Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Death by Irony

Times Online reported on a report by London transport bureaucrats that suggested women cyclists 'risk death' by obeying the traffic lights. The reason? Apparently they are stuck in the driver's blind spot and tend to get taken out by lorries. This is their punishment for obeying the rules of the road, I guess. Apparently men are more likely to blow the light and live to see another day.

Personally I think a philosophy of flexibility is what's needed here. Adhering to the rules in a general sense is good, as it leads to predictability and the grudging respect of motorists. But at the end of the day the only laws I adhere to are those of self-preservation and efficiency.

Robert Hurst puts it very well in his book The Art of Cycling:
Don't simply watch traffic, but watch it very closely, and try to figure out what it means. Ride constantly, and consciously try to learn from the thousands of little interactions you will have on each ride. Try to crack the code. The city moves according to laws that are more powerful and interesting than the traffic ordinances.
Eloquent and spot-on.

[source: Time's Online]

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