Cyclists, twitter and Fabrice Muamba
by, 19-03-2012 at 09:06 PM (607 Views)
Just a blog with a few thoughts that I've had over the last week.
As spring rapidly approaches, leaves start sprouting on trees, lambs start bouncing around in fields and cyclists return to the roads. Every morning for the last couple of weeks, I have been commuting into Berkhamsted along the bottom road through Bourne End, and every morning without fail I see cyclists. Most of them are well equipped, a good road bike, a helmet and often some form of reflective safety wear. They cycle at a quick pace, and stick to the sides of the road. I give them plenty of room and carry on with my trip.
5 minutes later Im sitting at the head of the queue at the traffic lights at Kings Road in Berkhamsted. The same superbly equipped and safe-looking cyclist pulls up alongside me and goes straight across the junction, through a red light just as the lights for another part of the junction go green. Then that evening I head off the same way home, its about 7.45pm. I've been in work since 8 and so am looking forward to getting home and sitting in front of the tv for a bit. At night, the road between Berkhamsted and Bourne End is hazardous at the best of times. Several times I've almost been wiped out by idiots overtaking slower cars coming towards me in my lane, but thats another story. Anyway Im driving home, radio on but paying careful attention to this bit of road as I know how treacherous it can be. Suddenly out of the darkness I can just about make out the silhouette of a man riding a bike about 20 yards in front me. I slow down and overtake. This man was wearing no reflective gear, had no lights and perhaps most astonishingly of all was not wearing a helmet.
I don't have a problem with cyclists, all I ask that they set out on their journey properly equipped and attired, and for the love of god have a bit of common sense. The man I came across thankfully did not cause an accident, but it would be so easy for there to have been a different outcome. A bit of fog and I may not have seen the cyclist until he was within 10 yards of my car. We all see these videos of angry cyclists getting cut up by cars, however how many times do cyclists cause completely avoidable accidents? Several times I have seen two or even three cyclists riding side by side on busy roads.
If you are cycling on the road then you should obey the laws of the road; red lights mean stop, stick to one side of the road, wear safety gear and fit your bike with a red light. Cyclists do not pay road tax for their bikes, do not have to pass any test to be able to use their bikes on the road and perhaps that is the greatest problem, anybody can pick up a bike and cycle. (p.s. i realise that there are bad drivers too, but I just cannot understand how some cyclists (the minority) can be so uncaring regarding their own safety.
I know its illegal for cyclists to use pavements. However the road from Berkhamsted to Bourne End has a path set back from the road all the way along, upon which people do not regularly walk. Perhaps a little common sense is all thats required sometimes.
Hailed by many as the invention of the decade it allows us to engage with the rich, famous and interesting in a way that has not been possible before. It gives an insight previously unseen into many of their lives and has even revolutionised the way that businesses run. However what about the darkside of twitter?
Racism, homophobia and generally acceptable social behaviour is present on twitter in a way that no other social platform has ever made possible. Stan Collymore has suffered from depression and lends his support to several prominent charities that help those with such psychological problems. Earlier this year in the wake of the Suarez and Evra racism row, Collymore made a few fair and sensible points on twitter. He was then bombarded with racist tweets from other users, after several days of this he had enough and got the police involved. A law student from Newcastle was arrested and charged with racism, a charge he later admitted guilt to in court.
I have seen countless footballers be abused on twitter, singers, authors, actors, the list goes on. Commonly the excuse is 'oh, i was just trying to get a retweet!!!!' My question is why? What kind of person are you who feels the need to get abusive in order to get some kind of reaction from someone famous? Would you ever speak to a family member or even someone random on the street in the same way? Of course not.
The problem is twitter is too accessible. People believe they can get away with anything, that there will be no consequences for their actions, and by and large they are right. Twitter has grown so much and become such a giant, that really it is un-policeable. And for something that offered so much promise, its a crying shame.
I know this has been mentioned elsewhere, but Saturday evening was terrifying, astonishing and heart warming at the same time. The media as expected jumped on the story, however the support that has followed has in my opinion been quite incredible. Players up and down the country showing their support, fans on thousands of football forums giving their best wishes and not a single bad word spoken. As I right Fabrice is apparently showing signs of improvement in hospital, which is of course fantastic news. Get well soon Fabrice!