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Do cyclists think they’re above the law, and does it even matter?

Do cyclists think they’re above the law, and does it even matter?


Cyclists, they can be a bit irritating, can’t they? I mean it’s not just the funny clothes
or the bike lanes, it’s the way they seem to think
they’re above the law. Riding on pavements,
scattering pedestrians in their wake. Sorry! Fuck you, mate! Sorry. And don’t even get me started on
jumping red lights. I mean, it’s really dangerous, isn’t it? Well, lots of people certainly think that way. Come here, come here,
look at the fucking lights! And the media definitely believe it. Cyclists routinely flout traffic rules. Mounting the pavement and no helmet,
talking on a mobile phone. So you’ve got cyclists who are uninsured, they could
crash into your car, they could crash into you … I’ve noticed cyclists have got
more and more aggressive over the years, right? They are completely unaccountable. Do cyclists really think they’re
above the law? And does it even matter? Let’s start with the basics. When we talk about cyclists,
what do we mean? Do we mean this? Or this? Or even this? I mean, sure,
some people do look like the stereotype but there’s really no such
thing as a cyclist. There’s just people who ride a bike. Being seen as a cyclist is part of the problematic stereotype of people cycling. You’re not seen as a busist or a trainist
but there’s this stereotype stigma of being a cyclist even though of course most people who
cycle are also using other modes of transport. So cyclists are really no
different to anyone else and while statistics are limited,
there’s no evidence people break the law more often when they’re on the bike than they do
at any other time. There are some studies on cyclist lawbreaking. One survey of five major London junctions
found 16% of cyclists jumped or at least partly anticipated the red. But there is more to it. A lot of the cyclists said they’ve done so,
in part for safety. The people that do jump red lights
sometimes it’s because of the fear they have of something that’s
perhaps happened to them previously, they might have had a close call with a
vehicle they’re trying to get away from, they might well be on a pavement for
that reason as well. But so most of the time
it’s a safety and it’s a self-preservation thing. So yes, some cyclists do break the law. But even when they do,
is it especially dangerous? The effects of that behaviour
that people are moaning about is negligible. If you look at the statistics,
you look at the actual threat of harm, and you think cyclists aren’t posing
a risk to anybody. In the UK, about 1,700
people a year are killed on the roads. And how many of those are hit by bikes? Usually between zero and two. They are not self-harmers as a group, cyclists. Because of the inherent sense
of vulnerability you have on a push bike, they take a great deal
of care even when they’re offending. Which is a complete opposite to what
you get people in cars because people feel so secure in cars
with seatbelts, airbags, a big steel cage around them They tend to offend with, you know,
almost gay abandon. Some police forces have actually taken a strategic decision to pay less attention to cyclist law-breaking and instead, focus resources on the sort
of offences more likely to kill or main people. I’ve been a traffic officer for 13 years
in the West Midlands. I think I’ve given out three tickets
for red light jumping for cyclists. And one of those wouldn’t have got one,
for the fact that he made off, he was caught eventually. So, does this all mean
that breaking the law on a bike is fine? I’d say no. It can not only be annoying, it can also be intimidating but they’re extremely
unlikely to be a serious danger to others. And given it is so relatively harmless, why does everyone go on and on
about dangerous cycling? It could just be because people on bikes breaking the law are just a bit more obvious. But you won’t necessarily notice
a driver doing 30 in a 20 zone or looking at their phone at the wheel. Yup, you knew this bit was coming. What about drivers? Who, let’s remember, can also be cyclists. When they’re in cars,
they also break the law. And if they do, can it be dangerous? Today five people will die on our roads and 63 will suffer life-changing injuries … it is, in the majority of cases, drivers that are causing these collisions and the offending that causes these collisions. You have your typical
distraction offence, mobile phone, which probably is responsible
for a vast amount of all collisions now. The other things that we look at,
excess speed. The speed limit is not just a limit,
they see it as a target to get to. The other behaviour
is of course drink and drug driving and unfortunately, you know,
drink and drug driving is on the rise. When you crash a car at 30 miles an hour
it’s got the same energy and same destructive power as a small explosive device
and so we’ve got to make an effort as a society to instill into people when you’re driving that car,
you’ve really got to take care. So consider this. In 2016, 448 pedestrians
were killed on UK roads. Of these pedestrian deaths,
just two involved cyclists. But one of the cases attracted
so much media attention, the government quickly pushed through
a new law making it easier to prosecute cyclists. Charlie Alliston shook his head as judge
Wendy Joseph repeatedly criticised his attitude while on his bicycle. I think the media does have a huge role to play because if we hear of an incident where
it’s the fault of the cyclist which is a very, very, very rare occurrence,
it’s a massive headline it’s all over the newspapers, it’s all over the news,
it’s on the radio and everybody knows that a cyclist has done something wrong
and it’s a tragedy when that happens but unfortunately every single day on our
roads multiple people die because of the actions
and lack of care of a person behind the wheel of a vehicle and those
just don’t get reported on, there are so many of them. In the last decade or so,
the number of people killed or seriously injured on British roads has almost halved. But the bulk of this safety benefit
has been felt by people in cars. Cyclists, they’ve nearly as much danger. So, if we really want to make our roads safer,
then we need to move our discussion and media focus away from cycling
and on to driving and it’s not because drivers are the big baddies, it’s just because perceptions,
which include myths and falsehoods, really help to shape
political will and public policy. I think we have to talk in human terms a
little bit more and recognise other people and we need to perhaps take a
step back across our whole lives and realise that for the vast majority,
it’s just people getting around and we need to have a little bit
more courtesy towards each other. Thanks for watching. Please like and subscribe,
leave your comments below and if you like what we’re doing,
click here to support the Guardian.

100 comments on “Do cyclists think they’re above the law, and does it even matter?

  1. Sources are available in the video description and if you like this video, try this one too ► https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWhMEkMtLy0

    Thanks all

  2. The foundation or your argument is completely absurd. Cyclists may not kill as much, as per the great stats you're showing, but they are generally taking more risks (i.e. are more dangerous) than drivers – specifically, because they know that the chances to hurt/kill someone are much lower. For example, as a cyclist, you have a full 360 view, but in a car, there are many blind spots. Everyone who uses both means of transportation knows this. So succumbing to the temptation and not follow the rules as a cyclist is much easier. And if killing is the only aspect, then I guess we should simply ban cars like we ban guns 😂

  3. “There’s really no such thing as a ‘cyclist’”.
    An interesting perspective on Buddhist philosophy.
    Just as there’s really no such thing as a ‘bus driver’, a ‘train driver’ or a ‘journalist’.

  4. Great video! Only aspect I´m missing is, to put the incidents happening with a cyclist fault in comperission to the amount of cyclist are on the road. Then do the same with the cars and compare both results. No sure what the outcome will be? But I think it makes sense to conider, that there are so much more accsidents with a car´s fault becouse the are simply more cars on the road. But anyway I sure that even realtivly seen there are still significantly more accidents with cars involved.

  5. I've been a motorcyclist, I am car driver van driver, and a cyclist. Driving for 35 years. People on the whole have gotten worse on the roads they couldn't care less, no pride in driving quality, 0 consideration for others. Wouldn't do most any harm if they took to 2 wheel's and experience the vulnerability you have on a road, we've a life to lose if you get it wrong, vehicle driver's may have limited damage..

  6. Excusing law breaking of a certain group (namely cyclists) just because there is another, more dangerous group is no argument at all. Drivers already do need a drivers licence, a car plate licence, pay taxes to use the car, pay taxes to park the car, pay taxes for the pollution, etc, etc. Cyclist have zero accountability in regards to the state, and that is the main problem.

  7. I am forced to red light jump where I live because my bike doesn't set off the weight sensor switch in the ground.

  8. I'm both a driver and a cyclist. I had two near-misses on my bike when I was younger (one my fault, one the fault of a driver), and since then have always worn a helmet and hi-vis, and cycle exactly as I would drive.

    Personally I think you were a bit soft on the point of jumping red lights. The lady mentioned that it was often about self-preservation and avoiding accidents, but that's a bit of a fib. People run red lights because they can't be bothered to wait. When I'm on the bike, I sometimes see opportunities where I could safely go straight on in a bike lane without disturbing the traffic (e.g. when cars are turning into your lane from the right), but we don't have the opportunity. Sometimes you wait for a full minute at a red light when there is absolutely no risk. Similarly, cyclists often feel, rightly or wrongly, that it's ok to pass through pedestrian crossings as long as you give pedestrians right of way. In almost all cases, red lights are run to save time, to get to work a bit quicker.

    So these are the reasons cyclists run red lights, not concerns for personal safety. If they were concerned about safety, they'd wear helmets, hi-vis and lights

  9. You talk about perceptions in your video and I completely agree, this is a big contributor and fuels a negative disposition for many towards cyclists. With that in mind, could you have titled this video with something slightly more positive? People skim read news titles and many may have jumped to the wrong conclusions about this content. Also the words quoted on the graphic, again imply that's what cyclists say to people. I've never said that to anyone and yet I have similar things yelled at me at least once a week by pedestrians walking in the road while on their mobile phone.

  10. I look forward to seeing the Guardian's video about scofflaw motorists and the damage they cause to other motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians by running red lights, rolling through stop signs, etc.

  11. I don’t do that stuff. Don’t want myself to get killed I the first place. I am willing to respect others on the road. It is more often that drivers do not respect me

  12. 1:12 What a dumb statement!!! People who ride bicycles are called cyclists, people who drive cars are called drivers, people who ride in busses are called passengers.

  13. look around and you can easily see that we live in a CAR culture. Streets, parking lots, fueling stations, repair facilities. People's sense of identity is connected to what car they drive. Cycling is a threat to that hierarchy. The finances surrounding car usage make us ALL slaves whether we participate or not, and the cars are our slave drivers.

  14. when I drive my car I like to piss off other drivers by obeying the speed limit, and yielding to pedestrians.

  15. The news story that mentioned the rider with no helmet as flouting the law was outrageously uninformed. The law does not require you to wear a helmet on a bicycle, (but you should) and although I don’t know for a fact, I’m fairly sure the mobile phone law doesn’t apply to bikes.

  16. "Only 16% of cyclists went through the red at an intersection, that's nothing!" Uh huh, imagine what would happen and how much car drivers would be hated if every 6th car blew right through a red light? But it's ok because the ones that went through the red lights tried to invent an excuse for why they were justified to do it!

  17. I jump red lights when the coast is clear, gets me over junctions and out of the way of cars quicker.

  18. Really?!? Really?!?!? You guys have discussions like this in the UK?

    There's a whole country with 17 Million people that have proven for about half a century by now that cycling is a perfectly save mode of transportation!

  19. Drivers have to pay road tax and it is a lot of money every year. We pay for the roads but cyclists don't pay anything. They should pay road tax even if it is a smaller amount.

  20. You are right Here in the USA Law enforcement are cracking down on cyclist and motorist that run red lights, stop to pedestrians in a crosswalk and majority of these people are bike messengers. Just a a week or so ago a pedestrian was struck and killed by a cyclist she was a mother of 3 kids. The cyclist was later arrested and charged for Hit and run and murder.

  21. I lived and cycled in London for years and eventually stopped cycling due to the aggression felt on the roads from pedestrians, drivers and other cyclists. Since then I have been living in Osaka and Tokyo for the past year and it's interesting to compare the attitude to cycling here. Cyclists can do what they want, go through red lights, ride on the pavement, even ride on the opposite side of the road. After being in London for so long I was so shocked to see this happening so casually, and even more surprised to see that nobody minded. Everyone just gets on with their own journey and is respectful of each other. It isn't something that can change overnight for London, but it's refreshing to see that it can be done if we stop demonising cyclists or antagonising pedestrians.

  22. Wow, the Guardian doing something impartial. Wouldn't be a Guardian publication without a dig at the government.

  23. I got told to F*ck off and ride on the pavement. I have also been knocked off my bicycle while in a bicycle lane. So if I break the law, it is not putting anybody in danger besides my self.

  24. This video is ridiculous!! Says that most cyclists run through red lights, circles one cyclist breaking the law, while 3/4 wait at the red light 😡😡. Media creating something from nothing!!!

  25. How about passing a law which would require a person applying for a driver's license, to ride a bike for three days on their neighbourhood streets, and get certified for doing so, prior to getting a driver's license.

  26. I think the lowest posibility of u geting caught with drugs on u is if u where on a bike like legit when have u seen a guy on a bike being stoped if hes driving normaly? like never xd or the pizza delivery car they never get stoped if their driving normaly u coud be bike drug dealer if u whanted to and they woud never catch u legit unless they pass some new law of stoping cyclists …

  27. 20 mph mann how can u kill a person at that speed wtf i drive that speed without my hands on the wheel like wtf that aint even fast

  28. Sharing a road with people especially those on bikes should be mandatory for the driving test. Massive failure rates are all in the inner city test center areas where the roads are complex, crowed and full of different types of users. So many people got their license, what I would call the easy way; empty roads, no rush. Then again maybe the easy way is normal, but I am the one who got it the long way around (Inner city, central London).

  29. I've driven, walked, jogged, cycled, skateboarded, scooted, taken the tube, bus, train even the thames clipper boat to work. As a person who has lived in central London my whole life all those are normal. One the weekend I've taken my road bike and mountain bike into the Surrey hills and beyond. Riding out side London is really scary, especially on country lanes B and C roads where corners are bind. Much worse than anything I've seen in London, totally different. It is at the point where for the weekend I would rather drive my mountain bike to the trails.

  30. I think an interesting issue about this is, they use the roads that motorists have to pay taxes on cars to use, maybe a bike tax should be incorporated for their bike lanes

  31. The analogy that there is no such thing as a cyclist is wrong. He says: is there as “busist”or “trainist”. Cyclist is an activity such as a “bus rider” or “train rider” akin to a “bike rider”. So yes, anyone riding a bike is cycling their bike, so they would be a “cyclist”.

  32. Cyclists playing the victim as always, take some accountability for your actions, you want to be treated as equal, behave then.

  33. Yes, people who happen to be in the act of riding a bicycle are called cyclists…..all the rest of the people on the road are INSIDE a vehicle. …oh, FFs

  34. 99.99% of road deaths are caused by speeding drivers, drivers using mobile phones, drunk driving etc. You can't get away from this fact.

  35. The UK is one of the shittiest places to go by bike. Create infrastructure for bicycles – problem solved

  36. ooohhh ok .. I once got rear ended in my car .. so that makes it ok for me to drive around at 100 miles an hour with no lights on .. doesn’t it ?

  37. It's just a matter of numbers.
    And those that haul their arses in smoking steel cages are far more.

    The norm is made by the majority and if the majority causes five deaths per day, it's OK.

  38. I was with you on the statistics, but Imma have to stop you there, chief. It’s dishonest to suggest we all don’t notice when drivers break the law. It’s called road rage or aggressive driving for a reason. Speeding tickets and speed limits exist for a reason. Maybe it’s because I live in the U.S., many places have been incentivizing the public to avoid distracted driving. You can get ticketed if you’re seen driving while using your phone. We’ve all seen it, experienced it, and we know the dangers. We just also happen to notice the same patterns of aggression in some who cycle, and they are adding another level of unnecessary anxiety to getting around. The mistake with piece is that it is trying to make a reasoned argument when this isn’t about whether we’re being unreasonable with people who ride bikes. I agree with the last statement. Whatever mode of transportation we use to get around at anytime, we cannot just think about ourselves. We have to be mindful of one another, if not for the safety, at least for the peace of mind.

  39. More bicyclists bashers…..get out of your gas burning global weather creating cars and bike MFers!!!!

  40. when I saw the thumbnail I had to laugh – that EXACT circumstance has happened to me, so many times. blokes love to shout at a cyclist!

  41. Its the government`s plan to tax, license and make all cyclists get insurance ! they put all these cycle paths in for us and they will want usto pay for the privilege , the car is being phased out and the bike will become the new form of transport , its not so free energy after all ! And as for Brexit we will never come out! see "AGENDA 21" (New world order plans) !!! STOP VOTING TO BE RULED OVER and become the sovereign free human beings we were meant to be !

  42. It is dangerous on the road against certain drivers and I have escaped by going on the pavement at lights until they get away. I wish that there were more protected cycling paths because I think more people would cycle around, as it is now you have to be extremely carefu and aware, even on the bike lanes because some drivers don't care or aren't paying attention.

  43. Im from Holland aka the bike country, and i cant believe this is even a thing. You need bike roads man. When I cycle in another country I start to break traffic rules more easily because there is just no way to get it right. And cyclying is just better, for the envirorment and your health, and going short distance is actually alot quicker

  44. I think the potential for damage is vastly lower on a bicycle than a car which is why I feel following traffic laws on a bicycle is more a self preservation concern than one of general public safety. When you crash at 20mph on a bike, the damage potential is more on the rider than anyone else. Now crash a 3500lb vehicle going at 20mph and the potential for the loss of multiple lives and property damage can be absurd and that's just at 20mph. This is why I believe it's absolutely important for cars to follow traffic laws while on a bicycle it's more a suggestion (although that doesn't strip fault away from a cyclist if they manage to get into a collision due to risky riding) The difference is damage and loss of life potential.

  45. "When we talk about cyclists what do we mean?"
    (shows three people with bicycles)
    "There's really no such thing as a cyclist. There's just people who ride a bike"

    Imagine you said "when we talk about motorists what do we mean?"
    (shows three people with their cars)
    "There's really no such thing as a motorist. There's just people who drive cars"

    These are words which refer to people who do specific activities. Am I to banish all such descriptive nouns from my vocabulary? There are no climbers, only people who climb. There are no lawyers, only people who have passed the bar exam. There are no politicians, only people who sit and argue in parliament…

  46. I rode my bike for fun in the US in California and i follow all the rules of the road just like i would in my car. I never get honked at in my car. Its extremely rare. But on a bike… i get honked at a few times per month for doing nothing wrong. They honk because they dont like me in a lane. They think the road is only for cars, which is wrong. Ive had ppl drive 25cm away from me with full throttle clearly just because they are mad at nothing. Ive been honked at for turning left on a green light. These people should have their license taken away. They do not deserve to drive if they dont care if they kill other people.

  47. What a horrible video. What about the time cyclist waste for motor vehicle users? What about traffic jams they are causing. What about all the greenhouse gasses from cars slowing down and accelerating to overtake cyclists. Cyclist should be banned from public roads where speed limit is over 20mph.

  48. I agree it is down to people’s attitudes but that does not absolve someone who is cycling like anyone else from their behaviour. Are cars, trucks more dangerous- yes obviously but that doesn’t mean getting hit by someone cycling at 25mph isn’t dangerous

  49. In New York, its worse I had one hit me once and one nearly hit me and cursed me out for no reason.

  50. Pedestrians not important enough for your video? We are only cited as a death statistic! A key group in this discussion but not given a voice. When cyclist make a choice to use the pavement (and I would say that a vast majority do at some point) they are a threat to pedestrians who have no choice and don’t wear helmets or any other protection. Quite a simple matter to dismount.

  51. Thank you so much. Media have been bashing cyclists for years, people hate us…and for what? Rarely is anyone hurt by us while thousands are injured or killed by cars.
    Usually when I jump lights, its a) at an almost walking speed, and b) done to get away from the dangerous driver next to us before they come near again.
    I've had so many close calls and don't cycle very often anymore, but I'd love to start again when it feels safer.

  52. "Only two people are killed per year after getting hit by a cyclist…" – Whose concerned about getting hit by a cyclist? The concern is for the cyclist themselves. A cyclist who jumps a red light is more likely to get hit by a car.

  53. I’m gonna start running reds on my motorbike too then as I face the same danger stopped at the lights oh wait no I’ll get a fine through the door won’t I…

  54. Yes they do! Why can’t they ride on bike trails….damn! They be the first to sue the hell outta you but they wrong

  55. Pedestrians you must pay attention at crossings. If you see a cyclist approaching you must push him off as hard as you can, preferably into traffic. The law is 100% on your side. I have sent dozens sprawling at the junction of Wandsworth Plain and York Way here in SW London these past three years on my morning walk to the station. Broken noses, arms, wrists, shoulders and lots of teeth has resulted and every time the Police have sent me on my way acknowledging my right to protect myself from a collision with a cyclist. On one occasion I was even able to use ambulance chasing lawyers to attend a claim for a torn jacket sleeve after one particular nasty collision where my sleeve caught his handlebar as my shove sent him head first through the side window of a car waiting at the lights.

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