I’m a cyclist and proud of it. Still got the same Bangernomics bike I bought in 1972. Plenty of life left in it too. Popped up to the builder’s merchants the other day to pick up some filler, but it was daylight. And that’s why there is still so much life left in me. I now operate a cyclist curfew: when it is dark, I don’t go out. It is as simple as that.
Two recent incidents brought the whole debate to life. First, in urban south London with road humps and cars parked on either side, I had to follow a cyclist in the dusk. He had no lights. No reflective jacket. No helmet. But he did have a mobile phone attached to his earhole. I couldn’t overtake safely because of oncoming traffic. I had to just bounce along behind this idiot for about a mile. For some reason he was furious with me and I found out just how annoyed he was when I finally overtook when the coast was clear and the road wider. He gesticulated wildly and presumably shouted stuff. Berk.
A week later I am on a country road with no street lamps. It is pitch black except for a flashing apparition in the distance. I have never seen a cyclist with such an abundance of reflection. Or for that matter so much LED illumination this side of an Audi. He knew it was damned dangerous out there and didn’t mind as I waited a distance behind because of the bendy nature of the road. He checked where I was once or twice. No abuse, no hand gestures. He still looked a berk, though, in all that gear.
Yes, cyclists can be stupid and sensible, just like drivers, and we can have the clocks backwards and forwards arguments all day and night long. However, because of the danger and vulnerability, shouldn’t cyclists have a curfew? Or at least an age limit? If they want to go out in the dark, then wear a reflective vest, put some lights on and pass a proficiency test. Break the curfew and it's prison. With hard labour. Who’s with me?