James Daley - the muppetry continues
28.02.08 by Buffalo Bill
As I said before, when I awarded him a Gold Kermit, I have tried to ignore James Daley, who writes a column in the Independent on cycling.
But this week’s edition of the column goes too far. Not content with finding the Specialized Langster good, writing puff pieces about freebie kit and passing it off as journalism, plugging Evans Cycles (his picture shows him clad in one of the Evans’ tops), starting a pointless and absurd war with motor-cyclists, he has now decided that if cyclists should be stopped from breaking the law, then a new offence of jay-walking should be created. This, in Daley’s view, would somehow compensate cyclists for being subject to the same laws as cars, lorries and buses. At least that what I think he is saying. The message is a little confusing.
I know it isn’t a popular message with cyclists, but pedestrians have more of a right to be in the road than cyclists. We have a duty to try and avoid them, no matter how stupid they might appear. Sometimes it isn’t possible to avoid them, it’s true. Sometimes they are looking the wrong way, whilst talking on the phone, listening to MP3 player, reading a news-paper (possibly distracted by the poor quality of cycling writing) and hailing a cab, and then step out right in front of the front wheel.
But bitching about ‘stupid pedestrians’ and how they should be fined for ignoring the red man does no one any favours. Especially when many cyclists seem unclear about the rules of the road. How often do you see cyclists turn from a major road into a minor road, in the expectation that the pedestrians will scatter like pigeons? In that situation, a cyclist is behaving inconsiderately, in a manner contrary to the rules of the road, and rules of courtesy which should dictate that the harder vehicle gives way to the softer.
OK, cyclists are not nearly as dangerous to pedestrians as motor-vehicles. For the record, over 600 pedestrians are killed on the UK’s road each year. One or less dies as the result of a collision with a cyclist, each year. Likewise, pedestrians, despite being consistently identified in anecdotes as such, are not nearly as great a hazard to cyclists as motor vehicles. I really don’t want to recap the stats, someone else who wants to refute that statement can.
Calling for a ban on pedestrians using the road is a short step from calling for a ban on cyclists using from the road. We were all up in arms last year when the Highway Code amendments appeared to be paving the way for exactly that. So it ill behoves cyclists to claim that pedestrians should stay out of the road, on pain of legal sanction.
By calling for an offence of jay-walking, James Daley is once again showing that he puts little consideration into his cycling columns, and sees only the view from his saddle. And what a blinkered view it is.