Friday, April 15, 2011 is Kensington and Chelsea's attempt to get road users to love each other a little bit more, by encouraging people to treat fellow travellers as they would a friend or family member. In a good way, of course.

To me, a roadhug from someone in a car sounds a bit like a hug from a bear, but that unfortunate image apart,
I don't particularly want other road users to love me and have my babies, I just want them to see me.

The other big problem this campaign doesn't address is the general ignorance amongst motorised road users about cycling. There's a significant number of people who think that cyclists weave around and ride in the middle of the road to deliberately obstruct. They don't understand the complex decisions you have to take in order to pick the best road position, to avoid hazards such as side roads, parked cars, pinch-points, and so on. They also don't understand how intimidating it is to be overtaken with inches to spare, or why it's not possible to steer a straight course on a road littered with potholes and speed cushions. In short, they don't understand that most cyclists have no interest in getting in other people's way - they just want to stay safe, and staying safe on a bike requires you to do things you wouldn't do in a car.

In the view of some drivers, judging by the obstructive way cyclists position themselves, it's cyclists who don't love them enough, not the other way round. So this campaign, because it doesn't correct that perception,could simply reinforce their idea that it's cyclists' attitudes that need changing. If you raise the expectations of genteel behaviour, but drivers don't understand the difference between safe behaviour and inconsiderate or impolite behaviour, then those drivers are likely to be less considerate to cyclists.

1 comment:

  1. This is clearly just clever PR from the Chelsea Tractor Brigade to stop this kind of environmental activism.

    Having said that, I cycle through Chelsea several times a week, particularly down Kings Road and Old Brompton Road. I don't really find there's a problem with driver behaviour. Although I use that route (cutting between them through the side-roads) because going North/South up and down Finborough Road/Redcliffe Gardens is one of West London's most unpleasant routes.