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Cyclists vs drivers. Now there is a novel idea for an article. Hold tight, I’ll make it quick.
To write something critical on the internet is futile – a metaphorical scream into a pillow, a cathartic reaction. Now, bear in mind that what follows is far from revelatory; the fact that cars and bicycles collide can hardly be considered a secret. The fact remains that we continue to accept a traffic environment that allows this happen. What the Inquisition will describe is a minor altercation, but multiply this out across populations and infinite other complicating factors and sadly, injuries and fatalities will eventually occur.
Picture a scenario.
You are a cyclist travelling between two lanes of traffic, on your way to your destination and using the correct road positioning. As you ride between these two lanes cars pass on either side of you. You are, in essence, part of the traffic flow. All is as it should be considering your country subscribes to the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic, which clearly states that the bicycle is a legitmate means of road travel, equal to any other.
Now, as you proceed, minding your own business, you are passed on your outside by a car blaring its horn. As this car passes, it slows so the driver can gesticulate and inform you that they wish to proceed with due care on the footpath/get off their road/fuck off and die under a truck. Then, moving ahead, they pull in on top of you, suggesting by doing so, that they would like to impress upon you their unimpeachable rectitude. Just as they would like to impress their wheels on you, all over your head.
The first time this happens, you might be taken aback by the naked aggression, shocked that a vehicle was used in such a potentially lethal manner, simply because someone didn’t want to share THEIR road. You might also question your road positioning and awareness.
But every time it happens after that, you are always in the right. You are not impeding their progress, just holding your own position within the flow. These drivers obviously want you off their roads, they just see you as a second class road user and long for some kind of transportation apartheid.
No matter what, this is an infringement of a cyclist’s rights under international law. Not that this fact will help; you aren’t exactly going to go crying to the police that a bad person shouted at you because you were on a a bike, are you?
But the feeling of being right is reassuring. Even if someone is trying to impress their views all over your face.
Still, clearly the initial hypothetical driver felt he had some legitimate grievance, namely that a cyclist should never take precedence over a car. Excepting the fact that he may just have been a contrarian looking for confrontation we are left with the obvious assumption that the driver in question sees traffic regulations differently to how they actually operate in Ireland (or wherever you are reading this).
If you are from another EU country, then welcome to our roads, where you may speed and cause carnage before returning home in the dead of night on a last minute flight.
Add to that the following countries who may partake in the pandemonium on our roads, for 12 months, without needing to exchange your licence for an Irish one:
Now, if you are a proper foreigner with a full licence, you also have 12 months grace after which you must undergo a theory test, do time in the purgatory of learner status and then complete your full test.
How there is no immediate equivalency test, or identification sticker, as with learners, is baffling. In other words, you may carry on as normal, obeying any rules you feel apply for at least 12 months. Then, you can do the test, or leave because you have killed someone.
The injustice of cycling increases exponentially in relation to the proximity of a cyclepath. If you are going straight on but the cyclelane goes left or right only – good luck! Uneducated traffic will push you from your chosen path like motorised sheepdogs herding a flock. Nevermind the fact that mandatory cyclelane usage which denigrates pedal traffic to second class status stands contrary to the Vienna Convention. They just want you off their road.
The Geneva Convention on Road Traffic was drafted in 1949 and only three signatories did not renew, meaning it is still in force there but not replaced by the newer 1968 convention. Which three troglodytes of transportation? US, Australia and New Zealand. Take a bow, ye cretins.
Who did renew and signed the 1968 Convention?
This article was posted by Ronan McDonnell on
Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010 at
It is archived in Bicycles, Dublin, Health, Ireland, Legal and tagged Bicycles, cycling, driving, laws, legal, transportation.
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