Laws and the individual

Blogging has to be the 21st century equivalent of the drunk tramp yabbering away to himself, can of Super Strength in hand and a beard that would make Santa jealous.

You can quickly turn into this ranting freakshow who makes no sense. Fortunately I can tend toward that in real life too. Today’s topic? Petty illegality.

On my walk home, I walk over the river, via a road bridge with a footpath on each side. On these footpaths are several signs saying no cycling. They’re both on the start of each side and painted on the pavement surface – yet there are a number of numbskulls who just cannot get it through their head that that really does mean them too. More generally, any pavement cycling annoys me, but it’s just that this particular place irks me more.

This annoys me on several levels so I will almost always tell them so. It’s not because I’m anti-cyclist – far from it, I cycle more than most and would cycle to work if it was far enough away to merit getting sweaty in the mornings. It’s actually because I’m pro-cyclist that I hate seeing people cycling badly – I know that bad cycling is likely to wind up drivers, making life more dangerous the rest of us.

It is also because it is so needless. That particular road-bridge isn’t dangerous, in the years I’ve been using it, I don’t think that I’ve ever seen a single accident of any description on it, let alone car-bike interactions. By claiming the road is dangerous all the pavement cyclist is doing is shifting the threat – they feel threatened by the car, so they themselves threaten the pedestrian.

And they wonder why pedestrians don’t like sharing the pavement?

There are many laws which don’t make a whole load of sense. A lot of the anti-terror legislation, many taxes, licensing law restrictions. But of all of them, traffic laws are not there: cycling on pavements, driving while on the mobile, speeding in built up areas. There are all solid reasons for them.

It’s all in the name of predictability. All you lot are weird and I’ve no idea what you’re about to do next. At least when you’re behind the wheel of the car or in charge of a bike and obeying the traffic laws I’ve a fighting chance of being able to better predict your behaviour.

But then you go and do something unpredictable, out of control – and illegal. I couldn’t care less that you’re breaking the law, but it’s very annoying that you’re endangering me by not being predictable and controlled.

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