Cyclists naming and shaming bad drivers.
I’ve seen a few videos online recently where cyclists have been highlighting bad driving technique and dangerous manoeuvres by drivers and ‘naming and shaming’ them on YouTube. They use devices such as cameras attached to their helmets or to their bikes and film everything along their journeys.
When a bad or dangerous driver goes past them, they let rip with the verbals and shout out that they’ve been caught on camera and that they are going to the police, etc… This in turn angers the driver on many occasions and road rage ensues between the two of them. I’ve seen violence occur, I’ve witnessed bad language and some real nastiness happen from these altercations.
As a cyclist, it is very scary at times when some drivers come past really close or at speed giving scant consideration for the other road user on two wheels. This causes a reaction in some people, and often the reaction is of turning fear to anger. A cyclist is a vulnerable being on the road and when you have vehicles zooming past, often not even seeing the cyclist due to not paying sufficient attention to the surroundings on the road, the risk is increased for the cyclist.
We have all seen examples of bad drivers on the road, on pretty much every road trip we have taken. We have also seen examples of bad cyclists on the road, and those examples are very frequent too.
R.E.S.P.E.C.T. – find out what it means to me
A lot of motor vehicle drivers do not pay sufficient attention to the cyclist on the road. They are not paying sufficient respect to the road and the highway code. They are not courteous and respectful to the other road user, they are just concerned about what they want to do and where they want to go, at the speed they want to go at. This two wheeled distraction will get in the way of a driver with a mind-set like that.
A lot of cyclists do not pay sufficient respect to the road and the highway code either. We have all seen examples of cyclists jumping red traffic lights, ignoring white stop lines at junctions, jumping on pavements to not have to stop at traffic lights, and other dangerous methods. These activities do not ingratiate them with their fellow road users.
As a driver and a cyclist, I can see the infuriation on both sides. When I am on two wheels, I expect to have enough space to cycle at the side of the road (but not right by the kerb due to the state of the roads) and to have considerate road users let me out into the main traffic when I am overtaking parked cars or am looking to turn right. Eye contact is crucial for these manoeuvres as too many drivers are not attentive enough to make sure that cyclists have a safe and stress free journey.
When I am a driver, I see large numbers of cyclists who take such dangerous risks that I find it hard to ensure their safety if they are nipping in and out of traffic, not considering whether they are seen by drivers in wing mirrors and rear view mirrors, and generally not being responsible road users.
To summarise the scenarios, there are a lot of risky, bad drivers and cyclists on the road. A lot of cyclists have stopped cycling on the roads and stuck to off-road routes as the risk has become too high for them to commute to and from work on major routes. This is such a shame and a real blight on the state of our roads and society if people cannot get along by sticking to how they should behave on the roads.
Selective editing and filming
My issue with the video cameras is that cyclists, and increasingly drivers with dash-cams, are happy to post online the examples of other people transgressing the rules and laws on the road, but they aren’t wanting to post up their own examples of their cycling or driving style and performance. How well would the rest of their journey look if it were to be scrutinised?
Has some selective editing occurred so you only see the bad actions of the other party and not themselves? How long is the clip? Is it their whole journey? Are there examples where they have taken risks where others have been affected? Too close to a parked car where someone may have opened a door, not considered the speed of a pedestrian trying to cross a road, been an ‘amber gambler’ on the traffic lights, been too close to the car in front making the driver nervous? These are for drivers AND cyclists.
No one is completely faultless on any journey they make, there are always hazards we miss or don’t evaluate as well as we could do. What is essential though is that we try and make the roads as safe as possible and our actions when cycling or driving contribute to this.
Surveillance and CCTV
We are now in a world where everything ends up being photographed and filmed on video cameras. In the UK we have 6,000,000 CCTV cameras in operation. There is also an increase in body-worn-videos from police, door staff, train station security, and in-car cameras in taxis as well as buses and trains. We cannot go anywhere without cropping up on someone’s CCTV camera system.
I would have thought that the purposes for surveillance and camera systems are to protect property, to prevent crime, to monitor peace and maintain order. Surveillance can be a good thing if it is used correctly. Just using them to anger other road users is not a good thing. Taking the law into your own hands is also not a good thing. Passing any evidence on to the relevant authorities is a better action, without having the need for unwarranted retributional vigilante justice.
Getting emotional about being wronged is understandable, but a civilised society calls for its citizens to be rational and pass information to the authorities to make their judgement on the incident.
Some drivers are bad, some cyclists are bad. Some of both can be dangerous and put others at risk. What is important is that we try and do what we can to stay safe, and that where there is evidence that one party has broken the law that the authorities are left to deal with it, and not have to deal with two parties breaking the law through road rage and violence as well as the initial incident.
Stay safe out there, and be sensible as well as careful.