Thursday, 6 September 2012

Unbelievable editorial in The Richmond Magazine: 'The only good cyclist is a dead one'. Councils are still actively creating road user conflict, which legitimises disgusting views like this.

My video of Blackfriars Bridge late rush hour last night. More people on bikes than in cars. Guess who the road is designed for? The people in cars, obviously.

Earlier today, Richmond Cycling Campaign published a copy of the latest issue of The Richmond Magazine on its website.

Richmond Cycling Campaign has has a hard enough time battling a council that seems utterly disinterested in anything other than more and more cars on its streets. The council is proposing removing one of the very few half-way decent bits of cycling infrastructure in Twickenham

The Richmond Magazine is one of those glossy free magazines filled with estate agent adverts that normally witters inconsequential nothingness about the local area. But not this time.

This time, its editor Richard Nye saw fit to write about the Olympics, in particular about cycling at the Olympics. And he said this:

"After years of a sullen rage against the cycling fraternity - as a daily driver on busy roads, I tend towards the temperate view that the only good cyclist is a dead one - I suddenly found myself experiencing strange feelings of attachment towards the pedal stars of Team GB"

The cycling comments are pretty dreadful. His comments about 'care in the community' aren't much better, to be frank.

Look at the way the road narrows just where the
lorry passes the cyclists. Road user conflict designed
by the council?
The reality is that a lot of people think thoughts that aren't too different to the ones written in The Richmond Magazine. I wrote a few months ago about the young driver at Vauxhall gyratory: "I HATE cyclists the way they swarm my car like the plague, they have no awareness of sharing the road", she said.

The thing is, I can completely understand why some drivers (especially those that have never ridden a bike as an adult) 'hate' cyclists.

Pictured left, a lorry driving along Cycle Super Highway 7. Look carefully. The lorry is passing through a 'pinch point. There's a traffic island in the middle of the road. And on the left of the lorry, there's an advertising bollard on a bit of pavement that sticks out and takes all of the left handside of the carriageway. In other words, all these cyclists and the lorry are forced to share a bit of road that is the same width as the lorry. The reality is a) this must be unbelievably stressful for the lorry driver having to sum up all the bikes and the narrow road b) it's unbelievably stressful but with added risk for people on bikes. Often, when I cycle here, I have to either force my way through the gap, confidentally 'taking the lane' and hoping the lorry will slow down or I wimp out and give way to the lorry which is behind me but which is clearly not going to slow down.

My point is this: This conflict between cyclists and motorists is actively designed into the street layout.

The sheer ignorance of the need to separate the flow of cyclists and large motor vehicles on our roads is what results in ridiculously dangerous street layouts like the one pictured above.

And it's exactly this sort of ridiculous street layout that causes conflict. As a cyclist, I hate cycling through this gap and 'hate' the fact that most motorists don't give me space to cycle through it safely. When I drive here, I 'hate' trying to second guess how the cyclists are going to respond to the street layout.

It's a lose-lose situation. And I think it explains to some extent why the editor of The Richmond Magazine feels it is legitimate to 'hate' cyclists in the way he does.

A lot of people tell me that 'if only cyclists didn't run red lights' that they might deserve proper cycling infrastructure. Or they seek to victimise me as a 'cyclist' in some form or fashion. The fact is that, in most of the UK, we compete for space and for our lives far too often on infrastructure designed for motor vehicles, with road laws designed for motor vehicles.

I'd like to see the infrastructure and the rules start to change. And that, in time, will cause people to see idiotic views like those of editor of The Richmond Magazine, as socially inacceptable. I'd also like to see that same editor out on a bicycle, in Richmond. And see how he likes feeling like a vulnerable road user, rather than a superior, car-wrapped road user.

If you want to contact the publisher directly, use this link for relevant contact details.


  1. Good post. I really don't think enough is said about how road design makes things worse for drivers. I think the prevalent view is that it's bicycles that make driving difficult, but it's not. It's actually the road itself.

  2. Unfortunately I can't get the link to the article to load, but this comment is surely already socially unacceptable and seems to me to be tantamount to incitement to murder.

    Perhaps London's cyclists should subject Mr Nye and his rag to the same type of response given to Addison Lee recently?

  3. This whole issue of separation vs integration rages on. I read with interest the comments on another blog, (v to which I was pointed by the Lazarus of Waltham Forest, which certainly seem to dismiss off-road cycle paths, or at any rate to diss the Dutch. Now personally, I don’t give a monkey’s whether we adopt Assen’s, Aalborg’s, or Addis Ababa’s style of cycle infrastructure, as long as it is fit for purpose, which is to address the fears of the mass of proto-cyclists waiting for someone to provide a viable alternative to the car.

    However, as things stand, our on-road approach to cycling creates needless conflict and reinforces stereotypes of cyclists which merely serve to make them pariahs, an out-group which politicians can safely ignore because they figure there are no votes in pandering to them. Despite the fact that “cyclists” (adult ones at least) are almost certainly, to an 85%+ probability, also motorists, the two supposedly separate groups “hate” each other, one for putting them in danger, the other for slowing them down, or doing all those other things which infuriate non-cyclists for no particular good reason because they aren’t actually affected by it – pulling away before the lights are green, weaving through stationary traffic, catching up with you at the next red light etc.

    And this is fuelled by the Darwinistic evolution of a breed of cyclists who pass the survival-of-the-fittest test – road conditions drive away young, old, weak, nervous, and - quite often - female cyclists, leaving only a testosterone-fuelled genus of “cyclistus vehicularis” who sometimes exhibit the behaviours which cause so much ire.

    The “editor” of Richmond Magazine apparently suspended his loathing of cyclists for the highly ephemeral adulation of our side-burned heroes of the Olympics, before his own evolutionary regression to mean. But theses super-elite athletes, while their exploits are certainly awe-inspring and have lifted the national mood this summer, are not good role models. And why is it that I so often note, that authors, commenters and bloggers who pour scorn on the principle of separation, are cycle trainers or authors of cycle training handbooks? Is it because they have so much vested interest in the status quo? I should imagine that they do have cycle training in schools in the Netherlands, but I doubt that the syllabus looks much like “CycleCraft”.

  4. In the editorial he also comments how he yells various big posh sounding insults at a cyclists who "cut me up from the inside".

    Mind you it's hardly surprising as cyclists seem to have become public enemy no.1, a simple search on Twitter for "cyclist" will likely turn up a few dozen brain dead idiots who seem content to broadcast their need to injure or kill those on 2 wheels to the world presumably as they are aware that if they do so in their car and simply claim "sorry mate I didn't see you" chances are fairly high they'll escape with little more then a slap on the wrist.

  5. Might be worth firing off some letters to a few of the biggest advertisers in the mag asking if they condone the editorial policy?

    1. A number of people already have, and according to BikeBiz one local bike shop is withdrawing advertising as a result.

  6. You can connect the editor of the magazine under the following mail:

  7. Actually, you are being much too kind to him. I think you are wrong on this one.

    The issue is that some people want to pick on cyclists, pure and simple. We live in a culture where motorists are wrongly encouraged to see themselves as an oppressed group, who have "paid a tax" etc., when the opposite view (they oppress rather than are oppressed) should be held and disseminated. Many peole want to pick on a minority group (Yes, I know cyclists are not minorities like gays, blacks and disabled people, but we are a vulnerable minority when we ride bikes) and they can get away with it with cyclists.

    For decades I have come across motorists and car passengers who simply don't like being overtaken in urban traffic by cyclists who have paid less for their vehicle. Trying to explain it away just by the way the road is laid out is inadequate to say the least.

    Motorists presently, and for the foreseeable future, are going to have to drive carefully in the vicinity of cyclists and others. They have a duty of care - legally and morally - to work at this, and bigotry is the last thing to accept here. It is inflammatory and exacerbates an already too dangerous potential to hurt others wgen coming up with this kind of drivel.

    If they can't cope, then they can campaign to be segregated away from us (not the other way round) - meanwhile, they have to get their act together.

    I wouldn't try and act nicely to him. He doesn't want to see what cycling is like. I think you (unwittingly) demean yourself by asking him to try cycling.

    What is needed is something like the magnificent response to Addison Lee (whatever happened to that campaign by the way?). This guy is basically just a pub bore, but it would be interesting to see what his advertisers think, even if he comes up with just the usual half-hearted apology.

    Dr. Robert Davis, Chair, Road Danger Reduction Forum

  8. Your analysis is absolutely correct, but sadly, the magazine article is "typical" of the UK rather than "unbelievable". Katja Leyendecker was tweeted with what are as good as death threats to cyclists a couple of days ago, and Downfader refers to this attitude on his blog post today.

    Regarding "A lot of people tell me that 'if only cyclists didn't run red lights' that they might deserve proper cycling infrastructure."

    So the fact that motorists not only run red lights, but also park on pavements blocking rightful users, especially the disabled, pollute the environment, exceed the speed limit, drive without insurance, licence or MOT, get prosecuted by the police, and kill and maim more than any other type of road user means they deserve more than cyclists? THAT's a good argument (not). Furthermore, we should probably note that car insurance premiums are very high. Motorists! You can fool yourselves but you can't fool the insurance companies.

    My CTC third party bicycle insurance is grand... ;-)

  9. Note what has been said about advertising in this "magazine":

    R. Davis, RDRF

  10. These people wonder why cyclists are upset when drivers are risking our lives on a daily basis and think it's funny. Apparently when asked how he thought relatives of cyclists who have been killed would feel, he claimed he hadn't been thinnking about cycling fatalities when he said that.

    He was talking about it though, so maybe he should have been thinking too.

  11. Following his apology, Richmond Cycling Campaign has offered to meet Mr Nye from The Richmond Magazine for a cycle in the borough to better understand the challenges cyclists face on our streets and why the reaction was so strong.

  12. Dear Richmond Cycling Campaign, as said above, I think you demean yourselves doing this. If he apologises then you can explain why his views are incendiary. After that, if he wants to come for a bike ride you can do so

    Dr. R. Davis, RDRF

  13. "We support public administration and local governments in driving profitable projects and working with our private partners."

  14. I just read the official 'apology' and it's another example of too little, too late. Most cities have mobility problems and getting more people on bikes would help a great deal. I too hate it when I see cyclists and pedestrians making their merry way through traffic, while I'm stuck in it, but the only one to blame would be me. I solved this problem by not using my car in the city if not necessary and by not replacing it when it got too old. Mobility is making choices and encouraging people to leave their car at home by investing in a better infrastructure should have top priority. It works in some European countries and I, for one, would love to be able to check out London by bike next time I visit the UK.

  15. Receive your Blog Posts in my email but in order to comment i have to d/load 5Mb at 16bit/sec ! Enjoy reading your thought provoking reports which raise more questions than they can answer ! Am i the only reader with this problem ?

    During the Olympic period i rode my bike through many parts of London from areas outside the M25 thus using a variety of the access roads to all parts of the London Metro area . Whenever or whereever i was i found that Drivers were unable to resist the temptation to pass a cyclist irrespectire of the speed limits which in some cases i was exceeding .Being passed in a 30 zone by an elderly man must rankle those that think they are in a world of their own .

    Reading of this " peanut " expressing his views about Cyclists tells me that he is unfit to hold the job ! Richmond park draws people from a huge area and these people spend money in the businesses that " peanut " seeks funding from . How can a simple "apology " satisfy these advertisers ? Luckily for him those visiting do not read his diatribe .

    London WILL NEVER be a safe place for the ordinary cyclist to ride a bike . Regardless of the amounts spent , Drivers will continue to harass Cyclists whilst those who Cycle watch other drivers behave the way they currently choose . If on the otherhand a driver was to report the actions of " vehicles that advertise their allegiance " to the " Product Owner " with email or phone then there could over a period develope an awareness that driving a " Mobile Billboard " in an unsafe way , has consequences . Fleet managers do not wish to finish in the " Dock " as a result of indulging their delinquent drivers ?

  16. Cyclists are rude, arrogant lawbreakers.

    Those who would normally sneer at chavs who break the law do so every day in in 'packs'. However, because the are 'eco-warriors' they feel happy about breaking the law and mowing down pedestrians whilst ringing their 'bell of arrogance'.

    For starters: Don't jump read lights. Don't jump red lights, mount a pavement, rejoin the road and then ride through pedestrians who are leagally crossing on a 'green man'. Then do not shout at pedestrians when turning right into a minor road even though the crossing pedestrians have right of way.

    Bet you didn't know that did you you bunch of London Ringers. Rule 170. Look it up.

    So I have no sympathy for cyclists. They are despicable and selfish.

  17. Rule 170:

    "- watch out for pedestrians crossing a road into which you are turning. If they have started to cross they have priority, so give way".

    Yeah, right. As if cyclists EVER do that.

  18. Also:

    1) Pedestrian crossing are not cycle routes. Nore are they launchpads into the traffic-flow.
    2) Zebra crossing laws apply to cyclists as well as motorists
    3) One-way street laws are not circumvented by cycling the wrong way on the pavement.
    4) Pavements are not for cycling on.
    5) No right/left turn signs apply to cyclists
    6) Indicating is not optional.

    Shall I go on? Every law is broken by cyclists. All the time.

    This list shows the simple crimes. The more complex and idiotic 'tricks' will take more than one line to describe. However, they do like 'safety in numbers'. They just a pack to push through pedestrians and force them back onto the pavement when it is their right of way.

    I cannot stand your selfish arrogance and blatant lawbreaking. You are NOT on the moral highground but in a pit.

    A tiny minority of cyclists in London obey the law. I take the time to thank them when stopped at the lights. I have done it once this year.

  19. Your article is so funny and you are just intelligent, in one word, you make my day...And it will be good if you keep updating your articles here.I am looking forward to your new work. rs gold , runescape gold