I just thought I should put this little blog down on the internet (the battleground of real men and women), just to finish off a conversation which was cruelly struck short by the "block" button on Twitter.
Let's get straight in with how it all started.
As some might know, I have a dashcam on my cars, mainly in case I am involved in any sort of incident. However I openly admit, I do love catching stupidity on camera too.
A couple of months after getting my first, the novelty wore off posting stupid videos, so I don't do that as much these days.
Last night however, while driving through Brockley, SE4, in South London, I was fortunate enough to be hit from behind. Obviously all on camera.
At the time of the accident, the guy who hit me mentioned that a cyclist had startled him, causing him to hit me. Bit of a weak excuse for not stopping in time but hey ho. Shit happens.
All dealt with, I went home and retrieved the footage from the camera, just in case it was needed. On reviewing it, I noticed a cyclist, who had indeed caught my eye before the accident, but I had kinda put to the back of my mind.
I have posted a still image below..
OK, so first glance, I am betting you see a cyclist, with a red pannier bag on the back of the bike.
That's what I saw too, but then I noticed the feet. That is in face a child sitting over the back wheel of a bike, being ridden on a damp road, in rush hour, with very little effort to be seen. This part of the road is well lit, so not such an issue.
Like I say, this was never the issue I retrieved the footage or image for.
Moments after passing this cyclist (far too closely and over taking on a roundabout, so I am told) I came to a stop just on the other side of the roundabout. Sadly for me, the car behind me didn't stop in time, and ran into the back of me. He said when he stopped that the cyclist caused him to swerve, and he ended up hitting me.
Now I am not for one second saying this cyclist caused me to get hit in the car. Quite frankly, that's what insurance is for. No one was hurt, that's the way it goes.
However, at this point I put events together in my head and wonder what would have happened if the car had NOT swerved, or that it had come to a stop 2-3 ft over to the left, where the cyclist was passing me as I was hit.
This is not about who's fault it would have been (motorists without question) or who should have been where. But more me visualising the impact being made on the spine of the child being carried in this manner. Devastating is the word that comes to mind.
Now with the above in mind, I posted the image on social media, saying I felt the cyclist carrying a child in such a way was being irresponsible. I added that her unsteadiness on the bike also didn't help the situation. Simple, but I admit quite damning. I was careful of course to make sure the person was not identifiable, and to be fair, didn't have any images where they were, so all good there.
My point, nice and simple. Dangerous to carry a child like that, just increasing the danger of the trip unnecessarily . Cyclist are always vulnerable, but don't make yourself MORE vulnerable.
Some got it, others however like my friend "Deeply Offended" took dislike to it, and immediately suggested I was attacking and trying to belittle a woman, and a cyclist. Not sure the sex of the cyclist was ever a point of contention, but Deeply Offended seemed to think it was part of my point. Ignoring there was even a child in the image, the comments continued that I had nothing better to do than take pictures of strangers and post them on social media. Like arguing with a nameless and faceless person on Twitter is right up there too eh!
After a few tweets telling me about myself, and I guess trying to mock me as a person for posting such images, it all went quiet. So I prodded. My oh my, I must have prodded somewhere very sensitive, guess it is always going to be the case when you poke a delicate little arsehole on the internet.
What came next was a lovely stream of comments about myself, refusing to address the actual situation for a long time, before moving on to getting me to prove an accident followed the image (I am of course answerable to strangers on the internet). Once this was done, the focus turned to my driving, and how I had apparently forced the cyclist to the left, then over taken them, dangerously on a roundabout.
Not the case I might add, but all the same, IF it had been the case, and taking into account what happened next, did I inadvertently save a life, and prevent an accident. After all, if as accused, I forced the cyclist to the left, they were originally further over right. If this were the case, then the motorist who struck my car would without question have hit them.
Needless to say, after a little name calling, some biased facts being touted about, and some more name calling , I was blocked. Sorry to have offended you @edspindrift , I was really enjoying our conversation.
What I find frustrating about speaking to people like this, is whatever the case, they have an agenda, and are not willing to budge. Nothing is taken into consideration, and one tweet even suggested they had only read one tweet before boarding the bandwagon, so knew nothing else than the 140 characters they had read. Clearly well informed, they decided to go to town.
To be fair, social media would be a boring place without these people, and reminds me that as outspoken as I am, I try to make informed comments, rather than just trolling for key words, and unleashing my uneducated, misinformed rhetoric on strangers. One comment that did tickle me was that if I cared about the safety of the child, I should give the rider some lights. So somehow it becomes my responsibility to buy lights for other road users who choose to put themselves and others in danger, to show I care?
Not the responsibility of the rider to make sure that they are clearly seen, especially when increasing their level of vulnerability? Wow, how things have changed.
As a keen cyclist myself, I make sure I am well lit, easy as possible to see, and present myself to other road users in the safest possible fashion possibly.
This is most likely one of the reasons I take such offence to other cyclists who don't give a crap. And take even more offence to keyboard warriors who take it upon themselves to defend stupid behaviour, automatically suggest the motorist could and should do more to make the roads safer, and refuse at all costs, that the cyclist can ever be either to blame or even increased the risks of the situation.
If today has taught me anything it is that there is no talking to some people. Some just have one thing in their head, and there is no point in trying to get your point across, either politely, or otherwise.
If you try the otherwise approach, they sulk, and block you from the platform they first found you on and started the whole debate. These people are usually habitual people, who spend a lot of their spare time pursuing the same narrow minded road of thinking.
I applaud some for their commitment to their causes. And in the course of the above interactions, I also engaged with another more open minded individual, who I genuinely enjoyed taking to.
So, make of it what you will. To me, the images I caught while retrieving the crash footage just alarmed me. I would hate to see someone I know and care about being carried on the public roads like that. If it's normal or acceptable to you, so be it. We have a different opinion, that's all. Makes neither of us an arsehole. The conversation which follows your opinion will define that.
More out takes from the conversation here... The full transcript is available on twitter on mine or @edspindrift