Indicators

Richard Herring is one of this country’s best comedians although is probably someone you’ve not really heard of or if you have is probably parked in the area marked "oh yes, didn’t he once do that thing with <x>" (where x in this case is probably Stewart Lee, y’know, him what wrote Jerry Springer The Opera). He writes a blog and is one half of the strangely excellent Collings and Herrin podcast (with Andrew Collins, who once did that thing with Stuart Maconie).

In a recent blog post he strays on to one of my favourite rant territories: motorists’ attitudes to cyclists. In particular an incident where a driver tooted his horn to indicate that he was about to turn left across him, thus cutting him up.

Using the horn is a strange thing where cyclists are concerned. In the UK a horn is generally an extension of WVM’s "what right do you have to be on my road", rarely is it of any specific use. (It’s rarely of any use to anyone, it’s generally a WTF wherever it’s used toward whoever, irrespective of what the Highway Code says.)

On the continent though it’s different. Spain and France in particular are countries with very strong and well mannered cycling cultures and there, especially on narrow roads, the horn is a friendly “I’m here, I’ll probably be overtaking you soon, but no pressure, just letting you know” sort of greeting. To British ears it’s a raucous bellowing threat so cycling on the continent can take a little getting used to.

But Herring alights on another point. The indicator. The blinkenlights on the corners of vehicles. My beef here is that most drivers use these in quite an aggressive way, they’re some kind of excuse for all sorts of behaviour, "I was indicating" allows you to push in and run lights and be generally a bit of a bully.

But here’s the rub, they’re called indicators not instructors. If you’re indicating it is to assert an intention, not to instruct me to do something. If I chose to react to them then sobeit, but the mere fact that you’re using one isn’t going to instantly make me jump at your slightest whim.

But when cyclists are assertive that’s when drivers get really mad, which is the real root of the problem: having to share the road with anybody else.

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Stick to your day job

There are some cool types from before the web took over the internet who are, or at least were, known purely by their TLAs. Y’know, like ESR or RMS.

So for someone with a rather illustrious history, Mr JWZ is peculiarly myopic (a talent given he even has a law).

In a recent post he performed a proud blogging act: spouting off about something about which he thinks he knows a lot about, while claiming he knows he little and proving he knows next to nothing.

I’m not about to write a point-by-point rebuttal because a) he won’t see it, b) he won’t react to it and c) he’d only snipe in another update and lump my reaction with others if either a or b weren’t true.

He’s just almost exclusively – and spectacularly – wrong. The fact that I’m exactly the person he cites in point 1 (shorts, clipped shoes, messenger bag and fixie) is exactly the point. By saying “you are not the person to whom this advice is addressed” is implicitly saying “your advice is worthless”.

Which is ironic.

[tags]bikes, cycling, bad advice, jwz [/tags]