INDEX 2

DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY
Forget the most eye-straining safety vest. A cyclist is never more visible to a motorist than when breaking the law: a veritable ambassador of bad will. So I thought it might be interesting to see how many of you are scofflaws, and why.

Remember, you're under the Cycling Today oath, which covers you whenever you pick up this magazine, so answer honestly. Please initial each admission to illegal or simply undesirable behaviour, then tick the box next to the most suitable extenuating circumstance.

Feel free to mail your form to me in care of CT, but I'm afraid that I'll have to forward the details of the most profligate lawbreakers to the proper authorities, as a public service.

I go through red lights
This is a sore point with motorists, as it's so blatant, but also because they're envious that cyclists usually get away with it.
because
[_] The system is always trying to hold me back.
[_] For some strange reason they make me feel like a bull, and I have to charge.
[_] They're an affront to my professional standing, as I'm a board-certified colour therapist and have already taken my exams.

I sometimes find myself riding on the pavement
And enraging pedestrians. As Rodney King said, can't we all just get along? That'd be a 'No'.
because
[_] There are less cars there.
[_] And it's closer to the shops.
[_] !@*?! One-Way streets turn them into honorary bike lanes.

I go the wrong way down one-way streets
There's nothing quite so annoying as having a perfectly good street go to waste because God (or somebody) says it's pointed the wrong direction.
because
[_] I thought the sign meant you could only go one way AT A TIME, which seemed rather obvious.
[_] There are so many of them, they're just asking for it.
[_] You never know what's at the end of them; possibly another one-way street, then another, ad infinitum. Best to just treat all streets the same and get on with life.

I disregard pedestrians at zebra, pelican and puffin crossings
Our chance to see how we like it when somebody else has priority.
because
[_] They lollygag insolently.
[_] I'm not sure at which stage of crosswalk evolution I'm being confronted with, and am thrown into a fog of confusion which isn't dispelled until after I've gone through it.
[_] I get tired of playing eye-hockey with them, and besides, they never wave to thank me like they do motorists.

I speed
Remember when that woman got caught doing 43mph -- on the flat, if I recall correctly -- way back when? Was I the only one who thought this wildly impressive for someone who by all accounts was an otherwise average cyclist? Funny how not one pundit questioned the improbability of it, or the fact that she should've been given a medal rather than a ticket.
because
[_] I can.
[_] You've got to be joking.

I weave through traffic
Apparently you're not supposed to do this, no matter how much fun it is.
because
[_] I personally abhor a vacuum.
[_] It keeps my reflexes sharp.
[_] Squeezing around taxis and buses is an inducement for me to stay on my diet.

I fail to signal
Have you ever noticed how many different styles of signaling we have? My favourite is when somebody just holds his hand close down by his waist and points his finger.
because
[_] I'll fall off my bike, pure and simple.
[_] Nobody pays any attention anyway.
[_] I get my arm caught on wing mirrors, signage, pedestrians, etc.
[_] It brings back painful memories of my years in the signal corps.

I hang on to the back of moving vehicles
Incredibly bad idea, no?
because
[_] I don't get anywhere hanging onto them when they're parked.
[_] If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
[_] My father always said there are no free rides in life. I'm simply testing his theory.

When waiting at a red light, I go over the crosswalk and nudge the intersection
To many, just another example of our impatience
because
[_] Even the fox gets a head start.

I don't often use cycle lanes
OK, this isn't illegal just yet, but many a motorist is irked to find himself sharing his space with a cyclist who has had this lovely little lane built just for him, yet persists in getting in my way.
because
[_] The cars beat me to it.
[_] They were obviously designed and constructed by engineers with Attention Deficit Disorder.
[_] Some of them are in such bad shape, they're almost more dangerous than the road.

I don't wear a helmet
Another choice which will likely one day be taken away.
because
[_] I'm already choking on fumes; you want I should be choked by a chin-strap, too?
[_] It's too hot, no matter how many holes they put in it.
[_] I have enough bad hair days as it is.

I don't wear bright clothing
Got hit? Not splashed out in day-glo yellow and orange? Tough. Only your mum is going to have sympathy, and even she'll need coaxing.
because
[_] Motorists have an easier target.
[_] All I'll be missing is a unicycle to get that job at the circus.
[_] I may be balancing on two wheels, but I still have my dignity.

Always brake for flightless waterfowl. And pedestrians.
xx

Cycling Today, March 2000
Eclipse, May 2000

The fact that Derby University's student mag. reprinted this story
proves that college really does prepare you for the real world.