The people v cyclists: It's class war on bikes!

Daily Mail writer highlights conflict between motorists, pedestrians and cyclists

by Rebecca McIlhone   April 28, 2009  

Commuter cyclist

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. 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’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.

10 user comments

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Flippin 'eck, not another report on being hated!

BananaDrama's picture

posted by BananaDrama [42 posts]
28th April 2009 - 11:32


yeah, and it's cos you remind people of Boris Johnson… who correct me if I'm wrong all those socialists in London elected mayor last year.

If blokey is writing for the Daily Mail in a city that full of socialists I would have thought the unpopularity of cyclists was the least of his worries

Darned if I do…

Mr Sock's picture

posted by Mr Sock [153 posts]
28th April 2009 - 11:51


as usual with the Heil, it's the reader comments that are the true comedy gold:

If you want to cycle, move to Holland. Simple - Andy Hoffman, Woking

I resent paying out for cyclists to ride free of charge - jack, ashford.England

cactuscat's picture

posted by cactuscat [305 posts]
28th April 2009 - 12:02


Whereas I resent being compared to Boris Johnston.

Hey ho, takes all sorts to make a world I suppose.

What make of bike does Boris ride BTW? Not being from London I'm not up on these sorts of things. Cameron rides a Trek doesn't he?

Denzil Dexter's picture

posted by Denzil Dexter [141 posts]
28th April 2009 - 12:22


I thought politicians all rode hobby horses.


Spinning on a wheel

Hammy's picture

posted by Hammy [97 posts]
28th April 2009 - 12:23


Here's a more coherent take on cycling and politics courtesy of The Bike Show

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4201 posts]
28th April 2009 - 12:55


That shot wasn't taken in London - they all have fixie's / singlespeed these days!

Blackhound's picture

posted by Blackhound [466 posts]
28th April 2009 - 21:47


the buses aren't blue either, but it's war everywhere apparently

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4201 posts]
28th April 2009 - 21:52


I'm appalled at myself for appearing to sound more conservative than an article in the Mail but I've no sympathy at all for cyclists who complain about being moaned at for going through red lights or cycling on the pavement. Why do you think cyclists get so much abuse? I cycle to work through London everyday and feel the wrath of the non-cycling public, despite being law-abiding myself...

andrewfurlow's picture

posted by andrewfurlow [37 posts]
29th April 2009 - 12:36


I agree completely with andrewfurlow's post. I cycle around bristol every day and stop at red lights and only go on pavements where cyclepaths are marked. Its not tough to follow the same rules of the road as other road users. We cannot complain about pedestrians and drivers if we break the rules ourselves. I make a point of doing things properly and quite often see cyclists going straight through junctions when the lights are on red only to nearly get hit by a car and give the driver the finger...makes the rest of us look like idiots and makes that driver angry toward 'cyclists' in general.

not all carbon is the same.

Jon Burrage's picture

posted by Jon Burrage [1081 posts]
29th April 2009 - 12:47