OPINION - London cyclists, stop snitching on car drivers and sort your own behaviour out first

 (Ped Millichamp)
(Ped Millichamp)

I am an anti-cyclist cyclist. There, I’ve said it. The idea of jumping on a bike and burning through 80km of Surrey roads fills me with horror. Squeezing my lumpy love handles into figure-hugging Lycra… no one wants to see that. Droning on about tyre road resistance? Jog on, mate. What I dislike most is the cyclists who feel they own the road and pro-actively irritate drivers.

If I were mayor, all bikes would be registered and the equivalent of the driving test would be mandatory. Points and penalties for pedalling irresponsibly.

However, in an effort to save money while adding a bit of exercise into my routine, I begrudgingly saddle up at 6.30am and make my way to Standard Towers. An hour of risking my life as I go from New Malden to Moorgate, navigating not-fit-for-purpose cycle lanes, puncture-inducing potholes, drivers who turn in on you without a glance — just a few of the obstacles I face each time I swap my trainers for cleats. But I get a smug sense of achievement as I approach our offices and, well, I dread to imagine the size of my love handles without this regime. And the congratulatory Pret almond croissant makes it all worthwhile (no idea why I can’t shift this weight…).

Cyclists — work on our reputation as law-abiding and safe road users before prodding at drivers

Most car drivers are in fact sensible and, living in London, you can’t go faster than 20mph but I do invariably catch sight of a driver on their phone scrolling on Insta. Fair play for the snitchy cyclist who reported one of them.

My advice though: stay in your lane, mate. Focus on improving the reputation of your fellow pedallers. Dobbing in other road users just contributes to the already high animosity between the two-wheeled Mamils and four-wheeled petrolheads. Instead, let’s clean up our act and not pedal through red lights or think it’s OK to be dressed in black with no lights at night. And don’t get me started on e-bikers or delivery bikers on pavements.

So. Cyclists, check yourself. Work on our reputation as law-abiding and safe road users before prodding at drivers. All it does is exacerbate the already tense relationship. And if you do see me slogging away over Southwark Bridge at 7.15am in the pouring rain — don’t go ringing your cycle bell at me…

Ped Millichamp is head of design at the Evening Standard