Wednesday, June 21, 2006

An Announcement

There are those who laugh on seeing your acutely road-safety conscious Pedant-General attired in his bicycling finery. Whilst undeniably insolent, such persons might have at least some iota of justification: Amongst other high-visibility accoutrements, I insist on attaching flashing white LED lights, not only to the handlebars of my trusty steed, but also to the top of my skid-lid brain bucket approved bicycle helmet.

The effect may be comical, but it has a more serious purpose: it ensures that I can be seen by the morons that infest the roads of our noble capital city. Whereas the front light on the handlebars is - obviously - constrained to shine in the direction of travel of the bicycle, the light on my helmet shines in the direction I am looking. Thus, if you are the driver of a car, waiting at a junction and about to pull out in front of me and where I have the right of way and you do not, I merely have to look at you and you will have a flashing light directed straight at your face.

This makes it very difficult for you NOT to see me.

Consequently, if you do pull across me and cause me to skid, leave my bicycle at speed and hit the road, I will be able to justify my claim that such an occurence will be entirely due to negligence on your part. I will take the line that you have caused an accident and I will want to involve your insurance company in the matter. If it transpires that you do not have insurance, or if you do not wish to furnish me with details, I will take your VRM and I will involve the police.

In short, I will sue.

That is all.


dearieme said...

For actual safety, of course, reflective clothing is the key.

The Pedant-General in Ordinary said...


For actual visibility possibly: for actual safety, I think body-armour would be closer to the mark.

For the record, I do the reflective clothing thing too.


Robert said...

Bravo PG. Next time I see a flourescent-clad fellow cyclist obeying the traffic flow regulations, I'll shout over some kind of mixed metaphor and see if he reacts.

You won't have long to react though, as I'll probably be cycling the wrong way up a one-way-street. Yes: I am one of those terrible, pavement mounting yobbo-cyclists.

Did you vote for Edinburgh's congestion charge?

The Pedant-General in Ordinary said...


I can see a Venn diagram coming on here. There has to be a substantial intersection between the two sets of "Pedants" and "Bicyclists who attempt to claim the moral high ground".

The intersection of "Bicyclists who attempt to claim the moral high ground" and "Bicyclists who do not swear like a one-eyed carpenter with tourette's when knocked off their bicycles" is, in my experience and to the best of my knowledge of human nature, entirely empty.


As for the execrable congestion charge proposal, no: I voted against it. It would have been a total disaster for absolutely everyone, including cyclists. The scheme would have snarled up the city completed, assuming of course that it was not actually DESIGNED specifically to do so. The death toll of cyclists by infuriated drivers trying to find rat runs would have been immense.

And it would have cost the benighted council tax payer ludicrous sums - there is no way that the scheme could have generated net revenue. This is all a separate topic though.

Nice to see you at Infinitives Unsplit again. We haven't seen you for a while. All well your end?


Anonymous said...

" will have a flashing light directed straight at your face."

And if this causes me to lose night-vision and crash, or get distracted and crash, naturally that will be MY fault too, since cyclists, as we all know, can do no wrong.

The law lays down what lights we must all show. You guys ought to stick to them.

imho it's time for some enforcement action against people who use misleading, meaningless, distracting, confusing, and therefore dangerous lights. Especially if they involve pointing focussed beams at other road-users eyes. But of course, there won't be any action, because cyclists, as we all know, (see above).

Oh and btw, you should all be required to have insurance too. So that I can sue you when your antics cause an accident.

The Pedant-General in Ordinary said...


I always like to welcome people when they first dip their toe in the heavily-chlorinated pool of commenting at Infinitives Unsplit. I can't do that if you remain anonymous. A pseudonym will do fine - it allows the rest of us to keep track of conversations.

As for the rest of your post, I think I will need to answer this more thoroughly.

In the meantime, suffice to say that if you
"lose night-vision and crash, or get distracted and crash,"

when a light is directed at you, powered by 3 triple-A batteries, at a distance of 20 yards and in broad daylight, I think that you would indeed be correct to assume that

" naturally that will be MY fault too"

But not, as you suggest,
"since cyclists, as we all know, can do no wrong.".

No. It will be your fault because you are quite patently not safe to be driving if such a light is sufficient to distract you.