A few months ago, in Melbourne, a pedestrian was killed by a cyclist while crossing the road. It was early on a Saturday morning, when the local cyclists were out on their morning ride. A friend told me that the cyclists on this ride are notorious for not obeying the road rules; they effectively think of it as their one time of the week when they are in charge of the roads. But I couldn’t find any newspaper coverage to confirm that that whats actually happened in this case.
I think this is deplorable. But the terrible thing about it, as an occasional cyclist, is the reputation it gives all cyclists. Unfairly, all cyclists are blamed any time a cyclist does something stupid like this. So whenever you see a cyclist breaking the rules, instead of thinking (if you would if was a car), “what an idiot”, most (many) people think, “bloody cyclists, they never obey the rules.”
So then motorists and pedestrians think that cyclists deserve what they get, the powers-that-be don’t take into account the needs of cyclists when they set roads up (because they don’t deserve it), cyclists decide that the only way that they can ride is to disobey the road rules, and the whole thing gets worse.
I’m a boringly law-abiding person. I even dismount when I’m crossing at traffic lights or on the pavement. But when I cycle through the streets of central Sydney, there’s at least two places that I regularly disobey the rules because it enables me to avoid scarily busy streets. So I’m caught in the vicious cycle too – it’s inescapable.