Daily Mail on the “Lycra lout” rampage. Again.

The Daily Mail has a regular hitlist of hate-groups – immigrants, ‘enemy-of-the-people’ judges, dole scroungers, and, of course, people who ride bicycles. The latest diatribe has been published today and it’s the usual drivel. Not just drivel, but fake drivel. To save you clicking into a hate-site I’ve extracted the lowlights:

Is ANYWHERE safe from the lycra louts? They’ve got cycle lanes galore. But now they’re on pavements and jumping lights – and mowing down pedestrians
• Smug cyclists are far more likely to send your blood boiling then other motorists 
• There’s been a 50 per cent rise in pedestrian accidents in the last seven years
• A growing common sense among bikers is that cyclists should rule the road 
• Their arrogant attitude isn’t helped by officials who pander to them

By Brendan O’neill For The Daily Mail (Note: Brendan O’neill has a history of writing these sort of deliberately dumb articles – they’re meant to annoy/delight people in equal measure, and are there to drive website traffic not make sense or come anywhere near to reality.)

Forget road-clogging Chelsea Mums on the school run in their 4x4s. Never mind fist-shaking, foul-mouthed road ragers. Don’t fret about the old lady in a Skoda you inevitably get stuck behind.

There’s a force on the road far worse than all those —- and more likely to send your blood pressure soaring: the smug cyclist.
These Lycra-clad darters between cars, these self-styled saints in the saddle, are clogging up our roads with self-satisfaction.

Cyclists have a tendency to ‘ascribe to themselves the most unassailable moral superiority’

I’d rather take my chances with the carbon emissions from cars than with the moral emissions that emanate from these puffed-up, two-wheeled eco-warriors.

Cyclists are getting more cocky.

New figures show that nationwide, accidents between cyclists and pedestrians have rocketed by nearly 50 per cent over the past seven years.

In 2009, there were 274 cyclist-pedestrian crashes; in 2015 there were 408. That means there’s now more than one a day.
According to analysts at Mapmechanics, in the seven years from the start of 2009 to the end of 2015, some 3,476 people were injured in cyclist-pedestrian crashes — 696 of them seriously.

But with this increase has come a growing sense among cyclists that bikes should rule the road. This is, in part, down to their belief that their chosen method of transport isn’t only about getting from A to B, but also about saving the planet from eco-doom.

It’s their conviction that they’re the most ethical, decent, clued-up folk on the road — better than those car drivers coughing out fumes, those waddling pedestrians too lazy to get in the saddle and those zombified passengers staring out of the No 42 bus.

The arrogant attitude among many cyclists is exacerbated by officialdom’s flattery of them

This is not to say that there are no cavalier or dangerous drivers on the road — of course there are. It’s just that they don’t make such a song and dance about their chosen mode of transport.

The holier-than-thou attitude among many riders is exacerbated by officialdom’s flattery of cyclists, its stroking of their already swollen egos.

We all know about the endless miles of cycles lanes that have been built across the country. But now, it seems, cyclists can get away with the kind of rule-breaking for which the rest of us would likely be cuffed and carted away.

It’s against the law to cycle on a footway, as outlined in Section 72 of the Highways Act 1835. But more and more police forces are choosing to look the other way when cyclists switch from road to pavement.

Officers in Camden say they’ll no longer enforce this law ‘without good reason’. They’ll have a little chat with the cyclist instead.

Would they extend the same courtesy to other people who broke the law? To the bloke who nicked a hundred quid from the tills at Aldi or the woman in the grip of drink who punched a total stranger? ‘My dear, why did you feel the need to do this?’ No, of course not.

The Camden cops took their cue from West Midlands police, who aren’t only being soft on cyclists who go on footways, they’re also clamping down on motorists who get too close to cyclists when they overtake them.

If a car driver gets within 1.5 m of a cyclist, he can expect to have his collar felt by one of the bike-riding officers on the lookout for such anti-cyclist sacrilege. But if a cyclist darts between pedestrians on the pavement, he’ll get the softly-softly treatment. Cars are evil, you see, while cycling is next to godliness.

Of course, unlike motorists, those bikers don’t pay road tax, they don’t have to be insured and they’re not registered on a database, so if they cause a crash or kick in your door panel in a rage, they can just ride away.

A few years ago, a Government-backed campaign called CycleHero encouraged people to ride bikes not simply to get about, but also in order to save the entire world.

A cinema and TV ad warned in dark tones that ‘a menace is spreading . . . silently, invisibly moving across the planet . . . A new breed of hero is needed’.

The menace was climate change — isn’t it always? — and the hero was the cyclist.

Meanwhile, entire cities are being reshaped to meet the needs of cyclists, of these ‘CycleHeroes’.

In London, hundreds of millions of pounds are being pumped into getting more people on bikes. This has included turning ever more road space into cycling lanes.

As a result, the space for cars has shrunk dramatically, so they’re more likely to get stuck in traffic jams and to pump out fumes.

The irony is almost too much to handle: air quality in London has suffered as cyclists have become kings of the road, because demonised motorists now find themselves stationary for longer times in longer jams, their cars coughing out smog as cyclists speed by.

The more cars are demonised, and cities are reshaped to make them a better fit for bike riders, the more we convince cyclists that they’re pretty much the only good people on the highway.

A Book about the Global Growth in Cycling 1905–1980