Is it possible to cycle on British roads and avoid becoming radicalised?

radicalised cyclist

When people talk about the roads, it’s clear that many mistake equality for equity. For example, the placatory and often heard “we all just need to share the roads” might sound reasonable enough, but it overlooks the fact that on the roads – as in so many other areas of life – equity requires that some people get more.

Unfortunately, at present, we do not even enjoy equality. The more time one spends walking or cycling, the more one is exposed to careless, anti-social and downright dangerous behaviour. Walking to school,  it might be cars putting children’s’ lives at risk by parking on a zebra crossing, or even driving along the pavement. Earlier this month, drivers passing a school in Chessington, thought nothing of taking to the pavements because the road ahead was blocked. Children walking to school were forced to take refuge to avoid being run over. No action was taken by police against the drivers.

motorists driving on pavement

Given we teach our children from the moment they can walk that they should defer to cars, perhaps driving on pavements should not come as surprise.

A cyclist in Essex this week handed police footage which clearly shows a driver using their car to knock him off his bike. No action was taken by the police against the driver. Two days after the horrendous car crash last week in Birmingham that left six dead, another speeding car on the same stretch of road crashed into a cyclist leaving him for dead. No action was taken against the driver.

None of these incidents made the papers and countless other examples of road danger happen every day.

Is it possible to cycle on British roads and avoid becoming radicalised? Perhaps, but if by radicalised we mean refusing to accept that our roads cannot be equitable, then hopefully the answer for us all is no.

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Not only are we Britain’s most ethical insurance company, we campaign for sustainable transport. Sometimes that means protesting until a school gets the zebra crossing they’ve been refused, or running 60 roadshows this year to encourage people out of their cars, or fixing bicycles for free. Supporting this work is easy – you simply have to take out cycle insurance with us, cover that just happens to be excellent.

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  1. Chris


    Driving on to the pavement seems to be a practice which delivery drivers believe is perfectly acceptable as well as drivers who are in a hurry and “need” to drive on the pavement outside schools. When I remonstrated with a man who had parked on the zig-zag lines outside my granchildrens’ school I was threatened with physical violence – there is a pub car park 200 metres up the road where I park, but 200 metres is much too far for him to walk.

  2. Jim Woodlingfield


    It makes me so mad, when I drive I really don’t care if another car cuts in or goes against priority. On the bike I’ll call it out every time. Ironically it’s the worst drivers who are the angriest.

    Then again I try each time it happens to be generous to another motor vehicle such as letting them out at a busy junction, hopefully it keeps the karma going.

  3. Tony Williams


    “Given we teach our children from the moment they can walk that they should defer to cars, perhaps driving on pavements should not come as surprise.” That’s a good example of a non sequitur. How many children would survive if they were not to taught to defer to cars? Or cyclists?

  4. Andrew Jones


    Suppose it was law to have all car windows down/open in a 30mph zone. Would that make us behave better? Reducing the insulating and isolating carapace of the car should surely improve empathy with other road and pavement users. Sadly impractical on various counts, but I have done this and it certainly upscales one’s awareness to more that of a cyclist or motorcyclist.

  5. Jim Clark


    Wasn’t it Milk Snatcher, Thatcher who said there is no such thing as society, just the individual. Blame her and her supporters. You can’t have a country run by bankers and arms dealers and expect civilised behaviour from people.

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