Cugel wrote:Not if we're human! We humans much prefer imaginary places and people, who are all perfek and would be real if only the 6.999999 billion other humans would, well, stop being human like them to be humans like us. Of course they all think the same, them other humans, only with a different model of the perfek world in their wee heads. So we'll have a war or summick.
Will we? It feels like all these petty battles between different types of road users are a peculiarly British phenomenon. In other countries, people just seem to rub along together and share space much more nicely.
For example, on Saturday, I rode into the centre of Rotterdam, right up to the market stalls, perfectly legally and without incident. It was crowded and slow at times, but there was none of the sort of passive-aggressive dicking about like deliberately spreading out to ten-abreast as soon as they see a cyclist that I've met in England in the few places where I'm allowed to ride in such busy areas (despite the national guidelines that say we should).
And more than that, there were signs marking the edge of where cycling was allowed while the market was on and almost every rider stopped there, either locking their bikes up at that point, or more often dismounting and pushing to the market stall, cafe or flat they were going to. You still get a few young hoons wobbling on past that point, but it looks a lot less typical against a background of most other riders complying. And you know what? None of the cycle parking was inside the no-cycling zone, unlike the UK. And other useful things like drinking water fountains were where you can ride right up to them.
I've had similar experiences in almost every country I've ridden in, except the USA. In Italy, I even saw a cyclist collide with an outdoor shop display by mistake and they simply apologised and they and the shop worker just got on and put it back together. No swearing and calling all nearby cyclists scourges or worse.
Is there something in the British character that makes us selfish now? Could it be as simple as these high-cycling-number towns and cities abroad are just so much nicer places to live, what with the lower pollution and congestion and happier people who can actually talk to each other as they pass, that people are less stressed and relate to each other and empathise/sympathise, instead of seeing everyone else as competitors for the 3x8m space they want for their car?