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Green Living

The Cyclist: Why is everyone on the roads so damn cross at the moment?


You know things are bad out there when it takes Ross Kemp to appeal for calm. Last seen facing down armed guerrillas in Papua New Guinea ("Are you gonna kill me? No one's gonna fucking kill me") the hairless hard-nut re-emerged on Twitter this month with a photo of his mangled bike, and the words: "As a cyclist and a driver can we all be more patient and aware and a lot less angry on the roads".

Well said Kempy! Why is everyone so damn cross? Nimbys are showering the roads of the New Forest with drawing pins. Local papers are printing letters that appeal for motorists to be able to kill cyclists without penalty, "if there were any justice remaining in this once great country". I know a guy whose father-in-law gets furious because he can't steer his caravan around cyclists in rural Devon. His caravan!

It's too often the same on my commute and weekend rides, where mutual antipathy only seems to grow. Drivers rev and rage. Cyclists shout and bang on windows after the slightest provocation. I echo Kemp's plea and offer the following advice. Drivers, ask yourself: is that rider you're so infuriated with actually going to make you late? If so, that's called traffic – be calm and patient. Cyclists, is being aggressive or inconsiderate likely to improve your relations on the road? If not, consider another way. And to everyone: be normal, be nice.