Rush hour in London is a battlefield on which motorists and pedestrians unite against the cyclist - their common foe.
This is the (slightly re-phrased) observation of Ryan Shorthouse in today’s Daily Mail, who highlights the ever more loathed status of the cyclist in the capital and wonders: “is it because we remind socialists of the Tories?”
“Go through a red light on your bike and the crossing pedestrian will shout 'Prat!',” says Shorthouse, “Cycle into the middle of the road to get past static cars who have decided to get intimate with the kerb, and the cars coming the other way begin to veer towards you, two fingers wagging," he continues.
“Cyclists are just not liked. I really don’t understand why,” he muses, “Perhaps it’s a little jealousy for being ultra-motivated and ultra-healthy. Perhaps it reminds socialists of David Cameron and Boris Johnson.”
Shorthouse goes on to quote a recent survey showing 41 per cent of Londoners think cyclists are inconsiderate and 48 per cent do not think they’re law-abiding people.
“Pity, not anger, should be what people feel towards cyclists. They really do face a tough time,” says Shorthouse. “The speed of cars on some residential roads is too high. Multi-lane roundabouts are a true Darwinian experience. And pedestrians often don’t look for bikes before they cross the road in busy areas, or when they make their way across the road through vehicles in a traffic jam.”
He quotes the fact that nine cyclists were killed in London last year by HGVs. road.cc recently reported on two women cyclists killed within 24-hours in the capital, after collisions with HGVs.
Nevertheless the evidence is that cyclists continue to be hate figures on the nation’s roads and this is backed up by road.cc’s own research, which shows that most cyclists have experienced some form of road rage.
According to the results of our survey of 222 people, the majority (61 per cent) have suffered occasional verbal abuse, nine per cent have suffered regular verbal abuse and 22 per cent - almost a quarter of voters – have suffered worse than verbal abuse while cycling on the nation’s roads.