"I hate cyclists"

Following on from my recent post on The Times’ Cities fit for Cyclists campaign, I have been inspired to write another post. “I hate cyclists” is a statement which will probably be all too familiar to anyone who sometimes uses a bike to get from A-to-B, generally said by someone who generally does not use a cycle. When you stop and think about this statement, it really is quite extraordinarily stupid. 

A cyclist is defined as “A person who rides a bicycle.” Even in a country such as the UK, where cycling rates are very low, most people still own and have at some point ridden a bicycle. Beyond the fact that I sometimes use a bicycle to go shopping or get to the train station, I may have very little in common with someone else who does the same. As with most groupings of people, people who ride a bike are a diverse bunch. Of the ones I’ve met, some of them I have liked, others I have not. For the next time someone you know says “I hate cyclists,” let’s have a quick look at some of the people they hate:

David Cameron (picture from The Overgraduate)

Arnold Schwarzenegger (picture from Zimbio)

Neil Kinnock (picture from Super Stock)

James May (picture from The Telegraph)

Tony Blair (picture from the BBC)

Albert Einstein (picture from The Argonauts)

George W. Bush (picture from About.com)

Barack Obama (Picture from Sunlit Uplands)

John Lennon (picture from Raleigh DL-1 Fan Blog)

Boris Johnson & Philip Hammond (picture from This is London)

Vin Diesel (picture from Celebuzz)

Justine Greening (picture from Wandsworth Cyclists)

Richard Hammond (picture from BikeRadar)

The Prince of Wales (picture from Who2)

Hillary & Bill Clinton (picture from 43Bikes)

Madonna (picture from Christiana About Town)

There are people in this list I admire or like, and there are people in this list I don’t like. They are a diverse group of people who just happen to have ridden bicycles. Making generalisations about cyclists, when they are such a diverse bunch is completely absurd, but then bigotry generally is absurd.

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5 thoughts on “"I hate cyclists"

  1. the thing is that people who cycle well, who dont mount pavements, jump lights, speed up the inside, dont wear earphones etcetc arent noticed. The idiots who do these things are and they are the pains in the arse. So when people say i hate cyclists they are probably saying i hate the prats who did this to me today/yesterday whenever. bigotry is a bit strong, i hear more cyclists say they hate cars and drivers than vice versa

    • I understand what you mean, as a minority group people tend to focus on bad behaviour. It is just a shame that people say the hate cyclists, when in fact they mean to say that they hate bell-ends.

      As for cyclists saying they hate drivers, I’m sure many have thought it in a haze of anger when in a bad situation, but it isn’t really something anyone I know truly feels. As a cyclist you might hate a specific motorist who has wronged you, but it is difficult to hate all of them because motoring is so mainstream; I don’t think anyone who cycles doesn’t at least have a mum, brother or friend who drives. Many drivers however will not have a friend or family member who cycles, and they may continue to vilify all cyclists because of this inability to empathise.

      One of the great things about making cycling mainstream is that even the drivers who cause cyclists problems now will at least have a family member or friend who cycles if cycling became popular again, allowing them to identify more with the people they currently hate and endanger because of an inability to empathise.

  2. I suppose part of the problem is that although most cyclists are drivers too – around 90% according to both CTC and British Cycling’s figures – most drivers are not cyclists. When that changes then progress might be made.

    • Indeed. It is my hope that by implementing the measures needed to make cycling an attractive and viable transport choice to the majority of people, a side-effect will be that anti-cyclist bigotry will become socially unacceptable as even non-cyclists will at least have a few people in their lives who do cycle. Hopefully this will end up turning cyclists from a vilified out-group to one which is more readily empathised with.

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