I didn’t want to get sucked into the 'aren’t cyclists bloody awful’ debate. It's not like there's much to debate. Their tenuous grasp of The Highway Code, furiously short tempers and stupid Lycra dress code condemns them more effectively than I ever could.
You should have sympathy for them, really; they're constantly flirting with sudden death, and that probably causes their anti-social behaviour. And I'm not averse to getting on my ancient E. G. Bates bike myself (yes, hardcore cyclists, I know my hand-built Brit bikes) when I’m feeling a bit peculiar. But I am completely convinced that cyclists who ride at night are a breed of utter nutters, and I'm definitely not above laying into them over the next couple of hundred words.
The other evening I found myself in central London during rush hour, and after rush hour, and have never been so alarmed at the behaviour of the two-wheeled. I don’t include scooters, mopeds and motorbikes in this because mostly they have big lights, they make engine noises, and are often ridden by those who have something about their person which reflects light.
But I lost count of the number of bikers without any battery-powered light, relying solely on the half chance that my dipped beam might catch their square millimetre of rear reflector. And reflective jackets, which are all the rage these days at building sites, amongst public servants and quite possibly suburban doggers, seemed to be a rarity. Relying solely on a single flashing Christmas tree seems outrageously optimistic to me.
When I could actually see the cyclists they were up to their old tricks of sweeping on and off pavements when it suited them. The suicidal practice of ignoring red lights also seems to apply at night, but more so for some reason. Also, berating drivers for executing perfectly legal manoeuvres continues after twilight. I got a blast of cyclist invective because I was indicating left and that meant the impatient fellow had to lose some momentum whilst swerving around my stationary vehicle.
And why? We've all got to share the same road? We're all human? If anything, cyclists should be a bit more appeciative of the fact that us drivers pay extortionate levels of road and fuel tax, and they pay nothing. Why can't we all just have a bit more patience and understanding? And why can't they make a better fist of 'seeing and being seen'?