wait until the road was otherwise empty and three cars wide before daring to pass.

            From now on I’ll follow your advice and teach them a lesson in safety and manners!

          • HJ777

            It’s obstructive only to those who would overtake dangerously, given the opportunity.

            What is supposed to be so wrong about reducing the opportunity for drivers to behave dangerously?

          • Fergus Pickering

            You can do that by walking in front of them with a red flag.

          • exile on euro street


          • exile on euro street

            Oh good grief! Someone else who reads what they want to be there, not what is written.
            What is so hard to accept about the idea that there might just be some circumstances where forming a two-wheel moving road block isn’t necessarily the safest or most sensible option?
            It’s possible and sensible to influence other road users in that way, particularly in urban areas where speeds are relatively low, but once the speed differential increases significantly it simply doesn’t work the same way. Which is reflected in the recommendations of various cycling groups not to try it on faster roads.

          • HJ777

            Good grief, indeed.

            You posted this:

            “I’d say unnecessarily holding up traffic by riding two abreast is pretty inconsiderate.”

            That’s all. That’s what I replied to, explain why riding two abreast is not necessarily inconsiderate and can, in fact, be considerate to drivers and a safety measure.

            Only in later posts (which I hadn’t seen when I replied because you hadn’t posted them) have you introduced all sorts of qualifiers about the type of road, speeds, etc..

          • exile on euro street

            And the operative word was “unnecessarily”, you seem to have overlooked that, which is a shame as it was quite important. Subsequent posts simply demonstrated what that meant to people with limited imaginations. In future I suggest you look at what people are saying and not read selectively what you want to get worked up about.

          • HJ777

            For someone who is clearly not very bright, you are astonishingly patronising.

            Your post stated that it was riding two abreast that constituted unnecessarily holding up traffic. No qualifier. You need to think before you post rather than criticising others for responding to what you actually wrote.

          • Mr B J Mann

            Errrmmmmmmm, but surely it’s only obstructive to those who wouldn’t overtake dangerously.

            But increases the opportunities for those who would overtake dangerously.

            Thanks for sharing that classic example of lefty “liberal” logic with us.

          • HJ777

            No – riding two abreast makes it impossible to overtake on most roads when there is a car coming in the opposite direction.

            Given that the Highway Code says (and there is even a photo illustration) that you should allow as much room when overtaking cyclists as you would for a car, then you should not be overtaking a single file cyclist when there is a car coming in the opposite direction.

            Thank you for sharing that classic example of ignorance of the Highway Code with us.

            And you think that just because I know what I am talking about and you don’t, makes me a “lefty liberal” just shows that you know nothing.

          • Mr B J Mann

            No – riding two abreast makes it impossible to overtake SAFELY on most roads when there is a car coming in the opposite direction.

            It doesn’t stop the nutters (on two wheels or four).

            So you are creating a dangerous situation for the approaching car.

            If you and the nutter want to die, that’s your business (apart from the fact that, as an insured motorist, I will end up paying for the accident as the nutter probably isn’t, and the cyclists’ insurance, even if he has any, probably wouldn’t pay out).

            But please don’t make the roads more dangerous than they need to be for us safe cyclists and drivers.

            And where does the Highway Code say it’s OK to ride two abreast holding up traffic if they couldn’t get past if you were in single file?

          • HJ777

            “Riding obstructively because you think someone might overtake inconsiderately is inconsiderate of itself.”

            It’s not ‘inconsiderate’ overtaking that cyclists are trying to prevent, it’s dangerous overtaking. Do you think that cyclists should not, entirely legitimately under the law, try to reduce the danger they face from motor vehicles?


          • HJ777

            Institute of Advanced Motorists:

            “Cyclists are advised to take a prominent position in the road well ahead of any manoeuvre to ensure they are in the right place at the right time. If they ride in the middle of the road it is probably not to obstruct your path, but to ensure that they are seen by you and by other motorists.”

          • Mr B J Mann

            There are a proportion of psychopaths in the population.

            That means that there are probably some pscyclopaths in the cycling community.

            And probably the same proportion, though a much larger number of them, among the 30 million drivers.

            And those drivers cover a much, much larger mileage per person than cyclists.

            But perhaps any cyclist who choses to deliberately risk antagonising a potential psycopath in a “one ton lethal speeding killing machine” needs eliminating from the gene pool?

            Or perhaps they think their helmet cams will protect them!

        • Fergus Pickering

          Yes it s because it is bloody annoying..

          • Danny Wade

            Who promised you a life free of annoyance? You poor, poor dear.

      • Bristol_Dan

        A car turning right into a junction holding up vehicles is also pretty inconsiderate… I lose about 15vminutes a day at one particular junction, far more than I ever lose to cyclists
        Why allow right turns?

    • Emilia

      I note that even you don’t defend cyclist charging along pavements, to the peril of little old ladies, prams and wheelchairs.

      • Matthew Dartford

        That’s correct.

        Having to cycle on the pavement is one thing (because either roads or drivers are unfriendly). Being as ass while you’re doing it is quite another.

        I have always been of the opinion that the most vulnerable must come first. And the pedestrian is at the top of that ladder.

      • nwilson101

        I have NEVER seen a cyclist ‘charging along’ pavements in 10 yrs cycling in central London. It appears a once in a blue moon experience becomes a reason to ban. Would this person ban every car or lorry driver who speeds…approx. 10 million of them each week!

    • nwilson101

      Liddle’s claim of cyclists 2 abreast I have NEVER seen in London thus far to date…Just how often does this happen? Once in a blue moon and so an absurd argument…Scraping the barrel I think Mr Liddle. Next he’ll write a 3000 word essay because once he saw a cyclist eating a pickle on a bike or something equally as pathetic! In the Spectator of course! d r i v e l

    • Mr B J Mann

      “And finally – you want to know the reason cyclists get militant (as you describe it)? Its because to those who don’t break the law, and even to those that do because they feel their lives are in danger if they don’t……”
      You know, I’ve often felt that dawdling along, sticking to speed limits when I can, or travelling even slower when I’m held up behind cyclists, especially on roads that used to have much higher, and perfectly safe, limits, especially when some bits were obvioulsy perfectly safe for much higher speeds, risked my getting drowsy before completing what should be a quite quick and short journey, was dangerous.
      Especially on those empty hypnotic motorway NON road “works” that seem to stretch on for miles for ever and a day, which seem designed to send you into a slumber you’ve only got a slim chance of surviving.
      So you’re saying that it’s OK for me to break the speed limit if I feel it endangers me.
      Same for stopping on those reds on a quiet road (you never know, there may be a bit of dust covered oil that will spin me off).

      • Matthew Dartford

        Blimey…Slow day for you Mr Mann?

        “You know, I’ve often felt that dawdling along, sticking to speed limits when I can, or travelling even slower when I’m held up behind cyclists, especially on roads that used to have much higher, and perfectly safe, limits, especially when some bits were obviously perfectly safe for much higher speeds, risked my getting drowsy before completing what should be a quite quick and short journey, was dangerou”

        Getting drowsy? Blimey…Everyone’s fault but yours right?

        Never had that problem when I drive. I suggest an early night. Get some sleep.

        “So you’re saying that it’s OK for me to break the speed limit if I feel it endangers me.”

        No, that’s not what im saying.

        Only you are responsible for the danger you introduce. But…If someone introduces genuine danger to your person then yes, I would advise you to take action to stop yourself getting hurt or killed. No one would blame you for that.

        Just because you feel like it is not a good enough reason to break a law or the highway code.

        • Mr B J Mann

          Blimey…Slow day for you, Matty.

          So you’re sayin “But…If someone introduces genuine danger to your person then yes, I would advise you to take action to stop yourself getting hurt or killed. No one would blame you for that.”

          Like someone introducing a series of pelican crossings that don’t have a flashing phase, that activists like to walk past pushing their, and motorist buttons?

          Or unnecessary, or long-red-phased, traffic lights that keep you stopped for half your journey on empty roads?!

          Or like someone introducing a 30 limit on a formerly perfectly safe 60, or even 70 dual carriageway?

          Or silly reduced limit, or empty roadworks on a motorway?!

          Do I have to cut and paste the rest of my previous post here?

          Or can you figure out the rest yourself?!?!?!

  • HJ777

    Pure ignorance from Rod Liddle.

    I hope he is not paid for this factually ignorant crap.

    I shall never buy another copy of the Spectator while they continue to publish this idiots ramblings.

  • Jackart

    Yes. But Rod Liddle is fat.

    • Eddie

      Fat or twat though?
      Where is the EVIDENCE to show cyclists are healthier than non-cyclists?
      Smugger, yep. But they do not live longer and in fact the average age of death is lower and cancer rates are higher.

      • HJ777

        Never heard of the Copenhagen study? A 20-year study of 5,000 people clearly showed that cyclists lived longer than those who don’t cycle (because they are fitter).

        I thought not, but then ignorant comment is your speciality.

        • James Justice

          Must be all that deep breathing in of diesel particulates

          • HJ777

            Yes, he probably doesn’t realise that vehicle occupants are exposed to much greater levels of pollution from other road users than are cyclists.

          • Bristol_Dan

            Absolutely….. you are aware that with faster breathing particulates settle less and are breathed out. Sedentary driving doesn’t. that is why particulate levels in car drivers are HIGHER than in cyclists!

          • James Lynch

            Yes, but driving to work in a large, comfortable car is far more relaxing. I just sling mine on a double-yellow if all the bays are taken (on the basis that my contract stipulates that I am entitled to a parking space). One arrives calm and unruffled. I know colleagues who cycle in in their suits, and are a crumpled mess when they arrive. This strikes me as stupid. There’s a time and a place for exercise, but doing it in one’s business suit is idiotic.

          • RabtheCairnTerrier

            Wearing a business suit is idiotic – a more uncomfortable, imptractical form of dress has yet to be devised. They look boring too.

          • Allan C. R.Andersson

            Sounds as if you are jealous of those whose work demands a smart appearance. I imagine you are one of the slobs who think a suit is something you wear just to impress the girlfriend’s parents or for Saturday nights at your local…worst of all without a tie- a hallmark of young scruffs.

          • Labradorofperception

            I feel even more smuggerer as I load my hand made De Rosa into the boot of my Jaguar XF-R.

            Agree about the peggling in a suit though.

          • Seb K

            ‘more smuggerer ‘ – ha ha you’re not a teacher are you ?!!!

        • Rocksy

          They probably live longer because they cause so many accidents and kill off any other road (or pavement) users.

          • HJ777

            No – that’s drivers you’re thinking of.

            I am both a driver and a cyclist, by the way (and do more of the former than the latter).

          • Rocksy

            No it’s cyclist I’m think of. I speak from experience. Several in fact including being hit from behind and knocked flat while walking through a large department store!

          • HJ777

            You wrote:

            “they cause so many accidents and kill off any other road (or pavement) users”

            Yet you claim to “speak from experience” because you claim (implausibly) that you were knocked over (not killed) by a cyclist INSIDE a department store. How is that “speaking from experience” when your supposed experience was not of what you claimed cyclists do?

            Have you ever seen another road or pavement user killed by a cyclist? Then you are in a very, very, small minority since it is extremely rare (one pedestrian is killed on a pavement by a cyclist once every three years in the UK, on average). Around 80 per year are killed on pavements by motor vehicles.

          • CharlietheChump

            I saw a drunk cyclist mow down a elderly lady in Cheltenham, she did survive.

          • HJ777

            And, of course, had the drunk been ‘in control’ of a car, she wouldn’t have.

          • Mr B J Mann

            Here we go!

            Two or three pedestrians are killed by cyclists every year, on average.

            As for “one pedestrian is killed on a pavement by a cyclist once every three years in the UK, on average). Around 80 per year are killed on pavements by motor vehicles”.

            That means that motorists are involved in 240 more pedestrian deaths on pavements than are killed on pavements by cyclists in absolute number terms.

            Do you seriously believe that motorists do less than 240 times the total annual mileage of the cycling community.

            On conservative statistics motorists do more than four times 240 times.





            _D_O_ _I_ _H_A_V_E_ _T_O_ _S_P_E_L_L_ _I_T_ O_U_T_?

          • HJ777

            I think that you have spelled out quite clearly that you are incredibly thick.

            Comparing mileages is stupid because most car mileage is done on trunk roads and motorways where there are few, if any pedestrians.

            The vast majority of road deaths caused by drivers occur in towns and cities. And the total number of deaths caused by motor vehicles is approximately 1000 times greater than the number caused by collisions with cyclists, yet cyclists constitute 2% of the total number of road journeys and a higher percentage of urban journeys.

            Then you try to compare the TOTAL number of pedestrian deaths caused by cyclists with the number of pedestrian deaths caused by drivers just on pavements omitting other deaths caused, for example, by drivers on pedestrian crossings (about 30 per year) and those caused by drivers jumping red lights.

            The official DfT figures show that *mile for mile* in urban areas from 2008-12, motor vehicles were about 1.3 times more likely than a cycle to seriously injure a pedestrian, and 4 times more likely to kill them.

            I suppose that it’s too much to expect a thickie like you to have any understanding of statistics. Please just stop making a fool of yourself.

          • Mr B J Mann

            Feel free to attack the man if you can’t play the ball.

            And feel free to cherry pick whatever statistics you like in between the ad hominem attacks and straw man arguments.

            We’re STILL left with the fact that cars are big, hard, heavy, “speeding” lethal “killing machines”.
            While cycles are slow, light, soft and cuddly.

            So even if cars ARE four times more dangerous: how do cyclists STILL manage to be so lethal?

            You would think that while motorists must be trying incredibly hard to be as safe as possibly – cyclists must be deliberately trying to be as lethal as they can to achieve 25% of the motorists’ kill rate, considering the disparity in the lethality of their weapons of choice?!?!?!?!?!?

        • Mikehikebike

          Copenhagen study compares 2 self-selecting groups and confuses cause with effect. Rather like saying that driving a Porsche will make you rich.

          • Roger_Geffen

            Incorrect. The Copenhagen heart study is a randomised control study – it is not “self-selecting”.

            Nor does it confuse cause and effect – i.e. its findings cannot be interpreted as meaning that healthy people are more likely to cycle (rather than that people who cycle are more likely to be healthy). It found that those who cycle-commute regularly have a significantly lower mortality rate (i.e. a lower statistical likelihood of dying in a given year) than those who do not, regardless of any other physical activity that people in these two groups might do – including recreational (i.e. non-commuter) cycling.

            See abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10847255?dopt=Abstract

          • Mikehikebike

            it was a retrospective study comparing people who had chosen to cycle with others who chose not to. A randomised control study would be prospective and would assign roles to participants. It would have to involve dragging some fatties out of their cars and banning other fitties from cycling. You might manage that sort of trial in an authoritarian community but not in Denmark. The result of the Copenhagen study is an unsurprising correlation rather than a cause and effect revelation.

        • Icebow

          Interesting. I can well believe that cyclists would tend to be longer-lived than average, allowing for accidents, though I do recall some report to the effect that professional cyclists were the exception.

      • Mr B J Mann

        Yes, but cycling makes the male ones impotent.

        No wonder they feel forced to ride their bikes in such a thrusting “man”ner.

        (PS If I ever bought a sports car:

        It would have to be a short, slim one!)

    • dalai guevara

      Obese is the technical term, so in the majority soon.
      That’s how democracy works.

    • JoeDM

      This is an excellent article that has the lycra louts down to a turn !!!

      • Jackart

        You’re too stupid to realise when you’re being trolled.

      • Seb K

        Rather be a Lycra lout (although I don’t wear them) than a Motor moron .

    • Icebow

      I’ve seen fatter. Anyhow, didn’t you mean ‘differently thin’?

  • Jackart

    Rod liddle is a member of the Labour party.

  • Christophe89

    Rob Liddle: What a ration of doggerel. Back to obscurity you go please.

    • The_greyhound

      Do you know what doggerel actually means?

      Thought not.

      • Don Shipp

        How about “What a steaming mess of turds”?

  • Tom Jeffs

    Don’t worry Rod, my fat, smoking trollollable friend. You’ll soon be dead from your lack of activity, whereas your cycling friends, non-existent though they may be, will be fit and well as they soar into their 80s. And they’ll have this lovely, entirely predictable plate of word salad to prove that they were doing the right thing all along.

    • Eddie

      Yes, have fun with your healthy testicular cancer, son. All together now: TOMMY HAS ONLY GOT ONE….

  • Matthew Dartford

    unrelated note – anyone know who the illustrator is (why not credit them Spectator?). Id like to buy a print.

  • Dave Atkinson

    Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawn. Isn’t this just the same words as last time, in a different order? And yet cycling as cheap, efficient city transport will continue to grow at a rate even greater than your chins. You must feel so impotent.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Nothing wrong with bicycles. But it’s not some new religion. In Holland people on bicycles are just that. They don’t as a rule wear daft clothes or have twenty gears or …or…. or. The people saving the planet are those who sit in one place and talk to one another, often smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol.. Reading books is also OK. And reciting verse in an undertone…

    • Eddie

      IU am sure Rod will bring you flowers in hospital (or for the funeral) when your arrogance gets you knocked off your bike and squished.

  • Robert young

    Dear Ron Liddle
    I urge you to contact the friends, family and loved ones of the 122 cyclists who were killed in 2012 & share this ‘joke’ with them. In case you don’t know who they are, the list is available as follows and available online.


    Graham Hughes, Kadian Harding, Christopher Griffiths, Mark Alan Camber, David Noy, Orla Lawlor
    Alexander Ward, Timothy Osborn, Samuel Joe Brown, Junaid Ali Khan, James Darby, Anthony Hilson
    James Cresswell, Joe Wilkins, Scott Crawford, Julian Evans, Frank Mugisha, Neil Turner
    Jason Sandford, Ken Usher, Kyle Coen, Georgia Ellen Flynn, Andrew McNicoll, Maria Micklethwaite
    Robb Fraser, Brent Jelley, Stephen Salt, Olatunji Johnson Adeyanju, Matthew Hamilton, Tarsem Dari: Henry Warwick, Stephen Vanhinsbergh, Andrew Chick, Natasha Chhina-Beverley, Paul John Dyas, Benjamin Hydes

    • SimonToo

      From Earth’s wide bounds, from oceans’ farthest coast
      Through gates of pearl, rides in the countless host

    • John Lea

      Don’t be daft. So we can’t criticise cyclists because a few of them have copped it in recent years? That’s like saying we can’t criticise Ryanair because a few of their planes have crashed. Or the BBC because Jill Dando was shot. Talk about reductio ad absurdum.

      • Cab Davidson

        No. You shouldn’t mock their deaths because a lot of them have died on our roads in the kind of circumstances under discussion, and thats both tasteless and unfair on their families. Show some respect for other human beings.

        • John Lea

          Listen, if a cyclist is killed through no fault of his or her own, of course that’s to be regretted. But people on here – including you – are trying to win the debate by appealing to the heart-strings. Most of the cyclists I see go too fast in built-up areas. Not only that but I’ve noticed that they love wearing headphones, so that they’re completely oblivious to any abuse they (rightly) receive. Those people are selfish idiots. And yes, I chuckle when they cop it, because they are twats.

          • Cab Davidson

            Actually we’ve got the stats – we know what proportion of ksi (incidens in which someone is killed or seriously injured) where cyclists are hurt are caused by cyclists and what proportion are caused by motorists. I’m sure other cyclists here will correct me if I’m wrong – its about 70% where blame is entirely with the motorist, 15% where blame is entirely with the cyclist, although the latter statistic is massively skewed by the number where there is only one eyewitness – the surviving motorist.

            Of course cyclists with earplugs aren’t wearing a metal box – they can hear as well as motorists can…

            And you’re saying they’re going ‘too fast’? Nonsense. The speed of a cyclist is contributory to a negligible proportion of reported ksi – thats also your own bis showing.

            Your problem isn’t due to the cyclists – its due to you. Chuckling when another human being gets killed in an accident? Wow. I mean… Just… Wow.

          • Mr B J Mann

            And do you have the stats on how many motorists were 100% entirely to blame when a cyclist had a fatal single vehicle accident?

            And where the only other vehicle or vehicles involved were other cycles?!

            And in those cases the stats on how many of the accidents were caused by the cycles going too slow?!?!?!

            Oh, and in the SI accidents where the only available witness was the cyclist who’d clipped or bounced off a car or lorry through his own stupidity and/or recklessness without the driver noticing, but blamed it on the driver?!?!

            Etc, etc, etc…..!!!!!

          • Redorblack Nigelbottom

            So the cyclists go to fast… but they won’t get out of your way? Oblivious… Twat… yep those words apply, just not the way you use them.

      • Eddie

        Someone died near my home by walking across a road when drunk.
        I know – let’s ban cars, and alcohol, and roads!
        Brilliant! Zzzzz….

    • Fergus Pickering

      How many of them were to blame for their own deaths. Do you know?

    • Eddie

      Maybe cycling isn’t so good for you after all then? Let’s advise all sane people not to ride bikes in London.
      These people’s deaths were mostly their own fault – incompetence + arrogance = death by bicycle.

      • HJ777

        Cycling itself is almost completely safe. It’s the presence of heavy, fast, motor vehicles that presents all the danger (to other motor vehicles as well as pedestrians and cyclists).

        So sane people, by your logic, should be advised not to drive in London.

  • who?

    That’s the last time I read The Spectator.

    • Nohourwastedinthesaddle

      Soyonara, then.

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        Sayonara, although transliteration can be tricky.
        Jack, Japan Alps

        • Nohourwastedinthesaddle

          Fine, but you can use mine as a condiment!

  • Hannah Beauchamp

    I normally cycle to work. I tripped and hurt my knee, and am temporarily getting the train; Streatham to London Bridge. One person who lives somewhere along this route now cannot get on this train as it is full and I have their space. I have no trouble getting on (often getting a seat), but a few stops out of London Bridge it is full every single morning, with people packed in like cattle.

    TfL emailed me about their pilot scheme suggesting people who live between Tooting and Stockwell travel outside peak times, as tube trains are so full in rush hour. Yep, that’s the best they can come up with.

    Forget the moral argument, there is simply not enough space for everyone who works in The City to drive into work (and park).

    In many cases, there is no room on public transport either.

    So let’s find a solution that works. When my knee is better, I’ll cycle and that angry man banging on the windows at Peckham Rye can have my space on the train. I’m happy cycling, it’s not a moral decision, any more than my choice of clothing today.

    • Eddie

      You hurt your knee so can’t cycle? OMG woman! When I was a boy we crashed and broke ourselves with loud CRUNCH noises and scabs and blood and sweat and broken teeth – and we still rode our bikes! A broken neck wouldn’t have stopped us! Our knees were permanently hurt and scabbed!

      Yes, the train gets crowded in the rush hour. Thanks for letting us know. Maybe next you can tell us the amazing news that the Pope of catholic and that eating too much makes you fat. Lots of people use public transport in the rush hour. The clue’s in the name.

      Just squeeze your way on and you’ll get on that train; if not, wait for the next train due in 1 minute. Used to do it every day. Then I quit work, left London (the overpriced slum that it is) and now live a much better life 200 miles away on less money too. You makes yer bed…

      • Hannah Beauchamp

        Ah, Eddie, did you have a drink with lunch? I broke two bones in my knee. If I can’t bend it, I can’t cycle old bean.

        If you didn’t receive the TfL email, you’re missing out. It literally states that the Pope is Catholic. It seems Rod Liddle is the one who needs reminding transport isn’t a political choice. Some people just need to get to where they’re going.

        • Eddie

          Wimp. Maybe if you were a boy, you wouldn’t have such a low pain threshold eh?

          • Hannah Beauchamp

            Well actually, I was AS EVER thinking about tampons and shoes when I became distracted and fell, so perhaps I wouldn’t have fallen in the first place if I were a boy 😉

          • Eddie

            Funnily enough, a few years ago a car nearly drove straight into me head-on. At the last moment, the two women in the car looked at the road and not the pretty flowers in gardens that had distracted the driver and made her veer onto the wrong side of the road!
            Men get distracted too, of course – usually by fit young girls! Many a shunt has been caused that way!

          • Don Shipp

            If you weren’t such a horse’s arse then you wouldn’t be so full of shit.
            But you are, so you are.

      • Don Shipp

        So, as a child you kept crashing your bike and then you gave up. Now you resent everyone who learned to ride properly.

        • Eddie

          I do not resent it when twats like you fall off and get squished by lorries. I call it Natural Selection. You are a ,moron and an amateur. All great cyclists have scars from crashes – those of us who are grown up acquired them before pubic hair sprouted; those spazz monkeys like you experiment and inflict your special motor skills on other road users.
          Learn to ride properly, twat.

          • Don Shipp

            The roads are not part of any natural selection process. They are how people of all ages and abilities get around and the law requires all users to keep others safe as well as themselves.

            God did not invent bicycles.

            I have been riding in London for over 30 years without getting squished – I am no amateur.

            I do not know what crashes you bear scars from but I doubt that you are a great cyclist.

            When you cite the Highway Code give chapter and verse. Don’t just invent something and pretend that it’s from the HC.

  • WestcountryTim

    A very poorly research article. Every lazy stereotype used, but no facts used.

    Cycle lanes are often useless, too narrow and put you in a dangerous place on the road.
    Car drivers don;t pay for the road. If you need education about the VED disc you put in your car I suggest you go to http://www.ipayroadtax.com.
    As for dangers on the pavement, In Britain there are 40 pedestrians killed on footways or verges by motor vehicles, on average, every year (one killed by a cyclist every 4 years). So pedestrains are in far greater danger from motor vehicles.

    I would suggest Rod does the Bikeability (the revamped cycling proficiency) to see the correct way to ride safely on the roads in the UK.

    • HJ777

      The correct figure for pedestrians killed on footpaths by motor vehicles every year is 80, not 40.

  • http://www.theartofconversation.net/ Kevin McLean

    Is this meant to be funny? ‘Too few people killed while cycling’. Hilarious. Or is he trying to make a serious point? Which is what? I must have missed it. Get this man on a bike as soon as possible.

  • http://www.theartofconversation.net/ Kevin McLean

    Is this meant to be funny? Cyclists killed – hilarious. Or is he making a serious point? what is the point, can someone tell me?

  • AnotherDave

    Most (adult) cyclists are probably also drivers.

    I suspect these militant “two abreast” types mentioned in the article are a very small minority. But they do exist, and some of them seem to perceive themselves to be engaged in a drivers vs cyclists war. Enforcing the existing laws would sort them out.

    • WestcountryTim

      The highway code states cyclist should not ride more than two abreast.
      There is no law on this (hence the should not must in the highway code).
      In a group of cyclists riding two breast means the group is half the length when they are in single file.

      80% of audult cyclists are drivers.

      • SimonToo

        Obstructing the traffic is a criminal offence. In setting an upper limit of two abreast, the Highway Code does not say that riding two abreast cannot be obstruction.

        • WestcountryTim

          Not unless they are more than two abreast.

        • HJ777

          Obstructing traffic is not a criminal offence. It is a civil offence.

          Cyclists riding two abreast are not generally obstructing traffic any more than a car in your way is (and it’s mostly cars in your way because they cause most traffic congestion).

          • SimonToo

            Try s.137 Highways Act 1980

        • Rich Harris

          Don’t be silly. They’re not obstructing traffic. They are traffic.

        • zero

          Bikes are traffic.

    • Matthew Dartford

      “But they do exist, and some of them seem to perceive themselves to be engaged in a drivers vs cyclists war”

      if you take that stance (which is wrong) – would you also conceded that those who drive and would try to overtake when not safe todo so are also engaging in a driver vs cyclist war?

      • AnotherDave

        There’s a difference between inconsiderate behaviour, and deliberate action.

        e.g. Drivers failing to dip headlights for cyclists, vs cyclists deliberately dazzling drivers with uber-bright LEDs. One is thoughtless, the other is nuts.

        • Matthew Dartford

          “cyclists deliberately dazzling drivers”?

          Iv never seen nor experienced this. Why would anyone do such a thing. What do they have to gain from such an action?

          • AnotherDave

            I came across this on a cycling forum (bike chat?) a few years ago. As I recall the bright-light-cyclist was motivated by a hatred of drivers. Not a rational choice.

          • Matthew Dartford

            well if it was on a cycling forum i would assume that everyone on the forum took him to task on it. But either way. Goto twitter, do a search for “cycle hatred” – and compare attitudes of twattish cyclists with twatish drivers. One does not have a monopoly on it.

            As for the idea that its “thoughless”…Well, yeah. I appreciate (well I hope) that its never done on purpose. But it does show a lack of attention by a person handling heavy machinery. I don’t believe we should simply dismiss it as harmless.

  • dug1

    Very well said Rod

  • Flintshire Ian

    I think that it must be a London thing. You don’t have to be there for long to pick up on a general absence of manners or any concern for anyone other than self from car drivers, pedestrians on the tube platform, or cyclists dashing around the west end. All as bad as each other really.

  • Clive Matthews

    I am trying hard to smile at the more cyclists should be killed joke. Nope I can’t, maybe it’s the timing? The fact is that I do use a bicycle for transport and leisure. Not exclusively, I am also an HGV driver so not really neatly fitting into Rod Liddle’s’ view of ‘cyclists’.

    I don’t use a bicycle for any of the dubious reasons described in the article. I use one because it is convenient, efficient, low cost, healthy and enjoyable. There is also the fact that the more people that use cycles for transport will release more space for those of us which need the roads for motorised traffic.

    As someone who spends their life on Europe’s roads, including our Capital, I do not recognise the picture painted here. Yes there are some idiots on the road but by no means all of them are on bicycles! If I do get angry on my bicycle it is because of the dangerous and threatening behaviour of drivers encouraged by this type of article.

    I am of course missing the point. This is not a serious article, rather a ‘shock jock’ entertainment. In this respect it fails. Not enough humour (the funny kind) or outrageously interesting non facts.

    • SimonToo

      You may ride a bicycle, but that does not make you a cyclist. I, too, ride a bicycle from time to time. I have declared the fact when criticising some of the antics of some other cyclists, only to be informed that I cannot be a proper cyclist. As an improper cyclist, I found Rod Liddle’s rant against cyclists, proper cyclists, entertaining. (After all, his namesake Alice was entertained by many an exaggeration, including a Red Queen who wanted to chop off men’s heads).

  • Paul Carter

    meh 1/10

    • Don Shipp

      That’s one more than he deserves.

  • PNBinLondon

    Like most adult cyclists, I am also a car driver, but mostly, and for the
    past 40 years, I’m on two wheels: pushbikes, electric bicycles, scooters and
    motorcycles. Because it’s by far the most efficient and least
    frustrating way of getting around Greater London. I try to avoid
    walking and driving because they both take far too long. When I’m on
    a pushbike I always give consideration to other people, however they
    are travelling, and when I break the law I always try to do so in a
    responsible manner. I don’t have a victim mentality (even though I
    have been run into the back of by a half-blind minicab driver and
    shunted several metres up onto the pavement and was very lucky indeed to walk away) and I’m not aggressive. But I am both *assertive* and *defensive*, and
    above all, I try to be hyper aware of everything around me, because
    you have to be to survive. Liddle seems to be unaware of the fact
    that there are lots of shared pavements on which cyclists are
    encouraged to cycle, and rightly so, which doesn’t mean I always use
    them because so many official cycle paths have clearly been designed
    by non-cyclists and certainly never used by their creators.
    My main response to Liddle is this: why does he NOT cycle? Why wouldn’t you? He certainly looks as if he could do with the exercise! He’s the very epitome of a man who has ‘let himself go’ in middle age. I think he should be forced to ride a
    Boris bike from the west to the eastern boundaries of the hire bike
    scheme, and then from north to south. I’d like to witness that, and
    then hear what he has to say about it. I’m even prepared to give him
    some cycling-in-London survival training and accompany him on a
    similar machine. Can’t say fairer than that!

    • Emilia

      Most pavements are NOT ‘shared’ ones. The only wheels that should be on pavements are those of prams and wheelchairs and, as the Highway Code used to say but probably doesn’t any longer, ‘fairy cycles’.

  • Stephen Barker

    That government scheme is not about buying on tick, interest-free. It’s way more generous than that. It means you buy your bikes – you can buy more than one – before tax. The more you earn, the more you save. No wonder there are so many new bikes (like mine) on the road when, in many cases, the taxpayer is paying for nearly half of them.

    • Matthew Dartford

      “the taxpayer is paying for nearly half of them.”

      They are not though – there is a good argument that most of the people who bought bikes on the scheme would not have bought bikes without the scheme.

      And as such, no money was taken from the Treasury to fund it, it simply a case of the treasury not receiving any extra tax as a result of it. So you could argue that we lost money, but you can also argue that we didn’t as no money was taken to fund it.

      But I appreciate this view may not be everyone’s.

  • http://www.theartofconversation.net/ Kevin McLean

    Another cyclist’s death in London. bit.ly/191Q61R. Rod Liddle, John Lea, happier now? “Articles like this actively encourage prejudiced against cyclists as a
    whole … and that puts … (lives) in danger”

    • Eddie

      Yes, which maybe sort of proves that cyclists shouldn’t really be racing around London weaving through traffic.
      Some places are made for cycling – Oxford, Cambridge, Amsterdam. But London? Why would anyone want to ride there? Why should any cyclists demand that London changes for them? It will never be a bike-friendly city.
      Lots of pedestrians have been knocked down by cyclists – who seem not to give a fig about that.
      The Highway Code states pedestrians come first – NOT cyclists.
      There is no unfair prejudice against cyclists, just fair criticism – cyclists are often rude, arrogant, contemptuous of pedestrians and anyone who dares get in the way of their precious smug pedal adventures.

      • WestcountryTim

        Filtering through traffic is allowed for both cyclists and motorcyclists.
        In London cycling is the fastest way to get around. Making it a bike friendly city will also make it more friendly for pedestrians.

        • Eddie

          It’s allowed but it’s dangerous. Cyclists have to realise that they are almost invisible, even with their brightly coloured tit-helmets. Look at a bike face on – such a small surface area, like one of them angel fishes. From the side, fine; head on, just a line.
          This is a threat to pedestrians. So no, making London bike-friendly will in no way help pedestrians.
          Let’s make London a more pedestrian friendly city – at present they are threated by aggressive and selfish cyclists day in day out, partly because aforementioned smug cyclists ignore the rules of the road (red lights, one way signs etc).
          It is silly and unrealistic to think London should be like Amsterdam, It is a city that needs cars, buses, taxis etc. Little towns are more suitable for bikes.

          • HJ777

            How are cyclists a threat to pedestrians but not cars?

            Cyclist very rarely kill or seriously injure pedestrians. Cars regularly do. Around 80 pedestrians are killed on pavements every year by drivers – and one every three years by cyclists.

            If you look at the Netherlands, you will see that by taking cars off the road and by people using bikes, they have a much better pedestrian safety record.

          • Eddie

            The UK has the safest roads on Europe. 50 million cars and only 2000 deaths a tear. that is REALLY safe.
            Many accidents are caused by cyclists.
            Bugger off to Holland, you cheese eating pedal monkey.

          • HJ777

            Pure ignorance on your part.

            Both the Netherlands and Denmark have a lower rate of road fatalities than the UK. What is more, the rate of decline in the UK is lower (the figure is pretty static) than in almost any other European country.

            The UK has a relatively good record for occupants of road vehicles, but one of the worst in Europe for pedestrians, especially child pedestrians.

            The police and TfL, say that in accidents involving cyclists, motor vehicle drivers are twice as likely to be to blame as cyclists. Per mile cycled, the fatality rate for cyclists is over three times that of the Netherlands. Whoever causes the accident, the danger is always provided by the motor vehicle.

            Bugger off anywhere – we can do without ignorant and stupid people here.

          • Eddie

            The police are useless twats – and you can quote me on that.
            Britain is largely an URBAN country – which is why those stats exist.
            Not very good with numbers, are we?

          • HJ777

            So you argument is that they’re wrong because they’re “useless twats”. That’s what I call a convincing factual counter-argument.

            Nearly 200,000 are injured on our roads every years, 23,000 of them seriously in addition to the 2000 killed.

            No you’re not very good with numbers.

            In contrast, I have a physics degree and so am very good with numbers.

          • HJ777

            And some of the most dangerous roads in Europe for pedestrians, especially child pedestrians – not that you care.

            Neither do we have the safest roads in Europe overall – Sweden, Netherlands and Denmark have better safety records. Our death rate is also not falling like it is in other countries.

            If you like being in a country with a high pedestrian death rate, may I suggest that you move to India?

          • Eddie

            Ignorance – utterly.
            Our death rate on the roads fell from 3000 20 years ago to 2000 today – it has reached a plateau, you tit – that is why it cannot fall further.
            62 million in the UK; 2000 road deaths per year. Nothing. We have ALMOST the same rates as the scandi dandi countries you mention. Our roads have half the death rate of the USA, Canada, France etc. And a quarter of the death rate of Italy, Greece and Arab countries.
            You move to India – ride a bike there and see how long you last, tit-helmet head!

          • HJ777

            You are very fond of hurling abuse, aren’t you? Presumably because of the paucity of your arguments.

            Just because something has reached a plateau does not mean that it cannot fall further – just that it has not. The level is falling in other European countries that already have better statistics than we do. And we score especially badly on pedestrian, especially child pedestrian, deaths. We also do badly on cyclist deaths, so these figures can obviously be improved by emulating what they do in other countries with better pedestrian and cycle safety.

            I really don’t care where you move to. As long as it’s a long way away and as long as you go.

          • WestcountryTim

            Filtering is not dangerous.
            Cyclists are not invisible, it’s too many drivers that fail to look properly. I’m hardly a line when viewe on my bike head on.
            Segregated bike lanes and reducing traffic speeds will benefit pedestrians as well as cyclists.
            The biggest risks and problems caused to pedestrians are by motorised traffic.
            I see plenty of cars/motorbikes/buses/taxis ignoring laws of the road everyday by red light jumping, speeding making illegal turns etc.

          • Eddie

            Nope – cyclists are famous for ignoring the rules of the road. If motorists do, they get done – coz there is this wunnerful invention called licence plates innit? Get on a camera and you get fined and get points. And cyclists get? What? SMUG! That’s what. They deserve to get knocked off their bikes. They are a hazard to pedestrians.
            There is NO WAY that segregated bike lanes are possible in a large city. Move of Amsterdam or Oxford, eh?
            You are a moron. A cyclist head on IA JUST A LINE. Open your dumb eyes and look, twat.

          • WestcountryTim

            Motorists don’t stick to the road laws look at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gnh1IN4OmsE for examples

            Licence plates are only effective where there are cameras. Try ringing the Police to tell them about a car taht you saw jumping a red light, they won’t do anything even with a regestration plate number.
            If you wt to read more on why licencing cyclist would be expensive with very little benefit read: http://ipayroadtax.com/licensed-to-cycle/licensed-to-cycle/
            It’s been tried in a few countries and always dropped as it doens’t work.
            London has plenty of wides roads that are wide enough for segregation and would beneit from it. The Victoria Embankment and Blackfriars road just two examples.

          • Eddie

            You are ignorant. Many drivers – incl me – regularly pay fines for such things, or travelling at 34mph in a 30 mph zone. Cyclists NEVER pay a penny for their arrogance!
            Let’s have cycle licences then – £200 a year would sort it.

          • WestcountryTim

            If you are regularly paying fines your driving must be terrible.
            I drive regulary (for 18 years) and have never been fined. But then I don’t speed, jump red lights and can plan for a box junction.
            I see plenty of Police in London at traffic lights to catch cyclists who might jump the lights. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgCpycc3-_U

            If you read the link I gave you would see that VED for cyclists would be £0 as they are zero emmission (the same for zero emmission cars).

          • George Debono

            “This is a threat to pedestrians. ”
            This is more a matter of attitude – I have cycled to work in 3 EU countries (switzerland, Denmark, Germany) where all road users behave with respect for each other – But in the UK it seems still to be a sort of food chain with big fellas (buses HGVs) endangering cars, cars endangering bikes and bikes sometimes even endangering pedestrians.

            Things will change when UK starts to level out the playing field for all road users. .

          • Eddie

            I hope you get knocked over by a bike – then you’ll learn!

          • George Debono

            I’ll invite you to my funeral :-))))

          • George Debono

            I’ll invite you to my funeral :-)))

          • Eddie

            Yeah, and I’ll squirt oil in your grave, son – plus I’d chuck in one of those bloody useless puncture repair kits I remember from my youth.

        • Eddie

          OK, so prepare to take the risk of getiing killed then, if you insist on riding a bike to get at your destination (hot, sweating, stinking) minutes before everyone else.

      • Don Shipp

        Where exactly does the Highway Code say that? I don’t disagree with the concept, I just don’t think that you know what you’re talking about.
        London is a perfect city for cycling, it’s the cars that are the problem.
        Motorists kill themselves, their passengers and other drivers far more frequently than they kill cyclists, this proves that driving on the roads is much too dangerous and should be banned.

        • Eddie

          What? THE PEDETSRIAN TAKES PRIORITY. Take your smug cyclist nose out of your smug cyclist ahhhse and READ the Highway Code, twat.

          Britain has by far the safest roads in Europe. Only 2000 deaths a year. In the 1950s when most people didn’t have cars it was 8000. The death rate is double in the USA and many time sthat in Spain, Italy, France. And as for Arab and Asian countries.

          You do not have a clue what you are talking about. I hope someone runs over you soon to teach you a lesson – because it is clear that that’s the only way cyclo-fascists like you will learn. Twat.

          • Cab Davidson

            we’ve only achieved that by effectively excluding the most vulnerable from the roads. By making walking and cycling so unpleasant that almost no one cycles or walks – if we look at the rate of harm to vulnerable road users we’ve got nothing to be proud of.

          • Don Shipp

            So you’ve found the caps lock key. Now be really clever and find that bit of the Highway Code.
            I am quite happy to cede priority to pedestrians whether I’m driving or cycling. I am also happy to be able to call you an ignorant, lying little arsewipe who hasn’t read the Highway Code and doesn’t know, or care, what it actually says.

      • Guest

        “cyclists are often rude, arrogant, contemptuous of pedestrians”..
        So drivers are better are they?

  • jeffity

    Like many people, I am worried that too few fat, overpaid so-called journalists are being killed each year.

  • accidento bizarro

    I’m tired of #bloodycolumnists, BWJing all over the place… http://accidentobizarro.wordpress.com/2013/11/07/the-war-on-columnists/

  • jeffity

    “I discovered this when I mentioned in a blog recently that I was not sure why I had to pay, through my taxes, for my friend to have a new bicycle.”

    Funny you should mention that Rod. Have you heard of ‘Cars 2020′? It’s an EU scheme which is using taxpayers’ funds – to a tune of €80 billion – to prop up Europe’s car industry. So your precious four-wheeled vehicle is in fact being paid for by people who don’t own cars!

    • exile on euro street

      Any source for that €80 billion figure? Sounds rather Daily Mail-ish to me.

    • HJ777

      Not to mention the taxpayer-funded car scrappage scheme a few years ago.

  • Mark Loveridge

    What a load of old toff, from an old toff. Many facts are wrong, including your claim that roads are paid for by motorists. No they are not, they are paid for by tax payers.

    But the worst thing of all in this is the flippant way in which you talk about deaths, its completely unacceptable to condone or suggest that deaths whilst on a bicycle or in any other manner is acceptable.

    And the fact that ‘we are paying for bikes’ is again journalistic bull. Its a tax break. You probably know, but chose to ignore that the Government (through mine and cyclists tax money) invest MILLIONS in the Low emission car scheme. Far more than in bikes.

    You maybe surprised to learn that many cyclists are also motorists, even the President of the AA (Automobile Association) is a keen cyclist.

    I am a car driver, motorcycle rider and a cyclist. I pay my tax and will use the roads at my will. If I see you coming I’ll be sure to ride in the middle of the road until you run out of patience and probably run me over.

    As James May would say ‘C0ck’

  • Doggie Roussel

    Living in the country, my gripe is not with the cyclists, but the wretched horses that
    hog our roads and lanes. In either case, whether it is bicycles or horses, the same principles and attitudes can apply.

    There is quite enough traffic these days without the addition of pony club teenyboppers — usually with their ghastly, bored mums preceding them on bicycles or in Chelsea tractors — waving down the traffic. Sadly, it is considered
    fashionable or socially desirable, by the newly rich to parade up and down our highways in the latest body armour, hard hats and Day-Glo tabards proclaiming
    and demanding:


    Do these people pay any road tax? I think not.

    Do these people feel that in the 21st century they should have
    precedence on highways?

    Do these people feel that they have a right to hold up road tax payers who are
    about their daily business and in pursuit of their livelihoods so that they can
    indulge in their inane and outmoded recreational pursuits?

    If they must ride their wretched four-legged beasts of burden, then do it off road, in the privacy of their own countryside, and leave the clogged up road network of this country free for the motorised traffic which has to pay so heavily for its use.

    This country has a surfeit of horse bores; people with loud voices, large arses and
    small brains. They should realise that the display of these qualities should be
    kept out of the public domain for the benefit of all.

    To paraphrase Mrs Patrick Campbell: ‘It doesn’t matter what you do in the countryside as long as you don’t do it in the street and frighten the motorists.’

    • WestcountryTim

      Nobody pays ‘Road Tax’ see http://www.ipayroadtax.com for details.
      They have a right to be on the road.
      I doubt that they are riding on main roads so it must be you driving on country lanes. If you are in a hurry use the main roads.

    • Don Shipp

      If you want to drive on bike and horse-free roads then stick to the motorways. The country roads that you are claiming that you get held up on were made when the speed of a vehicle was only as fast as a horse could pull it.
      The “road tax” that you cite is a reminder to you that you drive on these roads under licence and not by right. It doesn’t pay for the roads and it doesn’t give you any kind of priority over any other road user.

  • Eddie

    God invented bicycles for children and Sunday mornings in the park – NOT for lycra-vacuum-packed budgie smuggling sanctimonious twerps to ride along our streets behaving as if they own them and that they live above the law (stop at red lights anyone?). I loved my bike as a boy – but that is sort of the point. When I grew up, I stopped pretending to be a cowboy and put away my iron horse (made by Raleigh circa 1978).
    Their famous overconfidence caused by 1) the silly pointless tit-helmets they wear; and 2) the smugness oozes out of them like testicular cancer flavoured sweat, and all because they use pedals instead of petrol. This overconfidence causes several a year to get themselves squished – especially silly women who really shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near anything made of metal with moving parts.
    I was knocked down and almost killed by a cyclist aged 12. Therefore, excuse me a giggle whenever I see a cyclist disappearing under a lorry… It’s catharsis, baby.

    • jeffity

      Wow, you sound like a balanced individual.

      • Eddie

        I’m way more well balanced than all those cyclists who seem to fall off spectacularly under the wheels of lorries, son.

        • jeffity

          You’re blatantly not. And don’t you dare call me ‘son’. If I was the offspring of such a cretinous and odious being as yourself I would have killed myself by now.

          • Eddie

            Oh my – how dare I? How dare I what? Tell the truth? Express an opinion?
            Those who insist on inflicting bicyclist misery on others are the fascists of now.
            Why not make a pact with the Muslims eh? Then you could blow up every train and underground station together. Then you’d be happy, of cretinous and odious one.
            Rod knew the sort of reaction he’d get from writing this. Thing is, most people agree with wodders – not you. You wheelie fascist!

          • jeffity

            I bet you’ve got a massive arse.

          • Nohourwastedinthesaddle

            Is that your best argument? Better to ride a massive arse than a puny one.

    • HJ777

      You need a history lesson. Bikes were not invented by God but they were invented as a method of adult traonsport. Obviously that excludes you.

      Anyone who finds amusement in people being run over by lorries is a pathetic and unpleasant individual.

      • Eddie

        Oh really – so God didn’t invent bicycles? Bloody hell!
        I’ve been lied to, I tells yer, lied to!

    • Don Shipp

      Time and time again you prove what an ignorant prat you are.

      • Eddie

        The voice of reason? Oh sorry, no – it’s then voice of sanctimonious twerpery. Well done for managing a whole sentence! Good luck with your SATs.

  • Richard of Wantage

    I wouldn’t call myself a cyclist or any other label, I’m just an ordinary bloke
    who has a cycle, drives a car, walks occasionally, uses public transport, enjoys
    skiing, water sports etc. What really drives me mad are not cyclists or
    motorists, but pink cordial trouser wearing journalists who like to make an
    issue where there isn’t one. God help us if ever Eastern European immigrants
    turn up on their bikes looking for work, we would have Daily Mail headlines says “Watch out lycra lout Poles are here to steal your jobs!”

    • SimonToo

      Thanks for that. If I catch any of those pink cordial trouser wearers, I’ll certainly give them what for.

    • exile on euro street

      A pink cordial sounds quite refreshing but what have got against journalists wearing trousers? The alternative is a trouserless Liddle – please, no.

  • rtj1211

    Cycling is, along with swimming, the most healthy aerobic exercise for the general public, since it does not imperil joints, particularly for those who may have a paunch (not the size of Liddle’s, as running would then be virtually impossible, but certainly having stolen Liddle’s spare from the boot).

    Have you not noticed how those revolting oik footballers, who earn far too much for far too little, start their rehabs from injury in a swimming pool and on a bicycle??

    Well: I’d wager that you’d reduce cardiac health problems hugely if 100% of the population rode a bicycle 3 miles a day or swam a kilometre 6 days a week. No marathons, no half marathons, just 20 minutes in the saddle or 30-40 minutes in the pool.

    Can someone send Sir Chris Hoy to toss a caber onto the roof of old Liddle’s gas guzzler please?? I’ll be merciful and say that he doesn’t have to be sitting in it when it lands……

  • SimonToo

    Congratulations Mr. Liddle. You write an over-the-top piece about the sanctimony of a lot of cyclists and a lot of cyclists feel compelled to respond with over-the-top sanctimony. (I particularly noted the chap who recited the names of dead cyclists, a humble litany that clutches the heart, although it lacked the panache of Michael Redgrave reciting Beachcomber’s List of Huntingdonshire Cabmen).

  • Matt

    On my journey into Aberystwyth every morning, the same wobbly eco warrior pedals slowly up a one in six hill with an accompaning queue of 20 cursing motorists, all in third gear, burning up fuel.He probably thinks he is doing his bit for saving th planet. He is , in fact , increasing fuel use. Pillock

    • HJ777

      Had it every occurred to you that it may be the only method that he can afford for getting to work? Or that if the ’20 cursing motorists’ followed his example, then there would be a huge fuel (and congestion) saving?

    • Don Shipp

      Every town and city that there is has miles upon miles of traffic jams; stationary cars burning fuel and getting no-where, because there are too many cars. Cars are the problem, bikes are the solution.

    • George Debono

      NO he isn’t ! He’s travelling under his own steam and making up for the lot of you !

  • The C C Cyclist

    I think you are confused. Having looked up Menace I got “a person or thing that is likely to cause harm; a threat or danger” there simply isn’t the data to support that. I’m sure we’ve all had bad experiences but lets not extrapolate one to all.

    People like you (and there are a few) don’t seem to be able to distinguish between cyclists being “annoying” and being a “menace”. One I’ll happy grant you is correct. Many cyclists annoy me with their actions and attitudes which people like you assume I also guilty of just because of my chosen form of transport that day.

  • pitchersdave

    Here’s a well considered response to Liddle’s article that points out the flaws in his argument. http://www.wheelsuckers.co.uk/profiles/blogs/cyclists-are-a-menace-to-society

  • In2minds

    Did Liddle write this on the rebound from his burka experience?

  • Gavin Shaw

    98% of cyclists are also car drivers!
    If Cycle lanes were constructed and maintained correctly cyclists would use them . The majority of lanes in this country dont comply with the guidelines laid down let alone the European legislation.
    If a car cannot overtake cyclists riding two abreast would it overtake a horse rider ? Yet the Horse rider generaly takes up more room on country roads…or is it a case of the car driver knows that the horse rider will more than likely drive a gas gussling Range Rover and is therefore a kindred spirit!
    Cyclist on Pavements ! Well if the powers that be would stop encouraging kids to ride on pavements and provide “save routes to school” then I suspect a good % of this problem would go away!
    So car drivers dont use their mobile phones whilst driving ? they dont drink, eat, smoke, chat to the back seat occupants etc etc ?. Cyclist jumping red lights …simple answer make provission for traffic light controled lanes as they do in Holland.
    Single person occupancy of cars and the totaly stupid school run Mum, are the biggest cause of congestion. Ban both and problem solved.

  • Tom Burroughes

    Bad day, Rod? Seriously, he has a good set of points. It is also annoying cyclists often jump red lights and just assume pedestrians/others will deal with it. Also, riding two abreast on a busy road is bloody rude.

    PJ O’Rourke, who is much funnier than Liddle, made these points almost 30 years ago in his denunciation of cycling and cyclists. His point is that the sort of folk who are cycling zealots tend to be the sort who want government regulation of our lives in the smallest degree. Such people, he said, should be confined.

    • HJ777

      I want safe provision for cyclists and I want far less government regulation of our lives (in fact, just far less government).

  • liversedge


  • Ricardo

    As a cyclist, driver and observer of “journalists”, I would like to say that Rod Liddle is a cock.Of the highest order.

  • The_greyhound

    Although Mr Liddle is quite right about these smug, sanctimonious knobs, he has not made the connection with the broader social trend – this is the age of the self-righteous git. Not since the late Victorian age have there being so many self-important, self-justifying tossers about – wasting everyone’s time with pointless recycling, interfering in the supply of useful goods, farting around with utterly inefficient “energy saving” and “green energy” nonsense, and all the rest of the holier-than-thou guff that makes the idiot Guardian-reader feel superior to his fellow man.

    Tiresome as most cyclists undoubtedly are, they aren’t actually any worse than any other prating environmentalist prig.

  • John Rushworth

    A lousy piece, written to get a rise out of folk (succeeded) and justify the
    paid words. Hard to believe he may have been paid to write such drivel. I didn’t find anything of value in the article.

    What a mis-guided person, nay deluded re this “statement “….are deluded about the impact cycling a few miles makes to the environment”.

    In fact the average car will be using about 1kW per mile travelled. As I
    use about 24kWh per day to heat and light my home, then cycling or
    walking where and when possible seems to be much kinder to the planet
    than burning the same energy to crawl 24 miles through London traffic in
    a tin box. What about motorcyclists? Kinder even to the planet than
    that. Are they two wheeled folk he also doesn’t want around?

    I suppose the fact that my wee electric yacht travelled 600 miles on
    100kWh this Summer won’t even register with the Rod Liddle. Time he read
    the IPCC report.

  • Ricardo

    My previous post was removed.Apparently it’s OK to laugh at dying cyclists, but not to call Rod Liddle a cock.Of the highest order.

    • Don Shipp

      You post is still there.
      Try calling him a turd. Or a fucktard.

  • Zack

    So you’re congratulating yourself for buzzing by cyclists on the road, where they should be (according to your own final paragraph), yet when they’re riding on paths, condemning them for supposedly doing the same? Hypocrisy at its best – who’s the one here really acting like an entitled prat? The problem with articles like this and others that “jokingly” advocate for violence against cyclists is that that joking gets taken seriously by some people and your false statements only exacerbate that.

    • HJ777

      Logical thought and consideration for others are not Rod Liddle’s strong points.

      Any idea what his strong points are? They’re clearly not research, writing or journalism either.

  • HJ777

    “I was not sure why I had to pay, through my taxes, for my friend to have a new bicycle — there’s a government scheme on offer which effectively gives you a bike on tick, interest-free.”

    Why did I have to pay, through my taxes, for the car scrappage scheme? It cost far more.

    • Dick_Turpin

      You had to pay for the scrappage scheme because Gordon and Meddlesome were throwing money at anything they thought would postpone the consequences of the crash until after the election.

  • Dick_Turpin

    Hmmmm, Rod, I can normally see the funny side in your posts but this time I’m struggling a little bit. Firstly because your stereotype of “the cyclist” is so jarringly inaccurate, and secondly, because of recent personal experience.

    Even if we ignore your straw man (VED goes into general taxation, it does not “pay for the roads”), like most cyclists I drive a car as well as ride a bike. In fact I own two cars and pay VED (and VAT) on and put fuel in both of them, so I’m “paying for the roads” as much as you. Arguably moreso, as it isn’t as though I get a partial refund on the tax when I use the bike instead.

    It also p*sses me off no end when I see other cyclists jumping lights, using the pavement or otherwise violating traffic law. Like many serious cyclists I’ll usually take the trouble to catch up to whoever’s doing it and advise them how dangerous and pointless it is, and how it gives all of us on two wheels a bad name – as you’ve just demonstrated. For what it’s worth I don’t want more cycle paths either. I ride on the road and am happy to.

    And right now, I do consider myself a victim. Not because I ride a bike, but because a few weeks ago an idiot in a car hit and came very close to killing me. Before you think it, the collision was entirely his fault. Drove straight into me because he was more interested in what was on his phone than the view through his windscreen.

    Now, forget the emotion and all that, think of this in pure financial terms: Had the cards fallen the other way, aside from the loss to my loved ones, this incident would have deprived the Treasury of the tax I’ll pay over the next few decades of my working life, not to mention whatever other contributions I’d have made to society. Already, one careless idiot in a car has cost the NHS a number already approaching six figures saving my life, leg and returning it to a state where it works somehow as it’s supposed to. Given that I have a few more operations to get through yet, that number will increase significantly.

    Hopefully, in due course, the NHS will get round to reclaiming at least some of that money from the idiot’s insurer, but as things stand, it’s down to all of us.

    Meanwhile, my GP, who, before this, I hadn’t even seen for eight years, now thinks I’m stalking him, such is my current need for ongoing regular supervision.

    Cyclists might p*ss you off, but when not being injured or killed, we’re a net benefit to the economy as we spend less time being ill, and are likely to cost the health services far less in future due to continuing to exercise regularly into old age. That’s not to be sniffed at given the ever-increasing load on our health services.

    Maybe if you actually went for the odd ride yourself you’d realise how out of touch your view of the situation is, and maybe even claim to have a clue what you’re talking about. Fancy a go one day?

  • Danny Wade

    Motorists have been handed their every desire for so long, and have terrorized non-motorists so thoroughly, that now some are outraged that anybody else would want to travel safely on infrastructure that takes up the majority of city real estate. Irony much?

  • andrew030

    I regularly walk over a footbridge which has clear signs at both ends saying, “Cyclists Dismount.” This year I’ve seen two,maybe three cyclists actually get off and walk-the rest ride, whatever the pedestrian traffic.
    Or maybe you can answer me this. If you’re all so concerned about being given room on the road, why do I have so many cyclists pulling out from cycle paths or side roads directly in front of me ,making it impossible to give them

    • Don Shipp

      “Cyclist Dismount” signs are usually not legally enforceable. If there is a round sign with a red border and a bike icon with a diagonal line through it then cycling there would be illegal. Otherwise it probably isn’t.
      Cyclists leave cycle-lanes for many reasons; parked cars, potholes, broken glass, pedestrians walking in them; all things that you just don’t notice from a driver’s seat.
      If you are giving them room then when they need to move out then they’ll be able to do so safely.

      • andrew030

        The sign is as you described it-so the cyclists are lawbreakers as well as inconsiderate.That you’re saying they don’t have to adhere to it if it’s not legally enforceable supports Liddle’s points about cyclist’s arrogance and irresponsibility.
        I’m talking about cyclists pulling out into the road directly in front of me.How can I give them then, especially if there is a car coming the other way. This has nothing to do with potholes.
        Somehow thought someone would decide it was my fault.Are you saying cyclists shouldn’t have to wait for a break in traffic like other road users?

        • Don Shipp

          Who said anything was your fault?
          I really have no idea what you’ve been experiencing. Loads of people are jerks. Try not to hit them.

          • andrew030

            Let me explain. I am frequently yards away from a junction or the end of a cycle lane, when, without stopping, often without looking, a cyclist pulls out into the main road directly in front of me. I cannot give them room because there isn’t any.By saying I should,you’re implying it’s me at fault.
            My point is that cyclists complain about not being given enough passing space but put themselves in positions where it cannot possibly be given.

          • Don Shipp

            If you try to pass when there isn’t room to do so safely then you are at fault. The correct procedure is to slow down and wait until there is room. This is irrespective of whether or not you can see why the cyclist pulled out.
            It’s been over 20 years since I passed my driving test but I still remember quite clearly what I was taught. I would hope that all drivers were taught as well as I was and can also remember how to behave at junctions and when overtaking.
            What I see on the roads suggests otherwise.

          • HJ777

            I there isn’t enough passing space then you shouldn’t attempt to pass. It’s that simple.

          • Mjhmjh

            Cyclists who pay little or no regard to other road users are obviously clueless; they endanger both themselves and others. Just as some drivers do. There are bad cyclists as well as bad drivers. Problems arise when people tar all drivers, or all cyclists, with the same brush.

      • Emilia

        Just because it may not be technically illegal doesn’t mean they should do it.

  • shaun

    That’s a pity, I buy the Spectator. Now I won’t.

  • George Debono

    Shaun says ” I buy the Spectator. Now I won’t.”

    ME TOO – My wife bought a one year prepaid supply of Spectators for my last birthday – I now half way through and I’m going to cancel it and switch to something less stuffy.

    It seems the spectator is against anything that is post -920. And I find most of the columnists’ contributions so dreadfully self-indulgent, Luddite and old-fashioned.

    Your dreadful (last week’s) article about climate change was so bigoted and myopic ( in 57 bears my grandchildren will have to face the consequences of climate change…. !) that I had already made up my mind – waste of money.

    Bye-bye spectator. I I’ll leave you all to talk to yourselves.

  • MBDElf

    Just so you know, I personally prevented the impending Y2K disaster by riding my bike….so your theory that cyclists are not saving the planet is void. 9/11 happened because I stopped for coffee — no more Starbucks for ME.

  • Robert Wright

    I’m the Invisible Visible Man. I’m not that anonymous. http://invisiblevisibleman.blogspot.com/

  • Robert Wright

    Having provided the fuel for a childish attack from Rod Liddle, I can probably now die happy.

    It’s not worth responding to most of these points as they’re so obviously silly and they’re also the same points that I criticised Rod Liddle for making when I wrote the blogpost he quotes early last year. (You can read my post here: http://invisiblevisibleman.blogspot.com/2012/01/why-some-people-get-angry-with-cyclists.html ).

    But I will respond to this garbage about the risk that cyclists pose. I lived in London when I wrote the blogpost that Mr Liddle attacks but now live in New York. In New York, people make the same tiresome claims that cyclists pose a big danger on the pavements (but they call them sidewalks here). Last Saturday, as I describe here – http://invisiblevisibleman.blogspot.com/2013/11/a-fort-greene-tragedy-londons-missing.html – near where I live a badly-driven car mounted the pavement, hit a family and killed a nine-year-old boy and injured his five-year-old brother. He was probably the 10th person killed on a sidewalk by a driver this year in New York. Among survivors of bad driving on sidewalks is Sian Green, a British tourist whose leg was severed by a taxi driver. The taxi driver – fired up no doubt by anti-cyclist drivel like this – ended up on the sidewalk because he was trying to ram a cyclist with whom he’d grown impatient. A collision with a cyclist last killed someone in New York in 2009.

    It’s not priggishness to make a fuss about these things but simple human decency.

  • Robert Wright

    Incidentally, if we’re all so self-righteous and anti-car, how come I wrote the following at the start of the second paragraph of the blogpost you quote?

    It would be tempting to describe my partner in this impromptu Socratic dialogue as typical of motorists in general – but unfair. There are, of course, many considerate, thoughtful motorists – it could hardly be otherwise in a decent, democratic country where cars account for the vast majority of personal journeys.

  • Nohourwastedinthesaddle

    Why is that reclining bicyclists are often skeletal and mostly have full beards? I think it’s the same reason why I am softly taut, sensual, have delicious buns and ribald yet cultured conversation and enjoy wine immensely. We’re on the opposite side of things but my point is that so often, the virtues or vices or pecadilloes go together.

  • The Red Bladder

    The things you miss out on when you live a rural area. I had no idea any of this was going on in our towns and cities. Safer down here I reckon at least you can see, and hear, the tractors with their slurry trailers coming.

  • John Smith

    Even the Spectator is moving into cycling bashing. Anything to move a few more copies

    ‘on the people who actually pay for the roads (car drivers)’

    Yes they pay income tax & VAT, as cyclists & pedestrians . .
    – But not foreign lorry drivers

    • HJ777

      It would be interesting to know when Rod Liddle thinks that car drivers purchased the roads from the rest of the population. Their asset value is huge and I don’t remember them being sold.

  • George Debono

    Just one final comment

    Rod spake thusly:

    “I am worried that too few cyclists are being killed on our roads each year.”

    I guess that you could be arrested and sent to prison if you said this in Denmark.

    What cheek ! Recently a colleague was killed by a hit-and-run motorist while on a early-morning practice run for a charity marathon in aid of a Hospital Kidney Unit.

    So Rod’s uncivilised opening salvo leaves a very bad taste.

    • Eddie

      Denmark is a country where children being raped on camera was legal until 30 years ago.

      • George Debono

        Golly !
        Such comments make me glad I left England & settled somewhere else .Just carry on commenting to your heat’s content, eddie, this is the last time I’ll share this website the the likes of you – I have anyway decided to chuck the spectator ! .

        Bye !

  • Eddie

    Cyclists are like ethnic minorities in one way: whenever fair criticism is aimed at them their loud-mouthed self-elected spokes-persons love to accuse their critics of being bigots and bicycle racists!
    Most people can tolerate bicycles and cars – both are annoying if you are on foot.
    Yes the utter smugness of cyclists, who see their ability to use pedals as almost a superhuman power granted by the gods of a new greenie-weenie religion, is what gets people like Rod – and I do not blame him.
    Fact is, cycling is NOT environmentally friendly at all – the bikes are all made in factories in China which pay slum wages, the waste causes by cyclists is massive too, and the industry trades on green criteria quite wrongly. It is FAR greener to drive a car safely, esp a small car – and any person who is childless is far more green than the parasitic maggot breeders who inflict their spawn on the planet for purely selfish reasons.
    I used to work in Twickenham and saw these utterly hypocritical greenie weenies yummy mummies all the time. I really wouldn’t mind if they took up cycling – it’d improve the chances of their getting their just desserts.

    • Matthew Dartford

      “Fact is, cycling is NOT environmentally friendly at all ”

      Jesus wept…we know. no cyclist says otherwise.

      Just try to imagine a cyclist choosing to cycle because either they enjoy it or its cheap. Give it a go.

      On a slight tangent. Both my bikes are made in the E.U.

      “whenever fair criticism”

      I don’t believe cyclists have any problem with “fair” criticism. What I think most cyclists object to is criticism that conveniently avoids criticism of other road users who are equally guilty of whatever cyclists (as a whole) are being accused of. And there’s nothing fair about that.

    • zero

      “.. the bikes are all made in factories in China which pay slum wages..”
      Oh really? I have three bikes – one made in a small workshop off the South Circular in South London by the owner of the establishment, another in a larger workshop in Yorkshire and a third from a similar workshop in Derbyshire – by highly trained and well paid craftsmen.

  • k flo

    Enjoyed reading it. Cheers.

  • DougDaniel

    I cycle to work every day, and I’ve got to be honest, I know exactly where the hatred for cyclists comes from. It’s not just pedestrians that are shown no respect by the wannabe-Wiggos – they don’t show any consideration for their fellow cyclists either. I always ring my bell if I’m going to overtake another cyclist, but it is a respect very rarely afforded back to me. I’ve had idiots creep up on me and come within centimetres of the two of us ending up on the ground with our bikes round our necks. It’s worse now that it’s dark, as you get the wannabe-Wiggos speeding towards you with their mini floodlight pointing right into your face.

    But do you know who else are dicks? Dog walkers. I’ll be cycling along at a steady pace, and as I approach someone with a dog, I realise they’ve got the lead folded up in their hand, leaving the dog to go all over the place. So I have to come to a complete halt, because the dog walker can’t be bothered using the lead. Again, it’s worse now that it’s dark, because incredibly, people think there’s nothing wrong with walking about in the dark with a dog let loose on a dark path. Nobody ever heard of a torch?

    And who else? Joggers. I’ll approach one, ring my bell as usual, only to realise they’ve got their earphones in and can’t hear me. So again, I have to come to a complete halt, unless I want to get thrown off my bike.

    Who else? Car drivers. But I know this from when I’m driving as well. Motorcyclists too. And don’t get me started on bus drivers or taxi drivers.

    Oh, you know what? It’s not actually cyclists, dog walkers, pedestrians, joggers, car drivers, bus drivers, taxi drivers or motorcyclists that are the problem – it’s the selfish attitudes so prevalent in society today. The kind of selfish attitude so beloved of right-wing morons like Rob who complain about other people’s selfishness, only to then complain about having to pay so much taxes, “urrghhh, bloody benefits scroungers, look at all these people getting bikes thanks to MY taxes” etc.

    Life’s shit, eh? It’s a bit more bearable if we’d all just make an effort to be a bit less selfish.

  • 123db

    While I enjoy cycling, I don’t like the self righteousness that seems to be compulsory while pedalling. Its for this reason I don’t wear a helmet, and don’t own any Lycra as some way to make people see I am actually normal!
    However, I think answer is to remove all cycle paths, and introduce compulsory third party insurance. We will soon find that the self righteous will eventually explode with rage, and possibly buy an electric car – the ultimate possession of a smuggle! 😉

    • Mjhmjh

      Er…. When I see the absence of a helmet, I think that far from being “normal” the cyclist needs to have his/her head examined. If s/he doesn’t, it’s probably only a matter of time………..

      (Liked the rest of it, though.)

      • 123db

        The whole helmet debate for cycles needs more space than available here, but for my 2p, the helmets used by these smug types are racing ones and are of no real use in traffic. Ironically, the best ones are the sort used by non lycra wearing BMX kids!
        My plan is to ride a bike like I did in the 70s, 80s & 90s – with enough care that I don’t need a helmet!

        • Flintshire Ian

          The traffic is different now. Visit your local hospital’s neuro ward. There is bound to be at least one bike casualty in there whose injuries would have been less severe if they had worn a helmet, and who was not at fault in the collision.

          • Mjhmjh

            Exactly. And just one example of the converse: After years of cycle commuting and thus very defensive cycling, on his way home one night my husband was hit by a passing vehicle – in the cycle lane. He had severe concussion, as well as other injuries. And every doctor involved in his treatment expressed the opinion that his helmet had saved his life.

            I’d never heard the suggestion that racing helmets might offer less protection than other helmets. Oh dear – yet another thing for me to worry about….

          • Don Shipp

            As Liddle points out, pedestrians are more likely to be killed or injured in road accidents than cyclists. Amazingly, he got this bit factually correct.
            So why not wear a walking helmet?

            Cyclists, pedestrians and indeed motorists need to be protected from bad drivers by the active enforcement of the law and stricter penalties for those who cause accidents. Plastic hats are a distraction to road safety, not a part of it.

  • HJ777

    Rod Liddle:

    “in general, car drivers will try their best to avoid hitting you, while cyclists not only don’t care…”

    Of course! That’s the problem. Cyclists – uniquely – not caring whether or not they have a crash.

    Rod Liddle is beyond parody.

    • rodliddle

      Yes, but a warning: I get an extra £500 for every 100 replies on the thread.

      • Don Shipp

        Considering that some of these replies are from people saying that they’re not going to buy the rag any more, that’s being rewarded for failure.

      • Matthew Dartford

        You could buy a nice bike with that cash. Give it a go, you might find you enjoy it.

      • HJ777

        Spend it on cigarettes please.

      • Don Shipp

        And the recent deaths are generating more comments and making more money for you. Well done!

  • Nohourwastedinthesaddle

    I SO agree with everything in this article.

    This bit stands out:

    cyclists tearing past me on the rural footpath where I live, scattering dogs and kids like confetti, believing that because they are allowed on the path, they are under no obligation to consider anyone else who might be using it.

    Yes, yes, YES!

    • Nohourwastedinthesaddle

      Do the people voting me down think Rod is lying? He isn’t: I’ve been assaulted by such insolence on bicycles, myself.

      • Don Shipp

        You SO agree that too few cyclists are being killed.

        • Nohourwastedinthesaddle

          Oi! Sense of humour urgently needed. I suggest a change of tie and hairdo: perhaps that will help.

          • Don Shipp

            Comedy is all about timing, they say. In the week that this article was published one cyclist was killed outright and another was fatally injured and has since died.
            Liddle thinks that this is too few and you are SO in agreement but that’s OK because it’s all a great big fucking joke and people should have a sense of humour.
            Boom fucking boom.

          • Nohourwastedinthesaddle

            Cyclists are annoying. People die from all manner of causes, and it’s a shame. (What about the woman hit and thrown TWICE by a stupid driver in a supermarket car park right in front of my husband — not killed but traumatized and maimed — and except by chance it could have been him?) But way-of-life cyclists think they are bigger, more powerful, more entitled — and yet, paradoxically — more put-upon, more David v. Goliath, and more virtuous and more victimized than anyone else. In short, cyclists want everything all ways. They are, in their own minds, always in the right. Well the rest of us don’t agree.

          • Don Shipp

            That story you told about the woman being maimed in the car park wasn’t at all amusing. Perhaps your timing was off.
            If it had been you husband, would you have wanted others to see the funny side?

          • Nohourwastedinthesaddle

            It wasn’t meant to be amusing. Life is dangerous: so why make it more so by insisting on using a flimsy metal frame as transport?

          • Don Shipp

            Another cyclist was killed in London today. The joke is getting a bit old now.
            Cycling is still safer than walking, though, as Liddle rightly says. Why do people insist on using their legs a means of getting around?

          • Nohourwastedinthesaddle

            Oh come on. People will get killed doing anything. In case you hadn’t noticed, we’re all mortal.

          • Don Shipp

            And you think the fact that I don’t agree that too few cyclists are being killed means that I lack a sense of humour.
            If Liddle dies then perhaps I’ll be struck by the irony and laugh until I shit.
            Right now it really does piss me off that drivers who kill are not only excused by the law if their victim is a cyclist but actually applauded by Liddle and the **********s who say that they agree with him.

          • Nohourwastedinthesaddle

            They’re excused by the law? Excused of what? I very much doubt it. Cars are demonized by our political overlords as insufficiently egalitarian and Gaia-worshipping. Also, motorists by definition have a kind of independence, and we can’t have that in our Golden Obamaland, can we?

          • Don Shipp

            I’m still in Britain. I could give you examples of drivers killing and injuring cyclists because of their own bad driving and getting away with it, and I bet if I bothered to look I’d find examples in USofA as well. Here’s something recent:


            Points made, points taken, pictures hung, debate closed.

      • http://ianbrettcooper.blogspot.com/ Ian Brett Cooper

        But you’ve never heard of motorists disobeying the law, driving drunk, using a cellphone while driving, bullying pedestrians from crossing the road at a crossing, etc.?

        Why is it, I wonder, that cyclists are the only road users you and Rod Liddle find fault with? Could it be that you’re blind to motorist arrogance because you are one?

        • ilpugliese

          Why is this argument always trotted when someone criticises the behaviour of some cyclists? It’s like saying muggers shouldn’t be prosecuted because murder is worse. The article and the comment are about bad cyclists. We know there are bad motorists.

          • Phil

            The problem is, this article has an undertone that encourages the death of cyclists.

      • Phil

        I also down-voted you, but unlike some am willing to explain why and will do so as a pedestrian and responsible cyclist. It is because of the generlisation that you are encouraging. If I adopted the same generlisation against motorists, mathematically (when out as a pedestrians) I know my family are far more likely to be killed or seriously injured by a car or other vehicle, even while on the pavement.

        You refer to personal experiences, but if you challenged the idiots in cars, do you honestly believe they would not respond in the same arrogant way? There is a growth of idiocy in society, it manifests itself in all walks of life and transport types, and I would like nothing more than to stamp it out. But the generalisation against cyclists adopted in this article is truly stupid considering the carnage caused by cars (most of which goes unnoticed by the average driver who is stuck in the same queue as the idiots). You only have to scan the articles on the web from local media to see the carnage caused by motorists and the families left to grieve.

        More children have been killed within 5 miles of where I live (one of which was a hit and run) in the last month by motoring than any person (adult or child) by cyclists for the entire country for the entire year. This equates to a 58:1 ratio when you compare the average motorist to the average cyclist.

        As a general note (and don’t confuse this with generlisation), anyone reading this that has kids bringing them up to believe cyclists are the greatest danger on public infrastructure is being negligent. This is not me being nasty, it’s a mathematical fact. (And before anyone quotes Mark Twain, the death of a child is the death of a child, and not some conspiracy argument).

    • Don Shipp

      It gave you an orgasm?

  • dalai guevara

    Cyclists “puffed-up with righteous anger”?
    Cyclist all over the globe have…their own space.
    Only in Britain do the indigenously brainwashed wear kit as if they were going to combat training – utterly hilarious.

  • Mr Grumpy

    Here in Cambridge one of the busiest junctions has recently been equipped with fancy traffic lights which let cyclists move off 5 seconds before cars (us pedestrians now get the green man for about 5 nanoseconds). Within days of the lights being switched on a cyclist sustained life-threatening injuries… in a collision with another cyclist (who was also seriously injured).

    • Matthew Dartford

      2 simple questions…

      Is it the cyclists who dictate that pedestrians only have “5 nanoseconds” to cross?

      And have cars now miraculously stopped having accidents and collisions on roads or junctions. Or is it only cyclists who do such things?

      • Mr Grumpy

        Self-righteous cyclist alert.
        1. No, of course not. It’s been done by the council in a city where cyclists have a vocal pressure group and pedestrians don’t.
        2. No, of course not. It merely strikes me as ironic that after the council spends not far short of a million making the junction supposedly safer, what must be the worst accident there in years involves no motor vehicle.

        • Matthew Dartford

          “Self righteous”

          Iv asked you two questions…no more no less.

          I suspect you know that they are fair questions too

          Point 1: then start a pedestrian pressure group.

          Or….why see this as a cycling specific problem. Do the cars waiting at the lights also take up time that can be used for pedestrians to cross?

          Point 2: no more or less ironic that any other junction (aren’t they designed to be safe?) where cars collide.

  • Amicus

    I like the piano wire suggestion.

    • http://twitter.com/RKWinvisibleman Robert Wright

      Why? What’s funny about people’s being decapitated solely because they’ve chosen a particular means of transport?

      Also, there have been a few instances recently where people have strung rope across cycle paths at night to catch cyclists. It’s caused nasty injuries. Why do you think that’s appropriate? Do you have violent urges towards other groups? Have you considered seeking help for your violent feelings?

    • Don Shipp

      What irDINOSAUR said.


    You horrible bastard.

  • Rocksy

    Why is disliking someone because they are different seen as a bad thing? Of course we dislike people who are different for us whether in colour, sex, nationality etc. etc. When that difference is compounded by for example a violent disposition or poor character, deceit, cowardice it makes very good sense to dislike them.

    • Don Shipp

      Which is why journalists are universally despised.

      • http://ianbrettcooper.blogspot.com/ Ian Brett Cooper

        And motorists.

  • roger

    Really good cyclists always have a basket at the front.

  • ArchiePonsonby

    Seen in Canada last year; a bumper sticker “One less bike!”

    • Don Shipp

      Also seen in Canada, thousands upon thousands of square miles of devastation caused by oil-shale excavation.

  • TechnicalSupport

    Cyclists don’t use cycle lanes because they are too busy using the pavements, riding through red lights and greeting with a cheery “F*** You!” anyone who dares to get in their way. This does not affect the dismay with which they receive the news that one of their kind has become tarmac pizza as result of ignoring the rules of the road which everyone else (with a licence plate) must obey.

    • Matthew Dartford

      Cyclists don’t use cycle lanes because cars often park in them, or they are not fit for purpose.

      Tell me, if you had a road outside you’re house that didn’t lead to where you wanted to go would you use it? If it was full of glass and generally in a bad state that you could guarantee once a month (or week) would result in you getting a flat tire would you use it? If you constantly had to come out of said lane and join traffic traveling at twice your speed because a car has parked in it would you use it?

      “ignoring the rules of the road which everyone else (with a licence plate) must obey.”

      Clearly you’re too blind to use a car if you never notice all those speeding cars, or phone use (two name but two daily events that people with good eye sight see)

  • Emilia

    Last year I was walking innocently along the pavement when I heard that rare sound, a bicycle bell. I assumed it was a passing cyclist greeting someone he knew and ignored it. Seconds later, I was almost knocked off my feet by a cyclist blasting past me on the pavement. When I shouted that he ought to be on the road, he replied, “well I did ring my bell”! Oh well, that’s alright then! They really do think they have a right to be on pavements. As Rod Liddle says, if the road scares them, they need to stop cycling and either drive on the road or walk on the pavement.

    • Matthew Dartford

      ” I was almost knocked off my feet by a cyclist blasting past me on the pavement”

      This is an interesting problem for cyclists. And they are damned if they do damned if they don’t.

      Iv lost count of the times I hear people moaning about cyclists not having a bell – then when they do use them someone gets all offended, or misunderstands….Note – if said cyclist was not on a shared path then hes a idiot.

      Iv had pedestrians actively walk in my way because they are oblivious to the fact its a shared path. I see their eye meet mine, anger on their face and they make a b-line for me. Then I get angry, tell them its a shared path and its still my fault.

      “As Rod Liddle says, if the road scares them, they need to stop cycling and either drive on the road or walk on the pavement.”

      This is a dangerous attitude to have – Its classic victim blaming. You wouldn’t get away with this thinking if say if someone got attacked and you simply said “well its their fault for leaving the house”.

      And remember cyclists, horses and pedestrians have had a right to use the road longer than drivers. Drivers agree to this and accept this as part of the requirement of driving. If that’s a problem for them then its not cyclists/pedestrians/horses that should be removed or blamed…its the aggressive driver.

      And do you really want aggressive drivers who cant drive in a correct manner on the roads? They are a danger to everyone, not just cyclists

      • George Debono

        Mathew – I am sorry but I disagree somewhat with you. In my book: If it is a shared path – then it is the pedestrian who has absolute priority over a bike and a bicycle rider has no right to expect pedestrians to get out of the way. Moreover, if there are children then you should slow slow down to a snail pace. Finally, using a bell is probably silly as it is liable to startle people and they are just as likely to step into your path. When I ride my bike in a shared space I do so very, very carefully and politely in such a way that pedestrians are not at all disturbed. ..and I never wear intimidating lycra fancy dress but ordinary clothes and no helmet.

        • Matthew Dartford

          I agree with you 100%. I’m also of the opinion pedestrians come first.

          My issue is more todo with doing everything you can (like have a bell – be polite as can be) and you’re still in the wrong.

          I don’t in anyway condone squeezing past people, or cycling in an aggressive manner.

    • airbag

      No. You want cyclists on the road, make it safe for them to use. The above makes it plainly clear it isn’t. You want them off the road, get used to them harassing you on the pavement. Your choice.

      • Guest

        Look at this picture taken in Barcelona. The authorities have carefully laid out the road with motor vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians separated. Yet the cyclists insist on using the pedestrian path. Spending money on lanes cyclists want but don’t use is a waste of money.

        • Don Shipp

          The reason why I don’t use that cycle lane is that it is in Spain and I am not.
          Probably the same reason applies to all the other ungrateful cyclists who are posting here.

      • ilpugliese

        Cyclist will go wherever they please. You give them segregated cycle lanes and they don’t use them.

        • airbag

          Sounds pointless to fight then. Have you ever tried using them? I bet not. If you had, you’d have disproved your own statement – or you’d have discovered why people don’t use them. But, pathetic individual that you are, you’d rather be proud of your ignorance, wouldn’t you?

          • ilpugliese

            Typical offensive response from a bigot. Here is a picture I tried to post yesterday but failed. https://twitter.com/ilpugliese2/status/400603329748684800/photo/1
            Why does this segregated cycle path fail to meet your exacting requirements?

          • airbag

            I don’t care if I’ve offended you. I care if I lied. Have I? Have you tried using them, thereby becoming less ignorant, or not?

          • ilpugliese

            Sounds like they’re a waste of my money, if they’re not usable.

          • Don Shipp

            How can you suggest such a thing? Look at the time, trouble and care that goes into designing and building high-quality cycling facilities in this country:


          • Don Shipp

            Well, that’s the Barcelonians for you.
            The picture somehow fails to pick up the fear on the faces of the pedestrians who are diving for safety as these cyclists tear at break-neck speed along the narrow, crowded pavement.

          • ilpugliese

            Thanks Don. As ever, the cyclist agitator avoids the points. First, that Barcelona City Council, or whatever, has forked out large sums of money to build a system that isn’t used, presumably after listening to cycling lobby groups who would say that just painting lines on the road is insufficient protection, as we get frequent confirmation of in London. This confirms Rod Liddle’s point above. And second, why should pedestrians have to watch out for cyclists, at all? There was some fear on the faces of the cyclists when they saw me taking pictures, and they left the pedestrian area at the first chance. Somehow I cannot see anything so apologetic happening in London.

          • Don Shipp

            Spending vast sums on facilities (factories, roads, cycle lanes, airports) that are then not used is a Spanish specialty. The money invariably comes from an EU grant and the point of the exercise is to create work, corruption and waste.

          • ilpugliese

            Ah good. We agree on some things then. I also liked the pic of the cycle lane with no legal exit. Here is my offering which has always seemed rather odd: https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=london&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&ie=UTF-8&ei=kvSDUrCLB-eP7Aa0yoHIBA&ved=0CAoQ_AUoAg.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      Here in Japan it`s normal for cyclists to ride on the pavement (sidewalk).

      • http://ianbrettcooper.blogspot.com/ Ian Brett Cooper

        In the UK, we’ve figured out that riding on the pavement is inherently dangerous, since it makes cyclists less visible and more prone to intersection collisions.

  • Dick Wall

    Please can drivers just give me the “car width” suggested by the highway code. Maybe only 10% don’t but of those, a few of them come pretty close. Cycle a few miles and you’ll pretty quickly experience how unpleasant it is. I obey all the laws of the roads and it still happens.

    More than 60% of people in the UK are too scared to cycle on the roads. The rest of us have measure of obstinacy.

    How about some respect and consideration as we all share the commonly owned and funded asset that is the road network?

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Truck drivers might well be thinking the same about puddle-jumper passenger cars. Mixing different sizes/weights and performance of vehicles, with driver/riders of widely differing ability, experience and attitude on the same road is all wrong and a formula for disaster. Indicative that the government believes that collateral damage is a minor issue. “Plenty more where they came from.” But I think you already know that.

  • Bristol_Dan

    I agree with the statement in the last last paragraph whole heartedly, lets clamp down on the illegal and antisocial use of the pavement. BUT… lets be real, you are far more likely to see an illegally and inconsiderately parked car than a cyclist.

    I wonder whether Rod will be so keen when these vehicles are also fined for their activities. Or will it again by the pathetically hypocritical “tax on motorist” and “revenue raising” when we treat these drivers equally for the same offence.

  • airbag

    Rob Little is a cunt. That is all.

    • http://ianbrettcooper.blogspot.com/ Ian Brett Cooper

      I think it’s important, before labeling someone a cunt, to make sure we get the name right, just in case some non-cunt is unfairly smeared. It’s ‘Rod Liddle’ – but I have to agree – he is a cunt.

      • airbag

        Balls (thought I’d continue the “genitalia” theme – worked so far), that was a genuine typo (twice too, not sure how). Fair point and sincere apologies to any unfairly smeared Rob Littles.

      • http://twitter.com/RKWinvisibleman Robert Wright

        He couldn’t actually get the name of my blog right, so perhaps it’s fair a commenter can’t be bothered to spell Liddle’s name correctly.

    • ilpugliese

      What’s wrong with the female genitalia? Does this mean you like him?

  • Don Shipp

    When Liddle wanted to experience life as a Muslim woman he wore a burka. When he wanted to write an article slagging of ignorant fat people, he spent several years preparing for this by becoming ignorant and fat.

    If he’s going to write any more about cyclists may I suggest that he gets himself a bike and learns to ride it?

  • Stuart Kirkham

    As a Cyclist and Motorist I take exception to this viscious article. With the increasing number of Cyclists on the road there will be some who behave badly, however there are plenty of careless, reckless car, van and other vehicle drivers who are even worse. Why does Mr Liddle tar all Cyclists with the same brush?

  • almostoneword

    Better smug than smog.

  • plmac

    In my city there are various sections of pavement that are shared spaces between cyclists and pedestrians. And I think this is fine. However, many cyclists on these routes are determined to bomb along at full pelt. My dog (on a leash) gets nervous, I get nervous and it’s just less fun going for a walk. If any of these cyclists read this, just bear in mind the pedestrian please.

    • mightymark

      This is precisely what they do not seem to care about – the fear they put into people especially the slightly nervous – and how unpleasant a simple thing like a walk has become.

  • Martin Seaney

    I have been cycling for 30 yrs and live in the bicycling capital of the United States (Davis, Ca), where the local columnist often rails against cyclists in the same manner as Mr. Liddle. However, he hardly does it with the flair and the rabid Terrier prose found here.

    Being a university town with a terrain as flat as a pancake has lead to a proliferation of student cyclist, who for the most part routinely blow through stop signs/lights with no hands on the bars as they listen to their iPods or talk or text on their phones.

    The Lycra clad bunch often terrorize citizens out on the common use greenbelts by passing them at hurricane speeds and declaring with vehemence that they are in one’s left.

    Out on country roads cyclists often ride two abreast in peloton packs of up to thirty riders, and completely piss off the locals.

    I usually ride alone, stay to the right as much as possible, and try to take it easy on greenbelts. But all of this doesn’t matter in that I have been buzzed, have had partially filled beer cans thrown at me, and flipped off numerous times. It comes with territory. I just keep pedaling.

  • Brian Gould

    What a load of twaddle.

  • CharlietheChump

    Time to tax cyclists upon whom much cash has been spent to accommodate them on roads paid for by motorists.

    • Don Shipp

      Roads are not paid for by motorists.

      • Simon

        Mmmmm. Who pays and where does £10 billion in vehicle excise duty go then?

        • Don Shipp

          All taxpayers, with or without cars, with or without bikes, pay for the roads. Local roads are paid for out of Council Tax and other local taxes as well as a grant from the Govt. Trunk roads and motorways are paid for by the DfT. (From the taxes we all pay).
          All taxes (not counting the TV licence fee) go to the treasury. This includes VED.
          The taxes you pay and how you pay them do not in themselves give you any greater right to the services provided by the Govt. A high-rate taxpayer does not take priority over someone who exists entirely on benefits. (So the fact that cyclists tend to pay more tax overall than non-cyclists is neither here nor there.)

        • airbag

          Which doesn’t pay for roads. Idiot.

          • Simon

            So VED doesn’t pay towards the construction and upkeep of highway and motorways?

            Reading some of your other posts you seem to be an angry little person. I will take your accusation of me being an idiot as naivety and self loathing. Bell-fromage.

          • Don Shipp

            VED doesn’t pay towards the construction and upkeep of highways and motorways.

          • airbag

            Meh. Insults from idiots don’t really offend tbh. VED does not, as an easily checked matter of public record, pay for roads – only an idiot would say otherwise.

        • http://twitter.com/RKWinvisibleman Robert Wright

          Vehicle excise duty goes to pay some of the costs of the roads. The best estimate I’ve seen is that fuel duty and vehicle excise duty in the UK fall around £3bn a year short of covering the total costs of providing the roads, offsetting the damage from pollution, congestion, crashes and so on. Taxpayers – including tax-paying cyclists, who impose virtually none of the costs of road use – subsidise drivers: http://invisiblevisibleman.blogspot.com/2012/04/general-theory-of-cycling-motorists-and.html

          • Don Shipp

            None of the tax collected from motorists is directed towards roads. It all gets mixed up with all the other taxes and apportioned as the Chancellor sees fit. In this way no-one can claim to be paying more for the roads than anyone else.
            Local roads are maintained by local Councils who derive the bulk of their revenue from the Council tax and other local taxes and rates. VED is neither here nor there – regardless of their contribution to the Exchequer motorists have no legal, moral, practical or theoretical claim to ownership of the roads or any kind of priority on them.

    • ilpugliese

      It is a tax and not a specific charge. You should have said that motorists are subject to a hate tax which gives them priority on the roads and the right to burn as much petrol as they want.

  • http://twitter.com/RKWinvisibleman Robert Wright

    Given that the piece has a pop at me, I’ve written a response, which can be found here: http://invisiblevisibleman.blogspot.com/2013/11/the-invisible-visible-man-low-rent-pj.html

  • Don Shipp

    Liddle is part of a culture that is malicious and criminal.


    • ilpugliese

      Re the BBC link, is this not a shared path? In which case, the cyclist should have been going at walking or jogging speed. Also would the lights on the bike not have displayed the ropes? There is a comment in the article “a cyclist could have been killed if they had hit it at high speed”. But a cyclist should not go at high speed on a pedestrian path. Finally, Rod Liddle writes articles which are designed to shock and amuse. I’m sure he does not really mean that cyclists should be killed.

      • Matthew Dartford

        ” is this not a shared path? In which case, the cyclist should have been going at walking or jogging speed”

        shared paths have a max speed for cyclists of 15mph – some say its actually 18mph. Point being, its fast enough to do alot of damage.

        As for “walking or jogging speed”…Sure, if there was people also on the path. But in this case we have to assume its an empty path.

        Anyway, the article does say “cycle path”

        “Also would the lights on the bike not have displayed the ropes?”

        No…Lights would be dipped down. Any lights pointing at neck hight would have blinded anyone the cyclist was traveling towards. Also, light pointed up would not be illuminating the path ahead.

        “There is a comment in the article “a cyclist could have been killed if they had hit it at high speed”. But a cyclist should not go at high speed on a pedestrian path”

        Speed is irrelevant (see my comments above). But a cyclist could have most definitely have been killed. Either by neck damage, or by smashing the back of his head on the concrete – Knocked unconscious and maybe bleed to death or similar.

        “I’m sure he does not really mean that cyclists should be killed”

        No doubt you’re right about Mr Liddle….im less sure about the people who read and agree, or have their own anecdotal opinions back up by such an article though.

        • ilpugliese

          I’m afraid the answer is that if you can’t see where you’re going or objects in the way, then you need to slow down. Particularly if you can get hurt. I say this to protect the cyclist. I certainly do not approve of putting anything dangerous across a path.

          • Matthew Dartford

            then i expect all car drivers to do the same on all country roads….10-15mph tops then

          • ilpugliese

            Ye..es. So what’s your point? If he could see, he would have stopped or steered out of the way before hitting the ropes. And you said his light would have been dipped down. The situation would be different for car drivers on country roads. They would probably not be injured by a rope stretched across the road and their lights are generally much brighter than cyclists’.

          • Matthew Dartford

            A cyclist with lights would be able to see 30-100 yards down a path. They would be able to see people too and all obstacles on said path.

            They would not be on the lookout for rope at head height. And they would have no way, or in 99.999999999% of the time need light to light the void in front of their face ether….And nor are they required too.

            “The situation would be different for car drivers on country roads. They would probably not be injured by a rope”

            I wouldn’t expect a rope to do a car any harm. But a rope is just one example of many things a driver wouldn’t expect to see when driving… But lets say I did put a rope on the road, would you expect car drivers to see it, or anticipate it?

            I would hope they where too busy paying attention to the road and the verge that looking out for 1inch diameter rope suspended in mid air all the time…

            “lights are generally much brighter than cyclists’.”

            Of course…they also travel at much greater speeds covering much larger distances. Their lights need to throw light a lot further.

          • ilpugliese

            I’m not sure what the point of you’re argument is, as is usually the case after a few rounds with cycling defenders, who seem to just lob in points. The only issue is safety and what the individual should do to achieve it. That person cannot depend on anyone or anything else. It also doesn’t matter either whether someone can be prosecuted or sued after the event.

          • Matthew Dartford

            You are looking blame the cyclist for not seeing something that should never be there… that’s my point..

            “cycling defenders,”

            I would defend anyone in a similar situation.

            Similar things have happened to joggers. Its not their fault.

          • ilpugliese

            You may have noticed I said “the only issue is safety”, not “it’s the cyclist’s fault”. Whatever. Carry on blaming. That should protect you.

  • Seadog101

    Another of the current trend of ‘Lets have a pop at cyclists’ articles. Get on a bike Mr Liddle, then get writing.

    • airbag

      Indeed. Why are the cyclist-haters so afraid of cycling themselves? The only explanation is that they’re afraid they might learn something.

      • http://twitter.com/RKWinvisibleman Robert Wright

        It’s interesting, isn’t it? People who write about how cyclists mow down pedestrians often fear to ride a bike themselves, presumably from fear of the (truly dangerous) cars.

  • Richard
  • PhilDisqus

    It would appear London motorists have taken your plea to heart. Four cyclists have been killed in London over the last week, you must be delighted. Will you be attending their funerals to gloat?

    • http://twitter.com/RKWinvisibleman Robert Wright

      While I’m sure Liddle would deny this and write me off (as he does in the piece) as a moaning ninny, I think this kind of tripe does encourage people to behave worse around cyclists.

  • http://twitter.com/RKWinvisibleman Robert Wright

    Incidentally, I’ve just spotted this morning that, quite apart from the other factual errors (which I elucidate here: http://invisiblevisibleman.blogspot.com/2013/11/the-invisible-visible-man-low-rent-pj.html) Rod Liddle didn’t even manage to get the name of my blog (The Invisible Visible Man) right.

    I honestly wonder whether he should be trusted to describe the colour of the sky. I fear he might feel in his bones it’s green, not bother to go outside and write a beautiful description of its emerald hues.

  • nwilson101

    Oh how nice Rod Liddell is when the BBC tells us that ‘4 cyclists killed in the past 7 days’ on London’s roads. It is sad when a somewhat unhealthy hack for the Spectator says ‘legislate and create more laws’. Who really cares if lazy Rod Liddle is jealous because he is often overtaken by cyclists? This petty and rather spiteful little man needs to grow up a little and maybe try cyclng rather than writing drivel about those who are healthier and causing less damage to the environment than this hack.
    As for running red lights in London, I do it only by going slowly through red lights when there is no traffic. The reason for doing so is because on 3 occasions I have been rammed by drivers who have lost their tempers and are late and so at traffic lights put their foots down and don’t care if they drive into cyclists ahead of them. It is done to save my own life which I think is the most responsible thing to do when drivers are so irresponsible and endanger so many cyclists lives…
    My solution: no legislation but ensure all lights in London are switched to amber so one doesn’t have irate drivers losing their temper waiting at lights whn the coast is clear. This could be done from say 8pm to 7am each morning in central London

  • Jimbo665

    I find it curious that your article seems to label drivers and cyclists as being two completely different demographics. In reality, I think you’ll find that many commuter cyclists also own cars, but just choose not to commute in them due to healthy exercise being preferable to sitting in a traffic jam for 30 – 60 minutes. Speaking as a driver who is also a commuter cyclist, I pay my road tax, so if my car is not on the road, I can’t see why I’m freeloading if I use my bike on the road I’m making a contribution towards.

    Regarding cyclists jumping red lights, I agree that this is both stupid and dangerous on busy roads.However, imagine that you’ve pulled up at a red light at a quiet but narrow t-junction and there is a bus or lorry next to you. Which is safer; sitting there and moving off on the inside of the bus/lorry when the lights change, or just sneaking out ahead of them if the junction is quiet; especially if there is no cycle lane where you are, but there is one some 5 – 10 metres ahead? What would you do in this situation? What would be the safest option?

    P.S. I don’t wear lycra, and I am a climate change sceptic.

    • Don Shipp

      Whilst it is true that most adult cyclists own cars and pay VED this should not be used as an argument that they therefore have paid for the road, or paid for the right to ride on it.
      VED does not pay for roads, not all cyclists own cars and their right, legal or moral, to ride a bike on the roads is just the same as for those who do..

      As far as traffic lights are concerned there are not many occasions when it genuinely isn’t safe to wait so don’t expect this argument to be accepted.

      The overwhelming consensus of scientific opinion is that pollution affects climate. Certainly be a sceptic but don’t trust a handful of journalists or those in the pay of oil companies either.

  • tomdaylight

    Five cyclists killed in London over the past nine days. That enough for you, Rod?

  • JohannesHibernicus

    I am both a cyclist and a motorist and my principal aim when I do engage in both activities is to avoid receiving and to avoid giving injury. I think Rod’s humour is indeed in bad taste as some cyclists have been killed recently but I agree with him about the behaviour of some cyclists riding on country roads when there is a cycle track available. I usually sound my horn at them to get on to their own path simply because what they are doing is very dangerous for them and for everybody else.

    • Don Shipp

      And you should be using the motorway which was built to keep you off these roads. Driving on country roads just isn’t safe.

      • JohannesHibernicus

        Is this supposed to be funny?

        • Don Shipp

          Drivers are always killing themselves on country roads. Nothing funny about that. Keep to the motorways, they’ll take you across country much more safely.
          If I heard the sound of a horn behind me on a country road I would never guess that it meant “get on you own path simply because what you’re doing is very dangerous for you and everybody else”. Neither, probably, would any other cyclist.

  • Thomas

    “… you are one of those people with an expensive bicycle, a lot of Lycra, a pompous little pointy plastic hat, hilarious goggles, a fatuous water bottle …”

    That’s NOT the way we, the “militant” cyclist rides a bike, we have families, we want to go somewhere (with less killing potential, less environmental impact — and faster — than a car driver), we want to survive, not to win a sports event (and if, whilst doing that, we can save the planet, why not, what’s wrong about, and why should that be arrogant — isn’t that the point of those who feel ashamed but do not want to admit that — lacking the “balls”, as you vulgarly express — they are feeble machos, not daring to trust the weather, the effort and the deadly risk imposed to cyclists by the lethal weapons that cars are?)

    You say “expensive bicycle” at one place and some lines later “You just can’t afford a car”, you contradict yourself. As for me, one of those you definitely hate, I do have a car, I just do not use it for urban transport. My family drives 8000km per year by bike, 10000km by car.

    And you state that everybody should become pedestrian — but that’s just not fast enough for our productive mobile economy! Bicycles are in fact the fastest urban transportation means!

    You say, you — the cars — finance the roads — here I must reveal my origins, I’m from the continent, and in my current host country, France, to take just one example, roads are not paid by drivers, but by the general tax income of the authorities, thus by all of us, cyclists included, only that cars and trucks destroy them more, once constructed, than a lightweight cyclist does.

    We are not arrogant: we are proud. We may not safe the planet, but we may safe our cities from suffocation. After having paid our death toll we have woken up, we dare to defend ourselves. We do not drive a lethal weapon like you do, haven’t hardly heard of any cyclist having been able to kill another one or a pedestrian, even less a car-, truck- or bus-driver. The opposite, well, does happen quite frequently, easily, even a non-professional killer like you will manage, eventually, just by inadvertence … or maybe by hatred against those cyclists “blocking your way” (how that holds, BTW, as we are faster in average?) …

  • Paul Walden

    Cyclists to a T-you forgot to mention the smug family of cyclists typically two adults with two to three terrified children also on bikes and wearing those stupid helmets. They manage to look even more chin-strokingly self-satisfied than Ben Elton (and that takes some doing)-hey! not only are we saving the planet but so are our kids!! And what about the father towing his offspring behind hm in some balsa wood contraption on wheels that looks as though it would disintegrate in a light breeze

  • John Birkby

    From his article “and further speed restrictions on the people who actually pay for the roads (car drivers),”
    Unless the writer is at least 80+ years old, he has NEVER paid for the road as a driver. Roads are paid for out of general taxation. If car drivers want to moan about folks using the roads “for free”, then their angst should be directed at non-taxpayers! Not that I’m suggesting they should btw

  • Labradorofperception

    80,000 drivers in England and Wales failed a breath test last year. Adopting your logic Fat boy, all drivers must be drunks. (source MoJ, ONS)

    But there is no logic when you want to hate someone purely because they opt to leave the car keys on the side board, and ride a bike. You think you are being “ironic” or “jokey” in your article, but it’s just more shit that lets the f*cktards think it’s ok to hate. It’s another oh so clever article that is hectoring and bullying and well, pretty much the reason a lot of cyclists feel “superior” because your is the level of intellect they butt up against everyday and it just gets wearisome.

    Anyway, you must be feeling pretty fucking smug, given the death toll on the roads this week. You got your “jokey little wish”.

    When cyclists get run down by tipper trucks, they peel them from the road. Invariably the tyres and axles are sprayed with blood and brain matter. If you are such a big man, as you clearly think you are, why not spend a bit of time with London Ambulance and see what such a collision looks like, then do what I used to have to do, go to their spouse or parents and tell them their loved one is presently being hosed off the tarmac.

    But you won;t because your a posturing media ponce and a festering canker sore on the arse end of humanity

  • Labradorofperception
  • Melina Sofia

    first I would really appreciate that someone can explain to me just in one sentence and without all the drama that Rod Liddle is making, the point of this article? It seems to me that he feel angry with cyclists but I can’t really see the reason for it! second, Yes a cyclist is more vulnerable than a driver, yes a pedestrian is more vulnerable than a cyclist and a driver. Yes a cyclist is actually doing some good to the planet even if they just go from Holborn to Paddington…and for further comments, yes it’s true we breathe a lot of the diesel that comes from the traffic so one more thing that makes us vulnerable. I have never read such a disturbing article about cyclists. Rod Liddle sounds to me like someone who is just full with hate shouting from the top of a mountain. 6 cyclists died in the past 10 days. This shows how much vulnerable a cyclists is. Cyclists do mistakes and sometimes have shitty attitudes, so do drivers…do you know the difference? One dies, the other gets a scratch on the paint. Is it fair? No it’s not, a mistake should not bring the end of someones life.
    Rod Liddle, I hope you will find lots of love around you. It’s sounds like you need it.

    • Don Shipp

      The point of this article is that it was bound to generate a lot of comments for which Liddle gets paid a bonus. In the circumstances it amounts to blood money.

  • tony crilly

    Sad that this kind of article should reach publication, had the unfortunate experience of reading the “spectator’ on a recent flight, would never lift up another copy, purely on principle…..everybody should fit bike riding into their life ….

  • Tim

    I don’t care if you hate cyclists. I think that’s what aggravates drivers so much, that cyclists simply don’t reciprocate their hate. And I’ll get there faster than you.

    • Mr B J Mann

      Well spotted Tim.

      It must really wind up drivers the way they can cut up the insides of cyclists, or shoot off pavements in front of them, causing accidents, or meander across the road as if they’ve got nothing better to do, holding cyclists up for mile after mile, and then follow that up by hammering on cyclists helmets and kicking the mirrors off their cycles, and the cyclists won’t even turn their head cams on, never mind chase after them until they catch them at a congestion creating misphased traffic light, or behind a queue of cars caught up behind a bus or bike, rant and rave at them, and then upload the video on a cyclists’ rant site before reporting the motorist to the police.

      No, that never happens.

      And it must wind up motorists no end the way cyclists usually turn the other cheek regardless of the smug, self-righteous, infantantile, attitude of the motorists.

      • Tim

        I think you’ve rather proved my point…

      • Tim

        I think you’ve just proved my point rather…

        • Mr B J Mann

          That you don’t have an argument?
          We already knew that!
          You didn’t even have to go to the bother of proving it once.
          Never mind twice!

          • Tim

            I wasn’t putting forward an argument, merely a statement of fact that I think cyclists don’t care, and that I think that’s why car drivers are angry… The burden of proof doesn’t lie with me my friend.

          • Mr B J Mann

            Errrmmmm, true, you weren’t putting forward an argument:

            You were advancing two unsupported assertions as facts which you conveniently forgot to substantiate.

            So, yes, you don’t carry any burden of proof:

            We can just dismiss them as your unfounded and invalid opinions which no one need bother dignifying by insisting you embarass yourself by trying to justify them.

          • Tim

            I wasn’t putting forward an argument, merely a statement of fact that I think cyclists not reciprocating the visceral hate directed at them by motorists is one of the major drivers for the aforementioned hate. Note the use of ‘I think’. The burden of proof does not lie with me my friend.

            My use of ‘proved my point’ was merely a turn of phrase based on my opinion – see once again the use of ‘I think’ – that your badly worded rant offered some indication that my thoughts may well have some truth to them…

          • Mr B J Mann

            Yes, you’re pointing out that your incorrect assertions are your own personal opinions, as is your own incorrect view that I proved your point.

            Similarly it’s your own incorrect opinion that my submission of a string of incontrovertible facts is a “rant”.

            So it’s hardly surprising you wouldn’t dare try to justify your opinions, argue with my facts, or in any way try to “prove” your “point(s)”.

            Have you actually bothered to read any of your “contributions”?
            Or were you too busy repeating them?

          • Mr B J Mann

            Yes, but as it’s a fact that it’s CYCLISTS who:

            “wind up drivers…. cut up the insides…. shoot off pavements in front of them, causing accidents, or meander across the road as if they’ve got nothing better to do, holding….. up for mile after mile, and then follow that up by hammering on….. and kicking the mirrors off….. turn their head cams on…… chase after them until they catch them at a congestion creating misphased traffic light, or behind a queue of cars caught up behind a bus or bike, rant and rave at them, and then upload the video on a cyclists’ rant site before reporting the motorist to the police….. smug, self-righteous, infantantile, attitude….”

            It’s clearly the cyclists who have the:

            “visceral hate”.

            So it’s clearly a “proven point”, an unarguable “fact”, that your opinion is utterly and totally wrong.

          • Tim

            Ha. Still here then? This is boring. And I can’t take you seriously with a name like BJ man

          • Mr B J Mann

            Feel free to attack the “Mann” if you’ve failed to win the ball, Tim.

  • Mr B J Mann

    Sweet, unselfish, considerate, kind, thoughtfull, friendly, unaggressive, gentle, cuddly cyclists manage to only kill two or three pedestrians a year using their small, light, slow, green and sustainable cycles.

    Per the supposed three billion miles a year they ride.

    Meanwhile inconsiderate, selfish, unfriendly, mean, aggressive, nasty, homicidal motorists massacre a massive four hundred pedesrians a year using their large, hard, speeding, one to forty ton killing machines.

    Per the MOT and digital odometer verified three hundred billion miles a year they drive.

    Which, for the mathematically challenged is, er, a monstrous, er, four per, er, three billion miles.

    Wait a minute………

  • Mr B J Mann

    Motorists pay around £50 BILLION in EXTRA ADDITONAL Road RELATED (but UN hypothecated) Tax EACH and EVERY year ON TOP of their ORDINARY CITIZENS taxes.
    And did I remember to mention non of that £50 BILLION is hypothecated to the roads?
    And the equivalent of hardly any of it, as it’s UN hypothecated, gets spent on the roads.
    And, as it’s UN hypothecated, most of what is is spent on things like reducing speed limits, widening pavements (sometimes so much they meet in the middle), introducing bus and cycle lanes, traffic “calming”, removing lanes, newfangled pelican crossings without a flashing green man phase that stop traffic so long a pensioner on a zimmer frame could cross, do their shopping, and get back before they let the traffic go, and even total road closures.
    As much is spent on the 50% subsidies on bus and rail tickets.
    And rail “investment”.

    But non of that is because of “hypothecation”.
    Oh, no.
    And most of the £50 BILLION in Road RELATED Tax, as Tony Blair reminded us, goes on things like keeping the NHS solvent.
    But I have just one question:
    If they succeeded in driving motorists out of their motors.
    And lost the £50 BILLION in UN hypothecated Road RELATED Tax:
    Would any government continue spending money on the roads, slash the NHS budget by £50 BILLION, and levy a hospital beds tax to pay for the roads expenditure?
    Or would they slash the roads budget, cut the public transport subsidies, and tax bus and rail passengers to make up the shortfalls in the NHS budget.
    Only askin……….

  • Mr B J Mann

    By the way:

    If a motorists swerves to miss a suicidal cyclist, mounts the kerb, and kills a pedestrian or three, or even wipes out a crocodile of kindergarted kiddies on an outing supervised by CRB checked grannies and pregnant mums:

    Are they any less dead than if the motorist lost control because they were drunk or speeding?

  • wolfmeister

    lol wow, the spectator (who read it? nobody)

    I can just see the editorial meeting now : “Look guys, we need to write some article to piss of cyclists then we’ll get plenty of hits online”

    lol, pathetic.

  • David Robjant

    A fair few Alf-Garnets fail to notice that Alf-Garnet is a piss-take, but in this case I wonder if Rod Liddle himself quite knows whether he is joking, or thinks it matters. The thing is, if you’ve got a 2000 word skit about the ‘they’ in you, it’s pretty hard to know where you can attach it without a prosecution. ‘Cyclists’ is a group that fits the bill, apparently. Dead right, being vulnerable doesn’t give you papal immunity to error. But it sure as hell doesn’t make you automatically a hectoring puritan, or a suitable target for collective punishment. The one word that plainly wasn’t tongue in cheek in all this was ‘they’, and in Rod’s usage here it’s a hateful and ignorant word. http://aseasyasridingabike.wordpress.com/2014/01/13/there-is-no-us/

  • Phil

    Since this article was published, another 150 people have been killed in the UK by drink driving alone (based on annual averages). This is without all the other stuff (annual 24,000+ hit and runs, 23,000+ KSIs, several thousand disabled etc, not to mention the fact the use of cars annually costs our economy £2.5bn more than is gained through VED). Some cyclists are idiots, but anyone who believes cyclists are causing the carnage mentioned above is an epitome of shortsightedness who are subsequently neglecting their loved ones.
    Before anyone replies with their own (often inflated) anti-cyclist arguments and personal experiences; for the sake of your family, you need to start adopting perspective, just as I won’t oppose all drivers because of one idiotic individual who killed my friend’s 13 year old daughter because he was driving using his mobile phone.

  • Mal

    My life would be improved by razor wire strung across the entrance to Fleet street pubs to decapitate the hugely annoying journalists.

  • Mal

    Why on Earth would anyone think cyclists would be more inclined to run down pedestrians than car drivers? Not that I’m saying that car drivers would be more inclined to do so. Liddle might say he’s just having a larf, he already flagged up that excuse earlier. But it just isn’t funny, and this article just isn’t any good. Anyway, where’ s his response to Self’s swinging attack in the Guardian yesterday? That’s what I want to read!

  • Phil

    When I drive my tractor, because it is slower than 40 mph, I have to have an amber flashing light, positioned over 2 m off the ground to warn motorists. I also have to
    pull-over every mile or so to allow motorists to pass. Surely, to be fare, the rules must also be applied to bicycles.

    • Matty1245

      In that case so should motorists. The amount of cars I have to filter though each morning as they block the city driving at 5mph is mindboggling. I don’t see why my journey times should be impacted by thier selfish behavior.

      Is that fair?

  • ShabamNuggets

    I’ve been saying it for years, but why not just regulate bicycles like automobiles? If you want to use your bicycle on the streets you must pass a licensing test, and have it properly registered and insured. This way they’ll be contributing more to fund road maintenance and would require using a license plate that can be used to report dangerous activity like rolling through a stop, turning without signaling, or cutting between slower moving or stopped automobiles. This way they’re held more accountable for their actions and less likely to put themselves in dangerous situations.

    • Matty1245

      All rubbish and all flawed.

      • ShabamNuggets

        so are you just here to troll or you want to take a shot at answering the question in my comment? ‘Why not just regulate bicycles like automobiles’–do you have an opinion or do you just like to hate on other peoples’ opinions?

        • Matty1245

          More than happy to offer my opinion.

          Bar the slight annoyances cycling has on a few motorists its net effect is seen as a positive. It does not pollute, damage the road and is 100x less likely to kill or injure someone when compared to a car. Even on occasions when an accident does happen the chances of a cycle causing £1000s of damage is exceptionally low. I’m yet for example to hear of a single time a cyclist has killed a motorist or has written off a car.

          In addition to that, the benefits of cycling to regular cyclists means the chances of contracting diabetes, or suffering from heart problems are exceptionally low. In fact regular cyclists (and anyone who is active to be fair) live around 2 years above the average. The general effect on society can be calculated in a lowering of the cost to the NHS.

          It is these primary reasons you cannot apply motoring thinking to bicycles because motoring offer none of those benefits.

          Now with that in mind ill answer your points (and probably repeat myself a bit)…

          “If you want to use your bicycle on the streets you must pass a licensing test”

          This is a common comment, its based on the idea that because motorists need to pass a test everyone else should. Its flawed.

          The roads have always been public, open to the public to allow the public to move around. Horse riders, pedestrians, kids, and cyclists in fact use the road by right. Its only those who wish to introduce heavy machinery to this public space who are required to be licensed. This is largely because of the danger a car poses.

          Also, its something of an irrelevant point, but something like 80-90% of adult cyclists (it fluctuates depending on what association you believe) already hold a driving license.

          “properly registered and insured”

          Ill tackle registration 1st – a bike is a simple device that allows you, and anyone who chooses to ride a nice cheap alternative to the car – the effects of that do (believe it or not) benefit everyone. Now with that in mind, registration would be counterproductive for a number of reasons.
          1: There are estimated to be something like 25million bikes, many owned by kids, many owned by oaps. The logistics of this would be something of a nightmare and what would its benefit exactly? Cyclists kill 0-2 people a year.
          2: Given that we have so many bikes, a number plate (for it to be useful) would need to be as large as a car plate. This would restrict all kinds of things, from lights to pannier bags. Something many people would think “so what?” but I believe this would result in less working professionals cycling and reaching for the car. Ergo we have a situation of more cars equals bad for everyone.
          3: It will also discourage kids from cycling, adults from riding bikes in the park, or in their village/town/city. We have something of an obesity/health problem at the moment….Registration would be seen as a tax on those who wish to be active, or who wish to enjoy the benefits of not driving. No government would implement it.


          Insurance is a requirement for cars because cars kill and cause terrible damage. Considerably less so for bike. But past that i would estimate over 90% of bike/car accidents result in nothing more than a dented panel or a broken wing mirror (ive pulled that out of thin air). These fall withing the excess of most insurance policies. But anyway…that’s arguably beside the point. What though is not beside the point is cyclists (like pedestrians) are legally responsible for the damage they cause – A lack of insurance is not a lack of responsibility.

          Small point though if it makes you feel any better. My house hold cover covers my liability on my bike away from home.

          “This way they’ll be contributing more to fund road maintenance”

          Most local road funding comes directly from the council which if primarily funded by local taxes (like the pavements). Cyclists have always paid these.

          Other points….does not pollute, contribute to congestion in the same way as cars, nor do they damage the road. There are many who argue because of this those who choose to cycle are infact saving the nation money.

          With that in mind, to tax someone who chooses to leave their car at home is again, counterproductive.

          Oh….and of course many adult cyclists already own a fully paid up car, sitting in their drive not doing all those things cars do.

          “license plate that can be used to report dangerous activity ”

          Police rarely act on anything unless they catch the driver/cyclist directly. If you look on youtube you will see literately 100s of vids of motorists using their phone at the wheel, look on twitter and you will equally see 100/1000s of people taking photos from their car wheel. Phone the police to report them results in nothing.

          “rolling through a stop”

          Like my above comment the police will only act if caught. How many motorists speed, use their phones, chase the amber light knowing that no one will catch them?

          Im also yet to hear of a single motorist being fined for dangerously overtaking cyclists….Many caught on camera.

          “turning without signaling”

          Not a cycling issue anymore than a motoring one. Im also yet to hear of a single motorist to be fined of punished in anyway for not indicating.

          “cutting between slower moving or stopped automobiles”

          that would be called “filtering” and is not only in the Highway code, but part of Bikeability and motorcycle training.

          “This way they’re held more accountable for their actions”

          They are. If they kill or hurt anyone they can expect the same treatment as anyone else. Cyclists are not a different breed of people.

          “less likely to put themselves in dangerous situations.”

          This perception is not based on fact.

          What you perceive as dangerous often is not, even cyclists who jump light do so carefully – The same can not be said for motorists who speed up to beat a red light, or even break the speed limit.

          As well as that, police stats put motorist at fault in cycle/car incidents between 60-75% of the time, with a shared blame around 15% and full cyclists blame at 15%. So what we have is trained individuals who (because of the car) disproportionately introduce far more danger (and potential) recklessness to the roads than those untrained cyclists.

          • ShabamNuggets

            wow, that’s a lot… I’ll try to go through it point by point, but if anything I appreciate a thoughtful response.

            Most of all, know that I’m a daily cyclist and although more ‘rules & regulations’ always seem like an annoyance at first, I think it would lead to a much safer experience for the entire cycling community.

            You list many benefits of cycling–no argument here. Cycling has been awesome for my health and pocketbook–moving on.

            Your point about the roads being public is also valid–however, since dangerous motor vehicles are allowed on the roads, why not teach cyclist how to keep themselves safe? Do they know the proper hand signals? Are their bicycles properly lit? Stuff like that… I think you’re looking at it too much like a punishment and not enough like a learning experience. Of course there are many that know and follow the rules correctly, but I’m just as mad at the ignorant cyclist as the average rude driver–they’re giving us all a bad name!


            How do we know that’s your bike? If your bike get’s stolen or if your trying to sell a bike, how would you prove ownership? Is it registered? Again, I think you’re looking at having to register your bike as a punishment and not how it protects the owners.

            1 & 3. Sure, lots of bikes, but we all know not all bikes are the same… this one is a bit tricker, but I’m not saying to make every kid on a bicycle have to be registered after getting off the training wheels… We can use some common sense here and designate certain streets or create other rules where you must be licensed in order to ride. I would even go as far as allowing a cyclist be allowed to use expressways if they had a certain type of license, even though no cyclists are allowed on our highways, now. Again, you bring up the fact that cyclist don’t kill anyone… I never said they did.

            2. “A license plate wouldn’t fit on a convenient place on a bike” is a lame argument. Someone will make a kickstarter and design a way to mount a license plate to a bike that doesn’t interfear with bags… The free-market will figure something out but maybe this is just an American capitalistic point of view.

            Just because it doesn’t kill or do significant damage doesn’t mean bikes can’t cause damage. Scratching an expensive BMW with the handlebars could be up to $1,500 to repaint? Would you rather pay the full amount, or a much smaller deductible? Unfortunately because there isn’t insurance to protect the cyclist they’re most likely to simply ride away… But forget about cars for a second, I’ve been with a group of cyclist where someone up front took a spill and took out maybe 10 other bikes in the group–probably causing $35,000 in damaged bicycles and equipment. Again, you seem to just be looking at it as a punishment and not a way to protect the cyclist.

            * It’s nice that your home insurance covers bikes, I’m not familiar with anything like that in the US, but it sounds to be exactly what I’m talking about!

            …I want to keep reading but I have to go for now and don’t want to lose anything… I’ll get back the rest of this reply later. It’s been fun!

            Also, the cars cause road damage myth–studies have shown that more than 95% of road damage is a result of the weather–not so much rubber wheels–so bike may only be .0005% of the damage, but most cars are probably only 1% of the damage.

          • ShabamNuggets

            “How many motorists speed, use their phones, chase the amber light knowing that no one will catch them?”

            –SOO many, I wish they would all get tickets!

          • ShabamNuggets

            Turing without signaling…

            “Not a cycling issue anymore than a motoring one.”

            It unfortunately is… if motorist turns without signaling and runs into something or something runs into them, they’re protected by a frame, crumple zones, airbags, and so on, and will most likely survive… If a cyclist turns without signaling and runs into something or something runs into them, they’re much more likely to sustain a serious injury… AGAIN, making sure people know the proper signals is not a punishment. it’s logic…

            “Im also yet to hear of a single motorist to be fined of punished in anyway for not indicating.”
            …this is no excuse for cyclist not needing to know the proper signals… Besides, I know people who have–does that mean we cancel each other out?

          • ShabamNuggets

            cutting between slower moving or stopped automobiles…

            “that would be called “filtering” and is not only in the Highway code, but part of Bikeability and motorcycle training.”

            Are you saying, it’s legal and they teach it in motorcycle training? So doesn’t this make my case to make “bicycle training” mandatory? ya know.. so they can learn when to do it safely…?

          • Matty1245

            “Are you saying, it’s legal and they teach it in motorcycle training? So doesn’t this make my case to make “bicycle training” mandatory? ya know.. so they can learn when to do it safely…?”

            Not really. They also teach cyclists to ride in a straight line….and untrained cyclists do that fine too.

            But yes, its legal. Basically undertaking slow moving traffic to “filter” forward is standard practice. Common sense (like everything) is the key.

          • ShabamNuggets

            I don’t understand what point you’re trying to make.

            Regardless, if this is all you’ve got, I WIN, and my original comment is definitely not, as you put it, “All rubbish and all flawed.”

          • ShabamNuggets

            “As well as that, police stats put motorist at fault in cycle/car incidents between 60-75% of the time, with a shared blame around 15% and full cyclists blame at 15%. So what we have is trained individuals who (because of the car) disproportionately introduce far more danger (and potential) recklessness to the roads than those untrained cyclists.”

            Again, it’s not about if cars are more to blame for damage or incidents, it’s about safety for the cyclist.

  • http://trailsnet.com trailsnet

    As is often the case, the writer (who has some very valid points) and many of the commenters are lumping all cyclists together. Hmmmm? We know that’s never good policy.
    Look at every negative comment about cyclists and you’ll realize they are all about one (unfortunately over-represented) group of cyclists. Road bikers. We can’t even paint them all w/ the same brush stroke, but many of them fit the profile of too fast, too competitive, too inconsiderate, too… well you get the picture.
    Then there are those of us who try to stick mainly to bike paths. Although that may include mountain bike trails, I’m mainly talking about cycle paths (as opposed to the aforementioned psychopaths) or multi use trails. The vast majority of cyclists who use these incredibly valuable public resources are nearly always courteous, thoughtful, considerate and, dare I say, saintly.
    So here’s the answer. (Finally someone who has the answer rather than just another rant) Build more cycle paths. Then you’ll see less bike riders cluttering the road, more transportation options, more recreation options and much better community relations. Of course some silly geese will still ride in (not beside) the road, but I believe Darwin has a theory that just might prove that automobiles are indeed the most fit vehicle for roads while pedestrians & bicyclists coexist in mutual love and harmony on a (someday hopefully) vastly improved trails network that will benefit everyone.

  • Davidh

    An important point is that many of these cyclists are RACING. They have these GPS computer thingys that record times, speeds on different sections of their routes etc etc and upload them and analyse them and compare them. Hence the self-righteous (in fact entirely self-interested, selfish) attempts to stop cars slowing them down at all on their fast bits, to use pavements when quicker, to weave dangerously in and out of traffic on slow bits, to jump red lights. Again, racing on a public road in your car or on a motorbike is clearly a dangerous gratification of hooligan, anti-social, instinct. Cyclists think it’s their god-given right.

  • Seb K

    Man London is sh** for cycling . Bad attitudes from both parties but mostly from motorists . No wonder we are the most unhappy city in Europe . Then again the whole of the UK is pretty much the same sh** . I can get to my destination far quicker than a vehicle due to the heavy traffic (caused by cars) in the morning and heavy traffic in the evening (caused by cars) . Cars are a menace to society – they pollute our lungs, cause congestion, damage our road surfaces which our council tax then has to pay for (although recently doesn’t seem to be doing much) and cause more deaths – great invention . Although to be fair we need lorries and vans for building work and deliveries but when you see one twa* in an SUV (Jeremy Clarkson being one BIG twa*) you think why (oh right no balls) . Makes me ashamed to be British really !!!

  • Dalton Bailey

    I think there is a huge difference here, because there are cyclists who do act like complete idiots and don’t take into account anyone else, and there are those who do ride safely everywhere, you can’t just assume every single one of them is an immediate problem, where I live, you’ve got motorists who think its cool to run red lights and zebra crossings just hoping if they hit someone, they’ll come up with an excuse like that person was in the way or I got distracted by that squirrel. I rest my case.

  • Stew Fisher

    I have to agree with you, where I do have to cycle to work I go by the rule of a) im not the only road user but b) my 5kg bike is going to loose against a 15t bus every time, so i try to cycle safely by not ducking and weaving like some pissed up guy, make sure my lights work and make sure i can be seen. if Im turning right and a driver lets me past (and they do) make sure to give them a thumbs up to say thank you.. however the others who cycle like they are invincible dont obey the highway code and act like stuck up arseholes really get on my nerves, and what is their excuse “motorists are just as bad” this is the biggest pile of bull going, 2 wrongs do not make a right. instead of going “if its good enough for them” they should be setting an example.. and maybe they would live longer and they wouldnt get the rest of the road using world hating them.

  • G. Michael

    Why should cyclist be allowed to video others on the road? Does that mean for example any one of us could go out and video record these people in their house as they may be doing something wrong? Or say having a coffee in a cafe and video record someone using too much sugar. For goodness sake, stop these militant cyclists invading on our privacy when driving.

  • Paul Hanna

    I’ve heard It said ” 73% of cyclists over the age 27 become much more self-righteous 4/5 days after becoming vegetarians and 46% of these regularly attend Dulcimer Lessons wearing open toed sandals”..Is this True…?

  • mario rossi

    “Like many people, I am worried that too few cyclists are being killed on our roads each year”. Do you realize what you’re saying? Do you realize what reading this does to someone who has lost a relative that way? I’d wish that Your Son will be next, you animal. But I don’t, as I’m not such a despicable being like yourself.

  • charlieb

    Oh dear, Rod Liddle attempts a very weak impersonation of that other, very poor ‘journalist’ Jeremy Clarkson. This is impossibly puerile. Most tragically of all, he trots out the ‘calm down everyone, I’m only joking’ defence, beloved of school playground bullies everywhere. Be your own man Rod Liddle.

  • Steve

    In Scotland I’m allowed to cycle on pavements, though I feel the spandex Tour de Middleclass “bad cyclists” may oneday cost me that privilege.

    I don;t feel safe on roads nor do I personally feel I have a right to force myself onto a space clearly designed for motor vehicles, whom I will lose a fight with every time.

    I do however cycle relatively slowly, and when pedestrians are about I slow down further or dismount.

    As you can imagine my bike isn’t expensive or fancy and my clothing everyday normal.

    As a ‘cyclist’, the spandex jerks make me as angry as anyone else. They’re dangerous, careless and worse of all ruin it for other bike users.

  • AndyP

    Oh Rod you are a contrarian wag – sadly you are also predictable, so not on my dinner party list

  • David Johnston

    I can understand your feelings. The thing is you assume cyclists don’t have the right to use the roads. How about removing all pavements that would give the car drivers the extra room they need. I mean pedestrians use pavements which are part of the road system and they don’t pay road Tax. How about caravans they slow the road system down but you don’t have to pay extra road tax on them. Lorries block up the roads while turning and damage the roads faster. So if you think that about cyclists you must also hate pedestrians as well. I cycle to work (in normal clothes) I have been knocked down deliberately because of the attitude you mentioned the car rammed into the back of my bike on a long clear road in daylight. A friend of mine was hounded by a car because he got off the line quicker than a car at a traffic light(no he did not go in front of the car). I agree about the cyclists who wear lyrca but how about joggers and boy racers you don’t mention them.

  • David Johnston
  • Rob Hesketh

    The only ‘arrogance’ cyclists display is daring to take their place on the up to 60mph roads, as the local councils decided they should. A cyclist “taking up the road” is there because somebody looked at the map and said “we don’t need a cycle lane, they should ride on the road”. Is it fair to take out your anger at that decision on the person who has already felt its repercussions in the form of massive vans trying to squeeze pase at speed?

    When you ride on the pavement people will shout at you, you have to go very slowly so you can navigate a ton of obstacles and you have to be very careful not to disturb or injure the people who are trying to walk. Why would anybody do that unless the alternative were worse in some way, perhaps more dangerous?

    There is no “cyclist” that glides around like an alien species, superior to those around him. What you call a “cyclist” is just a guy trying to get to a meeting at work, or a woman out grabbing a coffee, or a child on the way to visit a friend. It sucks that users with different needs are forced into conflict like this, but there’s no great Cyclist Dragon that you’re slaying here. All this noise and anger, is only directed at folk trying to get about their local area.

  • ScaredAmoeba

    This article is so chock-full of factual errors and falsehoods that it’s hard to know where to start.
    Hint, it might be a good idea to check one’s facts, before committing to print. There are simply too many errors and false statements here to correct, so I’ll demolish a couple.

    For instance: ” that it would be better if we all cycled (it wouldn’t — it would be better if we all walked)” – I am assuming that in the interests of the environment, the author of this article is suggesting that
    cyclists use more energy than pedestrians. Cycling is the most energy efficient means of transport known, it is significantly less energetic than walking, unless one cycles particularly fast. The
    upshot is that it would be much better for the environment for people who currently walk, to cycle instead.

    Here are the figures.

    Walker at 4 mph 55.3 kCal/km
    Bicycle (roadster) plus rider (upright posture)
    at 4 mph 8.4 kCal/km (Not quite 1/7th of walking at 4 mph)
    at 10 mph 15.6 kCal/km (Less than than 1/3rd of walking at 4 mph)
    at 15 mph 24.4k Cal/km (Less than 1/2 of walking at 4 mph)
    Note a racing bicycle enables a more aerodynamic posture and goes slightly faster than a heavy roadster for the same effort.

    Source: Bicycling Science – Frank Rowland Whitt, David Gordon Wilson The MIT Press Cambridge, Massachusetts London, England(Table 7.6 second edition, page 186)

    As for: “They have the moral high ground, which includes the pavement, since you asked.”

    Now that is plain inflammatory. While I don’t like people cycling on the footway, I understand why people do it – it’s called bad driving. Anyone who cycles frequently on the road will know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s the main reason why so few people cycle. I’m sure that badly researched articles like this that make drivers angry at cyclists and they drive badly near cyclists so as to harass them as a consequence.

    In Great Britain, from 2009 to 2013:
    o Cycles accounted for about 2% of all urban, non-motorway vehicular traffic and were involved in 0.82% of pedestrian fatalities and 1.6% of serious injuries to pedestrians;
    o Mile-for-mile in urban areas, motor vehicles were about 1.2 times more likely than a cycle to seriously injure a pedestrian, and almost 2.5 times as likely to kill them;
    o There was one pedestrian death involving a cycle on the pavement or verge, whereas altogether, 34 pedestrians were killed on average each year by vehicles on pavements/verges.
     An official study of pedestrian priority sites in the 1990s found only one pedestrian/cyclist
    incident in 15 site years.
    FYI that means between 2009-2013 (5 years) 5×34 (annual average) =170 pedestrians
    killed by vehicles on pavements/verges vs 1 (one) pedestrian death involving a cycle on the pavement or verge. And the author is complaining about cyclists? He certainly hides his
    integrity and objectivity particularly well.

  • ScaredAmoeba

    This article is so chock-full of factual errors and falsehoods that it’s hard to know where to start.
    Hint, it might be a good idea to check one’s facts, before committing to print. There are simply too many errors and false statements here to correct, so I’ll demolish a couple.

    For instance: ” that it would be better if we all cycled (it wouldn’t — it would be better if we all walked)” – I am assuming that in the interests of the environment, the author of this article is suggesting that
    cyclists use more energy than pedestrians. Cycling is the most energy efficient means of transport known, it is significantly less energetic than walking, unless one cycles particularly fast. The
    upshot is that it would be much better for the environment for people who currently walk, to cycle instead.

    Here are the figures.

    Walker at 4 mph 55.3 kCal/km
    Bicycle (roadster) plus rider (upright posture)
    at 4 mph 8.4 kCal/km (Not quite 1/7th of walking at 4 mph)
    at 10 mph 15.6 kCal/km (Less than than 1/3rd of walking at 4 mph)
    at 15 mph 24.4k Cal/km (Less than 1/2 of walking at 4 mph)
    Note a racing bicycle enables a more aerodynamic posture and goes slightly faster than a heavy roadster for the same effort.

    Source: Bicycling Science – Frank Rowland Whitt, David Gordon Wilson The MIT Press Cambridge, Massachusetts London, England(Table 7.6 second edition, page 186)

    As for: “They have the moral high ground, which includes the pavement, since you asked.”

    Now that is plain inflammatory. While I don’t like people cycling on the footway, I understand why people do it – it’s called bad driving. Anyone who cycles frequently on the road will know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s the main reason why so few people cycle. I’m sure that badly researched articles like this that make drivers angry at cyclists and they drive badly near cyclists so as to harass them as a consequence.

    In Great Britain, from 2009 to 2013:
    o Cycles accounted for about 2% of all urban, non-motorway vehicular traffic and were involved in 0.82% of pedestrian fatalities and 1.6% of serious injuries to pedestrians;
    o Mile-for-mile in urban areas, motor vehicles were about 1.2 times more likely than a cycle to seriously injure a pedestrian, and almost 2.5 times as likely to kill them;
    o There was one pedestrian death involving a cycle on the pavement or verge, whereas altogether, 34 pedestrians were killed on average each year by vehicles on pavements/verges.
     An official study of pedestrian priority sites in the 1990s found only one pedestrian/cyclist
    incident in 15 site years.
    FYI that means between 2009-2013 (5 years) 5×34 (annual average) =170 pedestrians
    killed by vehicles on pavements/verges vs 1 (one) pedestrian death involving a cycle on the pavement or verge. And the author is complaining about cyclists? He certainly hides his
    integrity and objectivity particularly well.

  • Steven Crawford Pidcock

    Most enjoyable. Thank you.

  • scott hamilton

    I am a cyclist and loved reading this. It’s all true. We can be annoying as a group for sure so I go out of my way to stay humble and give nods of thanks if a driver allows me through an intersection or stops before entering my path from a side road. I am guilty for running red lights only because it’s dangerous to be hanging out there in the wings unprotected waiting for the green as traffic wizes by at 60mph. If it’s clear I will slow way down then go.

    My pet peeve are cyclist that ride on the sidewalk and or use paths were pedestrians stroll, as a place to get their performance on. Cyclist should be fined for riding over 7mph on lesuire paths around people. Pedestrians have been killed by cyclists on a canal path where I live.

    The high and mighty feeling. I must admit I have to refrain from allowing that to show. When I ride into work on my bike,, not as often as I could, I get this huge feeling of being empowered like I just discovered how to beat the system. It’s really really liberating to know that locomotion / covering a fair amount of ground can be accomplished very low tech and in the end I got a workout. It’s a big high. My ride in is 10 miles. It takes me about a half hour. It takes 15-20 by car. Extra 10 minutes but I got 30 min of extreme cardio workout.

    Anyway. I enjoyed the well written rant. It’s important to know how anti cyclist see us.

  • Dana W

    Awesome! Perfect!

  • drifter