Cycling in London: The Rules

Cycling tips for the Big Smoke: Don't take out pregnant women, love thy neighbour and forget about shouting at cars, you'll look like a penis. We're awaiting the call from TfL to make these rules official.
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Cycling tips for the Big Smoke: Don't take out pregnant women, love thy neighbour and forget about shouting at cars, you'll look like a penis. We're awaiting the call from TfL to make these rules official.

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1. Ride smart, but ride safe

To be honest I don't give a shit if you're going to jump a red light but for goodness sake, have some manners about it, wont you? If you see a pregnant woman who is heading across the road, don't fly past a couple of inches from her bump without a second care. Can't you see that if you scare her into a premature labour its going to be me shitting myself at her side screaming at all the bystanders to call the bloody ambulance... again.

2. Show some love

If you're coming up to a crossing where pedestrians have got the green man, have a look at their faces. Their brows will probably display the start of a frown as they're expecting you to be a bastard and jump the lights, nearly running them over and possibly causing them to drop the skinny latte they've been nurturing since evacuating the train or bus they came into town on. Remember that getting to work if you're not on a bike can be a real drag, dependant as you are on the vagaries of public transport, which is often overcrowded, tardy and unreliable.

You can improve their day by letting them cross the road in safety. It may cost you ooh, 30 seconds of your time but in some small way, you can carry on with your journey safe in the knowledge that a pedestrian has got to work less stressed after not having to play frogger with a load of lycra clad hooligans on two wheels. If you really want to freak 'em out wish them good morning. That'll seriously fuck with their overly caffeinated heads.

3. Enjoy the ride

Seriously. I have no clue why so many of you think that you're in the Tour De Commute every day. You want to go as fast as you can while things very capable of hurting you, such as buses and trucks share the road. Are you suicidal? Please tell me what kind of job you have. The way that you are flying along at top speed makes me think that you must be really keen to get to work, a feeling I have rarely had. What is it that you do that makes you want to get to the office so bad? The reason you're on a bike in the first place is probably because you prefer it to a tube or a bus, which come with restricted views. No such restrictions on a bike.

"You can improve their day by letting them cross the road in safety. If you really want to freak 'em out wish them good morning. That'll seriously fuck with their overly caffeinated heads."

Keep your eyes on the road obviously but if you have to stop at the lights, look around. And look up – hardly anyone looks up. London is a beautiful city, full of interesting architecture new and old, so don't miss out because you're mentally revving up to be first out of the blocks when the red light turns to orange.

4. Don't cycle side by side if you're a couple

One, it's sick inducing. Two, it means it's that much harder to pass you, which I have to do as you're idling along like love's young fucking dream, chatting about all the plans you have for your future. If you're not careful your immediate future will involve being tangled up in a mess of bruises and aluminium in the gutter as I will have shoulder barged the one of you on the outside, creating a short lived but hilarious domino effect to get you out of the bloody way.

5. Stop shouting at cars and bus drivers

Take it from me. I've done it for years and most of them don't give a shit. There was that one lady that decided to turn left at the last minute just in front of me at a cross roads who did stop to see if I was alright just after I had sheared along the side of her car. It was hard to take her apology in good grace given she had just nearly killed me. Drivers will not always use their indicators and may pull out without warning - deal with it. Getting apoplectic in public always make you look like the bad guy as most pedestrians and drivers think that cyclists are law breaking anarchists. Plus if your veins are popping with fury and you're lycra'ed up, you'll always end up looking like an actual penis.

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