'Stop SMIDSY' campaign sparks pedestrian vs cyclist debate

How cyclists feel about drivers is how pedestrians feel about us, it seems

by Simon_MacMichael   November 5, 2009  

Commuting in Bristol © Jonny Gawler

It’s a given that cyclists feel threatened by the behaviour of some drivers – understandably so, given their vulnerability when faced with half a tonne of metal box being driven by someone who may not even have registered their presence – but it seems that pedestrians increasingly feel the same way about those of us on two wheels.

The issue has generated a lot of traffic on the social networking site Twitter, when user @LDN tweeted about the CTC’s “Stop SMIDSY” campaign, urging fellow users to report bad drivers. What @LDN probably didn’t anticipate was the heated response that ensued from pedestrians complaining about cyclists’ behaviour, with riding on the pavement top of the list of concerns.

That, of course, is an issue that has been very much in the spotlight in recent weeks, whether through MP David Curry’s remarks before a House of Commons committee, or through initiatives on the part of police forces in various parts of the country to clamp down on so-called anti-social cycling often at the request of local communities who cite anti social cyclists, usually riding on the pavements, as one of their chief concerns.

The debate has prompted one road.cc reader, blogger London Cyclist, to write a post about the issue called ‘Can we share the road in London?’ and he tells us that it is clearly a topic that people are interested in, given that his post has received hundreds of views and many comments.

The essential issue is, at a time when we as cyclists are seeking to gain greater protection for ourselves through initiatives such as the 3 feet rule petition, are the actions of a minority  damaging our case?

What do you think?

5 user comments

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Hmm, how many of those pedestrians are complaining about cyclists who are not breqaking regulations? I'd be interested to know how many pedestrian/cyclist accidents are caused by pedestrians not looking when they step into the road, crossing at a red light or sauntering across the few cycle lanes that do exist.

My experience of commuting in London over the last 20 years leads me to believe that a lot of those pedestrian/cyclist accidents are caused be pedestrains not looking where they are going and not crossing when or where it's safe to do so.


posted by OldRidgeback [2586 posts]
5th November 2009 - 13:52


My mother got run over from stepping outside of our shop on a pavement that's more than 4 metre wide. I've seen many annoying cyclists that makes me shake my head whether in group ride or crossing red lights just for that extra few seconds of convienants. pavement, red lights, no lights and other reckless behaviour. What can be done, a ticking off every time you see one?

posted by Alankk [132 posts]
5th November 2009 - 15:43


There are bad drivers, bad cyclists and bad pedestrians - just a way of life!

Perhaps someone should do something about it Thinking

jobysp's picture

posted by jobysp [145 posts]
5th November 2009 - 18:51

1 Like

I'm not sure *why* a campaign to stop people ramming half tonnes of metal into largely unprotected people should have sparked a debate on the way those largely unprotected people conduct themselves.

Even if a fair number of them are inconsiderate oafs, does that mean that it's ok to maim a random number of the cycling population? Does it further mean that it's ok for that maiming to happen because the people doing it are on the 'phone, tuning the radio, wondering when Chris Moyles is next on holiday, or whatever other pressing matter takes their attention from the road? The UK is becoming an increasingly bizarre place.

The behaviour of drivers (mostly ignoring the speed limit, mostly hideously impatient, and incredibly numerous in our cities) poses a far larger risk to pedestrians (even pedestrians on the pavement, as anyone who's seen the way some of them negotiate the Crewe Road roundabout will testify). "Stop SMIDSY" and in a larger sense, a campaign to get the people in cars to pay attention to more of the road/pavement than just the four feet ahead of their bonnet will surely have benefits for cyclists and pedestrians alike.

Still, concentrating on anti-social cycling will at least give the local bobbies something to do whilst motor traffic speeds past them at 10mph over the limit, blocks pedestrian crossings in slow moving traffic, &c &c.

"Tant que je respire, j'attaque!"

John_the_Monkey's picture

posted by John_the_Monkey [428 posts]
6th November 2009 - 10:08


This seems a very sensible approach from us cyclists. If we take responsibility for our own behaviour then we can ask others to take responsibilty for theirs. We have probably all committed some sin, pavement riding, light jumping, creeping up the inside of traffic etc.. Yes, pedestrians don't always look. However, I'm sure the highway code gives right of way to pedestrians on any highway. Therefore they do have the 'right' to step out, even if it is unsafe to do so.

I don't know how people can expect car drivers to stick to the rules and to be considerate when cyclists say; 'We rarely hurt anyone' or 'Car divers are the real criminals' or 'The police should concentrate on more serious bad road use'. Those who seek to avoid speeding fines in their cars are using much the sam excuse!

Let's rise above this, ride responsibly and respectfully and ask others to do the same in their cars Angry .

posted by thehairs1970 [35 posts]
10th November 2009 - 9:27