[*BCM*] Cycling Culture
eew at postmaster.co.uk
Sat Apr 21 05:56:04 EDT 2007
I'm currently in Germany, experiencing culture-shock as to how they cycle in this country, and the state of their bikes here. Normally I'm in Birmingham UK, and I find it interesting to pick up some of the things that you mention as being a "jerk" cyclist:
* weaving through traffic, legal in the UK and nothing wrong with going down the middle of a bunch of mostly stationary cars - nopt unsafe.
* Not signalling, annoying possibly, but then again cars don't signal (or signal but stay going straight ahead). Also it's generally accepted that you shouldn't indicate when you're turning right (left in the UK) as it's a sign to the cretin behind you to overtake you and cut you up asd they turn.
* I'm not a big fan of them, but I have quite a bit of experience of cycle lanes and routes that go the wrong way up a one-way street.
* No helmets, not a legal requirement in most of Europe, and (let's not get into this) not designed to protect in a collision with an automotive.
Like I said, I'm interested in the culture difference I see in cycling. Here in Germany bikes are predominantly very low spec utilitarian bikes, which are cycled at a "brisk walking" pace and mostly on the pavement. Lots of mainland european cycling is on the pavement as a rule. In contrast in the UK most cyclists ride higher spec vehicles and generally keep a 10-20mph pace (which is better than motorised vehicles in inner cities) and always on the road. I guess there are fewer
inexperienced cyclists in the UK, you just cant survive a lackadaisical approach to it there.
Just as driving like an jerk is fun, biking like a jerk is fun. ... We tell ourselves that we can weave in and out of traffic, ride the wrong way on streets, that we can blow
through stop signs and stop lights, that we don't need to signal our intentions to drivers, etc. I see the stereotypical bike messenger (a la "Lucas Brunelle") - fixed gear, no helmet, weaving in and out of traffic with no regard for laws - as having set the tone for urban cycling.
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