God's Little Acre

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Cycling in the moonlight

Trees in a Park in Surrey

Transport for London (TfL) recently didn't publish a document that suggested that cyclists that followed the rules of the road were more likely to be killed or injured than those who stuck to the rules.

By following the highway code, cyclists are more at risk than those who jump red lights. The report implies that many of the 2,490 cyclists that were killed or seriously injured last year, might have been better off wheeling through stop signs, ahead of the traffic behind.

Many bike riders get hit by lorrys, which have some dangerous blind spots. Often the victims are squashed while lorrys turn left, or when the cyclist ironically 'does the right thing' and waits patiently in the cyclist's advance stop area. The lofty perch of the Yorkie eaters, means the cyclist is hidden from view.

Jumping red lights

I know this from my own commuting rides. I jump the red lights, occasionally mount the pavement to avoid the dodgy sections of my route, oh, and I listen to my iPod while pedalling. Sure I could drive instead, but my work as a web developer means that my free gym does give me some much needed cardiovascular excercise and it is even faster (and a lot more eco-logically sound) than a Bentley too, on my commute anyway.

Medals for Cyclists

I think that the eco-friendly cyclist is often not rewarded or even encouraged for her efforts. We are all told to leave the car at home, but are presented with cycle lanes with more bumps than Jordan and more cracks than the San Andreas Fault. Then there are the less than perfect edges, drains and man hole covers which are kept out of the gas guzzlers sacred path. It's all a bit lame, surely cycle paths are a lot cheaper to build than new roads? The benefits of a fitter populace, to health from excercise and reductions in emissions surely make it ridiculous not to do? Sure petrol-heads can offset their carbon or buy a hybrid, but it isn't nowhere as sustainable a good old bike.

Richmond Park

It's not all doom and gloom for us cyclists though. Someone told me that cycling in the moonlight round Richmond Park is a truly devine experience. I only have done this in daylight. The 7 mile route is fantastic, even while avoiding the motorists and deer. There are some real gluteus maximus testing hills, that just as you think your getting to the summit, reveal ever unfolding altitudes that get even these nicotine painted lungs moving.

Watch out Bambi

So, watch out for the next full moon. Forget your warewolves, you might just see me flying down hill, free-wheeling to a little bit of AC/DC or Eckhart Tolle as the wind blows through my greying hair.

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