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“If you want respect you have to earn it,” says multiple Olympic medalist

Multiple Olympic gold medal winner Chris Hoy has emerged as one of Britain’s most vocal advocates for cycling. But he believes that some cyclists are doing the cause no good by their behaviour on the roads.

“When I’m out on a bike and I see someone doing something stupid I will absolutely have a word with them at the next set of lights,” he told the Telegraph’s Theo Merz in an interview.

Hoy gave a recent example, of a rider he’d chastised while in his home town of Edinburgh a couple of weeks ago.

He said: “There was a guy who was riding like an idiot, jumping lights, cutting up the pavement, and I just said: ‘You’re not helping matters here. If you want respect you have to earn it.’”

The response was stunned silence, perhaps at being told off by Scotland’s most famous cyclist, perhaps in amazement that someone had nothing better to do than police the behaviour of other cyclists.

Since retiring in 2013, Hoy has been developing his own bike brand with Evans Cycles, promoting family cycling, confusing football fans on Twitter who think he's a referee, and recently announced plans to get into car racing.

But he says cycling still matters to him and that’s why he gets annoyed with behaviour that, as he sees it, affects the perception of cyclists. He still wants to see more people on bikes.

“There are so many benefits to cycling,” he said. “It eases congestion, there are social benefits if you do it with someone else and of course there are the health benefits. It improves your cardiovascular system and you lose body fat.

“It’s particularly good if you haven’t exercised for a number of years. If you’re trying to run for the first time it puts strain on your joints, or people can have injuries that prevent them from doing that. But cycling is low impact, it’s easy for anyone at any level and it doesn’t have to be expensive.”

Hoy says he still gets out on the bike too.

“I still go cycling at least four times a week though,” he said. “Sometimes it’s to test models for my range and sometimes it’s purely for my own well-being. If I’m preaching about the benefits of exercise I can’t let myself go – and I wouldn’t want to.”

And of course, if he doesn’t ride, he doesn’t get to tell off those naughty red-light-jumpers.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

134 comments

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Ush [1005 posts] 3 years ago
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Quote:

recently announced plans to get into car racing.

Hmmm.

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Jacob [40 posts] 3 years ago
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Should car drivers earn our respect as well then? What a load of crap. Let's start policing everyone and telling people off. I want to go out and enjoy my ride, not play policeman... There will always be idiots who decide to break the law. It's not up to us to make sure that these people behave so that motorists respect the rest of us.

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blacknose [9 posts] 3 years ago
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get fucked chris mate. fuck right off.

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Sara_H [59 posts] 3 years ago
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That's Chris Hoy off my christmas card list.

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pz1800 [24 posts] 3 years ago
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Respect is given. Not earned.

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factor41 [20 posts] 3 years ago
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Ush wrote:
Quote:

recently announced plans to get into car racing.

Hmmm.

He's racing in British GT at Rockingham on Monday. He's not bad at it.

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Tinman [8 posts] 3 years ago
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Couldn't agree with the big man more. Well said that man.

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spence129 [21 posts] 3 years ago
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Wish I didn't have one of his bikes now. So I don't get respect on the road because of some chavy twat being stupid on their bike. Drivers certainly don't earn my respect but I still have to give it, or I die. Respect does not need to be earned when the consequences could be someone's life.  103

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MattT53 [147 posts] 3 years ago
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Quality, you wouldn't fancy sprinting away from the lights after being told off either

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jmaccelari [252 posts] 3 years ago
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And the prats come out. Well done Chris. If cyclists stop acting like plonkers, then they can expect to stop being treated like plonkers.

Yeah, motorists are also plonkers, but Chris is quite right about cyclists being their own worst enemies...

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blacknose [9 posts] 3 years ago
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If I get hit by a car I'll be sure to remember as I'm ground to pulp that it's all because I didn't have respect of other road users due to someone I've never met jumping a red light. A real comfort.

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SimonS [32 posts] 3 years ago
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@Beztweets wrote a very good piece on 'respect'

http://beyondthekerb.wordpress.com/2013/10/11/the-most-basic-respect/

"Respect is not earned. Respect can - should - be voluntarily given, not least because those who need it may not have the opportunity to earn it. To respect people is a choice. In most aspects of life people choose to do so unquestioningly. Yet not on the road.

To use this excuse to diminish the value of lives lost on the road is cheap and morally bankrupt, and is a cover for a baffling reluctance to make just one decision: that not killing someone is the most important thing you will do today.

The most basic respect of all is surely to respect someone’s mere existence.

If you feel that such a fundamental level of respect needs to be earned, then you are a deeply dangerous human being."

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dafyddp [442 posts] 3 years ago
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I kind of agree with him. Really annoyed me yesterday as I waited in ASL at a junction, cars properly queueing behind, and this lass on her mountain bike just rides on through the red, then cuts across the pavement to saved perhaps ten seconds off her journey. It was just bad manners as much as anything.

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Oscarzero [25 posts] 3 years ago
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blacknose wrote:

get fucked chris mate. fuck right off.

Wow, well that was really constructive. Did you register just to say that? I have a funny feeling the title of this article refers to you buddy.

Personally I agree with Chris 100% and would have loved to have witnessed the look on that guys face when he realised who he was being chastised by.

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VeloPeo [353 posts] 3 years ago
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20% of road users are twunts regardless of mode of transport.

The crusade should be to make people less twuntish

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don simon [1430 posts] 3 years ago
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Great article and excellent comments.
I'm beginning to see why this country is so fucked up now....
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allez neg [496 posts] 3 years ago
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blacknose wrote:

get fucked chris mate. fuck right off.

In the tone of the above post - what a total fucking bellend

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blacknose [9 posts] 3 years ago
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Oscarzero wrote:
blacknose wrote:

get fucked chris mate. fuck right off.

Wow, well that was really constructive. Did you register just to say that? I have a funny feeling the title of this article refers to you buddy.

Personally I agree with Chris 100% and would have loved to have witnessed the look on that guys face when he realised who he was being chastised by.

I'm stupid because I expect to be shown respect on the roads regardless of how other people ride their bikes?

Sure.

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Cyclosis [73 posts] 3 years ago
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SimonS wrote:

@Beztweets wrote a very good piece on 'respect'

http://beyondthekerb.wordpress.com/2013/10/11/the-most-basic-respect/

"Respect is not earned. Respect can - should - be voluntarily given, not least because those who need it may not have the opportunity to earn it. To respect people is a choice. In most aspects of life people choose to do so unquestioningly. Yet not on the road.

"If you feel that such a fundamental level of respect needs to be earned, then you are a deeply dangerous human being."

Really, everyone should read that post by Bez. Especially those "agreeing 100%" with Sir Chris.

Be great if the big man read it too.

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SB76 [102 posts] 3 years ago
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It is sad and disappointing that idiots on bikes cause negative views on all bikers but it does, we can't all turn around and go, not my problem.
Many on this forum make the same generalisation about drivers. I am frankly shocked and disgusted by the strong negative comments made to a generally sensible article.

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Quince [381 posts] 3 years ago
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Essentially, the roads should be policed better. It would improve motorist behaviour (a serious, meaningful improvement in terms of road safety) as well as provide cyclists with the only realistic regulation possible.

Despite cyclists being comparatively harmless, the principle that they should be allowed to run wild and not be enforced at all is obviously a bit off. I think it's this that has helped provoke ludicrous calls for 'cycle number plates' and 'licensing' and other such things. I think people just feel frustrated other seeing people routinely break rules and feel there's nothing possible that can be done about it, even if the consequences of the law-breaking are realistically minor. Hence the red light ire.

But I don't think people are going to police themselves perfectly. I don't think the people Hoy's berating are necessarily interested in 'helping the great bicycle cause'. They may well just be doing it because it's quicker for them and them alone. You're going to get idiots of any form of transport, because you get idiots (or at least, highly self-interested people) everywhere. You can either rig them up to a convoluted system of identification and accountability, or you can just keep a better eye on them.

I think better policing would not only bring real benefits in terms of better motorcar behaviour, but also assuage people's feelings of being treated unjustly; that one group of road users is heavily licensed, and the other (seemingly) allowed to go about as it likes, for doing the same thing. That one group is essentially harmless is another cognitive leap altogether, and I think it normally comes after the 'I'm being treated so unjustly' line of thought.

I wouldn't be too keen on giving in to the ideological concerns of motor-centric buffoons, if the solution wouldn't also improve motorcar behaviour, and thus bring meaningful differences to safety.

Theoretically, I think 'Project Actually Policing the Roads' (or whatever it was called) in London last year was a good thing. It would have been nice if they hadn't strayed away from enforcing the law onto helmet and high-vis 'advice', but overall, I'd rather have seen it than not.

I short; I don't believe riding a bike should be COMPLETELY unenforced, despite being a gajillion times less dangerous than a motorcar, and if enforcing the roads better tidies up scruffy/lethal motorcar behaviour as well, then that's two birds with one stone. It's certainly be more effective than asking ex-Olympians to do it.

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blacknose [9 posts] 3 years ago
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im shocked and digusted that chris hoy is such an idiot

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Pimpmaster Jazz [16 posts] 3 years ago
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"If I get hit by a car I'll be sure to remember as I'm ground to pulp that it's all because I didn't have respect of other road users due to someone I've never met jumping a red light. A real comfort."

And there's the problem.

Short term view - it's all about me me me!

Which is the same reason 'cyclists' (well, people on bikes) jump red lights and why there is such a negative view of it as a mode of transport in the Daily Wail.

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KiwiMike [1318 posts] 3 years ago
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jmaccelari wrote:

And the prats come out. Well done Chris. If cyclists stop acting like plonkers, then they can expect to stop being treated like plonkers.

Yeah, motorists are also plonkers, but Chris is quite right about cyclists being their own worst enemies...

You couldn't be more wrong if you tried. Tell that to the spouse of anyone killed by a driver not giving enough 'respect'. They will find it utterly repugnant that somehow the actions of someone 500 miles away and three decades younger interacting with a driver none of them have ever met or driven past somehow should have influenced the actions of their beloved's killer. In a country of about 30 MILLION drivers. That their dead spouse was to blame for their own demise, based on some bizarre sense of collective responsibility.

Can you even begin to see how screwed up this idea of collective responsibility is?

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Quince [381 posts] 3 years ago
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In short short; until the people policing the roads are actually the Police, the alternatives are ex-Olympians and seething motorists. Neither of which seem very effective.

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blacknose [9 posts] 3 years ago
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Pimpmaster Jazz wrote:

"If I get hit by a car I'll be sure to remember as I'm ground to pulp that it's all because I didn't have respect of other road users due to someone I've never met jumping a red light. A real comfort."

And there's the problem.

Short term view - it's all about me me me!

Which is the same reason 'cyclists' (well, people on bikes) jump red lights and why there is such a negative view of it as a mode of transport in the Daily Wail.

lol yeah when it comes to get getting murdered by a fucking juggernaut i do tend to be a bit 'me me me'. you don't even make sense mate.

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SB76 [102 posts] 3 years ago
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Out police do need to start policing the roads again. The general standard of driving and adherence to rules on the road are awful.

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Bhachgen [116 posts] 3 years ago
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Nothing wrong with what Sir Chris has said. But he does need to be aware of how headline writers (including those on road.cc, disappointingly ) will summarize his comments, particularly given a lot of "readers" don't go beyond the headline and first para to read the actual quotes.

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MattT53 [147 posts] 3 years ago
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Whilst the concept of respect being automatically given, not earned, is a attractive one, I'm not sure this is actually always the case. As such, I think behaving according to the same rules as other road users might occasionally change certain drivers perceptions. So whilst other people's actions shouldn't affect the respect given to you in an ideal world, they probably do in reality.

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SB76 [102 posts] 3 years ago
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MattT53 wrote:

Whilst the concept of respect being automatically given, not earned, is a attractive one, I'm not sure this is actually always the case. As such, I think behaving according to the same rules as other road users might occasionally change certain drivers perceptions. So whilst other people's actions shouldn't affect the respect given to you in an ideal world, they probably do in reality.

I agree with this. In truth I think his point was if you behave badly on your bike, you can't expect to be treated with respect. This doesn't mean some of dangerous shit idiots do on the road mind.

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