Friday, 26 August 2011

Cycledarity - united we stand

You know the feeling: there you are, happily pedalling along when suddenly a vehicle passes so close it almost scrapes the paint of your bike. We've all had near-misses and we've all had our lives flash before our eyes, just because some driver cut you up, overtook with millimetres to spare or done something else that nearly killed you.

Fortunately, these incidents are few and far between.

Usually, there isn't a great deal you can do about it. Sure, you can report the driver to the police, which almost invariably leads nowhere. You could try complaining to the company that owns the vehicle, in case there was sign writing on it, but more often than not that won't do any good either.

But there is another option: in the case of vehicles with sign writing, you can tell fellow cyclists about it on Twitter, using the hashtag #Cycledarity. After all, we're not just cyclists, we're also consumers, and sometimes we even decide who our employers will buy products and/or services from.

If we all start avoiding giving any business to companies whose drivers threaten the lives of fellow cyclists, then sooner or later they will start getting the message, as it will start hitting them where it hurts - in their profit margins.

There are many Jeremy Clarkson wannabes who seem to take great pleasure out of using their vehicles to threaten or intimidate cyclists, so let's do something back. Let's stand together, and vote with our wallets!

Word of caution; #cycledarity can so easily turn into a witch hunt, so please do the following, too:
-Write or e-mail a complaint to the company concerned, and allow them to take steps against their driver, and
-Tell people (again using Twitter) if you have had a positive response from such a complaint. After all, we should support companies that are prepared to act against misbehaving drivers.

Of course, there will still be many white vans and various other vehicles without sign writing, so at best this campaign will have a limited impact, but that still beats having no impact at all.