I'm referring in the title to our county wide community website, Shapeyourplace.
Primarily its a place you can post data relating to things happening in your locality. It can be a suggestion that trees should be planted here, pavement parking is a problem there, and you can rest assured a friendly local police or council officer will be along shortly to tell you that they're going to do nothing whatsoever to enforce the law.
But its more than that. Its also a great place to complain about cyclists who are just minding their own business.
This contribution is has a familiar ring to it. Talking about 'perfectly good cycle paths or lanes' that cyclists are choosing not to use, instead being 'selfishly in the middle' of the bus lane. So the writer concludes 'we should ban cyclists from using them' or just not have bus lanes.
But this is the best bit:
But evewn after proviidng perfectly good cyclepaths and without forcing them to use the cyclepath, there will still be the odd ‘I have a right to use the road’ stickler who will insist on staying on the road at 2mph all the way to the top. This is not an anti-cyclist rant, more an observation of a problem or two to see if anyone else has noticed any of these or can come up with better solutions without getting aggressive.
Hang on, not aggressive? Are you really saying that the cyclists using the road are 'sticklers' but this isn't an aggressive rant? You're going to try to convince us that cyclists are going more slowly than walking pace spcifically to slow the bus down but you don't want us to view you as anti-cyclist?
Okay, I don't want to be too critical of this individual, but I do see this as an excellent example of the kind of nonsense we're so often accused of. It probably hasn't occurred to the writer that there's more to a cycle route being good than whether it exists. It needs to be wide enough, yes, but it also needs good visibility for those entering, a good surface, space to overtake, access to other routes that link in to it, safety at junctions, priority over side roads, and to be well laid out. If I'm going to have to turn off the route at some point and turn left across the road I'll probably have to be on the road. If the surface isn't sufficient to allow me to cycle at my normal cruising speed then then I can't ride on the bike lane. And if at the end I'm abandoned with no serious way on or off a roundabout then sorry, but I'll use a road.
I also don't really want to be in a bus lane. I've got to take a position in said lane such that the bus can't squeeze me off the road - that means the bus will end up being delayed behind me. Its unavoidable, but if junctions from the off-road lane are dangerous for me, and the bus drivers on the bus lane have a tendency to pass frighteningly close, thats the only option available to me.
The evidence for this? The fact that cyclists choose to be on-road rather than on the cycle lane. The idea that we're just being contrary or exercising our rights out of principle is nonsense. No one chooses to ride a bicycle in front of a bus for fun, we're doing so because the other options don't work.
It would be nice if people who aren't cyclists stopped assuming the worst of us when we're just trying to get from A to B. How long until we break down that prejudice?