Social Media: The Perils Of Cycling

Maybe you have noticed or maybe not, but VCC’s social media presence has considerably shrunk in the last couple of months. I don’t think anybody worried about that, but since you seem to be curious, here’s why.

I did close my personal Facebook account some time ago - for good. Although I was carefully selecting who and what to follow, my feed was constantly riddled by by appalling advertisement for revolutionary gadgets and life-changing marketing seminars. The core of my feed was supposed to be a selection of trustworthy news outlets but the algorithm would always add trending “articles” that were just actually pure click baits. And the worst part was the comments on these, almost invariably ending up in sterile controversies. But what really got me In the end was the reports on accidents and the accompanying recurrent debate about cars and bicycles, the anger it caused and the (re)sentiment that a war was raging out there.

There are accidents on the road, and when they involve cyclists it most often doesn’t end well for the latter, that’s a brutal fact. Although the rate of road casualties has been going down for the last decade, this trend is reversing in Australia and the number of cyclists that have died on the road is at at the highest since 1991 in the USA, and this is very very preoccupying.

Things need to change, we need better infrastructure, better advocacy, more awareness, but I find Facebook’s trash talk and the troll’s comments absolutely useless and totally depressing.

There are idiots everywhere, some people shout through their window at cyclists - dogs do this too, and I always wondered why dogs (and idiots) would bark at cyclists, but this is something that predates the invention of the bicycle I guess because they often have the same behaviour toward horses. They are probably just jealous, but I digress, and if you’re interested you could read or watch much more enlightened theories instead.

I can certainly admit that there is anger between road users and it is a problem, but I refuse to believe that there is a conspiracy against cyclists. People get angry at cyclists, but so they do with slow drivers, beginners, and random other road users for what they believe is a valid reason, and then also people have a tendency to generalise. Those seconds lost queuing behind a bunch ride seems like an eternity to a tired worker who’s just finished his shift; the early morning traffic is a hassle to a mother driving the kids to school, she might not realise she drove a little too close to that cyclist… Impatience or carelessness on the road is no excuse and should absolutely be abolished, but that’s not intentional, no one wants to eradicate bicycle riders.

I don’t deny the danger nor do I accept the risk of having an accident caused by a careless or angry driver. But I refuse to be scared or give up on my passion for the sport.I decided to look at the bright side. If during a ride someone yells at me, insults me or drives a little close, I just think of all the other drivers that gave me way, slowed down or gave me ample room while taking over, smiled or waved back at me. I can’t even count these :)

Victor BroidoComment