The thing about the 1960s…was the Government Information films which patronised the post-war generation.
Americans were told interesting things like how to survive a nuclear war by sitting under a desk. But we had “Carry On” actor Peter Butterworth coughing and sneezing. “Coughs and Sneezes Spread Diseases” we were told. “Trap Your Germs in A Hankerchief” we were told.
My generation of Children were told “look left, look right, look left again….and if all is clear….cross the road”. My wife’s generation were taught a slightly different version “The Green Cross Code”. There was even a super-hero, The Green Cross Code Man. Actor Dave Prowse would later be Darth Vadar.
A lot of these information films were cheap cartoons. Road Safety was heavily featured. “Dip Your Headlights” and only use the “hard shoulder” on the motorways in an emergency.
The Highway Code was a big thing. There were rules and each rule had a number.
Which brings me to CYCLING. Cyclists were advised….no….cyclists were TOLD to ride in single file.
I am a neutral in the war between Drivers and Cyclists. I cant drive a car.
And I have seen Cycling become safer…well at least it SHOULD be safer. Helmets. High-Visibility jackets.
Of course back in the 1960s, only teenagers and old men ….working class old men…..rode bicycles.
I dont think anybody ever saw Cycling emerge as a leisure or fitness programme, a way to get to and from work more quickly or a means of saving the Environment. In fact in the 1960s, we didnt have the Environment. The Environment wasnt actually invented until about 1977.
Working class men dont ride bicycles anymore. Middle class yuppies in skin tight high visibility lyrca ride state of the art bicycles, mostly in South Belfast. Cycling to their city job and home again to eat vegetable curry with a life partner and hand knit a Computer to save the planet.
The more yuppie, they are the more assertive they are. They know their rights on the road. They have no grasp of their responsibility. I saw a yuppy confront a Post Office driver in Great Victoria Street recently. The yuppy was in the wrong. Saving trees in the Amazon does not give the eco-warrior the right to be a bastard.
Like I said, I am fairly neutral on the whole Driver -Cyclist thing. And indeed the third road user….the Pedestrian. But I note that while there have always been aggressive Drivers, the aggressive Cyclist is a new thing.
Way beyond Belfast, we have cycling clubs. These guys and (increasingly) girls know their rights. Let me state that our local clubs are fairly resposible. Often an experienced rider is at the front and back of their peletons. But I have seen clubs and of course groups of riders act very badly. Whatever happened to that Highway Code rule about riding in single file.
Let me declare an interest. I was damn near killed outside the RDS in Dublin in October last year.nA cyclist just flew thru traffic lights. My untimely demise would be a loss to the World in general and Blogging in particular.